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Reviews for Bear Branch Horse Resort
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Eddyville, IL

Overall TRAIL RATING with 10 votes:
Overall CAMP RATING with 11 votes:

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Individual Reviews

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Coming into Bear Branch, the driveway could use a bit of work. Was not impressed to begin with, especially since the campsite that was reserved for us had someone in it. We were put in another site, which was actually better, in my opinion. Shady, comfortable with e/w/s. We had reserved the 100x100 corral to keep the horses in. This is an electric rope corral with 3 strands of rope. The electricity didn't work on it, but the horses respected the rope and stayed in. It was on a slope with weeds, but at least the horses weren't cooped up in stalls. The trails were great! It was an easy ride down the driveway and across the highway to lots of miles of trails, or you could cut through woods to the Hayes Canyon side with many more trail miles there. The hosts at Bear Branch are new, have only had the camp for 2 years and are working hard at improving it. Nice tack store with essential supplies. Also hay for sale. I actually like Bear Branch better than Hayes. At Hayes, it seemed like we were piled on top of one another. Since we have a lq trailer, we didn't make use of the bathhouses, so can't comment on those. All in all, I would recommend Bear Branch.
Reviewed by: borncountry62 on 6/11/2017 10:27:31 AM
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Experience: Expert Ride Date: 6/11/2017 Hometown: Havana, FL

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The trail riding was fantastic. Don't be fooled by the website! This place is very run down! We stayed in the Wrangler cabin and it was actually a very run down trailer. The floor was fixing to fall in in the bathroom and bedroom. Huge bug / ant problem. Musty / mildew smell. We had some friends that stayed in the bears Den cabin and the mattress was so nasty (brown stains and smell that was scary) that they didn't sleep in the cabin and left the next day. We spoke to some other people that were camping and said they had tons of problems with the electricity even working. This was a perfect example of things definitely not being as they appear on the web.
Reviewed by: Cathy Baggett on 5/30/2016 9:10:31 PM
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Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 5/27/2016 Hometown: Smyrna , TN

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I was nervous about going after reading the other review, but very glad I did. The cabin was clean. We really enjoyed are stay here. The owner was very friendly, and accommodating. The trails were beautiful!
Reviewed by: cmcc on 9/9/2015 1:24:43 PM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 9/1/2015 Hometown: Seneca, WI

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Our group has been going to Shawnee for years and after trying many of the camps, we have chosen Bear Branch for the last 6 years. We are a medium sized group of 12 to 15 riders. Some of us have living quarters and some stay in their cabins. The worst we have encountered in the cabins was a few ants. Got them at home too. We were there again for Memorial Day and had a great time. The cabins have new window treatments and floors and were again very neat and clean. Sounds like the previous lady has a real ax to grind. I was shocked to read the tyrate because we have never experienced any of that at Bear Branch. We all love it there and will keep on coming back as long as Dick will have us. The weather was fantastic especially for a Holiday Weekend. 2 years ago it was 100 degrees on that weekend. But that is why the cabins have air conditioning. One day that weekend we never left the cabins except to feed our horses. Thanks, Dick and Bear Branch Crew for another awesome time in the Shawnee. We also enjoy all the permanent campers there. They have lots of stories to share. See you in fall!
Reviewed by: Jean on 6/6/2014 11:00:16 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 5/25/2014 Hometown: Oregon, WI

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We actually did not stay at Bear Branch because when we arrived we found the bunkhouse we reserved to be unfit to stay in. It was obvious that it had not been cleaned after several stays. The air conditioner barely put out cold air (I was assured if I waited long enough I would need a sweater). The coffee maker had not been even wiped down. Plastic blinds were broken and had many fly spots on them. Windowns were obviously not cleaned--maybe ever. Toilet paper holder was held to the wall with duck tape. Garbage left in fire ring (I was told our first fire would get rid of that.) I also pointed out that I could smell the dump station which was very close to the cabin. The owner, Dick informed me that was because the "valve" had rolled off. He then kicked a child's ball over the opening. He insisted it was a "valve". Perhaps most distressing was when we found vomit on the bedspread in the cabin next door. We were told by the woman who cleans for Dick that she missed it but did wipe up the big spot in the middle. She went on to say that the spreads were only to cover the beds and we were supposed to bring our own bed linens anyway. We asked for our refund back and were denied. Went back two days later. Asked again and Dick said he would send it to me in the mail and I would have it the following week. No sign of it even though I sent him my address and left a phone message asking him to call. I have read the other reviews. Either they have been put here by Dick or his friends or things have sadly changed for the worse. Basically he stole the money I sent to him in good faith so we could have a clean place to stay. We did not get that. We also did not get the refund deposit he promised us. I also noticed other patrons I spoke with were dissatisfied with their accommodations and felt that the campground itself looked nothing like the website. These folks were also staying here for the first time. So save your money. There are several other nice campgrounds in the area. Hayes Canyon, Bay Creek etc. We all work hard for our money and no one should drive for hours with gas prices the way they are only to arrive at a place that is filthy, unsanitary and run by a dishonest owner. Just because you have a fish on your car doesn't mean you conduct yourself as a Christian. SO BEWARE.
Reviewed by: Theresa on 7/17/2013 2:45:45 PM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 7/3/2013 Hometown: Trafalgar, IN

