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For decades, Jackson Hole’s Flat Creek Ranch has carried a mystique inspired by its raucous history, its remoteness and its epic wild beauty. Now this jewel cloaked in the National Forest can become your own private wilderness. Get yourself ready for memorable trail rides that usually last from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Ride on the little-used Forest Service trail past Flat Creek Lake, through pristine forest and verdant meadow.
You will spend the first two nights at the Backcountry Camp. This is a perfect opportunity for both the novice and experienced outdoorsmen and women to immerse themselves in a pristine wild setting.
Settle down in one of the historic completely renovated log cabins at Flat Creek Ranch. Each is a suite consisting of a bedroom, a living room with a wood stove, a bathroom, and a sitting porch. Electric power comes from the state-of-the-art solar system, a symbol of determination to preserve the environment and promote low impact eco-tourism.
The Countess of Flat Creek had this roomy cabin built for herself in the 1920s. Its big living room has space to sprawl, and the bedroom is outfitted with a queen-sized bed. The bathroom’s antique claw-foot tub has a view onto pristine woodlands and Flat Creek Lake. Offering a wood-burning stove for chill mornings, the Cissy Cabin has a porch looking out at the lake. The living room is furnished with a single-sized day bed and trundle bed, as well as a futon that converts into a double bed.
It is named for the late Josephine Patterson Albright, who preserved the ranch by placing it under a conservation easement after she inherited it from her aunt Cissy. The front porch has a long view of the lake, while a second porch off the bedroom perches on the bank of Flat Creek. There is a queen sized bed in the very spacious bedroom accompanied by a romantic wood burning fireplace. There is a smaller sitting area with a writing desk and couch that can be made into a single bed adjacent to the covered deck. This one has the best view of all the cabins. It also has the smallest bathroom, with a small antique claw-foot tub. Fortunately for shower lovers, a cabin called the Wash House with modern private showers for guys and gals is only about 50 feet away.
This cozy log cabin is the first one you’ll see when you arrive at Flat Creek Ranch. Once the cabin of the horse-rustling wrangler who homesteaded the ranch, Cal’s place offers a very private porch high on the creek bank with spectacular sunset views. It’s the most likely place to spot evening deer crossings. The cabin includes a bedroom with queen-sized bed, bathroom featuring claw-foot tub, and living room snuggled around a wood-burning stove. Its living room futon can accommodate children or an additional adult.
The porch of this bright, spacious cabin presents a bird’s-eye view of eagles or osprey that often swoop the creek to snatch up fish. Or you can lean back in the bathroom’s antique tub and contemplate the creek view from wide windows. This cabin - named for a judge from California who loved to fish at the ranch - has a queen-sized bed and a double bed in the bedroom and a convertible couch available to sleep another person in the living room. A wood-burning stove completes the picture.
This comfy cabin has a front porch with overview of the ranch, as well as a second, very private deck off the bedroom with creek and forest vistas. It includes a queen-sized bed in the bedroom as well as a futon that makes into a double bed and a wood-burning stove in the living room. An added feature is a tiled shower that can accommodate a wheelchair. The cabin was named after Cissy’s legendary caretaker Farney Cole, whose claim to fame was fighting his way out of an encounter with an unfriendly bear in 1944, using only a big stick.
If an antique bathtub with a hand-held shower spray in your own cabin just isn’t your cup of tea, you are recommended to take a shower in the separate wash house. As in the old days, it’s divided into one side for women and the other for men, with a shower stall, sink and toilet in each side.
Come to hike, to ride or to experience the backcountry. Come to meet an array of wildlife from bald eagles to moose and deer, scores of ducks, owls and visiting osprey. Scan the cliffs above the ranch for mountain sheep.
At the end of your wilderness day, come in for a soft landing. Unkink in the sauna. Restoke your fires on the ranch gourmet cooking - a healthy and generous cuisine spiced with just enough decadence. Beer and wine are complimentary at cocktail hour and dinner.
