Long summer days at Castle Rock Ranch are full of activity. From caring for the animals and riding horses, to biking and hiking, adventure abounds. We make sure to have some downtime every day to cool off in the river and enjoy our beautiful surroundings too.
All our campers learn to saddle, groom, care for and ride horses. There are two riding activity periods during the day and morning and evening chores also include opportunities to feed and interact with the horses.
We provide a safe opportunity to ride and have a variety of horses from mild-mannered enough for novice riders to more responsive and athletic horses who are fun for riders with experience.
Depending on skill and comfort level, campers will have the opportunity to experience:
Every week, we move the cows from one end of the ranch to the other and use riders to assist. As part of our management intensive grazing and low-stress livestock management, we also use horses to drive the cows up the hillside bordering the ranch to graze.
Enjoy stunning scenery and views along trails in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, where opportunities to see wildlife abound. Trail ride around the perimeter of the ranch, along the beautiful Coeur D’Alene River, or on one of the many trails through the National Forest bordering the ranch. When it’s hot, we take the horses for a dip in the river and some of them even like to swim!
Our 40 acres of hay and cattle pastures have a circumference of over a mile and provide another scenic and fun place for riders. Saddle up your pony and enjoy chasing the cows to their next grazing site when it’s time to rotate them to a new pasture. Or just listen to the soothing sound of the river as you ride alongside it. The pasture is also where we set up a small jump course to practice jumping logs and poles and barrels where everyone can practice barrel racing and pole-bending.
ROUND PEN RIDING
This is a great way to get introduced to horses in a safe and enclosed environment, or to simply work on equitation skills. Everyone starts in the round pen to do a skills test to assess ability and be matched with a horse.
On warm summer afternoons, we fill up the inner tubes and walk through the pasture for a dip in the river. From there we launch off on a river adventure where we float to our favorite swimming hole. Learn to skip stones, have fun chasing frogs and count the bald eagles while enjoying the summer sun and the cool river water.
Other days, we drive to different swim spots and float home to the ranch, or just head to the Rock for lots of jumping and beach lounging.
Animal Care/Chore Time
Every morning and evening, the animals need to be fed, moved or tended to. We have goats and a cow to milk, horses to catch for riding, eggs to collect, pigs to feed and a whole herd of cows and horses to move onto fresh grass. Learn to milk a goat, and how to feed and care for horses, pigs, chickens, ducks and more!
Each animal at the Castle Rock Ranch has its own distinct personality, from the big horses and cows, all the way down to the chickens and ducks, and chore time is a chance to learn about all the different animals on the ranch. For the first few days of camp, we rotate every camper through all the different animal chores so that everyone gets a chance to care for all the animals.
Homestead Crafts and Cooking/Gardening
We have an abundance to harvest in the summer months! Part of the farm to table experience at Castle Rock Ranch is deciding how to save and use all that we produce.
Everyone has the opportunity to participate in harvesting vegetables and picking berries but we also offer other activities depending on interest and enthusiasm from the group:
-butchery and sausage making
-Making jam from our berries and pickles from our garden produce
-Making butter and cheese from our fresh goat and cow’s milk
And then everyone gets to eat what we make!
A big part of the fun of ranch camp is experiencing ranch life. Every summer presents a variety of different ranch experiences to participate in. It can be picking up fresh-cut hay, halter-training a calf who will be our future milk-cow, working with a rescue horse, hanging garlic to dry in the bunkhouse, moving cows, and grazing horses between the blueberry bushes.
Hiking and Biking
Shoshone County is famous for its rugged, steep terrain which provides ample opportunities for hiking to amazing vistas and unpopulated mountain lakes for swimming. The National Forest surrounding the ranch is full of Douglas Fir, Ponderosa pine and unique basalt rock formations, after which the ranch was named. The ranch is a short drive to the Continental Divide on the Idaho/Montana border where more great hiking abounds.
We also love biking! We’re a quick drive to the Trails of the Hiawatha, a famous biking trail in Montana that runs along an old rail line with stunning scenery and even passes through several old railroad tunnels.