Guest Reviews

Read the latest reviews about Bitterroot Ranch on Trip Advisor!

2014 Reviews

DSC_0023These 7 days have surpassed my expectations and wildest dreams far more than my friends and family will ever know. You, your ranch, your wranglers and staff are what every ranch should strive to be. Dennis Johnson, OH.

The cook was great, the servers anxious to please and most of all the patience, encouragement and support of the superb wranglers was extraordinary. Donna Downing, VA.

We had a cabin by the river. What a delight. The river sang us to sleep every night and the horses woke us coming in every morning. The food was delicious. I am so picky about good healthy food. It went beyond my expectations. Meril Sowa, VA.

The quaint cabins are comfortable, warm and cozy.  Ours was by the creek  – a peaceful lullaby to fall asleep to. The food was a visual feast and delectable. The family style dining allowed me to meet and interact with the other guests. It is so nice to be able to serve myself. The staff is very congenial, friendly and personable, willing to help and make my stay more delightful and enjoyable. A return visit cannot come soon enough. Ann Hoy, WA.

A week that I considered would be the highlight of my spring quickly became what might be the highlight of my year. The Bitterroot Ranch provided a spectacular backdrop, one that must be seen and felt to be believed. From scenery and horses to staff, the retreat environment  was the perfect area in which to process all that went on in one short week.( Anna Twinney clinic). Jane Abbey, VA.

What a thrilling experience! Your warm hospitality, cordial and attentive staff, beautiful and well behaved equines, all contained within a spectacular setting are things I’ll remember fondly forever. Jim Hoffman, FL.

I felt that the effort put towards matching a guest with a horse was exceptional. Kris Grzywa, WA.

I am in awe of your horses’ careful surefootedness. I had complete confidence in all of my mounts, yet each had their own personality, vim and vigour! Elizabeth Trotter, CANADA.

I rode every am and pm and enjoyed all the horses I rode. Instructions were clear and helpful and the wranglers were bright, kind and ready to answer questions and give me pointers on my riding. Sara Deponte. MA.

The country is spectacular, the horses well trained and reliable, the riding experience exciting, the accommodations are inviting, the food too good and the cocktail hour always welcome. Most of all it was wonderful to just have amazing fun with a bunch of like-minded folk as a guest of the caring, attentive, dedicated, lovely Fox family! Jenny Lem, AUSTRALIA.

Keep on doing what you are doing! The experience is a live advertisement for the importance of preserving open spaces. Joanne Silberner, WA.

Thank you Fox family for making this a week I will never forget.It was a dream come true for me.  You, your horses and the young people you have working there are amazing.

2013 Reviews


Where to begin with expressing our gratitude???

We have now arrived back in RI, but we spent many an hour driving East, reflecting on the amazing experiences we had “Out West.”  However, by far and away our time at Bitterroot stands out as one of the most special weeks any of us has ever had (including Jim) and certainly as a family, a week will cherish ALWAYS!

You all, and the wonderful staff, have sure created something special at Bitterroot! When Jim and I realized that this was the year we might be able to make Wyndom and Tori’s dream of going to a ranch come true, much research (by the girls!) ensued . As we narrowed down the options, Bitterroot became the clear choice to all of us…and what a perfect choice we made.  From you as such a fun, interesting, knowledgeable, lovely family, to your equally wonderful staff, to your amazing, happy horses, to the cozy cabins, wonderful food and the astonishingly spectacular setting, we could not have spent a week somewhere we enjoyed more.

Because you all are such consummate horsemen, I want to say that as we recount stories to family and friends that know horses, the first thing we highlight is not just the physical care your horses receive, but the emotional care . From the first day when we watched the amazing sight, of which we never tired, of the horses coming down from the bench and quietly finding their spot in the corral with their buddies, the contentment of your horses was apparent.  Over and over, I have heard the girls describe how the horses go out each might and don’t have to be ridden more than 3 or 4 times a week and that they are so friendly you can wander among the herd in the pasture. The girls of course describe the amazing rides too, but it was the quality of care so many horses receive that in some ways stands out in all of our minds;  I think because without that sense of well-being none of us would have been able to enjoy the riding.

