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“Special memories to last a lifetime”
Review of 7D Ranch

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7D Ranch
Ranked #1 of 30 Speciality Lodging in Cody
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 July 2014

When I was visiting Jackson Hole last Fall with my daughter I knew that I had to come back to Wyoming with my entire family and spend a week on a dude ranch. I presently live in NH and my 3 children are scattered throughout the US, so this would be a place for all to assemble and have a fabulous vacation together. 7D was recommended to me by a few friends who had been there and raved about it. It superseded our expectations from the moment we drove into Sunlight Basin and entered the ranch property. Our week was absolutely spectacular in every way. We were 12 altogether, with 6 grandchildren ranging in ages from 11 - 3. They went off every morning to find their horse for the week and be thoroughly entertained by the kids' wonderful staff, while the parents also could ride their special horse, mountain climb, fish, or even mountain bike. The gymkhana for the kids on the final day makes me still laugh, it was so wonderful. Meade and Andrea Dominick and the entire staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming and every day was more outstanding than the one before. The vistas from every horseback ride to the snow covered mountains as a backdrop were breathtaking. One day a few of us opted to mountain climb White Mountain with Meade and his young son Lash in a backpack. Little did we know we would bushwhack up a jagged outcropping to the summit, and we loved every moment of it! Andrea had a super time mountain biking with some of the family as well. The staff were incredibly friendly, helpful and totally fun to spend time with, including a very competitive game of capture the flag one evening into the dark of night! Line dancing, music, I could go on and on. In a nutshell, we were all extremely sad to leave after a most memorable and meaningful week for us all. Huge thanks to the Dominick family for providing an atmosphere of the true West to us all. We do indeed hope and plan to return.

Room Tip: There are a number of quaint log cabins scattered through out the ranch of varying sizes. All appea...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Lisa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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113 - 119 of 235 reviews

Reviewed 24 July 2014

We descended on 7D last week, all sixteen of us ranging in age from two one and a half year old grandsons to sixty three year old me. Everyone had the best time of their lives. The gorgeous location, the superb food, and the delightfully rustic cabins all helped. But it was the overall atmosphere of hospitality and a fabulous staff that set 7D apart from any other place I have been. The toddlers were lovingly cared for, the children adored their horses and cowboy activities, and adults were graciously accommodated to whatever they wanted to do, be it riding or fishing or hiking or nothing at all. The final day was just one example of the lengths this place went to to ensure a memorable vacation. We took a "family ride" in the morning, fourteen of us, to Screaming Woman Rock. Four of the staff escorted this small army, including one terrific young woman who led, on foot, my nervous four year old granddaughter's horse all the way and back, including a couple of stream crossings. On top of the Rock, which afforded perhaps the most majestic vistas on this planet, another wrangler (the head of the children's program, a phenomenally energetic and magnetic young man who had the kids eating out of his hand on Day One) told us all the legend of the Screaming Woman. Everyone was enthralled with the setting, the riding, and most of all the warmth and friendship we felt towards this ranch and its people. Without a doubt, 7D gives its guests an unparalleled vacation. My family will never forget it.

Room Tip: All the cabins are delightful, quiet, and clean
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Brad W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2014

Driving into the Sunlight Basin for the first time, one immediately gets a sense that this pristine valley is unique. And the week spent there with our entire family confirms that this place offers a truly magical experience. It is really comfortable and accommodating to individual needs (food, kids, etc) yet rustic enough to be authentic. It is, in fact, a working ranch. And while the setting is absolutely mind-blowing with every new ride, hike, mtb ride, or fishing excursion, the thing that sets the 7D apart is the staff. They are energetic, interesting, smart, and fun. Our week was action packed, and the kids were able to be independent, never bored, and we all woke each day with excitement.
Thanks to Meade, Andrea, the Dominick family and their incredible staff for making the week much better than we could have hoped. We absolutely will try to come back.

