Are you planning a dude ranch vacation for the first time? When it comes to vacation options, there are lots of questions to ask yourself and those traveling with you. One of the ones you might not have considered before is, “What type of dude ranch fits me?” The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) represents more than 100 guest ranches in North America (two in Canada), ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you can find DRA-accredited ranches throughout the Western U.S., as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada.
What Type of Dude Ranch Fits You?
1) How often do you pull out your Wranglers and Justin's?
a) Every chance I get b) Mainly when country concerts and the rodeo comes to town c) What are Wranglers and Justin's?
2) How adventurous are you?
a) I’m up for just about anything! b) Middle of the road – let’s not get too crazy… c) As long as it doesn’t involve going fast, jumping out of anything, jumping off of anything, swimming with something with large teeth…
3) What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘cowboy?’
a) Herding cattle and tending ranches b) Cowboy boots, the Wild West and horseback riding c) I’ve seen a few actors play cowboys in Western films but don’t know much about them
4) Which of the following activities sound the most fun to you?
a) Fishing, hunting and riding b) Hiking, mountain biking and ATV riding c) Pool time, spa and yoga
5) How do you feel about horses?
a) I’d ride them all day, everyday if I could b) I’ve ridden a few times in the past – would love to do it more often c) I love to look at them from afar
6) What’s your idea of a relaxing evening at home?
a) Catching up on yard work or other things around the house b) Tackling the DIY project I found on Pinterest that I’ve been putting off c) Sofa. TV. Enough said.
7) What is your idea of the perfect meal?
a) Steak and potatoes – don’t give me any of the fancy stuff b) Doesn’t matter to me, as long as it’s tasty c) A least three courses, please…and don’t forget the wine
8) What does “team penning” mean to you?
a) Bring it on – I’m the best b) Sounds interesting – I’d be up for trying it c) Does it have to do with penmanship?
9) What kind of group do you normally travel with?
a) Usually just me, or one other adult b) The whole gang – kids, grandparents, etc. c) Usually just me and the significant other, or a group of girlfriends/guys
10) Which of the following best describes your vacation style?
a) No frills b) Comfortable c) Over-the-top
Colorado Cattle Company, Colorado
If you answered mostly a’s: A working ranch might be right up your alley. These rustic, no-frills ranches will provide you with a traditional dude ranch experience, during which time you’ll work alongside ranch hands and owners doing daily ranch activities like cattle working and cattle drives.
G Bar M Ranch, Montana
If you answered mostly b’s: You’re in luck, because the majority of ranches accredited by the Dude Ranchers’ Association are traditional, family-style ranches. They specialize in offering a variety of activities for groups of all ages, abilities and interests, and many of them feature outstanding kids’ program.
Lost Creek Ranch, Wyoming
If you answered mostly c’s: You like to travel in style, and you’re not ashamed to admit it. A luxury resort-style guest ranch is just the place for you: picture some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, gourmet food, award-winning spas and golf…and that’s just the beginning.