Cottonwood guest ranch

Cottonwood guest ranch DEFAULT
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Cottonwood Cove Guest Ranch

Your Family-friendly Rio Grande Lodging
Open through October 1st 2021

Open Daily from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm 
Closing for Season on September 30th
Please call our sister company Rainbow Lodge in South Fork for bookings after Sept 30th
(719) 873-5571
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Image may be subject to copyright
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Image may be subject to copyright
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Image may be subject to copyright
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Image may be subject to copyright
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We have 27 cabins and 21 public RV sites that are ready for you! Stay with us to explore the lovely outdoors of Colorado.
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Traversing the Rio GrANDE nATIONAL fOREST

Because our lodging is so close to the Rio Grande, you can fish for rainbow trout, brook trout, flathead catfish and red shiner whenever you like.

We're also only a nine-minute drive away from the Rio Grande National Forest. Ski or hike around the 1.83 million acre woodland. Visit the four wilderness areas: La Garita, Sangre de Cristo, South San Juan and Weminuche Wilderness. Take a scenic drive to get a tour of the rugged landscape and nearby mountains. Ride an ATV or Jeep to get to the Wheeler Geologic Area to see eroded rock. The beautiful national forest can give you the peaceful retreat you need from the city life.

You can visit nearby museums, too, to learn about Creede's history and culture. Learn more about the area's attractions here. 
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Enjoy the horseback riding, fishing, jeeping, and more!

Cottonwood Guest Ranch

Licensed in:

Madison Weber
[email protected]
Phone: (775) 275-0593

Cottonwood is a working horse and cattle ranch located in the remote northeastern corner of Nevada. Six generations of the Smith family have owned & operated the Ranch. For over 60 years, Cottonwood Ranch has offered a warm, western welcome to the many guests who have shared this beautiful place that the Smiths call home. Come experience the west with us as we take guests on horseback through the wilderness on pack trips and horse & cattle drives. Enjoy the comfort and luxury of our guest lodge during your ranch stay. You'll have the opportunity to horseback ride, hunt, fish, mountain bike, bird watch, snowmobile, and so much more. Trap shooting and hunting groups are also welcomed at the ranch year-round. Call for more information on seasonal game, licenses and to book your next trip with Cottonwood. Rifle, Archery & Muzzleloader hunting for Mule Deer, Elk, Pronghorn Antelope, Mountain Lion, Bighorn Sheep in hunt units 072 & 074. Spike camps in Jarbidge Wilderness. Dates vary with hunting seasons. Use Cottonwood as your base camp. Stay in our beautiful lodge or bring your trailer & stay in our full service RV Park. You can even dry camp & still enjoy our delicious meals & hospitality along with our restroom & shower facilities. We can offer pack horses & game retrieval services, as well as cold storage, tire repair service & basic supply store.

HC 62 Box 1300
Wells , NV 89835

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Families are home on the range at the Cottonwood Guest Ranch

“Kids like to gather eggs, and usually there’s a calf to help feed on the bottle,” said Irene Smith, one of the ranch owners and matriarch of the Smith family.

The Smiths have run the ranch since the early 20th century, and today operate it in partnership with Tom and Alecia Maxey. While it is a working ranch, it’s open to guests who want to participate in cattle drives and overnight pack trips. Families generally opt for the ranch stays offered from April through November, which can include horseback riding, cattle roundups, trap-shooting, arena games, roping, bird watching, hiking, camping, rock hunting and ATV trips. Quick heads up: Kids must be at least five years old to stay at the Cottonwood; those younger than seven can ride horses only if the horse is led. 

So you and your family are greenhorns?

There’s plenty of ways of ease tired muscles after a trail ride. The Cottonwood’s well-appointed lodge (seven bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom) has a hot tub as well as an expansive deck overlooking pastureland and mountain range — the perfect place to sun or snooze. Loosen up with a game of pool in the recreation room or just veg out in front of the flat-screen television.

Great! How do I get there?

The Cottonwood is about 90 miles northeast of Elko — 30 of them on a dirt road — tucked into the historic O’Neil Basin, once home to notorious cattle rustlers. You’ll pass by a few other ranches and some of the Cottonwood outbuildings before reaching the lodge.  

Article presented by Travel Nevada. For more stories about family fun in Nevada, click here.


Book your Stay

1. Reservations will be confirmed only upon receipt of 25% deposit.  Deposit is refundable 60 days prior to arrival less a $25 processing fee.  Balance of payment must be received 45 days prior to arrival.  Group rate or exclusive booking deposits are not refundable (see 3 below).

