Dream it, live it, do it

Lowdown

  • Established

    Early 1900s
  • Owner / Manager

    Kathy Bole and Oliver Klingenstein
  • Tel

    415-676-7536
  • Open

    Feb-Mar, Jun-Oct
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    Summer: $575 - $1,380
    Winter: $750
  • Nightly Rates (per child)*

    $375 - $1,380
  • Minimum Stay

    Summer: 6 days
    Winter: 4 days
  • Maximum Guests

    23
  • Works with travel agents?

    No
  • Great For

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Solitude, Diverse scenery, Corporate Retreats, Weddings
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Nestled deep in the Gros Ventre wilderness, 25 miles down a dirt road, and an hour-and-a-half from the nearest town; you’ll find the sanctuary that is Darwin Ranch.

Founded in the early 1900s, Darwin has a long history of homesteading, guest ranching and supporting the western lifestyle that dates back to the turn of the century. Now run by a mother-son team, these days the Darwin is an oasis in the wilderness and a step back in time.

At the Darwin, you’ll be fuelled by our healthy menus; made from scratch, vegetable-forward, varied and casual, they reflect the bounty of the summer season. Sourced from our sister ranch outside of Cody, WY and local farms in the area, we practice and support sustainable, regenerative agricultural practices.

We harvest what we can from the landscape we live in and we create dishes that wander the natural flavors of the landscape, and offer a lasting sensory experience.

As the most remote guest ranch in the lower 48 states, it’s rare that you’ll run into anyone else during your days at the Darwin. You can hike or ride for miles in any direction, fish right off the lodge, or trek up to remote high mountain lakes and rivers.

After a day of exploration where you are encouraged to create your own adventure, come settle back into the lodge, take a dip in the hot tub, or sing along as friends gather around the piano and be transported back in time.

We are looking forward to welcoming you at our high-altitude oasis where you’ll experience the marriage of sophisticated living in remote wilderness terrain.

Good time to go

Summer Season: June 25 through September 23, 2023

Hunting Season: October through November 2023

Skiing Season: January through March 2024

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 10 and over

Families with children are most welcome! Please note that we do not have supervision or special programs for kids, so it's 100% family time and horseback rides are only available for those under 10 if we are convinced that they are fairly experienced riders.

We welcome exclusive bookings of the ranch, which are particularly wonderful for multi-generational families, and a great way to introduce your children and grandchildren to the wilderness. Please inquire.

Minimum age children can ride

0 and over

Activities

hiking, floating

Baby Sitting Provided By

 

Environmental & Social Practices

Environment

We are off-grid and are working towards a zero-waste future. We are committed to preserving, protecting and sharing the land.

For the Darwin, this includes commitments to maintaining the lightest possible footprint, from holistic pasture management, to facilitating exploration and personal challenge. Communicating the wonders of our location and broader ecosystem, and preparing meals with responsibly raised and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Providing a relaxed, responsive and friendly guest experience, while meticulously preparing for adversity.

Developing a unique, Mustang-based equestrian program and engaging in conversation about the privileges, responsibilities and complexities of recreating in a wilderness area.

We also ask that guests understand their role in individual and collective safety.

Community

We are committed to placing sustainability at the forefront of our operation and we take this ethic into the ways we source our food.

We harvest what we can from the landscape we live in; guests can enjoy an elderflower cocktail perched on a cliff edge a stone’s throw away from the elderberry bush.

The majority of our meat and vegetables come from our sister ranch, Ishawooa Mesa Ranch, located in the dramatic landscape outside of Cody, Wyoming, where we raise beef and pork following sustainable, integrated agricultural practices.

Food that doesn't directly come from Ishawooa (by bush plane) is sourced from farms and businesses in Park, Teton and Sublette Counties.

We are also honored to partner with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe for hunting trips. Shoshone people have lived throughout the Great Basin, High Plains and Rocky Mountain areas since time immemorial.

Places currently identified as national treasures, national recreation areas and America’s first national park, Yellowstone, as well as the spectacular Darwin Ranch in the Gros Ventre mountains, were once Shoshone homelands and hunting grounds.

The Eastern Shoshone with a total tribal enrollment of 4,433 reside largely in or near the western area of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fort Washakie and the communities of Crowheart, Burris and Boulder Flats along the foothills of the Wind River Mountains.