Room Tip: work with the staff, they are great at matching people with cabins
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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Thank tedwardlaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014

I had 'going to a dude ranch' on my bucket list and spent last week fulfilling that dream. The 7D experience was beyond any of my expectations - quaint log cabins filled with antiques; exceptional food served family style; wranglers who provided us with personalized rides that suited our riding ability and interests; well-trained horses; great entertainment; and an endless supply of the best cookies you'll ever eat! Every staff member knew the guests by name and were always asking what they could do to make our visit even better. My friend and I enjoyed the company of the other guests, including two large family groups with children of all ages. The inclusive activities made us feel like old friends.
What makes this ranch so special are the managers, Meade and Andrea Dominick. The ranch has been in the Dominick family for years and their love of the land is evidenced in how they share Sunlight Basin with their guests. No one can leave the ranch without feeling as though they have been adopted into the 7D family.
What an amazing week in paradise!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Connie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 June 2014

This was a special week, to take my friends grandsons to a real dude ranch for a truly western experience. We researched a number of alternatives, and could not have made a better choice. If you are a novice or experienced horse person , there is a ride for you every day. Shooting, fishing, or just hanging out the setting and the managers and staff will insure a great day every day. Very family oriented and lots of activities for the kids. Great meals and enjoyable conversations with the other guests. A lot of the guests are repeaters, and I am sure we will be too.
The staff is there to be of help, but never in your way. As near a perfect experience as you will find. The cabins are great and the shower always had hot water. Every meal was very good with choices and lots of food. A truly great place in the mountains.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank Huron68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2014

"It's snowing, Daddy! It's snowing and it's June!" exclaimed my 9 year old daughter, reaching her hands high to the giant snowflakes drifting through the tall cedars that towered above us high in Sunlight Basin. Meade Dominick, manager of the 7D Ranch and whose family has owned it for generations, had just finished recounting a story of his grandfather, Dr. Dewey Dominick, on an emergency medical mission in those same mountains years ago. It was as if the Gods had said THE END to his tale, that those fat wet flakes of spring snow glided down around us as we finished our breakfast of sausages, eggs, biscuits and gravy halfway through a morning ride on a Wednesday morning. It was this moment, witnessing my daughter's elation, that I gained a deep understanding of why the 7D is a place to which guests and families have been returning for years.

Months earlier, my wife and I decided the big trip this summer would be a dude ranch to help satiate our daughter's love of horses. So I solicited a recommendation from family friends who I knew had "Dude Ranched" with their kids years ago. Their recommendation came back as the 7D, so after finding them on the web, I then spent time on Google Earth identifying the ranch in Wyoming and compared its location to other ranches we also considered.

I am a child of the mountains - I grew up hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, took a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course when I was in high school, and crave being up high on a trail somewhere. Take a look for yourself at the Google Earth imagery and you will see that it commands a location unlike most other ranches, and instantly became my favorite choice. 44.43.16 N, 109.34.47 W. The 7D is tucked way up in a place called the Sunlight Basin, at the foot of the Absaroka Range in Wyoming. I knew that the spectacular scenery and surroundings would provide for a week of varied experiences. I was right, but also surprised, and profoundly touched by the personal and emotional connection my wife, daughter and I made to the community that is created when like-minded guests come together with a staff that loves what they do so deeply.

So here is the breakdown of the Ranch...

ACTIVITIES
Before I arrived, I thought of Dude Ranching as going on horseback rides. Certainly that was the centerpiece of the Ranch, but there were many other activities we were drawn to. Lead by an enthusiastic staff (which I will get to in more detail later), we climbed a 10,200 foot mountain, learned how to fly-fish in the river that runs through the property, and learned how to skeet shoot with at 12 gauge shotgun (and not in a million years did I think I would see my 9 year old daughter shoot a shotgun!) The children's program was fantastic - there were several families there with kids of all ages ranging from toddlers to teens and I was surprised by how the staff kept all ages happily occupied while the adults went on adult rides and other activities during most days. As a matter of fact, we only had two "family rides" the entire week. We could have had more if we had asked, but our daughter was so in love with the kids program and the highly imaginative kids wranglers that we found ourselves on our own more than we thought -- which we really enjoyed! At the end of the week there was a gymkhana for the kids (fun games on horseback) followed by a ceremony at dinner where each child received a golden horseshoe with their name and horse on it.

On two of the days, we were fortunate enough to draw Meade, the owner/manager as our "activity leader." The first was a trail ride, and the second was the aforementioned mountain climb. Meade grew up on this ranch and knows the mountains like the back of his hand. Always keen to find a new way to do something - a new route, an interesting shortcut, he always seemed to start off the adventure by asking a leading question. "So... we could take the trail, or we could bushwhack and try a shortcut..." well, like minded people who think the same always fell for the obvious answer and so those days with Meade became affectionately known as "Meade-ventures." The trail ride took us though dense forest where our horses picked their way over fallen trees and though rivers and streams, as we slowly made our way higher into the mountains. We could not help but wonder how on earth Meade knew where he was but then were reminded that he grew up here and this must be a part of his master plan. Then suddenly we broke above treeline onto a meadow covered in alpine flowers with the most spectacular view of snow covered peaks in the near distance. It was like a scene out of the Sound of Music. Then a little further up this exposed ridge at, let's say 8000 feet, a snow squall blew through with winds that threatened to blow us off our horses. It lasted all of 10 minutes, leaving us drenched in sunlight once again and giggling like the kids we had found again inside of us by being lead on such an adventure.

On our mountain climb up Windy Peak, Meade once again took us on an unplanned journey. On the way down from the summit, he once again posed the question. "Anyone want to take a shortcut?" We all gleefully said yes and found ourselves "boot skiing" down scree slopes and snowfields through the cedar forests, laughing at our good fortune and looking at each other occasionally, with that expression you get when you know you're all never going to forget that moment, ever.

STAFF
This really leads me to talk about the staff of the 7D, who are the heart and soul of the operation and makes the guest experience so profound.

We were picked up at Cody Airport by Peter, a 22 year old college grad whose job at the ranch was maintenance. Every staff member has a responsibility - maintenance, housekeeping, kitchen, wrangler, ranch hand, office staff... But on top of their assigned duties were their passions. Peter's was mountaineering which I quickly learned when I mentioned the last time I was in Wyoming was my NOLS course years ago. His enthusiasm for the surrounding mountain ranges and desire to share it with us all was infectious, and we got to climb Windy Peak with him too. His boyish charm and excitement of being high in the mountains that day gave us all the added energy we needed as our out of shape bodies and lungs struggled with the altitude.

Every person on the staff is just like Peter. They are all so young, just out of college or in their early twenties, with all the hope in the world that young people of that age carry. It swirled around the camp throughout every moment of every day. From Augey showing me how to land a fly in a gentle eddy of water aside the rushing Sunlight Creek as he told us stories of his recent fishing trip to Patagonia, to Sam's incredible energy and creativity as one of the kids' wranglers, to the incredibly visual history lesson while on horseback of Dead Indian Hill from Tyler, a quintessential "cowboy gentleman." The staff created an inclusive, comfortable, welcoming aura that brought every guest together so that we all left as friends.

GUESTS
...And friends they all became, from all corners of the country. Some for their first time, some returning guests year after year after year. One thing all shared in common - the love for the outdoors, a sense of adventure, the desire to push oneself to experience new challenges. The 7D is a rustic, simple place. It is not a "Ranch Resort" with a swimming pool, golf course and spa. Some parents remarked that if there had been a pool at the ranch we never would have gotten our kids out of it. There is also no internet - while the ranch advertises they have wifi around the main lodge, it's useless as I discovered while once trying to sneak an email check, rather self consciously, as guests would walk by playfully chiding me to let it go. I did, and how liberating it felt!

Breakfast and dinner are served in the main lodge at large shared tables. If you cherish private time with only your own family, again this is not the place for you. Once you arrive at the 7D, every guest becomes a part of one large family during the waking hours. We weren't expecting this but we found so much in common with every guest there it heightened our overall experience. Again, like minded people choose a place like the 7D.

FOOD
Ah the food. As we all know, without great food, a travel experience can become a bad memory. Chef Diane from Pittsburgh has her guests eating out of her proverbial soup ladle. The cuisine is simple comfort food, but it is quite simply the best comfort food you might ever have. Maybe it's the altitude, maybe it's hunger coming in from a long hike or ride, maybe it's just the fact that it's so darn good. I've had chicken pot pie before, but this was the best chicken pot pie I've ever had. I've had pulled pork before, but this was the best pulled pork I've ever had. Same goes with the scrambled eggs mixed with potatoes, the teriyaki steak dinner, the biscuits and gravy on the brunch ride - simply unreal. We were all terrified of the weight we were going to gain but somehow remarkably we only gained a couple of pounds! Diane is by trade a pastry chef, so to top it all off, you can imagine what her cookies and desserts were like. 'Nuff said.

ACCOMMODATION
Cabins are simple, but cozy. Most have wood burning stoves which are fun to light and do a great job of heating up the space quickly. Our cabin had a full bath but be careful taking a bath if anyone's going to follow you (at least in Schoolhouse) because the small water heater ran out quickly.

We spent absolutely no time hanging out in our cabin. Our days were so full that we only came back to shower before dinner, and then to sleep. We were kept that busy. Our cabin, Schoolhouse, had a little lawn beside it that had a beautiful view of a nearby mountain called Elkhorn. We asked Peter if we could set up a little outside seating area on that lawn for some evening cocktails and it was done on the second day. Perfect.

TRAVEL TIPS
7D does not provide liquor so buy plenty on your way in if you're drinkers. Bring extra - the young staff appreciates it!

We were there during their second week session in mid-June - while we were too early for fly fishing, we found it to be an incredible time to visit because there was still lots of snow in the mountains making the landscape more dramatic. The weather was lovely and cool (coming from LA a huge draw) as well as varied as mentioned earlier with periods of snow, then warm sunshine, then cool nights making the cabins and their wood burning stoves extra cozy. The best part about going early in the summer were the high alpine fields carpeted in flowers with hues of red, blue, white and yellow. Just stunning.

The 7D Ranch sits at a high altitude - well over 7000 feet. If you live at lower altitudes like we do, don't think you're going to waltz in there and not be effected. Unless you're in incredible shape, even the simplest tasks will leave you a bit winded. Take it easy for the first couple of days!

IN CLOSING
On our last day, I was loading out our bags to the porch of Schoolhouse and Meade walked up to thank me for coming. An ernest man of only 37, he seems older than his years, carrying the experience of generations of Dominicks, and without effort, he silently commands respect and admiration for carrying on his family's legacy. He and his wife Andrea have assembled a team that has mastered sharing the simple joy of being alive in the outdoors. A joy that never left our faces for that one fleeting week -- a joy my daughter will never forget, etched in her precious soul as gentle as those snowflakes in June that fell silently through the cedars.

Room Tip: So many cabins with so many different features - you really can't go wrong with any of them. Tr...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank MatinicusRock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2013

I visited the 7D as a child multiple times with my family, and had the opportunity to go back this year as an adult. I was happy to see that not much has changed as the years passed. The ranch is family owned and managed and is the perfect place to relax on a family vacation. There are so many activiites and are suitable for all ages. Having travel to many places, I'd still put the landscapes and views at the top of my list as they are unlike anywhere I've been. Besides being surrounded by beautiful countyside, the knowledgable, friendly and interactive staff really make the experience. The staff really makes an effort to accompany you're needs and ensure you get all the activities you ask for. Although this is the only dude ranch I have been to, I've not yet had a poor experience, which keeps me coming back year after year.

Room Tip: For family's I love Fireplace and for a couple 1st twin is my favorite.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank becky j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 7D Ranch

Address: 7D Ranch Ln, Box 100, Cody, WY 82414-9657
Region: United States > Wyoming > Cody
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 30 Speciality Lodging in Cody
Number of rooms: 11
Also Known As:
7d Ranch Hotel Cody
7D Ranch Cody, Wyoming

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