A view of the golf course at The Retreat, Links and Spa at Silvies Valley Ranch.
The Retreat, Links and Spa at Silvies Valley Ranch
  • Location: Seneca, OR
  • Rooms: 34
  • Courses: One
  • Amenities: One rustic-chic restaurant and (by reservation) a chuck wagon / spa / horseback riding / shooting range / goat herding
  • Also good for: Best for Families (#3)

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6 things you need to know

  • Best time to go: Spring and fall: long days, cool nights.
  • Daily stay-and-plays start at: $600
  • Golf experience: An imaginatively routed and wonderfully scenic 18-hole reversible course, plus 2 par-3 courses staffed by goat caddies.
  • Best non-golf amenity: The Rocking Heart Spa, with arresting views across 10 miles of alpine meadows.
  • While you're there: Saddle up and set out on a cattle drive, one of several ranch activities the property offers.
  • Insider tip: The bar in the main lodge is home to the largest whiskey collection in the region.

Travelogue

Don’t call it a dude ranch. It’s a working ranch, where the goats need herding, the horses need feeding and the cattle require someone to round them up. This being frontier Oregon, in the state’s eastern reaches, those duties fall to seasoned ranch hands, who are more than happy to have your help. Expect to get a little dusty if you saddle up for one of the resort’s immersive western-style adventures. Hixson’s ingenious reversible track is an adventure in itself, as are the pair of sweet par-3 tracks. You don’t need caddies on the latter, but you’ll want them, since those caddies are American Range Goats, born and raised on the property. With harnesses strapped across their backs to carry clubs and beer, these four-legged loopers make sure-footed and useful companions. Many of their siblings serve a different purpose at Silvies: In the lodge restaurant, they turn up on the menu.