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Your Dollar Can Take You On the Vacation of a Lifetime

March 20th, 2015 by bc guest ranches

Now is a perfect time for US citizens to visit their friendly northern neighbour, Canada.

Thanks to a positive exchange rate your US dollar will now take you further; all the way to British Columbia and your ideal BC Dude Ranch vacation!

Be whisked away into the Canadian wilderness and choose to stay at one of BC’s many exquisite dude ranches.

Relax and unwind at a luxury ranch, or pull up your sleeves and join in the excitement at a working ranch. You can bring the whole family, enjoy just a romantic vacation for two or spend some ‘you time’ meeting new people.

Jump on the back of a horse and explore the acres of peaceful, scenic surroundings, learn about the rich heritage in Canadian cowboy country and, finish the day by enjoying a delicious dining experience and refreshing drinks under the setting sun.

With seasonal specials during the spring months you can get an even better deal on a truly breathtaking getaway!

For more information, contact BC Guest Ranchers Association at 1-877-2-STAY-BC

It’s our pleasure to help you plan the perfect dude ranch experience!

Spring Season Openings

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch – April 1st

Free Rein Guest Ranch – May 1st

Tod Mountain Ranch – May 1st


Visit a Cowboy Guest Ranch

August 15th, 2014 by bc guest ranches

If you’ve always dreamed of taking a true cowboy holiday – full of adventure and camaraderie – then you need to saddle up to some of Canada’s best cowboy guest ranches, right here in British Columbia.

Some of our member guest ranches are actually working cowboy guest ranches, where you can try your hand at typical cowboy activities and cattle work, including cattle drives, round-ups, horse drives, and even cattle branding.

Plus, our ranches in Canada’s cowboy country feature huge tracts of private and crown land, giving you nearly endless ranges to explore on your cowboy vacation.

Of course, a holiday on a cowboy guest ranch goes beyond cattle work. You’ll also get a hearty serving of Western Canadian cowboy hospitality our members are know for – to make up a perfect horse riding holiday.

Just because you’re on a cowboy holiday doesn’t mean you have to rough it. All of our members are committed to providing a comfortable, clean, homelike atmosphere. Some even offer luxury guest ranch amenities.

All of our cowboy guest ranches and dude ranches have horses available to accommodate the needs of all guests who want to ride – regardless of their experience level – and will carefully match you to the right horse to suit your needs. Many will also let you be as involved as you like in your horse’s care during your stay.

Our horses are very well cared for, and all of our members are focused on providing you with a memorable cowboy vacation.

You can use our amenity search tool to find the best cowboy guest ranches in BC. If you want specific details about each ranch’s cowboy activities, just contact us and we’ll help you find the perfect cowboy vacation for your holiday needs.

To start planning your next cowboy holiday, check out our member ranches today!waving

Ranch Holidays: What to Expect

July 29th, 2014 by bc guest ranches

RS_3bars_7_campfire_800Never been on a guest ranch holiday and curious what to expect?

Well, each of our member guest ranches in BC has their own personality and specialties. So if you’re picturing something specific for your ranch vacation, you can use that as your starting point to find the perfect ranching holiday.

For example, if you’ve always dreamt of an overnight pack trip, we can introduce you to ranches that specialize in that.

Or, if you’re thrilled by the idea of taking part in traditional cowboy cattle work – like cattle drives, round-ups, horse drives, and even cattle branding – then look for a dude ranch that offers those specifics options.

One advantage of choosing a BC Guest Ranchers Association member for your ranch holidays is that we’ve already done the quality control, and represent only the best established ranches who adhere to a common standard. That way, you know what to expect from your ranching holiday, while avoiding unpleasant surprises.

All of our member ranches exemplify the western ranch ideal of personal, homelike hospitality and atmosphere. They are all horse-oriented and able to accommodate all guests who choose to ride. Riding instruction is always available.

In terms of meals, our members operate primarily on an all-inclusive basis, offering packages that include all of your food, accommodation, and horseback riding and other ranch activities. That lets everyone relax and focus on creating the sort of holiday you want, without worrying about the details.

That combination of common high standards and varied riding programs means you can find the ranch holiday that meets your needs and expectations.

Use our amenity search tool to find the perfect ranch holiday in BC. If you want specific details about each ranch’s riding activities, just contact us and we’ll help you find the perfect ranch vacation for your needs.

To start planning your next ranch holiday, check out our member ranches today!

Luxury Dude Ranch Vacations?

June 13th, 2014 by bc guest ranches

Fine Cuisine

Fine Cuisine

The idea of luxury dude ranch vacations may seem like a contradiction.

After all, for some folks the thought of dude ranches and guest ranches conjure up certain simplicity – and a good chance to get your hands a little dirty by chipping in on the ranch work.

But many British Columbia guest ranches have a secret side that surprises some people – luxury! From luxurious accommodations and fine linens to gourmet food and wine, many BC dude ranches pride themselves in bringing a high level of comfort to your ranch vacation.

