Savor the Scenery and Sumptuous Meals at Sulphur Creek Ranch
Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
Photo Credits: Tom Gresham, Wes Gregory, Kiere Schroeder, Susie Iventosch
Imagine you’ve been transported for breakfast to a rustic and charming backcountry lodge nestled in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, miles from the nearest road. It’s a spectacular summer morning in the mountains, and you’ve settled in on the lawn at Sulphur Creek Ranch with a majestic view of Soldier Mountain, an 8,909-foot peak looming directly in front of you.
Horses graze on tender green grass and breakfast is served – a hearty portion of eggs, perfectly crisp hash browns, homemade biscuits, Smoked Applewood bacon, and quite possibly a pancake or two! You can just smell the yumminess. (For the kids … a Mickey Mouse pancake!)
This idyllic scene has no automobiles – cars cannot reach Sulphur Creek Ranch. At 2.366 million acres of wilderness, you could say the Frank Church is rather remote. Not exactly your “run of the mill” breakfast routine, but it is a rare moment of peace and tranquility, quietly tucked into your everyday pace.
Suddenly, the air is stirred as bush pilots circle the field, preparing to land and join you on the lawn for their own Sulphur Creek moment. And, you have a front-row seat, bearing witness to wings glistening in the sunlight as pilots navigate the surrounding tree line. Reality check – you truly are here to take it all in.
Whether you arrive on foot, horseback, or by plane, this is one of the most serene places the world has to offer. You can spend an hour or days hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, or simply relaxing and reading. Regardless, you’re sure to enjoy the amazing home-cooked meals that SCR managers Kiere and Val Schroeder create especially for you, including Kiere’s fabulous focaccia bread and her extraordinary salad creations. Or, you could always get hitched here, with a spectacular backdrop for your wedding ceremony.
Sulphur Creek Ranch boasts hundreds of miles of hiking trails right from the lodge, with varying degrees of difficulty. Kiere packs a beautiful trail lunch for you, which is usually some fancy wrap made with whatever fresh produce she happens to have on hand, complete with turkey or sliced steak, fresh fruit, and trail mix. If you opt for some of the more difficult hikes to Honeymoon Lake (16 miles +/- roundtrip) or Morehead Lake (12-13 miles roundtrip with an elevation climb of 3000’), both with strenuous uphill battles on the outbound, and serious downhill on the return, you will be psyched that Kiere sent you with some delicious nutrition!
Don’t worry, because there are much less strenuous hikes as well to nearby places like the Middle Fork of the Salmon River or Sulphur Creek itself. It’s always fun to hike to the Boundary Creek boat launch for Middle Fork rafting excursions. You’ll see a color explosion as rafters gear up for their 99-mile downstream adventure. If all of these sound too strenuous, it’s a leisurely walk from the lodge to the pond.
We have visited the ranch several times each summer, and for us, it’s a hop and a skip, because it’s only a 25-minute flight from our summer home near McCall, Idaho, and my husband is a backcountry pilot. We’ve taken many of our own summer guests to SCR and they rave about the experience. There is nothing quite as exciting as flying in a small plane through mountains and river canyons only to arrive at a magical destination that offers National Geographic views, entertaining hosts, and a killer breakfast.
The cabins are cozy and beautifully appointed, each with a private bath. Several have wood stoves and all have great views of the runway. They are supplied with shower gel and towels. All of the cabins are a short, easy walk to the main lodge.
Be sure to make a reservation for breakfast whether you plan to arrive by air or surface because it’s a very popular spot and they require it! Overnight accommodations also require advance reservations and can be made online or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a little history on Dr. Ben Morgan and his vision for Sulphur Creek Ranch.
Option 1: Fly-In
The most popular mode of arrival is flying private aircraft. Private pilots are welcome to land at SCR if they are patronizing the lodge. Please click here for further information.
Not a pilot? Don’t fret – charter flights are also available. Here are some recommended service providers from multiple locations in Idaho:
Sawtooth Flying Service
Arnold Aviation (208) 382-4844
Option 2: Ride-In
Experience the Frank Church Wilderness as “the horse sees it”! The second route is to ride in from the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trailhead on horseback. Guests may park at the trailhead (right past Boundary Creek Campsite) which is also the put in for the 99-mile wilderness river run on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.
The ride varies between 5-8 miles depending on the time of year and may take 2-3 hours. SCR guests are welcome to ride their own horses or opt to have the ranch pick you up at the trailhead with their horses.
It is recommended that children be at least 12 years of age or be an intermediate rider to enjoy this option!
Option 3: Hike-In
The third option is to hike the Sulphur Creek Trail! As with those who choose to come in on horseback, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trailhead (right past Boundary Creek Campsite) is the ideal spot to park and leave your vehicle.
The trip around the Morgan Ranch and into Sulphur Creek Ranch is approximately 8 miles. The hike is determined by your speed, but be aware that there are marshy spots along the way.
For more information on Sulphur Creek Ranch
For Kiere’s Gluten-free and amazing focaccia please visit: