The Bull Hill Story
Before 1903 the mountain we sit on was nameless. Bull Hill was an uninhabited, uncharted, natural mountaintop paradise. In 1903 the mountain had waited long enough and accepted its first permanent host, Peter Ansaldo. Bull Hill has been watching over and hosting since that time.
Peter Ansaldo left Italy in 1900 in search of a new life in America, leaving the small village of San Giorgio, Italy. After arriving on Ellis Island, Peter headed west in search of work and a place to start a new life.
Peter made it as far as Butte, Montana when his journey came to a halt in 1901. The long endeavor proved to be a challenge and a financial drain. As a result, Peter began working in the mines to save enough money to send for his wife, Mary.
Peter sent for Mary and they had two daughters (Lena and Katherine) while living in Butte. After working for two years in the mines of Montana, and suffering from black lung, Peter’s doctor suggested he move to an area with an abundance of trees. Peter knew that some of his extended family members had established homesteads in northeast Washington and across the border in Canada. Moreover, Peter had reviewed the homestead claims listings for the area and decided to head for Washington. Peter bought a Hereford Bull “Curly” and arrived with Curly, the first and only Hereford bull in the area, on what is now Bull Hill. He staked claim on the land, built a homestead on what is now Ansaldo Lake and prepared the land for crop.
In 1921 Minot Guglielmino, chose to leave Italy to experience freedom and a better life in the United States. He spent his twenty-first birthday on the ship, which delivered him to Ellis Island. Minot’s family had stayed in touch with the Ansaldo family so Minot endeavored to travel to the Northport area. Initially, Minot worked in the Lead Point mine near Northport before meeting and marrying Peter and Mary’s daughter Katherine (Kate). Together, Peter and Minot grew the cattle herd and developed Bull Hill into a profitable ranch.
In 1928, Minot and Katherine had their first and only child, Don Guglielmino. Don worked on the ranch, living with his parents in what is now the “Old House” above the barn, and attended school at the white schoolhouse at the bottom of the hill. Don later graduated and met Kathleen (Kassie). Don and Kassie married and raised six children, Jeanne, Susan, Don, Pete, Tom, and Joe.
In 1995, brothers Don and Pete started a guest ranch alongside the cattle ranch. Don handled the business side of things while working another job and Pete ran the day to day operations with the cattle and guest ranch. Beginning with only the cookhouse, several horses, a few tents, and working out of the “old barn”, Bull Hill Guest Ranch has grown into what you see today as “the hill” still continues to host us all.
Pete Guglielmino, along with his wife Patsy, have owned, lived on and managed the cattle, and later, guest ranch operations since 1981, after graduating from Eastern Washington University. Pete is a licensed aircraft pilot, professional horse trainer and fly fishing/hunting guide. Pete proudly served as the past President of the WCA (Washington Cattlemen’s Association) and currently serves on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Pete and Patsy and their three children, Tucker, Hunter and Kassie have worked together as a family on the ranch to farm, wrangle, serve and host the guests who visit the ranch. Most recently, Tucker returned to the guest ranch, after graduating from Washington State University, to become our Marketing Director.
Bull Hill Guest Ranch
combines Old West ambiance and activities with spacious accommodations in scenic mountain setting 50,000-acre, 106-year-old ranch combines tradition with 21st century amenities
KETTLE FALLS, Washington—The Old West has never died—at least not at Bull Hill Guest Ranch. And at a time when value and affordability are watchwords, the “staycation” experience Bull Hill provides becomes even more inviting. Northwest families can load up their kids and pets and literally “head out” on excursions that include cattle drives, trail riding, hearty meals, western-themed accommodations and friendly hosts packaged up in an all-inclusive daily rate that makes for a memorable experience.
Not unlike the “Ponderosa” of television fame, this family-owned working cattle ranch covers miles of spectacular terrain. At an elevation of 3,200 feet, Bull Hill is dramatically situated in the foothills of the stunning Rocky Mountains near the Washington State-B.C., Canada border.
Rich in history and tradition, the cattle ranch dates back to 1903. Founded by Italian family patriarch Peter Ansaldo, great-grandfather of owners Don and Pete Guglielmino, the ranch has grown from the original 160 acre homestead to encompass both owned and leased land that supports a 1,000-head herd of cattle. The guest ranch is a recent addition and is located above the current cattle ranch headquarters at the site of the original homestead.
“There is tremendous family pride in what we do, and our guests seem to appreciate that,” said Pete Guglielmino, who with his handlebar mustache looks every bit the rancher and cowboy that he is. “The majority of our guests have stayed with us before, and many book their trips a year in advance.”
Cattle drives and the best in trail riding
Cowboys and cowgirls alike may enjoy the opportunity to take part in an authentic cattle drive. Lasting anywhere from a half day to a full day, the drives typically occur between May and October when the cattle are driven to spring grass areas or upper pastures throughout the summer and early fall months, before they are driven back to the ranch. Beginning to advanced riders are welcome, although riders should have the ability to ride with complete confidence.
