The Siwash StorySiwash Lake Wilderness Resort is a world-renowned luxury dude ranch and remote wilderness lodge. Nestled in the heartland of Cariboo country, British Columbia, Canada, it's a place of high adventure for exploring within the wild. Lovingly hewn from rugged wilderness during the mid-1990's and established in 2001, the Ranch at Siwash Lake was built and is cared for by modern day pioneers with an indomitable spirit; it was borne out of great passion and reverence for the land. Siwash is surrounded by wide open skies and rolling grasslands bejeweled with lakes. When wildfire altered the landscape in 2017, the Siwash story and guest experience have become even more rare and special.
Since the early days, Siwash has been a small, authentic guest ranch most famous for its dedicated horse program. Guests of all riding abilities have had the opportunity to explore BC’s rugged heartland on horseback as part of the SiwashSynergy™ horse riding program. Regarded as one Canada’s finest equine experiences, it involves supportive and informative mentoring by personal guides, hands-on horsemanship, and a fun-filled focus on the magical bond between horses and humans.
To complement the horseback riding, a selection of privately guided wilderness adventures was added to Siwash's programming in 2007. Beyond riding, guests have enjoyed fly-fishing for fat, playful trout in Siwash Lake. They can also hone their skills in wilderness survival, try their hand at 3D All-Terrain archery, steady it with target shooting, and hike or bike to nearby waterfalls.
Those seeking self-guided pursuits can play on Siwash Lake—swimming, kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding. They can do yoga in the great outdoors, watch a myriad of birds and wildlife in natural habitat, and capture Siwash's breathtaking sunsets, sunrises, and starry night skies on camera.
|Enhancing these robust adventure experiences are the food and accommodations at Siwash. Original, frontier-style accommodations feature two 2-room suites in the main ranch house and a charming barn loft suite.
Several opulent canvas 'Glamping' structures were added in 2011-2015 to embellish guest dining and accommodation, with exquisite views that paired luxury amid nature with the rustic ambience of the Cariboo. Five-star dining has always focused on organic food that is grown on the ranch and foraged from the wilds nearby.
All is wrapped in authenticity, sustainability and service excellence.
In 2014, these unique offerings caught the eye of the people at the National Geographic Society. At the same time, the creators of Siwash were joining forces with kindred spirits in western Canada's high-end wilderness tourism scene.
As such, Siwash became a founding member of the Magnificent 7 Luxury Wilderness Lodges of Canada. And in 2015, as a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, Siwash became the 35th property in Nat Geo's coveted collection to earn this title.
During the next two years, Siwash continued to accrue accolades and receive worldwide recognition. As a female entrepreneur, Siwash's founder was featured in the women and business section of Forbes.
Several months later, Siwash was presented with the Conde Nast Johansens Award of Excellence for Best Small & Exclusive Property.
Then, in late summer 2017, the powers of Nature intervened.
A massive forest fire, the 200,000 hectare Elephant Hill wildfire, swept through the interior of British Columbia.
The fire knocked Siwash out of business for most of the 2017 peak season.
All of the unique canvas-canopied 'Glamping' structures featured in the images on this page were burnt, and much of the surrounding forest.
It could have been soul destroying for all.
Fortunately, the Siwash family and staff are hardy, passionate folk, accustomed to dealing with adversity.
"So what now? ", you may well ask.
"After a severe wildfire has stormed through...
why is staying at Siwash still an iconic Canadian experience?"
With heroic effort by a brave and loyal team, the entire heart of the operation was saved. The main ranch house, barn and corrals, staff camp, home meadows, and lakefront endured. As well, Siwash’s sacred places on the range survived, including favourite meadows, the river swimming spot, and Crater Lake waterfalls. The blackened forest linking them all together is truly striking.
Siwash is now, by contrast, a lush green oasis that the fire did not affect—a powerful sanctuary in the wild. We are still able to offer our full array of activities and deliver an incredible, world-class experience. As the scenery and landscape have changed quite dramatically, fire ecology is interwoven throughout our programs to showcase the power and daunting beauty of Mother Nature. In the spirit of renewal that follows forest fire, Siwash forges forth.
|“It is our mission to share the Siwash experience with sophisticated travelers from around the world by offering unique, all-inclusive ranch vacations that feature nature-based adventure, luxury accommodation, fine cuisine, and first-class service… a soul-pleasing blend of the rustic and the refined, all delivered in style with a smile.
In the process, we shall continue developing a resort that’s in complete harmony with the surrounding wilderness and we shall promote stewardship of the land, freedom of spirit, personal growth, and an appreciation for family and the finer things in life.”
|The Siwash Mission Statement|