I had the good fortune to spend the month of October at the Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming (http://www.brushcreekranch.com). I was officially there to make artwork and participate in the Brush Creek Artist Residency but I found time nearly everyday to explore the 30,000 acres ranch by mountain bike.
The artist residency at Brush Creek is rather unique. Each month the foundation invites 4 visual artists, 2 writers and 2 musicians to spend 4 weeks living on a working ranch that also functions as a 5 star all-inclusive destination resort ranch. The residency is privately funded through the generosity of the White family without placing any expectations on the attendees. Given this site is about bicycling and not art I will not go into details about the residency other than to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to spend time there creating. Should you want to know more about the residency their website is: http://www.brushcreekarts.org. Artist friends – definitely apply!
The Brush Creek guest experience is fully inclusive – which really means all the toys and activities you could imagine there being on a ranch and the equipment you need to fully enjoy your experience. They have a fleet of Trek full suspension mountain bikes to take out on any of the single track, hiking trails, horse trails, ATV routes, and ranch roads. I believe you can even schedule a guide but it certainly isn’t necessary. Trails are well marked, the site map is clear and basically you can not get lost if you stay within the boundary fence. As I was told by one of the activity coordinators – if you think you might be lost just head downhill. Gravity will take you back to the creek and to the center of the ranch.
One of the reasons I off-road ride is to reach places I can only efficiently get to by bike. Brush Creek will not disappoint. On a mountain bike you can easily reach all corners of the ranch and all of the vista points on your own and without any horse-power. There is a variety of fun technical single track, open pasture fields to bushwack through and plenty of well-maintained ranch roads if your goal is to cover distance.
Be prepared for the elevation change. The resort is at 7000-12000 ft. I certainly got winded on the climbs but the descents and the views were so worth the work and the elevated heart rate. You certainly would not want to spend your entire holiday on the ranch on a mountain bike when you can go horse back riding, learn how to barrel race, fly fish with a guide or learn how to shoot a bow and arrow but I would certainly recommend after your wakeup yoga class checking out a bike for a 2 hour spin around the ranch.
As a teaser – here are a few images from my rides.