Bear Lake Glamping Resort Wraps Up Second Season of Luxury Camping
Garden City—In Northern Utah, overlooking Bear Lake, is a sight many visitors may not expect. Slightly secluded and off the main road is a circle of covered wagons and a campus of large canvas tents: Conestoga Ranch, Bear Lake’s glamour camping (glamping) resort. Conestoga Ranch has just finished up its second summer of operation and business has been booming, says Steve Arnold, general manager.
“I think in the second year we were really able to figure out what we needed to have to provide the experience that we wanted,” said Arnold. “We base ourselves around the American Safari Experience—we’ve upped our amenities and service.”
The resort looks a little like the Hollywood version of a old Western camp—unzip the thick canvas of your tent and within is a king-size bed with plush blankets and pillows, a large area rug, and in some tents, a separate bathroom area with a tin bathtub and basin sink. The covered wagons aren’t filled with supplies to go further westward, but their own amenities and beds.
To keep the ‘American Safari’ theme running, Conestoga Ranch goes out of its way to give patrons the full American West experience. Each of the bigger tents has their own fire pits, and check-in comes with a s’mores kit. If you come to dine at their Campfire Grill on the weekends, there’s almost always a cowboy or two crooning. There’s even a local rancher, Heber Dunford, (whom Arnold and the crew call Uncle Heber) that comes in on the weekends to teach children how to rope.
“He’ll take an hour or so, play with the kids, and teach them how to rope. He’ll go to fire to fire talking to people about this area, the west, and the pioneers. He’s an old time rancher, himself,” said Arnold. “He also sings fireside songs.”
There’s plenty else to do at Conestoga Ranch, as well. There’s weekend yoga, a games tent with air hockey and basketball, a playground for kids, and partnerships with some of the companies servicing nearby Bear Lake. For those hoping to secure paddleboards, boats—or go horseback riding or off-roading, the ranch provides a concierge service for those activities.
Starting this season, the ranch also unveiled a new event tent, called the Denali Tent. The tent is 1,700 square feet and has 15-foot-high ceilings at its peak, and can be used for weddings, reunions, or corporate groups.
“The tent zips all the way up or it can be completely open. It’s a great view,” said Arnold. “Corporate groups can use it for breakout sessions. There’s a wedding this weekend, and we’ll be using that tent. [The wedding guests] do their dinner at the restaurant and then move back up to the tent for a cocktail party and dancing. It’s a great flow of having all the amenities and entertainment right here.”
Looking forward to next year, Arnold is hopeful that the ranch’s restaurant will expand its catering options and menu, and that the ranch will form more partnerships with the local businesses nearby.
“Our owners are all about these partnerships and helping out this town, Garden City, and Bear Lake. I serve here on a board in town. We’re very passionate about Garden City. We want to be more involved with more local providers because we’re local, too,” he said.