The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch
The view from Indian Paintbrush—a one-bedroom log cabin on Brush Creek Ranch’s property—redefines what most people think of when they think about Wyoming. It is not brown and barren and hardened by a relentless wind. Instead, the 15,000-acre tract of land manifests itself in lush valleys, soaring buttes, clear streams, and green pastures. This is the other Wyoming, the one you don’t want to miss—or leave once you’ve arrived.
Of course, the spot-on experience Brush Creek Ranch delivers is another reason you won’t want to go home. Owned by Bruce White, the CEO of White Lodging (which operates 160 hotels across the country), the year-old ranch runs with seamless precision. It has to: In its first year, the resort hosted some of the planet’s wealthiest and most well-traveled guests (Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson have visited). Yet Brush Creek manages not to feel pretentious. Sure, the grab-whatever-you-want-because-it’s-included wine cellar is the epitome of upper-echelon travel. And the heated bathroom floors set a high standard for pampering. And, yes, you might be seated next to the richest man in Mexico at the community-style tables for dinner, but you’d never know it. That’s because the staff makes no obvious distinction between a VIP and, say, a writer from Denver.
That careful service extends to the rest of the ranch’s offerings as well. And those offerings are extensive. Although you can get your daily dose of dude ranching in with as much horseback riding as your rear end can handle, Brush Creek doesn’t pigeonhole itself. Mountain biking, hunting, target shooting, hiking, paintballing, outdoor yoga, spa services, and fly-fishing are just some of the other available activities. Each evening, after you’ve come back to your cabin, snacked on whatever delights happen to be waiting for you on your bedside table, and kicked off those trail-dust-covered boots, you’ll saunter over to the outfitters barn to schedule the following day’s recreation. Guests usually choose two or three activities per day.
No matter what outdoor pursuits you choose, you’ll want to belly up to the bar in the saloon every evening. Borrow one of the cowboy hats from the wall rack, order a cold one from bartender Chia Valdez, and hum along with live tunes (four nights a week) or the old-school jukebox. Or take your longneck outside, settle into an Adirondack-style deck chair, and soak in the moonlit view.
You’ll Love It If… You’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s, relish a certain level of pampering and refinement, and want to do more than just horseback ride on your vacation.
High Praise The dinner at Creekside Camp is exactly the kind of occasion you envision when you book a ranch vacation. The staff lights a big ol’ bonfire, sets up tables beside a stream and a nearby horse enclosure, and grills a spread of potatoes, steak, chicken, and corn that tastes like the West served hot.
The Low Down The family-style service and lack of multiple entrée options at dinner in the Trailhead Great Room are surprising, considering the price.
Cost All-inclusive rates start at $720 per night for a lodge room and can go as high as $6,000 per night for a cabin. There is a four-night minimum during high season and a two-night minimum during low season.