Archives for April 2014

Jackson Hole Dude Ranch Reviews

Jackson Hole Dude Ranch Reviews

With the snow thawing, long spring days, and the grass greening up, we’re getting ready to open Flat Creek Ranch.  In preparation, we always check out past reviews of our Jackson Hole dude ranch.  We always look at other Jackson Hole dude ranch reviews, and our own to try and meet our customers expectations and make improvements for the next season.  It’s also very flattering when you read positive reviews of your business.  A positive affirmation is a great pat on the back, and makes what we love to do all the more worth while.  With that being said, we wanted to share with you some reviews from the past few seasons that sum up exactly what the staff at Flat Creek Ranch is trying to achieve, which is making your stay with us memorable.

Flat Creek Ranch Josephine Cabin

Jackson Hole Dude Ranch

“Never loses its magic”

5 of 5 starsReviewed July 9, 2012

Our third trip in 3 years, and already booked for next year. If you are curious about visiting, check with the ranch – last minute cancellations in August freed up some availability.Consistently strong staff – all deserve to be named – owners Joe and Marcia, Managers Trey and Shelby; Alex, Ariel, Brielle, Elena, Eric, Linda, Randi, Seth – hope I named everyone. Their local knowledge, energy and hospitality makes you feel like you are part of the family.

  • Great activities – if you love hiking, you can find 7 days’ worth of trails. If you love fishing, 7 days’ worth of trout. Horses, boats – or just sit around. Complete and utter peace. For more details on the cabins, etc., see my past reviews.
  • Excellent at catering to special diet needs (vegetarian, gluten-free) but also a meat eater’s favorite, it seems, from watching the other guests. You won’t lose weight no matter how much you hike (unless you have more self control when presented with great food).
  • Try it – you will love it (unless you love cities, too many people, shopping and noise, none of which you will find there …)

Source: Trip Advisor


This place is the best. My wife and I spent 4 days fishing, hiking, horseback riding and stuffing ourselves with gourmet food.

  • It’s like camping but with all the comforts of a resort. Joe and Marsha run the place with the help of Trey and Shelby their managers. The entire crew, chief, guides, etc. exceed expectations.
  • Hike to the top of Sleeping Indian, learn to fly fish, enjoy a sauna, take full advantage because you’ll be back at work before you know it.
  • I’d suggest letting the staff pick you up at the airport or in town….the road up is not exactly smooth….

This place is worth every penny.

Source: Yelp

We’ll keep up the hard work, with the hope that great guest like these continue to appreciate our efforts.  We love what we do, and are happy to share our love with you.  To book your stay with us check out our ranch packages and book your stay today!

Horseback Riding Jackson Hole WY Dude Ranch

Horseback Riding, Jackson Hole WY

A Note on Horses and Trail Rides at Flat Creek Ranch

Shelby Scharp, Co-Manager

Being in Wyoming conjures up all sorts of images about cowboys and horses. We hope that horseback riding on our Jackson Hole dude ranch will solidify that image. A trip to Wyoming just wouldn’t be the same without hitting the trail with a trusty steed. To make sure that you have a memory that you will enjoy, I would like to share a few horsemanship tools. With just a few pointers on attitude, language, and communication you will have a much more enjoyable time.

Horseback Riding Jackson Hole Dude Ranch, Activities Jackson Hole Dude Ranch

Horsemanship is a language, no less than English, Spanish or French. Horses do not understand very much of any verbal language. They are, however, very sensitive to attitude, position, touch and pressure. We can use this sensitivity to communicate. Your horse is always listening to ‘the language’ whether you know what messages you are sending. Attitude toward your horse will determine how you ‘get along’ with your horse. Those who are fearful, intimidated or overly aggressive are going to have a difficult time. Those who respect their horse, communicate, and work as a team will be regarded with a new friendship and a lasting memory.

Horseback riding here on our Jackson Hole dude ranch should really be called horseback driving. You are truly in the driver’s seat, not riding in the passenger seat. If you stop ‘driving’ the cruise control does not kick in and keep you going on your merry way. Likewise, I will use some common car terms to get across the language of horsemanship. The reins are the brakes asteering wheel. Your legs are used as the gas pedal.