Of course, everyone has a different definition of luxury – for some, it means being able to add a tennis match of game of golf into your vacation. For others, a full-service spa, hot tub, or even just fitness facilities bring their horse riding vacation to the next level.

At their root, all of our member guest ranches are firmly focused around the horse riding experience, of course: It’s what they do. After all, sometimes getting your hands a little dirty during the day is just fine, but having luxury options back at the ranch is always a great option to keep everyone happy!

When looking for the best luxury ranches in BC you can use our amenity search tool. If you want specific details about each ranch’s luxury options, just contact us and we’ll help you find the perfect luxury guest ranch for your needs.

To start planning your next luxury dude ranch vacation, check out our member ranches today!

The Best Horse Riding Holidays

May 20th, 2014 by bc guest ranches

Cheryl & Dakota lead the ride at Tod Mountain RanchThere’s something special about horse riding holidays: Whether it’s your very first time on a horse, or the latest in a long line of horseback riding vacations, horse riding holidays are like nothing else.

And the friendly guest ranches and dude ranches in British Columbia offer the very best horse riding holidays in the world.

Our member ranches exemplify the Western Canadian ranch ideals of personal, homelike hospitality, and atmosphere. Plus, all BCGRA ranches are horse oriented. Riding isn’t an afterthought for our members, it’s the core of a complete horseback riding vacation.

Riding instruction is offered at all member guest ranches, and your horse will always be matched to suit your weight and experience level – ensuring safe and comfortable horse riding holidays for everyone.

Plus, because we’re blessed to live in beautiful British Columbia, all of our ranches have plenty of acreage on – or adjacent to – their ranches for horseback vacations unlike any in the world. There’s a full range of landscapes to explore here in BC, from mountains to open forests to free range.

Overnight horseback riding trips and cattle work are also available at some ranches. If you can imagine a horse riding holiday, chances are one of our member ranches can make it come true.

While all of our ranches offer full-day horseback riding trips, they all have other activities to balance out your vacation, too, so you can do as little or as much riding as you want.

Our guest ranches have been providing memorable horse riding holidays and equestrian vacations to people from around the world for decades.

When looking for the best horse riding vacations you can use our amenity search tool. If you want specific details about each ranch’s horse vacation options, just contact us and we’ll help you find the perfect guest ranch for your needs.

To start planning your next horse ranch vacation, check out our member ranches today!

Unforgettable Family Ranch Vacations

April 14th, 2014 by bc guest ranches

Family Ranch Vacations If you’re looking for a real vacation experience to help your family re-connect, family ranch vacations at family-friendly dude ranches in BC are the way to go.

One of the reasons dude ranch vacations for families are a great idea is that the horseback riding lets everyone focus on the experience – and each other – rather than their mobile phone, tablets or computers. Guest ranches and family dude ranches in British Columbia have a magical way of making time slow down a little, and help folks focus on the stuff that really matters – like family.

Plus, learning new skills in a family environment is a great confidence-booster for kids.

Not only are our member ranches family-friendly, many of them are also owned and run by families – the very definition of a family dude ranch!

When looking for the best dude ranches for families you can use our Amenity search tool. If you want specific details about family ranch vacations, just contact us and we’ll help you find the perfect guest ranch for your family.

All BCGRA ranches offer horse riding instruction, and also have horses to suit any level of experience. Most ranches will have a minimum age for horseback riding, but some of our members welcome riders as young as 6 years old! Many of the best dude ranches for kids also have dedicated children’s programs.

Family Ranch VacationsWhether you want to ride as a family, or have the kids occupied and engaged with other activities while you ride, our members love creating memorable family ranch vacations.

Many of the best dude ranches for families feature plenty of activities beyond just horseback riding, too – including swimming, canoeing, fishing, and other wonderful outdoor pursuits.

Plus, since all family ranch vacations include meals and most other costs, it means everyone in the family can put their feet up at the end of the day and relax.

Start planning your family ranch vacation today by checking out our family-friendly guest ranches.

What is a Dude Ranch?

February 27th, 2014 by bc guest ranches

What is a Dude Ranch? The word dude has had many meanings, but in the 19th century “dude” generally referred to men – often rich, and always urbanites from the Eastern US – who would come West looking for a taste of the cowboy life. The term was similar in meaning to city slicker – as in the movie of the same name.

Dude RanchDude ranches, then, were working ranches that welcomed guests to expose them to the Western lifestyle, including horseback riding and wrangling. That’s the original dude ranch definition, also called a cowboy guest ranch.

So what’s the difference between dude ranch and guest ranch?

In short, not too much these days.

In the past a dude ranch holiday often meant more of a focus on horse-oriented activities. Now, of course, you’re just as likely to find a luxury dude ranch that offers other amenities. They’re often more kid-friendly than 100 years ago, too! Just about every dude ranch is a family dude ranch.

Dude Ranch GameDude ranch is more commonly used in the US, but for the most part, the terms are interchangeable. Guest ranch is a much more common term here in Canada. Either way, all of the BCGRA members offer horseback riding activities and instruction, and promote a total package inclusive of food, accommodation, horseback riding and all other ranch activities.

