Unique Oregon golf resort: Silvies Valley Ranch

Located on the Eastern Oregon frontier, Silvies Valley Ranch offers a vacation experience unique to anything I’ve done before. Guests enter the 220 square miles of this working cattle and goat ranch and make their way to the Retreat, Links and Spa…a tucked-away resort in the pines with unparalleled ranch views. Your first stop is at the Gate House, where you’re met by friendly resort staff, charcuterie and drinks, and the chance to surrender your car for the duration; from this moment forward, you’ll be exploring the ranch via your personally-assigned golf cart.

From the comfort of luxury cabin or lodge room accommodations, you can ponder your many options of activities while on-site. Silvies is not a dude ranch, with all-inclusive activities on the ranch, though it feels as isolated as one. And it’s not strictly a golf resort, because guests can explore the ranch grounds, too. It’s an interesting hybrid of both.

Perfect book-reading spot right out front of the cabins.

Dinners are fairly formal affairs with a nightly eight-course pre-set menu prepared by talented chef Damon Jones, eaten at the communal Ranch Table. Families, I’m told, have the option to eat a la carte during the summer season, should they not wish to spend so long at the meal. Definitely enjoy the Ranch Table experience at least once or twice during a stay, however, as this is where Silvies’ local, organic beef and chevon (goat) is featured best.

Silvies’ famous sourdough bread.

Before each nightly meal, we loved lingering at the impressively-stocked ranch house bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. The bartending and wait staff were all excellent, and I would challenge any guest to come up with any drink they can’t make.

Excellent Old Fashioned.

Note: breakfast and lunch are also offered at the ranch house, as well as lunch at the Hideout, the golf clubhouse. There isn’t any other nearby dining option, due to the remoteness of Silvies, so plan accordingly. Breakfast could easily be made in the room or cabin.

Activities at Silvies:

The main attraction at the Retreat at Silvies is golf. We’re not avid golfers, but we could see at a glance that Silvies’ four courses were different than most. They’re located on a remote and rugged stretch of high desert; you’ll be instantly reminded of Scottish courses, if you’ve been. The courses range from 18 hole to a shorter Par 3 course over 600 acres, and thanks to the remoteness of Silvies’ location, crowds aren’t an issue. Families and beginners are welcome. Every guest we spoke to raved about their golf experience. Best of all, you are offered a ‘goat caddy’ when you golf here: yes, trained goats really do carry your clubs!

Golf at Silvies.

During our three-day stay, we wanted to learn a lot about the ranch side of Silvies, so we signed up for a ranch eco-tour. We were picked up in a Razor and escorted around the ranch’s 120,000 acres, learning about the scope of the cattle and goat business, the ranch’s multi-generational history, and the current owners’ plans for the future (the Campbell family has owned it for the last six years). Several historic homesteads are still in residence on the property, so we saw those, as well as cows getting ready to calve, antelope running, deer grazing, and even elk. We learned about the conservation that’s important at Silvies, such as the restoration of the land’s riparian landscape; slowly, the beavers that had been plentiful before the fur trapping industry of the 1800s are returning.

Polaris Razor eco tour.

We also went shooting at the ranch’s firing range and ‘goat herding’ with a ranch hand. For the latter, we went out to find one of the three 1000-head goat herds on the property and walked among them for a while, talking to the Peruvian goat herder hired by Silvies and meeting the guard and herding dogs in residence.

Also offered: horseback riding, mountain biking, wagon riding, hiking and fishing. Hiking and biking trails are still limited, with plans to build out this part of the ranch.

Rocking Heart Spa at Silvies:

For us, our spa day was our favorite at Silvies. The spa is located directly across from the cabins and main lodge, and houses a lap pool, climbing wall, and exercise room in addition to spa services. Silvies is still in the process of fine-tuning this space, so hours are not always consistent, we found.

Spa services range from multiple massage offerings to facials and mani-pedis, plus a hair salon. We loved the facials we received, which were a relaxing 120 minutes of pampering. We enjoyed the relaxation room and spa and sauna in each locker room, too. Plan to spend a whole afternoon at the Rocking Heart Spa!

Lodging at Silvies:

We were situated in a two-bedroom luxury cabin, which included a kitchenette with a very well-stocked mini-bar, large ice machine, microwave, Keurig, and plates and cups galore. You also get an entire cupboard of snacks (for purchase) and a stocked wine fridge (with a wine list and prices). We loved the Western decor throughout, the cozy living room space with fireplace and a huge TV, and the spacious bathrooms (one off each bedroom). Best of all, a hot tub outside! Our only wish: we would have loved a porch or patio, though the views out the wide living room windows were amazing.

There are also one-bedroom cabins and cabin rooms, as well as ranch house rooms (which are actually located across the drive from the ranch house. Find rates here.

Getting to Silvies:

This Oregon golf resort really is remote. It’s about 45 minutes from Burns, Oregon, and it’s best to follow the directions on the ranch website; GPS will lead you astray. You’re about 2.5 hours from Bend or Boise, and about 5.5 hours from Medford/Ashland.

Disclosure: we stayed at Silvies as guests of the resort, for the purpose of review. All opinions remain our own.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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