How to Plan Your Trip to a DRA Dude Ranch - Tips on How to Get There

If you’re tired of the same old vacations and getaway plans, it is worth knowing that the Dude Ranchers’ Association offers much more interesting options. This Association is composed of over 100 ranches that provide top-notch services and accommodation conditions so that you will truly experience life on a ranch without compromising anything. In case you are still looking for better vacation options, it is definitely worth checking out what the Dude Ranchers’ Association has to offer. In other words, here is how to get to some great DRA dude ranches and a few ideas on what to do once you get there.

dude ranch

 

Take a Trip to a DRA Dude Ranch

 

1. Fly into Reno, NV:

Greenhorn Ranch – Quincy, CA

dude ranch

Once you reach the airport in Reno, the Greenhorn Ranch is just an hour and a half away from the city, by car.

Things to do:

• Plumas County Museum

Stop by the Plumas County Museum and submerge yourself in a time when the railroad industry was flourishing. This is not an average railroad museum, as many say that the entire place is alive, due to the impressive number of exhibits and interesting collections. It is worth mentioning that you will see much more than just railroad-related items. There are other objects from the area’s history that have been restored and displayed for the public at this museum.

• Keep an eye on the local festivals

The best part about visiting Quincy is that there are events going on here throughout the year. The city is known for the number of celebration and festivals that take place in the area, which manages to attract an impressive number of visitors every year. A good tip would be to visit Quincy during the summer or fall season if you really want to be part of local festivals. If you like music, for instance, the High Sierra Musical Festival that takes place in the summer would be a great choice.

Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch – Bridgeport, CA

dude ranch

A bit further away, at just two and a half hours away from Reno, you will find the Hunewill Ranch, another great ranch that is worth visiting while in the area.

Things to do:

• Don’t miss a trip to Yosemite National Park

Considering that Yosemite National Park is just an hour away from the Hunewill Guest Ranch, it is a place you definitely need to visit. This park is a wonder of nature that has so much to offer. If you don’t live in the area and you came here just for your vacation at the ranch, make sure to write down a visit to this park on your to-do list. You will definitely not regret making this choice.

• Check out the local hot springs

The area around Bridgeport is simply blessed with numerous natural treasures. The Travertine Hot Springs are among them and they are also the hot springs with very easy access for visitors. So, you don’t have to be a trekking expert or deposit too much effort to see these springs. You have absolutely no reason not to get out there and enjoy both the springs and the stunning views of the surrounding area.

 

2. Fly into Denver, CO:

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch – Parshall, CO

dude ranch

To get to this ranch, you can either choose to drive for about two and a half hours or you can take the train. The trip on the train will take four hours, but it will be quite relaxing and fun experience.

Things to do:

• Take the train through Colorado

One of the best ways to see an area is to take the train if there’s a railroad in the area. Traveling by train is extremely comfortable and relaxing because you don’t have to worry about the traffic. At the same time, you have all the time to enjoy the views and see a lot on your way.

• Experience the Hot Sulfur Springs Wildlife Area

You have probably seen hot springs before, but did you have the chance to check out a sulfur hot spring? If you are in Parshall, Colorado, there is a spring like this in the State Wildlife Area. There is no entrance fee into the area and it is available throughout the year. So, no matter when you get the chance to visit, it is worth seeing. The ranch will also take you for a spectacular horseback ride to the springs for an afternoon of soaking.

Drowsy Water Ranch – Granby, CO

dude ranch

Getting to this particular ranch will also take two and a half hours by car and four hours by train. So, it is up to you what you choose to visit.

Things to do:

• Take the train and enjoy a gorgeous area

Forget about driving, at least during your vacation, and do things differently this time. Taking the train is not just convenient and relaxing, but will also give you the chance to see the beauty of the area comprised between Denver and Granby.

• Go over the stunning Ute Pass

Are you passionate about breathtaking views or have photography as a hobby? Then you must go through the Ute Pass. There are more than enough beautiful scenes as you will pass by, but the real reward is to get to the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Make sure to stop here because the views are simply unforgettable.

Latigo Ranch – Kremmling, CO

dude ranch

If you want to get to this ranch, a trip by car will take three hours, while the train will take you there in four hours.

Things to do:

• Explore the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway

There’s nothing better than a walk in a scenic area. If you choose the Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado, you have the Colorado River nearby. Luckily, there is a scenic byway along its shorelines, so you can enjoy an unforgettable and relaxing walk.

• Take a trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park

A getaway in a national park, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, can do a lot of good. Simply being away from technology and a fast-paced lifestyle, enjoying nature and tranquility can recharge your batteries like no other method. And the Rocky Mountain National Park really has a lot to offer, so don’t miss it while you’re here.

 

3. Fly into Tucson, AZ:

Rancho de la Osa – Sasabe, AZ

dude ranch

It takes just an hour and a half to get from Tucson to Rancho de la Osa, so you will reach your destination in no time.

Things to do:

• Enjoy the beauty provided by the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife refuges can be considered real-life museums. They hold some of the biggest creations and treasures nature has to offer, so if you have the chance to visit such a refuge, do not miss it. Whether you choose to visit the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge or take the time to enjoy a ride through it, you will see beautiful things all around.

• Experience the incredible Sonoran Desert

Did it ever occur to you that a desert can be mesmerizing? Well, the Sonoran Desert is definitely one of those deserts. Home to the Saguaro Cactus, which is incredible when in bloom, this desert attracts many people due to its warm winters and unique terrain.

Elkhorn Ranch – Tucson, AZ

dude ranch

An hour and a half drive will take you down the road to the Elkhorn Ranch outside of Tucson, so this is another ranch that is easy to reach and enjoy if you are willing to try something new.

Things to do:

• Take a trip around the old part of Tucson

The old part of Tucson was used in a large number of films, so don’t be surprised if some areas will appear to be familiar. Whether it is because of the movies or simply because it is charming, you should take the time to check this part of the town out.

