The Bagley Family Discusses Running The Teton Mountain Ranch in Idaho.
Spectacular Views & Horseback: Teton Mountain Ranch
The Bagley Family Talks History, Business, And Horseback Riding Tours At Teton Mountain Ranch In Idaho
Teton Mountain Ranch can be found nestled within the forests and mountain ranges of Victor, Idaho. From a country cabin, visitors see an endless sea of green, made up of pine trees and other local forestation. But if travelers want to see above the trees, Teton Mountain Ranch offers a spectacular opportunity for their visitors: Trail rides through the Targhee-Caribou National Forest on horseback, climbing up to an elevation of up to 9,000 feet, giving riders a spectacular view of the Teton Mountain Rage, with the Teton River snaking through the Teton Valley below.
“It's fun for me to get to meet people from all over the country and give them a positive experience and give them the things that I have grown up with,” relates owner Kent Bagley. “One day you see a moose, one day you see a deer... To see the change in the seasons when the snow is melting to all the wildflowers in the summer - each day is different even though it's the same trails.”
Born and raised on a horse, Bagley has always loved these magnificent animals. He grew up in Teton Valley and now his grandkids are the fifth generation of the family to do so. Bagley Ranch has been in operation since the late 1800s, at which time the family was raising sheep, hay, grain and potatoes. They also had a small dairy.
Today, the site is still a working ranch with beef, hay, grain and elk. The wide open space and horses are what has kept each generation hooked on the area.
“I was from a big city: Kansas City, Missouri and I moved here 15 years ago,” said Bagley's daughter-in-law, Alexis Bagley. After she met her husband, Alexis moved out to the Teton Mountain Ranch after college. She learned to ride horses. At first she had mixed feelings, going from the big city life to near-wilderness.
“It's different country than anywhere else in the United States,” said Alexis. “Riding horses here is not some boring, flat trail ride that goes in a circle. You're going through steep mountains. It's very unique and exciting. And it's very, very pretty.”
What hooked Alexis is also what hooks many guests. Most are repeat customers, itching for a chance to explore the Targhee-Caribou National Forest on horseback once again.
“A lot of people who come to the city are overwhelmed with how big it is. They are so used to being in a city situation. All of a sudden they get out there and they see several miles across the valley,” said Bagley. “They comment about how blue the sky is…things that we take for granted because we see it all the time. They comment on the different colors of the wildflowers in the valley.”
While the ranch itself is over 200 years old, the trail riding has only been going on for 15 years. “[It is a way to] show people [the land] and include them in what we get to do and see every day,” explains Alexis. Always having had horses, Bagley felt it was “a natural fit,” and “another niche” to fit into the family's operations. The cabins, available for rent with no minimum, were added five years ago.
“Most people have never had an opportunity to get out on a horse. A lot of people hike, but you can't get out on a horse and see the country the way we can here,” said Bagley.
Since the family is aware that many people from the city have never ridden a horse, they offer simple, short one-hour trail excursions for beginners. Many of those riders come back for the longer, tougher trails later on. There are also half-day and full-day rides. But no matter which ride visitors choose, Teton Mountain Ranch always makes sure each group is able to get some spectacular sites.
People traveling by RV can also find places to hook up their RV all over Victor, Idaho and other surrounding towns, including the Teton Valley RV Park, just 25 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Yellowstone as well as Grand Teton National Park are within eye distance.
The trail rides at Teton Mountain Ranch are a great way to then head above tree level, looking down at all of the spectacular sites from a horse's back, taking in the breathtaking sites that have city folk flocking to Teton Mountain Ranch year after year.
A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.