Seven Devils Snow SnowmobilingThe best holiday gifts don’t sport a designer logo. Nor do they come from a big box store. The best gifts are meaningful, lasting long after the credit card bills are due. This season enjoy the gift of family time on a Western dude ranch vacation. Gather your loved ones and retreat to the tranquil surroundings of a Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) member ranch. A DRA ranch promises families an exceptional retreat far from the madness of holiday commercialism. There are more than 100 DRA ranches, found in the deserts and mountains of the American West and Canada.  Your family can spend the holidays at the ranch best suited to your interests and lifestyle. Ranches come with all-inclusive rates and many offer special holiday rates and packages. Our ranches in Arizona offer trail rides under a warm desert sun, as well as hiking, mountain biking, tennis and swimming. Northern ranches from Colorado to Canada entertain families with guided snowmobile tours, access to downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Can you hear those sleigh bells jingling? But best of all, dude ranches offer families something that can’t find in a shopping mall; cherished quality time spent together making lasting memories. See the ranches below that provide an exceptional experience during the holiday season.

CIRCLE Z RANCH Circle Z Ranch is open from late October through early May. Located in the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands, this desert oasis treats guests to vistas dotted with grasslands, canyons and mountain ranges. There are more than 100 miles of trails spanning landscapes of Sonoran prickly pear and ocotillo, to oak and pine forest. In addition to horseback riding, activities include nature education programs, hiking and bird watching, as well as lots of photo opps and fine dining. Circle Z offers several packages tailored for winter travelers.   

SEVEN DEVILS GUEST RANCH & GUIDE SERVICE Located in central Idaho, just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, the Seven Devils Lodge lies in a unique area, neighboring jutting canyons, high desert and soaring mountains. Winter brings some of the best back country snowmobiling to life at Seven Devils Lodge, with many guests returning year after year for the experience. Riders from all over seek out the guest ranch because of its unparalleled access to trackless back country snowmobiling. Riding begins right out the front door, and offers trails for the novice to the highly skilled.

ELKHORN RANCH Fifty miles southwest of Tucson, Ariz., Elkhorn Ranch is nestled in secluded Sabino Canyon. At an altitude of 3700 feet, the ranch is surrounded by the picturesque Baboquivari Mountains and the open Sonoran desert country of the Altar Valley. From November through April, guests can enjoy a traditional winter season guest or dude ranch vacation experience, made complete with horseback riding suitable for riders of all ages and experience levels. Whether you travel solo, as a couple or with your family, you will find friendship, rest and adventure amidst miles of mountain and desert trails.

WESTERN PLEASURE RANCH The first hint of snow means it’s time for sleigh rides, skiing and snowmobiles at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Northern Idaho. Spend time with loved ones while enjoying a dinner and sleigh ride. Explore the ranch via snowshoes or cross-country skis. Or enjoy a Bed and Breakfast stay. Western Pleasure is located on 1,100 acres and adjacent to thousands of acres of land with breathtaking views of the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains. Winter specials include several ski packages, a snowmobile package and spa package.  

LATIGO RANCH Located approximately 130 miles west of Denver, Colorado, Latigo Ranch is situated in one of the most beautiful places on earth and offers a panoramic view of the Continental Divide. Guests can drink in the views, inhale the crisp mountain air, and gaze in awe at some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery from the front porch of the ranch’s historic log lodge. Guests will experience warm hospitality and winter activities, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing that keep Latigo Ranch guests coming back year after year. The outdoor activities are as invigorating as the inside comforts are cozy. Winter rates and packages start just before Christmas and run through late March.

LONE MOUNTAIN RANCH For the ultimate Rocky Mountain winter adventure, visit Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Mont. The ranch is perfectly situated just six miles from some of the best skiing in the country and was voted as the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine. Winter activities include skiing (Nordic, downhill and backcountry), snowshoeing and sleigh ride dinners. Guests can even take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or the Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes. Winter packages are currently available.