• Check out the Pima Air & Space Museum

If you want to get out of the western sphere a little, you can visit this museum dedicated to aircraft and everything else that revolves around them. This museum is one of a kind.

• Relax at the Saguaro National Park

The Saguaro National Park got its name from the fact that it is home to an impressive number of Saguaro Cacti. This type of cactus is representative for the area, but seeing a field of Saguaro cacti in one single place can be an impressive view.

Tombstone Monument Ranch – Tombstone, AZ

dude ranch

Only an hour and a half away from the city of Tucson, you can also find the Tombstone Monument Ranch, a sanctuary of tranquility and peace where you can replenish yourself with positive energy.

Things to do:

• Visit the famous Bisbee, AZ

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that Bisbee is a small city. There are more than enough options when it comes to having fun and staying busy over here. From birdwatching to checking out the local pubs and restaurants, the list is quite versatile and entertaining. Bisbee is also home to one of the largest and most famous turquoise mines as well!

• Have some fun at the Old Tombstone Western Theme Park

This is a place where the entire family can have a lot of fun. Also, it is pet-friendly as well, so don’t leave your four-legged companion behind. The entire park is made to reflect the authentic old western culture, so you can take this adventure as a history lesson as well, not just pure entertainment.

• Check out a real underground mine

If you’re curious to see what a real mine looks like and how people worked in such a place, you need to visit the Goodenough Silver Mine. This was one of the most important and among the first of its kind in the old west, so it is definitely a piece of history you shouldn’t miss.

 

4. Fly into Cody, WY:

Rimrock Ranch – Cody, WY

dude ranch

It takes just 45 minutes on the road to get from Cody to the Rimrock Ranch. So, you will be able to begin your vacation in no time.

Crossed Sabres Ranch – Cody, WY

dude ranch

A bit further away, one hour away to be more specific, you will find the Crossed Sabres Ranch. Once you get there, you will enjoy the beauty of the wilderness in a comfortable and elegant manner.

7D Ranch – Cody, WY

dude ranch

Even if you have to drive for one hour and a half up to the 7D Ranch, it is worth taking the trip if you want to find a tranquil place surrounded by a lot of beauty. Comfort and intimacy are at home at this family-owned ranch.

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch – Shell, WY

dude ranch

It takes just one hour and another 20 to 25 minutes to get from Cody to the Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch. After you will finish this short trip, your most amazing vacation can begin.

Things to do:

• Don’t miss visiting Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the country. So, if you’re in the area, make sure you pay it a visit as well. But, do keep in mind that it is very large, so go there with a plan in mind or with some must-see objectives. Many of the ranches in the area will take you on an all-day tour of the park and the road from Cody, Wyoming to the East Entrance of Yellowstone was deemed the ‘most scenic 52 miles in the world’ by Teddy Roosevelt.

• Visit the historical Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum

A great way to experience the west is to check out the incredible Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum. This paired with your stay at a ranch will definitely give you the western experience you are looking for.

• Experience the Cody Night Rodeo

What’s a trip to the west without a good old-fashioned rodeo night? The rodeo show is available every night, starting the 1st of June and until the 31st of August. Join in and experience an authentic western rodeo.

• Give yourself the chance to see the Wild Mustangs roaming at the McCullough Peaks

There aren’t many places out in the world where wild horses can still be seen. But, at the McCullough Peaks, you can still see Wild Mustangs roaming free and undisturbed by humans. This is one of the things you should not miss in this lifetime for sure. The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch will even take you on a horseback ride amongst the Wild Mustangs if you wish!

This article was written in collaboration with Luxury Travelers Guide

If you’re tired of the same old getaway plans, it is worth knowing that the Dude Ranchers’ Association offers more interesting options. Visit a Dude Ranch!

Why Moms Choose a Dude Ranch for a Great Family Vacation

Dude ranches make an incredibly memorable and enjoyable family vacation - for moms especially. With a sense of togetherness and shared experiences moms and the whole family are sure to love their time in the great outdoors, horseback riding and participating in a limitless number of outdoor adventures, such as hiking, fishing, white water rafting, cattle work, petting zoos, zip lining and more. Whether you’re an adventure loving mom (busy body) or a relaxation loving mom (spa and hanging out by the pool type), we’ve got you covered.  It is sure to be a blast for kids of all ages and we’re sure dads will have fun too, but here are the top reasons why moms love dude ranches for a family vacation. 

family vacation

Paradise Guest Ranch - Buffalo, WY

3 square meals are prepared daily (even for picky eaters)

Traveling moms understand the task of finding a restaurant everyone will enjoy while on the road. Who wants tacos for dinner? And you hear simultaneously, “I do!” and “No way!” and this process repeats itself until finally you order pizza and take it back to the hotel room. This just isn’t the case at a dude ranch. All the guess work is taken out of the equation and professional trained chefs make wonderful dinners for the whole family - even if someone has a special dietary need. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all planned out for you. And the best part? Moms get to enjoy this with the whole family, not worrying one bit about clean up, grocery shopping, making sure there’s something on the menu the kids will eat. Once you let the kitchen know what you’ll need for the family, the entire week will be “all gravy,” if you will, at the dinner table. 

Chores are non-existent 

A ranch vacation goes far beyond booking a typical hotel or even staying at a vacation rental home. We all know what it would take to replace mom’s job while on vacation, an entire team of folks. And that’s just what we’ve got for you for your week stay. With a two to one guest to staff ratio moms won’t have to worry about cleaning up your cabin - a swat team of house keepers are deployed every morning, that will sweep through every room, tidying up every sock and pj’s from the day before. And what about the dishes? There won’t be any fighting over who’s turn it is. Mom certainly won’t have to do it and neither will the kids. And, not one time during the week will anyone have to vacuum dirt dragged in from the barn. If something breaks, no worries, maintenance crews are on staff with all the right tools. 

