Oregon Cowboy vacation: Wilson Ranches Retreat

Guest post by travel writer Sarah McCully-Posner.

Wilson Ranches Retreat  is a really special place. It is an authentic, family owned, working ranch just outside of the small town of Fossil in Eastern Oregon. The ranch lies within the beautiful Butte Creek Canyon and on your drive in you not only see the cattle grazing lazily in the fields, but song birds flying above, and quail scurrying across the road.


We signed in at the registration desk and made our way to our lovely room.

Tip: if you don’t have a reservation when you arrive, pick an available room in the book and make yourself comfortable. Weekends get very busy, so reservations are recommended. 

The Wilson Family takes “Pioneer Hosipitality” very seriously; your kids will be hugged and they love to tell funny stories that bring about big belly laughs. The family has an incredible sense of humor that we all enjoyed. They are available to the guests at all times and do their very best to help in every way possible.

Guest rooms:

Rooms are tidy and sweet and each offers a little something different than all of the rest. Each room had lovely, soft robes for guests to use and extra blankets for chillier nights. Rooms on the main and second levels have air conditioning for warm summer nights. Some rooms have TVs, but the main TV and VCR are in the living room and there is a large library of videos for people of all ages. Board games can be found in the day light basement for more entertainment and there is a lawn where we enjoyed throwing the Frisbee and football. There are 3 bathrooms in the house which are shared by everyone. BBQs, microwave, guest fridge, coffee makers and tea pot are always available.



Breakfast in the morning is served at 8:00am. You will wake up to the sweet smell of fresh coffee and bacon being fried up. Nancy and Phil cook for all of the guests and everyone sits down family style to share the meal and lots of stories. Prepare to laugh! Farm fresh eggs, bacon, oatmeal, peaches, biscuits, gravy, juice and all of the toppings make for full, happy bellies which will sustain you throughout your ride and much of your day.



Wilson Ranches Retreat offers horseback riding for adults and kids age four and older, which we were quick to take advantage of as we have a little city slicker with a big cowboy heart. We did an hour and a half ride, but ride times can vary. Just talk to your wonderful hosts and they will help you organize everything. The horses are calm and gentle and I had no worries about my six-year-old riding on his own. The horses are matched up to you based on your size and experience. If you do not have boots or hats, they have them for you to borrow for your ride. Rides for younger kids are scenic, although you might get a chance to ride among some of the cows. Families with older kids can enjoy cattle drives, checking fence lines or for strays, and taking part in pasture moves. Riders in groups of 1-3 are $45/hour each, riders in groups of 4 or more are $40/hour each.


There are so many other things to do off the ranch as well. You can dig for fossils of ancient flora on the hill behind the high school. Cost is $5/person, or $15/family of four. They have tools there for you to use and as you can dig as long as you like. This is like searching for treasure, but you always come away with something amazing! We also had a look at the Painted Hills National Monument. The hour drive each way is worth it for an incredible sight everyone should see. The intense colors and textures had our heads spinning. There is also rafting, fishing, hiking, biking, museums, fairs, rodeos, and more. Wilson Ranches Retreat is a great home base for all of it.


This B&B house is not your standard B&B. We have never really considered staying in one as a family since most are usually set up for couples. Wilsons Ranches Retreat has six rooms that can accommodate anywhere from 1-6 people. Room prices start at $105/night for the cozy Wrangler Room (sleeps 1-2 people) and go up to $185/night for the massive Homestead Room (sleeps 1-6 people). The prices are based on a double occupancy and include breakfast. Each additional person (including kids) is $10 which includes their breakfast.


The ranch is accessible from both I-84 and Highway 97, making the drive from Bend or Portland very easy! For full directions to Fossil, start here!

Sarah and her family stayed at Wilson Ranches Retreat as guests of the B&B, for the purpose of review. We thank them for trekking to Eastern Oregon to explore (and hope to do the same soon)!