Historic Reesor Ranch confirmed up on my radar a decade a go. I used to be on a solo journey to Grasslands Nationwide Park and had thought-about breaking apart the drive again to Calgary with a cease for the night time someplace. I don’t bear in mind the place I learn concerning the ranch – maybe in a pamphlet at The Convent in Val Marie the place I spent a few nights. I used to be intrigued by what I learn and the photographs I noticed, however I can’t imagine how lengthy it has taken me to go to.
The ranch is run by Scott and Theresa Reesor with assist from their three grown youngsters together with son Jason who may be very a lot concerned on a day-to-day foundation. It has received some prestigious awards due to the household’s efforts. They’re a Canadian Tourism Award Winner for small enterprise, a Tourism Saskatchewan Award Winner and notably a Canadian Signature Expertise Member with Vacation spot Canada for his or her Cypress Hills Cowboy Journey.
The ranch sits within the Cypress Hills of southern Saskatchewan. These are the biggest hills between the Rockies and Labrador so you’ll be able to anticipate a shocking quantity of elevation acquire and a various array of ecosystems. An assortment of untamed orchids, an enormous variety of birds species, attention-grabbing geology and wildlife together with cougars are all a part of the bundle. On the ranch come put together to hike, horseback trip, fowl and go for ATV rides.
Historic Reesor Ranch – a provincial heritage property
The historic W.D. & Alice Reesor Ranch was established in 1904 and constructed between 1906 and 1916. In the present day the ranch home, barn, granary, bunkhouse and root home nonetheless retain a excessive diploma of “historic integrity.”
In keeping with a authorities plaque “their craftmanship and placement relative to one another and to native panorama parts typify ranch structure within the Cypress Hills throughout this era. The buildings and grounds additionally show modifications remodeled time to accommodate each the calls for of an evolving ranching trade and the altering wants of the household.”
Lodging on the ranch
At Reesor Ranch you’ve gotten a selection of 5 cabins – all of that are open year-round. As well as, there are 5 guestrooms within the Reesor household’s heritage Arts & Craftsman ranch residence. These rooms are solely out there from Could 1st to October thirty first.
A few the cabins supply bunkbed choices which might be excellent in case you’re touring with your loved ones. One of many cabins sits far away from the others beside the Kinnickinick Path. It’s excellent for many who are glad with out WiFi.
We stayed within the cute Cowboy Cabin full of numerous tasteful cowboy-themed decorations. Exterior there are a few Adirondack chairs, a big gasoline barbeque, and a propane heater. There’s additionally a hearth pit beside the cabin with wooden out there for buy. Inside, there’s a small kitchenette space with a microwave, a half fridge, a one-burner range, a small desk with a few chairs, a sofa, and a mattress. It’s in all probability a double mattress (not a queen) – so be ready to cuddle your important different. The toilet is giant and includes a soaking tub.
To e book a room or a cabin, visit their web site right here.
Consuming (& consuming) at Reesor Ranch
When you’re staying in a cabin, then in idea you’ll be able to deliver all your personal foods and drinks and don’t must step foot within the Ranch Corridor Grill & Bar. However what’s the enjoyable in that? Granted the barbeques on the cabins are giant, so it might be straightforward to throw collectively a meal, however then you definitely’d miss out on the camaraderie and dialog with different visitors and even the homeowners, Scott, and Theresa. You’d additionally by no means hear Scott’s cowboy poetry – each his personal and poetry from books collected over time.
On our first night time we began the night with a wine tasting – created from fruit from the close by Cypress Hills Winery & Vineyard. We tried a rhubarb wine (it took me again to New Brunswick and glamping at Broadleaf Lodge final summer time), cherry wine and one made with a mixture of darkish fruits. Then it was meal time – steak the primary night time, cooked to perfection by Scott, together with salads and garlic bread. The subsequent night time it was hen pot pie. Selections are listed on the web site for now. You do must pre-order meals – and in case you haven’t, you’ll be capable of order a domestically made pizza so there’s no risk of going hungry.
Breakfast is served at 9 AM – a civilized hour while you’re having a break out of your day-to-day life. You possibly can anticipate yogurt and fruit, egg, and toast, domestically made sausage or bacon and pancakes served with a aspect of cowboy poetry. Deliver some espresso and milk with you so you may make espresso in your cabin, do you have to be up with the birds.
Issues to do at Historic Reesor Ranch
Inside an hour of arriving on the ranch, we have been within the horse barn assembly up with a few cowgirls – Naomi and Emily. The plan was to move off on a 90-minute horseback trip with them to get the lay of the land. However first, we did what NO different horseback using outfit has ever performed. We brushed our horses after which saddled them up – with some assist, as I had by no means saddled a horse earlier than. It’s a easy factor, but it surely did assist to kind a bond with the horse.
I’ve at all times been scared of horses – although after three days final yr horseback using to Sundance Lodge in Banff Nationwide Park, I bought over a few of that worry. Using on Sid, my massive black horse, was a pleasant expertise. He was well-behaved and didn’t bolt once we spied a few skunks. It was a kind of rides the place you watch the panorama slide by, admiring the massive skies and open fields whereas getting misplaced in your ideas.