And enjoy the riding we did!!! From me, Mom, I first thank you for your constant and careful attention to safety . As a worrier, and pretty much the one who has always been responsible for my family’s safety on horses, I didn’t know if I would be able to relax and let go of being in charge. I was amazed at how quickly you and your special group of wranglers put me at ease … Jim was amazed too! (And speaking of Jim, Hadley thank you for what was clearly an amazing lesson for Jim and then Mel, for leading us on a family ride during which Jim could canter through the sagebrush — a thrill!!!!) In addition to the clear safety protocol you all follow, your knack for matching horse to riders was remarkable.  I noticed that everyone consistently seemed to feel comfortable, but also appropriately challenged with their horses, and in such a short time felt a special bond with many of the horses we were fortunate enough to ride.

Speaking of bonds, my only complaint would be that each guest does not get to leave with their favorite horse!!!!  Oh goodness, that Sunday morning walking up to the bench and saying goodbye was not easy for any of us.  Selengai gave Wyndom her first real taste of independence on a horse…much of the time on the cattle drive she was riding out of sight from either of her parents. Jim likes to think about the time at the ranch, but doesn’t like to think about anyone else on Bandana (who might be a less “effective” rider than he) For me, Salina, Shava, Sbaka (hope I did okay with the spelling!) all got under my skin and for someone who has been pretty partial to Thoroughbreds, gave me a great appreciation for the gentle toughness and sensibility of your Arabians. And then there was Tori; that Sunday morning, we thought we might have to I love himleave her with you all.  Tori sure loved “her band of ponies” as she liked to call them. And while she loved them all, and adored her day on Timmy during the cattle drive, it was Brave that really got to her. One night, a few days after we left and were falling asleep in our big family tent, there was this quiet snuffling next to me and then these little sobs. When I asked Tori what was wrong, I couldn’t get a word out of her for some time …finally between sobs, she got one word out: “Brave .” That little guy made quiet an impression on her. He is a gem, and I imagine will be a fixture at Bitterroot for always, but should he ever need a home or vacation in the East, do let us know.

With gratitude-

Tara , Jim, Wyndom and Tori

2012 Reviews


Coming back to the Bitterroot is like coming home for me – despite such an uncertain and ever changing world it is comforting to have such a beautiful and magical place to escape to. Maryellen Fink, NY

So uncommercial and natural, very friendly! Helen Byrne, UK

Everyone at the Bitterroot knocks themselves out to make sure guests have a good stay, including offering individualized attention where you perceive a need. Jim and Joy Zimmerman, ID

The end of June gang is mobilizing and heading West to moove cows, we carry T-shirts, cases of Flat Tire, vodka and jello, bellyfuls of future laughter, and oh so much anticipation. Like waking up on Christmas morning we had visions of the Foxes, the wranglers, favorite horses, Highland cows, the Absarokas and Castle Rock dancing in our heads. We yearn for that first view of the ranch as we descend the switchbacks and arrive home to the Bitterroot. Tingle Barnes, PA

We love the fact that the “family” is so available to talk with, so approachable. The returning guests were very friendly toward “newcomers”. This is a reflection of management. Diana & Fritz Juan, CA

2011 Reviews


We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the ranch. It didn’t take us long to feel at home and become part of your culture – one rich in riding adventure and genuine appreciation for the well-being of horses. You challenged us with customized riding experiences on different mounts and unleashed our passion for the true bond a horse and rider can have. Only one word comes to mind – More! Lydia and Bob Feinburg, CT

Both courses (Anna Twinney and TTouch) were fantastic in a great location and with wonderful horses. Jodie Smith, Australia

I especially liked the respect given to the horses and the fact that alternative therapies were allowed. Terralea Saint Onge, Vermont

