What is a dude ranch? A dude ranch is a vacation destination that hosts guests to share in their Western lifestyle activities. For dude ranches who are members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association this is an all-inclusive immersive vacation that includes lodging, meals, horseback riding, fishing, hiking and more. With more than 100 members in the Association the experience is unique at every ranch with a specialty in horseback riding over unique terrain, cattle work and/or luxury amenities. From small, intimate ranches to large resort style ranches there is a ranch to fit every budget and dream vacation.
Take a look at the sampling of ranches below to get a better understanding of what is a dude ranch.
Allen’s Diamond Four Ranch, Wyoming
Snapshot: Allen's Diamond 4 Ranch is located in the rugged Wind River Mountain Range and is Wyoming's highest wilderness guest ranch offering log cabins, mountain trail riding, fly fishing, wilderness pack trips and hunting in Shoshone National Forest.
Dates Open: June 15 - September 15
Activities: At the ranch you can explore the nearby Wind River Indian Reservation, historic gold mining towns, Yellowstone Park or go white water rafting. Friendly and informal, the Diamond 4 Ranch has only 4 guest cabins, assuring you a personalized and relaxing wilderness experience.
Rancho de los Caballeros, Arizona
Snapshot: Rancho de los Caballeros is the resort with the soul of a bed and breakfast offering full resort amenities and privacy, yet with the charm and intimacy of yesteryear.
Dates Open: October 1 - May 15
Activities: Explore the serenity of the high Sonoran desert terrain on a horse chosen to match your riding ability, tee off on the 18-hole championship golf course, relax at The Spa, take a breathtaking tour of the desert by jeep or ATV, mountain bike or hot air balloon, trap and skeet shooting, tennis lessons, guided nature hikes, swimming and team penning just like the real cowboys.
McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch, Montana
Snapshot: McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch is a first class working dude ranch in Northwest Montana offering cattle drives all season long, Buck Brannaman horsemanship and non-head-to-tail horseback rides for all levels.
Dates Open: January 1 - December 22
Activities: Riding horses and working cattle is what McGinnis Meadows is all about. You'll experience full days in the saddle, or the ranch will tailor the day to fit you. Authentic cowboys will teach you all you need to know about their horses. From there you can head out and drive cattle on 75,000 acres of summer range, further your horsemanship skills, ride and explore new country and work steers sorting, cutting and ranch penning. Just relaxing is always an option too. There’s also a first class fly fishing outfitter nearby.
Eaton’s Ranch, Wyoming
Snapshot: For over 138 years Eatons’ Ranch has been a Wyoming dude ranch and working cattle ranch located on the magnificent, pine covered eastern slopes of the Bighorn Mountains in northeastern Wyoming.
Dates Open: June 1 - September 30
Activities: Eatons' offers guests the unique opportunity to ride one of their 220 horses unescorted with the permission of the Ranch. This allows guests the remarkable freedom to fully explore this beautiful 7,000 acres of country into the Big Horn Mountains. The ranch also offers excellent trout fishing, overnight pack trips, a heated swimming pool and more.
Hunewill Circle “H” Guest Ranch, California
Snapshot: Hunewill Ranch is a family owned and operated cattle and guest ranch located near Yosemite National Park in the beautiful Bridgeport Valley of California. Horseback riding and cattle work are the featured attractions for a vacation experience suited to families, singles or couples.
Dates Open: May 25 - November 10
Activities: Hunewill offers you a full ranch experience starting with horseback riding and includes evening activities such as talent night, family dance night, barbecues on the creek, or watching as young foals and yearlings are being trained. There is world class trout fishing in the nearby East Walker River, and in the many lakes and streams in the adjacent Toiyabe National Forest.
Follow up questions? Click on the links below or contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association to talk to a Ranch Vacation Expert.