This post is dedicated to the rich history of Red Horse Mountain Dude Ranch, as it represents over 100 years of transformation that made Red Horse what it is today! While thousands of people embark on all-inclusive dude ranch vacations every year, its possible that many forget to ponder how most ranches were founded: by brave and adventurous settlers who were looking for adventure, a new life out west, and of course the timeless necessity to make a living. When it comes to our region and the historical western expansion, the hardy wilderness of northern Idaho perhaps prolonged settlement in our area while people flooded the rest of the west.
For this reason, homesteaders didn’t venture to these parts until the late 1800’s. Why then, you ask? Gold of course! Equally important was silver; but also timber, furs, and any other commodity one might find when they come to a region of pristine forests, lakes, and diverse geology. When settlers arrived in the area, they were met by the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe, or “sharpen hearts”, named so by their clever and knowledgeable trading abilities. They are considered the original settlers, as they had been surviving in the area for thousands of years. While these early encounters comprise another fascinating piece of history, lets get back to Red Horse Mountain!
The true origins of our ranch began with the Red Horse Gold Mine, at the foot of Red Horse Mountain. Previously, our valley was the perfect location for Native American tribes to make winter camps, whether for the season, or just traveling through. It is also said that in these early mining times, our valley provided the perfect hideout for horse thieves, as they could hide out in the valley and keep watch on the surrounding peaks. While the boom of the mine didn’t last, its remnants still exist today.
Miners at the Red Horse Gold Mine
Red Horse Mountain Gold Mine not only brought prospectors, but also homesteaders that were looking for a new life amid this amazing terrain. John Nederhood was one such homesteader, and he made his home here in the Red Horse valley in 1904 with his wife, Mirtle. For those who have been to our ranch, it is a wonder to think what it must have been like in the early 1900’s to make the arduous trip to this location, and to find, upon arrival, such a beautiful place!
John Nederhood, wife Mirtle, and child Maude
While it was originally the homestead of the Nederhood family, Red Horse became active as a ranch in the 1920s. Since then, the name and use of our ranch has transformed several times. It was previously owned by Lloyd Jones, and was part of his Bar-be-que Ranch, one of the first dude ranches in the region. With its secluded and unspoiled landscape, our location was the perfect place for Timber Ridge Ranch, a cattle ranch that was also a Christian dude ranch for those looking to gain some perspective in the wilderness. Timber Ridge was eventually purchased by a couple that searched for years looking for the perfect location for a dude ranch, a place where they could share their love of nature. They picked a good spot! In 1992, they named it Hidden Creek, and spent a year building new rustic cabins and getting the place ready to become a guest ranch. (wow, was that really 20 years ago?) Red Horse Mountain Ranch took over in 2005, and we are still representing the spirit and values of the west, as well as the appreciation of unspoiled wilderness.
Thanks for reading about the brief history of Red Horse Mountain, as it is always part of a true western experience! Below is a picture of the old barn, one of the original ranch structures. (You can also see it as it is today in the thumbnail above)
Early 1900’s, original barn
2013, ‘The Old Barn’