2nd Honeymoon at a Ranch Vacation

This summer, while the kids are singing around the campfire and making new friends at camp, take the time to rekindle romance on a second honeymoon at a ranch vacation. Imagine a week of new adventures, gourmet meals and quiet evenings sipping wine beneath the stars.

There’s a dude ranch experience for every couple. From a pampered retreat in British Columbia to a rustic pack trip in Wyoming. The Dude Ranchers Association can help couples find their perfect ranch based on location, activities, amenities, riding style and specialty weeks.

Lovebirds can choose from the lush valleys of Idaho, the snow capped peaks of Montana, the red sands of Arizona, or even the peaceful forests of Arkansas.

Many ranches offer adults-only weeks which can include 5 course dinners, wine tastings, or photography workshops. The adventurous couple could try whitewater rafting, rock climbing, desert tours, or even a multi-day cattle drive. The laid-back couple may prefer a round of golf, learning to fly fish, taking a sunset trail ride, or indulging in spa treatments and tai chi.

With all-inclusive packages, planning and budgeting for a ranch getaway is simple. As the kids start talking about heading off to camp, get ready for a romantic escape to a dude ranch. Start with the list of ranches below from a variety of states and then give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call to help plan your 2nd honeymoon ranch vacation. 307.587.2339

Colorado  - Badger Creek Ranch

Badger Creek Cattle and Guest Ranch offers horseback riding through beautiful landscape just for fun, or riding out with the cowboy crew to check fence, doctor and sort cattle. Join a cattle drive as the ranch moves the herd through summer grazing.

Montana - Upper Canyon Outfitters

Upper Canyon Outfitters is nestled on the banks of the Ruby River, between three mountain ranges. Join the family who has been exploring these beautiful and wildlife-rich mountains since 1910. The ranch is proud to offer a truly unforgettable Western Montana experience.

New Mexico - Creek Ranch

Creek Ranch is a small guest ranch with 6 bedrooms and an average of 4-6 guests at a time, located in the Pecos River Valley South of Santa Rosa (I40/Route 66) in Northeastern New Mexico - the land of enchantment. Back in the heydays of the Wild West, Billy the Kid roamed around here.

Washington State - Bull Hill Ranch

Bull Hill Guest Ranch, located in northeastern Washington State, sits at the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains near British Columbia, Canada. Sweeping panoramic views of neighboring Idaho, Lake Roosevelt and Canada provides one of the most picturesque backdrops in the Pacific Northwest.

Wyoming - Lost Creek Ranch

Nestled between towering mountains just north of Jackson,Wyoming,the Lost Creek Ranch & Spa is a family-owned Western-style guest ranch that belies all expectations with world-class luxuries, gourmet meals and a state-of-the-art spa facility. The service is exceptional.

This summer, while the kids are singing around the campfire at camp, take the time to rekindle romance on a second honeymoon at a ranch vacation.

 

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Down at the Ranch

In an age of digital overload, polarized politics, and the overwhelming rush of modern life, there are dude ranch vacations to recharge, rejuvenate, reconnect and embrace a more simple time. There’s a dude ranch waiting for you out there, and more than likely it’s close to a national park if you want the best of both worlds (ranch and park worlds, that is). Whether it’s the high mountain range or vast desert valleys, grab your boots and hat and spend the morning in the saddle, the afternoon with a drink by the pool, and a quiet evening of reflection in front of a raging fire. You’ll be tired, but it’s a good tired, by the time the sun sets behind the wild hills.

These are all-inclusive vacations, from small outfits to large spreads, with plenty to do: hiking, fishing, swimming, white-water rafting, rodeos, western dances, and even campfire sing-a-longs. And of course, there’s boots and saddles, riding the range and lariats. And for the kids, it’s a chance to become a cowpoke, explore the ranches, play games, and make new friends. It’s the perfect cure for the modern world. While finding the right ranch might sound onerous, it doesn’t have to be if you rely on the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s members. Formed in 1926, the DRA ensures that guests are treated right, with lodging and service at the highest standards. The DRA’s six foundations for members are, “Horses, Hats, Hospitality - Heritage, Honesty and Heart.” It’s the perfect getaway, and as comfortable as a well-worn pair of pointy boots.

 

Geronimo Trail Ranch

New Mexico at the Geronimo Trail Ranch

You could head south to the Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in Winston, New Mexico, in the Black Range Mountains. The sun provides the electricity and cell service is an hour’s drive away. It’s untouched country with high meadows, archaeological sites, and you’ll see it all from the backs of gentle horses. You’ll eat well after a day in the saddle with ranch-style cooking and outdoor barbecues, and the skies are not cloudy all day. With only four guest cabins, it’s intimate and you’ll become part of the family and ranch-life.

Tanque Verde Ranch

Arizona's Tanque Verde Ranch

One state to the west, in Arizona, spend time at one of America’s oldest ranches, the Tanque Verde Ranch near Tucson.  Located in the Rincon Mountains, it has a rich history of Native American and Spanish civilizations. Settled in 1868, the ranch has been offering an oasis for families since 1957. There are more than 150 horses to choose from, but it’s not all work in the saddle, as guests can enjoy the tennis courts and a swimming pool after a relaxing ride. And Saguaro National Park is right next door. At day’s end, dust off your chaps, kick back and watch an Arizona sunset stretch across the sky.

California's Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch

California's Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch

Out in Quincy, California, the Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch will treat you right. Just an hour from the Reno airport, it’s a Western paradise, with the nearby Feather River and high peaks are yours to explore. Along with the requisite horseback riding, you can swim, hike, mountain bike, and just take a break in this tranquil setting. It’s pure magic.

Colorado's Rainbow Trout Ranch

Colorado's Rainbow Trout Ranch

In southern Colorado, the Rainbow Trout Ranch has trophy fly-fishing, legendary trail riding, and down-home hospitality. Spend the day in the saddle, land a lunker, or just take in the beauty. Nestled at 9,000 feet along the Conejos River, guests can ride the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad as well.

Lazy L&B Ranch

Wyoming's Lazy L&B Ranch

As the weather warms to the north, check out the Lazy L&B Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Known for its cowboy culture and snowy peaks, relax in these well-furnished log cabins with their Western flair, and private baths. There’s an outdoor sitting area to just gaze at the Wind River and Absaroka mountain ranges, and you can swim in the heated pool after a trail ride, or just dive into the river. You’ll work up a thirst and hunger for the hearty meals. This is a family operation, and you’ll feel so welcome, it’ll be difficult to head back to the “real world.”

Wyoming's Crossed Sabres Ranch

Over the mountains to the north, the Crossed Sabres Ranch in Cody has been hosting visitors since 1898. Just eight miles from Yellowstone National Park’s east entrance, Crossed Sabres is smack dab in the middle of some of the wildest, most pristine mountains in the world. Along the North Fork of the Shoshone River the fishing is superb for the wily Yellowstone cutthroat trout. And you’ll have the chance to watch moose, elk, and deer graze the creeks and hillsides, and even see an occasional bear along the ridges. There’s a large, comfortable lodge, 19 cabins, and even a saloon where you can practice your best John Wayne imitation. It’s a great place for families, as the kids hold reins instead of electronic devices. Head to Cody for the nightly rodeo after a day of white water rafting, or a long trail ride, and you may just fantasize about riding a bucking bronc.

Wyoming's The Hideout Lodge Dude Ranch Vacations

Wyoming's The Hideout Lodge

Across the Bighorn Mountains, in Shell, Wyoming, the Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is an upscale, working cattle ranch, where adventure is on the schedule. It’s a 650,000-acre adventure paradise. Learn horsemanship from the experts, and become the rider you’ve always wanted to be. Bond with your mount as you head up the trail to the high country for a view from the top of the peaks. You can take a turn working the stock, and then take a turn with trapshooting, archery, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, and even 4x4 tours. Limited to just 25 guests per week, there are visitors from around the world looking for just such an authentic experience. Its high-end culinary offerings will entice and astound you.

Bar W Ranch

Montana's Bar W Ranch

In Montana take a trip to the Bar W Ranch in Whitefish. Snow-capped peaks surround you, and you’ll gallop across lush, green meadows. You’ll have 3,000 acres to ride and hike, not far from Glacier National Park. Stay in these comfortable lodges with all of the modern amenities, and an elegant western flair. It’ll take you back to this country’s roots and the beauty of nature is all around you. So bring your boots (smooth-soled, of course, to get in and out of stirrups), and let loose your inner cowboy or cowgirl at one of America’s premiere dude ranches. It’ll change your perspective, and maybe even your life.


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The Western dude ranch rejuvenates & boosts health

According to experts, taking a vacation is good for your health.  Despite this fact, Americans and Canadians tend to shortchange their vacation time, often leaving earned time on the table or taking a day here and a day there instead of a week or more at one stretch. The Western dude ranch rejuvenates & boosts health.

Since 1926 the Dude Ranchers’ Association shaped and established the highest quality standards in the guest ranch industry. A DRA (as it’s known,) guest ranch is the epitome of a Western holiday and providing both the time and environment to foster good health. Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each guest.

According to the career website, Workopolis, “Psychologists say that it takes five to seven days to de-stress from work, so doing it piecemeal can be counter productive. Most of the studies show people need about two weeks in one block a year to feel the benefits of a vacation.”  During summer the majority of DRA guest ranches operate in week-long increments, allowing guests the time to unwind, settle in and savor the experience. In addition to horsemanship, ranches offer activities satisfying the recreational and social needs of each generation. Tennis clinics, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip-lining, bird watching, crafts, hiking, whitewater rafting, and golf; each can be enjoyed during a  Western ranch vacation. Some ranches also offer known stress reducers like yoga, meditation, massages and other soothing spa treatments.

The Home Dude Ranch Yoga Retreat for your health

Dude ranches are ideal places for kids and families to re-connect.  Without the typical distractions of TV, phones, computers and electronic games, families spend quality time together sometimes just hanging out on the porch swing or sitting around the campfire. There are more than 100 members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association in the Western US and Canada.  Each is a little different but each DRA dude ranch vacation is the most potent tonic to combat the stress caused by the uncertain times we live in.  Check out our website at www.duderanch.org or e-mail us at colleen@duderanch.org.


 

Dude Ranches During the Winter: Here's Where and Why

Freshly-fallen snow, sleigh rides and skiing make these dude ranches a magical winter getaway By Lyn Mettler Travel Expert December 7, 2015 Originally Posted on 10Best.com Set in some of the most beautiful scenery in the American West and covered in blankets of snow for months, these dude ranches offer a secluded yet active winter getaway for all ages. Whether for skiing or enjoying seasonal activities like sleigh rides and snowmobiling, these ranches have it all when the weather turns cold.

 

C Lazy U Winter

C Lazy U Ranch | Granby, Colorado While the ground might be covered in white, count on plentiful sunshine and clear blue skies at C Lazy U Ranch. Take advantage of private skiing with no lift lines where the Snowcat delivers guests back up the hill or pop the kids on a tube or sled for a wild downhill ride. Other winter options include back country snowmobiling, horseback riding or snowshoeing, and there’s even ice hockey on the ranch's pond. C Lazy U also provides fine dining and luxury accommodations to refuel and recharge for the next day's adventure.

Latigo Winter

Latigo Dude Ranch | Kremmling, Colorado Located along the Continental Divide in Colorado, Latigo Dude Ranch caters to skiers during the winter months with some of the state's best snow conditions (about 18 feet every winter) and nearly 40 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing. Other winter activities at the ranch, which is approaching 100 years old, include snowshoeing, tubing, biking on snow or simply taking in the quiet and seclusion from the front porch of the historic log lodge with panoramic mountain vistas.

Bar W Winter Sleigh

Bar W Guest Ranch | Whitefish, Montana The Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana gets up to 300 inches of snow every year. The ranch offers terrain for every level of skier, including cross-country, downhill and backcountry skiing. Kids love dog sledding, taking a sleigh ride with ranch horses Duke and Dutch, and ice skating or hockey on the ice rink. You can even try ice fishing for trout, perch and more in area lakes or joining in a square dance. End the day with down-home cooking Montana style.

Western Pleasure Winter

Western Pleasure Ranch | Sandpoint, Idaho A favorite activity of visitors to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in North Idaho is a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride by one of the ranch’s draft teams. A two-mile loop trail takes passengers through a forest and offers snow-covered views of the nearby Selkirk Mountains. There's also snowmobiling and plenty of scenic skiing for all levels. When the day is done, cozy up by the lodge fire and then head back to one of the ranch's log cabins or lodge rooms.

Home Ranch Winter

Home Ranch | Clark, Colorado Nestled in Colorado's Elk River Valley, just north of Steamboat Springs, the Home Ranch becomes a winter wonderland when its legendary snowfalls begin each season. Considered one of the most beautiful cross-country skiing resorts in Colorado, the ranch has top-notch Nordic skiing, a world-class chef and rustic accommodations. Guests can even help feed the ranch’s herd of more than 100 horses while visiting.

Lone Mountain Winter

Lone Mountain Ranch | Big Sky, Montana Voted the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine, and located just six miles from some of the country's best skiing, Lone Mountain Ranch is a skier's paradise. Guests can also take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes. If you're feeling daring, try out winter fly fishing too. Cap it all off with a sleigh ride under starlit skies to the North Fork cabin for a family-style prime rib dinner, lit by oil lanterns and warmed by a hundred-year-old cookstove.

Seven Devils Winter

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch | Council, Idaho  Just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch sits on 18,000 acres among canyons, high desert and mountains. A working ranch since the early 1900s, it is one of the most sought after destinations for backcountry snowmobiling ("boondocking") because of its widely varied terrain, which begins right out the front door. The lodge has six individually-themed bedroom suites and serves family-style ranch meals in the dining room.

Waunita Winter

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch | Gunnison, Colorado Set high in the Colorado Rockies at nearly 9,000 feet of elevation, Waunita Hot Springs Ranch is filled with snow-covered mountain views at every turn. Surrounded by Gunnison National Forest and 10 miles from the Continental Divide, the ranch is close to two popular ski areas and abundant terrain for snowmobiling. Most accommodations are in the main lodge, which boasts two fireplaces, a library and billiard room, as well as weekly square dancing and live Western music performances.

