At Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, experience the spirit of the West on an all-inclusive guest ranch adventure vacation. The warm Western hospitality, country gourmet dining, ranch-raised and -trained horses, and the beauty of Idaho’s wilderness will make your guest ranch stay not just a vacation, but an authentic Western experience with memories that will last a lifetime.
Children at the Ranch
Great for children aged 6 and over
A hands-on experience with their horse is the centerpiece of this program. Before arriving at the ranch, children will receive our ranch’s horsemanship manual to help expand their learning. The program starts on Sunday evening and is concluded on Thursday evening with a horse show, complete with trophies and ribbons.
Children will be responsible for their own horse and equipment, and very morning they will help prepare their horse for the day’s activities, all the while learning valuable horse husbandry skills and equipment care.
hiking, biking, outdoor play area, cookouts
scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, horseshoes, pool table, Basketball court
Riding based activities
animal care, horse care, pony rides, arena riding, trail riding, gymkhana
Environmental & Social Practices
USA Today describes Sandpoint Idaho as “Norman Rockwell-meets-Ansel Adams”. Sunset magazine recently voted Sandpoint as ‘Best Small Town in the West’. Sandpoint has also been featured in National Geographic Adventure and Outside magazine.
The reality is that the only way to get a full grasp of the natural beauty of Northern Idaho is from a breathtaking scenic vista, atop a Western Pleasure horse. Sandpoint sits on the shores of the spectacular Lake Pend Oreille, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States. At 43 miles in length, Lake Pend Oreille is the fifth deepest lake (1,158ft at its greatest depth) in the United States, with 111 miles of shoreline. Its pristine waters are a major factor in the community of Sandpoint’s, ranking high as a premier tourist destination.
The community of Sandpoint (at an elevation of just over 2,000ft) serves as the county seat of Bonner County (population 40,699 in 2013). For more than a century, its economy depended heavily on the lumber industry. Beginning in the late 1980s, the tourism industry began to grow rapidly in response to increasing awareness of the region’s four-season climate.
With an annual average rainfall of 33.5in and annual snowfall of 71.in, residents experience few sub-zero days in the winter, while summer days rarely exceed 90°. The average year-round temperature is 47° and there are close to 125 frost-free days each year. The humidity level is comparatively low, the nights are generally comfortable and summertime typically offers weeks of blue sky and sunny days. This is, of course, to the delight of boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, hiking and horseback riding enthusiasts!
Resting at the base of the Selkirk Mountains in North Idaho’s Panhandle region, the community of Sandpoint can be found 60 miles south of the Canadian border and 75 miles northeast of Spokane, Washington.
The 1100 acres of Idaho forest that make up the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch have been carefully managed since Riley Wood moved to northern Idaho from Colorado in 1941.
In 2008 and 2009, the 640 acres that make up our Section 31 were placed into a conservation easement program to protect it from development and division, and to ensure the continued management of the timber and wildlife resources. Timber management is systematically harvesting mature trees, thinning overgrowth and eradicating diseased timber in order to maintain a healthy forest. After the timber is thinned and harvested, the clean-up process must begin.
The timber slash (debris left after a logging operation) must be piled, burned, re-piled and re-burned. The remaining ash piles need to be leveled, and the potential grazing areas re-seeded for cattle and wildlife to graze. This process results in a healthy, beautiful forest, and vibrant forest grassland on which domestic stock and wildlife can thrive. We believe that this process is critical to responsible forestland ownership.
The Western Pleasure Guest Ranch operates on the 75 year-old family ranch, and has come to be what it is today through hard work and family dedication. Before the guest ranching operation began in 1991, it was known as the Wood V-X Cattle Ranch.
Without the hard work and pioneer spirit of Janice’s parents, Jim and Virginia Wood, this guest ranch would never have become a reality. Janice’s father Jim, designed and participated in every aspect of the log lodge’s construction in 1996.
Most of the Panhandle of Idaho, including the Gold Creek area, was owned and logged in the early 1900s by Humbird Lumber Company. Rails were laid for narrow gauge steam engine locomotives to transport the logs out to be milled. Today many of those same railroad grades make up the trails and roads used on the ranch. You will also find old apple trees, still bearing fruit, which grew where the loggers threw out their apple cores. After logging operations in an area were completed, they pulled the rails and burned the area. Today, huge burnt stumps are all that remain of the hand-cut logs.
In 1939, Janice’s grandfather (Riley Wood) lived and farmed in Colorado on a leased farm. Riley read about cut-over land for sale in northern Idaho that could be worked into fine ranch land. He and his wife Gladys traveled here that summer and were shown land on Gold Creek. They fell in love with the area, went home, gathered the family, sold the livestock and equipment, and started their journey to Gold Creek in north Idaho. They arrived on February 14, 1940 in three feet of snow, under a bright moon at 10pm at the door of a very small, one-bedroom house.
In 1957, Janice’s father (Jim Wood) purchased the 960 acres from his father, Riley, and continued to expand and work the ranch. In 1978, a second ranch, located six miles north of Sandpoint, was purchased. Jim and his youngest son, Leonard, ran about 400 head of cow calf pairs, using the lower ranch as the calving grounds and Gold Creek Ranch for summer pastures.
This ranch is a direct reflection of what one man with the help of a supporting wife can accomplish through a lifetime of hard work and dedication. I believe it is through this same spirit that our forefathers came to this land some 100 years ago.