In the saddle you should sit ‘upon’ the saddle seat, which means about the same position you would be in if you sat on a dining room chair, not sprawled or slouched as you would be in a sofa. The hips, waist, chest, shoulders, and head should be stacked in one straight line, like a stack of bricks we don’t want to fall over. If there is not at least a finger width of space between your rear and the back of the saddle, you are most likely sitting back, leaning back, or slumping, none of which is right. Your legs should hang straight down next to the horse’s side. The feet are placed in the stirrup tread at the widest part of the boot sole. To put only the toes in the stirrups will usually result in the stirrup being lost the first time the horse makes an unexpected move. If the shoes have little or no heel, a special effort must be made to keep only the sole of your foot in the stirrup. Lift your toes as high as you can without strain. Do not rely on your seat bones to carry all of your weight. Imagine a line from your head, to your waist, and heels. Finally, have a realistic expectation as far as comfort is concerned. You are going to use muscles which you don’t use on a regular basis, and they will get tired quickly.

Placing your feet in the stirrups has brought the calves either close to the horse’s ribs or resting on them. To get the horse to move forward you use the first driving aid which is to increase pressure with your whole leg. If the horse doesn’t start walking, we go to step two. Remove your calves from the horse’s sides and then bring them in with a thump against his ribs. Repeat as often as needed. Don’t do it just once and then sit there wondering if it will work. On the other hand, don’t give the horse an extra thump for good measure after he is moving. If the horse tries to stop and graze along the way, it is important to keep the forward motion going before he comes to a complete stop. As soon as the horse drops his head and slows down, apply pressure first or a thump if needed.  Sometimes it is correct for children to use their heels as a primary driving aid. A child’s heels often are at the widest point on a horse’s rib cage. This is where an adult’s calves naturally lie.

Now that your horse is moving, you would like to be the one who decides where to go. The most common rein grip on our rides is one- handed. Take both the reins in your left hand just below the knot in the reins. Use your right had to adjust an even length. Don’t look at the free ends; it is the distance from your hand to the bit that needs to be even on either side. Each rein should always touch the side of the horse’s neck when riding straight forward. There should be a slight sag in the reins to allow for the natural head movement of the horse. Your left hand will be in front of the saddle horn, resting on the horse’s neck. This hand must be carried exactly over the horse’s neck with the reins adjusted to the same length. If this instruction is neglected, your horse will turn when you attempt to regulate speed. You will have asked the horse to turn; even through you didn’t mean it. Our horses primarily ‘neck rein.’ Use ‘direct reining’ only after neck reining has failed. If a left-hand turn is desired, then move your hand from the center position on the horse’s neck and put a slight stretch on the rein. Increase the tension until the horse moves his head to the left.

The reins are also used for braking. Braking is the same in horsemanship as it is in a car. You use the brakes to slow down and also to come to a complete stop. When asking your horse to slow down, take up a slight stretch on your reins and maintain pressure. Stretching the reins lightly causes the horse no discomfort, and it gently reminds him that you could cause him discomfort, and will if need be. Take a stronger stretch on the reins and hold it, if lighter pressure was completely ignored. Again, it is very important you have very little slack in your reins. If there is too much slack you will end up moving your body back in the saddle or pulling the reins up above your head. Both are very dangerous and will make you off balance. If at this point there is still no reaction, use short and rapid surges of strong pressure. Do not jerk on the reins, which will only cause your horse to throw his head. Once a response is felt (the horse is slowing down), soften the rein pressure immediately, but do not throw away the reins. If a complete halt is wanted, you will maintain the appropriate pressure until the horse has stopped. If you continue to ask for a halt after the horse has stopped, you are inadvertently asking him to back up. If you wish to back up, ask for one step backward at a time, no matter how many you want. You want the horse to be attentive to the cues you are giving him. You must also be aware of the messages you are sending.

When you arrive at the barn, you should be wearing long pants that are fitted (not baggy) and a sturdy pair of shoes. Bulky, deeply lugged soles are unsuitable for safe riding. We ask that you don’t wear a backpack or fanny pack that will interfere with how you sit in the saddle. Most saddles have saddle bags for your belongings.

On the trail there is a certain etiquette that must be recognized by everyone. Our trails are rocky and steep in places, and we don’t allow any gait other than a walk. It does not matter how much experience you have! This is for your safety and that of the other guests. I like to see long spacing between riders. This shows that each rider is paying attention and regulating his horse’s pace.

We encourage you to be a ‘quiet rider’ which means that your upper body has little movement. If you are turning back and forth to talk to people behind you, you are sending messages to your horse where you want to go. If you need to get something out of the saddle bag, bring your horse to a complete stop, then reach around for it. As I have mentioned before, being off center in the saddle is very dangerous.