Whatever you call it – dude ranch or guest ranch – our member hosts will provide you with an authentic Western Canadian experience that you’ll never forget.

Robbie’s Auction High Bid

June 4th, 2013 by bc guest ranches

Dave Knubley 

Dave Knubley of Comox, BC was thrilled to discover on the evening of May 22 that he held the winning bid for the “Experience Package at Echo Valley Ranch and Spa”.  He and a guest will enjoy three nights of exquisite pampering at one of the provinces premier guest ranches.

Dave is with the Royal Canadian Air Force 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron based in Comox.  He has not yet decided who will accompany him on this amazing getaway… and did we mention he is single.

All the proceeds from this auction will go to a trust fund for the son of Robert Gill-Marcussen who was the original winner of this prize package vacation when the BC Guest Ranchers’ held their contest last year. 

Congratulations Dave and best wishes to the Gill-Marcussen family.

A Special Chance to Win a Guest Ranch Vacation!

May 14th, 2013 by bc guest ranches


Robbie and Nathan

Robbie and his son, Nathan.

Kathy Gill-Marcussen of Ontario was one of our winners in the GREAT CANADIAN GUEST RANCH GETAWAY CONTEST held last year. She was the recipient of a wonderful prize package vacation at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa valued at $3,480. Kathy’s plan was to take her 24-year-old son, Robbie, who was battling an aggressive brain tumour. Robbie was so looking forward to this holiday with his mother who had been his caregiver through this difficult time. Sadly his condition took a downward turn mid summer and they were unable to take this vacation. Robbie passed away on August 4, 2012.

With the blessing of Robbie’s family the BCGRA would like to auction off the prize package to the highest bidder. All proceeds will go to a college fund for Rob’s young son, Nathan. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to experience a guest ranch vacation while giving to a family who has dealt with a great loss.


Send your bid to moc.sehcnartseugcbnull@ofni with “Robbie’s Auction” as the subject by May 22, 2013. Bids will be logged according to time of receipt and you will be notified of acceptance plus what the current highest bid is. All bids must be received by 9 pm on May 22, 2013 to be eligible. ~ Follow the action on Facebook!

Echo Valley Ranch

Echo Valley Ranch


This Eco adventure resort is located 435 km/270 miles north of Vancouver, BC via Whistler Resort or Fraser Canyon route. You will find direct flights from many major cities to Vancouver International Airport. ~


Three Night All-Inclusive “Experience Package” for Two in a Premium Room
Dates valid: June 15 to September 30, 2013

  • All meals prepared by our executive chef including a glass of wine or beer with your dinner, and soft beverages at any time. The cookie jar is always stocked!
  • Daily turndown service with treats and weather update
  • A daily guided half-day horseback ride or a daily $60 spa credit. The choice is yours!
  • An introductory equestrian lesson or horsemanship lesson in the ranch’s riding ring Weekly Guided Hiking program
  • Daily Thai yoga (Ruesri dat ton) stretching classes with our instructor
  • One Fly fishing casting lessons and fly fishing on our own well-stocked ponds (equipment provided)
  • Weekly evening entertainment program including roaring camp fires, barbeque dinners, authentic Thai banquet and traditional Thai dancing
  • Weekly cooking demonstrations with nutrition tips from our chef as well as tips on Thai cooking
  • Use of all ranch facilities including: Large outdoor hot tub, indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre, numerous self-guided hiking trails, large games room featuring: pool table, shuffle board, darts, card table, Karaoke and a large TV screening room
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Spring Fever & BCGRA Contest!

February 26th, 2012 by bc guest ranches

It’s that time of year for guest ranches throughout Canada, and they are gearing up for the 2012 season. Most of the ranches will open their doors to guests from mid to end of May, before then there is a lot of preparation that takes place.

If you have vacationed at a guest ranch, then you know there is a lot that goes into making a ranch run smoothly and keeping them in working order.

Even with a blanket of white snow, spring cleaning begins. Fences are inspected and tended to accordingly. Once accessible, trails will need to be checked for any fallen trees or change in footing.

For the working ranches, fields are becoming speckled with little black or brown calves, and for some small foals are not far behind – a sign that spring is just around the corner. Around the first of May, all those calves will need to be branded. Several ranches offer vacation packages allowing guests to get in on the branding fun.

The horses all need to be vaccinated, and checked over before open season. Their teeth are floated to remove all sharp points, making sure they get the best from their food. Any horses with long hooves are trimmed and their coats, manes and tails are inspected for burs they may have accumulated from being turned out to pasture over the winter months.

Any last minute staff hiring will be done and lodges and cabins will be cleaned and set up for the arrival of the first guests. Once staff arrives at the ranch, they will be put through weeks of training before guests arrive, in order to provide the best service and vacation.

There’s a lot to get done over the next month and a half in preparation for the 2012 season and the ranches of Canada are all looking forward to meeting new guests and doing what they love best – sharing the western lifestyle.