Vista Verde Winter

Vista Verde | Steamboat Springs, Colorado Vista Verde offers guests an upscale, all-inclusive winter experience with plenty of activities for all interests. Spend days frolicking in the snow on skies, snowshoes, by sled or tube or even by fat tire bike. Enjoy a sleigh ride led by ranch horses or take a horseback ride through softly packed snow. There are even yoga classes and private hot tubs in guest cabins to soothe aching muscles after the day's snowy adventures.

Sundance Winter

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch | Red Feather Lakes, Colorado Head out on horseback into winter's crisp morning air for a ride through Roosevelt National Forest at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. A small horse ranch with a lodge and cabin suites for accommodations, Sundance Trail even welcomes dogs to join owners during winter months. An outdoor Jacuzzi lets guests stay warm as the snow softly falls.

What can you expect at a dude ranch in winter? When the weather turns cold, dude ranch fun is just getting started. Snow sledding, skiing, sleigh rides, and other winter activities. Plus tips for winter vacation planning.


   

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Anytime is the Best Time to Go to a Dude Ranch

Dude Ranches are the original western adventure vacation. They are locations in the wilderness that 'haven't had all the rough ridden off of it.'  While at the same time still being the perfect vacation spot will all the amenities you could need or want. Often clients of the Dude Ranchers' Association ask when is the best time of year to go to a dude ranch. The answer is always, 'Anytime you would like.' In all four seasons there are ranch destinations available to meet your expectations. Even if your are traveling through the holidays!  There are ranches open year round with exclusive spots catering around special seasons of the year. Summer is the peak season for our Northwestern Ranches. It's the high time to enjoy nice warm sunny days in the mountains. At the end of the summer season for these ranches life in the mountains slows down to almost a halt. Some destinations are snowed in until spring and the only way in or out is by snow mobile.  At these ranches, this means only a select few employees are allowed to stay and maintain, while other ranches invite you into their winter wonder land,  full of winter adventures of all types. What happens when you live in a cold place and you would like to warm up a bit? Well, you head south of course. Where the dry dessert winter has plenty of warm sunshine to melt away your winter blues. Leave your parka's at home. Put on your cowboy boots and jeans and head out for a few days or a week to our Southern Ranches.  This is their time to shine as an adventure vacation destination.  The weather here has reached the peak of enjoyment.

No matter where you are or what kind of weather you are looking for, the Western United States and Canada is home to your preferred western adventure ranch. Below are highlighted few winter and summer destinations.

Vista Verde Drive Cattle

Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado

June - October, December - March

K diamond Krcrossing the river

K Diamond K Guest Ranch, Washington

Year-Round

Seven Devils Snow Snowmobiling

Seven Devils Lodge & Guide Service, Council, Idaho

January - November

Hideout AZ

Hideout Guest Ranch, Portal, Arizona

Year-Round

Circle Z Ranch

Circle Z Guest Ranch, Patagonia, Arizona

October ~ May

 

Best Time of Year for a Ranch Vacation 

     When is the Best Time for a Ranch Vacation

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Bring Your Own Horse to these Dramatic Dude Ranch Spaces

Updated 4/24/2018

Do you take your four legged, 1,000 pound equine family member on vacation with you?  Why not make your next trip to a nationally accredited dude ranch where you can bring your own horse?  Members of the Dude Ranchers' Association invite you and your horse to experience the 'Original Western Vacation.' Be sure to bring the proper ‘foot wear’ for your horse (you’ll most likely be in the mountains) and the proper vet papers, especially if you are crossing state lines. But, most importantly, make sure your trusty steed can is in shape and can handle the extra hours under the saddle. With the comfort of having your own with you these dude ranch locations will inspire you with the beauty of the American West.  Ranches offer three types of experiences you can look for; spectacular trails, informative clinics and true cowboy cattle work. Take your pick of these horse friendly ranches below and bring your own horse to these locations.

 

Extraordinary Trail Rides

At these ranches you are going to find freedom in the sunshine and wide open spaces. It’s the sort of trip where you forget to worry about all the different troubles in your life.

Sundance TrailGreenhorn Creek Guest Ranch, Rancho de los Caballeros

   

Informational Clinics

Attend a clinic with your horse to build your relationship skill set as horse and rider partners.

McGinnis Meadows, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

 

Cowboy Cattle Work

Take your horse to these ranches for arena work, cutting, cattle drives, roping, the original old western style cowboy vacation.

Black Mountain Ranch, Zapata, Hunewill Guest Ranch, Latigo Ranch

 

 For more information give us a call at 307.587.2339. 

 

Bring Your Own Horse to Spotted Horse Ranch in Wyoming

Bring Your Own Horse to a McGinnis Meadows Buck Brannaman Clinic

Bring Your Own Horse on a Zapata Ranch Cattle Drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Your Own Horse - Pin this for later!

 

Do you take your four legged, 1,000 pound equine family member on vacation with you?  Why not make your next trip to a nationally accredited dude ranch where you can bring your own horse?

 

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Celebrating 90 Years of Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Western Way of Life

Historic Dude Ranch

Created in 1926, the National Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) was founded to preserve, protect and promote the unique experience and identity of a dude ranch vacation. And 90 years later, the association has stayed true to its mission – while also evolving to offer guests the ultimate, all-inclusive Western vacation experience. While its core values and emphasis on horsemanship have remained the same, the DRA has continued to strengthen its presence and purpose each year through promoting new member experiences and innovative ideas within the industry. Nearly a century ago, the DRA was created as the official governing body of the West’s dude ranch industry. In September of 1926, the first official DRA meeting was held and attended by 32 ranchers, railroad and national park officials. During the two-day meeting, attendees discussed initial objectives, including standardizing dude ranch practices, transportation and proper care of guests.

Paradise-Ranch-Historic

2016 officially marks 90 years of introducing guests from all over the world to the Western way of life. Over the years, vacati on expectations have shifted, and the DRA and its member ranches have evolved their offerings to fit with changing times. The association is currently made up of more than 100 ranch members, all of whom have completed a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process, and over 150 affiliated members. Members represent a broad spectrum of guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches offering five-star cuisine and spa treatments. True to the spirit of authentic Western hospitality, today’s guest ranch experience includes plenty of opportunities for fun and entertainment for families of all sizes, ages, ability levels and interests. 

Triangle-X-Historic-2

This “original Western vacation” introduces the unique beauty of the American West and seeks to foster dude ranch heritage and passion for wild nature. From horseback riding to overnight pack trips and hunting trips to cattle drives, there are plenty of ways to explore the outdoors at a dude ranch. Guests can also enjoy hiking and nature walks, interacting with the ranch’s animals at their petting zoos, fishing, archery and more. For those interested in activities beyond the saddles and cowboy boots, many guest ranches offer programs catered to photographers, foodies, artists, wine aficionados and more. Guests can even mix their love for the rustic outdoors with luxury amenities such as massage services, hot tubs, and workout facilities and classes.

The DRA will kick off its yearlong anniversary celebrations at the 90th Annual Dude Ranchers’ Association Convention on January 19-23, 2016, in Cody, Wyoming, where more than 60 member ranches are expected to attend the four-day event. Seminars will discuss topics related to the various aspects of the dude ranching and hospitality industries, such as new vendor introductions, marketing initiatives and risk management. We hope you will join us in celebrating the legacy built by the DRA. Its 90th anniversary milestone not only represents a history of success for dude ranches, but also looks forward to a future of upholding the ultimate Western vacation. By Wrangler Network contributor, the Dude Ranchers’ Association


 

Navigating Your Dude Ranch Search

At the National Dude Ranchers' Association we are proud of everyone of our members and their commitment to cleanliness, hospitality and wonderful horseback riding adventures. Ride the West with the Best and make sure you book your vacation with an accredited member of the National Dude Ranchers' Association. Find out more about our standards here. When planning your (or your clients) vacation it can be a momentous task to navigate you search of all the available dude ranches in North America. Let us help make your planning a breeze. Take some time to brain storm about your trip and ask yourself a few questions.

CM Guest Ranch

What type of riding would you like to do? Different ranches offer different experiences. They range from all day in the saddle working cattle to short, beautiful summit rides with your kids.

What kind of accommodations would you like? Cleanliness and quality are high standards at all ranches. When you visit you can be assured your accommodations are freshly cleaned and stocked. If you prefer chocolates on your pillows and fluffy robes to wear to the spa after your ride a resort ranch would be your style. If you prefer the classic log cabin and ranch homestead feel, a traditional dude ranch would suite you just fine.

When would you like to go? Consider the weather and geographic location. The weather often coordinates when the ranches open, close or transition their seasonal activities. The West is wide open for all sorts of geographic preferences: States, National Parks, Mountain Ranges, birding, foliage, wildlife, etc. Explore your options and then narrow your choices. With these questions answered you are ready to find the ranch you are going to book for your next vacation.

Use our Find by Amenity search engine.

Keyword Search

You can just dive on in if you're feeling lucky with a keyword search like "dancing" or "skiing." Those searches would pull up 22 and 6 ranches respectively. Or you can search our blogs. They are listed by category or you can use the blog search box at the top right of the categories.

Check a few Amenity Boxes

Select a box out of each of these categories and it will help eliminate a lot of ranches who offer a different experience than the one you are expecting. Don't worry if your search comes back with too many (or too few) ranches. Keep checking more (or less) boxes for each consecutive search. When choosing a dude ranch go with your guy feelings; go with the unique experience that you've always imagined it to be. Our personal favorite categories to select are:

  • Capacity
  • Dates Open
  • Length of Stay
  • Ranch Policies
  • Specialty Events

Collect your Favorites in the Saddle Bag

When you see a ranch that catches your eye add it to your "Saddle Bag." This is your dude ranch term for shopping cart. This icon is found to the right of each ranch’s profile. Once you click on ‘View Saddle Bag’ this will take you to a table of the ranches you have selected for easy viewing and narrowing your search. Here you can also send a message to all of them at once to ask about pricing and availability.

Book your Vacation with your Favorite Ranch

Once you have completed your search and found the perfect fit for your vacation needs call and book the ranch directly. Don't forget to ask about travel arrangements to and from the airport!

Additional Help If you would like additional help in planning your vacation please give us a call or send over an email to our office. We can help point you in the right direction! 307.587.2339 info@duderanch.org    

Red White and Blue ~ 4th of July at a Dude Ranch

The 4th of July is all about family, BBQ’s, Rodeos, Parades and our Freedom. Why not celebrate in 4th of July style every day of the week with  a vacation that involves riding horses in the great open spaces of the American West and the Canadian Rockies. Dude Ranches are located in some of the most breathtaking areas of the U.S. (and Canada), dude ranches can handle any request, from horseback riding and fly fishing to yoga and cooking classes to zip lining and hiking, campfire cookouts, BBQ's, line dancing and much more.

The term ‘dude ranch’ typically brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, a la the popular 1991 comedy, “City Slickers.” While dude ranches still evoke those same memories and are rooted in American tradition, they are much, much more. There is a broad spectrum of 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 U.S. in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada.

The DRA was founded to preserve and protect the unique dude ranch vacation experience and identity. It requires its members to uphold top quality and service standards. The DRA’s experienced staff helps families of all ages customize their experience, guiding them to the perfect ranch that suits their needs and desires.

Priced competitively with respect to other similar all-inclusive vacation options, almost all meals, activities and special events are included in the cost of a ranch visit. “The Dude Ranchers’ Association takes great pride in all of our ranches, and we know families will have an unforgettable trip, regardless of which guest ranch they choose. One of the best things about a dude ranch vacation is that it makes family travel easy: from working with our experts to plan and customize your trip, to airport pickup, to on-site activities and meals once you arrive, it’s easy and hassle-free and most importantly, fun.”

No matter which guest ranch you choose, a dude ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime and a vacation destination you’ll want to return to time and time again. Many dude ranches have special programs and events tailored to children of varying ages, including customized horseback riding lessons based on experience and ability level. Activities can often be done solo or as a group, giving guests the option to spend time as a family and individually. Like the ranches themselves, accommodations vary from luxurious and elegant to rustic and cowboy-chic, from private cabins that can sleep entire families to lodge rooms that share common space. All DRA-accredited lodging options will soon feel like your “home away from home.”

Below are a few ranches you should consider this summer for your “All-American Family Vacation”

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Red White and Blue`

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch - Arkansas

Stagecoach Trails Red White ad Blue

Stagecoach Trails Ranch - Arizona

Hunewill Guest Ranch Red White and Blue

Hunewill Guest Ranch - California

Black Mountain Ranch Red White and Blue

Black Mountain Ranch


What About Dude Ranch Horses?

Elkhorn Ranch Horses

Horses are the magnificent, noble center piece of which dude ranching is built around. Horses have been carrying riders for centuries and provide the most in depth way to experience and explore the historical American West. Members of the Dude Ranchers' Association offer the best and most reliable horses you and your family could want. Please take a look at the following ways to enjoy different horseback riding programs. There are many ways to find your perfect horses: From the way the horses are raised, riders experience levels and to the locations or types of riding you want to do. Be specific and select the ranch that matches you and your family's dude ranch vacation dreams. There is perfectly fitting ranch for everyone.

Ranch Raised Horses

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Standpoint, Idaho is very proud of their four-legged working partners. They maintain a herd of about 40 registered Quarterhorses, Appaloosas, and Paints for their saddle horses. Two teams of Belgian, two teams of Percherons and one team of Shire-cross are used for their sleigh and wagon rides. Most of the horses are either born and raised on the ranch or born on one of the owners' brothers’ ranches. The horses are worked with and handled at an early age to begin adapting them to their future uses. As two-year olds, their official training begins, getting them used to the saddle and working them in the round pen. They then graduate to the arena. And then to some short trail rides. A training system called the “Basic Handle,” founded by Monte Forman and Pat Wyse is used. This system creates a safe, responsive, and sensible horse. As three- and four-year-olds, these horses are used as mounts for the trail guides. Then, as five-year-olds, they begin their career as mounts for our guests. They use both mares and geldings and rotate mares in and out as they produce more offspring for our future string. Click here for more information about Western Pleasure's individual horses.

