BRUSH CREEK RANCH
BEST FOR: ADVENTURE-SEEKING FAMILIES AND NATURE-LOVING COUPLES
NOT FOR: LAZY TYPES. THERE IS A SMORGASBORD OF EXPERT-LED ACTIVITIES INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE, SO YOU’D BE CRAZY TO LOLL ABOUT AND MISS THEM
America’s Wild West has long lured hardy homesteaders, A-list film crews and city slickers to its heartlands, and now there’s a rush to south-central Wyoming for the untamed beauty of Bush Creek Ranch. Though it only opened in 2011, the 30,000-acre luxury dude ranch has subtly merged itself into its surroundings, the log cabins melting effortlessly into the jaw-dropping scenery. Located in the North Platte River Valley near Saratoga, the sprawling property boasts rolling hills, lush river valleys and forests, majestic rock formations and sweeping views of the Sierra Madre mountains – all of which beg to be photographed in the blushing sunset.
The ranch has three lodging destinations to choose from, depending on your need for privacy ( and your budget): The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, The Magee Homestead and French Creek Sportsman Club. The Lodge is essentially the ‘hotel’ part of the ranch and includes a collection of cabin suits and residences dotted in the vicinity. All of it is superbly designed in a mountain chic style that never feels hokey. There’s a lounge and restaurant – think big open fire, cosy sofas, and communal tables for gourmet buffet-style food -with the Trailhead Spa and gym on the lower-ground floor. For a more bespoke retreat, The Magee Homestead is a prairie hideaway for a maximum of 24 adults. Featuring enchanting wood cabins (original homesteads), a glamorous pool, bar, billiards table, spa grotto and sleek fine dining resturant, this is a place to truly feel cosseted. For hunting and fly-fishing enthusiasts, the French Creek Sportsman’s Club is a secluded clutch of log cabins for up to 10 guests – a sublime mini ranch you can call your own.
The resort’s USP is the mind-boggling number of activities on offer, so before you head up to the spa you’ll likely work up a sweat. Stick on a Stetson and saddle up for a cattle drive with an expert wrangler; aim a compound bow and arrow at life-sized replicas of moose, elk and bison; or shoot ’em up at the outdoor gun club where you’ll get your hands on a vast array of rifles, shotguns and pistols. Other antics (admittedly less Wild West in flavour) include zip lining, paintballing, rock climbing and mountain biking, or simply taking to the river for a spot of calm fly-fishing. Yoga devotees can retreat to the dedicated yoga yurt with an instructor, or strike a cactus pose in the desert on a hike/yoga excursion.
Chef Emily Meyer and her team in the ranch’s kitchen provide fuel for all these experiences. A copious amount of delectable American fare is served in the Trailhead Lodge, on the patio at the Chuckwagon, at the Creekside campfire or in the Western Saloon. Breakfast is a highlight, always featuring eggs, crazily crispy bacon, potatoes, waffles and healthy smoothies.
When it’s time to wind down, folks check in to the Trailhead Spa. Photographs of horses adorn the walls of the small cluster of treatments rooms, where traditions of the American West and indigenous ingredients are incorporated into all the spa experiences. The spa menu is as tempting as the ranch’s culinary counterpart: the Cowboy’s Facial includes a hearty blend of hops and herbs, leaving chiselled jaws firm, fresh and smooth, meanwhile the Cowgirl’s Facial featured a strawberry and rhubarb serum that will leave you glowing and hankering for candy. Making the most of its epic surroundings, the spa even uses warmed basalt river stones for the Wyoming River Stone Massage.
For something truly unique, indulge in the Spirit Journey experience in a private teepee beside a bubbling creek. The two-hour treatment begins with a meditation and sage smudging ceremony – a ritualistic burning of sage leaves to cleanse the space and body. This fragrant wafting of sage smoke is then followed by a massage using a combination of indigenous juniper, lavender and cedarwood oils, specifically picked for their healing, calming and spiritually uplifting properties. Having played at being a cowgirl on a cattle ranch, this is your chance to go Native American in the Wild West.
CONTACT: 001 307327 5284 ; firstname.lastname@example.org
PRICE: From $800 per person, per night – inclusive of standard room, activities and meals
NEAREST AIRPORT: Denver International Airport and Laramie Regional Airport
TRANSFER TIME: 3.5 hours drive from Denver Airport. 1.45 hours drive from Laramie Airport