Want a chance to stay at a beautiful and adventurous guest ranch? Here’s your chance! The BC Guest Ranch Association (BCGRA) launched their “Great Canadian Guest Ranch Getaway Contest” and, at its close, 12 entrants from around the globe will have won once-in-a-lifetime getaways to some of beautiful British Columbia’s most exciting guest ranches.

This unique contest, which boasts an accumulated prize value of more than $30,000, is taking place online via the association’s Facebook Page, and is comprised of six rounds. Every two weeks, a new round will begin and two new prizes will be up for grabs – that’s two guest ranches and two winners!

Winners will receive all-inclusive stays at one of the BCGRA member guest ranches. Some of the activities they might enjoy while they visit include horseback riding, world-class fishing, and riding the range on a working cattle ranch. Whether they’re looking for pristine nature, rest and relaxation, or thrilling adventure in the wilds of B.C., they’ll find it there.

People are entering the contest via the association’s Facebook Contest Page and have been asked to provide, along with their contact details, short but creative explanations as to why they think they’re the most deserving of the prize. The winners will be those entrants who’ve successfully convinced the BCGRA judges that they deserve a stay at one of the province’s best guest ranches.

Making the contest even more exciting is the fact that people can enter more than once! At the end of each round, eager entrants who entered but didn’t win can enter again!

The BCGRA is a non-profit organization that represents over a dozen BC Guest Ranches. Says BCGRA: “From horseback riding, world-class fishing, wilderness retreats to western family vacations our members offer a diverse selection of BC’s best.” And this contest promises to show the world (and especially the winners) just what it means to leave behind the hustle and bustle of life and escape to the wilds of beautiful BC.

For more information about the BCGRA and the Great Canadian Guest Ranch Getaway Contest, visit the association’s website at or Facebook page at Alternately, feel free to call the BCGRA and contest organizers directly at (250) 593-0258.

Do What You Love & Love What You Do

May 1st, 2011 by bc guest ranches

Professional horse trainer, Jesse Beckley is a third generation cattle and guest rancher. His family owns Three Bars Ranch, located in the Canadian Rockies. Growing up on the back of a horse, Jesse decided early on that he wanted to earn his living working with horses. He started out riding and training horses for the Guest Ranch and then moved into the reining discipline.

Jesse Beckley and one of the reining horses.

Jesse started showing reining horses at age 12, continuing his interest and education in the horse industry he moved to Oklahoma and California for five years where he worked for two of the top five reining horse trainers in the world. Following this time he returned to Three Bars Ranch to run Beckley Reining. Through hard work, Jesse has become one of the best and most sought after trainers in Canada.

Recently, Jesse and his dad, Jeff Beckley, traveled over 40 hours to Texas to compete at one of the world’s greatest reining competitions, the National reining Breeders Classic, which pays out over $1,200,000! With the trailer packed and horses in tow the two cowboys were gone for three weeks.

Competing against the best in the world, it was no easy feat to pick up a check. Jesse had to first show in the go-round and if he marked a high enough score he would advance to the finals, which is a huge accomplishment in itself. Drawing up near the end Jesse knew he was going to have to put down a flawless run. At this point it was looking like it would take a score of 222 to make the Open Finals.

So you understand reining a bit better, let me explain how it works. There are four categories, Level 1 through 4, four which is also known as Open being the highest category and Level 1 or Limited Open Level 1, is the “lowest”. Categories are based on earnings and standings. In Jesse’s case he is only eligible for category 3 & 4 because he has “won” himself out of the lower two categories.

Reining is a judged event, with scores being issued by each judge. Every competitor walks in with a score of 70. Each competitor is required to complete the given pattern exactly as it states, if the competitor goes off pattern it will result in a score of zero. Each maneuver is scored from -1.5 to a +1.5 and is based on degree of difficulty. A zero mark on a maneuver means it was correct but not over the top. A -.5 means it was poor and so on. Penalties can also be issued.

Sample of a score sheet.

At this particular show there are five judges, with the high score and low score dropped to take a total of three scores.

Now back to the story…Jesse was mounted on a mare named Mizzen Whizzen. The duo laid down an electrifying run, scoring a 223.5, resulting in making both the level 3 and 4 Open Finals. Only the top 25 with ties make it back to the finals. The go-round starts with almost 300 competitors riding for those 25 spots. For a young trainer to make the finals, this is a dream come true and a stepping stone in his career.

Jesse and Mizzen Whizzen

The Beckley family back home watched Jesse and Mizzen show against the top horseman  on Finals night via live feed on their computers. It was an exciting night in Texas and back in Canada. The pair put in another stellar run and took home a nice pay-cheque for their performance.

Throughout the summer, Jesse gives the Three Bars Ranch guests a reining demo one night a week.

Many of BC’s Guest Ranches are more than just a Guest ranch. They are a real working cattle ranch, they grow hay or in this case train horses for performance. Life with horses is never boring and it is so rewarding. Some people are fortunate enough to make their living doing what they love – working with horses has to be one of the best jobs one could ask for.