Riding for All Levels - Experienced Riders to Can't-a-lopes

With relaxed instruction from our capable wranglers, you will soon feel safe and comfortable on horseback at Elkhorn Ranch in Montana. As the terrain permits, more experienced riders will lope their horses from time to time.  Wranglers are always happy to instruct any guest who needs a little extra help sharpening their riding skills. Grown-ups, fossils or can’t-a-lopes as they are affectionately known, will be offered a variety of horseback trips each day designed to suit their interest and ability. They will get them into the high country as the week and their confidence progress.  Rides are small, normally with less than eight guests in a group. Our youngest, the Peanuts, ride, play and eat together.  On the trail, they go for carefully supervised rides.  may include a river swim, a visit to an old cowboy fort or a trip to the Bear Caves.  Teenagers also band together, and invariably have spirited rides full of adventures that always seem to grow in the retelling.  Whether you choose short and relaxing or long and challenging, sharing a mountain trail seems to build friendships for guests of every age.  As you brush your horse down before heading back to your cabin, you will  smile at the prospect of returning to the barn tomorrow – well-fed, well-rested, and ready to enjoy another spectacular summer day on a high country trail in the Montana Rockies.

Mountain Trails and Arena Events

Paradise Ranch Horses

Paradise Guest Ranch's riding program is very flexible, and features a number of choices. They offer two hour rides as well as both half-day and full-day rides. Some day rides include lunches packed on mules & cooked along the trail. Horsemanship classes are available.  Hook up with one of our seasoned wranglers and spend a morning riding through the wildflower strewn mountain meadows in the surrounding Bighorn National Forest. You’ll ride trails through mountain scenery that will take your breath away. Or spend an afternoon in our private rodeo arena practicing team penning or barrels and poles. These are timed events and competitive with fun for all. Special team penning classes are available. And the week ends with a special kids' rodeo featuring the ranch's most kid friendly horses. Unescorted Explorations Eatons' Ranch offers our guests the unique opportunity to ride one of our 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. Guests can ride out from our Wyoming Dude Ranch twice a day Monday through Friday, choosing among morning, afternoon and evening rides. We also have all-day rides into the Bighorn National Forest as well as breakfast and dinner rides. Riding is a bit more limited on weekends; there are only morning and afternoon rides on Saturday, and on Sunday there is only a morning ride as the rest of the day is our horse holiday. Wranglers are always available to guide rides and offer instruction. Watch this video about Eatons' Ranch and their riding program.

Rowses 1 + 1 Cattle Drive Horses`

Work Cattle in True Cowboy Style When you stay at Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch, you’ll live a real ranching life, and experience the simple pleasures of our western American heritage. It’s a land where neighbors have lent a helping hand for generations. A place where the front door is always open and fresh coffee’s waiting.  Spring, Summer or Fall…Each season is different and special at the 1+1 Ranch. No matter the season you’ll get plenty of time in the saddle on the best of our ranch horses. Spring brings the excitement of calves and foals being born, working cattle, cattle drives, and brandings. Summer brings long pasture rides checking cattle, cattle drives, working cattle, cowboy socials, team roping, and team penning. October is fall Round-Up, which involves long cattle drives on horseback, team roping, and penning.


 

9 FAQs of Dude Ranching

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of Dude Ranching

G Bar M Ranch

1. Why choose a Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) ranch? With more than 100 DRA  accredited ranches, the perfect ranch experience is out there for you. The DRA’s expert staff helps travelers and travel agents customize the experience, guiding visitors to the perfect ranch to suit their needs and desires. The DRA requires its members to uphold the highest quality and standards within the dude ranching industry. Membership into the DRA is obtained only after a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process.

2. What are some of the typical activities for those visiting a dude ranch? While most people usually associate dude ranches with cowboys and cattle drives, they are so much more. Dude ranches are the original all-inclusive vacation, committed to preserving and sharing the Western way of life. Guests are able to customize their ranch experience to plan their ideal vacation. From yoga and cooking classes, to fly fishing and hiking, to swimming and bird watching, a vacation to a DRA accredited guest ranch guarantees a memorable experience unlike anything else. Horseback riding is a top activity at most DRA accredited guest ranches, as is fishing. Many guest ranches have added spa offerings and other luxury amenities to their properties for guests’ enjoyment. Other activities include whitewater rafting, hay rides, western dancing, golfing, ATV riding, trap shooting, hiking, mountain biking, baseball games and more. Almost all DRA accredited ranches of-fer evening activities such as campfire cowboy singers and s’mores, casino nights, Western movie nights and stargazing.

3. What does “all-inclusive” mean?

Vista Verde Ranch Snow Trail Ride Family Square

The “all-inclusive rate” concept originated at dude ranches – rooms, meals and most activities have been included in the rate since the late 1800’s. Dude ranch vacations are priced competitively with respect to other similar all-inclusive vacation options. Ranch vacations are a great value and make it easy to stay within a budget. There are no hassles because everything is taken care of, from transportation to lodging to meals to activities. All-inclusive does not mean watered down drinks or sub par food. It simply means everything is included in the price.

4. Where are DRA accredited ranches located? Dude ranches are located in some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. Member ranches are located in 12 Western states and two Canadian provinces: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

5. What transportation options are available to a dude or guest ranch? Guests should discuss their travel plans with the ranch they’ll be visiting. Most guests travel by commercial airlines, and the ranches provide shuttle service to and from the nearest airport. For those guests within reasonable distances or wishing for more of a “road trip” experience, driving is another option.

6. What should I consider when planning a dude ranch vacation? We recommend taking four main things into consideration:

  • Style of Riding – Choose the riding environment that appeals most to you: open meadows, prairies, mountain trails or southwestern desert. The location of the ranch determines the terrain.
  • Accommodations – Guest ranch accommodations vary depending on the ranch from luxurious and elegant to rustic and cowboy-chic. Whether you are staying in your own private cabin or in a lodge room, rest assured you will sleep on comfortable beds, in superbly kept rooms, with all the amenities you will need for a pleasant and relaxing stay.
  • Time of Year – May to October is peak dude ranch season. Some dude ranches are open year-round and some seasonal ranches offer special holiday activities. You’ll find the southern ranches are more popular in the winter months, while the northern ranches are the most popular in the summer months. Any time of the year is a great time to visit a dude ranch!
  • Ranch Size – Smaller ranches may only be able to host several families at one time, while larger ones can host a couple hundred people.

7. How do I choose the perfect ranch for my vacation?

Colorado Cattle Company

The best way to start narrowing your options is to go online to the Dude Ranchers’ Association website. You can search for ranches according to a variety of criteria, such as activities/amenities or location (state or province), or even by proximity to national parks. Modify your search until you find exactly what you’re looking for. You can even put your favorite ranches into your “saddle bag” for side-by-side comparison. As you narrow down your choices, call one of the DRA’s expert staff members at (866) 399-2339 to help guide you to the perfect ranch selection based on what’s most important to you.

8. How authentic is the ranch experience? Most DRA accredited ranches are multi-generational owned and operated, so they are the real deal.

9. How can I learn more about the DRA? Visit us online at any of the following places: Website: www.duderanch.org Blog: www.duderanch.org/blog Facebook: www.facebook.com/DudeRanchers Twitter: https://twitter.com/duderanchers YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/DudeRanchers


 

3 ways Dude Ranches Offer Best Value for Travel Dollar

Due to the cost of travel a vacation to any destination may seem like a “pipe dream.” But don’t rule out a summer getaway completely until you’ve considered a stay at a Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude ranch. These quintessential Western getaways have always offered tremendous value for the money. Below are 3 ways Dude Ranches offer best bang for your buck.

Your Dollar Buys More at Home - To keep cost down many travelers are looking for vacation destinations within the USA. For the same reason, so are many European and other foreign travelers. The dude ranch has always been popular overseas for its quintessential American flavor. So, even if you forgo a British Isles trip this season, your kids may very well get the opportunity to mingle with kids from another country at a Western DRA member dude ranch. When you are ready, head out to the Cowboy State - Wyoming and visit the Rimrock Ranch  and Medicine Bow Lodge & Guest Ranch. Visit with the Rocking Z family operated ranch in the big sky country of Montana.    

All-inclusive - DRA ranches are typically all-inclusive operating under the American plan. At Marble Mountain Ranch you can enjoy their saddle and paddle program - riding horses and white water rafting all for one price. Most activities don’t come with extra charges, including extra costs for dining out. Ranches are notorious for hearty wholesome meals – many catering to guests request and special dietary needs. At the Red Reflet Ranch you are provided with farm raised produce and beef excellently prepared by the executive chef.       Red-Horse-All-Inclusive

There’s A DRA Ranch to Fit Each Lifestyle, Each Budget - While each DRA ranch guarantees an authentic Western experience, each offers different amenities and activities. A carefully selected ranch can satisfy the entertainment needs for each member of the family. Ranches come with hot tubs, rifle ranges, swimming pools, spas, fishing guides, tennis and basketball courts, whitewater rafting and more. Red Horse Mountain Ranch is one with a very extensive list of family fun adventures.  While each DRA ranch is a quality destination, rates do vary. For the budget minded there are ranches offering stays of shorter duration. At Three Bars Guest Ranch you can stay for three nights or indefinitely.  And, don’t forget it’s possible to pay off-season, reduced rates for periods just before and following the “high season” of Mid June through late August and September. Today, there are more than 100 DRA member ranches in the Western US and Canada, and at least one of them has all the elements making it an ideal and affordable getaway for your 2015 summer vacation.


Luxury and Kids Go Together at Resort Guest Ranches

Resort-style guest ranches combine the adventure of dude ranch vacations with the luxury of all-inclusive resorts for your kids and yourself. The Dude Ranchers Association has over 100 member ranches across the western U.S. and Canada with many hosting special programs and activities for kids. Below are a few ranches that do Luxury and kids like no other destination vacation spot.

At Colorado’s Tumbling River Ranch kids from age 3 to teen find adventure and independence. Kids are split into groups by age and spend their days going on scavenger hunts, hay rides, camp outs, horseback rides, hikes, and more. Teens love hanging out with the college-aged counselors while rock climbing, rafting, fly fishing, playing capture the flag, and going on an overnight pack trip.    

From morning until bedtime, Montana’s Mountain Sky Guest Ranch offers a variety of fun children’s activities that will entertain and delight all ages - like horseback rides, games in the heated swimming pool, fishing in the ranch pond, sing a longs, arts and crafts, nature walks, rodeos, tennis, and fun surprises cooked up by the creative staff .     

Wyoming’s Lost Creek Ranch and Spa, made famous last fall as the setting for Modern Family’s season premiere, lets kids leave their “boring parents” relaxing at the spa, playing golf, or exploring Grand Teton National park. Special kids-only activities are tailored to the interests and abilities of participants.      

Lone Mountain Ranch has an Outdoor Youth Adventure program that is designed for young people (ages 3-18) to have fun while developing an appreciation for nature and building their self-confidence through a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities. These experiences are geared to entertain and challenge the interests of varying age groups. When you combine the experiences we offer with our kind, energetic and knowledgeable staff, the kids can't help but have fun and look at life from a different perspective. The confidence they gain with their peers outdoors is something they can take with them wherever they go.  

The Home Ranch, in Colorado, is a family-friendly ranch that requires no advance planning, no childcare arrangements, no dinner planning, and no stress. You and your family can simply follow your individual bliss while we take care of everything else for you. Our all-inclusive children’s program and dedicated kids counselors offer a wide menu of daily activities and adventure for kids and teens - and make it very easy for the whole family to unwind, relax, and do what they want, when they want, how they want to do it.    

Lone-Mountain-Winter-Sleigh-Ride-Snow


 

 

4 Reasons to Host Your Next Corporate Meeting at a Dude Ranch

With the participants sequestered in remote locations, wrapped in spectacular scenery, and free from distractions, Western dude ranches are becoming an increasingly attractive venue for corporate meetings and conferences. Not just any ranch, but a member of The Dude Ranchers’ Association. For anyone assigned the task of finding a place to hold a company event, be assured a DRA membership guarantees the ranch is a superior ranch, maintaining the highest standards of quality in the industry. There are more than 100 DRA Ranches in the Western US and Canada. They are only granted membership after a rigorous inspection and trial period. In business since 1926, the DRA keeps the bar held high for the entire industry. Horses, hats and hospitality are our hallmarks. 

Bar W Guest Ranch Corporate Meeting Space

The Bar W in Montana has plenty of space for your group. 

 

Why You Should Host Your Next Corporate Meeting at a Dude Ranch

 

Facilities

Many DRA ranches have conference facilities comparable to or better than those found at local hotels.Wouldn't you enjoy this view (pictured below) at the  Red Reflet Ranch in Tensleep, WY? What one won’t contend with at a ranch are numerous add-on charges for equipment, tacked on service fees, exorbitant taxes and a harried staff. Although most DRA ranches are best suited for a corporate meeting of 50 people or less, chances are good it will be the only meeting “in-house.” We do however have some ranches that can accommodate up to 200 people.

Red Reflet Corporate Meeting

Meeting Space at the Red Reflet Guest Ranch in Wyoming.

Technology

Ranches come with high-tech boardrooms, wi-fi, and high-speed Internet connection. Microphones, podiums, multi-media equipment are available for use. Some DRA ranches have meeting planners on staff. Others facilitate award-winning programs designed to teach managers and CEO’s new skills. Add to this gourmet food, luxury accommodations, fitness facilities and in most cases exclusive use of the property and it’s difficult to find a more appealing site for corporate retreats, training seminars, incentive trips, and strategy sessions.

 

All-inclusive Rate

Package at an all-inclusive rate making meeting the budget a breeze. And, the “exclusive use” policy guarantees every corporate meeting held at the ranch receives the full attention of the conference service staff. And don't forget the important time for making yourself at home in your room. You definitely would feel cozy at the Tanque Verde Ranch in a room like the one at their ranch in the picture below.

 

Tanque Verde Corporate Meeting Room Accommodations

Room accomodations at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch in Arizona.

