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Located in the charming town of Ten Sleep, Wyoming, the Red Reflet Ranch features upscale accommodations, a wealth of outdoor activities and organic gourmet cuisine. The property’s four chalets boast views of red sandstone bluffs and verdant pastures, and owners Laurence and Bob Kaplan regularly join guests at lunch and dinner to discuss the day’s adventures. From the scenery to the feeling that you’ve traveled back in time to the Wild West, a stay at the Red Reflet Ranch is truly the experience of a lifetime.

A guest ranch vacation had been on my list for years, and last September I finally let loose my inner cowgirl when I stayed at Red Reflet Ranch. After a multi-night backpacking trip in the nearby Bighorn Mountains, I was looking for a spot in the Ten Sleep area to relax and treat myself. As I narrowed my search on the Dude Ranchers Association website, I found Red Reflet (“reflet” is French for reflection), which checked every box on my list.

While accommodations and guest capacities vary, most dude ranches offer all-inclusive pricing and help guests create schedules from a range of exciting activities, like fishing, ATVing and horseback riding. Guests must demonstrate a basic ability to control a horse before they hit the trail, and if they need more time, lessons are generally available for riders of all ages and experience levels. Many dude ranches have a minimum stay requirement of six nights, though several Wyoming properties, including Red Reflet, have three-night minimums. Not only is this the perfect place for a family vacation, but ranch weddings are quite popular, and from special food requests to transportation, guest services can arrange almost anything.

Click here for answers to your most frequently asked questions about dude ranches

Upscale Accommodations

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

Red Reflet has four guest chalets, ranging from the Ranch House, which can sleep up to 14 people, to the aptly named Couples Chalet, which can accommodate up to four guests. All chalets have incredible views, hot tubs and plenty of privacy. My friend and I stayed at the Ponds Chalet, which has a gorgeous open layout and everything you could want, from a cozy fireplace to a steam shower. Housekeeping stocks the kitchen daily with farm-fresh eggs, bacon, fruit and locally baked goods, among other items. We spent every night stargazing in the hot tub, and when I enjoyed a quick soak on our final morning, I watched a herd of deer move up the bluff at sunrise. While guests are free to drive their vehicles on the property, they are also given four-wheelers for the duration of their stay. 

Click here for a complete list of Wyoming dude ranches

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

A Wealth of Activities 

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

Prior to arrival, I completed a digital form with activity preferences, and after confirming my selections at happy hour, I received the following day’s schedule by the end of dinner. Not only did I enjoy a spectacular two-hour trail ride along a canyon rim, but I spent many more hours visiting with horses in the pasture. On the second day, my friend and I tried our luck at the outdoor shooting range. Danny, our patient and knowledgeable instructor, provided us with all of the necessary safety gear, and when he noticed I was struggling with the rifle, he suggested switching to a pistol. I instantly started hitting targets, and everyone left the range smiling. I later toured the garden and chicken coop with Laurence, and on my last full day I cruised around on an ATV and took a dip at the swimming hole. While toweling off I spotted a guest whizzing past us on one of several zip line tracks, and then I saw Laurence fly by, upside down with a huge grin on her face.

While I considered signing up for more activities, I didn’t want to be rushed, so I opted for one main activity each day, leaving my last day open to explore the property. And that’s the beauty of dude ranch stays: you are in complete control of just how mellow (or action-packed) your schedule is. However, if I had more time, I would have spent a day fishing with a guide, and another day rock climbing. Red Reflet works with local outfitters in Ten Sleep, an area with some of the best (and most underrated) climbing in the state. 

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

Gourmet Dining

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

Guests fix breakfast in their chalets, and lunch and dinner are served in the dining room at a communal table. Healthy fare like salads and sandwiches are offered at lunch, along with fruit and light desserts. Happy hour kicks off thirty minutes before dinner, and with the impressive wine list and classic cocktail choices, you’ll rarely catch someone without a glass in hand as they make their way to the dining table. From kale to edible flowers, most of the salads and vegetable dishes are made with produce grown right at Red Reflet, and many of the meats are locally sourced as well. On our first evening, we enjoyed a delicious entree with elk, beets, crisp green beans and other veggies on a bed of creamy polenta, and on our final night we had a more traditional meal of steak and potatoes, but with gourmet flavor and flair, of course.

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

Guest Experience

The guest experience at Red Reflet Ranch goes far beyond the breathtaking location and endless amenities. With just four chalets, the daily guest count averages between eight to fifteen people, though the ranch can accommodate up to 30 people. Dude ranches attract adventurous folks who don’t mind getting dirty as long as fun is the primary objective, so combine that with Red Reflet’s limited guest capacity and you get a special setting where like-minded strangers become fast friends. During our stay, we met a woman on a solo road trip, a couple who arrived via private aircraft and another couple who, after spending their 40th anniversary at Red Reflet, were back for their 50th. Dinner conversations continue long after dessert has been devoured, and Laurence and Bob are just as involved in the lively chatter as their eclectic group of guests.

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

The Kaplans have created an unparalleled experience, and without a doubt their secret ingredient is community. This ranch is their home, these pastures and bluffs are their backyard, and the horses, dogs and cats are their beloved pets. Sharing this part of their life in such an intimate manner is just as rewarding for them as it is for their guests, and it’s evident everywhere you look. Laurence and Bob are not in the hospitality industry as much as they’re in the business of building memories for young and old folks alike.

Photo credit: Elisabeth Brentano

Explore her trip more by clicking in the gallery below.

Red Reflet Ranch

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