We don’t yet have Jesse and Mizzen’s run from this year’s NRBC, but enjoy one of their championship runs from 2010 where they set a new record high score! Click on the link below.

Mizzen Whizzen & Jesse Beckley set new record at the 2010 West Coast Classic

Spring Fever

April 12th, 2011 by bc guest ranches

It’s that time of year! The guest ranches in British Columbia will be gearing up for the 2011 season. Most ranches will open around mid to end of May. In a typical year the snow would have melted by the first of April and staff would be tending to the yards for the spring and summer season. This year however, Mother Nature had other plans. In many areas, the snow is still lingering, having melted away many times to nothing but s few small patches of white – a teaser of warm weather to come, just to get yet another full on dump of snow. So for many BC guest ranches, spring cleaning and preparation has been put on hold.
Even with the unsightly white stuff, some things just can’t wait. For the working ranches, fields are becoming speckled with little black or brown calves. For some it will be the first year that foals are   born in the snow. Even the horses are getting tired of it.
The horses all need to be vaccinated, and checked over before open season. Once accessible, trails will need to be overlooked for any fallen trees or change in footing and any broken fences will need mending.
Any last minute staff hiring will be done and lodges and cabins will be cleaned and set up for the arrival of the first guests.
There’s a lot to get done over the next month and a half in preparation for the 2011 season and the ranches of British Columbia are all looking forward to meeting new guests and doing what they love best – sharing the western lifestyle.




Ranch Dining

June 21st, 2010 by bc guest ranches

Sundance Guest Ranch is located in one of the warmest, sunniest spots in Canada with sweeping, panoramic views of the wide open Thompson River Valley and is only a four hour drive from Vancouver. But that’s not all…they have some of the best ranch food around! One look at their Black Angus burgers will have your mouth watering and your taste buds asking for more.

Dining room at Sundance Guest Ranch.

Dining room at Sundance Guest Ranch.

The dining rooms at Sundance are across the patio from the adult lounge, just past the outdoor barbecue pit where they cook up their specialty – Black Angus burgers and charcoal-grilled New York steaks (if you’re a vegetarian no worries their chef has it covered). Sundance’s licensed dining rooms look out over the pastures where the horses spend the night grazing and cooling off among the sprinklers. Choose some wine from the list and have a glass to sip on as you watch the herd run by on their way to the fields, then sit down to a delicious three-course candlelit dinner. At Sundance, all the outdoor fun builds up quite a healthy appetite.

Breakfast is served a la carte between 7:30 and 9:00 am, with that all-important morning coffee being on from 5:30 am for you early risers. For lunch and dinner, kids 14 years and under eat all together, one hour before adult meal sittings, so they get to know each other quickly, which hugely enhances the fun factor for them! You may also choose to have your children join you for adult meals if you wish, and either request an upgrade to adult meals for $20 a day per child, or have a kids’ meal held over to adult mealtime at no extra charge – whatever works for you.

Adult mealtimes are 1:00pm and 7:00pm, with a more sophisticated menu – and again, everyone sits at big tables together, so it’s a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Whether you’re with a group or all on your own, you’ll quickly become “part of the family” once you’re there. For Sunday lunch, adults and kids all eat together for a big burger barbeque. There’s nothing more mouth-watering than that charcoal-grilled aroma drifting across the patio!

Chef Chris cooks up some tastey Black Angus burgers.

Chef Chris cooks up some tastey Black Angus burgers.

Working Vacation

June 19th, 2010 by bc guest ranches


Through Spring Lake's working vacation, guests learn the in's and out's of ranch life.

Spring Lake Ranch is tucked in the heart of British Columbia’s Cariboo country. Unique to many guest ranches, Spring Lake offers a “Working Vacation”. Involved in this, vacations offer free room and board for a minimum of six weeks. Work involves maintenance, cleaning of cabins, yard work, kitchen duty and of course working with the horses. In the early spring, fall and winter, some work involves working with cattle as well. Time off for line dancing, hayrides, fireside cookouts, swimming, canoeing and some short trips including rodeos and Bakerville.

Many of the young work experience guests come back for several years in a row. Two young Swiss work experience girls said, “Right now we are realizing our dream, having a work experience holiday on a Canadian ranch. We are so happy that we have found this beautiful place. The ranch has a private lake and our cabin is situated directly on the lake shore. We’re really enjoying this incredible stillness, the pure nature and our job variation. The work with young horses and also moving cows is exactly what we wanted to do and the work is a lot of fun; we’re laughing all the time. Also to witness a foal be born and to see the four eagle nests when riding around the lake is stunning. The ranch motto: close to nature, far from crowds; that’s what it’s like at Spring Lake Ranch.”

Through the working vacation, guests get some good one on one time with their favorite horses.

Through the working vacation, guests get some good one on one time with their favorite horses.

Delicious Cuisine

June 3rd, 2010 by bc guest ranches

I don’t know about you, but when I’m on vacation, half the appeal is eating great food everyday that I don’t have to cook. I’m about quality not quantity. The dining at Siwash Lake Ranch is like no other.

