Guest Ranches with all the Wide-Open Spaces You’re Looking for this Summer

British Columbia has plenty of space where the wild roam free and almost every activity can provide ample opportunity to enjoy some well-deserved peace and quiet this summer. BC’s Central Interior was pioneered on horseback and cowboy culture today holds strong to its roots. Once you’re in the ‘country’, you’re family; and you’re in for a treat. 

The Gold Rush Trail has some of the most diverse selection of guest ranches closest to Vancouver. In five hours or less, you can go from the hustle and bustle of the city to a tranquil escape that will bring out your inner pioneer and send you back in time. Each guest ranch can offer a different experience: some have private lakes, others have private mountain ranges, and some even have off-grid wood-burning hot tubs and cabin luxury. But no matter what differentiates them from the next, rest assured they all have one common trait – horseback riding. This is an activity and sport that comes naturally for physical distancing, so why not play cowboy for a day? Saddle up, your Gold Rush Trail guest ranch adventure is waiting! 

Starting from south to north, these are 12 Gold Rush Trail guest ranches you don’t want to miss. 

1. Sundance Guest Ranch, Ashcroft

Situated in the hills overlooking the scenic Thompson River above the village of Ashcroft in BC’s historic Gold Country, Sundance Guest Ranch truly embodies the home-away-from-home experience. It is hard to imagine that within just a four-hour drive from Vancouver, you could be in one of the warmest and sunniest spots in Canada, surrounded by thousands of acres of unique Thompson River Valley terrain. With over 100 well-cared-for horses to ride, air-conditioned accommodation, a heated outdoor pool and cuisine that goes well beyond what you might expect from a “dude ranch,” Sundance says, “The first time, it’s a vacation – after that, it’s coming home!”

2. Chilcotin Holidays, Gold Bridge

Nestled on the doorstep of the exceptional Big Creek Provincial Park and the famous South Chilcotin Mountains,  Chilcotin Holidays Guest Ranch is a modern-day equivalent of the traditional rest and stock-up outposts of early explorers. Their horses even come from wild Caribou-Chilcotin Mountain Cayuse herds, so they’re accustomed to the terrain and wildlife. Whether you are planning to partake in wilderness riding, relax in pristine nature or participate in one of their diverse outdoor training programs, the Chilcotin Holidays lodge and private cabins act as comfortable home bases that emanate the adventurousness of their visitors. They also welcome travellers to experience the ‘working ranch’ concept with unique training programs for future outdoor guides, leaders, and entrepreneurs. No matter if you are looking for rejuvenation, conservation knowledge, or a fresh perspective on life, with Chilcotin Holidays you are sure to embark on an intimate and transformational journey.

Chilcotin Holidays | Eco Escape Travel

12. Ten-ee-ah Lodge Wilderness Resort, Lac La Hache

As the sole resort resting on the shores of the tranquil Spout Lake, Ten-ee-ah Lodge is a secluded oasis that truly captures the essence of adventure and serenity. Located 28 km from Lac La Hache and at the heart of Cariboo Country, this is an ideal location for a romantic getaway or family retreat. Choose to stay in one of their deluxe log cabins, a luxury log chalet or at one of their spacious and fully-equipped campsites that overlook the lake. Spend your days alongside their experienced guides on horseback riding tours adapted to suit your experience level. Follow this up with a scenic sightseeing floatplane tour of the surrounding Cariboo scenery. If that’s not enough, there is also ample opportunity for boating, swimming, paddling, hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing.

4. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, Clinton

Neighbouring Marble Range Provincial Park, the Fraser Valley,  and the Cariboo Plateau, lies the award-winning Echo Valley Ranch & Spa. With hundreds of thousands of acres for you to explore, you can expect rolling mountains, desert valleys, lush pine forests, and deep canyons. Best of all, the owners have seamlessly coalesced their two varying Eastern and Western heritages, which has resulted in a unique intercultural celebration. The Ranch and Spa, which is recognized as a Canadian Signature Experience, features incredible Thai massages, authentic Western riding, and unique accommodation that entrancingly blends the two.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa | Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

5. Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, Thompson-Nicola

Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort is a National Geographic honoured ‘Unique Lodge of the World’ that offers a luxury ranch adventure like no other. With an award-winning horse program, gold-certified sustainability designation, and numerous other awards and affiliations, Siwash, nestled in the heart of BC’s Gold Country, promises you an unforgettable experience. In 2017, their staff’s expertise was put to the test when a devastating forest fire swept the area. As a result of their heroic efforts, much of the resort was saved and today guests are awarded a captivating and intimate look into a thriving post-fire ecosystem. After spending the day on a horseback safari, backcountry helicopter excursion, or superior angling experience within the 10,000 acres of idyllic land, you can expect gourmet farm-to-table cuisine and fine BC wines served to you open-air style. Perhaps you will even end the evening by soaking in your cedar-soak wood burning hot tub before sleeping under the stars in one of their photogenic canvas “glamping” tents.