The clinic with Anna has opened up a whole new perspective and there is no better place to have experienced this. Your hospitality, kindness, attention and understanding have been second to none; each guest is made to feel welcome as an individual and I have never felt so relaxed. Rebecca Hoppe, United Kingdom

I loved my cabin. It is a wonderful combination of rustic, elegant and charming. Bed and bedding very soothing. Wendy Bayne, New York

You are all so warm and engaged in conversations with the guests that we felt invited into your family and home. Mary Kretchman, Colorado

We had an absolutely amazing time and it quickly became clear why guests return and why we have heard such extraordinary compliments of the ranch. Nat Hansen, Ohio

2010 Reviews


What a fantastic time we had last week at Bitterroot. It was wonderful in every way from the horses, the trail rides, the lessons and the cow sorting, to the beautiful views, the fabulous meals and the cozy cabins. Judy Erikson, Massachusetts

Horses during the day and a great cocktail hour to share stories, wonderful food and singing, laughing and being together after dinner. What could be better! Nina Black, District of Columbia

The reason I chose Bitterroot was I wanted to become comfortable on a horse and ride most of the time. Each horse offered a new challenge, but provided a feeling of safety. The lessons were excellent and instructions simple. All the different abilities in the family were catered for. Maxine and Mike Hill, Texas

These are the happiest horses I’ve ever seen! And so smart, sure-footed and honest. Melissa Keyes, California

The ranch is beautiful! The riding experience lived up to your great reputation. The Fox family and the staff are friendly and welcoming. Sue and Paul Raab, Colorado

 2009 Reviews


“We were made to feel very comfortable from the moment we arrived until, sadly, we had to leave. I feel as though I have been here before.”Vici Abney, Oregon

“Loved the horses. Courageous, full of go, well behaved.” Frances Hastings, United Kingdom

“I got a tremendous amount from Donna Snyder Smith’s clinic and I would do it all over again. The trail rides were spectacular and about the right level for me.” Christine Wilkinson, United Kingdom

“What is most striking and inspiring, besides the scenery and the number, variety and gentleness of all the animals, is the caring for both the land and the animals, which is obvious in all aspects of ranch life. You have created here a very beautiful place. The accommodations were very comfortable with the charm of the rustic setting. We loved the remote and peaceful location, with only the stream, the birds and last, the horses.” Denise Egea-Kuehne, Louisiana

“Evening gatherings were a pleasure. Not to be forgotten were the nutritious meals – ingredients raised and grown on site.” Sally Bull, New York

2008 Reviews

You have provided a place of generosity, hospitality, creativity and welcome. Gordon & Ros Oliver, UK

We loved the warm, family welcoming feel of the ranch, and not having to lock doors. Great having no T.V.’s and no noise apart from natural sounds. Lynne and Peter Mallen, UK

Both children are in floods of tears on the eve of our departure. Bitterroot has been a very special experience for all of us – so please don’t change anything! Isabelle Pound, UK

I loved the long rides through pines and aspen groves, the long canters and the “roller coasters” on my four grey Arabs – all of whom were great. Susan McMunn, VA

These horses are so well trained and cared for and happy with their lives. We are always impressed with the selection each day..the horses are matched with the rider and for the job they are required to do that day. We had a different horse selected for us, one who specialized in cattle, endurance, jumping, fast canters or pure comfort. In one week I rode 5 magnificent Arabs and Quarterhorses – they were 5 horses I wish I could have in my own herd. Jane Elam, CA

It was a trip of a lifetime. I left there a brand new person. Words cannot describe my experience or how great I felt. Stacy Hawkins, MD

You have provided a place of generosity, hospitality, creativity and welcome. Gordon & Ros Oliver, UK

We loved the warm, family welcoming feel of the ranch, and not having to lock doors. Great having no T.V.’s and no noise apart from natural sounds. Lynne and Peter Mallen, UK