Guests sit around the table for a delicious meal where they interact and share their life stories.

Guests sit around the table for a delicious meal where they interact and share their life stories.

At mealtimes, you’ll be delighted with delicious cuisine and great fellowship in their cozy 20-seat main dining room. Hand-hewn log walls, a rich fir plank floor,  casually elegant furniture and candle light combine for a wonderfully warm dining ambiance. Tables vary from large group and family size, to intimate window settings for two that overlook wild bird feeders and horse pasture.

At Siwash, you will start your day off with a wake-up tray that is placed at your door, brimming with home baked muffins and your choice of freshly brewed tea or coffee. Canadian breakfasts in the dining room are hearty, and lunches, served outside whenever possible, feature nourishing homemade soups, pastas, salads, and breads. Later, enjoy chef’s daily hors d’oeuvre, presented on the sun deck or fireside. Dinners are three-course, culinary adventures infused with international flavours.

The ranch offers outstanding gourmet meals, prepared from the best seasonal ingredients and served with Siwash-style flare. Whenever possible, they incorporate organic food produced on the ranch — mouth-watering beef and pork, free-range eggs, and baby greens for your salads, picked right from our garden. Regional British Columbia cuisine, featuring wild trout, salmon and venison are our specialty.

Siwash Lake Ranch uses their own fresh garden greens.

Siwash Lake Ranch uses their own fresh garden greens.

If you’re a true romantic at heart and want to treat your honey, Siwash offers in-suite and alfresco dining in the meadow or on a private balcony is a special treat for couples taking romantic holidays.

Romantic dinner for two.

Romantic dinner for two.


Day One

~ Hors D’oeuvre ~
Spicy Crab Bruschetta
~ First Course ~
Baked Chevre, ranch grown organic baby greens, warm honey walnut vinaigrette
~ Second Course ~
Grilled Halibut, sundried tomato, white wine & cream reduction
Wild rice pilaf
Roasted red pepper, pan seared zucchini, steamed baby carrots
~ Third Course ~
Pumpkin Cheesecake, caramel sauce laced with brandy and star anise

Day Two

~ Hors D’oeuvre ~
Wild BC Smoked Salmon, crostini, fresh dill & cream cheese
~ First Course ~
Vine Ripened Roma Tomatoes, Bocconcini, garden basil & balsamic vinaigrette
~ Second Course ~
Filet Mignon, brandy & green peppercorn demi-glaze,
~ grass fed, organic Black Angus ranch beef ~
Garlic whipped gold potatoes
Purple cauliflower & grilled baby asparagus
~ Third Course ~
Dark Chocolate Ganache, wild raspberry coulis

Fine Cuisine

Fine Cuisine

Building a Guest Ranch

May 24th, 2010 by bc guest ranches

Big Creek Lodge

The Big Creek Lodge is classified as a Canada Select Four Star "Country Inn".

If you’ve ever visited a guest ranch, you may have had this overwhelming feeling that there would be no better job in the world than to own and run a guest ranch of your own. The benefits are countless – live in a beautiful part of the world with animals of all kinds, working with horses on a daily basis, live in a gorgeous log home and get to meet people from all over the world. But what does it take to start up a guest ranch? It’s no piece of cake that’s for sure.

Take Big Creek Lodge for example. Owners Joe and Sabine Hoessl started out with the traditional cattle ranching on a range of more than 25,000 acres in the beginning of the 80’s. They then decided they wanted to share this once in a lifetime experience of the land with others, so they built their first cabin for guests to stay in. It was a huge hit! The guests loved the fresh air and the absolute peace and quiet of the cabin.

The Hoessl’s soon encountered a dilemma. The cabin was always booked full because the guests would always book for the following year. So they decided it was time to think bigger in order to satisfy their many guests. That was the beginning of the Big Creek Lodge.

The Big Creek Lodge consists of massive white cedar logs, that were found on the Pacific Coast of BC. From the first cut to the last nail, it took the Hoessl’s a good four years to build their vision. In this time everyone worked from dusk till dawn. Skilled carpenters were few and far between, so they were forced to employ the help of the local natives who were unskilled in this area of expertise. Joe’s solid German education as a carpenter became invaluable.

The lodge has been classified as a Canada Select Four Star “Country Inn” and it is the only four star Country Inn in this region. It accommodates ten guests in five comfortable rooms. All rooms have a cozy interior, floor heating and a private bathroom. There is also a roomy lounge and a dining area warmed by a massive stone fireplace. Their homestyle country kitchen serves you breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere.

Additional cabins were also added, which are nestled among the trees lining the Big Creek, giving guests a feeling of remoteness and comfort. There are two bedrooms for four guests or a family with kids, private bath and equipped with a living room in every cabin. From the porches of the cabins, where comfortable seats surround a massive table, guests overlook the creek and the breathtaking wilderness.

Guests can enjoy sitting on their cabin's porch overlooking the creek and surrounding wilderness.

