Your Own Private Wilderness: Guided Luxury Camping

The Gros Ventre Wilderness Area is an unspoiled gem of Jackson Hole.  Not receiving the summer crowds like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the Gros Ventre Wilderness Area is exceptionally beautiful. It is vast place filled with rugged mountains, quiet forests, babbling brooks, and lush wildflower meadows, and in my eyes, one of the truly special places in Wyoming.

The perfect place to cool off and enjoy a dip after a long hike.

The perfect place to cool off and enjoy a dip after a long hike.

There is no better way to experience “The GV” than by joining us for a horseback pack trip and guided hiking adventure at our luxury backcountry camp. Our 2 night trips give you an opportunity to see parts of the country seldom seen by other visitors.

“And this, our life exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

-William Shakespeare

Getting away from all of the noise of everyday life, and spending some quality time in the woods, is incredibly invigorating and clarifying.  Rarely do we have the time, space, and state of mind to appreciate the natural world, but it is such a worthwhile exercise.  I believe this is what Shakespeare is getting at with these words. Being able to have this experience in private and intimate setting allows you to fully engage with Mother Nature.

OUr talented guides will take excellent care of you as you explore Mother Nature's pristine surrounds

Our talented guides will take excellent care of you as you explore Mother Nature’s pristine surroundings

The Wilderness awaits you at our backcountry camp.  There is plenty to explore:  hidden waterfalls, mountaintop vistas, and gin-clear alpine lakes.  There are meadows that seem straight out of “The Sound of Music”, and even an historic abandoned trapper’s cabin…

Who said that a wilderness pack trip has to be like “The Revenant” or “Into The Wild” style?  Our guests rave that this is more Glamping than camping!  At our backcountry camp, we like the idea of coming back from an afternoon adventure to a comfortable seat next to a crackling fire, with a delicious warm meal and maybe even a cold beer or two (our “Creek Cooler” right next to camp stays at a consistent 45 degrees).  After a full day, sleep well in your soft bed, knowing that hot coffee or tea is coming your way, delivered to your tent in the morning.

Roughing it in the Wilderness just got a whole lot easier.

Roughing it in the Wilderness just got a whole lot easier.




Does a luxury camping vacation sound right for you?  Visit our Backcountry Trips  page to learn more, and visit our Rates page to book today!




Trail Running, an Alternative Guest Ranch Activity

Trail Running in Jackson Hole.

An Alternative Guest Ranch Activity

As everyone who visits Flat Creek Ranch soon comes to realize, there are plenty of activities around the ranch that allow you to immerse yourself in the wilderness. From hiking, to horseback riding, fly fishing and water sports, Flat Creek Ranch has an activity for you. There is also a new activity that has been growing and requires only a sturdy pair of shoes.  Trail running is a great alternative to the ordinary Jackson Hole guest ranch activities.

Trail running in Jackson Hole and elsewhere has taken on a life of its own with the birth of trail marathons and ultra-marathons. But you don’t have to run twenty six miles or even 6 miles to enjoy the beauty and connection with nature that trail running at Flat Creek Ranch can give you. We offer many options to personalize your trail running vacation.

For those who prefer to travel by foot, your stay can start by running up to Flat Creek Ranch. We will bring your luggage to the ranch, and you can choose to run the 9 mile Elk Refuge section, the 6 mile jeep track, or both. On the Elk Refuge you have the chance of seeing everything from Pronghorn Antelope to Bison and a magnificent view of the Tetons and Sleeping Indian. Coming across the plains and up to the ranch on foot can also give you a little insight to the way the people who homesteaded the area had to travel, and send you back to the Wild West of days past if only for a moment.

Bison on the way to Flat Creek Ranch

Trail Running at Flat Creek Ranch

If you are just too anxious to get up to the ranch and would rather take the car ride up there are still plenty of running opportunities once you reach your cabin. All of the classic hikes at the ranch are fair game for trail running at our Jackson Hole guest ranch. The Teton Overview trail is a great rolling run through the high sage brush with a few good hills to challenge yourself.  The Teton Range vista that greets you at the halfway point is guaranteed to take your breath away if the run up doesn’t.

View of the Sleeping Indian

Trail Running the Teton Overview Trail

If you’re looking for a little bit flatter run on a slightly more technical trail with equally great views, the Hunting Camp trail may be for you. This trail has traditionally been reserved for horse travel coming from the ranch but has become one of my personal favorites to run. After meandering along the banks of the lake as well as Disappearing Lake, the trail finally reaches a large meadow surrounded by rugged Wyoming peaks and cliff faces with a waterfall cascading from one side of the valley and Flat Creek running through the middle of it. Mule deer, moose and the occasional bear are all possible sightings on this run. This trail continues past this meadow and gradually climbs up the canyon.

For the ultimate test of your fitness, take in the most beautiful high alpine running terrain.   Challenge by running up to the nose of the Sleeping Indian. Four miles and 4,000 feet of vertical gain is not for the casual jogger, but if a challenge is what you’re looking for, this trail has no shortage of incline or awe-inspiring wilderness views.

After your run, you can return to a cold beer or lemonade and some high quality muscle relaxation in our rustic, river front, wood burning sauna. When you’re done relaxing in the sauna and rested up, refuel with our chef’s gourmet and healthy meals. So next time you’re looking for a place to not only relax in the wilderness of the great American West, but also enjoy world class trail running, cuisine, and many other activities. Come visit us at Flat Creek Ranch, and test your trail running at our Jackson Hole guest ranch.

To learn more about other great trail running opportunities in Jackson Hole, check out Teton Trail Runners for up to date information on trails and conditions in the Jackson Hole area.

Adventure Leadership Workshop Comes to Jackson Hole

Adventure Leadership Workshop

Tired of the run-of-the-mill, hotel ballroom-held, corporate retreat where you don’t remember anything you learned a week after you return back to the job? This September 2-5 we are proud to be hosting a new style of management workshop, an adventure leadership workshop, led in conjunction with Leadership Adventures Inc., is designed to develop leadership skills through experiential adventures, all in the setting of our world-class ranch.

Leadership Adventures Inc. provides accelerated experiential learning to their clients in order to improve leadership skills. Their courses and values are rooted in the idea that putting everyone on “even ground”, in a wilderness setting, with immersion into new leadership roles and skills, creates a hands-on learning environment in which the learning process is accelerated, retention is improved, and the upon-return impact is greatly increased.

This adventure leadership workshop is focused on becoming a more inspiring leader. You will be led through modules which utilize horseback riding, skills related to handling a horse, as well as navigating National Forest and Wilderness land on horseback. Our adventure guides will be there to support you every step of the way, and no horse experience is required. Within these modules of working with a horse, we will uncover themes which directly relate to becoming a more inspiring leader. There is an unspoken “language” between rider and horse, as the rider must be confident and treat the horse with respect. Just as well, adventures in the wilderness require higher-level critical thinking skills, as one must always analyze and respect the environment. All of these skills are vital for leaders to acquire, and are just as applicable in the workplace as they are in the wilderness.

All of this is provided right here at Flat Creek Ranch, which includes world-class fly fishing, gourmet fare at each meal, stunning views of Wyoming landscape, and beautiful nicely appointed cabins. Join us on Sept 2-5,and let your adventure leadership workshop begin!

Trail Ride in the wilderness

Enjoying the views and learning from your horse on a trail ride in the Wilderness


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.

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!!