Central Utah’s monument country is a vast and remote territory that mesmerizes its visitors with a blend of incredible beauty and forbidding desolation. A pretty place that invokes a background humming of forlornness that in turn invokes a powerful need for warmth and human interaction. The satisfaction of this need seems to have been a top priority for the founders of Castle Valley Outdoors, in Emery. They fully understood that even after a thrilling day of world-class wingshooting and burning up phone memory with profuse picture taking, guests would need an atmosphere that was both upbeat and uplifting. They embarked on the task of arranging the perfect mix of lodging, amenities and hospitality—and they 100% nailed it.
It starts with a 10,000-square-foot lodge that, in addition to being a monument in its own right, is an oasis of liveliness amidst its stoic natural surroundings. Its bright lighting, cathedral ceilings, stone fireplace and indigenous décor emit a luxurious coziness that seeps into every aspect of the Castle Valley experience. The great room, dining room, billiards rooms and downstairs lounge are all roomy and well appointed, but more importantly, they all simply feel like fun places to visit with fellow guests. Even the outside patio, which sits between the lodge and a trout pond, employs a fire pit to keep things warm and bright outside the lodge.
While the physical aspects of Castle Valley contribute greatly to a vibrant ambiance, the dining and hospitality play a larger role. Meals are composed of unpretentious-but-high-quality comfort food, the kind of fare that everyone looks forward to tucking into before and after an exciting day in the field. More than anything, however, it is the staff that gives the operation its distinctive charm. Castle Valley hires local, salt-of-the-earth people who are hard-working, professional and cheerfully energetic—friendly Westerners who get the job done and smile a lot. Forlornness doesn’t stand a chance amidst a lodge full of these kinds of folks.
Just about every upmarket wingshooting lodge can rightfully boast of premium facilities and great hospitality, but the enchanting remoteness of Castle Valley’s outdoor surroundings has a way of making the happy, vibrant atmosphere of the lodge something extraordinary.
Castle Valley Outdoors is a full-service, Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge. To inquire about the lodge’s world-class pheasant and quail hunting, email [email protected] or call 800-586-6503.
Photographs by Terry Allen.