Guests can enjoy sitting on their cabin's porch overlooking the creek and surrounding wilderness.

History Lesson

May 20th, 2010 by bc guest ranches

Big Bar Guest Ranch is nestled in the rolling hills of the Cariboo where time has no meaning. The ranch dates back to 1933 when Harry Marriott and George S Harrison purchased the ranch (back then it was a cattle ranch) and started the OK Ranching Co Ltd.

The Harrison House, (where today’s guests enjoy relaxing in front of the stone fireplace) was built for George Harrison in 1936 to house his family, as well as any guests who may come visit from the coast.Harrison and Marriott sold the OK Ranch in the 1950’s to a family from Vancouver, the Squarrey’s. The family built the two older cabins that still remain at Big Bar today. They were originally built to accommodate their friends who came to visit.

The Harrison House is where Big Bar guests gather and enjoy each others company.

The Harrison House is where Big Bar guests gather and enjoy each others company.

As the Squarrey children grew and married and moved back to the coast, the ranch was left to a caretaker until Brian Gunn and his wife bought the ranch in 1989. Brian was an engineer and he and his wife were looking for a slower pace for themselves and their two boys. Their dream was to own a guest ranch, so they quickly built the Sagebrush inn and added two more cabins and four tipi’s to accommodate guests. In 1997 Brian Gunn sold the ranch to Anne Freeman, who ran the ranch for 10 years before selling it to Elise-Marie and Kresten Vestergaard, who lived in Denmark.

Elise-Marie and Kresten made their first visit to the Cariboo in 2006 where they stayed at Big Bar Ranch, which at the time was up for sale. Like so many others, the couple fell in love with the Cariboo, the land, wildlife and the ranch life. For them the ranch is about the passion for the cowboy way of life, and getting back to a simpler way of living. With the purchase of Big Bar Guest Ranch, the Vestergaard’s feel that they found their own little corner of heaven, which they want to share with people from all over the world.

Elise-Marie and Kresten still live in Denmark where they run their farm and a breeding facility for American Paint Horses. They come to their dream ranch as much as possible. They wish everyone a good time, with good food, good riding and great memories.

Big Bar tipis.

Big Bar tipi's.

So You Think You Can Ranch?

May 18th, 2010 by bc guest ranches

Free Rein Guest Ranch is situated amidst some of British Columbia’s most beautiful Canadian wilderness on 285 acres. Opening day for the season was May 1st, but there was a lot that had to be done prior so everything was ready and up to par for arriving guests.

This year Free Rein implemented a new way to get ready for the season, an idea that formed So You Think You Can Ranch. The concept was three-fold, first to generate revenue outside the ranch’s main season, second to give guests an opportunity to see behind the scenes and get involved, and third to help the ranch prepare for the up-coming season with some extra hands on deck. This package was of course offered to experienced riders only as the horses can be a little “fresh” in the spring. With a successful first year, Free Rein hopes to continue to offer this package, one that is a win win for everyone.

All tack at Free Rein is cleaned upon guests arrival.

All tack at Free Rein is cleaned upon guests arrival.

The list of things that need to be done around the ranch before opening day are long; fencing, painting, clearing trails, laundry, cleaning and of course preparing the horses to name a few. When it comes to preparing the horses, the first thing is to have them all checked out by a vet to make sure they are in tip top shape. They are 5-way vaccinated, dewormed and teeth floated if necessary. Then comes the ground work training for a week before riding to reestablish boundaries (which they sometimes tend to forget over the winter months). The horses are lounged to take the edge off and get them in shape. They are then rode in the arena before heading out onto the trails.

Once everything is cleaned, cleared, painted and tidied the doors are opened to another season of memory making experiences for Free Rein guests.

Horses are "tuned" up before opening day at Free Rein Guest Ranch.

Horses are "tuned" up before opening day at Free Rein Guest Ranch.

Meeter Greeters

May 3rd, 2010 by bc guest ranches

When driving into Three Bars Ranch, it’s hard not to notice the breathtaking beauty all-around. Along the long, curvy road leading into the ranch you take in the sites – trees surround the road on both sides with glimpses of the Rocky Mountains in between, home to a variety of wild life. You may have to stop briefly while a couple dude horses amble across the gravel road on route to the creek for a nice cold drink on a hot day.

Max, Jesse Beckley's Aussie and the official "Meeter Greeter" of Three Bars.

"Max", Jesse Beckley's Aussie and the official "Meeter Greeter" of Three Bars.

Once you drive into Three Bars, it’s even harder not to notice the instant hospitality waiting for you at the front gate. The official Three Bars greeter is friendly, with a big smile that shows off his pearly whites. His soft kind brown eyes say it all, “welcome to my home, I’m so happy to meet you.” Although his long, slightly curly hair, which is outlined in white, is a little unruly, he is very easy on the eyes. No worries about where to go from here, he’ll show you the way. In case you were wondering his name is Max and he is the “meeter greeter”, a three-year-old Australian Shepherd, one of many “ranch dogs” you will encounter on your visit to Three Bars.