The activity planning is already done

Moms won’t have to worry about scouring the internet for things to do at your destination. Stop the hassle of worrying about TripAdvisor reviews of afternoon excursions for outdoor adventures. The ranch will have you and the whole family covered for fun things to do. The best thing about this? You won’t have to plan every step or every activity out for the week before hand. You and the family can decide in the morning what you want to do. There won’t be any need for additional transportation. Fly into the airport and someone from the ranch will be there to pick you up. There won’t be any need for a map or navigation - unless of course you go geocaching while you’re there. 

family vacation

Bar Lazy J Ranch - Parshall, CO

Everyone can be together or free to be with their own age group.  

Sometimes the adults want to have some time together, and kid’s counselors makes this easy and fun for everyone. With a full day of programing, your kids have the option to be with their peers all day playing games and learning about the Western cowboy lifestyle. And mom and dad can make some much needed memories as a couple. 

Cell phones are put away!  

Without cell service in most locations and limited WIFI, everyone in the family will be encouraged to leave their phones alone. When you think about it, if you are spending your days at the barn riding horses or fishing, your hands are full and won’t be able to carry around your cell phone. Minimal opportunities for electronics are definitely something any parent will love about dude ranches. 

Hello Fresh Air and Sunshine 

Moms will have an easy time getting kids outside. Dude ranches are known for their beautiful settings in the mountains. With every horseback ride or afternoon rodeo, kids and parents will get plenty of time in the great outdoors. The only thing to remember is your camera. Although the pictures won’t do justice of the real-life experiences, you’ll enjoy looking back on the pictures of your kids on green grass and mountain views. 

family vacation

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch - McLeod, MT 

Crowds? What crowds? 

Dude ranches are full of wide-open spaces and an intimate number of people. Moms won’t have to worry about anyone getting lost in the crowd, or have to wait in long lines to do anything, really. With an average of 30 guests per week on most dude ranches, everybody will get to meet each other, the staff and other guests alike. By the end of the week everyone in the family is sure to have made a new friend.  Who knows? You might even book the exact same week next year to hang out with the same families.  

Moms will certainly be able to enjoy a much-needed vacation on a dude ranch. As a worry-free destination everyone will get to have fun and get to take a break from the normal day-to-day routines. Here are some great destinations to consider for your next visit. 

 

Family Vacation at a Dude Ranch 

7D Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Cody, Wyoming

Bar Lazy J Ranch Near Rocky Mountain National Park

Majestic Dude Ranch Mancos, Colorado

Tumbling River Ranch In the Rocky Mountains, Grant, Colorado 

Crossed Sabres Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Cody, WY

Elkhorn Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin Gateway, MT

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, McLeod, MT

Paradise Guest Ranch In the Big Horn Mountains, Buffalo, WY

 

Looking for more options? Read about: 

Affordable Ranch Vacations for your Family  
A Family Dude Ranch Vacation - Fun for All Ages  
The Best Multi Generational Dude Ranches 

 

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ude ranches make an incredibly memorable and enjoyable family vacation - for moms especially. With a sense of togetherness and shared experiences moms and the whole family are sure to love their time in the great outdoors. Read about all the reasons moms choose dude ranch vacations for a great family vacation.

Unique Fitness Adventures on a Dude Ranch Anytime of Year

When planning a dude ranch vacation, you might think about horseback riding through picturesque mountain panoramas, testing out fly fishing on mirror like rivers or relaxing by a crackling campfire; it usually does not cross your mind about staying on track with your workout routine. You don’t want to lose a whole week of workouts, but what are you going to do to stay in shape at a dude ranch? There is an array of unique dude ranch fitness adventures to participate in during your vacation. 

Horseback riding offers physical activity, but you may be eager for more challenging tasks. You may need to actually “feel the burn” while participating in an activity to get a sense of a good workout. No matter what type of weather conditions, there are outside adventures to keep you active any time of year. Here are 9 unique dude ranch adventures to keep you in shape during your vacation. 

Unique Dude Ranch Fitness Adventures

 

Mountain Biking – Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, Arizona

With all of the activities available on a dude ranch it is hard to pick just a few to participate in. Plus, you want to get the most out of your week-long vacation, but it is tough to do all the activities you want in such a short amount of time. If you are looking to explore the desert terrain of Arizona in a different way there are options! For a more fitness tailored adventure you could try mountain biking. Stagecoach Trails has fat tire mountain bikes available for you to use for a quieter exploration of the cactus filled trails. Ride through the desert and get a good workout by peddling through sandy trails, you might even get to see some wildlife, like a roadrunner being chased by a coyote! 

fitness adventures

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch - Yucca, AZ 

Snowshoeing – Campbell Hills Guest Ranch, British Columbia 

If you have never walked through deep, wet snow you may not know how much of a workout it can really be. Sometimes vacations have snowy days, and you will still want to get outside to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. At Campbell Hills Guest Ranch there are many winter activities available, but snowshoeing may be the best physical workout of them all. You can snowshoe many different trails at the ranch and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. It is very peaceful to get outside, enjoy the cool fresh air and take in all of the stunning landscapes and mountains around you. 

fitness adventures

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch - Kamloops, BC

Paddle Boarding – Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana 

Trying to balance on a board, paddle and enjoy everything around you can sometimes be a true challenge. Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Montana has many water activities to offer that are fun and refreshing. The ranch is located directly on the shores of Flathead Lake which is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. This lake is also one of the cleanest freshwater lakes in the world and stretches almost 30 miles in length! Paddle boarding on Flathead Lake is one of the tougher physical activities for your body. It requires many muscles to all be used at the same time which can be difficult, if your body is not up for that challenge, no worries you can just go for a swim! It is a great fitness activity for those vacation-goers who are looking for a fun adventure on the water all while getting a good workout, and maybe even a tan! 