2. Minimum age for children staying at the Cottonwood Ranch is 5 years old.  To ensure their safety while visiting the ranch we ask that all children be supervised at all times by an attending adult. Children under seven years of age are not permitted to horse ride, unless the horse is led.  The minimum age for pack trips is 10 years old.  Minimum age for Horse Drives is 15.

3. Discounts: Group Rate for Pack Trips:  7 - 10 persons receive a 10% discount (non-refundable deposit will apply).  Ranch Stay: group of 10 persons receive a 5% discount (non-refundable deposit will apply). Please note:  Only one of the above discounts may apply per booking.

4. Exclusive Ranch Stay: The Ranch may be reserved on an exclusive basis.  Full payment is due at time of booking and is non-refundable.  Please request details and rates.

 5. Transfers: Transfers must be arranged and paid for in advance. Pickup and return to and from Elko, NV and Twin Falls, ID airports are the only transfers available.

We will schedule airport pickups on Sunday late mornings or afternoons.  Airport drop offs will be scheduled on Saturday late mornings or afternoons.  All transfers must be arranged and scheduled with Cottonwood well in advance of arrival and departure.  Guests will need to book their air travel accordingly.

Car rentals are available from these airports, Salt Lake City airport, Las Vegas Airport or the airport of your choice.

 Estimated driving times to Cottonwood Ranch from:

           Reno, NV:                                            8 hours

           Las Vegas, NV:                                  9 hours

           Elko, NV:                                             2.25 hours

           Twin Falls, ID:                                  2.25 hours

           Salt Lake City, UT:                         4.0 hours

6. Payments to the ranch may be made by cash, check, Mastercard or Visa.  Visa and Mastercard payments are subject to a 3% surcharge.

7. Cottonwood Ranch reserves the right to change its published rates without notice.  Current reservation agreements with clients will not be subject to any such increases if a deposit has been accepted from the client.



Guest ranch cottonwood

Cottonwood Ranch

When it comes to grabbing onto a real piece of the American West, search no further than the incredible Cottonwood Guest Ranch. Situated about 70 miles northwest of Wells in the northeastern corner of Nevada, this 7 room, high end guest lodge makes for an unforgettable stay surrounded by some of the state’s most spectacular countryside, without having to rough it. 


Though hard to believe, this specific piece of land in the O’Neil Basin has been owned and managed by the Smith Family stretching all the way back to the mid 1800s. Prior to their management, some of the West’s first european were explorers, who trapped and decimated most of the beaver population in this part of Nevada. Once the beaver are no longer part of the story, the landscape changes drastically, considering they’re natural managers of riparian areas— or the landscape found along creekbeds and wetlands. Depending on how cattle is managed and is grazed, they can further decimate riparian areas. When these two environmental changes happen, it can drive even more animals away, who are naturally drawn to and thrive in these habitats. But, that’s why the Smith’s story is so special. 

Aside from an incredibly restorative overnights stay, staying at the Cottonwood Guest Ranch means learning about the Smith family’s unconventional land management methods that are so unique, they’ve been recognized for national land management and stewardship awards. Though they’ve always had conservation front of mind throughout the generations, the way they’ve run cattle on their land has restored it, bringing back the beaver, and even several Sage Grouse leks. 


Aside from learning about the land you’re staying on, how it’s important to the Nevada story, and the visionaries running the place, an overnighter here is another echelon of relaxation. Though the Cottonwood Guest Ranch is in a very remote section of Nevada, you won’t be going without any modern luxuries on this property. With meticulous craftmanship, the entire lodge was renovated and remodeled in 2003. Each of the 7 rooms are equipped to host a single guest, family, or couple. Enjoy delicious meals prepared by the ranch chef and dine in the picturesque dining room or out on the spacious deck. Bask in the glow of the setting sun in a rocking chair overlooking horses and cattle grazing the vast meadows and pasture. Or you may choose to soothe your tired muscles under the stars in the hot tub or even challenge a friend to a game of pool in our separate recreation room. 

Though Cottonwood Guest Ranch is a working ranch, the Smiths are focused on making sure you have a relaxing and therapeutic stay at their property. No actual ranching, or horseback riding is part of the deal at this time, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to engage with the real working cowboys who live here and do. For more information on planning your trip to Cottonwood, dial the property directly at (775) 275-0593 or (775) 472-0222.



Goats at Cottonwood Meadows Ranch


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