Throughout busy season at Reesor Ranch, three horseback rides a day are supplied – together with some pony rides and classes for the youthful crowd. Despite the fact that horses are an enormous a part of what Reesor Ranch is all about, you don’t need to really feel strain to go horseback using to take pleasure in a keep.
Hike to the “Hidden” Conglomerate Cliffs
I didn’t anticipate there to be a lot in the way in which of mountaineering trails on the ranch, however with the Reesor Ranch property location adjoining to Cypress Hills Provincial Park, there may be an choice to hike a part of the Trans-Canada Path.
John and I ended up doing a couple of 10-kilometre loop. The primary a part of the path was on the easy-to-follow Kinnickinick loop on the Reesor Ranch property. We discovered the beginning of the path close to one of many cabins. It took us up via the forest previous swaths of tiny wildflowers to a bit of the conglomerate cliffs you’ll discover scattered across the plateau. With a tough map offered by Jason, we spied buffalo wallows the place the buffalo as soon as bathed and drank. On this part of the hike, we additionally noticed what we predict have been cougar tracks. Theresa talked about that she had seen a few cougars a couple of days earlier, so it made sense. There’s a excessive cougar inhabitants in Cypress Hills Provincial Park however there are NO bears or wolves.
Searching for the Trans-Canada Path
From the map we knew we needed to descend to Battle Creek Highway from a three-way intersection off the Kinnickinick Path. Nothing was marked, however there was an apparent path heading down within the path we wished to go. As soon as we reached the highway, we have been on the Trans-Canada Path. We adopted it for a kilometre of two to succeed in a lunch spot beside Battle Creek throughout from the Noble-Symons Cabin. The cabin was in-built 1939 by Robert Symons, a famend rancher and painter, whereas he was a recreation warden within the Cypress Hills. After simply three years it was bought to Albert and Sylvia Noble – they usually lived in it for an additional decade.
Throughout from the cabin, you’ll discover Trans-Canada Path signage. We took the path from the signal as much as the plateau after which east and over to the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs. When you continued on the easy-to-follow Trans-Canada Path, you’d find yourself again on Battle Creek Highway, a couple of kilometres southeast of the cabin and our place to begin for this a part of the hike. There’s parking throughout from the cabin, because it’s fairly a preferred hike.
After having fun with the views from the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs, we made our means, with the assistance of a tough map, again to Reesor Ranch. It was grand however lonely nation up on the plateau. Curiously, alongside one part we discovered a lifeless bluebird hanging the wrong way up connected to a barbed wire fence. On this space, there are shrikes – and that’s what they do to their prey. They arrive again to eat their prey after it has rotted a bit. Yum.
Take an ATV tour
An alternative choice with a keep at Reesor Ranch is to take an ATV tour. Jason likes to supply them within the night so visitors can catch a prairie sundown. I handed on driving my very own ATV – and opted to affix Jason in his heated ATV whereas John and Theresa adopted. We did have a aim of on the lookout for orchids in an space recognized for them however apparently, we have been per week or two early. Nonetheless, we did see the bones of a cow that had been hit by a lightening strike, a much more widespread incidence than I had appreciated. And as you’ll be able to see, the views at sundown from one of many excessive factors close to the ranch are lovely.
Go fowl watching
When you love birding, pack a pair of binoculars in your go to to Reesor Ranch. There’s a giant pond you’ll be able to simply entry on the highway into the ranch the place you’ll seemingly spot an assortment of geese and shorebirds. A pond by the car parking zone is an effective place to hang around. John noticed his first ever Wilson’s snipe right here. Tree swallows have been in abundance, particularly with a fowl field on a gate you’ll be able to’t assist however move each time you head to the eating corridor. And at nighttime, the nighthawks may very well be heard diving up excessive. We noticed quite a few, white-crowned sparrows and the poor bluebird that met an unlucky finish.
Finest time to go to
The ranch is open year-round. We visited in Could – at a time when bushes have been leafing out and wildflowers carpeted sections of the property, however the bugs hadn’t appeared. In my books, it was an ideal time to discover the world. However the backside line is that every season has its personal richness – so that you’ll need to be the choose of what you’re after. Actually, summer time is nice for households with all of the actions however in winter you’ll be able to snowshoe, take ATV journeys and even toboggan.
Location of Reesor Ranch
Reesor Ranch is a four-hour drive from Calgary and a 4.5 hour drive from Regina. If it hasn’t rained shortly, all roads that result in the property must be in good condition. Nonetheless, if it’s rained arduous, you may wish to drive to Elkwater in Cypress Hills Provincial Park after which east, so that you solely have about 10 km of grime highway. There’s a good map on the ranch web site detailing the driving choices.
I learn via the visitor e book in our cabin and echo the feedback I noticed. John and I loved real hospitality and a stunning two-night getaway. I might have beloved one other day simply to do nothing however sit by the hearth pit and skim a superb e book – so after my expertise I’d suggest reserving no less than two nights and three in case you can spare the time. I believe you’ll be amazed on the number of landscapes and experiences you’ll be able to have on this scenic slice of Saskatchewan.
Extra studying on issues to do in Saskatchewan
Thanks to Tourism Saskatchewan for making my keep doable and to the Reesor household for making it memorable.
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