Team Building Activities

Dude Ranches offer groups the best in team-building activities that are quintessential parts of the ranch experience. Groups work together to learn the ins and outs of being a cowboy, such as how to throw a lariat and how to herd and move cattle. Other team-building activities include horsemanship classes, scavenger hunts, tee-pee building competitions, rope course and much more. Throw your self into trust building at the C Lazy U Ranch (pictured below).

    C Lazy U Activities Swinging Corporate Meeting Team Building

The ropes course at the C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado.

Corporate Meeting at a Dude Ranch

With the participants sequestered in remote locations, wrapped in spectacular scenery, and free from distractions, Western dude ranches are becoming an increasingly attractive venue for corporate meetings and conferences. Not just any ranch, but a member of The Dude Ranchers’ Association.

Fishing + Dude Ranches = A Great Family Getaway

Casting a line through a baby-blue sky scattered with cotton-puff clouds, then watching it settle into the crisp-cold babble of a mountain stream somehow symbolizes an ideal vacation for almost anyone—especially when Dad knows that his family is relishing the trip as well. Members of The Dude Ranchers’ Association offer a wonderful combination of plenty of pristine fishing moments for avid fishermen along with captivating activities for every other family member as well. 

Since DRA dude ranches are far from big crowds, located in gorgeous natural settings, and mostly on private land, the rivers, lakes and streams on these properties provide some of the finest fishing available in the country. Relatively untouched, each fishing hole offers a prime chance to experience fishing at its best.

The High Lonesome Ranch Fishing View

 

Many DRA member properties border national parks, such as the Spotted Horse Ranch next to the Grand Teton National Park. This makes for a setting for each fishing moment is spectacular. And with bountiful numbers of trout, browns, cutthroat, and rainbows around, fishermen can choose their favorite bait, pick a spot, and count on some of the best fishing of their career.

 

Many of The Dude Ranchers’ Association members feature Orvis-endorsed lodges, which means their operations and guides are continually reviewed by the Orvis staff and offer the latest in fishing techniques and client services. The C Lazy U Ranch is such a ranch. The fish you catch here you will remember for a lifetime. Whether you are here for the day, multiple days, or the entire week, you will always want “one more day.”

4UR Ranch Fly Fishing Boat

Many ranches carefully manage their fishing locales, run catch-and-release programs, and even have stocked ponds, ensuring that every fisherman meets success—from the beginner to the most expert. In fact, a vacation at a DRA dude ranch is ideal for first-time fisherman or children just learning the sport. The Bar Lazy J Ranch offers a free fly fishing clinic at the beginning of your vacation. If you are looking for the most expertise in fly fishing guides look no further that the Diamond D Ranch's Dave Tucker and his guides from Dreams on the Fly. This, affordable lessons and ample stock make those first fishing attempts rewarding and exciting.

But this vacation doesn’t have to just make Dad happy. While fishermen are experiencing the best fishing available, other family members are creating their own treasured vacation memories. Whether they are hiking, biking, horseback riding, or participating in one of the many carefully planned kids’ programs at the 4UR Ranch, everyone is having the best family vacation ever.  And don't forget about the evening activities for the family to gather together at the High Lonesome Ranch. This is the time to share the day’s activities, and create even more memories—only this time getting to know each other better and spending quality time strengthening family ties.

 

Fishing + Dude Ranches = A Great Family Getaway

 

Casting a line through a baby-blue sky scattered with cotton-puff clouds, then watching it settle into the crisp-cold babble of a mountain stream somehow symbolizes an ideal vacation for almost anyone—especially when Dad knows that his family is relishing the trip as well. Members of The Dude Ranchers’ Association offer a wonderful combination of plenty of pristine fishing moments for avid fishermen along with captivating activities for every other family member as well.

Head South for the Winter

If you’re planning a getaway or full-fledged vacation during the heart of the winter, consider heading South. There is wide range of options available from the member ranches of The Dude Ranchers’ Association. Winter provides an ideal opportunity in the warmer climates of the Southwest for a traditional dude ranch vacation. Across Arizona, for instance, ranches operate either year-round or seasonally from fall through spring. Horseback rides through inspiring stretches of the desert or on stunning mountain trails are just the beginning. Hiking, mountain biking, swimming, scrumptious meals, and plenty of time to kick back and relax amidst the region’s natural splendors makes for a great ending.Circle Z Icon

Want to stay in a traditional setting?  Circle Z Ranch this winter will be an enchanting vacation. This ranch has seven historic Spanish- style adobe guest cottages that dot the plateau on which the ranch lies. Accommodations vary from individual rooms to suites with living rooms or entirely private cottages, each reflecting Southwestern charm. The Casa Rosa (arch way pictured above) is an adobe building in the Spanish Revival style embracing a fountain courtyard. There are eight double rooms, each with a private bath and courtyard entrance. This is a favorite of many returning guests. Several of the rooms have connecting doors for families.

Western style horseback riding at Elkhorn Ranch provides adventure and a great way to see the incredible scenery of the Baboquivari Mountains. The ranch’s ten thousand acres provide plenty of remote canyons and mountain country to explore, a true wilderness experience. Experience gentle or loping rides through the desert and more vigorous trips up into the mountains – including all day ventures with sandwiches or a mule-packed hot lunch. You won't forget this winter vacation. Flying E Celebrate a cowboy Christmas at the ranch. Take a step back into old west days and celebrate the season. Make ornaments to decorate a real Christmas tree, eat cookies by the fire, and sing carols while waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning breakfast ride offers a western breakfast at Yucca Flats. Hotcakes on the campfire griddle, ham, sausage, cowboy potatoes, eggs and the best dutch oven biscuits you have ever tasted. The best gift is the gift of family time. Additional Arizona Ranches: Rancho de los Caballeros White Stallion Tanque Verde


 

5 Reasons to Visit in the Fall

With the kids back in school, Labor Day behind us and the days getting shorter, it can only mean one thing; fall is quickly approaching and will give you 5 good reasons to visit a dude ranch. Whether you’re looking for fall break travel ideas, a long weekend away without the kids or an extended vacation, a dude ranch is an ideal destination to enjoy the fall.

Circle Z Ranch Visit in the Fall

5 Reasons to Visit a Dude Ranch in the Fall

Steals and Deals: As with many vacation destinations, summer is peak season for dude ranches. However, as the air cools down travelers can take advantage of less crowds and discounted rates. Budget-friendly offers range from a percentage off standard rates to special packages. Colorado Trails Ranch  has a 25 percent discount during the fall. During Circle Z Ranch’s Lone Star Long Weekend guests receive a discount on a four-day/three-night stay.

Adult-Only Weeks: Many dude ranches offer special adult-only weeks in the fall. This gives couples, groups and solo travelers the chance to make memories that will last a lifetime. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, for example, offers an Adult Horsemanship Week. This is a hands-on approach where guests experience the true pleasure of caring for and learning about these noble animals. Or, guests can enjoy a little pampering here, a little adventure there, and a lot of girl talk (and maybe some wine!) with a girlfriend’s getaway to Red Horse Mountain Ranch.

Cattle Drives: For working ranches, fall means cattle drives. Guests are often invited to join in these adventurous and interactive experiences. Hunewill Ranch will embark on its 105th cattle drive this fall. Guests are welcome to take part in the ultimate Old West experience by riding with the Hunewill family for five days. This trek covers 60 miles from Bridgeport, California to Smith Valley, Nevada. Participants herd 600 cows as they are driven to their winter range.

Fall Foliage: Imagine horseback riding under a canopy of Technicolor fall foliage in glorious reds, bright yellows and vivid oranges. Some of the nation’s most spectacular leaf peeping can only be found when you head off the beaten path. Choose from guest ranches in Arizona or Colorado where fall changes the Aspen leaves. Book a getaway to a dude ranch located near a National Park such as Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park or Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which borders Buffalo River National Park.

Escape the Cold: People who live up north will be pulling out their jackets in no time.  For those looking to bask in the sun one last time, a long weekend getaway in the Southwest will do the trick. With six ranches to choose from in Arizona and two in New Mexico, travelers are sure to find the right ranch for them to ride off into the (still warm) sunset.

 

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Fall is quickly approaching and will give you 5 good reasons to visit a dude ranch. Whether you’re looking for fall break travel ideas, a long weekend away without the kids or an extended vacation, a dude ranch is an ideal destination to enjoy the fall.

 

5 Cattle Drives not to Miss

McGarry-Ranches-Cowboy-Team'I should've been a Cowboy

I should've learned to rope and ride

Wearing my six-shooter riding my pony on a cattle drive

Stealing the young girl's hearts

Just like Gene and Roy Singing those campfire songs

I should've been a cowboy'

Well, unlike the song says, you still can be a cowboy. Take your next vacation to another level. Here are 5 cattle drives on a working cattle ranch you are sure to enjoy as an authentic cowboy.

55,000 acres is the amount of land at the McGarry Ranches. That's more than a few miles of fence line to monitor and maintain for 2,000 head of cattle. Here the cattle are organized in units and usually they visit more than one unit a day. Tracking and gathering strays are usual occurrences. Trailing them back is now a part of your job. 1,500 pounds of cow has to be convinced to go where you and your horse want them to. Don't worry, that's why you have a guide and probably his trusty cow dog to help.   

  Or maybe spending all day in the saddle is your thing. Moving cattle from pasture to pasture is just as exciting as it sounds. Can you feel the sense of awe and wonderment in this picture of the Klondike Ranch's guests moving 650 cow/calf pairs to the high pastures of the Big Horn Mountains?     

Since the 1870's Bonanza Creek Ranch hands have roamed the range and worked cattle along the banks of Bonanza Creek. A century later, very little has changed...the only difference is now there is a place set at the table for you. Personal attention is the norm with only 8 - 12 guests per week. The demand to conform to a strict routine simply floats away on the Montana breeze. Hospitality, responsive horses, challenging cattle work, tasty home cooking, and comfortable cabins will make you want to come back year after year. 

  You might be wondering what it was like for Gus and Captain Call in Lonesome Dove when they took several months to move their herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. The Burntwell Guest Ranch offers a three or four night taste of this life. Five to ten hours a day are spent in the saddle. Hot meals are cooked in a Dutch oven over an open fire. You will camp out under the stars in a bedroll like the ones the cowboys used in the olden days.    

Our Association has many ranches that offers that authentic cowboy experience. Some others are Focus, Rowses 1+1, Zapata, Lonesome Spur, Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle.

For a more detailed description of this type of vacation give Leah or Colleen a call at the Dude Ranchers Association. 307.587.2335. Thanks

  You still can be a cowboy. Take your next vacation to another level. Here are 5 cattle drives on a working cattle ranch you are sure to enjoy as an authentic cowboy.

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4th of July Dude Ranch Celebrations

Hunewill-Creek-Crossing-Trail-e1436290031730 With the 4th of July fast approaching what could be more American than a cowboy vacation at a Dude Ranch.  With all our dude ranches located “out west” you can be assured of an old fashioned 4th of July celebration. Barbeques, parades and rodeos are just the beginning. Hay rides, cattle drives, river rafting and sightseeing at a national park such as Yellowstone or Glacier would put you well on your way to independence day. The night might end with fireworks, bonfires and maybe even traditional Western street dancing.   Dude ranches are ideal places for kids and families to re-discover each other. Without the typical distractions of TV, phones, computers and electronic games, families spend time together recharging and re-connecting. Days are spent in the saddle, enjoying stunning scenery and breathing fresh country air, and evenings enjoying tasty down home cooking and ranch entertainment. Today, as it did over a century ago, the western dude ranch experience offers relief for both the body and spirit of those seeking refuge from the pressures and routine of everyday life.  

Here's the schedule for Hunewill Guest Ranch's 4th of July: Spend the week riding through our breathtaking meadows, enjoy a breakfast ride, and take cows up to the high country on Wednesday. On Friday, you will be able to ride horseback with us in the 152nd Bridgeport 4th of July parade, the oldest continuously run parade in the US(pictured left). July 4th is always a memorable time at Hunewill’s, as the parade is followed by a special barbeque back at the ranch. The day is topped off by watching Bridgeport’s spectacular fireworks show against the silhouette of the rugged Sierra.

Bordered by Grand Teton National Park, Bridger Teton National Forest and the Gros Ventre Wilderness Area the Gros Ventre River Dude Ranch offers something extra special, check out the antique car show and a live band at the Gros Ventre River Ranch.  

 

 The following ranches also have some pretty great 4th activities. T Cross Ranch, Paradise Guest Ranch, White Stallion, Diamond D, Goosewing Ranch, Covered WagonHorseshoe Canyon, Red Rock Ranch, JJJ Wilderness Ranch The great thing about dude ranches is the above activities take place at ranches all season not just over special holidays. While staying at a ranch everyday will feel like the 4th of July.

