Silvies Valley Ranch

The Oasis at the End of the Boise Cutoff

Article by Shelly West

Photography by Courtesy of Silvies Valley Ranch

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Just a short drive from Boise via Highway 20, adventure awaits at The Retreat, Links & Spa at Silvies Valley Ranch.

Nestled in Silvies Valley halfway between Boise and Bend, the special destination is well worth the drive. From Boise, it is a mere 3 1/2-hour jaunt, and the more adventurous can shave forty-five minutes off the drive by taking the turn at the little town of Drewsey. Sitting along the main stem of the Malheur River, the once thriving town with a rich and colorful past is now a quaint reminder of a bygone era of farming, ranching and lumber. As you continue through the Malheur National Forest, arriving at Silvies Valley Ranch feels much like arriving at a dessert oasis.

Established in 1883, this eco-resort and authentic Western Cattle Ranch boasts a variety of activities to entice the most discerning traveler. Offering four award-winning golf courses, spa treatments, world-class dining and real ranch experiences.

“Our job is to take care of our guests. We want them to have the best experience possible.”

—Colby Marshall, General Manager

So what is the perfect itinerary for a stay at the ranch?

“First, wake up in a luxury lakeside cabin suite that sits across from Otter Pond," Colby says. "Enjoy a piping-hot cup of freshly brewed coffee. Then head over to the lodge for a hearty breakfast consisting of sourdough pancakes made from 100-year-old starter. After breakfast, head over to the reversible golf course for a morning on the greens.”

“Our unique golf course is the first of its kind in over 450 years," explains Colby. "On the first day, you do the traditional course of 18 holes in a clockwise fashion. The next day, you do the same course but instead, start at the last hole you hit the day before in a counter-clockwise fashion. So, if a section is slightly downhill, going the reverse will make it uphill the next time. Thus, providing a different golfing experience on the same course.”

“After a round of golf," he continues, "I recommend heading to the shooting range—cowboy-style shooting, that is. The range offers the use of Winchesters, Colts, and Smith and Wesson and has both pistol and rifle ranges.”

For those who are not interested in golf or the shooting range, the resort offers award-winning spa treatments, fishing, biking, walking, hiking, goat-herding or wagon rides.

“After the day starts to wind down," says Colby, "enjoy a drink in the lodge’s lobby for a nightly reception. Try their signature drink, the ‘Horseshoe Nail,’ garnished with a wedge of pickled crab apple. You might also want to try one of the 110 different types of scotch, which the ranch boasts as having the largest selection out of 14 counties.”

If you aren’t a scotch fan, you might also be enticed by one of the 330 different wine offerings.

“When the dinner bell rings, you will head into the large dining room to experience a 7-course meal prepared by award-winning Executive Chef, Damon Jones,” Colby says.

You will find that they serve only the freshest ingredients sourced mostly from the ranch using organic ranch-raised beef and chevon, which is goat meat. They garnish the food with their own herbs, microgreens and locally-grown fruits and vegetables from neighboring farms. The sustainable practices are important to the culture on the ranch and extend to their goats who are raised for not only their meat but also the economics and how they work with the farm’s ecology.

“After dinner, we urge guests to retire to the back deck at the lodge for an after-dinner beverage around the fire," Colby concludes.

With a little something for everyone, the 34 well-appointed rooms and lodging will leave you wanting for nothing. The resort is family-friendly, but most of the activities and adventures like horseback riding, ranch tours, the shooting range and exploring would be better suited for older kids.

The year-round ranch also has fall and winter activities, like cross country skiing, that make a road trip to this unique destination a great idea any time of the year.

For more information, call 541.573.5150 or toll-free number 1.800.SILVIES.

10000 Rendezvous Lane, Seneca, OR 97873


—Lynyrd Skynyrd

—Creedence Clearwater Revival

—Merle Haggard

—Johnny Cash

Snacks for the Road

—Trail mix

—A crispy apple

—Fresh jerky

Visiting the Ranch Essentials

—A desire for fun

—An adventurous spirit 

—A willingness to try new things

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