In order to document and pass on the full language and elk traditions, the Darwin Ranch has partnered with the Chief Washakie Foundation to develop a language immersion program at the Darwin Ranch, traditional Shoshone hunting grounds.

In 2021 and 2022 the Foundation ran its first cultural programs at the Darwin, involving many elders and tribal member participants. The elders taught about hunting traditions and tribal history.

Conservation

At the Darwin, we manage our pastures through a rotational grazing system.

When our family purchased the ranch, much of the pastures were over-grazed and in need of good stewardship. Over seven years we have implemented a grazing pattern that helps replicate the way wild animals would graze.

Instead of turning our horses out loose every evening, we corral them into a large, enclosed pasture. They eat in one spot for a night or two and then move on to a new section, never returning to the same section all summer.

This style replicates a migrating animal herd that would typically spend a night or two in an area; stomping, rolling and grazing. This has been incredibly effective in bringing back native grasses that evolved to be consumed in this exact manner.

Alongside our grazing, we only reseed pasture with a native grass seed specifically designed for the high alpine Gros Ventre area. We never use chemical fertilizers of any kind.

Ranch History

The Darwin Ranch is one of the few surviving homestead inholdings in a US Forest that has not been subdivided. It has a long history of homesteading, guest ranching and supporting the western lifestyle that dates back to the turn of the century.

It was first home to a fur trapper and trader by the name of Fred Dorwin. The ranch was later renamed Darwin on a misprinted document and the name stuck.

The ranch was home to one of the first ‘dude’ operations in the west in the 20’s, hosting people from around the country from its very inception. Its characteristic architectural style is a nod to a very specific and unique time in homestead design.

The Darwin reflects the 'Architectural Craftsmen' style that was born out of guest ranches in the mountain west, exclusively built with timber logged from the nearby hillside.

In its list of owners are doctors, ranchers, lawmen, crooked trappers, soldiers, railroad men, ambassadors to Russia, and graduates of Harvard and Bowdoin college.

Darwin was recently nominated to the National Register of Historic places – an important recognition of its rich contribution to the history of the mountain west.

Your Manager, Kathy Bole and Oliver Klingenstein

The Darwin is run by the mother-son team of Kathy Bole and Oliver Klingenstein.

Kathy oversees bookings, cabins, lodge operations and the kitchen. She is a passionate cook, and spent most of her working life in retail food and restaurant kitchens.

Oliver's early love for horses and Western lands led him to study Environmental History, and he is an EMT and a farrier. He is responsible for the physical infrastructure, hydro power system and the rotational grazing program. He also oversees guest recreation and manages our herd of horses, including the purchasing and training of the mustangs.

Your manager

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Gourmet, Health oriented
  • Meals served

    family style
  • Alcohol

    BYOB
  • You'll definitely love

    ranch-raised beef, ranch-raised pork, farm fresh eggs, ranch garden, organic produce, locally grown produce, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, Gluten free

We recognize that good food comes from a web of relationships, and we want to showcase the full range of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s culinary offerings. As our guests explore our isolated oasis, we create dishes that wander the natural flavors of the landscape and offer a lasting sensory experience.

Inside our kitchen there is passion and liveliness. Leg of lamb from Ishawooa Mesa Ranch is spit-roasted in front of our fire.

Heirloom legumes from neighboring farms become Mejadra lentils. Our homemade yogurt becomes panna cotta. Vegetable harvests from Ishawooa Mesa Ranch and Shoshone River Farm become leafy green salads with homegrown nasturtium flowers.

Our menus are healthy, made from scratch, vegetable-forward, varied and casual, and they reflect the bounty of the summer season. Our cooks are experienced, imaginative, and inspired by chefs and traditions from around the world.

We are committed to placing sustainability at the forefront of our operation and we take this ethic into the ways we source our food. We harvest what we can from the landscape we live in; guests can enjoy an elderflower cocktail perched on a cliff edge a stone’s throw away from the elderberry bush.

The majority of our meat and vegetables come from our sister ranch, Ishawooa Mesa Ranch, located in the dramatic landscape outside of Cody, Wyoming, where we raise beef and pork following sustainable, integrated agricultural practices. Food that doesn't directly come from Ishawooa (by bush plane) is sourced from farms and businesses in Park, Teton and Sublette Counties.