Cody, Wyoming Dude Ranches

Crossed-Sabres-with-Logo-600x387Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting out of the office to visit Crossed Sabres, a Cody, Wyoming Dude Ranch. We took a drive down the North Fork Highway that leads right to the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. We passed the famous Buffalo Bill Damn and the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. There are some good pictures to be taken at these scenic outlooks! At just 10 miles from the East gate we pulled into the Cross Sabres Ranch. This ranch has been there for many, many years, but recently ranch ownership has changed hands. The cabins and facilities enjoyed a fresh coat of paint and care from the new owner Kenny Long. He purchased the ranch a couple of years ago and has done an amazing job restoring much of the ranch. We heartily give him a welcome into the Dude Ranchers Association and wish him and his family the best of luck. Kenny gave us the grand tour of the lodge, cabins and riding facilities, but not before feeding us a home cooked lunch of soup and sandwiches.  I have to say it was delightful and the oatmeal raisin cookies were one of the best ranch cookies I have had. Their lodge is centrally located within the ranch. There is a beautiful great room with a high ceiling and an intimate feel next to the fire place. This room leads up to a game room upstairs. There is a large dining hall and a Western style saloon that opens to the front porch. You can imagine yourself having a drink and watching the kids play off of the porch, learning to rope a calf dummy. You might also sneak away to stroll though the cabins strategically placed around Libby Creek, which meanders through the ranch. Picking out a secluded spot to read a book and letting the sounds of the creek fill your soul would be one the moments guest ranching is famous for. While horseback riding is the main focus for all DRA member dude ranches they do have a fishing guide that is happy to get you all suited up with their on- property Orvis gear and take you out to find that perfect fishing hole.  There is a small archery and BB gun shooting area.  Hiking is endless in the Shoshone National Forest so, as you can see there is something for everyone. On our visit we had the pleasure of hanging out with this guy. He was lying just outside one of the cabins, relaxing in the sunshine.  He is just an example of the diversity of wildlife you can see on your adventures in Yellowstone. After saying good bye to the buffalo and our friends at Cross Sabres we headed back towards town.  On our way we stopped at The Historic UXU Dude Ranch.  The ranch welcomed new managers Ally and Jim and we wanted to introduce ourselves.  They certainly added their personal touches and everything looked great. They are excited to welcome their first guests of the season. The cabins are decorated with beautiful western furniture done in the Moles Worth Style. The wranglers were cutting trails and getting the horses and tack ready for the season. This made for breath taking scenery with cowboys, green pasture and the warm Wyoming sun reflecting off of the North Fork of the Shoshone River. Heading back to town I was filled with thoughts of adventure not only for what these 2 ranches have to offer, but also the trails and sights along the way in the foothills of the Absaroka Mountain Range. I can’t wait to explore the other DRA dude ranches around Cody, Wyoming. Check out the list of the nearby ranches below and imagine the memories to be made at these vacation destinations.  

7D Ranch The 7D Ranch is Cody, 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. Weekly trips into Yellowstone NP.       

Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch in Shell, Wyoming, is 300,000-acre working cattle, riding & fly-fishing ranch. This upscale all-inclusive quality ranch is located 60 miles East of Cody, Wyoming & Yellowstone National Park. Limited to around 25 guests per week. Quarter, Paints, Gaited & Mustang horses. 4 languages.       

Rimrock Ranch Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, halfway between Cody, Wyoming and the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. This dude ranch is family owned and operated since 1955. The week is filled with riding, rafting, rodeo, and an all day tour of Yellowstone. Heated pool, hot tub and fishing pond.    

   

Western Adventure Vacation

Whether you are looking to get your family to unplug and reconnect or to challenge and revive your body, spirit and mind in breathtaking off-the-beaten path locales, an all-inclusive dude ranch is the perfect vacation destination – paired with thrilling adventures, opportunities to recharge and a chance to explore the “Wild West.” Think horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart. And that’s just the beginning.

As the original all-inclusive western adventure vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary and no additional costs once you arrive to your destination. Guest ranches also offer a wide variety of activities. From horseback riding and hiking, to zip lining and archery, to swimming and yoga, a dude ranch vacation guarantees a memorable experience and memories that will last a lifetime.

The three most asked questions when people call the DRA to find out information about a western adventure vacation on a dude ranch are as follows:

What will I do?

The activities at all of our dude ranches can be as leisurely or active as you want. While unlimited horseback riding is the main focus of all DRA ranches the other activities you can experience are endless. Hiking in National Parks and forests, white water rafting, world class fly fishing on private waters, overnight pack trips, mountain biking, trap shooting, golf, children’s programs, evening entertainment, cattle work and much, much more. There really is something for everyone.

 

What will I eat?

Dining at a dude ranch will be one of the most memorable parts of your vacation. Whether you are dining around a camp fire, under the stars, enjoying a pool side barbeque, or sitting at an elegant candlelit table, the food is simply amazing. The fare will range from home-style cooking to the finest in western cuisine. Ranches offer freshly baked pastries and breads, deserts, fresh fruits and vegetables. Many ranches have farm-to-table relationships with the local farming communities so you can be assured of freshness. Special dietary needs can be accommodated upon request.

 

Where will I stay?

Sitting in a big overstuffed chair with your favorite book by a crackling fire or standing on a porch looking at a view that simply takes your breath away. No noisy streets, no high-rise buildings, just you and Mother Nature at your fingertips. Dude Ranch accommodations vary from luxurious to elegant rustic, to cowboy chic. Whether you are staying in your own private cabin or in a lodge room, rest assured you will be sleeping on comfortable beds, in superbly kept rooms with all the amenities you could need.

 

Western Adventure Vacation 

 

As the original all-inclusive western adventure vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary and no additional costs. With horseback riding, hiking, zip lining and archery a dude ranch vacation guarantees a memorable experience. Here are the top 3 FAQ's about dude ranches.

Ecotourism and Sustainable Practices Happen Year Round at Dude Ranches

 

Did you know that the UN World Tourism organization predicts that there will be a whopping 1.6 billion eco-inspired trips taken by 2020? While ecotourism is an up-and-coming trend, DRA-accredited guest ranches have been the pioneers of green living and sustainable vacations for decades. From growing organic food and using energy-efficient appliances to making their own biodegradable fuel, dude ranches offer guests the ability to enjoy travel while reducing their “footprint.”

 Besides offering green living, a dude ranch vacation provides you with the ability to reconnect with nature in some of the most tranquil and pristine areas of the country. You’ll learn to “live off the land” with fishing trips, bird watching, hikes, wildlife viewing and much more.

 Below please find a sample of some of the DRA’s accredited ranches that are particularly well suited for those in search of a more sustainable vacation.

Smith Fork Ranch - Crawford, ColoradoSmithfork-Gardening

Celebrating farm-to-table cuisine is an important part of Smith Fork Ranch. Their own farmstead garden cultivates over 80 varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemicals.  Additionally, with the ranch’s access to 1.3 million acres of the Gunnison National Forest and West Elk Wilderness, the ranch has a nearly unlimited and untouched outdoor kingdom.

Wilderness Trails Ranch – Durango, Colorado

This Colorado guest ranch collects bottles, cans, plastic and paper from approximately 45 guests and 35 staff members that stay at the ranch each week and loads a larger trailer to take into town 30 miles away. While staying at the ranch, guests can enjoy an exceptional horseback riding program, unsurpassed wilderness and lake access, phenomenal fishing, an award-winning Never Bored Kids Program, mountain biking opportunities, overland tours, indulgent spa treatments, taste-bud tantalizing cuisine, specialty events and more.

Rocking Z Ranch – Wolf Creek, Montana

Utilizing recycled vegetable oil, this guest ranch first started powering a stationary diesel motor to pump water for irrigation. It worked so well, the ranch now uses vegetable oil to make biodiesel after taking out the fatty acids. They use this to run the tractors, loaders, an excavator, dozer and diesel pickup during the summer months.

Diamond D Ranch - Stanley, Idaho

Situated in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states and family owned, Diamond D Ranch is completely cut off from the power grid as electricity is provided by the ranch’s very own hydro-electric generator. At the ranch, there is an endless amount of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish and mountains in which to hike or horseback ride.

Eaton’s Ranch – Wolf, Wyoming

This Wyoming dude ranch and working cattle ranch is located on the magnificent, pine covered eastern slopes of the Bighorn Mountains. Just eighteen miles west of Sheridan, the ranch consists of 7,000 acres of beautiful open country with rolling hills, grassy meadows and hidden valleys.  A historic Wyoming dude ranch for 135 years, it offers guests a true western experience and way of life. Many new ranches have embraced and implemented modern elements into their ranches. Conversely, Eaton’s Ranch has managed to preserve its authenticity, with cozy cabins, many of which date back to the early 1900s.

Black Tail Ranch – Wolf Creek, Montana

Come discover the beauty and partake in new adventures on a historic guest ranch near the continental divide. Explore majestic mountain trails on horseback or by hiking accompanied by our experienced guides. Try your hand at fly fishing on one of Montana's premiere rivers, enjoy bird watching, cave exploring, incredible wildlife viewing, go for a swim in the creek or spend the afternoon in the shade of the big Cottonwood trees. This well-appointed working guest ranch on 8000 acres of spectacular Big Sky country is perfect for individuals, family vacations and gatherings of all kinds.

 

 

Dude Ranches Pioneer Educational Travel

The Travel Effect Campaign reports that adults who took educational trips as kids are 12 percent more likely to graduate from college and earn more than those who didn’t. Statistics  have more parents searching for family vacation options that make learning fun. Filled with experiences rooted in local culture and history, two items that 77 percent of respondents in the Travel Effect Campaign cited as having a lasting impact, we are dedicated to preserving and promoting the genuine western way of life. By offering kids the ability to experience this way of life, dude ranches are helping future generations appreciate nature, wildlife and Western culture.

A dude ranch vacation offers a variety of programming for kids of all ages, with daily schedules that are so engaging kids won’t realize they’re learning along the way. Kids programs and activities, many of which are overseen by dedicated wranglers and staff members, are designed to educate and entertain with activities ranging from ropes courses, scavenger hunts, horseback riding, panning for gold, wildlife excursions, overnight camping trips, campfire sing-a-longs, capture the flag, hay rides and much more. “I think one of the best parts about our kids programs is that it really engages kids’ adventurous spirit and teaches them about many things they wouldn’t learn within the four walls of their classrooms,   the experience has a lasting effect on the child. You can ask any kid the name of the horse they rode while vacationing at a dude ranch in a month or even a year and they will be able to tell you as well as the names of the kids and wranglers. It’s a unique memory that stays with them for many years. To embark on your next educational adventure go to www.duderanch.org/listings_search.php and search for the kids program that is right for you and your kiddos. Below are a few ranches with great kids programs to get you started: Horseshoe Canyon Fall Colors

4UR Ranch

Vista Verde Ranch

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch

A Bar A Ranch

Wilderness Trails Ranch

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Elkhorn Ranch

Lost Valley Ranch

Three Bars Guest Ranch

Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch

CM Ranch

 

Vacation of a Lifetime at a Dude Ranch

A Dude Ranch Vacation is all about YOU, the guest. All member ranches of The Dude Ranchers’ Association are committed to making sure you have the vacation of a life time.  With our warm Western Hospitality, outstanding horses, great food,  inviting accommodations and our spectacular locations, we guarantee a vacation you and your loved ones will not soon forget. Dude ranches are ideal places for kids, families and couples to re-discover each other, without the typical distractions of this fast paced world we live in. Families spend time together enjoying horseback riding, hiking, fishing, river rafting, working cattle, children’s programs, evening programs and much more.              Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest while horseback riding at White Stallion Ranch or golfing at the world class golf course at Rancho de los Caballeros.                Whether you are a seasoned angler or simply want to give it a try,  stake out some private shoreline for amazing fly-fishing in Wyoming at Red Rock Ranch or Paradise Ranch.                In Montana, Glamping or “Glamorous Camping” has come of age at the Bar W Ranch and there isn’t a more fitting place to explore the wilderness of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem than at Lone Mountain Ranch.                Looking for a little more adventure while learning how the “real cowboys” made a living?  Check out The Hideout Ranch and the Red Reflet Ranch during their cattle weeks.                For some spectacular views of Teton National Park, you can’t beat Moose Head Ranch located at the base of the Tetons. Ride the high meadows of Goosewing Ranch and The Gros Ventre River Ranch while gazing at the spectacular views of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.                At Eatons’ Ranch in Wyoming and the Latigo Ranch in Colorado, they honor their heritage by providing a traditional dude ranch experience. Both ranches are family owned and operated offering great food, amazing horseback riding and, of course, true Western Hospitality. So what are you waiting for, come experience the Original all-inclusive Western Vacation at its Best!!

The Dude Ranchers' Association

When the stress and strain of modern life frays your nerves too thin, it's time to start dreaming up your next vacation. It's time to dream big - as big as the spacious skies, wide-open plains, and mountain spires of the rural West. Leave it all behind - traffic snarls, cell phones, laptops - and come live a big dream way out in the heart of nature in the welcoming comfort of an authentic Western dude ranch. Ever since the late 1800's, real working ranches have been opening their doors to friends and families and showing them what Western hospitality is all about. These ranches originated the concept of the dude ranch with lodging, dining, and guided trips into the surrounding countryside, all rolled into one vacation package. Modern dude ranches range from historic working ranches to upscale resort ranches affording hot tubs on private decks, gourmet dining by candlelight, and cozy rooms with moss rock fireplaces and contemporary Western decor. What all these guest ranches have in common is that they handle everything - from big hearty breakfasts in the morning to entertainment in the evening for friends and family gathered in the lodge. Dating from 1926, The Dude Ranchers' Association has overseen quality control for its industry and provided invaluable assistance in pointing guests toward a ranch with activities and amenities that suit their needs and interests. The screening process to become a DRA member is rigorous and demanding, including references from guests, on-site inspections, and a probationary period for new members of at least a year. Each of the association's 100 member ranches across the western United States and Canada have passed its tests for safety, proper care of horses and equipment, clean rooms in good repair, and dedication to the preservation of the traditional dude ranch experience. This stamp of authenticity is your assurance that you'll get the real thing. The Dude Ranchers' Association publishes a yearly brochure and trip planning information is available online with easy ways to narrow down your search. Telephone inquiries are always encouraged!  For more information, visit www.duderanch.org, email info@duderanch.org of call 307-587-2339. Three Bars Gather

    THREE BARS GUEST RANCH Cranbrook, British Columbia Phone: +1 877-426-5230 Three Bars GuestRanch, The Adventure Ranch of the Canadian Rockies, invites you to experience the ultimate horseback riding vacation. Located just south of Banff National Park, Three Bars Ranch offers the most diverse activities program available anywhere. Voted Canada's #1 Dude Ranch 2011.

 

    Elkhorn Ranch Tucson, Arizona Phone: +1 520-822-1040 Sunny winter season Sonoran Desert guest ranch in scenic Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Family owned and operated since 1946. Comfortable living and excellent horseback riding for singles, couples and families of all ages and abilities. Adventure, relaxation, friendship.

 

    Circle Z Ranch Patagonia, Arizona Phone: +1 888-854-2525 Join us at Circle Z Ranch for an old-time ranch adventure! From the moment you arrive you feel a sense of stepping back in time.

