This last weekend I travelled to Stanley, Idaho for my best friend’s wedding. About 3 hours from Boise, and with a population of 63 people, Stanley probably isn’t a place you’ve heard about unless you happen to see it on the national weather forecast, where it’s usually the coldest place in America in the winter months. Nestled within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area which consists of 756,000 acres of both public and private land, the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch sits on 1,000 pristine and breathtaking acres overlooking the Sawtooth Mountains, and just a short drive to downtown Stanley.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the Ranch. I heard great things about it from my friend, and the pictures on the website looked cool but you still never know what a place is like until you actually get there and see if for yourself. Honestly, it blew me away. If you’re Driving down the 75 Highway and not paying close attention, you will definitely miss the nondescript sign to the Ranch. You travel up a dirt road past the lake up to the main lodge and cabins that are nestled amongst the mountains and trees. A maximum of 50 guests can be accommodated during the summer season running from June to September every year (it’s not open any other time of year), so you don’t have to worry about the masses or crowds if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
The staff was so warm, kind, attentive and inviting it was like you had known them for years. They made you feel right at home and went out of their way the entire time to make sure that all your needs were met, and it was honestly the kind of service you’d get at a 5 star resort, without the formality or snottiness. Each of the cabins are equipped with their own rock fireplaces stocked with fresh wood, little treats and goodies and exude a rustic elegance that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
One thing to note about the Ranch that kind of freaked me out before I got there is that it’s almost completely disconnected from the technological and electronical world – meaning that there’s no cell phone reception, phones, TVs, or radios. There is a phone and laptop in the main lodge that you can use if you want and, as I later found out there, is wi-fi in the main lodge but honestly, I didn’t even want to tap into it and use it. It really was a treat to be unplugged and disconnected from the outside world and just enjoy the beauty and peace and quiet that the Ranch offered.
If you’re looking for a little more action, you can travel to Redfish Lake about 10 minutes from the Ranch, where there is also a Lodge, and a larger lake with tons of water activities ranging from boat rides, paddle boarding, fishing, waterskiing and more. You can also head to downtown Stanley and try out the delicious baked goods and coffee at the Stanley Baking Company and Cafe, or if you’re like me and love dive bars, then you have to hit up the the Rod’n’Gun Saloon for some cheap drinks and great bar games like shuffle board, Buck Hunter, and more.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch and Stanley, Idaho in general and hope you make it out there to experience it for yourselves!