Lowdown

  • Address

    Kinky Creek Road
    Gros Ventre Wilderness
    Wyoming
    82925
    USA
  • Remote Location

    Yes
  • Elevation

    8,200 ft
  • Private Land

    more than 50k acres
  • Public Land

    more than 50k acres

Nearest Town - Cora, WY and Jackson, WY

Cora, WY and Jackson, WY is situated 40 and 100 miles miles / 1 hour 45 mins from the Ranch.

Nearest Airports

Jackson Hole Airport, JAC, Cora, WY

Distance

40 miles miles / 1 hour 30 mins

Airlines

Delta, Alaska, United Express, American Airlines

Lowdown

  • Type of Riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

    Intermediate
  • Rides are grouped by

    Ability, Pace of Ride, Rides tailored to guest requests, Families ride together, Guests ride alone, Children ride together
  • Max riders per ride

    7
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guest Horses

    30
  • Horse Types

    Quarterhorse, Mustangs

The Setting

Private Land (more than 50k acres)

Once you leave our headquarters, you're free to explore the beautiful Gros Ventre wilderness. The Wilderness is a critical ecosystem for wildlife and incredible geological features, from alpine peaks to red, purple and yellow rocky slopes

Public Land (more than 50k acres)


Our Riding

Good to know

We meet all riders where they are, from introductory lessons to solo riding in complex terrain.

Hours in the saddle

We will help you plan your days so you are as challenged as you wish to be and have as many hours horseback as we can accomodate. 


Why our riding stands out

  • We offer unparalleled access to the epic remoteness of the Bridger-Teton Forest and the Gros Ventre Wilderness. Our guided rides will immerse you in the surrounding wilderness and range from several hour jaunts to entire days. For beginners, we have a number of placid, easy-going horses and we will teach you the basics of handling your steed. More advanced riders will have opportunities to move along as they set off for far-flung alpine lakes and peaks.
  • The Wyoming Honor Farm, located in nearby Riverton, is dedicated to inmate rehabilitation through the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse & Burro Program. Mustangs and burros are removed from BLM rangelands, taken to the farm for basic groundwork and riding, and sold at auction. In support of this effort by the Wyoming Department of Corrections, we have adopted a number of animals. These range-savvy horses have great instincts, tough feet and make fantastic mountain horses.
  • We will help you plan your days so you are as challenged as you wish to be and we remain one of the few ranches that allow some guests to ride without a guide! If you are a new guest interested in riding on your own, you must join guided rides during the first few days of your stay; for safety reasons, not everyone will qualify. Please be willing to work with us if this is your goal.

Riding Lessons

Details

basic riding lessons

Given by

wrangler, horse trainer, ranch owner or manager

Location

in the arena

Pack Trips

The Upper Falls Camp is available for booking by Darwin guests and also as an independent experience. If you are a Darwin guest, the Upper Falls Camp is available for booking as a two or three-night add-on before or after your stay, and can be booked Unguided or Guided. Due to limited pasture, we do not provide riding horses at the Upper Falls Camp.

Arena Work

Type

outdoor arena

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    Summer: $575 - $1,380
    Winter: $750
  • Nightly Rates (per child)*

    $375 - $1,380
  • Minimum Stay

    Summer: 6 days
    Winter: 4 days
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Summer: Sun
    Winter: Any day is fine
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Summer: Sat
    Winter: Any day is fine
  • Style of accommodation

    Western rustic chic
  • Packages available

    4 night, 6 night
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

The Darwin Ranch can cater for up to 23 guests. Accommodation includes Cabins and Rooms. See below for details and indicative rates.

Cabin | Spruce Cabin

Rates (Per Couple)*

$1,380
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Rates (Additional Info)

Extra Persons in any cabin: $3000/week

Extra Kids 6-13 in any cabin: $2250/week

Extra Kids 5 & under in any cabin: $600/week

Minimum Stay

6 nights

Description

The most secluded cabin: perched on a wooded hill, offering spectacular valley views. With a stunning porch, you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee or stargaze at night in solitude. The interior is bright and cozy, the embodiment of rustic comfort. Outfitted with a wood-burning stove, a queen bed and a twin daybed, a screened porch and a newly-renovated bathroom with a shower. Spacious enough for a family and can also accomodate an additional cot. 

