Escape to Brush Creek
Where Authenticity Meets Adventure
Following a morning of archery lessons or horseback riding, and an afternoon of skeet shooting or meditative fly-fishing at the Orvis dual-endorsed Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, you may want to schedule a Spirit Journey massage. After your therapist cleanses your private teepee with sage, she will loosen your sore muscles with a Wyoming native herb-infused oil blend.
The hard part of this experience is not falling asleep below a peek of sharp blue sky, amid sounds of rushing river water behind you.
The easy part is allowing it to rejuvenate you just enough to head to that week’s creekside dinner under the stars, followed by an intimate country music concert or rousing game of bocce on the lawn, and visit to the Saloon for billiards and a nightcap snifter of whiskey. (All of which will help to ready your body and your mind to do it all again tomorrow.) Because at Brush Creek Ranch — rated by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in 2014 as the top resort and top dude ranch in the U.S., and No. 2 hotel and resort in the world — you won’t want to miss out on anything.
About a four-and-a-half hour drive from Colorado Springs, Brush Creek Ranch sits on 30,000 acres in Wyoming’s Platte River Valley. The property wears two hats — the first, and the historical, that of a working ranch. With about 800 grazing cattle, 100-plus horses, and both a 28,000-square-foot indoor arena and a competition-size wild horse arena, the ranch says Brush Creek spokesperson Alana Watkins is growing this component: “We just acquired our first beef cattle this year.”
Though it’ll take some time, Watkins adds, “ultimately the idea is to be self-sustaining in regards to food and beverage.”
The second hat it sports is that of luxury dude ranch, offering a range of accommodations for a maximum of 135 people, and a menu of all-inclusive activities, meals and entertainment options for guests of all ages from sun-up to (beyond) sundown.
Come mid-May 2016, Brush Creek Ranch will open its gates through mid-October for its sixth guest season. (Of course, “depending on the weather,” notes Watkins, “we might open a little earlier or stay open a little later.”)
Once you’ve selected your dates, choose your lodging. From spacious rooms in the Trailhead Lodge, to luxurious cabin suites, to two- and three-bedroom hand-hewn full cabins, all options rate “plush-rustic.” Think dark leathers and rich woods, heated bathroom floors and panoramic views. Come with your sweetie (with or without kids), or plan a family reunion and rent out the Magee Homestead. Five miles from the main camp, Magee sits in a secluded creek-side spot and offers seven elegantly furnished cabins, a private lodge with a staffed kitchen, dining room, and extensive bar and game room, ideal for groups ranging in size from 10 to 24.
When it comes to food at Brush Creek, quintessential cowboy cookouts offer expertly and artfully prepared spreads, including options for all dietary needs. Multi-course dinner parties below the 28-foot-tall timber ceilings in the Trailhead Lodge Great Room highlight cuisine of the American West. Think entrees such as broiled New York Strip with a brandy-herb butter, sea bass bouillabaisse, pan-roasted chicken breast with a charred onion jus, or a fava bean falafel with a piquillo coulis.
Having a happy belly is key when you’ve got a full itinerary of guided outdoor adventures to choose from each day. Start early with hiking, biking, running or yoga. Later, don waders to wander 20 miles of private waters for the ultimate fly fishing experience. See the property by horseback, or an all-terrain Polaris Ranger vehicle. Spend a few hours or a full day shooting at the two-story, heated and covered open-air Gun Club, or head out for a big game hunting trip. Whether you’re an outdoor newbie or aficionado, guides tailor each activity to your level.
According to Mike Williams, Brush Creek Ranch’s Executive Vice President and COO, when Chairman and CEO Bruce White purchased Brush Creek Ranch in 2008, his vision was all about “paying homage to the land.” That intent can be seen across the ranch, from the grand expanse of space dedicated to outdoor adventures to the Western details found in both new and refurbished buildings (and the intentional sight lines from said buildings).
It can also be found in the Ranch’s staff. Hiking guides stop to point out birds and native blooms along the trails. Yoga instructors pause after sunrise class to let students take in the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains from their mats on the deck at Falcon Peak Overlook. And, while escorting you by ATV across miles of land, ranger tour drivers explain everything from rock formations and water sources to conservation goals.
Whatever you choose to do from day to day and evening to evening, there’s one activity you can’t go to Brush Creek Ranch and not participate in: nightly S’mores under the stars. (We recommend pairing it with a glass of your favorite varietal from the 800-bottle wine cellar). As your marshmallow toasts over the fire, lean back, look up, and let yourself get lost in the wide-open Wyoming nightscape.