California Riding Magazine • September, 2009

Wine & Equine
Cowboy Hideaway Ranch
offers great vacations.

by Cheryl Erpelding

After I worked the Western States Horse Expo this past June, my husband Steve flew up to join me for a three-night getaway to Jeff Irvine’s fabulous Cowboy Hideaway Ranch in Upper Lake, an easy two-hour drive from the Sacramento airport.

Sunday night we arrived at the bottom of the 750-acre ranch and I chickened out two-thirds of the way up the driveway. With room for only one truck, the driveway climbs about 1,000 feet to Jeff’s fantastic 5,000 square foot lodge that overlooks beautiful Clear Lake. The driveway is quite safe, but I’m not a brave off-pavement driver. Steve was happy to take over the driving duties and we arrived just in time to enjoy the stunning views and the setting sun on the south-facing deck of Jeff’s dream house.

Steve and I enjoy a beer and glass of local wine on the
Cowboy Hideaway’s deck overlooking the 750 acre ranch.

We enjoyed a wonderful pork loin roast with our host and his friend Karen White and, of course, drank some of the local wine and went to sleep early in a beautiful master suite. The next morning Steve and I hiked a bit around the top of the ranch and had a yummy breakfast before heading out to ride the Rocky Mountain gaited horses that live on the ranch.

Casey and Sam Pickering (left) talking with Steve after getting the
Rocky Mountain horses through a flower field meadow along Lake Mendocino.

Sam Pickering and his son Casey matched us up with our mounts and led us on a relaxing mountain ride from the bottom of the ranch back to the lodge for lunch. The tough Rocky Mountain horses had no problem with the climb and were super trail horses with easy-going temperaments. After a nice lunch we rode back to the bottom of the ranch and went with Karen who took us over to Ceágo Winery for a tasting. We bought several bottles of their excellent wine to have with dinner and bring home to San Diego.

The beautiful view of Clear Lake from the 5,000 sq. ft. log home was awesome.

The next day we met Sam and Casey at Lake Mendocino and packed in our lunch. We enjoyed a great day of trail riding along the lake and saw deer, wild turkey and eagles. We skipped the winery tour and went back to the lodge to relax on the deck and watch the sunset before dinner. Michele Dumont and Cindy Clark served up delicious meals throughout our stay and we hoped we didn’t pack on too many extra pounds from all of the wonderful food we had on our mini-vacation. 

Michelle Dumont and Cindy Clark made sure we didn’t go
hungry with delicious meals throughout our stay.

Cowboy Hideaway Ranch offers three-day and six-day vacations. Plus they have day rides. All of the horses are for sale and it’s a great way to test drive your next dream trail horse. Several clinicians are booking trips at the ranch to offer a unique and fun way to learn and ride with such names as Charles Wilhelm, Julie Goodnight and James Shaw. They and others are scheduling clinics at the ranch to offer their clients a fun trip of riding and learning in this relaxing venue. 

For more information on the riding trips and the sale horses go to Steve and I give it two thumbs up and we are looking forward to a return trip, hopefully in the near future.