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

seating area, wood fireplace

Cabin | Moose Cabin

Rates (Per Couple)*

$1,380
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Rates (Additional Info)

Extra Persons in any cabin: $3000/week
Extra Kids 6-13 in any cabin: $2250/week
Extra Kids 5 & under in any cabin:  $600/week

Minimum Stay

6 nights

Description

Moose Cabin stands at the southern edge of the cluster with a spectacular view up valley. It offers a gorgeous view of Sportsman’s Ridge and the Gros Ventre River as it winds across the valley, and the front porch lets you keep an eye on the main meadow. Outfitted with a wood-burning stove, a queen bed and a twin daybed, a screened porch and a newly-renovated bathroom with a shower. Spacious enough for a family and can accommodate an additional cot.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

wood fireplace

Cabin | Deer Cabin

Rates (Per Couple)*

$1,380
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Rates (Additional Info)

Extra Persons in any cabin: $3000/week
Extra Kids 6-13 in any cabin: $2250/week
Extra Kids 5 & under in any cabin:  $600/week

Minimum Stay

6 nights

Description

Set on the banks of Kinky Creek and offering solitude, Deer feels a world away. Its porch looks out over the babbling creek to the east, with a perfect view of the grazing horses. Outfitted with a wood-burning stove, a queen bed and a twin daybed, a screened porch and a newly-renovated bathroom with a shower. Spacious enough for a family and can accommodate an additional cot.

Rooms

2

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

wood fireplace

Room | Elk Creek & Elk Meadow Rooms

Rates (Per Couple)*

$1,150
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Rates (Additional Info)

Extra Persons in any cabin: $3000/week
Extra Kids 6-13 in any cabin: $2250/week
Extra Kids 5 & under in any cabin:  $600/week

Minimum Stay

6 nights

Description

Elk Cabin was recently renovated and now has four individual rooms under one roof. The two rooms that face north, toward the Lodge, are Elk Creek and Elk Meadow, which share a large screen porch. The two rooms that face south are Pronghorn Creek and Pronghorn Meadow; each has a wood stove, a bath with a shower and a small private corner porch. Each room sleeps two and we give priority booking of Elk Creek and Meadow to groups of four.

Rooms

2

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Room | Pronghorn Creek

Rates (Per Couple)*

$1,150
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Rates (Additional Info)

Extra Persons in any cabin: $3000/week
Extra Kids 6-13 in any cabin: $2250/week
Extra Kids 5 & under in any cabin:  $600/week

Minimum Stay

6 nights

Description

Elk Cabin was recently renovated and now has four individual rooms under one roof. The two rooms that face north, toward the Lodge, are Elk Creek and Elk Meadow, which share a large screen porch. The two rooms that face south are Pronghorn Creek and Pronghorn Meadow; each has a wood stove, a bath with a shower and a small private corner porch. Each room sleeps two and we give priority booking of Elk Creek & Meadow to groups of four.

Rooms

2

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

wood fireplace

Room | Willow Room

Rates (Per Couple)*

$1,150
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Rates (Additional Info)

Extra Persons in any cabin: $3000/week

Extra Kids 6-13 in any cabin: $2250/week

Extra Kids 5 & under in any cabin: $600/week

Minimum Stay

6 nights

Description

The Willow Room opens onto the main meadow and has a queen bed, a sunny front deck with chairs and a bath with a shower.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Cabin | Sheep Cabin

Rates (Per Couple)*

$950
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Minimum Stay

6 nights

Description

The Sheep Cabin is the original homesteading cabin on the ranch. It has been renovated and is set up with two twins (or a king), and can be booked as a single or a double. At 9’x11’, it is small and quite wonderful. Decking joins the cabin with its private bath.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

wood fireplace


Booking Policy

A 50% deposit of the weekly cabin rate is required to confirm your reservation and is due upon booking.

Your final bill will include Wyoming taxes on the food (6%) and lodging (11%) portions of your stay. Recreation charges are not taxed.

Please understand that cancelations after June 1st are very difficult to rebook: The 50% deposit is not refundable, unless we are able to rebook your reservation, in which case we will refund 90% of the deposit amount. The remaining balance is likewise non-refundable, and is subject to the same refund policy and rate.

Unfortunately, credit cannot be given for late arrivals, early departures or reserved but unused spaces, except for extra persons.

We accept major credit cards, checks, and cash.

Included in your stay

meals, activities, lodging, Riding

Extras

Tax

Your final bill will include Wyoming taxes on the food (6%) and lodging (11%) portions of your stay. Recreation charges are not taxed. We accept major credit cards, checks and cash.