 

    Colorado Trails Ranch Durango, Colorado Phone: +1 800-323-3833 Fun and adventure in the San Juan Mountains near historic Durango include horseback riding, fly-fishing, rafting and shooting sports. Special programs for children, evening and other activities, freindly staff, excellent food, cozy cabins and spectacular location make this a vacation of a lifetime.

 

    Drowsy Water Ranch Granby, Colorado Phone: +1 800-845-2292 Winner Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Awards #1 All Inclusive Vacation. For over 90 years Drowsy Water Ranch has been providing folks from around the world with Western vacations. Under the same owner/management for 35 years, we promise nothing less than real down home hospitality and memories.

 

    Red Horse Mountain Ranch Harrison, Idaho Phone: +1 888-689-9680 Located on 300,000 acres, the ranch is 1.5 hour drive from the Spokane International Airport, near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Full service, all-inclusive vacation is available from June through October.

 

    63 Ranch Livingston, Montana Phone: +1 888-395-5151 "Montana's Magic" happens to you on your 63 Ranch Vacation. A mountain ranch located 50 miles north of Yellowstone National Park at the foot of the magnificent Absaroka Mountain Range. Unmatched scenic grandeur. Owned and operated by original founding family since 1929.

 

    Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Emigrant, Montana Phone: +1 800-548-3392 Just 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park, we have spent over 80 years perfecting our rustic elegance on nearly 9,000 acres of beautiful rugged countryside in the heart of Montana's Paradise Valley. We invite you to explore the vacation of a lifetime here at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.

 

    Lost Creek Ranch Moose, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-733-3435 Nestled between towering mountains just north of Jackson,Wyoming,the Lost Creek Ranch & Spa is a family-owned Western-style guest ranch that belies all expectations with would-class luxuries, gourmet meals and a state-of-the-art spa facility. The service is exceptional.

 

    Vee Bar Guest Ranch Laramie, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-483-3227 The Vee Bar, 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!

 

     

The Western Dude Ranch Rejuvinates & Boosts Health of Each Guest

According to experts, taking a vacation is good for you health. Despite this fact, Americans and Canadians tend to shortchange their vacation time, often leaving earned time on the table or taking a day here and a day there instead of a week or more at one stretch. Since 1926 The Dude Ranchers' Association has shaped and established the highest quality standards in the guest ranch industry. A DRA (as it's known) guest ranch is the epitome of a Western holiday and providing both the time and environment to foster good health.  Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each guest. According to the career website, Workopolis, "Psychologists say that it takes five to seven days to de-stress from work, so doing it piecemeal can be counter productive. Most of the studies show people need about two weeks in one block a year to feel the benefits of a vacation."  During summer the majority of DRA guest ranches operate in week-long increments, allowing guests the time to unwind, settle in and savor the experience. In addition to horsemanship, ranches offer activities satisfying the recreational and social needs of each generation. Tennis clinics, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip-lining, bird watching, crafts, hiking, whitewater rafting, and golf; each can be enjoyed during a Western ranch vacation.  Some ranches also offer known stress reducers like yoga, meditation, massages and other soothing spa treatments. Dude ranches are ideal places for kids and families to rec-connect. Without the typical distractions of TV, phones, computers and electronic games, families spend quality time together sometimes just hanging out on the porch swing or sitting around the campfire. There are more than 100 members of The Dude Ranchers' Association in the Western US and Canada. Each is a little bit different but each DRA ranch vacation is the most potent tonic to combat the stress caused by the uncertain times we live in. Check out our web site at www.duderanch.org or e-mail us at info@duderanch.org.  

    7D Ranch Cody, Wyoming Phone: +1 888-587-9885 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. Weekly trips into Yellowstone NP.

 

    A Bar A Ranch Encampment, Wyoming Phone: 307-327-5454 This is a magical place, where generations of families and friends create summer memories together. Ride with a wrangler or on your own, fish 26 miles of private streams, bring your kids to our children's program, swim in our pool and more. We invite you to share in this extraordinary experience.

 

  Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch Parshall, Colorado Phone: +1 800-396-6279 Opened since 1912, BAR LAZY J is considered the oldest continuously operating guest ranch in Colorado. The ranch is located just southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park and nestled in a peaceful valley along the banks of the Colorado River. Recreation and Relaxation is what we offer at Bar Lazy J.

 

  CM Ranch Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-455-0721 The CM Ranch is a fine dude ranch with a history of providing quality western vacations for over 100 years. The CM offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including horseback riding, fishing, hiking, pack trips, weekly rodeo, cookouts, and more. All ages welcome. Ideal for family reunions.

 

  Diamond D Ranch Stanley, Idaho Phone: 800-222-1269 The Diamond D Ranch is Idaho's premier all-inclusive guest ranch nestled in the Frank Church Wilderness and surrounded by the Salmon River Mountains. We offer several wonderful activities including horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, gold panning, swimming, and many evening festivities.Diamond D Cat Post Trail Family

 

    Elk Mountain Ranch Buena Vista, Colorado Phone: +1 800-432-8812 Unique for its spectacular location, horseback rides of unmatched beauty, quality horses, variety of activities, superb menu, intimate capacity and off-the-beaten path charm. Families encouraged to ride and raft together. Adults-only in September. Only 2.5 hrs from Denver Airport.

 

    Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch McLeod, Montana Phone: +1 877-496-7848 Enjoy a Montana ranch vacation in a remote pristine wilderness north of Yellowstone. Small guest capacity and unique activities. Horseback riding; Fly fishing on private frontage along the Boulder River; Jeep ride to ghost town and historic gold mines; Hiking; Scenic raft float; Campfires/cookouts.

 

      Nine Quarter Circle Ranch Gallatin Gateway, Montana Phone: +1 406-995-4276 Adjacent to Yellowstone Park, the Nine Quarter Circle is "magical" thanks to our remote location which provides incredible scenery and excellent riding opportunities. Our family-oriented vacations feature riding for all ages and levels of horsemanship while awesome blue-ribbon fly-fishing can be found on-site and in nearby rivers. Traditional activities such as campfires, cookouts, hayrides and more are a big hit, as are our dedicated kids' programs. And this all comes served with the West's BEST hospitality! Come to the palce where "Time Stands Still", just south of the beautiful resort town of Big Sky and just north of West Yellowstone and Yellowstone Park! Remember to ask about our "Specialty" weeks.

 

    Rimrock Ranch Cody, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-587-3970 Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, halfway between Cody and the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Our ranch is family owned and operated since 1955. The week is filled with riding, rafting, rodeo, and all day tour of Yellowstone. Heated pool, hot tub, and fishing pond.

 

    Western Pleasure Guest Ranch Sandpoint, Idaho Phone: +1 888-863-9066 With ranch adventures for families, couples or singles, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, rich in history and family heritage, is Idaho's most northern ranch. Activities include horseback riding, skeet shooting, cattle sorting, mountain biking, hiking, children's programs, adult only weeks and more.

 

   

At the Heart of every Dude Ranch Vacation is the Horse

 At the heart of every Dude Ranch vacation is the horse. However, novices need not be overwhelmed with visions of straight backs, dress coats and bouncing up and down on tiny saddles, the whole ethos of Western riding is based on comfort and control. Those old time cowboys would be on the go all day and Western saddles reflect this being higher in the back, with pommels in the front and wide long stirrups. The horses are also schooled to stop, go and turn with the minimum of effort which basically means you do not need to be an Olympic standard equestrian to enjoy this style of vacation. Equally, those with riding experience are more than well catered for as one guest explains, ‘having horses of my own and riding on regular basis for the past 30 years I thought I would find the riding a little regimented and more geared to just the beginner rider. Well was I wrong! They truly can accommodate any riding level from the most inexperienced to the most experienced.’ Furthermore , ‘the wranglers at Dude Ranches are some of the most well rounded, diverse people I have ever been around,’ she laughs. ‘You may get a kid who grew up on a cattle ranch working cows since he was four, or a kid that just graduated from Cornell and was on the polo team, and everything in between. The one thing they all have in common is their love of horses and people.’ 

With the vast array of different experiences on offer, the Dude Ranch experience can be pretty much tailor-made. Further considerations therefore must also be given to the type of environment you want to ride in, i.e. meadows, mountains or prairies (as this will dictate the geographical location) the type of riding you would like to do and the level of comfort of the ranch itself. Accommodation is a lot simpler to choose from and basically consists of three different types. A working ranch, which will let you experience some real cowboy activities rounding up livestock, a Classic Dude Ranch which again will emphasis the riding but is usually combined with outdoor activities and last but not least, the resort Dude Ranch where western riding is obviously a feature, but also offer a diverse selection of activities and onsite facilities.

DRA ranches offer excellent diversification of accommodation, terrain and conditions. Where the Rocky Mountains meet the high plains providing breathtaking backdrops for your adventure on horseback. From the world famous Yellowstone and Grand Tetons national parks with their steaming geysers, stunning waterfalls and deep canyons. DRA ranches offer a choice ranging from the rustic to the luxurious with a range of activities both on horseback and off, as diverse as the stunning landscape.   

Guest expectations may have changed  over the years and ranchers have had to change with them, but the core principles and foundation of every Dude Ranch remain the same HORSES, HATS,HISTORY, HEART, HONESTY  and HOSPITALITY. There is a little cowboy in all of us come find yours at DRA Dude Ranch.  

Lone Mountain Cowgirl Loping Dusty Adventure

This year, give the gift of shared adventure to your other half

The season of love is fast approaching and couples will begin to ask themselves two questions: Is it time to get engaged? And what am I going to get my other half for the holidays or Valentine’s Day? While the traditional gift ideas of jewelry, roses and candy may make for a touching token of love, we challenge you to think outside the box and consider some stats.

According to The Knot, 39 percent of couples get engaged during the “season of love,” the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. Regardless of whether you’re ready to propose – or to be proposed to – statistics like this put pressure on men and women to find the perfect gift to stand out from the crowd. According to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association, the gift of travel may be the perfect solution as 63 percent of couples think a getaway is more likely to spark romance than gifts of any size, and 7 percent think simply traveling inspires romance.

 This year, give the gift of shared adventure to your other half. Imagine a rustic romantic getaway, complete with horseback riding, outdoor adventure and bonding – the perfect backdrop for an epic proposal. Or a passionate weekend for foodies filled with delectable gourmet dishes and carefully selected wine pairings that the two of you can indulge to your heart's content. When it comes to love, a vacation at a dude ranch resort has all the ingredients necessary to make your love swoon with delight.

 Vista-Verde-Drive-Cattle

Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado - Winter Romance- Whisk away your sweetheart to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a romantic winter wonderland.  Ask for the Valentine’s Day romance package, and we’ll start your Valentine’s Day off with breakfast in bed, followed by a day of as much outside activity as you desire.  In the afternoon, we’ll treat you to a private sleigh ride complete with hot toddies to keep you toasty warm.  Following that, the chefs will delight your taste buds with their Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac dinner.   The rest is up to you to enjoy the serene setting, the cozy cabin and the bubbling hot tub with views of snow covered meadows and mountains.

Red Reflet Ranch, Wyoming - Back by popular demand - Valentine’s Dining at the Red Reflet Ranch, Ten Sleep, Wyoming.  Dine in the Main Lodge and relax by the crackling fire while you enjoy spectacular views overlooking the Chugwater Formation of the Canyon.  Extraordinary dining experience and six-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Matthew Cariveau.  Overnight accommodations available in our luxuriously appointed chalets.  Offering Valentine’s Dining on two nights: Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15.  Now taking reservations.  $40 per person.  Make plans early – this will sell out!  Click here for online reservations.

Vee Bar Ranch, Wyoming - Winter Getaway Package - This package could be called the Deluxe Escape Package.  The package is designed for winter enthusiasts!  This is the perfect package for guests who want to experience everything.  The Vee Bar staff will make sure that you get the most out of your vacation while exploring the Vee Bar, the Snowy Range Mountains, and local attractions.  Guests will need their own transportation to and from the activities off property.  A three-night minimum stay is required to purchase this package.  See our Winter Getaway Package Sample Schedule for activity and meal details.

 

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Top 8 Reasons to Take Your Family to a Guest Ranch for the Holidays

 By: PJ Wirchansky Did you know that Guest Ranches offer similar amenities and benefits to all-inclusive resorts and hotels? Whether your family is looking for a working dude ranch, luxury ranch, or spending the holidays at a Guest Ranch, there is likely a ranch that fits your needs. As the holiday season approaches, many families are looking for different and unique ways to spend time with their loved ones. Here are the top 8 reasons to take your family to a Guest Ranch this holiday season.

You know the price up front. Most Guest Ranches are all-inclusive so you know the price before your arrival. Typically holiday ranch packages include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day. Most ranches include holiday festivities such as tree trimming, a kid’s holiday program, sleigh rides, cookie decorating, visits from Santa, and caroling with crew and other guests. Knowing what is included in your package gives you peace of mind for your holiday budget.

It’s not always about the horses. When people think of a Guest Ranch, horses are often the first thing that comes to mind. Some ranches do offer trail riding during the winter; however, many Guest Ranches do not offer winter horseback riding. With that being said, there are so many other activities for everyone to enjoy. Some of the winter activities offered at ranches include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice skating, dog sledding, and nearby downhill skiing. There is always something for all ages and skill levels to enjoy.  

Holiday Children’s Programs. There are many Guest Ranches that offer a children’s program during the holiday season. This gives kids the opportunity to meet other children from around the world, interact with counselors and learn new things about the ranch. Children will often take part in activities such as cookie decorating, visiting with Santa, reindeer tracking, sledding, building igloos, cross country skiing, learning about wildlife and so much more.    

Family Time. We all know that family time can be limited in our everyday lives. Parents are working, children are in school, and grandparents live in different states. Holidays always seem to bring families together from all over the country and what better way to enjoy this Christmas then at a cozy, inviting Guest Ranch. This gives families a chance to reconnect with one another, spend time away from their busy lives, and appreciate each other’s company.

Connect with Nature. Whether you live in a metropolitan area of the northeast, in a warm, humid southern city, or live along the west coast, there is a Guest Ranch for you. Are you looking for beautiful majestic mountains, a white Christmas, and pristine snow-laden forests? Spending time away from your home town can be a great way to disconnect, and experience the natural world. Many guests do not spend much time in their cabins, but rather enjoy the fresh air and the wonderful offerings a Ranch provides.

