Doug Cole is the family patriarch and owner of Marble Mountain Guest Ranch.  He has been riding since 1962, rafting since 1968, outfitting since 1981.  Together with his wife, Heidi, they have owned the ranch since 1994. “I followed my passions into my career path.” Doug’s ranch specialties include wrangling, fly fishing, rafting, marketing, maintenance, and distributor of his quirky and dry American ranch humor. To that end he is the proud founder and director of the “Somes Bar Liar’s Club” and Patron to the “Somes Bar Department of Redundancy Located In Somes Bar.”

Scenic Trail Ride - Marble Mountain RanchHow do the experiences you offer at Marble Mountain Guest Ranch give guests a unique perspective on the history, geography or culture of Northern California?

Marble Mountain Ranch enables a broad based client involvement with the local natural resources and local culture.  Our guests get a riparian view of the Klamath National Forest with  River excursions via raft and kayak.  Less mobile guests can do the trips with the guides doing all the work in oar powered rafts.  More participatory guests can float the same stretches in paddle rafts and inflatable kayaks.  We float three different stretches of the Klamath River that are unique in wildlife viewing opportunities, Native peoples cultural exposures, and in various geological formations.  We also offer daily excursions into the Klamath National Forest via horseback trail rides.  Each ride moves through a new and evolving area forest conditions featuring creek crossings, and magnificent canyon vistas.  Historical and cultural opportunities include riding through gold-rush era mining camps, homestead sites and ancient native peoples village locations.  Western frontier skills are also taught at our archery and shooting range.

How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?

The activities we offer have evolved to better meet our guest interests and needs.  As an example, our early activity profiles did not address the historical importance of the California gold rush.  Currently our guests can join us on a guided walk along an 1860 mining flume and learn how to pan for gold using the same technologies as our predecessors.

What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?

Some of our guests may not cognate on the point that they are jointly participating in adventures and activities as complete nuclear families and groups.  Unlike some resorts  that separate out younger kids into a kid camp with counselors, and keep adults together in a separate event, we engineer our activity offerings to enable shared adventure.   Shared adventures and shared meals and time spent together allows families and groups to connect, to communicate, and bond as they jointly participate in an event.   A follow-up cementing of the bond also occurs as they later re-tell the events, laugh, and re-live the events at future dates.

Ranch Hosts - Marble Mountain Ranch

What do you wish every guest knew as they consider vacationing at a guest ranch?

I wish that our prospective guests understood how many new things that they would experience at a guest ranch.  One family formalized a list at departure, and came up with over 100 different new experiences that they shared during a week stay at our ranch.

What is one travel trend that really excites you?

I appreciate the growing interest in small venue travel destinations.  Much of the public is looking for more of an “authentic” experience in their travel interests.

What sets Marble Mountain apart from other guest ranches?

  1. We personally outfit and operate all of our activity offerings, rather than farming out select pieces to third party outfitters.  We do the rafting.   We do the trail riding.  We do the arena riding and events.  We outfit and operate the guided fishing, the shooting range, the gold panning, etc. etc.
  2. Marble Mountain Ranch is owner operated and has principle owners at the front lines in all of our operations.
  3. Marble Mountain Ranch presents original cuisine with wholesome organic produce, garden to table offerings, and unique culinary presentations.  Each meal also includes a preliminary hors d’oeuvres hour and social time, with unlimited drinks and original desert offerings.  The food is always at the top of the list of “favorite” things about the ranch experience.
  4. No other ranch has the unique activity offerings of Marble Mountain Ranch.  Our signature “saddle / paddle” vacation is unique in the industry.
  5. Our rates are “superclusive”  We do not nickel and dime guests over additional drinks, more time at the shooting range, a private riding lesson, or fly fishing, or what -ever.   It is ALL included in the fare – including taxes.

What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?

Plan for the target experience with accountability to your physical conditioning.  Are you in good enough shape to participate in our adventure hike to the waterfalls?  Do you have enough core strength to get up onto a horse and stay there?  You cannot plan an equestrian based vacation if you are too heavy for a horse to carry you!

What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?

We make sure that each year generates an improved infrastructure to our ranch, an improved safety component, and a better match to customer interests.  Slow and steady improvements avoid excessive debt service, and consistent evaluation of our activity offerings allows better service to visiting guests.

What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?

None of our business principles is caught up in substance abuse – we don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t do recreational drugs.   We just are passionate about our life and work.

Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.

Some of the Perks of running a California guest ranch are the connections we make with guests and the periodic healing we see in our visiting guests. The following unsolicited e-mail illustrates this point so well, I think I will offer it in it’s complete form and without further comment. I hope you find it as warming as I did.

Dear Doug, Heidi and Family,

I wanted to send a personal note to thank you for one of the best weeks of my life.

The week at your wonderful home was so much more than I expected. Even though this was my dream vacation it ended up to be so much more to me.Because you are all so encouraging and knowledgeable I pushed my self again and again past my “personal comfort zone” I ALWAYS felt safe.. even when we were doing the hike to the falls, I did not stop because I was scared.. my body just said “that’s enough lady LOL… 5 years ago I would have never tried to do that hike..

One of the most surprising and wonderful things that happened to me was the healing that took place at your ranch. One of the nights while Al and I were looking at our daily pictures that we had taken I asked him if he had a picture of our daughter Erica the last week of her life here on earth. At first I told him to make sure it did not come up because I did not want to see it it.. Then I decided it was time. He actually had taken a video of her and Andrew her best friend and love of her life. Erica was sedated and on a ventilator the last week of her life. As I watched it I cried, but it was healing tears. I knew God had blessed her by taking her home.. And another piece of my heart was healed.. I don’t think I would have had the courage to look at that if I had not been at the ranch.. God grew me that week and refreshed my soul. And He gave me wonderful new friends in you. I really felt like I was leaving my family when we had to come back home..

I don’t think I can express how wonderful the ranch was for me. It is beyond words. I have a new strength and my soul is renewed. One of my friends at my stable saw me a couple of nights ago. She said I looked 10 years younger and she could tell me spirit was much lighter. Before we came to the ranch I would cry everyday and mourn for my loss. I know God truly helped to heal my soul there.. I have not felt the sorrow since I saw the video of Erica ..

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.. May God continue to Bless you ALL abundantly!!

In His Love,


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