Both children are in floods of tears on the eve of our departure. Bitterroot has been a very special experience for all of us – so please don’t change anything! Isabelle Pound, UK


I loved the long rides through pines and aspen groves, the long canters and the “roller coasters” on my four grey Arabs – all of whom were great. Susan McMunn, VA

These horses are so well trained and cared for and happy with their lives. We are always impressed with the selection each day..the horses are matched with the rider and for the job they are required to do that day. We had a different horse selected for us, one who specialized in cattle, endurance, jumping, fast canters or pure comfort. In one week I rode 5 magnificent Arabs and Quarterhorses – they were 5 horses I wish I could have in my own herd. Jane Elam, CA

It was a trip of a lifetime. I left there a brand new person. Words cannot describe my experience or how great I felt. Stacy Hawkins, MD

2007 Reviews

Thank you for creating an environment of respect and gentleness and for sharing it with me and my fellow workshop participants. This made all the difference in the world during a week of intense learning experiences. J. J. Prill, MT

This was far surpassing all my expectations for an inaugural mother/daughter vacation. We had a spectacular time here! Unbelievable riding, views – everything!

Your breeding program has produced great tempered, sound minded Arabs – a delight to ride and a tribute to your work and training. While used to my dressage saddle I appreciated the fit and balanced seat on the western saddle I rode – Glad to know that exists. Pat – Lynn – Cindy, VA

Not only were the horses perfectly suited to my (non) ability, but their gentleness and reliability taught me so much. The ranch runs like a well-oiled machine! The staff is well trained and everyone works so hard. Mary Sherry, MN

Your service staff is the best I have ever been around. The food and lodging are top notch. Joanne Miller, PA

2006 Reviews


Bitterroot Ranch got its grips around me and won’t let go ( I still wake up wondering what you had for dinner and whether it rained or snowed ). My stay is one of the most life-enriching experiences I have ever had. Tanis Salant, Arizona

It was the best holiday I have ever had and I loved every minute spent there. I am torn between going back or experiencing somewhere new that has the same attitude to horses and nature. Sue Allen, UK

I love the focus on horses ( i. e. no gimmicks ) and the lack of new age kit – no TV, phone in the room…. and I hope that the lack of cell coverage in the main lodge continues. Irene Gordon, UK

This holiday was so far and a way beyond my most fanciful dreams that I cannot put proper words to it. You’ve created a relaxed peaceable kingdom while retaining a down to earth working cattle ranch and horse breeding farm. Ann Cole, Vermont

People who own horses and ride frequently should know that you can still be challenged. This experience increased my ability and gave me more confidence to go home with. At 48 I now realize after riding my whole life there is still a lot to learn. Sundy Martin, Connecticut

I signed up for a Centered Riding Clinic and got so much more!! The clinic was great and very helpful and informative. But I have to add that the setting was phenomenal and the afternoon rides were incredible. Karen Smith Crawley, Massachusetts

Every aspect of the stay lived up to and beyond my expectations, starting of course with the EXCELLENT horses and challenging terrain! I definitely expanded my expectations of what it was reasonable to ask a horse to traverse and it was such fun doing it in the company of other bold, experienced riders not having to hold back, but enjoying the group runs and the gorgeous scenery. I appreciate too that you were willing to give a rather rusty jumper the great fun of riding your cross country course. It was a completely new experience using a horse to do a job of work on the cattle drive, and it gave me a tiny look at what the old time cowboys were up against. The Wyoming mountains and wide open spaces, the homey atmosphere at the ranch and the gourmet food and excellent wines you gave us all contributed to an unforgettable experience. Mary McGerald, California

It felt like a real ranch – not all formal and fancy. The staff was very attentive to all and strong on customer service, but also fun to be around. Rick Kennedy, California

You can’t usually find meals of that quality on your own even for a very high price tag. Sundy Martin, Connecticut

You seem to have it all well under control. As a non-coffee drinker in the U.S.A. you have the best tea I have ever had – real boiled water. Bridget and Peter Youatt,, UK