Bo Bo, the old man of the ranch, follows Jeff Beckley doing his daily chores.

"Bo Bo", the old man of the ranch, follows Jeff Beckley doing his daily chores.

Once at the lodge you will most likely be greeted next by the “man of the house”, Bo Bo, an elderly black and tan wiener dog. He’ll bark upon your arrival to let April or Tyler know you have arrived so you can get situated in your cozy cabin. If he’s not in the lodge, Bo Bo can be found trailing Jeff Beckley around the ranch doing his daily chores. His favorite past-time is hunting, whether it be small game such as gophers or tracking a large elk (don’t let his size fool you, he is quite a good hunter).

Next, you will most likely be introduced to Tyler Beckley, who will be followed by a slow, snorting, fat bulldog, fondly known as Bru. He’ll need to to get really close to you so he can sniff you as his sense of smell is not so good. He’d particularly like it if you scratched him – his short chubby legs just don’t reach far enough. Bru spends his days sleeping upstairs in the lodge office snoring loudly and occasionally wanders outside to bask in the sunshine.

Bruman, Tyler Beckley's Bulldog.

"Bruman", Tyler Beckley's Bulldog.

So now you’re all set and have discarded your bags in your cabin. So you head out for a walk-about around the ranch to get your bearings and check things out. At some point you will wander past the reiner barn that houses all the performance horses. Here you meet Tank and Joe. They are in their kennels, wagging their stubby tails, eager for some attention. The “boys” as they are often referred to are German Short Haired Pointers, and Three Bars bird hunting dogs. The boys are about two-years-old now and Jeff Beckley trained them himself. They are proving themselves as great bird dogs, and if you happened to book a pheasant hunt at the ranch, they will be more than willing to help you out with getting your birds.

Tank & Jo as puppies.

Tank & Jo as puppies.

If she hasn’t already, Miss Tiggy, the “Barn Queen”, will come running – barking the whole way. You may be expecting something large in size, but simply look down and you will see a little red haired eight pound wiener dog. Don’t be offended when she doesn’t let you pet her, she is very shy and a bit of a snob – it takes a while for her to warm up to people. Your best bet is to simply ignore her, which she eventually won’t be able to stand and will come see you and may even let you give her a little pat. Tiggy spends her days helping Jesse and Dee out in the arena with the reining horses. Her best days are when she gets to assist in lounging a horse or two, she is a working dog after all!

Tiggy, Jesse & Dee's minature doxen, is one fast pup!

"Tiggy", Jesse & Dee's miniature doxen, is one fast pup!

Last but not least, when you go in for dinner Sunday night you most likely will be happily greeted by Marley, Jenna Beckley’s affectionate yellow Lab. After you’re all finished with dinner Marley is more than happy to play and loves kids – entertaining is her specialty.

Needless to say you will not be forgotten at Three Bars. There’s always a “meeter greeter” and smiling face at each corner of Three Bars Ranch.

marley, Jenna Beckley's yellow lab, is an affectionate and loving girl.

"Marley", Jenna Beckley's yellow lab, is an affectionate and loving girl.

Spa Oasis

April 26th, 2010 by bc guest ranches

Reconnect and restore your passion for life at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa.

ECHO VALLEY — Nestled in the heart of British Columbia’s spectacular cowboy country, nature has created the perfect setting for a world-class spa and one of the world’s premier eco and soft-adventure ranches — the perfect place for couples to reconnect and restore their passion for life.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is set in a wilderness setting where you can connect with yourself, partner and nature.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is set in a wilderness setting where you can connect with yourself, partner and nature.

The minute guests arrive at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa they sense the magic of being surrounded by incredible beauty, wide-open spaces and tranquil wilderness. Those who come for the luxurious spa soon realize they have found a sanctuary for care and inner harmony.

The world-class Baan Thai spa pavilion provides a special place for rejuvenation and serenity. Professional Thai therapists perform spa treatments for the care of mind, body and soul derived from ancient Thai wisdom.

The Baan Thai and the Cariboo spas include a full range of Western as well as Asian spa therapies. These include facials, herbal aroma therapy massages and steam baths, hydrotherapy, body wraps, manicures, pedicures, and of course – Echo Valley’s signature Thai massage, where stretching and applied pressure to points along your sen lines free up energy flow throughout your body.

The magnificent Baan Thai offers a unique spa experience, including the soothing effects of herbal steam treatments and an herbal oil massage combined with the rejuvenating qualities of our luk pra kob (herbal bag).
Experience other Thai therapies such as kud rang guy (herbal body scrub), nued nha (Thai facial using hands only) and pog rang guy (herbal wraps).

Herbal bag treatment at Echo Valley Spa.

Herbal bag treatment at Echo Valley Spa.

The spa at Echo Valley is an integral and important part of “well-being of mind, body and spirit.” It complements the ranch’s other soft adventures, which include horseback riding, hiking and fly fishing.

Relaxed, refreshed and enlightened, guests leave Echo Valley with a restored passion for life and in anticipation for next year’s visit.