Guests looking for a more relaxing (laid-back) horseback riding experience can saddle up one of the ranch’s more than 70 horses for a scenic, guided trail ride. Available from April through October, the two-hour (or longer) trail rides combine breathtaking views of nearby Lake Roosevelt and the Columbia River with a variety of terrain, including open meadows and forests. Riders can even hit the trail to visit the nearby China Bend Winery—on the shores of the Columbia—to sample selections in the tasting room, or enjoy a cold brew in the lively atmosphere of the Crown Creek Saloon.
Accommodations, meals and amenities
Bull Hill’s accommodations include seven, two-story cabins and two luxurious executive-style cabins—all located in private settings against a backdrop of cedars, cottonwoods and aspens. Each of the ranch’s seven cabins are themed with names that have come out of popular western folklore, including “The Ponderosa,” “The Virginian,” “Rawhide” and others. The westernthemed ambiance carries over into the rustic décor, which includes wood burning stoves and hand crafted lodge pole beds accented with antique fishing gear and tack. The cabins also have all of the modern amenities of home, including baths with showers and heating fans, alarm clock radios, coffee makers and storage closets.
Families and small corporate groups will enjoy the upscale environment offered at the ranch’s executive cabins. These spacious guest residences (“Bullagio” and “Lonestar”) includes hardwood floors, carpeting, three bedrooms, two baths, a large living room, kitchenette, a washer/dryer and leather upholstered furnishings throughout. Upgraded mattresses and linens as well as air-conditioning, make these truly choice accommodations. Their commanding sites, high above the guest ranch, afford spectacular views of the valley and river below.
After an invigorating day out on the trail, guests can relax at one of the ranch’s two large hot tubs and jetted spas. The first is located in the ranch’s Shower House—which also includes two baths and a laundry facility for guests—and the other under an outdoor canopy of cedars and tamaracks.
Ranch style dining is in the spotlight at The Cookhouse where meals are served family style. Breakfast consists of a wide variety of stick-to-your-ribs options, including eggs, sausage, ham, biscuits, pancakes, fruit and oatmeal. Lunch is a simpler affair of sandwiches, fruit, snacks and desserts in order to accommodate flexible activity schedules. Often times, it may be a packedlunch stuffed into a saddle bag, or a picnic hamper for the lake or meadow. In the evening, guests join together for a delicious dinner that may include steaks, chicken, salmon, salad, pastas, baked potatoes, rolls, home baked desserts and more. The open bar for adult guests adds to the convivial atmosphere.
Year-around recreation options
You don’t have to sit in a saddle all day to enjoy the bounty of Bull Hill Guest Ranch. A fisherman’s paradise awaits visitors at the ranch’s privately owned 20-acre lake. Reserved exclusively for guests, Ansaldo Lake features natural spring fed waters stocked with feisty (and big) Kamloops rainbow trout that fishermen can catch and release. The lake is also an ideal place for swimming from June until September and features an anchored float raft for use by sun worshipers or fishermen.
The ranch also offers guided hunting excursions (separate from the guest ranch) for the plentiful whitetail and mule deer and wild turkey that roam the expansive territory.
A wide range of other recreational pursuits are also offered. Trap shooting, horseshoes, boating, hiking and wildlife watching are other guest favorites and side trips to the PRCA Colville Rodeo and Northport International Stock Car Races are available for guests at an additional charge.
Bull Hill Guest Ranch is quickly earning a reputation as a four-season adventure destination. It draws an increasing number of snowmobile and skiing/snowboarding enthusiasts—during January and February—who take advantage of the numerous miles of mountain access roads and groomed trails available on the ranch. Guest can bring their own rigs or the ranch staff can arrange to have sled rentals ready upon arrival.
World-class downhill skiing is only 45-minutes away at Red Mountain Ski Resort, considered one of British Columbia’s top ski destinations, famed for its powder and challenging runs.
Special events with a western flair
Bull Hill offers a destination of another kind for wedding parties, corporate retreats and other groups seeking an out-of-the-ordinary venue. Old West style ambiance takes center stage at the ranch’s spacious 7,500-square-foot horse barn, which can be adapted for special events such as weddings, dances and corporate parties. Featuring vaulted ceilings and a wraparound interior balcony, the barn can accommodate up to 150 seats for banquets and up to 350 people for receptions and dances.
All rates are per day, per person and accommodations, meals, all beverages and ranch activities are all-inclusive packages unless otherwise stated. Discounts are also available for large groups or lengthier stays (five day minimum).
“Making the entire experience all-inclusive takes a lot of the guesswork out of planning and budgeting a vacation,” said Guglielmino. “It’s one of the reasons folks keep coming back, and during these times, the perceived value we provide makes us an ideal choice.”
The ranch is only a six to seven hour drive from Seattle and two hours from Spokane. For private pilots of small planes, Bull Hill is easily accessible by air using the ranch’s own 2,400- foot airstrip.