Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa
The anticipation builds as you meander down the highway that parallels the Colorado River, following it upstream for a short 25-minute ride out of Moab, Utah. A local winery appears and you wonder how that could be, coaxing grapes from vines in this soil, this climate, this place. Is it magic? Then, as you come round a bend in the road, it appears on the left, a 160-acre ranch set strategically between a pair of stunning rock monuments and the mighty Colorado. It has the look and feel of a working ranch, which it was at the beginning of the twentieth century when Fred and Ida Stearns hitched their plow to a horse in order to farm this rugged land. The Stearns’ farmhouse is still here, with a lovely herb garden outdoors, and a spacious corral just beyond. In many ways, it still is a working ranch, where horses are stabled and fresh fruit and vegetables are grown. You’re likely to taste the freshness of this locally grown produce at the elegant restaurant within the resort. (See accompanying review of the restaurant.)
Here’s a place to go horseback riding or river rafting, or play a set of tennis on one of two courts. There is so much to do here, you’ll have a difficult time deciding what activity to schedule during your stay. You can rest and relax, or you can be as active as you want to be, or figure out some combination of both.
With fifty-five spacious rooms, each offering 400 to 1,000 square feet of living space, the Sorrel River Ranch gives you the option of enjoying river views of the Colorado or mountain views of the La Sal range. Although, in some cases, you may have to ascend a few steps to your second story room, the views from the natural cedar wood deck are simply incredible. (There are decks off rooms everywhere, enlarging your actual living space measurably.) Not long after we arrived, we set our luggage down in the room and sat back in our two Adirondack chairs on the deck, enjoying some light refreshments and the gentle flow of the mighty Colorado River, just steps below us. Any stress of travel began to melt away in moments.
Look up and you see red rock mountains and monuments, with snow-capped mountains in the distance. Look down and you see the river, making you feel refreshed somehow, just for gazing at its constant, tranquil, mesmerizing flow. Look around and you can feel the power, energy and drive of the wild West, finding horses, corrals, and lots and lots of natural wood around you, inside and outside each building. Large picture windows abound in each suite, inviting the outdoors in and enticing you to roam around outside and see and touch everything for yourself. I smell the natural wood, the distinct and pungent aroma of the stables, feel the wind from off the river, and the sun as it warms the air. This is authentic as the solid wood posts on my four-poster bed, the leather saddles under the kid who’s taking a riding lesson in the arena, and the old Stearns’ homestead where you’re reminded that others got here before you, and left it better than they found it.
You can start your adventure here by checking out their website at www.sorrelriver.com. If you’re coming to Moab to visit the National Parks, then you should know you’re just a 30-minute drive from Arches National Park and 45 minutes from Canyonlands National Park. When you stay here, you’ll think you’re in a National Park all its own.
If you’re looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. Just ask a member of the Guest Experience Team to suggest and find opportunities for rafting in the Colorado, taking a hike, doing a guided mountain bike tour, a horseback ride or an ATV/Hummer tour. Take advantage of the fitness center, open 24 hours a day. There are yoga classes, natural history presentations, and “Astronomy with Alex” on Thursday nights, as you tour the night sky with a telescope. There’s a swimming pool, spa, horseshoe pit, volleyball court and a covered basketball court in the pavilion. Open only to guests of Sorrel River Ranch is a 2.6 mile fitness hike, offered complementarily at regularly scheduled times. You’ll ascend 335 feet to the top of a ridge and enjoy 360 degree views of the Colorado River Corridor, including Sorrel River Ranch and the La Sal Mountains. As a guest of the resort, I was provided with an 8-page adventure guide, filled with options mentioned above and more. Kids are offered pony rides in the afternoons around 4 p.m. Several 80-minute spa treatments are offered at the spa center and there are facial massage treatments on the extended menu as well. Sit back in the evenings with your family and friends at the lodge bonfire with some S’mores on hand to make you feel young again.
The Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa is a perfect getaway for couples or families. There is ample meeting space to host a seminar or retreat here, as well as small conferences. There is not a more perfect setting for a wedding than one by the Colorado River. Let the catering experts take care of everything you need to have the best, most memorable wedding ceremony ever.
Every member of the staff is friendly and helpful. Within minutes of our arrival, a staff member brought up a bucket of ice to our room. Pick up the phone and ask the front desk for help in making a reservation or scheduling an activity. In the afternoon, a staff member asked if we wanted turn down service in the evening. While we were away at dinner, we came back to our room and found a pair of delicious chocolate wafers near our pillows, with the room made cozier for the evening.
This is a place where you feel honored, valued and at home. There’s a casual elegance to everything here, with quality of furnishings in every room, from the well-stocked kitchenettes where you can have a light meal, to the ample use of sturdy and costly light fixtures, sofas, free-standing cabinetry, comfortable mattresses, and generous use of solid wood beams, wood paneling and tongue-in-groove cedar ceilings. There’s so much use of natural wood here with western art on nearly every wall that you feel like you’re part of the cowboy life.
If you’ve visited Moab before, then it’s time you took a little drive to visit the Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa. If you’ve never visited Moab before, then why not start with the best? Check out their website and notice in the FAQs that movies have been filmed near here and celebrities have been known to stay here, so there’s a question of how much privacy can they be given. This is definitely a “celebrity quality” type of place, and it would come as no surprise to see someone in person you might have viewed on TV or the movies. The resort feels remote, but it’s accessible to airports in Moab and Grand Junction, or just a short detour off Interstate 70.
You don’t need to bring your saddle, pard. Just bring your sense of adventure, some comfortable clothes, and a companion or two (or more) to share in the experience. Oh, and bring a camera too. They won’t believe what you tell them about this place back home, so you’d better have some pictures to prove it.
Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa
HC 64 BOX 4002
Mile 17 Highway 128
Moab Utah 84532
Phone: (435) 259-4642
Reservations: 1 (877) 317-8244