Winter 2023 - Phoenix/Talent, from tragedy to revival

Monday, January 29, 2018

An All-Season Escape

An All-Season Escape

The Resort at Running Y Ranch 

Story by Lynn Leissler 

Photography provided by Running Y Ranch


Packing for a few days at a resort took on a new dimension when my traveling companion, eleven-year-old Renee, asked if she could bring her scooter. Well, why not? That my granddaughter had never been to a resort before, allowed me the pleasure of experiencing our adventure through her eyes.

After settling into our beautiful, well-appointed room—where she claimed first choice of beds—we headed to the swimming pool. She might have spent our whole visit in the water, but I knew there were other things to do. Toward dinnertime, we walked to the golf shop for a light meal at Arnie’s Bar. We ate outdoors, taking in views of the surrounding mountains and enjoying the summer evening. Before returning to our room, we stopped in the Market at Running Y for ice cream and snacks. The lure of an evening of unending cable TV proved too much for Renee, so she took over the remote control and I read.

During our stay, we took several walks around the site—I walked and she rode her scooter. On our second day, we swam again. After paddling about the pool together, Renee drifted off to befriend a girl her age. The Upstate New Yorker had come with her California grandparents to view the eclipse a few days prior. A group from France had been there for the same reason, logging miles across continents, chasing eclipses like some folks chase tornadoes. I was curious about others who might come long distances, and the clear winners are those from the Ukraine and Russia. They show up before Christmas, for surely our coldest, snowiest winters pale in comparison to theirs. Fisher folks come in the spring, duck hunters in the fall. Duck Dynasty cast members have been spotted in the Klamath basin.

The Ruddy Duck, the lodge’s in-house restaurant, has its own greenhouse. Plant starts make their way to two community gardens and eventually to the restaurant’s table. One evening I indulged in the Farm-to-Fork dinner. At the end of the meal, I set down my fork quite full and wholly satisfied. The salad was so fresh I envisioned the sou-chef sprinting to the garden to pick the veggies. My entrée was roasted lamb cooked to perfection, and creamed spinach—forget how your grandmother fixed it. The third course, fried huckleberry pie alamode, had me curious, but did not disappoint. Renee went for the steak once more. (Once she discovered steak on the kids’ menu, she ordered it three times.) Executive chef, Matthew Renshaw, stopped by our table on the patio to make sure the meals were to our satisfaction. We gave him thumbs up.

Breakfast at the Ruddy Duck includes the usual fare, with some delightful additions, such as elk sirloin hash and duck sausage. As participants in the Blue Zones Project (a program of purposeful healthy living), they serve healthy choices to start the day. The same holds true for lunch and dinner salads and entrées.

According to Golf Advisor’s 2017 ratings, the course at Running Y comes in number two of about 180 signature Arnold Palmer courses in the world, and is his only course in Oregon. When Palmer played there he said, "The Running Y Ranch Golf Course showcases the spectacular natural landscape of Oregon’s beautiful unspoiled outback. …you will play beside lakes, woodlands and into Payne Canyon on the back." Golfers from around the world travel to play the course, one of Palmer’s “Sweet 16.” With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, you’re unlikely to be rained out. The challenging course wraps around lakes, winds through woodlands, crisscrosses Payne Canyon, and offers Scottish-style mounding on the final holes.

Neither Renee nor I are golfers, so we opted for the mini-golf course. Set aside any notions that you’ll be popping a ball through windmills or such. The 18-hole course is a scaled-down version of its big brother, complete with water hazards, sand traps, and sneaky breaks. Renee whacked at balls, and I practiced my limited skills with far more success than I’d have had on Arnie’s course. 

Onsite opportunities abound. From bike and walking trails, to a fitness gym, to Sandhill Spa to the Sports Center with volleyball, pickleball, and basketball courts and horseshoe pits, you’ll find no excuse to avoid exercise, indoors or out. Roe Outfitters stands ready to book kayaking, canoeing, hunting, boating, fishing, and snowshoeing outings. Birding expeditions, too—last year, a white-headed woodpecker was spotted. Reservations can be made for horseback riding May through September, weather permitting. 

Offsite, the region offers myriad adventures, including hiking and biking trails, Tule Lake National Monument (site of a WWII internment camp), Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake Zipline, Favell Museum, Lava Beds National Monument, Lake of the Woods and other mountain lakes. In nearby Klamath Falls you will enjoy cultural venues, historic sights, festivals, dining opportunities and more.  

The lodge, completed in 1996, offers meeting, conference, and event spaces, a ranch house, and the pavilion, with catering services as well as audiovisual and presentation equipment available for rent. The 3,600 acres of Running Y Ranch houses the Resort, some vacation houses, The Village, which includes the market and other small businesses, and WorldMark timeshare properties. Over the years, through economic upswings and downturns, the property has changed, and Running Y Properties dreams of more change, according to Victoria Haley, Director of Sales and Marketing. There are discussions to add over two dozen rooms to the lodge and move the spa onsite.

As you read this, perhaps you’re tucking away the idea of going next spring or summer. You might want to rethink that plan, for winter is a perfect time to visit Running Y. The drive from the Rogue Valley offers scenery of unparalleled beauty. The resort plans to add sledding closer to the lodge this winter. If you tell your children about sledding, they’ll beg to go. If you tell them about the ice arena (open November through March), they’ll beg harder.

So pack your winter gear and head to The Resort at Running Y Ranch. There’s lots to do onsite, or use it as a base and venture abroad. Crater Lake offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Once you visit, you’ll want to return in the warm weather months. 

Finally, be safe by being prepared for winter driving and outdoor activities.


Running Y Ranch Resort

5500 Running Y Rd., Klamath Falls


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