Finally settle down in one of the historic, completely renovated log cabins. Each is a suite consisting of a bedroom, a living room with wood stove, a bathroom and a sitting porch.
Many Wyoming dude ranches feature horseback riding as their predominant daily activity. Flat Creek Ranch offers riding, too - memorable half-day trail rides on rugged mountain trails. But they don’t provide horseback activities every day. They find that in Jackson Hole, the typical visitor wants to experience a full range of activities. At their remote hideaway, hiking and wildlife viewing are as popular as riding - if not more so.
Many dude ranches have 50-60 guests at a time. At Flat Creek Ranch ranch, they have only five guest cabins. That gives an intimate ambiance with a capacity of just 12-14 guests. You are never part of a crowd.
Many dude ranches are located close to a main road, which allows their guests to drive into town to shop or visit galleries. By contrast, the ranch is a secluded destination.
The backcountry surrounding the ranch is the Gros Ventre National Wilderness Area. Horseback riding is inherently risky in the wilderness, which is made up of 287,000 acres of pine forests, mountains, and steep valleys. But if you are up for it, they are ready to take you on memorable trail rides that usually last from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. The guests often ride on the little-used Forest Service trail past Flat Creek Lake, through pristine forest and verdant meadow, and on to an outfitter’s camp for lunch.
Please note that the trail rides are scheduled on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Families are welcome. Kids can go hiking. Or learn to recognize a moose track. They can play ping pong or horseshoes.
Parents with younger children should be aware that:
Located less than an hour from the resort community of Jackson Hole, Flat Creek Ranch is a true spring creek offering in the heart of Star Valley in Thayne, Wyoming. The ranch consists of 138 acres of open meadow pastures, mature cottonwood trees, willows, and open grasslands with a half mile of the Salt River bordering the property on its western boundary.
Flat Creek meanders through the heart of the ranch for 3.75 miles providing an intimate spring creek fishery filled with native cutthroat and a healthy population of brown trout. Improvements on the ranch include a 2,900 square feet turnkey residence and a 600 square feet log guest cabin that overlooks Flat Creek and has mountain views in every direction.
Flat Creek Ranch is naturally divided into two distinct parcels by an elevated bench on the eastern border of approximately 30 acres and a low lying riparian river bottom and pasture parcel on the western border encompassing 110 acres. The Salt River lies on the western edge of the hay meadows and serves as the property boundary to the ranch. The Salt flows from the south through private lands before entering the ranch, and it continues north before meeting County Road 125, or Robert’s Road Bridge, the property’s northern boundary.
Large stands of mature cottonwoods, dense willows, and native grasses follow the Salt’s meandering path along its western edge providing critical riparian habitat for area species and a dramatic, scenic backdrop from the main residence and entire ranch.
Flat Creek Ranch is a true sporting ranch offering an incoming owner a personal fishing experience on over a mile of private water, access to thousands of acres of nearby National Forest lands in a picturesque river bottom setting. This ranch is located in the heart of Star Valley, all within close proximity to modern day conveniences, and near to Jackson Hole resort amenities.
Daily heaping breakfast, healthy lunch, and ranch gourmet dinner will be served during the holiday. There will be also complimentary beer and wine at cocktail hour and dinner. From traditional to decadent, the kitchen is supplied by local, organic meat and produce whenever possible, including fresh greens from the ranch's own garden.
The daily menus reflect seasonal bounty at the hand of an experienced and imaginative chef. The day starts with coffee delivered to your cabin followed by a gourmet breakfast with seasonal fruit, homemade granola and yogurt, fresh squeezed orange juice and something special and piping hot from the kitchen. A hearty lunch with fresh baked cookies and four-course dinner will finish off the day. For those heading out for an adventure, sack lunches with lots of snacks are provided.