The memory of Bitterroot 2005 has dwelled in my heart all year and transformed my life. The people, the horses, the magic of the ranch provided the passion, the confidence and the impetus to search out horses and horse people in California. Life has grown richer, bolder, funnier and more poignant as a result. The magic of Bitterroot remains powerful one year on. Jody Maxmin, California

2005 Reviews

Rides were varied with both a new experience and a new challenge every time. A nice variety of well mannered horses who were forward going, very responsive and very forgiving when my riding was inadequate. Top class food. Best we have eaten in all the USA (and quite a bit of Europe too). The ranch is a terrific place to stay, relaxing, comfortable, well organized. Ian and Nikki Pearson, UK

A most memorable experience in the company of wonderful hosts and their most efficient staff amid spectacular scenery. Their priority was for your enjoyment in every respect, but with the emphasis on safety and the welfare of their incredible selection of well trained horses. The drink and dining experience was far in excess of expectations and like each ride – seemed to get better. Jim and Jan Corbett, UK

The entire staff was extremely courteous and helpful. The setting is priceless, the horses gentle and well trained. Maciey Family, California

I’m very grateful for the quality of the horses I rode. All seemed very kind, gentle and intelligent. I’m well aware that one can spend a fortune on a bad vacation, and that having a good experience so often depends on the commitment and dedication and grace of the hosts. I can’t remember a better trip and I know its thanks to all of you. Kristiana Helmick , Massachusetts

The Bitterroot easily exceeded our expectations, absolutely fabulous! The rides were beautiful, wonderful and perfectly fast paced. Peter Breu and Susan Woods, New Hampshire

The instructors are compassionate, creative teachers who know instinctively how to encourage beginners, offer corrections sensitively, share their wealth of knowledge and love of riding while also teaching advanced riders. Meals are off the charts delicious! Such variety and imagination. Jody Maxmin, California.

The riding was the most phenomenal we’ve ever had. We loved our choice of horses, they were all such big hearted, fun horses to ride. Every ride made a lasting impression; our walk on the secret path by the river, the fantastic prairie gallop, the roller coaster and the cross country course with Mel, the exhilarating canters on our way to Bone Lake with Bayard and our cattle drives with Richard. We thought it was pretty easy the first time we did it, but faced with 200 of them, scattered about the forest and needing to go up hill on our last day, we found out how much work goes into it. The riding made the holiday, but all the details made it the unforgettable experience – the beautiful log cabin, the inspired meals, the delicious wine and the great company. Laura and Michael Sherlin, UK

We tend not to repeat holidays as they can fail to live up to the original experience. This was an exception, even better than last year. Thank you for letting us share your wealth of scenery and horses. Claire and Don Pettingale, UK.

2004 Reviews


I really feel that coming back here every year is like coming home. The horses are so wonderfully cared for and it is a pleasure that the same horses are here year after year. –Sally Hornsey, UK

I researched a riding facility that would focus on horses, not ersatz “cowboy” experiences. For our limited riding experiences Bitterroot was perfect. Vivi was a superb and encouraging instructor. All of the wranglers kept us within our boundaries, yet let us progress. The horses were well chosen for our skills and I really appreciate the benefits of riding in groups where the animals are familiar with one another. –Ralph Cooper, PA

I had some great rides on responsive horses and my non-riding mum was equally well looked after with quiet horses and lots of support. –Catherine O’Hagen, UK

The wranglers were wonderful working with me as a beginner. Instruction and positive reinforcement made me feel very confident and comfortable. –Colleen Shant, VA

I decided on Bitterroot as opposed to the dressage trip to Portugal so that I could avoid the obsessive mulling over of technique that I tend to immerse myself in when training. I thought that if I did something on a simpler note, I would relax and enjoy my time away from home more. Ironically, the Western riding, with no contact and in conjunction with posting and canters in two-point (“grab mane”) has done more for my dressage than anything else to date. I have become far more balanced in all of the gaits and softer in my hands and seat. –Susan Portnoy, NY