fitness adventures

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge - Bigfork, MT

Hiking – Rancho de la Osa, Arizona

Hiking is one of the best fitness activities one can do to stay in shape while on vacation. Many of the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s member ranches have miles of trails for you to hike either with a guide or on your own. Rancho de la Osa in Arizona is a perfect place for hikers, by walking a few yards from your room you will find some of the same trails forged by legendary figures like Pancho Villa. You can walk on red clay trails towards the famous Baboquivari Mountain or you can tour the Buenos Aires wildlife refuge. While out on these hikes you may experience giant jackrabbits or hike along old western ghost towns that still feature intact buildings. No matter where your hiking adventure takes you, a good workout and a great time is sure to be had!   

fitness adventures

Rancho de la Osa - Sasabe, AZ 

Cross Country Skiing – Triangle X Ranch, Wyoming

Whatever your outdoor challenge or your outdoor dream, you will find it at the Triangle X Ranch in Wyoming. This ranch has many fitness activities to offer year-round, but in the winter time one of the best workouts is cross country skiing. A challenging tour through the flats of the Snake River Valley is like no other winter wonderland. The chances of running into wildlife are very high, and seeing the Grand Teton Mountains the with snow on the peaks is a memory you will never forget. Triangle X also extends other winter and snow activities that allow for a great workout for any level. 

fitness adventures

Triangle X Ranch - Moose, WY

Rock Climbing – Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Colorado 

It is always exciting to try new things, and new workouts are wonderful. Rock climbing at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Colorado is a great way to mix things up while on vacation. Like many other non-typical adventures, rock climbing may not seem like much of a workout when participating, it is usually the day after the adventure that you feel all those muscles you used become sore. The rock climbing program at Sundance Trail is described as an introduction to climbing. Through this program you will learn how to tie knots, conduct proper belay and movement techniques, communicate, understand the terminology used during rock climbing, participate in a bouldering introduction as well as learn about outdoor safety. The ranch provides special shoes, ropes, helmets and all other technical gear. If you want to try a new fitness adventure rock climbing might just be your niche! 

fitness adventures

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch - Red Feather Lakes, CO 

Kayaking – Wind River Christian Guest Ranch, Colorado 

Located just 10 minutes from the Wind River Christian Guest Ranch in Colorado lies Lake Estes, a body of water that provides some of the best views of Rocky Mountain National Park. What better way to take in the beauty of the mountains and all the surrounding scenery than by a kayak? Not only will the adventure be beautiful, but you can also make it either an easy or hard fitness activity while on your vacation. The kayaking adventure is included in the weekly rate stay at the ranch so there is no extra cost to participate, a great activity for the whole family. The staff from the ranch will provide transportation down to the marina where you will prepare for the adventure by picking out which type of kayak they prefer, one person or two, grabbing life jackets and going through a brief training session so you can have the best time possible on the lake. Kayaking is a great fitness activity that will have your arms and core limp by the time you get back to shore, good news is there is a nice hot tub waiting for you back at the ranch! 

fitness adventures

Wind River Christian Guest Ranch - Estes Park, CO 

Yoga – 7D Ranch, Wyoming

If you are looking to relax your mind and body while on a dude ranch vacation, finding a ranch with a yoga class is a great idea. The 7D Ranch in Wyoming offers yoga classes multiple times a week and by request. The classes are for any level and are a great way to stretch out those muscles after a long day in the saddle. Yoga presents many benefits for the body and mind; one class may just help bring that sense of relaxation you have been looking for. You do not even have to worry about bringing your own equipment, the ranch has mats and other necessary equipment available. The classes can be tailored to many different levels as well; so, whether you are an avid yogi with much experience or just a beginner who has never set foot on a yoga mat, there is a class for you. 

fitness adventures

7D Ranch - Cody, WY

Snowmobiling – Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch, Idaho

Riding a big snowmobile through the powdery snow and trees does not seem all that hard right? Why would snowmobiling be considered a fitness activity you may ask? Until you try snowmobiling for the first time you will never quite understand how many muscles and how much effort it takes to maneuver a machine like that through the snow. Snowmobiling is another fitness activity that offers great adventure and each person can go at their own level. At Seven Devils Lodge and Guest Ranch in Idaho guided snowmobiling tours are offered for any level rider. D.R. Bledsoe is a great instructor/coach and will teach riders how to safely ride the machines all while having a great time. Snowmobiling is much like riding a horse in the dude ranch world, the folks at the ranch will ask you your experience level and how comfortable you are with the machine and then adjust the program accordingly. They walk though the process of riding the machine and will ride with you until you feel comfortable on your own. If you are looking for a fun adventure and an out of the ordinary fitness activity, look no further than the Seven Devils Ranch. 

fitness adventures

Seven Devils Lodge and Guest Ranch - Council, ID

 

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No matter the weather conditions, there are outside adventures to keep you active. Here are 9 dude ranch fitness adventures to consider during vacation.

A Dude Ranch Family Vacation - Fun for All Ages

A dude ranch is one of the best options for your next family vacation. With programs centered around horseback riding and western lifestyle activities, you’ll have more fun with your family than you ever thought possible! Parents and children will get to relax and enjoy their vacation in a way that, even though your day is full of activities and outdoor adventures, the mental exhaustion of traveling is not there. Best of all, parents are free from planning entertaining activities for the kids, the only decision making you’ll have to do will be whether to lounge by the pool, go for a horseback ride or hike up to a scenic vista for the afternoon. All the details are taken care of by your ranch hosts, such as meals, activities and housekeeping. With ranches offering family centered activities or an all-day supervised kids program, you’ll be able to find the ranch that is tailored to fit exactly what you are looking for in your family vacation. 