Gratuity

We do not add a set service charge to your bill. Gratuities are at our guests’ discretion and while not expected, they are much appreciated by our hard-working crew, and are divided equally. Most guests tip 10-20% of their bill.

Other

Trip Insurance: We encourage you to purchase trip insurance to cover an unforeseen change of plans. The Dude Ranchers Association offers a comprehensive product for its members, through Travel Guard. Call Travel Guard directly at 877-249-5376, or search 'Travel Guard' and reference product number 109400. Alternatively, compare policies on insuremytrip.com. Please note that most Cancel for Any Reason policies must be purchased on the same day of your initial deposit.

Lowdown

  • You can borrow

    Cowboy hats, Cowboy boots, Riding helmets, Saddle bags, Rain coats
  • Communications

    free long distance, Limited connectivity.

Onsite

Water based Activities

hot tub, river floating

Winter Activities

down hill skiing


Fishing & Wildlife

The ranch provides remote access to the pristine Upper Gros Ventre River, which is protected by Wyoming's Wild & Scenic Designation.

One can fish for miles in either direction and it is a rarity to encounter others. The native Snake River Fine Spotted Cutthroat Trout continue to thrive in a healthy fishery, alongside the native Rocky Mountain Whitefish. 

There is fantastic fishing on our doorstep in the river that flows beside the lodge, and we also offer day-trips to high mountain lakes and rivers by foot or by horseback.

The rivers and streams are fished by wading, with temperatures that permit wet wading throughout the entirety of the season.

Please note that all anglers practice catch and release fishing with barbless hooks, and we may occasionally restrict access to certain stretches of water if water temperatures or fishing pressures are unusually high.

Fishing on offer

fly, river, stream, equipment available, guided inclusive, guided non-inclusive, unguided, instruction available

Wildlife

Elk, deer, moose, big horn sheep, rabbits, grouse, eagles, cutthroat trout


Additional Services

Corporate Retreats

For groups of 20-30.

We can accomodate corporate groups of up to 18 guests.


Local Attractions

Grand Teton National Park

On your way in or out of Darwin, we encourage you to spend a night in Jackson, WY, walk around old-town Jackson and spend a day hiking through the National Park. 

Distance

100 miles / 2 hours

Rental car

Required


Yellowstone National Park

Just outside of Jackson you can find Yellowstone National Park. Take a drive or hike through and admire the bison, unique hydrothermal and geologic features. 


Jackson Hole WY

Visit the historic town of Jackson Hole, nestled next to Grand Teton National Park. With stunning views, this town is rich with history, art, restaurants, and outdoor activity. 

Distance

80 miles / 2 hours

Highs

  • Darwin Ranch is the most remote guest ranch in the lower 48 states: 25 miles down a dirt road, you will find a herd of horses dotting a spectacular green river valley amid a collection of 100-year-old cabins. Perfect for a real escape from the world for a bit.
  • Darwin Ranch is one of a few ranches that allows some guests to horse ride without a guide – the ultimate freedom! N.B. For safety reasons, not everyone will qualify.
  • They have a strong ethical and environmental ethos, are off the grid and are working towards a zero-waste future. They're committed to preserving, protecting and sharing the land, offer meals with responsibly raised and sustainably sourced ingredients, and are developing a unique, Mustang-based equestrian program.
  • There are some wonderful nature-based activities available, like floating down the Gros Ventre River. The ranch will pack boats up-river on horseback and then you can float your way back to the ranch. Choose from a number of inflatable tubes and kayaks, whitewater kayaks and PFDs.

Lows

  • If you enjoy a post-adventure tipple, it's worth noting that the ranch does not supply alcoholic beverages, however they do allow you to bring your own.
  • Rates do not include transportation to and from the ranch, so make sure you factor this into your vacation budget.
  • If you need to stay connected while on your vacation, be advised that there is no cell phone signal at the ranch and the WiFi is limited.

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Stunning location and great staff

Absolutely love this Ranch. The property and surrounding wilderness is beautiful. The staff is so friendly and accommodating, and the food was delicious. We didn’t have much horse back riding experience, and they were easily able to accommodate and teach us. I wish our stay was longer - will definitely be coming back in the future. Thank you for everything!

5 stars

You can find more reviews for The Darwin Ranch on TripAdvisor