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Stayed in a cabin as it was only a one night stay and did not have the camping gear all ready to go. Cabin was clean and had hot water. Rode to Peters Cave it was a great ride and with recent rain did get to enjoy the waterfall which was flowing at that time. Very scenic with various types of terrain which made for a great ride.
Reviewed by: Angela Hammer on 5/8/2013 9:41:55 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 4/20/2013 Hometown: Bluford, Illinois, IL

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Bear Branch has been our stop in the Shawnee for several years. Dick is a good host, with nice facilities. The trails are excellent out of BB, both on the East and West side of the forest. This is likely the best place to camp to access all the best spots on the trails. The facilities are starting to get a bit old, but not too bad.
Reviewed by: yieldmap on 8/16/2012 8:21:39 AM
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Experience: Expert Ride Date: 11/1/2011 Hometown: Peoria, IL

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Our group was at Bear Branch for the Holiday Weekend. It was recommended by mutual friends that have been going to Shawnee and mostly Bear Branch for some time now. The trails were fantastic, well marked and Bear Branch provided great maps with emergency numbers and GPS coordinates. The camp was packed and the people were exceptionally nice. Seemed like everyone was having a great time as did our group of 12. We had 4 sites and 2 cabins. The cabins were great because we had a place to gather for cards in the evening. The food was Great and the service good. Very friendly atmosphere and Dick the owner very accomodating. We are going back this fall with a few more friends. we will not go horse camping if we cannot have good safe stalls. The shavings were dry and stored inside which was a real plus for us. We Love Bear Branch
Reviewed by: Tom & Joy on 8/15/2012 10:47:36 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 10/12/2011 Hometown: , TN

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We had a glorious time camping and riding at Bear Branch. Glad that we were there for the east side trails to open this spring. The trails were in great shape after the winter and very well marked. It was nice to see that the forest service has once again built some new, scenic trails. We always enjoy camping in the Shawnee but Bear Branch is definately our favorite place to camp and ride out of. We thought that we would miss the Dogwoods blooming but they were early and were spectacular. Thanks Bear Branch for being there for us. The view from the hill is awsome.
Reviewed by: Katey on 4/12/2012 8:11:40 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 3/30/2012 Hometown: Westport, IN

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Our group had a fantastic time at Bear Branch. The riding was great and the trails were really well marked. Happy we were able to stay for the restaurant to open on Friday night. The fish was the best ever and the service very plesant. I am only sorry that we could not stay for the Saturday night steaks. Our Mark & Mary said they were outstanding. Oh well, next time for sure!
Reviewed by: Pamela on 4/3/2012 12:14:56 PM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 3/29/2012 Hometown: Louisville, KY

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Love Bear Branch. they have the best location in the forest to ride out of. The camp is well taken care of and the Restaurant is to die for. Great catfish and steaks. we love the salad bar also.
Reviewed by: Donnie on 3/30/2012 6:18:34 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 11/15/2011 Hometown: Kevil, KY

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This was our third time to ride at Bear Branch. The first time wehada large group of girls and we got really lost. The owner, Dick, and another camper drove several miles in the dark to pick us all up. We will never forget his selflessness in spending his whole evening rescuing us. We always say in the cabind and really enjoy our camping and riding experience at Bear Branch.
Reviewed by: Marsha on 3/27/2012 6:09:20 PM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 3/24/2012 Hometown: , IL