Explore life along the Gold Rush at Historic Hat Creek Ranch, located just outside of Clinton. Explore the historic site, situated along one of the few sections of the original Caribou wagon road still accessible to the public. Accommodation options include a comfortable bunkhouse, family cabin, budget-friendly prospector’s shack. For a unique experience sleeping just like the settlers do check out their unique covered wagon. Open May through September, enjoy some of the era specific experiences and activities on site while you are here.

7. Wolf Valley Guest Ranch, Bridge Lake

Hidden on the southern limit of the Cariboo Plateau, surrounded by undisturbed Crown land and with the Bonaparte River running directly through it, Wolf Valley Guest Ranch is the remote oasis you’ve been searching for. Prioritizing sustainability, Wolf Valley relies on solar energy, provides inclusive farm-to-table culinary experiences and uses only natural grazing and rearing processes for their livestock. Along with well-cared-for horses, the ranch is also home to Highland cows, which are the oldest registered breed of cattle in the world! Spend your days with these shaggy, photogenic animals, riding and hiking amongst the beauty of the area, swimming in one of the properties’ lakes or just relaxing and reconnecting within your secluded cozy cabin.

8. Free Rein Guest Ranch, Bridge Lake

Located in the Land of Hidden Waters area of the South Cariboo region, a destination along the famous BC Fishing Highway 24, rests Free Rein Guest Ranch. Hidden amongst boundless evergreens, this Cariboo treasure receives consistent 5-star reviews for its stunning scenery and exceptional hospitality. Being an authentic ‘working ranch,’ you are paired up with a horse to suit your riding-level upon arrival that you are expected to catch, groom, saddle, and feed for the duration of your stay. As one of the maximum 12 guests, you can then choose to spend your days in the saddle exploring the 285-acre property or simply relaxing in the on-site sauna. You can even participate in intimate horsemanship clinics and riding lessons that are all included. Stay in their luxury suite, lodge, or a private lakeside log cabins for a cozy and comfortable sleep. Whatever you choose, Free Rein Ranch is sure to provide you with a quintessential Canadian ranch experience.

9. The Flying U Ranch, 70 Mile House

Nestled on the north side of the gorgeous Green Lake is the Flying U Ranch, one of the last guest ranches in Canada where you can ride completely unguided and unscheduled. Built in 1849, Flying U is believed to be the oldest continually operating guest ranch in the country. The 60,000-acre property was used by fur trappers and traders in their route as they travelled to and from the Yukon and Alaska. As a guest, you can sleep in some of the same log cabins, ride on the same trails, and unwind in the same saloon that these pioneers did long ago. Perched on a beautiful ridge on the property, there are even 4 safari-style, luxury canvas tents that have been recreated to look like the prospector tents old explorers used to sleep in. After a full day of saddling up or swimming and boating in the lake, expect to relax beneath the never-ending Cariboo sky during one of Flying U’s beloved movie nights, western dance sessions or s’more campfire evenings.

10. Wettstone Guest Ranch, Bridge Lake

Perched on the shores of the forest-lined Henley Lake, another fishing haven within the Interlakes district and BC’s Land of Hidden Waters is Wettstone Guest Ranch. Being Canadian family-owned and operated, this guest ranch promises a truly authentic Western experience. Along with expertly guided riding, the ranch offers many summer activities like riding lessons, ATVing, mountain biking and fishing. They even offer on-site horse and dog training, so why not bring your animals along and relax while the Wettstone staff does the work! With events like weekly grill nights and picturesque weddings, this guest ranch is an idyllic location for your next adventure.

Wettstone Guest Ranch
Wettstone Guest Ranch | Valaurie Wettstein


Book a stay with breathtaking views of the Marble Range with accommodations in one of the many guest log homes at Meadow Lake Guest Ranch or for a simpler stay book the cozy, one-room Hunters Cabin – it is 252 square feet comfortable spot. The Ranch was originally built in 1865 as a bunk house and stagecoach stop, and is located on a creek named after its original builder, Rafael Valenzuela. The surrounding pastures were once used by the Gang Ranch cowboys to rest their cattle during their drives to market and for their freight delivery stopovers. The entire property boasts a fascinating gold rush history and the 700+ acres are perfect for exploring, birdwatching and trail rides.

Whether it’s to get away from busy city crowds, learn about the province’s rich history, or live out your ranching fantasy, these 12 guest ranches each have something special to cure your itch for adventure. Experienced rider or not, out here we welcome you to join our family, support local businesses and take a step back from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Time to dust off the old cowboy boots and come saddle up in the wide-open spaces this region has to offer.

Please be sure to always practice safe, respectful, and responsible travel on the Gold Rush Trail. Visit our responsible travel page for more info.