Dude Ranches for a Family Vacation

 

7D Ranch - Cody,WY

The 7D Ranch has been known as a premier Wyoming family guest ranch since 1958. Their kids program is designed to introduce kids to the world of livestock and horses by patient wranglers who take great care to build the children’s confidence. The program is geared for ages 3 – 12, but children of all ages enjoy participating in the activities. All scheduled activities are optional and kids can pick and choose to be with parents or with the group. 

 

Drowsy Water Ranch - Granby,CO

For 90+ years the Drowsy Water Ranch in Colorado has been known for real down-home hospitality and making fond memories on your family vacation. For kids 6 – 13 the ranch has an instruction-based horseback riding program where they practice skills before setting out on the trail. The activities progress to higher levels as the kids advance. For ages 5 and under kid’s counselors take care of the individual needs of your little ones, while you get to enjoy the adult oriented activities at the ranch. 

 

Vee Bar Ranch - Laramie,WY

The Vee Bar Ranch is a family-friendly ranch, and most definitely, a kid friendly dude ranch. With a variety of activities from horseback riding to river tubing, everyone in the family is sure to have fun. Children 6 years and up are able to ride with their family on the trail. Younger children are invited to be at the barn for a nice lead around ride in the barn area before and after the big trail rides. While baby sitting is offered at the ranch, most families choose to enjoy the activities as a family unit. 

 

CM Ranch a great dude ranch for a family vacation!

Kids enjoying arena activities at the CM Ranch in Wyoming. 

Elkhorn Ranch - Gallatin Gateway,MT

Children thrive at the Elkhorn Ranch in Montana, enjoying their independence while under the watchful eye of a kid’s counselor. With a combination of family and individual activities, your family vacation at this ranch will ultimately be one of shared experiences and wonderful memories. For ages 6 – 12 there is a kid’s program from breakfast until 8:30 at night, where the kids usually choose to ride, eat and play together.  

 

Sweet Grass Ranch - Big Timber,MT

Watching children have the freedom to run and play under Montana’s Big Sky, is one of the best parts of a Sweet Grass Ranch family vacation. This ranch truly understands and facilitates the magic that happens between kids and horses. While the ranch doesn’t offer a formal program for kids, the young ones are welcome to participate in all aspects of ranch life at this family-owned and operated working cattle ranch. 

 

CM Ranch - Dubois,WY

As an ideal location for family reunions, the CM Ranch has been providing western vacations for 100+ years. The ranch loves to host children and family vacations of all ages. For kids 5 and older there is a supervised riding program to learn western horsemanship skills and experience ranch traditions. The staff at the ranch works hard to provide activities for children and teenagers for the most enjoyable ranch experience possible. 

 

Rankin Ranch - Caliente,CA

Children are never bored at the Rankin Ranch in Southern California. With planned activities during the day for ages 4 – 11, parents and grandparents appreciate watching their children explore nature in the traditional ranch setting. After dinner the children head down to Sarah’s Farm to help bottle feed the baby animals, throw hay to the lambs and goats and hold the chickens. Following the excitement at the farm, children meet up with their parents for the family style evening activities.

 

Looking for more great dude ranches and advice for a family vacation? Check out these blogs – 

10 Great Dude Ranches Vacations for Families

The Best Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

How to Choose the Right Dude Ranch for your Family

 

 

Pin this for later to remember your favorite dude ranch family vacation!

A dude ranch is one of the best options for your next family vacation. With programs centered around horseback riding and western lifestyle activities, you’ll have more fun with your family than you ever thought possible! All the details are taken care of by your ranch hosts, such as meals, activities and housekeeping. With ranches offering family centered activities or an all-day supervised kids program, you’ll be able to find the ranch that is tailored to fit exactly what you are looking for.

10 Great Dude Ranch Vacations for Families

From the littlest to the biggest kid, everyone will get a chance to play. The Dude Ranchers’ Association has only the best of ranch experiences offering phenomenal kids programs, healthy food, horseback riding and more outdoor adventures than you can imagine. Here are 10 of North America’s best family ranch vacations on dude and guest ranches. Each has its own unique style and offerings allowing you to pick the right ranch for your family vacation. All are family friendly ranches and have a full schedule of activities for your family.

 


Wyoming Family Ranch Vacations


The Red Rock Ranch, Kelly, Wyoming

Dates Open: June through September

The Red Rock Ranch is a family owned authentic western dude ranch with polished amenities. Children will love the freedom of just being kids in the wide open spaces of Wyoming. There is no TV or video games, but they will be busy with horseback riding, caring for their own specially chosen horses, volleyball, pickleball, horseshoes and the kid’s recreation room. There is something special about swimming in a heated pool surrounded by the beautiful red cliffs, playing tag with new friends or simply enjoying a game of foosball or ping pong.

Vee Bar Guest Ranch, Laramie, Wyoming

Dates Open: Year-round

At just 2 ½ hours from Denver, Colorado the Vee Bar Ranch is very easily accessible, but still a remote dude ranch family destination. Children of all ages are welcomed with open arms.  While the outdoors provides a great deal of education and entertainment, there are other activities in which kids can partake.  On campout night, everybody is welcome to participate in campfire games, listen to live music, roast s’mores, and enjoy the Vee Bar’s version of a branding—don’t forget your boots, belts, wallets, and hats! Your kids will never forget their experience on this kid friendly dude ranch!

7D Ranch, Cody, Wyoming

Dates Open: mid June through mid September

Offering weekly trips into Yellowstone National Park, the 7D Ranch has a kids program geared for kids 3 - 12 years old, but kids of all ages enjoy participating in the activities. Their children’s program allows young people to experience ranch life and come to understand the connections to the natural world. Ecological relationships are taught by example on daily hikes and rides. Children are introduced to the world of livestock and horses by patient wranglers who take great care to build kids’ confidence.

