Western Dispatch: Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

You know what you want from a country retreat: a good view, a big fireplace, comfort without needless luxury. Too few get the equation exactly right, so when you find the one you happily return over the years. That’s the case with the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, which is situated 50 miles north of Ketchum along the Salmon River. The main building was built in 1930 and is on the National Historic Registry, and it’s a classic.

The ranch looks across the dramatic Sawtooth Mountains, and it has exactly what you want. Settle in to a straightforward cabin (with hickory furniture and its own fireplace) and then get down to business. The area is full of terrific hikes (the staff is eager to direct you), whether you want an something intense or low-key the scenery is fantastic. It’s also a reminder of how good life is away from the television (the rooms don’t have any).

Anglers should plan their trips for July or August (water is too high for most rivers earlier in the season). You can float the Salmon or wade the Big Wood near Ketchum in pursuit of native Cutthroat trout. If you want to test your skills against the gold standard of clear water then head two hours south to Silver Creek where you’ll see many many large trout. Of course, they’ll see you too–it’s incredibly technical fishing and is not for amateurs. To regain your pride try the stocked pond on the grounds. Regardless of where you fish, Verlon Herndon is your man. A guide of discretion and expertise, he’s the angling equivalent of a wartime consigliere.

There’s more: A hot springs swimming pool (typical temperature: 103), and horseback riding for those so inclined. You’re at good altitude–around 6200 feet–so it approaches freezing every night. It’s an incredible drive across the Continental Divide on Hwy 93 from Montana, but most people fly to Boise and drive to the ranch in less than three hours. As you increase in elevation you feel like you’re on the right path. And you are. –DAVID COGGINS

Comments on “Western Dispatch: Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

    randy on July 2, 2012 9:50 AM:

    …And Hemingway was not mentioned once. Amen.

    JD on July 2, 2012 11:48 AM:

    JD likes what Randy said.

    henrik on July 2, 2012 2:45 PM:

    f’n awesome digs.

    Ray Hull on July 2, 2012 3:57 PM:

    These places are popping up all over the Rockies…You know it’s popular when Orvis opens a big store out there. While I was in Montana in May, my niece began in internship at the Stock Farm, South of Missoula; I gather it was established by Charles Schwab. Sounds like 21st Century Dude Ranching to me. But it sure is purty.

    Some of my Montana shots can be found here:

    Amy on July 2, 2012 4:15 PM:

    I used to live in Idaho and it is beautiful! People have been coming there for years to ski and fish, nothing new about that.

    Matt Dougan on July 2, 2012 4:25 PM:

    Beautiful and yes It is 21st century dude ranching by the billionaires boys club. They’ve bought up so much of the useable land and pushed the prices up so that your average guy can’t afford to own a nice piece of land in the Rocky Mountain region. I grew up on a ranch in Texas and it’s not so glorious and laid back pampering. The luxury for us was the freedom gained in the outdoors and hard work never hurt anyone. I miss it at times…

    Ken Enochs on July 2, 2012 8:20 PM:

    Great place! I spent some summers working the Middle Fork of the Salmon as a rafting guide, and have dined and stayed at the ranch. These are rustic digs, but the setting is spectacular. My favorite memories of the place though are of sneaking into the ranch hot springs late at night after the bars closed in Stanley.

    Valerie on July 5, 2012 9:50 AM:

    Ha on the Hemingway comment above. :)

    I always wonder if I could unplug for a week. It really sounds wonderful to take a true retreat.

    Greazy on July 18, 2012 7:20 PM:

    Can i just say how refrshing it is to read such informative, polite comments against all the horride blog sites about the internet. Would love to stay at a place like this :)

    Dale Janee on July 28, 2012 4:36 AM:

    This is such a cool post and I want to live in that cabin one day :)

Comments are closed.