We’re sure you’ve heard of a dude ranch. But, what is it like to actually vacation at one? Sorrel River Ranch, located in Moab, is one part luxury and one part adventure. Acquired by homesteaders Fred and Ida Stearns in 1903, two of the original cabins can still be found onsite. And, while ranch has changed hands a few times (it was once owned by a rock star), the property is now privately owned by Elizabeth Rad, who bought the ranch in 2008. From guided morning hikes to horseback riding to a thrilling ride in UTVs, here’s what we experienced during our stay.
Budget Level: Luxe ($300+ per night)
Lodging Type: Ranch (55 rooms and suites)
What You Need to Know
The 55 rooms and suites dot 240 acres of land, and each include a private outdoor deck with seating (or a swing); dining areas; a kitchenette, plus push robes and high-end bath products. Some rooms have a big, jetted tub. But, despite the luxe factor, be assured that this is a working ranch. Could there be a better combination? Here, you’ll find a barn with animals like pigs, chickens (who lay the eggs for the restaurant), and goats — all a dream for kids, of course. There’s a water reserve and a large onsite garden. And the backdrop to all of this is breathtaking — so much so that movies and television shows are often shot around the property, including Westworld, 127 Hours, and The Lone Ranger.
Independently owned, this place feels like a family affair. Guests and employees quickly communicate on a first-name basis, and you’ll find everyone from couples, groups, and lots of families milling about —but it never feels crowded. You can spend the morning hiking, the afternoon on a jeep tour or horseback riding, and then chill out by the pool (the views are insane) or at the spa. Evenings are best spent enjoying a long, leisurely dinner and roasting s’mores around a campfire.
Who Will Love It
If you love to be in the outdoors — but appreciate fine linens and gourmet food — this is the spot.
Who Might Not
Perhaps if you’re totally adverse to nature, this might not be the property for you.
River Grill, the property’s restaurant, serves some of the most colorful and flavorful meals we’ve had. Chef Josiah Alan Gordon hails from Kentucky, where he grew up on a farm, and it seems only natural that most of his ingredients come from the property — or within a stone’s throw distance. The vibrant beet hummus starter is made with fresh local farm produce, eggplant caponata, microgreens, fresh herbs, and housemade pita chips. There are grilled seasoned veggies, which only need a kiss of lemon. Be sure to try the pan-seared duck breast with carrot couscous, fresh farm vegetables, onion jam, and beet purée. The produce has become so beloved that the chef now hosts a series of garden dinners (a pre-fixe menu with wine runs about $75). Communal multi-course meals are served in the resort's homestead garden.
Wifi, bottled water, nightly turndown, in-room coffee and tea, high-end toiletries, bike rentals, and nightly s’mores by the campfire are included in your rate.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
You can bring along a pet (and there’s even pet sitting available!) for $100 per stay.
How to Get a Deal
For deals, check out the website. For example, the property offers a sixth night free package, bed and breakfast deals, and incentives on early bookings.
In the Neighborhood
The property spans across 240 acres and is just 17 minutes from the town of Moab. It’s also within close proximity to Arches National Park.
Visitors can fly directly into Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY), which is a half-hour from the property. Other nearby options include Salt Lake City, Grand Junction, and Las Vegas. The ranch has the ability to accommodate helicopter landings on the lawn.
The Bottom Line
If you want a vacation that’s perfectly manages to be luxurious, adventurous, and even relaxing, you'll love a stay at Sorrel River Ranch.