Located in south-central Oregon in the heart of ranching country, Aspen Ridge Resort is one of those tucked-away gems begging to be discovered by families. With cabin-style lodging, a relaxed atmosphere, and plenty of low-tech, low-cost activities right at its doorstep, Aspen Ridge is the type of place parents can take their kids for a true getaway that won’t cost a fortune or run you ragged.
Aspen Ridge’s 14,000 acre spread is a working cattle ranch, and guests are invited to feel part of the dude ranch vibe. Families can horseback ride, or explore on their own, utilizing hiking and biking trails right on the property. Note that the resort is not all-inclusive, as many dude ranches are; rather, it’s dining and horseback riding is added a la carte.
The resort offers lodge rooms and suites, and individual cabins. We recommend the latter for families, as cabins include full kitchens and sleep six. They have cozy front porches and plenty of room to spread out. Plus, kids can step right off the porch and find themselves in wilderness and pasture.
Tip: the closest grocery stores to the ranch are in Klamath Falls and Lakeview, Oregon, both an hour’s drive away. Plan to pick up groceries for your stay en route!
Horseback riding: Most people want to experience horseback riding while at the ranch. Owner Karen Simmons assures me they are accustomed to riders of all experience levels, from the complete novice to those who have horses of their own. Since Aspen Ridge is a working cattle ranch, their livestock are the focus of every ride they take. Guests can join wranglers as they monitor animal health, doctor sick animals, check moms and babies during calving season, sort, gather or simply scatter cattle around the ranch. For young children unable to control an animal, they offer a riding experience in a round corral or horse pasture. Adult horseback rides are $45.00/person/ride (approximately two hours) and child horseback rides are $30.00/hour/horse.
Additional on-site activities: Families can play tennis, hike and ride bikes (trails are on-property). The resort lake has swimming and catch-and-release (it’s stocked). Fishers just need an Oregon fishing license which can be purchased at many retail locations or online through the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Department.
Note: Aspen Ridge is off the grid – internet reception is limited to the main lodge and cell service is non-existent. It’s excellent!
Off-site activities: Guests can discover turn-of-the-century homestead remains, enjoy bird watching and wildflower hunting (both especially plentiful in the spring and early summer), or check out our many lakes and streams within easy driving distance. Outside the ranch the Corral Creek Trailhead to the Gearhart Wilderness is approximately a forty-five minute drive. From there, it’s an easy mile hike to the Palisades, an area with spectacular rock formations and a big view of the valley below.
Families will likely cook most meals in their cabins, but won’t want to miss the lodging dining for at least a few meals. The on-site restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers options for the whole family. The dinner menu consists primarily of USDA Choice steaks as well as chicken and children’s portions. Entrees are BBQed over mesquite charcoal on the lodge’s back deck.
The menu is available online here: http://www.aspenrr.com/menu.htm. Reservations are required for dinner, but guests are welcome to walk-in for breakfast and lunch.
If you go: be sure to ask what ranching activities will be happening during your stay. For instance, kids love being at the ranch during calving season, when they can accompany ranch hands to check on newborn calves.
Cabins start at $180/night (see this page for full pricing). Be sure to budget extra for horseback riding and a few lodge meals, but otherwise, ranch activities are free.
Aspen Ridge Resort is located in Bly, Oregon, about one hour from Klamath Falls. Full directions.