By Christy Nielson | Photography by Alana Watkins and Nathan Kirkman
Set on a 30,000-acre working cattle ranch outside the delightful town of Saratoga in south-central Wyoming, Brush Creek Ranch is a collection of exclusive properties that are abundant in authentic ranch culture, décor and experiences. The collection, which is tucked between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the magnificent Medicine Bow National Forest, is the passion project of Bruce and Beth White who always dreamed of owning a ranch out West.
Their search led them to the hilly and rocky landscape of Wyoming’s North Platte River Valley and Brush Creek Ranch, which impressed them with its location within a true ranching community and its inherent beauty—recognizable despite having been neglected for quite some time. The Whites spent the first summer breathing new life into the still-standing homestead buildings with the help of their children and friends. Dozens of teenagers spent that summer making ranch improvements—working on trails, baling hay, cleaning out barns, repairing fences, and more. It was the visits from the kids’ parents and siblings that clarified their vision for the property as a place for families to reconnect.
The Whites decided to renovate the old cabins on the ranch into upscale guest suites, and they constructed a new lodge, the Trailhead Lodge, which became the focal point of the guest ranch. The building—like the other new structures that would eventually become part of the collection—was designed to look as if it has always been there, with log post and beam construction and expansive windows that maximize views of the mountains and rugged rock outcroppings. With a dedication to authenticity and a focus on historic preservation—resurrecting, rehabbing and repurposing as many original structures as possible—the collection of award-winning properties has grown over the years.
“We meticulously restored the original buildings—carefully removing the logs, numbering them, refinishing them and reassembling them. We poured new foundations and added electrical and plumbing systems as well as modern features like heated floors,” explains Mike Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Brush Creek Ranch. “The attention to detail in the restoration also informed the new buildings we added—using all log construction, keeping the old-world feel by decorating with antiques while adding present-day amenities and luxurious interiors.” He adds, “In many ways, it’s hard to tell the restored buildings from the new ones, which was exactly our goal.”
Brush Creek Ranch now includes The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch (for families), Magee Homestead (adults-only), the French Creek Sportsmen’s Club (for anglers and hunters), and the newest addition, The Farm at Brush Creek. The Farm is a “seed-to-table” food, beverage, and event complex that boasts its own restaurant, a 20,000-square foot organic greenhouse, brewery, distillery, creamery, bakery, spirit vault, and a football field-sized wine cellar tunnel. Recently, Cheyenne Club restaurant at The Farm opened to non-guest diners, enabling foodies from far and wide to experience the beauty and bounty of the West.
While each property has something unique to offer guests, the architecture and design of the buildings—which utilize locally sourced moss rock and repurposed timber and logs and also feature layers of opulent textures and Western patterns that add an understated elegance—creates continuity throughout the collection. “Everything we chose has something to do with homesteading, whether it is leather, animal fur, plaids, or wool blanket forms, and then we turned our eye toward luxury living,” says Gina Deary, owner of Simeone Deary Design Group. “So, you might have a beautiful aged leather sofa but with a gorgeous plaid blanket and an awesome sheepskin throw on it.”
The design further speaks to the storied land and its ranches through the showcase of local artwork. In the Cheyenne Club, for example, a historical and significant photography collection by Dick Perue, a local publisher and historian, is on display. A photograph of a cowboy by Wyoming native Adam Jaheil is prominently featured in the Brush Creek Cellar. The custom lighting sculpture comprised of antlers and crafted by Wyoming artist Shawn Rivett is a showpiece of the entry lounge. Antique gun and knife collections are another way ranching history is literally on display at Brush Creek Ranch.
“You feel a great responsibility that you’re being authentic and also that you’re also not doing anything that would make someone think of another place,” says Deary. “You don’t try to take the guest somewhere else. You’re really trying to ground them where they are.”
It is a pretty remarkable place to be grounded. To learn more or book a reservation, visit brushcreekranch.com.
Architect: RMT Architects | Builder: DeJulio Construction Company | Interior Designer: Simeone Deary Design Group