We want everyone to have a good time horseback , no matter their level of experience. So enjoy a ride within your own abilities. It is my hope that the effort put into this note will make your horseback riding on our Jackson Hole dude experience a good one. Maybe it will also convince an inconsiderate rider to treat horses as people rather than objections. So in the words of one of the greatest Wyoming cowboys who ever lived:

“Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high,

Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky

 Don’t be scared, just enjoy the ride” – Chris Ledoux

To learn more about our horseback riding on our Jackson Hole dude ranch, check out more on our activities page.  We hope that you’ll join us at Flat Creek Ranch.

Spring Wildflowers at our Jackson Hole Guest Ranch

Spring Wildflowers. Abundant Bloom at Flat Creek Ranch

We all hope that spring is fast approaching, and one of the first signs are spring wildflowers.  We wanted to take a moment at give you a taste of what you might see at Flat Creek Ranch if you come early enough to catch the wildflowers in full bloom.  June is a great time for hiking and taking in the sights, and to catch the start of the spring wildflower season. To help you take advantage of this time we are offering an extended spring rate on all weekend stays through June.  There are plenty more flowers to see, but here are just a sample of what you might find in spring and throughout the summer season. For a very through list, check out the Forest Service Wildflower page, where we gathered the descriptions of the wildflowers below:

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja linariaefolia) was designated the state flower of Wyoming in 1917.  The species of Indian paintbrush adopted as a symbol of Wyoming occurs on rocky slopes and arid plains and is associated with sagebrush scrub and pinyon pine or juniper woodland. It is native to Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) A low growing plant, the Oregon Grape is native to much of the Pacific Coast and found sparsely east of the Cascades. Its year-round foliage of pinnated, waxy green leaves resembles holly. The plant bears dainty yellow flowers in early summer and a dark blue berry that ripens late in the fall.  Plants in the Barberry family are sometimes called “living fossils” because they were very common in Colorado millions of years ago. The Oregon grape has compound, evergreen leaves with small slender teeth, and short stems. The fruits have been used to make jelly.

Sugar Bowls

Spring Wildflowers include Sugar Bowls

The blossom of (Clematis hirsutissima) looks like a silvery-purple upside down vase. The shape gives it one of its common names – Vase Flower. The silvery sheen is caused by the many hairs on the blossom – referenced by the Hairy Clematis common name, and the species epithet – hirsutissima.

spring wildflower Arrow-Leaf Balsam Root

Arrow-leaf Balsam Root

Arrow-leaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) This plant’s Latin name corresponds with its common name, which in turn well describes the plant. Arrow-leaf balsamroot, a plant of the Asteraceae (sunflower family) is fairly common in cold, dry areas of the West, from the Sierra Nevada west to Colorado, and into Canada. It may be found most abundant in mountain fields, but can also be a common plant in the understory of conifer forests.

spring wildflower Silky Phacelia

Silky Phacelia

With its thick stalks of dark blue or purple flowers and silvery-pubescent fern-like leaves, the Silky Phacelia (Phacelia sericea) is one of the handsomest wildflowers of western North America. No surprise then that it is often sought for cultivation in the home garden, not just in its native range from southern Canada to northern California, Utah, and Colorado, but elsewhere with sufficiently cool temperatures to promote germination.

Leopard Lily

Leopard Lily

Lilium pardalinum, also known as the Leopard Lily or Panther Lily, is a flowering bulbous perennial plant in the genus Lilium which is native to Oregon and California in the United States, where it usually grows in damp areas. Its range includes California chaparral and woodlands habitats and the Sierra Nevada.

photo of spring wildflower, Calypso Orchid

Calypso Orchid

Calypso Orchid  (Cypripedium acaule Ait.) is a showy wildflower belonging to the orchid family. It has two opposite basal leaves with conspicuous parallel veins and a large flower at the end of an erect stalk. The flower is magenta to whitish-pink; sometimes the whitish pink flowers will have darker pink venation. Rarely the flower may be all white. This plant grows 3 to 6  inches tall and flowers generally between May and July. The species name acaule is Latin, meaning, “stem less”, referring to the plant’s leafless flowering stem.

Sticky Geranium

Sticky Geranium

One of our native geraniums, (Geranium viscosissimum) this plant is perennial which means it is able to survive the harsh winters in Colorado to bloom year after year. It has sticky hairs covering much of the surface of the plant, which provide the common name.

There are many many more beautiful spring wildflowers to see at Flat Creek Ranch. We look forward to sharing the sights with you.  Book your early season stay today to take advantage our special weekend pricing through June!  We hope to see you soon at our Jackson Hole guest ranch!