Vee Bar Wyoming Family Ranch Vacations

Imagine your teenager connecting with her own personal horse for the week. Photo Credit: Vee Bar Guest Ranch


Arizona Family Ranch Vacations


Circle Z Ranch, Patagonia, Arizona

Dates Open: Mid October through April

How often do we long for the days of giving our children the gift of nature, in a safe and healthy environment, where the electronics are shelved and our kids are happy and laughing, making new friends? The Circle Z cherishes the adventures that families will experience, either together or separately. Here, the kids are allowed the freedom to be kids without pressures, and given adventures that will expand their confidence and fill their hearts. A dude ranch vacation will not just entertain your children, it will change their lives.


Elkhorn Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Dates Open: Mid November through April

Just 50 miles southwest of Tucson the Elkhorn Ranch is a sunny winter destination for your family. Children of all ages are welcome. Guest ranch life provides an ideal setting for family vacations and reunions. Families ride together or separately as rides are set up daily to suit individual interests. Children enjoy the freedom to play outdoors and an ample supply of board games and puzzles available in the dining room. Ping-pong, shuffleboard, tennis and basketball and a heated swimming pool add to the fun.

 

Elkhorn Ranch Family Ranch Vacations

From the littlest to the biggest kid, everyone will get a chance to play. Photo: Elkhorn Ranch Arizona


Colorado Family Ranch Vacations


Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Dates Open: Year-round

At Sundance Trail Guest Ranch families are encouraged to play together and to make memories together. At different times during the week, kids may opt to participate in Colorado dude ranch activities with their families or join in with counselor-wranglers for their own special activities: “kids only” horseback riding in the arena or small group trail rides, gathering eggs from the hen house, playing with the ever-present kittens and goats, group hikes & rock climbing, fishing, picnics & campfire sing-alongs, outdoor games, & treasure hunts, movies & crafts.


Black Mountain Ranch, McCoy, Colorado

Dates Open: June through mid September

You won’t forget a family ranch vacation at the Black Mountain Ranch. Unlimited horseback riding, over night pack trips, a Longhorn cattle drive, white water rafting, fishing, kids' program, rifle and trap shooting, archery and trip to the local rodeo is just the start. Whether you are looking for some easy trails to ride with your kids or advanced riding for the entire family, there are great options for everyone in the family.


Tumbling River Ranch, Grant, Colorado

Dates Open: Mid May through mid November

At Tumbling River Ranch, the summer kids program is a major focus.  They not only focus on the interests of the children, but relish the opportunity to introduce them to the Western lifestyle and Western ideas–offering the rare opportunity to “unplug” and spend some quality time. The kids will have a flexible program, built both to allow families ample time together and kids to have plenty of their own adventures.


Cherokee Park Ranch, Livermore, Colorado

Dates Open: June through August

The Cherokee Park Ranch is a family owned dude ranch nestled in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. They cater to families with kids of all ages, horseback riding, river rafting, rodeos, fishing, music, dancing, cow wrangling, swimming, ropes/challenge course, skeet shooting and mountain biking. Your kids will have a full day’s worth of counseled activities should parents desire “time off!” For young ones under two, this family ranch offers a unique opportunity: bring your own full-time baby-sitter, free of charge.

 

Tumbling River Creek Crossing Family Ranch Vacations

Ride out into the mountains with the whole family. Photo Credit: Tumbling River Ranch


Montana Family Ranch Vacations


JJJ Wilderness Ranch, Augusta, Montana

Dates Open: Mid June through September


The Triple J Ranch offers an extensive Children and Teen Program. Each child will have their own horse for the week to learn horsemanship skills with dedicated kids wranglers. Children are not required to engage in any activity, but activities are available should parents desire a little freedom to participate in more scenic and challenging rides. This family ranch can keep even the most restless little cowboy or cowgirl busy. They’ll have loads of fun and they’ll talk about it ... seemingly forever!


 JJJ Wilderness Family Ranch Vacations

 The ranch wranglers will even teach your kids rodeo events! Photo Credit: JJJ Wilderness Ranch

Other great vacations for toddlers

 

Are you planning your next family ranch vacation? Offering phenomenal kids programs, healthy food and outdoor adventures including horseback riding here are 10 of North America’s best family ranch vacations on dude and guest ranches

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Last Minute Ranch Vacation Packages for this Summer

Found some time off for this summer? Check out these dude ranch packages available at dude ranches in the west for a last minute ranch vacation.

 

7D Ranch Last Minute Ranch Vacations

Photo by 7D Ranch

63 Ranch Lvingston, Montana

The 63 Ranch history dates from 1863 (hence the name), and in 1982 it was the first dude ranch in Montana declared a National Historic Site. This Livingston, Montana dude ranch sits at 5,600 feet elevation below Elephant Head Mountain, 50 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, 12 miles outside of Livingston. Making its home in some of the prettiest country in the west, the Ranch adjoins the two-million acre Gallatin National Forest, straddles Mission Creek Canyon, meets the craggy peaks of the Absaroka Mountains and the rolling across grassy hills, rimrock ridges and sagebrush benches above the Yellowstone River. The backdrop is breathtaking.

View Rates & Book your vacation with the 63 Ranch

 

7D Ranch Cody, Wyoming

Wyoming’s premiere family guest ranch since 1958. The 7D Ranch has a smaller guest capacity than most, which allows for individual and personalized care. The ranch’s 10 rustic cabins are tucked into the scenic and remote Sunlight Basin, 50 miles northwest of Cody, in the heart of the Absaroka Mountains.

Surrounded by national forest and just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, the 7D offers a setting of extraordinary beauty. Whether you are looking for a great guest ranch vacation, a pack trip into Wyoming wilderness, or a fall hunting trip, let friendly family and staff provide you and yours with an experience of a lifetime.

View Rates & Book your vacation with the 7D Ranch

 

Deep Canyon Ranch Choteau, Montana

Nestled south of Montana’s Glacier National Park, on the edge of over 1 Million acres of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, you will find Deep Canyon Guest Ranch.  A private and historic Montana dude ranch, this hidden treasure is your entry into the endless beauty of the spectacular Rocky Mountain Front.  Discover the landscapes that inspired America’s greatest artists and authors, away from the beaten path. Enjoy high caliber, home-style meals in the authentic Deep Canyon lodge dating back to 1928, and become a part of the quiet, authentic West before it was commercialized.

