As a continuation of our “Building in the Backcountry” series, we want to Share not only the challenges of remodels for the Private Guest Cabins but also, in this Part 2 of 6 blog, all private rooms received a thorough upgrade (take a look at the before and after photos below!)

Just like in Part 1, everything has to be hauled into Mackay Bar Ranch via one of three methods of transport:

  1. Materials are either flown into to our Mackay Bar Ranch private landing strip
  2. Hauled upriver via jet boat,
  3. Or, materials are brought in over the top via 4wd road #222 from Dixie.


All of our lists for construction and remodel are created FAR in advance of the actual work performed which we will cover next.

1. ADVANCED PLANNING:   Just the same as when we remodeled our private cabins, all Mackay Bar Ranch construction upgrades have historically been performed in the months of January through April (during our winter slower season). With this said, all material needs to be hauled in during the prior months of August and September before the Dixie Forest Road closes from high mountain snows and our boats become tied up in October and November for group Steelhead fishing.

2. ALL MATERIALS FROM WOOD to FIXTURES to NAILS MUST BE HAULED IN VIA AIRPLANE,  JET BOAT, or 4WD ROAD:  During the months of June through Mid-October,  we can haul materials via truck and trailer, from Grangeville Idaho to Dixie Idaho and then a dirt trail from Dixie to Mackay Bar Ranch.  The way the bird flies, Mackay Bar Ranch  is less than 30 miles from Grangeville ID.  But by vehicle and trailer, hauling materials via a narrow 2 lane corridor that meanders along the South Fork of the Salmon River, the tiny mountain town of Dixie, Idaho is almost 80 miles from Grangeville via ID-14 E.   From Dixie, we traverse another 27 miles of a dirt trail lined with tree and flora (Forest Service Trail #222) to the shores across from Mackay Bar.

Weight limits and lengths are an issue no matter what option we choose. If we do bring materials via the Forest Service Road,  once we traverse the steep hairpin turns from the top down into the Salmon River canyons, we must additionally plan on unloading from the one side of the river and then reloading onto a narrower vehicle and trailer to get the materials across the Salmon River on a five and a half foot wide ATV bridge to continue a short distance along a trail to Mackay Bar Ranch.   At times we’ve hired a helicopter to haul materials from the north side of the Salmon River to our landing strip at Mackay Bar Ranch.

3. POWER SUPPLY: Power for tools, saws and recharging battery packs, is supplied by a hydro system that was put in place during WWII. Supplemental power can be supplied by propane generators for tools that draw lots of energy consumption.


Mackay Bar Ranch has four individual GUEST rooms located under the two-story ‘Cougar’ building that was originally built in the 1970s. These 4 individual rooms, each with private bathrooms, lodge 8 guests year-round. The interior room walls were lined with cinderblock and paneling from the 1970s.  In Spring of 2015, we hauled in sheetrock on the jet boat and resided the walls. Nothing like hauling concrete bags or sheetrock on a jetboat! All of the room interior and exterior doors were also hauled in by jet boat.  All four private rooms and private bathroom doors were replaced. The rooms flooring had carpet from 1990 were removed and new wood flooring was installed. The flooring was all purchased locally in Grangeville, ID and hauled in by jet boat from Vinegar Creek Boat Launch 27 miles to Mackay Bar Ranch. Each bathroom was stripped and new shower stalls, toilets and granite countertops were installed (along with copper sinks). These were all purchased in Lewiston, ID and hauled in from Vinegar Creek via jet boat same as new wood flooring. Finally the room decors were updated to match our stylish rustic ranch theme, and were all updated with Pendleton blankets and southwestern rugs.

Our crew was awesome and included many friends and family that helped out fabulously!

Be sure to visit TripAdvisor to check out our 5 star reviews and gain valuable insights from other guests that have visited Mackay Bar Ranch.   We are consistently charmed by the warm and gratifying comments our guests have posted and the value they bring through their  TripAdvisor 5 star reviews to the world of travel consumers.


Before After
Before After
Before After
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