The riding was fantastic and the scenery spectacular. The food and accommodation was second to none and the wranglers helpful, friendly and generally excellent company. –Matt James, UK

They are the most well trained, best cared for, happiest group of horses I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding. –Tricia Allison, PA

Absolutely the most fun and extreme riding adventures Steve and I ever had. Rides were challenging and exhilarating and we even worked hard to move cows. The horses are incredibly content and happy in their work, so responsive and willing to do anything and go anywhere – sweetest dispositions and they love attention and loving – wonderful to spend time with them and the foals and colts. –Steve and Jane Elam, FL

Perhaps the most enjoyable week we’ve ever spent as a family anywhere. Beautiful, well-mannered horses, very well matched to the ability and personality of the rider. Sympathetic and very capable wranglers. The best home cooking away from home! Great variety, well presented. –Hamilton Family, Jersey, Channel Islands

We like the simple laid back environment. No flashy, touristy stuff. –Chick and Doreen Palermo, NC

2003 Reviews

The variety was fabulous; beautiful and varied terrain, cattle drive, jumping, team sorting, and a view of wild horses. –Elizabeth Hudson, CA

The special place that is the Bitterroot is impossible to appreciate until you get there. The warm and friendly atmosphere, the majestic scenery, the wonderful and beautifully kept horses and the efficient, helpful and friendly team make this a special ranch. –Andrew and Dee Kelly, UK

The horses are incredible- what a wonderful life you created for them!!! I was so impressed by their temperaments, their training, and their work ethic. –Jane Elam, FL

We rode different horses- we preferred some to others- but the variety made us better riders. Not having just trail horses made such a difference. –The Kitzmans, NM

Our stay at the Bitterroot was a totally unique experience. Our family (children 14, 12, and 10) all really loved it and this was despite the fact that only I (the mum) was an enthusiastic rider at home in England. The horses were so well disciplined and good natured that we all grew in confidence and experienced some very exciting rides with lots of cantering and spectacular views. We cant recommend it highly enough. Fellow guests were all very good fun and Mel and Bayard were great hosts (we were surprised by the fantastic quality of the wine with which we were so generously provided!) –The Rice Family, UK

The riding and fishing were among the most memorable we’ve done and your setting is so beautiful. –Ed Colby and Jennifer O’Malony, CA

2002 Reviews

As a newcomer to riding and fearful I never experienced a moment’s difficulty with any horse chosen for me. –Judy Farrell, OR

This was one of the best vacations I have had. The riding program – horses, trails, wranglers – exceeded anything I had expected. Great fun and I learned a lot. –Mark Gochman, CA

I will definitely recommend this ranch to riders. This has been a high quality vacation. Thanks for the wonderful riding experiences you gave my daughter and her friend. –Nancy Andrews, MN

You have done an outstanding job of creating a unique riding program with great horses in a truly beautiful location. –David Vogt, ARK

I loved the quality and dispositions of your horses. It is obvious how much time and effort you spend in training and caring for them. –Chris Rossiter, MD

Thanks also for giving me some fresh insights into riding with the preservation of my horses well being in mind. –Cherie Keith, PA

What a wonderful, warm, supportive and encouraging environment you have created here for such a new rider as myself. –Jacqui Koopman, CA

The complex life at the ranch wove a rich web for me to hone my riding skills, keeping my interest and challenging me but never threatening me. –Pam White, MA

I have been deeply moved by the depth of care for these lovely horses – the effort to continually evaluate their well being and respond to their needs. This is formidable and complicated with so many horses to manage, yet done with great finese and consciousness. –Paula Josa-Jones, MA

I have never had the opportunity to ride a finer bunch of horses!!!! –Karen Arcuri, PA

I’ve had a wonderful time and the ranch is beautifully run, with fantastic horses, great rides, lovely food, kind and charming staff and fabulous hosts –Kate Johnson, U.K.