Activities at Ring Lake Ranch

Horseback Riding

Our riding program and our horses have been vital parts of the Ring Lake Ranch experience since our founding in 1966. The wranglers announce trail rides usually at the end of breakfast each day. Longer rides may be announced at supper the night before. We have a variety of trails to accommodate beginning riders and challenge experienced riders. Children around 8 years of age and up can join trail rides if they wish, while younger children can be led on pony rides around the grounds.


Canoes, kayaks and a rowboat can be found below Cabin 8 on the beach of Trail Lake. Paddles, oars, and lifejackets are stored under the porch of Cabin 8. State law requires that life jackets be worn while in a boat. CAUTION: Strong winds come up suddenly, particularly in the afternoon, so steer clear of the middle of Trail Lake where cross currents can pull a boat in circles. Boating close to shore invites you to see more wildlife and is safer. Avoid the creek that flows out of Trail Lake; the water is too shallow. The two creeks that flow into Trail Lake connect to make a nice loop, but it's best to start with the left-hand creek. Please let someone know if you take out a boat.

Hiking & Walking

Guided Hiking opportunities led by a staff member are offered each day, usually after breakfast, but individuals and groups who know the trails do hike independently. Here are some pointers to make your walks more enjoyable and safer:
  • Most of the areas in which we hike are in National Forest Wilderness areas. Laminated maps with trails and directions are available in the Dining Hall, as are wildlife, wildflower and other nature guidebooks.
  • Feel free to request food for a packed lunch, preferably the night before.
  • We ask that guests always let someone know where they are hiking and when they expect to arrive back. Write your name(s), trail, and return time on the chalkboard on the back porch of the Dining Hall.

    • Plenty of water: at least 2 quarts for longer hikes; some water bottles are available in the dish room off the Dining Hall.
    • A lunch for hikes of longer duration.
    • A hat and sunblock – and please use them.
    • Sturdy, rough-soled boots or shoes.
    • A warm fleece and/or waterproof jacket since weather can change quickly.
    • First aid materials and matches.

Common sense is the best guide. Guard against sunburn, fatigue and drink plenty of water to combat altitude sickness. Remember that it takes time to become adjusted both to altitude and exercise. Heed the Forest Service advisories. Always hike with a companion, especially in high country. When with a group, don't wander off, and avoid off-trail hiking. Should you become lost, the best solution is to stay where you are.


Some Popular Trails:
There are several pleasant, short hikes right around the Ranch site. 

Fossil Ridge: This prominent ridge overlooks the meadow near Cabins A & B. It is a former seabed, 250 million years old, containing abundant brachiopod fossils. The trail angles off the road near the Shop/Hay Barn area. Round trip is about a quarter of a mile.


Trail Lake: The walk around Trail Lake is pleasant and mostly flat, and takes about 75 minutes to complete the 3 mile walk. Start near the boat beach below Cabin 8; proceed through the gate beyond the beach and along the shore to the upper side of our adjoining neighbor's property (though the sign says "No Trespassing" the trail is open for RLR guests). Follow the trail outside their fence, not through the residential area; it joins their private road and continues over Torrey Creek to the main road. Turn right to return to the Ranch entrance and home.


Ridge Trail: This moderate-to-steep hike starts at Top Cabin and has several confusing junctions, so going with someone who knows the trail is best. However, Trail Lake, Ring Lake, and Torrey Lake should always be in sight, so you can always head towards them and then find your way back to the Ranch. The Trail hike is about 4 miles. The top of the Ridge offers superb views.


Little Whiskey or Torrey Rim Trail: For this more strenuous, 4-mile hike, leave the Ranch and walk toward town on Trail Lake Road. About .1 mile before the cattle guard near the top of the first hill, the Trail leaves the road on the left (look for the third tree on the left, a prominent dead tree where the trail begins). The well-traveled Trail climbs rather steeply for about 1000 feet to an open meadow that stretches toward Whiskey Mountain. Up here you have great views all around.

Other Activities

Fishing: Good fishing is available in Trail and Ring Lakes, as well as Torrey Creek between the two lakes as well as along the Wind River and points farther out. Feel free to ask staff for directions or help in arranging trips. A fishing license is required and may be obtained in person in Dubois at several locations. The Ranch has some fishing tackle to borrow, but it's best to bring your own. Because of WY Health Department regulations, the cooks may not preparefish caught by guests, so please follow a catch-and-release policy.


Swimming: Hardy guests do swim occasionally in Trail Lake or Ring Lake. Ring Lake is the warmer and more shallow of the lakes. Ask the staff for directions to the best swimming spot. Trail Lake is colder and has a dangerous shelf. All swimmers should remember the potential for giardia infestation and not ingest the water.