View Rates and Book your vacation with the Deep Canyon Ranch

 

Elk River Guest Ranch Clark, Colorado

Your vacation time is precious and well deserved, so at the Elk River Guest Ranch all your details are handled to ensure your stay means loads of activities, opportunities for a new adventure, relaxation, sound sleep, and delicious meals. 

By providing guests with adventures that get people out of their comfort zones and the opportunity to reflect on those experiences, an Elk River Guest Ranch vacation has the ability to transform your life in a positive and meaningful way.  If you're interested in learning more about how this type of vacation can be transformational, check out this blog on that very topic.

View Rates & Book your vacation with Elk River Guest Ranch

 

Elkhorn Ranch of Montana, Gallatin Gateway, Montana

 

Just a mile from the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park, the Elkhorn is well-known for delicious meals and private, comfortable western cabin accommodations.  In addition to a variety of  full or half days on horseback for riders of all abilities, blue ribbon fishing streams, whitewater rafting, hiking and the wonders of Yellowstone Park are at our gate.

Surrounded by the Gallatin National Forest and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, the Elkhorn Ranch lies amid millions of acres of spectacular mountains, forests and rivers. Your time at Elkhorn is far more than a summer vacation.  For generations of families, it has proven a truly special experience that uniquely captures the Western character and unrivaled beauty of America’s last, best place.

View Rates and Book your vacation with Elkhorn Ranch

 

 

Ranches offer a variety of experiences specific to the their location and activities offered.Didn't find what you were looking for here? Give your Ranch Vacation Experts a call at the Dude Ranchers' Association. 307.587.2339 or 866.399.2339

Last Minute Ranch Vacation

 Found some time off for this summer? Check out these dude ranch packages available at dude ranches in the west for a last minute ranch vacation.

 

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Yellowstone Dude Ranch Vacation

Yellowstone Entrance Sign

Yellowstone is proud to be the nations first National Park founded in 1872. This was even before Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were granted statehood. President Teddy Roosevelt legally protected this rich, 2.2 million acres of mountains, wildlife and famous geological monuments. This is a place for seeking adventure and exploration that's truly a living American history. In your travels to Yellowstone National Park consider staying at a historical dude ranch, with an industry heritage starting in the early 1900's. 

Dude rancher's were authentic western settlers of the west and operate today to share the charismatic personality of the 'true' West. Who would want to stay in a regular hotel on their way to Yellowstone anyway? At one of these nationally accredited dude ranches you can experience your own personal Western views on horseback while staying at a ranch full of adventurous activities.

Yellowstone Old Faithful

North Entrance

At the North entrance of Yellowstone you can participate in herding cattle over the Gallatin Mountains at Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch.  Here you can enjoy remarkable views of Paradise Valley and the Yellowstone River. Their approach is both upscale and personal with a small capacity of only 12 guests. They are open June 15th - September 30th and are only 25 minutes from the park.

South Entrance

If you are going to make a be line into the park to see the famous Old Faithful Gyser head up through the South Entrance with the Moose Head Ranch.   They offer a guided tour of the Southern Loop of Yellowstone.  You will see waterfalls, hot pots, mud volcanoes, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and, of course, Old Faithful.  They offer  summer and winter packages and with a capacity of 45 they can host your larger family and corporate groups.

Yellowstone Elk

East Entrance 

Crossed Sabres Ranch is not only 8 short miles from the East Entrance, but also in part of the 2 million acres of the Shoshone National Forest.  During the summer season this ranch will show you some wild and western wilderness. Along with their outstanding horseback riding they offer impressive fishing with Orvis gear on 40 miles of the Shoshone River, white water rafting and dynamic hiking. Billings International Airport is one of many airports used by Yellowstone explorers. Here it is easy to rent a car and head towards the Northeastern Entrance.

The 7D Ranch is off the beaten path between the two. This ranch is the perfect way to connect with family and nature. As a family ranch, your kids will have a blast here experiencing the Western way of life with children's counselors and a wide variety of activities. 

West Entrance 

There are three great dude ranches that are about 40 miles from the West Entrance to Yellowstone that are outstanding dude ranches. Take a look at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch, Elkhorn Ranch and the Covered Wagon Ranch

Find more DRA ranches near Yellowstone National Park here.      

 

 

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In your travels to Yellowstone National Park consider staying at a historical dude ranch, with an industry heritage starting in the early 1900's. Dude rancher's were authentic western settlers of the west and operate today to share the charismatic personality of the 'true' West. Who would want to stay in a regular hotel on their way to Yellowstone anyway?

What are you doing this fall for your vacation?

Dude and guest ranches are well known as popular family vacation destinations, but the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) recognizes that adults also value time to themselves from time to time. When the kids get back on the bus, it’s time for parents to get back in the saddle for a classic Western getaway. Even if you don’t have children, it sounds tempting, doesn't it? Imagine a trip to the Wild West, with spectacular scenery, abundant activities, and top-notch accommodations and amenities for couples, solo travelers or even groups of friends. Starting at the end of August and continuing through October, dude ranches can be an enticing option for adult travelers looking to get away, with several ranches offering special adults-only weeks. Guests can enjoy a variety of activities during their visit from outdoor adventures like fishing and horseback riding, to taking in some of the nation’s most remarkable fall foliage, to experiencing flavorful, savory meals and wine pairings.

Dude ranches are an ideal vacation for those looking for much needed time alone, a new and exciting adventure, or even for those wanting to rekindle romance with their significant other. Read on for a list of dude ranches offering specialized activities and packages for adults this fall.