An excellent selection of beer and wine, including many local names, is always on hand and always included. Drinks and appetizers start out on the deck as the day draws to a close. Duck confit, Osso Bucco with local beef, and stuffed pork chop are a few of the entrees you may enjoy. At the end of the night, you might even find yourself in front of a campfire with toasted marshmallow and all the fixings for s’mores.
Dining philosophy at Flat Creek Ranch revolves around the changing seasons, locally-grown and raised food and your dietary preferences. They can accommodate different dietary needs - just ask them and they are happy to oblige to the best of their abilities.
The Flat Creek Ranch (elevation 7,400 feet) is surrounded on all sides by the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Gros Ventre Wilderness Area. Any path you choose to hike (rigorous climb or easy amble) will cross elk trails and meadows brilliant with wildflowers.
You can hike the Teton Overlook trail that climbs to a panoramic view of Grand Teton National Park, stretching from the base of the Grand Teton to Jackson Lake. Or, if you’re in the mood for a bigger challenge, you can pursue the old Poachers’ Trail up to the Nose of the Sleeping Indian Mountain (elevation –11,106 feet).
Almost as challenging is the shorter South Ridge trail leading up toward Table Mountain. Many gentler trails also crisscross the ranch and the surrounding terrain. They will sketch out a route for you to follow on your own.
If you would prefer, you can join one of the guided hikes. Flat Creek Ranch holds an outfitting permit from the U.S. Forest Service that allows them to provide guided hikes into the wilderness area. The rate is 125 USD for a hiking guide to lead your group on an all-day trip up the Sleeping Indian Mountain and back.
Some intrepid souls dare to swim in the chilly waters of Flat Creek Lake, there is a floating dock that gives you easy access for a quick dip or to practice your fly casting. They also have canoes, tandem sit-on-top kayak, and stand up paddle boards so that you may enjoy the 50-acre lake. They also have a McKenzie style all wood boat for fishing or perhaps getting a glimpse at a moose at the far end of the lake.
The sauna house is a log cabin that extends out over Flat Creek. Let the staff crank up the wood stove that the ranch imported from Finland. Throw some water on the rocks, take advantage of the essential oils and when you’re parboiled, step outside for an icy shower or if you are really brave, dip into the creek.
You might also want the try the Snorkle 6 man hot tub. This is also wood-fired and is an amazing way to rid yourself of aches and pains from riding and hiking, not to mention one of the best ways to take in the stars at night.
Sit on your porch and watch a longtime resident pair of bald eagles soar over Flat Creek Lake in search of fish. Hear the piercing cry of ospreys. Watch for mink, moose, deer and an occasional big-horn sheep. There could be bears around too. So before you go walking in the woods, ask Flat Creek Ranch to loan you a can of pepper spray.
Jackson Hole Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Jackson Hole Airport (JAC). Transfer from and to this airport in a scheduled time is included in the package.
if you are traveling by air, you might want to consider flying into Jackson Hole Airport a day or more ahead of your arrival at the ranch and flying out a day or more after you leave the ranch. There’s a lot to do in and around Jackson Hole. And it may be easier to deal with the occasional missed flight or delayed bag if you are staying the first night at somewhere convenient in the town of Jackson. There are some well-recommended places to stay.
If you decide to fly in and come directly to the ranch, please try to choose one of the many flights that arrive between noon and 4 p.m. If you arrive before noon, you may have to wait at the airport until our driver can get down from the ranch. If your flight arrives after 4 p.m., there is no guarantee that you can get to the ranch until the following morning.
If you decide to fly home on the same day you leave the ranch, please try to pick one of the many flights that leave between noon and 4 p.m. If you book an early morning flight, Flat Creek Ranch will get you there, but you’ll miss breakfast and a morning of activities. If you book a late afternoon flight, they will drive you to town after an early lunch and have your bags stored while you check out the town of Jackson for a few hours. Then you’ll have to get to the airport on your own by hiring a taxi.
If you are planning to drive to the ranch in your own high-clearance vehicle, ask Flat Creek Ranch for more detailed driving directions. The check-in time is 3 p.m.
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