Nestled deep in the Gros Ventre wilderness, 25 miles down a dirt road, and an hour-and-a-half from the nearest town; you’ll find the sanctuary that is Darwin Ranch.
Founded in the early 1900s, Darwin has a long history of homesteading, guest ranching and supporting the western lifestyle that dates back to the turn of the century. Now run by a mother-son team, these days the Darwin is an oasis in the wilderness and a step back in time.
At the Darwin, you’ll be fuelled by our healthy menus; made from scratch, vegetable-forward, varied and casual, they reflect the bounty of the summer season. Sourced from our sister ranch outside of Cody, WY and local farms in the area, we practice and support sustainable, regenerative agricultural practices.
We harvest what we can from the landscape we live in and we create dishes that wander the natural flavors of the landscape, and offer a lasting sensory experience.
As the most remote guest ranch in the lower 48 states, it’s rare that you’ll run into anyone else during your days at the Darwin. You can hike or ride for miles in any direction, fish right off the lodge, or trek up to remote high mountain lakes and rivers.
After a day of exploration where you are encouraged to create your own adventure, come settle back into the lodge, take a dip in the hot tub, or sing along as friends gather around the piano and be transported back in time.
We are looking forward to welcoming you at our high-altitude oasis where you’ll experience the marriage of sophisticated living in remote wilderness terrain.
Good time to go
Summer Season: June 25 through September 23, 2023
Hunting Season: October through November 2023
Skiing Season: January through March 2024
Children at the Ranch
Great for children aged 10 and over
Families with children are most welcome! Please note that we do not have supervision or special programs for kids, so it's 100% family time and horseback rides are only available for those under 10 if we are convinced that they are fairly experienced riders.
We welcome exclusive bookings of the ranch, which are particularly wonderful for multi-generational families, and a great way to introduce your children and grandchildren to the wilderness. Please inquire.
Minimum age children can ride
0 and over
Baby Sitting Provided By
Environmental & Social Practices
We are off-grid and are working towards a zero-waste future. We are committed to preserving, protecting and sharing the land.
For the Darwin, this includes commitments to maintaining the lightest possible footprint, from holistic pasture management, to facilitating exploration and personal challenge. Communicating the wonders of our location and broader ecosystem, and preparing meals with responsibly raised and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Providing a relaxed, responsive and friendly guest experience, while meticulously preparing for adversity.
Developing a unique, Mustang-based equestrian program and engaging in conversation about the privileges, responsibilities and complexities of recreating in a wilderness area.
We also ask that guests understand their role in individual and collective safety.
We are committed to placing sustainability at the forefront of our operation and we take this ethic into the ways we source our food.
We harvest what we can from the landscape we live in; guests can enjoy an elderflower cocktail perched on a cliff edge a stone’s throw away from the elderberry bush.
The majority of our meat and vegetables come from our sister ranch, Ishawooa Mesa Ranch, located in the dramatic landscape outside of Cody, Wyoming, where we raise beef and pork following sustainable, integrated agricultural practices.
Food that doesn't directly come from Ishawooa (by bush plane) is sourced from farms and businesses in Park, Teton and Sublette Counties.
We are also honored to partner with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe for hunting trips. Shoshone people have lived throughout the Great Basin, High Plains and Rocky Mountain areas since time immemorial.
Places currently identified as national treasures, national recreation areas and America’s first national park, Yellowstone, as well as the spectacular Darwin Ranch in the Gros Ventre mountains, were once Shoshone homelands and hunting grounds.
The Eastern Shoshone with a total tribal enrollment of 4,433 reside largely in or near the western area of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fort Washakie and the communities of Crowheart, Burris and Boulder Flats along the foothills of the Wind River Mountains.
In order to document and pass on the full language and elk traditions, the Darwin Ranch has partnered with the Chief Washakie Foundation to develop a language immersion program at the Darwin Ranch, traditional Shoshone hunting grounds.
In 2021 and 2022 the Foundation ran its first cultural programs at the Darwin, involving many elders and tribal member participants. The elders taught about hunting traditions and tribal history.
At the Darwin, we manage our pastures through a rotational grazing system.
When our family purchased the ranch, much of the pastures were over-grazed and in need of good stewardship. Over seven years we have implemented a grazing pattern that helps replicate the way wild animals would graze.
Instead of turning our horses out loose every evening, we corral them into a large, enclosed pasture. They eat in one spot for a night or two and then move on to a new section, never returning to the same section all summer.
This style replicates a migrating animal herd that would typically spend a night or two in an area; stomping, rolling and grazing. This has been incredibly effective in bringing back native grasses that evolved to be consumed in this exact manner.
Alongside our grazing, we only reseed pasture with a native grass seed specifically designed for the high alpine Gros Ventre area. We never use chemical fertilizers of any kind.
The Darwin Ranch is one of the few surviving homestead inholdings in a US Forest that has not been subdivided. It has a long history of homesteading, guest ranching and supporting the western lifestyle that dates back to the turn of the century.
It was first home to a fur trapper and trader by the name of Fred Dorwin. The ranch was later renamed Darwin on a misprinted document and the name stuck.
The ranch was home to one of the first ‘dude’ operations in the west in the 20’s, hosting people from around the country from its very inception. Its characteristic architectural style is a nod to a very specific and unique time in homestead design.
The Darwin reflects the 'Architectural Craftsmen' style that was born out of guest ranches in the mountain west, exclusively built with timber logged from the nearby hillside.
In its list of owners are doctors, ranchers, lawmen, crooked trappers, soldiers, railroad men, ambassadors to Russia, and graduates of Harvard and Bowdoin college.
Darwin was recently nominated to the National Register of Historic places – an important recognition of its rich contribution to the history of the mountain west.
Your Manager, Kathy Bole and Oliver Klingenstein
The Darwin is run by the mother-son team of Kathy Bole and Oliver Klingenstein.
Kathy oversees bookings, cabins, lodge operations and the kitchen. She is a passionate cook, and spent most of her working life in retail food and restaurant kitchens.
Oliver's early love for horses and Western lands led him to study Environmental History, and he is an EMT and a farrier. He is responsible for the physical infrastructure, hydro power system and the rotational grazing program. He also oversees guest recreation and manages our herd of horses, including the purchasing and training of the mustangs.