Paradise Guest Ranch Fall

Fall at Paradise Guest Ranch

Cattle Drives

• For working ranches, fall means cattle drives, and guests are often invited to join in these memorable and interactive experiences. Colorado Cattle Company offers guests the chance to escape from reality and become a real life cowboy or cowgirl during their stay. This working ranch is located on 10,000 acres of grassland with cattle, rolling hills, canyons, streams and bluffs in Northeastern Colorado. Guests must be at least 18 year old, and will actively participate in everything from saddling and grooming their horse to sorting cattle, making an adult getaway here a true learning experience.

Romance

• Rekindling the romance is what Red Horse Mountain Ranch is all about in the fall. The ingredients are all there for a perfect getaway with your loved one: adventure, rustic and cozy suites, well-designed meals, romantic settings, 100+ horses, an attentive staff and a ranch nestled on 300,000 acres of Idaho’s Rocky Mountains. As an added bonus, the ranch also offers a variety of entertainment including wine tastings, seven-course dining experiences, evening concerts and readings from local cowboy poets.

Traveling Solo

• Many dude ranches offer special adults-only weeks and packages in the fall, providing solo travelers and couples the chance to experience a unique vacation. 63 Ranch, located about 50 miles north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and 7D Ranch, Wyoming’s premiere guest ranch located in the heart of the Absaroka Mountains, both offer adults-only weeks in late August and September. These ranches are home to some of the most remote and scenic areas of the country, and offer guests an abundance of activities from pack trips and hunting trips in the Wyoming wilderness to wild trout fishing and horseback riding under a canopy of rich red and gold leaves in Montana.

Cowgirl Retreat

• Picture yourself riding horseback across the gorgeous rolling hills of Montana while taking in the vibrant autumn views. Bonanza Creek Country Guest Ranch offers a special, four-day Cowgirl Retreat during which female travelers will be treated to authentic Montana hospitality, the big sky and the chance to experience what it’s like to be a true cowgirl. From hearty meals to relaxing and reflecting with your horse, this getaway provides an enriching and enlightening experience that guests will cherish for a lifetime.

Bonanza Fall Cowgirl Retreat

Cowgirl at the Bonanza Creek Guest Ranch

Photographers Paradise

• The pace is relaxed during adults-only weeks at Paradise Guest Ranch, starting in late August through September. Located in Buffalo, Wyo., the ranch offers a photo-worthy setting complete with blue skies, beautiful fall colors and cool temperatures. During adults-only weeks, guests can enjoy horseback riding across the ranch’s sage meadows, hiking among wildflowers, fishing, performances from a number of guest musicians and talented crew members, and plenty of opportunities to re-energize and relax away from the kids.


 

Live your Western Vacation Dream in Wyoming

Think all inclusive holidays are an invention of the big tour operators? Then think again. The Dude Ranch Association (DRA) has been leading the way for years. There is a broad spectrum of DRA-accredited guest ranches across North America, 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 US, as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada. If ever a state lends itself to this type of vacation, it's Wyoming.

This is where the Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains, true cowboy country, with few people and vast, open spaces. It is a land that inspires dreams of riding horseback across the plains and Wyoming luxury Dude Ranch vacations help guests realize that dream.

Yellowstone National Park

The bulk of Yellowstone National Park is in Northwest Wyoming and the Grand Loop Road provides a wonderful overview of the area, from the steaming geysers to majestic waterfalls and deep canyons. Hundreds of trails traverse the park, providing access to deep back-country areas, remote lakes, and scenic overlooks.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is also in Northwest Wyoming. The first glimpse of the jagged mountains that explode out of the Jackson Hole Valley have been known to take the breath away. Pristine lakes and grassland dot the valley floor and glaciers slide down steep rocky peaks from elevations of more than 12,000 feet.

Jump to eastern Wyoming and find Devil's Tower, a massive, monolithic volcanic neck that rises out of the Black Hills. Visitors circumnavigate the tower and try to spot some of the many climbers,  or play hide and seek with the prairie dogs that reside within the park boundaries.

Wyoming Dude Ranch vacations can be anything from rustic to luxurious, with guests spending all day in the saddle herding cattle, or soaking in a hot tub and enjoying a massage. Activities may range from angling to river rafting and hiking, or lounging on a porch with a book. ‘The Dude Ranchers’ Association takes great pride in all of our ranches and we are particularly fond of the adventures and warmth that guests can enjoy during the winter months at our Southwest ranches, says Colleen Hodson, executive director of the DRA. ‘These ranches offer a scenic escape from the bleak winter conditions many people are experiencing at this time of year and guarantee a vacation that is anything but ordinary.’

Check out these genuinely lovely Dude Ranch Locations of the Cowboy State...

7D Couple Trail

7D Ranch

The 7D Ranch is Wyoming's premier family guest ranch since 1958. Extensive trail riding in a pristine mountain setting. Fly-fishing with instruction. Supervised children's program. Western cuisine. Hiking from the ranch as well as in the Beartooth Mountains. A weekly trip into Yellowstone is offered.  

Heart Six Guest Ranch

Heart 6 Wedding Horseback

Heart Six Guest Ranch is located in Beautiful Jackson Hole Wyoming. With great views of the Grand Teton Mountains the scenery is second to none. Our main activity is horseback riding, but we have lots to offer guests of all ages - from very young to very young at heart!    

Lazy L&B Ranch

Lazy L&B Kid Moment

The Lazy L & B Ranch has a quality horse program for all ages and abilities with extensive riding through wildlife habitat, forest, river gorges and high desert in small groups. There's also great fishing, hiking, swimming (pool or river) and just hanging out.    

Vee Bar Guest Ranch

Vee Bar Cattle

The Vee Bar Ranch, located near Laramie Wyoming, is a family-friendly vacation destination that is sure to please the horse loving cowboy or cowgirl in you. A variety of activities, ranging from horseback riding to river tubing, will suit each member of your group. Experience true western hospitality here!  


 

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