“I had no idea there would be so many things to do ” or “There just isn’t enough time to do everything” are two common comments heard on dude ranches throughout the West. Most folks think of horses when they think of a dude ranch which is natural since horses are the primary focus. What many people don’t realize is that ranches offer a wide variety of activities for those who want more than riding.

Hawley Mountain Ranch - Things to do - Hiking Summit

Hike to the summit at Hawley Mountain Ranch

Like hiking, for instance? Ranches are usually located in the most beautiful, natural areas of the western states and typically offer fantastic hiking opportunities in the adjacent national parks, forests or other public lands. Experience gorgeous arrays of brilliant wildflowers, the fragrance of a pine forest, or the excitement of sighting an undisturbed elk or mule deer in a misty mountain meadow as you tread where few others have been before you. If wetting a fly line is your passion, you’re in luck again. Many ranches are located along private stretches of world famous trout streams and rivers. Others are within easy reach of cold, clear mountain lakes and streams that see little action, except from ranch guests. Many ranches offer fly fishing lessons and expert guides that can help you find that perfect spot. Some even have Orvis endorsed fishing programs. Almost all have a stocked fishing pond right on the premises.

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch - Things to do - Cast a line

Cast a line at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

Learn about our natural history, hunt for arrow heads, or even find a dinosaur bone! You can do it on a dude ranch. Try out Native American crafts or skills, join one of the ranch trips to nearby historical or archaeological sites, or pack a lunch and spend a day on a guided 4X4 trip touring gold mines, ghost towns or your favorite national park. Don’t forget your camera! Looking for a more relaxed pace? No problem. Wile away the day lounging by the pool or hot tub, read a good book in the shade of a stream-side tree or see how many of the abundant and colorful birds you can identify from your cabin porch swing. Evening walks in the meadow with family or friends are good for the soul - - and you might even see that doe and fawn coming to the stream for a drink. Don’t forget the optional overnight pack trip, river rafting, mountain biking, tennis, cookouts, hayrides, campfires sing-a-longs and line or square dancing offered by many ranches.

Diamond D Ranch - Things to Do - Pack Trips

On the way to your pack trip at the Diamond D Ranch

Remember, no cooking, cleaning or chores of any kind on a ranch vacation (unless you want to help the cowboys round up a few strays or feed the horses), just more fun and relaxation than you can imagine. Can’t fit it all the things to do in to one week? Don’t worry, there’s always next year to look forward to.

Find more things to do

Search www.duderanch.org for more things to do on our Find a Ranch by Activities and Amenities interactive search page.