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British Columbia Guest Ranch Association

Farms and Ranches


from the British Columbia Guest Ranch Association:

The Western Tradition

In the old days independent folk were drawn to new lands for the freedom and new opportunities that the untamed lands offered. The tradition of Western Hospitality began when the West was young, and stranger and friend alike were welcome to share a rancher's food and shelter. Travelers spent days in the saddle and a lighted window was a welcomed sight. Comfort, good hot food, and friendly hospitality were freely offered and much appreciated by all.

If you consider yourself one of those independent folks that are looking for something new and different and the thoughts of a trusted horse, magnificent views, and good friends appeal to you, then read on.

The Guest Ranch Experience

Some of the best things haven't changed for a hundred years. Our Guest Ranches still offer old-fashioned hospitality, great food and a relaxing western-style atmosphere. We stil explore the surrounding lands, appreciating the grandeur of the mountains, the relaxed, companionable pace of travel by horseback, the way everything tastes better in the open air. It is still very much a part of our everyday way of life. At the end of the day, someone might get out the ol' guitar for a sing-along around the campfire, or you may prefer to sit under the stars where the lonely song of a coyote could be the only melody you hear. But, of course, some of you might want to try a game of pool, billiards or soak away your worries in the sauna or hot tub.

Our ranches offer a variety of experiences. Some Guest Ranches are still actual working cattle ranches where you can try your hand at cattle drives or branding, others are remote lodges in pristine back country areas that explore the surrounding wilderness. Some of them are luxury resorts complete with spa facilities, air conditioning and room service. Are you looking for a leisurely vacation on the ranch, a breathtaking wilderness experience, or something in between?

Whichever Guest Ranch you choose, you'll probably find yourself feeling like a personal houseguest of the family, and that's exactly what's intended.

The Natural Beauty of British Columbia

People are still drawn from around the world to the vast lands and natural beauty of British Columbia. Timbered rolling hills, large open grasslands, deeply carved river canyons, and the magnificence of our towering mountain ranges offer many days of exploring by horseback. We can guarantee it will offer exceptional riding and spectacular natural beauty.

The Meals

When the dinner bell rings, each ranch has its own unique flavor-from gourmet to traditional Western Style-but all have one thing in common: great food and lots of it. Often it is broiled over a barbecue and served out in the open air.

The Riding Expertise and the Wranglers

Every Guest Ranch has its own unique riding experience, but western riding is the tradition. Some Guest Ranches cater mainly to families, where others are more adult-oriented. Some specialize in intermediate to advanced riding vacations, and others cater to the more novice riders. And even if you don't know much about horses, the wranglers will help any city slicker to feel tall in the saddle. All ranch hands have many tales to tell and are a big part of your daily experience. Regardless of your level of riding, we have a Guest Ranch that caters just to you.

The Horses

The Guest Ranches offer everything from gentle trail ponies to high-spirited mounts. Traditionally, our horses came from good working stock. Over the years many different breeds have been incorporated into the herds. Individual Guest Ranches may select certain breeds that lend themselves to the type of riding they do. If families are their guests, then dependable and gentle horses would be chosen. If the ranch caters to experienced riders and they spend many hours cantering along the trails, a mix of Arab and Quarter horses may be the favored choice. Whichever the ranch, and whichever the style, all of the horses are well-trained, dependable and responsive to the individual's needs.

Other Things To Do

The Guest Ranch experience goes beyond just horseback riding. All ranches provide travelers with a variety of outdoor experiences. Many are near a lake or stream and have excellent freshwater fishing, canoeing, or even rafting trips. Others are located near wilderness areas and have great wildlife and nature viewing. Of course, there are always lots of hiking trails for the whole family. Several ranches are now open during the winter months and offer cross-country skiing, sleigh rides and ice fishing. Others offer special training programs for those that really want to get to know the real West.

What to Bring

Dress is always casual. All you really need are the basics: jeans, T-shirts, sweaters, stout-heeled shoes or boots for riding, a hat of some kind to keep the sun off and a bathing suit. If you already have your own chaps and saddlebags, don't hesitate to bring them along. Requirements will vary somewhat at the various ranches. It's always more fun if you dress the part, and some ranches offer cowboy hats and boots for sale or rent.

Getting Here Is Easy

British Columbia offers many modes of transportation and depending on where you decide to go it is mostly a matter of choice on how you want to get there. There are beautiful scenic highways and breathtaking train routes that are an experience by themselves. Follow the Fraser Canyon and stop in at "Hell's Gate," switch over to the wine country of the Okanagan or come in via Calgary through Banff National Park. Of course flying in is an alternative for those that want to visit one of the more remote places or have limited time. Many ranches will pick you up from the nearest airport. Several of them have their private airstrips and offer scheduled services from Vancouver. An impressive flight over the glacier world of the Coast Mountains will get you there.

British Columbia

British Columbia became a Canadian Province in 1871. Larger than California, Oregon and Washington states put together, British Columbia is a land of mountains, valleys and sparkling lakes, with a climate ideally suited to outdoor adventure.

This adventure is close at hand via a comprehensive network of all-weather highways and international air-links through Vancouver and Calgary. From there you can connect with "Air BC" to Kamloops, Cranbrook, Penticton and Williams Lake. Schedule charter services are available during the summer months from Vancouver to Nemaiah Valley and Ts'yl-os Park. Train links are provided by "BC Rail" and "VIA Rail."

c/o B.C.F.R.O.A.
Box 3301, Kamloops, B.C. V2C 6B9

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