Unplug from technology. So often in today’s world, technology is a way of life. Many guest ranches do not have television, phones or internet service (unless you really need it J). This gives families a chance to unplug from technology and enjoy spending the holiday season with their loved ones without distractions.

Meet other families. One great thing about traveling to a Guest Ranch is the opportunity to meet families from all over the world. Ranches will host guests from New York, California, Georgia, as well as England and Australia. Many guests coming from another part of the world want to experience the holiday season and meet other families from the United States. Learning about different cultures can be so rewarding and often times, families will make lifelong friends.    

Great food. Who doesn’t love great food? Guest ranches are known for providing guests with wonderful, hearty food and the holiday season is no exception. Many Guest Ranches have a fabulous Christmas Eve Dinner, a huge holiday spread for Christmas Brunch, and another Christmas Dinner. Don’t worry!  You will be able to burn off those delicious holiday calories with the many activities that Guest Ranches offer.        

Flying E Dude Ranch Wickenburg, Arizona Phone: +1 888-684-2650 With 20,000 acres to ride and roam there is seldom a day without sunshine. The Flying E Dude Ranch is a working cattle ranch and the ideal place to take a step back in time.Enjoy delicious home cooked meals, great horses and a comfortable place to relax at the end of the day.Open Nov 1 to April 30.  

Elkhorn Ranch Tucson, Arizona Phone: +1 520-822-1040 Sunny winter season Sonoran Desert guest ranch in scenic Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Family owned and operated since 1946. Comfortable living and excellent horseback riding for singles, couples and families of all ages and abilities. Adventure, relaxation, friendship.

Circle Z Ranch Patagonia, Arizona Phone: +1 888-854-2525 Join us at Circle Z Ranch for an old-time ranch adventure! From the moment you arrive you feel a sense of stepping back in time.      

Vee Bar Guest Ranch Laramie, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-483-3227 The Vee Bar, 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!  

Vista Verde Ranch Steamboat Springs, Colorado Phone: +1 800-526-7433 Located just north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Vista Verde Ranch offers a luxurious ranch vacation with a top notch riding program, but also so many other activities that it is much more than just a riding ranch. Adventures await both summer and winter.     Latigo Ranch Kremmling, Colorado Phone: +1 800-227-9655 Latigo was voted Colorado's Best Dude Ranch by "Colorado's Best: The Essential Guide to Favorite Places". Why? Latigo guests rave about Latigo's caring staff, solid horse program, fun activities, sumptious meals, and majestic scenery. It's a family vacation filled with memories to last a lifetime.  

Lone Mountain Ranch Big Sky, Montana Phone: +1 800-514-4644 Endless recreational possibilities at this historic ranch offering horseback riding , hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, fly fishing and Outdoor Youth Adventures just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Cozy, comfortable log cabins with western furnishings.    

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Dude ranch makes for a blue-ribbon family roundup

The

Minneapolis Star Tribune recently wrote a wonderful article about Tumbling River Ranch.  I have included a short piece of the article along with the link. Be sure to click through to read the complete story!

Article by: Tony Jones , Star Tribune

Updated: October 26, 2013 - 4:07 PM

You probably wouldn’t take me for a barrel racer, and surely not for a blue ribbon-winning, rodeo barrel racer. But I am, and no one can take that away from me. Many years ago, my parents took my brothers and me to a dude ranch in Montana. It was almost universally commended as our best-ever family vacation. As my mother’s 70th birthday approached, she hoped to re-create that magic as a present to herself. But 30 years later, this trip would include spouses and a new generation, her grandchildren. All told, 17 of us from three generations converged on the Tumbling River Ranch, just up a dirt road from the tiny burg of Grant, Colo. That’s two grandparents, three sons, three spouses and nine grandchildren, ranging in age from 4 to 72. We arrived for our weeklong stay on Sunday afternoon and were met by Megan Dugan, who owns the ranch with her husband, Scott. As Megan showed us around, she told us that she’d grown up on the ranch, which her parents purchased in 1975. In their teens, Scott and Megan were both on summer staff. They re-met, married and eventually bought the ranch when her parents retired. Now they’re raising their own three kids there. The Dugan family, and their home at the center of the ranch, brought a family feel to the whole experience, as did something we heard at orientation that night. The ranch was full to capacity on our week, with six families totaling 49 guests. Of those six families, three were making return visits to Tumbling River, two of them on their fourth visit. Clearly, Tumbling River engenders some serious loyalty. At orientation, the entire staff of wranglers, cooks, servers, kids’ counselors and housekeepers sat up front, dressed in their cowboy duds, explaining the ins and outs of the week. Turned out that the stellar staff — most of them college kids on a summer job — became one of the most memorable elements of Tumbling River; our kids are still talking about them. (Read More)

Vacationing at an Eco-Friendly Dude Ranch

 

As more people are becoming aware of environmental issues, vacationing green is a growing travel trend. Families are seeking vacation options that offer activities that respect the earth, and experiences that create cherished memories and a renewed connection to nature.

Dude Ranches are the original Eco-friendly Tourism destinations and a great way to bring your family closer on your next vacation. People come to enjoy the outdoors, have an adventure and relax in nature. After they leave, they often have a renewed appreciation for the environment.

Successful ranching depends on a positive relationship with the earth, therefore all ranchers know that they need to treat it with care. This relationship influences a visitor’s experience at a dude ranch and often brings them a deeper appreciation for the environment in which they live.

For example, Rocking Z Ranch in Montana uses a stationary diesel motor that is powered by recycled vegetable oil to pump water for irrigation. This worked so well, the ranch took the idea one step further by using the vegetable oil to make biodiesel after taking out the fatty acids. They use this to run the tractors, loaders, an excavator, dozer and diesel pickup during the summer months.Rocking-Z-Bareback-Jumping

Another great example is the White Stallion Ranch which went solar. On January 3, 2011 construction began and on Tuesday March 22, 2001 the first solar panels began to operate. We have three separate sites where the electricity comes from solar panels into the meters for the ranch; the well, staff area and our main lodge buildings plus west side rooms. This is the largest amount of solar power that we are allowed to install and use based on the program that we entered. When last checked, one of the meters (the one for the main lodge)  had delivered 5,360 KWH, bought 104 KWH and sold back 7 KWH. The system is designed to power 35% to 40% of the electricity for the ranch, a very exciting prospect indeed.

Recycling is another aspect that dude ranches are embracing. Keep in mind, with some ranches being far from major cities where a recycling program might exist, it’s a bit harder than simply putting items in a bin and putting it at the end of the driveway every week. Wilderness Trails Ranch in Colorado collects bottles, cans, plastic and paper from the approximately 45 guests and 35 staff that stay at the ranch each week and loads a large trailer to take into town 30 miles away.

A ranch offers activities for the whole family. Maybe your daughter loves horses and has always dreamed of lopping across a grassy meadow, or your son wants to learn how to rope a steer. While your wife enjoys sometime in the spa, why not try some fly fishing? Then you better rest up so you can all go whitewater rafting the next day.

So if you are looking for a vacation that will leave your family with memories to last a lifetime and a closer relationship with Mother Nature then a vacation at a Dude Ranch might be just the ticket for you and your family.  For more information about vacations where your family can embrace the great outdoors visit www.duderanch.org.  

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Ranch Recipe: Sinful Brownies from Rowse's 1+1 Ranch

There are few things in life more enjoyable than riding a beautiful horse all day, chasing cows and enjoying the vast outdoors.  The only way to top this type of experience is to end that glorious ride by arriving back at the ranch to the smell of fresh baked chocolate brownies made from scratch.  Tammy at Rowses 1 + 1 Ranch in Burwell, Nebraska is an amazing cook and she has kindly offered to share her recipe with us. Tammy's own chocolate brownie recipe will have you itching to visit  1+1 Ranch to get your hands on some of her delicious baked goods and if you're worried about just how sinful they are, get yourself to the ranch for a working ranch vacation and work up a real cowboy appetite for these gooey brownies! Here's the recipe... 

Ingredients

1 cup margarine

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

½ cup flour

1½ tsp baking soda

2 cups chocolate chips

Method

1. Beat together the margarine, peanut butter, white and brown sugars, eggs and vanilla, until creamy

2. Add the flour and baking soda, and mix well.

3. Finally, stir through the chocolate chips until evenly combined

4. Spread the mixture into a greased cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes in a 350F degree oven.

As long as you're careful not to overbake, the brownies will come out good and chewy!

Recipe for Brownies

American Adventure Month

As we are in the midst of American Adventure Month, a month-long celebration to honor vacationing in the Americas, I wanted to share with you the original all-American, all-inclusive destination where adventure and outdoor enthusiasts can both challenge and revive their body, spirit and mind in breathtaking off-the-beaten path locales in the country: the dude ranch.

At a dude ranch, guests can enjoy fly fishing, white water rafting, hiking, rock climbing, golf, cattle roundups, ATV trips, water sports, horseback riding and much more. A dude ranch vacation is perfect for much needed time away. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you’re sure to experience an unforgettable getaway.

The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) represents a broad spectrum of 100 guest ranches across the U.S., ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. Experience the ultimate American adventure by visiting a DRA-accredited ranch. The DRA takes great pride in the quality and standards it requires its ranches to uphold.

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Experience the Beauty of Fall at a Dude Ranch

 Don’t just walk through the leaves, ride through the leaves as dude ranches are the original all-inclusive destination for fall travel, and it’s never too early to start planning your getaway. Imagine horseback riding under a canopy of technicolor fall foliage ranging from glorious reds, bright yellows, and vivid oranges.  Some of the nation’s best leaves can only be seen when you get off the major highways and head out to the winding country roads. Choose from guest ranches in Arizona or Colorado where fall changes the Aspen leaves or book a getaway to a dude ranch located near or within a National Park such as Triangle X Ranch located in Grand Teton National Park or Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which borders Buffalo River National Park in the Ozark region of Arkansas.

 As the air cools down and the days get shorter on a dude ranch, fall fishing, hiking, and of course, horseback riding  are popular outdoor activities among guests to enjoy and take in the beautiful colors of fall. Many ranches also offer fall photography workshops to help guests capture the natural beauty of the autumn season. For those dude ranches that are actual working ranches, fall means cattle drives, and guests are often invited to join these memorable and one-of-a-kind drives.

 While many people tout the benefits of “all-inclusive vacations,” few realize the variety of choices out there and that not all are created equal. Guest ranch getaways offer numerous advantages such as no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary and no hidden fees. In addition, dude ranches are the ideal all-inclusive destination for families of all types and sizes, especially multi-generational families with a wide variety of interests and abilities.

 The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) can help travelers and travel agents choose the perfect guest ranch for their fall getaway from its more than 100 DRA-accredited guest ranches in North American (two in Canada). Ranging from luxury resort-style ranches to working ranches, all of these dude ranches uphold the highest quality of services within the industry.

 

Dudes Flock to Guest Ranches

The Santa Barbara Independent By Barney Brantingham

The Old West still lives at dude ranches sprinkled through the saguaro-studded deserts of Arizona. Actually, they’re known as “guest ranches” these days and are magnets for Europeans who hanker for a dusty taste of the cowboy life, strong cowboy coffee, and getting astride a horse. I found tourists from England, Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia, and thereabouts on a recent visit to horse country at the White Stallion Ranch and Tanque Verde Ranch, both near Tucson. The High Chaparral TV series (1967-1971) is still being shown in Europe, spurring interest to see the country where it was filmed. “I’m not disappointed,” said Ann Reid of Stratford-on-Avon, daintily digging into scrambled eggs while on a breakfast ride at the White Stallion. (READ MORE)

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Fall is a Great Time for Couples to Visit a Dude Ranch

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When the kids get back on the bus it’s time for parents to get back in the saddle for a classic Western getaway.  From the latter part of August through October, dude ranches are a couples’ best bet to rekindle romance and replenish spirit.  And the price is right too!  

The height of summer finds most ranches filled to capacity with families.  In fall couples have their pick of dude ranches with September traditionally a time for adults only.  No need to break the bank for airfare, car rentals or a dozen tanks of gas, since for many American’s and Canadians, a ranch is found within less than a day’s drive.  And with rates including meals, riding, other activities, and accommodations, it becomes an even more attractive getaway.

To narrow the search and ensure high quality standards, consider only ranches belonging to The Dude Ranchers’ Association.  There are more than 100 DRA, as it’s known, ranches in the Western US and Canada.  Since 1926, the DRA has kept the bar raised high for the industry.   Travelers can be assured of an authentic Western experience and high standards of quality at any DRA ranch.

Spectacular dude ranch scenery is at an all time high in autumn when aspens sport yellow cloaks and icy mountain streams swirl with fat trout.  These are the conditions found at Northern California’s Hunewill Ranch.  Just East of Yosemite National Park, couples have their pick of packages this fall.  There’s the “Escape to the Ranch” weekend package in early September, or in the latter part of the month an “Autumn Getaway.”  For those with a little more time the “Fall Color Ride,” September 27 - October 1 is a dramatic adventure. 

 The only traffic passing Waunita Hot Springs Ranch  is an elk or two.  Perched high in the Colorado Rockies, surrounded by Gunnison National Forest land, time is measured only by shadows cast by the sun.  Add to the remote location an immense swimming pool, bathhouse and hot tub fed by natural hot springs and any cares or worries melt away.  The remote retreat caters to adults only August 25 - September 28. 

“An outpost of unpretentious comfort” is how folks describe the Spotted Horse Ranch in NW Wyoming.    An Orvis affiliate, and host to a trout fishing school, The Spotted Horse draws riders and angler from all over the world.  Sixteen miles from the Western resort town of Jackson Hole, it’s far enough away from the action that guests can enjoy solitude, but get a taste of city amenities like art galleries, fine shopping and sizzling nightlife.  In September and October this Wyoming paradise is reserved for adults only.  

