- Rebekah Hall
Horseshoe Canyon Ranch sits nestled in a green, sprawling valley in the Ozark Mountains. It's
Riding trails, Buffalo River floats, disc golf, skeet shooting and Goat Cave spelunking are on the menu at the ranch, which is open to guests from March to November. There's also tomahawk throwing and a 2,300-foot-long zip-line — the "Iron Horse" — that spans the width of the canyon, at one point more than 300 feet above the valley floor. (For the
The ranch's 352 acres are divided into the West Side, which features the primitive campground where most climbers stay, and the East Side, where HCR's famed yearly "24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell" 24-hour climbing event is held, and the North Forty, which HCR said is the most popular area because of its classic climbing spots. The "forty" refers to the original 40 climbing routes set up along the rock faces.
Adventure Guide Kris Evans, who is coming to the end of his first season working at the ranch, but who has been rock climbing there for six years, said guests often depart with a new sense of accomplishment. "When our guests leave, they leave very
The ranch offers many ways for guests to find themselves on the side of a rock wall, with over 500
- Rebekah Hall
The ranch's horseback riding trails are on a separate 352 acres. Fifty horses roam the acreage, and there are goats dotting the landscape, too. The ranch also features a petting zoo, home to a fat pig and a large, grain-fed goat named "Mental."
For Evans, who along with his climbing partner Ardian Prishtina recently participated in the "Horseshoe Hell" climb, the thrill of teaching rock climbing comes from the student's satisfaction.
"I get just as much excitement out of watching somebody climb their first climb as I do
On the afternoon we visited, young women at the base of the Green Goblin shouted words of encouragement to two other women during their careful ascent. Further down along the same stretch of rock, one young man worked as a belayer — the person on the ground who manages the rope to catch a climber in case of a fall or slip — while he watched his friend climb up the rock above him. He noticed Evans and shouted, "Hey man! I know you! You gave me a breakfast burrito the last time I was here!" Such is the effect that the ranch, and employees like Evans, have on guests. The place and its people are memorable, and they're passionate about the languid, steady pace of life in the lush valley.
Guests can bring their own camping gear and camp at the ranch for pretty cheap — $5 per person to camp, and $10 per person for a day pass to climb — but the rates to stay in the cabins are pricier and depend on the season. For the fall season, Oct. 1-28, each adult pays $215 per day or $1,159 per week. The prices are all-inclusive of ranch activities and three meals a day.