Friday, August 5, 2011

Sawtooths never looked so good

Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch is a getaway with purpose

Express Staff Writer

The Sawtooth Mountains are an idyllic view at every corner of the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch. Photos by Michael DeYoung

When approaching the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch just south of Stanley off Hwy. 75, under an hour from Ketchum, a feeling of relaxation and wonderment wells up. The ranch is an Idaho getaway in the Sawtooth Mountains attracting couples, families and anyone looking to enjoy the best of the Sawtooth Mountain region for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, horseback riding and any type of mountain lifestyle enjoyment.

However, the ranch is more than just a vacation. It's also an education. With a loyal patronage every summer, including some who have been visiting for more than 20 years, the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch has offered its guests reflection and literally—food for thought.

Lodge Manager Sandra Beckwith has made it her business to make every guest as comfortable as possible. The facility boasts a handsome lodge with a campy dining room and wait staff and guest services people who smile and brag about being able to work in Idaho at the ranch. In addition, Beckwith presents the ranch's 14 cabins and four lodge rooms, which vary in size for entire families or couples, as each offering a unique experience from the fireplaces and downy beds to the sleek stone showers. The accommodations reflect Idaho architecture with well-insulated log cabins complete with steel hardware fixtures and accessories.

A guest who comes to the lodge will have no cell service, television or radio—disconnection is mandatory. What is provided is a history of the Sawtooth Valley and the ranch, which was built in 1930 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The activities abound from Sun Valley to Stanley. They also can be as close as taking a dip in the ranches hot spring pool—a peaceful and serene experience with the Sawtooth Mountains as the backdrop.

The ranch also is dedicated to connecting its guests to the community. Bringing in speakers and interesting Idaho personalities, the lodge will engage in current issues affecting Idaho such as wolf management and the state of wolves in Idaho. Guest speaker Carter Niemeyer gave a presentation on the subject matter to a captive and engaging audience in the ranch lodge on Saturday, July 30. Niemayer piqued the interest of each guest with his assessments of how wolfs are existing in Idaho and hunting and game management.

"This talk is as an example of what we care about in our community and in Idaho," Beckwith said. "It is part of our mission to educate our visitors and connect them to our world in Idaho."

In the dining room Chef Jim Roberts makes every effort to bring the best of Idaho food and beyond to guests. He presents his culinary arts, steeped in a background of working for fine dining establishments both in Ketchum and across the nation.

Fusion barbecues, take-away lunches and three-course meals with a wine list to match the specials of the evening reflect the quality of food one expects in a metropolitan restaurant. Chef Roberts also prepares a breakfast with plenty of fuel for all the activities visitors are drawn to in the region.

For more than 70 years the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch has lured visitors by presenting a feeling of the Old West for the contemporary adventure-seeking soul. It presents Idaho and the region as an exceptional getaway and continues to bring guests to the Sawtooth Valley year after year. For details on dining, talks and vacations, visit

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