Private Fly Fishing in Jackson Hole

Fly fishing on Flat Creek Ranch, Private Fly Fishing in Jackson Hole at it’s best!

There are few opportunities for private fly fishing in Jackson Hole.  Flat Creek Ranch offers private access  fly fishing on some of the most coveted private waters in Jackson Hole.  The gin clear waters of Flat Creek sustain healthy populations of native Snake River Fine Spot Cutthroat Trout and wild Brook Trout.

Fly fishing Flat Creek Ranch

Fly fishing Flat Creek Ranch

To fish Flat Creek and the lake effectively you must be observant of the trout and their feeding behavior. Watch to see if the fish are either rising or just sitting in the runs, moving occasionally to eat a nymph. This is a great clue to whether you should fish a wet or dry fly. If you observe fish rising, try to also observe what type of fly their feeding on. Watch the surface of the water; look in the air of on streamside vegetation for a clue to the insects form and try to match your fly to the real insect.

There is a diverse variety of aquatic insects in Flat Creek Lake and Flat Creek. They range from small Midges to large Golden Stoneflies. Midges tend to be most common in the lake. The larvae, the pupae, and winged adult provide a important, year round food source for the large trout that resides in the lake. In addition to the Midges, there are Mayflies, Damselflies, and Dragon flies that inhabit Flat Creek and the lake. The most prolific Mayfly activity occurs in early to mid-July when the large Grey Drake emerges from the muddy shallows and provides excellent forage for the trout. In addition to the Grey Drake there are also Blue Winged Olive, Callibetis, Pale Morning Dun, and Mahogany Dun found both in the creek and the lake.

Caddis flies make up an important source of food for both the fish in the lake and creek. They range from micro Caddis, to large October Caddis. The October Caddis tend to emerge late in the season and give the fish an important source of food before the long Wyoming winter. There is a variety of Stone Flies to be found in Flat Creek. The small Black Stoneflies then tend to hatch in the early and late parts of the summer, while the Yellow Sally hatch continues through the hot mid-summer days. The Golden Stonefly is usually not abundant but may be seen from late June to mid-July. The Golden Stonefly is of particular interest to anglers because its large size brings the fish to feed on the surface and makes fishing a large dry fly enjoyable. In addition to aquatic insects, terrestrial insects make up an important portion of the trout’s diet. Grasshoppers, Ants, Beetles, and even the occasional Cicada can be a great meal for a trout.

Flat Creek Ranch is happy to provide its guests with quality equipment to use fishing during your stay.

Flat Creek Ranch enforces a strict FLY-FISHING ONLY/CATCH – AND – RELEASE ONLY policy. We also ask you to please PINCH THE BARBS of your hooks thus making it easier to release the fish unharmed.

We provide a free fly fishing clinic on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For those who in addition want to book a private fishing guide, the rates are $275 for a half-day.  We also work with Grand Teton Fly Fishing, a fly fishing outfitter who can provide world class fly fishing opportunities throughout Wyoming.

Contact us today to book your stay at Flat Creek Ranch and enjoy your own private fly fishing in Jackson Hole.

Good Luck and Good Fishing!!

Flat Creek Ranch Huckleberry Cookies


Are you missing Flat Creek Ranch already? The smell of fresh baked huckleberry cookies coming from the kitchen? Summer seems just a bit too far away? Here is a great way to remember the ranch this spring before you come back and visit. Here is the recipe for our Flat Creek Ranch Cookies.  They are packed full of goodness, and if you can’t find huckleberry jam in your area, blueberry will work just fine. We get several requests every summer for this recipe and we are always happy to share. Not too sweet, not too ‘healthy’ tasting. Just one cookie will bring back memories of sitting on the deck at the lodge taking in views of the lake after an awesome hike. But you will find it hard to eat just one!


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, ground
  • ¼ cup oat bran
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup butter, soft
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 each eggs
  • 1 teaspoons almond extract
  • As needed huckleberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix together the all purpose flour, walnuts, oat bran, and wheat germ.  In a Kitchenaid with a paddle attachment, beat on medium speed the soft butter, lard, and sugar until well incorporated, then add one egg at a time.  Change the speed to low and mix in the extract and the bowl of mixed dried ingredients until well incorporated.

Portion the cookies into round disks and place on a sheet tray with parchment, insert a dip in the center of the cookie and fill with about ½ a teaspoon of jam.  Bake for 15 minutes, until almost firm. This recipe makes 2-3 dozen huckleberry cookies.