This article was published on October 6th, 2013
The bluest skies you’ve very seen. Panoramic views. Hundreds of acres of grassy fields. As much fresh air as you can take in. Amazing guide horses. Hundreds of kilometers of riding trails. Rustic log cabins. Authentic, down-home hospitality. This and so much more is all waiting at Big Bar Guest Ranch in British Columbia’s southern Chilcotin region.
The Big Bar Guest Ranch has played a big role in British Columbia’s guest ranching history. At one point, it was one of the largest guest ranches. Throughout the years the ranch has changed ownership a number of times. This year Bryan and Amber, two passionate ranchers who love animals, hospitality, and country living, purchased the ranch. They are on a mission to bring the ranch back to it’s glory as one of the top guest ranches in the province.
Since taking over the ranch in the spring the couple has been hard at work with a lot of repairs and maintenance after the ranch had fallen into disrepair. Their priorities are animal and guest safety. Something they take extremely seriously.
Currently the ranch has over two dozen horses, each hand selected by Bryan. Him and his team of wranglers work tirelessly with the animals to train them and keep them in top health for their guests. The ranch is also home to young jersey cows, a donkey, and some very friendly farm dogs. More animals will be added as the ranch continues to expand.
Guests to the ranch have a number of accommodation options. There are beautiful, rustic private log cabins overlooking the valley and bench across the way. Each cabin has a queen size bed and a loft with smaller beds perfect for kids. There is also standard hotel-style accommodation near the original homestead with queen size beds and single child beds in the loft. For the more adventurous there are canvas teepees, which can be outfitted with individual cots and sleep up to six people.
If you’re an early riser, the coffee is always on around 6am when the wranglers get up to start the morning chores around the ranch. Each morning from 7am through 9am, guests meet for breakfast in the common eating hall. The chef prepares hearty meals from bacon and eggs to flapjacks. It’s important to have a big meal because there’s a full day of riding ahead.
Each guest is assigned a horse, depending on their skill and ability level. Thanks to the work and care of Bryan and the wranglers, the horses are gentle and easy for any to ride. After breakfast guests mount up and go for a morning ride, which can vary from a beginner ride through the beautiful grasslands to a more adventurous ride to a lake or scenic viewpoint.
The tour returns back for another hearty lunch prepared by the chef. In the afternoon, guests get back on their horses for another ride to a completely different location, keeping each tour fresh and unique.
In the evening everyone gets together in the common eating hall to exchange stories from the day, recounting their adventures, what they learned, what they saw, and where they want to go the next day. It’s a fun-filled way to get to know all the other guests. After dinner guests can return to their private quarters or get together for a bonfire.
The ranch is open most of the year. Each season brings a completely different experience. Right now, the grass is golden yellow and the leaves on the trees are turning to vibrant autumn colours.
Say goodbye to the city and saddle up for a horseback riding adventure that will be remembered for years to come. Bryan and Amber are excited to welcome new guests to come and see all the wonderful changes they’ve made and to show you the beautiful backcountry British Columbia has to offer.
Big Bar Guest Ranch is located about a five hour drive from downtown Vancouver. From Hope take the scenic Fraser Valley Canyon highway to just past Clinton, and then head down a well-maintained, solid-pack, gravel road for 45-50 minutes. The journey getting there is all part of the fun for this amazing BC weekend escape.
For more information or to make a booking visit the Big Bar Guest Ranch website. Located less than an hour from Big Bar is the Sundance Guest Ranch. If you want to learn more about other guest ranches in British Columbia, visit the BC Guest Ranchers Association website.