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Dude Ranch 101

10 Best Things about a Dude Ranch Vacation

There are a thousand things we could list about why we believe dude ranch vacations are the best, but hey, we’re a little biased. And while we could go on and on, nearly all of our favorite things come down to these 10:

  1. Enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
    You have the opportunity to spend time outdoors, enjoying the beauty of nature, with breathtaking views of the mountain tops, whether on a trail ride or hiking.
  2. Slowing down and relaxing.
    Time moves differently here. You can take the time for some R&R, read a good book, enjoy the hot tub, play a board game or spend the day at the hot springs. There are simple pleasures in activities that we may have forgotten about in our busy day-to-day lives. Take a moment for yourself, breathe and take it all in.
  3. Disconnecting and having great conversations.
    The remote nature of a ranch vacation gives you an excuse to disconnect from the world, leaving email and the internet behind (there is connectivity but it is limited). This gives you an opportunity to focus on those around you and engage in great conversations at dinner, around the campfire, or out on the trail. Elk Mountain Ranch writes the 10 Best things about a Ranch Vacation
  4. Creating new bonds.
    There is something special that happens over a week – many different bonds are created. You find a connection with your horse, learning their personality and how you can work together. The intimate nature of the ranch allows you to get to know your fellow guests and you learn more about the staff. It is like one big family that extends beyond the ranch.
  5. Reconnecting with others.
    The atmosphere at the ranch allows you to reconnect with your family members and friends. It also gives you time to have moments to yourself and take in your surroundings. Conversations can start during happy hour and continue all the way through a campfire after dessert. Seeing your family in a new setting also shakes things up a bit and gives you new ways to connect.
  6. Adventure!
    If trail rides are not adventurous enough, you also have the opportunity to go whitewater rafting. It is great fun as you make your way through Browns Canyon – be sure to keep an eye out for local wildlife as you paddle by!
  7. Trying something new.
    Maybe you have always wanted to ride a horse, try your hand at shooting a .22, or take aim at clay pigeons. Are you an adventurous eater and want to try some Rocky Mountain Oysters? This is your opportunity to try something new, or even check off an item on your bucket list. You are in the Wild West – challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.
  8. Have great food.
    You will never go hungry – I promise. Between the hearty breakfasts, lunches on the trail, happy hour appetizers, and filling dinners, there is something for everyone’s palate. We take food as seriously as we do our horses, and make accommodations for those with special dietary needs. We also want to help you celebrate any major occasion, whether a milestone birthday, anniversary, or a big family reunion. Our surroundings may be more rustic, but the menu is nothing but top-notch – and always save room for dessert!
  9. Ride wonderful horses.
    The passion that the ranch owners have for their horses and for the ranch is clear from the first moment you interact with them. Each rider is matched with the right horse based on their personality, experience, comfort level, and the type of riding they would like to do during the week. Also, each horse has a great story, so take a moment to talk with one of the wranglers to learn more about your horse’s biography.
  10.  Making memories.
    All of these factors help make for an amazing week and give you your next great adventure. It could be quiet time spent with your spouse while your kids are busy panning for gold or hunting for arrowheads. It could be the wonder of watching a herd of antelope pass by while you are on horseback. Maybe you’ll have a laugh while square dancing, or are touched by the western music. By the end of the week, you will have new memories that will last long after the dirt is off of your cowboy boots.


The Dude Ranchers’ Association – All Ranches

Curious about the full list of The Dude Ranchers’ Associations’ ranches? Sort through them using our Find a Ranch tool or choose a ranch by location.

Contact the Dude Ranchers Association: | 307-587-2339 | 1122 12th St., Cody, WY 82414