Road trips made a comeback in 2020 with so many people exploring locally and spending more time in their own backyards. British Columbia has so much to offer residents wherever they reside in the province, but we recently discovered a hidden gem in the Kootenays on one of our recent road trips.
Three Bars Guest Ranch is an all-inclusive dude ranch, located in between Cranbrook and Kimberley. It sits on over 1000 acres overlooking the valley with a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains on one side and the Purcell Mountain Range on the other.
We had heard of all-inclusive dude ranches in the US, but only recently discovered Three Bars Guest Ranch. After spending a week at this Canadian dude ranch, we were not surprised to find out that it one of Canada's top dude ranches, if not the best.
If you have never been to the east Kootenays before, taking a vacation at this guest ranch is the perfect way to experience it. You will have the opportunity to ride along the jaw dropping hoodoos and experience the most magical sunsets you have ever seen.
Here are ten reasons to take a trip to Three Bars Guest Ranch and experience ranch life in Souther BC:
1. THE ACTIVITIES
It isn't just about horseback riding at the ranch. You could spend all week there and still not be able to try all of the activities offered. Whitewater rafting, tubing, mountain biking, hiking, target shooting, axe throwing, fly fishing and archery are just some of the activities available at the ranch.
2. THE AMENITIES
There are many amenities to make use of during your stay. You can relax in the hot tub or take a dip in the indoor pool, play a game of ping pon or a game of pool outside on the covered deck in the main lodge, play tennis, workout in the fitness center or use the laundry facilities.
3. THE FOOD
The all-inclusive part of the ranch experience is one of the best parts of the trip! You will eat three hearty, delicious meals a day, cookies are sent back to your cabin with you after lunch in case you get hungry before dinner and you will eat your meals in some of the most beautiful settings on the ranch.
4. THE HORSES
The ranch has over 80 horses for guests to use during their stay. On the first day of riding, guests meet their horse that will be theirs for the week. They are selected by the owners of the ranch and from our experience, it was a perfect match. I was surprised at how often we wanted to ride during our stay, it really was a magical experience.
5. THE LANDSCAPE
The ranch is situated between St. Mary's river to the north and Perry Creek to the south and everywhere you explore on the ranch, the views are stunning. Imagine waking up to the Rocky Mountains every morning or riding along the incredible hoodoos. Life on the ranch truly is something to experience.
6. NO SCREEN TIME
Perhaps one of the best benefits of being on a dude ranch is the weak wifi and just being too busy and excited to do other things than check your phone. You are up early for breakfast and usually have an hour before dinner to shower or lounge around for some downtime, but my family rarely used any electronics during our stay.
7. OWNERS AND STAFF
Three Bars Guest Ranch is a family owned and operated working ranch and the owners are some of the most genuine people you will meet. It is so easy to see how much they love ranch life and they are excited to share it with their guests. The wranglers are the ones you will spend the most time with and they are truly exceptional in their roles, making great effort to ensure the guests have a wonderful stay.
8. QUALITY FAMILY TIME
The hardest decision you will have to make during your stay is what activity you wish to do that day! There is no cooking, cleaning or arranging schedules. You can simply live in the moment with your family and enjoy everything together as it happens.
9. RANCH ACCOMMODATIONS
You don't ever have to worry about roughing it on the ranch. The accommodations are beautiful and spacious and the beds are a dream to sleep on after a busy day outdoors. The log cabins surprisingly keep the cabin cool even in the summer heat and the porches out front are the perfect spot to relax with a glass of wine before retiring for the night. The family cabins are designed so that parents and kids have their own separate areas but are connected by a door in the middle to go back and forth.
There are new cabins that look out over the valley below with floor to ceiling windows and offer every luxury would need or want during your stay.
10. THE TRAILS
The ranch has access to 1000's of acres of crown land so you will never have to do the same trail twice. My personal favourite trail was the Wales trail, which takes you through a variety of landscapes including along St. Mary's river.
The Kootenays are an incredible part of southern British Columbia and a wonderful spot to live or visit. If you do not live in this region, it is easily accessbile from most parts of the province. Even the drive is an adventure and you will marvel at the landscape around you.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend experiencing ranch life at Three Bars. You will not be disappointed that you did.
Andrew Karpiak is a Real Estate Agent in the Kamloops area including Tobiano and Sun Peaks. He was born and raised in Kamloops and proud to call the city home while raising his own family.
Written by Karpiak Caravan