Bar BC Dude Ranch Cultural Landscape

The Bar BC Ranch is located on the west bank of the Snake River in the southern portion of Grand Teton National Park. The bottomlands stretch out to the east of the ranch, which is tucked up against a hillside that separates the lowland from the upper tablelands of Jackson Hole and the Teton Range. The ranch buildings are built in a style referred to as dude ranch vernacular, characterized by log construction and board and batten siding.

Owing to the reputation of its founders, to its distinguished clientele, and to the picturesque setting at the edge of the river, the Bar BC became one of the best-known dude ranches in the West.

Dance cabin, 2006 (Shapins Associates for NPS)
Dance cabin, 2006


In 1912 wealthy Philadelphians Struthers Burt and Horace Carncross selected this site as the location for the Bar BC Dude Ranch. Under subsequent owners, the property continued to function in this capacity until World War II. As one of the area’s pioneer dude ranches, the Bar BC helped shape Jackson Hole’s character as a destination for nature-based tourism. During the 1920s, its fame spread far beyond Jackson Hole.

The historic Bar BC Dude Ranch is situated in an area of great natural beauty. One of its major features is the Snake River, which defined the ranch’s eastern boundary during the historic period. At its largest, the ranch totaled over 600 acres, stretching westward from this river across three natural terraces, each one higher than the last.

A circle of stacked stones marks the bathhouse ruins.
Bathhouse ruins, burned down in 1940


Burt and Carncross built the developed portion of the ranch under sheltering pines and aspens on the lowest terrace. By contrast, the two higher terraces are dominated by sagebrush. At one time, a major irrigation ditch carried water across these tablelands to the ranch below. It is now dry, but the ditch is still visible, even from a distance, appearing as a broken line of cottonwoods marching across the treeless flats. Nearly every portion of the landscape offers scenic views of distant mountains. To the west are the rugged peaks of the Teton Range. To the east are the rolling contours of the Gros Ventre Mountains.

A cluster of rustic log cabins is located in the center of the ranch. Historically, these buildings housed paying guests and various services. The structures are in varying states of repair, but nearly all are contributing resources of the Bar BC Dude Ranch Historic District. Established in 1990, the district encompasses 38 acres, a fraction of the former ranch. Many other features built during the historic period have been removed or have deteriorated over time.

Wooden corral fence in a landscape of low vegetation
Corral located near road entrance, 2006


The property is located in a remote area, and can only be accessed by a rough gravel road most suitable for high clearance vehicles. As a result, many visitors to the park never see this historic landscape. However, the Bar BC Ranch is visible from a pullover on the main park road; so many people see the buildings from about a mile away. People floating down the Snake River can also see the buildings of the Bar BC Dude Ranch.

Quick Facts

  • Cultural Landscape Type: Vernacular
  • National Register Significance Level: Local
  • National Register Significance Criteria: A, B, C
  • Period of Significance: 1912-1941

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Last updated: December 31, 2019