The Dude Ranchers' Association was formed in 1926 to preserve this special way of life and the wonderful environment in which dude ranching takes place. When you vacation at a Dude Ranchers' Association Dude Ranch, you can be sure of a quality vacation. Membership in the Association is a rigorous two year inspection and approval process, to assure that guests are treated to genuine western hospitality combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards. Our Dude Ranches offer all-inclusive vacations that are perfect for everyone, from the littlest rancher to Grandpa and Grandma.  Horseback riding, hiking, petting zoos, swimming holes, rodeos, fishing, games, skeet shooting, archery, art classes, cooking classes and more await your discovery on your next Dude Ranch Vacation.  Horses, Hats, History and Hospitality - they're the foundation of every ranch. There is a little cowboy in all of us... come find yours...

Live the American Dream Vacation at the West’s Best Dude Ranches

At the more than 100 dude ranches that make up The Dude Ranchers’ Association, guests are sure to find the All-American Western vacation they have been dreaming of—days spent in the saddle, enjoying stunning scenery and breathing fresh country air, and evenings enjoying tasty down-home cooking and ranch entertainment. Today, as it did over a century ago, the western dude ranch experience offers relief for both the body and spirit of those seeking refuge from the pressures and routine of modern life. Dude ranch vacations are based on a lifestyle that stretches back more than a century. By the end of the 1800s, most of the American West had been explored and the stories of its natural wonders had spread throughout the Eastern portion of the country as well as Europe. Lured by the promise of awesome beauty, a spirit of romance and adventure, and the honest simplicity of the western way of life, travelers headed west in search of a respite from the crowded, noisy squalor of fast-paced cities. Most dude ranch guests are looking for that same experience today—a chance to rejuvenate their souls and refresh their spirits. And with the impressive array of activities found at these dude ranches, everyone—Mom, Dad, kids, grandparents, couples or singles—can find something that interests them. Dude ranches are ideal places for kids and families to re-discover each other. Without the typical distractions of TV, phones, computers and electronic games, families spend time together, riding, hiking, playing games or simply talking. And while dude ranches are a popular destination for families, couples, singles and groups of all types love this unique traveling option as well. Most ranches offer a wide variety of activities such as horseback riding, fly fishing, river rafting, swimming pools, children’s programs, cattle drives, cookouts, line dancing and plain relaxing on the porch swing, so everyone in a group is sure to find something that appeals to them. And since the cooking, cleaning and planning is all taken care of, everyone enjoys a true vacation.

Since 1926 The Dude Ranchers’ Association has been helping folks find quality ranch vacations by establishing and enforcing high standards for its members. Dude ranches applying for membership go through a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process, including a close review of their application, a review of references from former guests, an appearance before the board of directors and on-site inspections during actual dude ranch operations. Typically, only 70% of the ranches that apply meet the high standards of the Association. When guests book a vacation at a Dude Ranchers’ Association member ranch, they can be assured that it is actually a ranch and not just a hotel with horses. The Dude Ranchers’ Association’s original membership of 35 ranches from the Yellowstone area has now grown to 100-plus member ranches in 12 western states and Canada. In spite of this growth, the Association today remains dedicated to preserving the beauty, natural resources, and the original western ranch experiences that attracted the first visitors. For more information about the unique experience of a dude ranch vacation or to request a brochure, call 1-866-399-2339 or visit www.duderanch.org.

Crossed Sabres Horses View

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Live a Movie Moment through Real-Life Working Cattle Drives

For a truly memorable vacation, nothing beats a Western cattle drive. Straight from the big screen, these working cattle drives, offered through various members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, transform a movie moment into a real-life vacation experience unlike any other.

The cattle drive experience varies from ranch to ranch, with some ranches providing only two drives (one in the spring and one in the fall) while others offer cattle drives almost every day. The purpose of the drives, however, is universal—move cattle from one location to another without losing any animals along the way. Guided by expert wranglers, cattle drive participants shoulder important responsibilities as they keep the herd together, chase down stragglers, and stay on the move.

For just a taste of the cowpoke life, dude ranch visitors can participate in cattle drives that last only a few hours. When cattle need fresh water, new grass, or simply a change of pace, a cattle drive is the answer, and on working dude ranches, guests saddle up with the hired hands to make things happen.

Days-long cattle drives fill the urge for the morFocus Ranch-Riders on the Mesae adventurous to taste the true Western experience. These drives often include river crossings, mountain riding, and range roaming as the herd travels miles from one location to another. Of course, long days of riding are rewarded with evenings of fly fishing, card playing, and other rest and relaxation—just like in the cays of the real cowboy.

Cattle drives appeal to riders of all levels, although some riding experience is obviously beneficial. However, there’s no better way to improve riding skills and abilities than to spend a day in the saddle riding with a purpose. The exhilaration of combining real work with real pleasure is impossible to ignore, and nothing beats riding herd in the board expanse of the Wild West.

 Of course, no cattle drive is complete without plenty of good grub, and every DRA member provides outstanding cowboy cooking. After a day on the range, ranch guests love the hearty meals, down home entertainment, and cozy lodging that are the hallmarks of every dude ranch experience. 

Since 1926 The Dude Ranchers' Association has been helping folks find quality ranch vacations by establishing and enforcing high standards for its members. The association’s original membership of 35 ranches from the Yellowstone area has now grown to 100-plus member ranches in 12 western states and 2 Canadian provinces. In spite of this growth, the Association today remains dedicated to preserving the beauty, natural resources, and the original western ranch experiences that attracted the first visitors.

For more information about a real working cattle drive or any of the other unique features of a dude ranch vacation, or to request a brochure, call 1-307-587-2339 or visit www.duderanch.org.

Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch

Bridgeport, California Phone: +1 760-932-7710 Hunewill Ranch is a family owned and operated cattle and guest ranch located near Yosemite National Park in the beautiful Bridgeport Valley. Horseback riding and cattle work are our featured attractions for a vacation experience suited to families, singles, or couples.    

McGarry Ranches Rexburg, Idaho Phone: +1 866-593-4455 A working ranch with a herd of approx 2,000 head, managed on approx 55,000 acres in the Big Hole Range of the Rocky Mountains. If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the working cowboy while riding daily in scenic mountains we invite you to cowboy up with the ranch crew. Major Credits Accepted    

Klondike Ranch Buffalo, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-362-2982 Klondike Ranch is a working cattle ranch with accommodations for 6 to 10 adult guest 14 years and older. We trail the cows and calves to the mountains the end of June and back home the end of September. Throughout the summer we move them from pasture to pasture. Our guests are welcome to join.    

Rowses 1+1 Ranch Burwell, Nebraska Phone: +1 308-346-5530 The 1+1 Ranch invites you to experience the old west & life as a Cowboy on a Real Working Ranch. Guests can participate in all ranch activities & can expect up to 6 hours a day in the saddle. New log cabins, delicious meals, great horses & tack await you. Dont Just Dream the Cowboy Dream... Live It!    

G Bar M Ranch Clyde Park, Montana Phone: +1 406-686-4423 An Authentic Ranch Experience -AGRITOURISM G Bar M is a Working Ranch, which means we are an operating horse and cattle ranch that encourages guests to share in our lifestyle.    

Focus Ranch Slater, Wyoming Phone: (970)583-2410 A traditional ranch, guests contribute to the successful yearling cattle operation. Ride for a purpose in beautiful landscapes. Fly fish in the Little Snake. All ages enjoy participating and experiencing the cultural heritage. Since 1938, generations have embraced the authenticity of Focus Ranch.

All- Inclusive Dude and Guest Ranch Vacations are the Perfect Locations for Solo Travelers

While traveling alone may sound like a scary proposition, I’d like to share with you an all-inclusive destination perfect for solo travel: dude ranches. Dude ranches are the ideal vacation for those looking for much needed time alone, a new and exciting adventure, or even for those in search of making new friends. Guest ranches offer numerous advantages over other vacation options for those going solo, including:

 Intimate and Friendly Environment

When at a dude ranch, you instantly feel like a part of the family as there is great camaraderie amongst guests and staff. It instantly becomes your home away from home. Many guest ranches only accommodate up to 40 or 50 guests per week, which not only allows the staff to know your name but also results in you getting to know most of the other guests. Meals are often served family style so there are always guests to chat with throughout the day, making sure you never feel like you are on the “outskirts” if traveling alone.

 Group Activities

There is never a dull moment at a dude ranch. There are activities to keep you busy from sunup to sundown such as horseback riding, fly fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV-riding and much more. Plus, these activities are usually done in groups so you won’t encounter any “couples only” activities or events if you don’t want to.

 Adult-Only Weeks

Many guest ranches report fewer “couples” visiting now than in the past. As a result, many of these ranches host adult-only weeks in September. Activities during these weeks range from wine and cheese tastings, guided hikes, cooking classes, country dance instruction, cookouts, themed cocktail receptions and much more.

 Connect with Yourself

Dude ranches are a great place to spend time alone to revive your body, spirit and mind in some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. Whether it’s a rejuvenating day at the spa, an adventurous hike or a relaxing day reading a book under the sun, you are sure have plenty of quality alone time.

 Dude Ranchers’ Association

The Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA) is like your own personal travel agent, minus the fees, and can help you plan the perfect solo vacation. Whether you are looking for an authentic cowboy experience or a luxury resort, the DRA can customize the trip of your dreams. There are more than 100 DRA-accredited guest ranches in North America (two in Canada), all of which uphold the highest quality of services within the industry.

Triangle C Ranch

Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-661-4928 The Triangle C Dude Ranch is located on the Wind River, nestled between Jackson Hole and Dubois, Wyoming. We pride ourselves in being a true Wyoming Ranch - where our handshake is our bond and the coffee pot is always on!    

Colorado Cattle Company & Guest Ranch New Raymer, Colorado Phone: 1-970-437-5345 Colorado Cattle Co. and Guest Ranch is located on 10,000 acres of grassland for cattle, rolling hills, canyons, streams and bluffs in Northeastern CO. This is not your typical Dude Ranch. This is a real working cattle ranch where the guests actually work cattle just as a real cowboy would.    

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch Sandpoint, Idaho Phone: +1 888-863-9066 With ranch adventures for families, couples or singles, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, rich in history and family heritage, is Idaho's most northern ranch. Activities include horseback riding, skeet shooting, cattle sorting, mountain biking, hiking, children's programs, adult only weeks and more.     

Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch Alder, Montana Phone: +1 800-735-3973 Upper Canyon Outfitters is nestled on the banks of the Ruby River, between three mountain ranges. Our family has been exploring these beautiful and wildlife-rich mountains since 1910. We are proud to offer a truly unforgettable Western Montana experience.    

Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch Bridgeport, California Phone: +1 760-932-7710 Hunewill Ranch is a family owned and operated cattle and guest ranch located near Yosemite National Park in the beautiful Bridgeport Valley. Horseback riding and cattle work are our featured attractions for a vacation experience suited to families, singles, or couples.    

White Stallion Ranch Tucson, Arizona Phone: +1 888-977-2624 Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest. You will experience the aura of a real Western ranch combined with present-day comforts and conveniences. Varied riding program, guided hikes, full bar & excellent food. 41 rooms, heated pool, fitness center, gift shop & meeting room.  

A Dude Ranch Vacation is a Lot More Fun Than You Might Believe

Tumbling River Ranch Teens Barrel RacingChicago Parent By Andrea Guthmann Monday, June 10, 2013 This isn't my first rodeo. Well, actually it is. Maybe that's why I'm having so much fun living out my cowgirl fantasy on our family's dude ranch vacation! Prime rib, Caesar salad, shrimp and a dessert table? Whatever happened to franks-n-beans? Apparently, they're long gone, like much of what I expected to find at a dude ranch. Thankfully, some of the iconic images are still here. There's a lot of horseback riding, as well as an occasional old-fashioned chuckwagon cookout, complete with a country-western crooner and cowboy doing incredible rope tricks. But you'll also get to indulge in spa treatments, a luxurious pool, wine tastings and cooking lessons.  (read more)

Experience the Outdoors on a Pack Trip!

Have you ever dreamt of horseback riding for miles in wide open spaces? Then a pack trip might be the perfect adventure for you!  Pack trips allow you to experience amazing landscapes, wildlife and pristine fishing waters that you can only get to from the back of a horse.  Most dude ranch pack trips can be customized and tend to include guides and staff that take care of all of the details for you including camp set up and cooking.  The trips tend to range from 3 days to 10 or more and can be designed around novice riders as well as those with more experience.  Please check out The Dude Ranchers’ Association ranches below for more information  or call us here at the office at 866-399-2339.

 

 7D Ranch

Cody, Wyoming Phone: +1 888-587-9885        

Absaroka Ranch

Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-455-2275    

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters Alder, Montana Phone: +1 406-842-5437        

CM Ranch Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-455-0721      

Covered Wagon Ranch Gallatin Gateway, Montana Phone: +1 800-995-4237                

Diamond D Ranch Stanley, Idaho Phone: 800-222-1269        

JJJ Wilderness Ranch Augusta, Montana Phone: +1 406-562-3653        

Paradise Guest Ranch Buffalo, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-684-7876      

Seven Lazy P Guest Ranch Choteau, Montana Phone: +1 406-466-2044      

T Cross Ranch Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-455-2206        

Triangle X Ranch Moose, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-733-2183      

Cowgirl Getaway Weeks!

 Whether it’s mother-daughter time, a sisters’ get-together, or just friends catching up, Cowgirl Getaway Weeks are one of the best ways to escape while grabbing that much needed "girlfriend" time.  Kick your boots off and let your daily worries and stress fade away in the comfort of good company, generous hospitality, great horseback riding and much, much more. Listed below are just a few of the great ranches that offer weeks where you can focus on "girl time".   Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Emigrant, Montana Phone: +1 800-548-3392 Just 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park, we have spent over 80 years perfecting our rustic elegance on nearly 9,000 acres of beautiful rugged countryside in the heart of Montana's Paradise Valley. We invite you to explore the vacation of a lifetime here at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.   Bar W Guest Ranch Whitefish, Montana Phone: +1 866-828-2900 The Bar W is open year round and treats you with true Western hospitality - from the moment you arrive until long after you have left. Beautiful vistas and rolling ridges adorn the Montana countryside of this cozy dude ranch. Located on Spencer Lake between two pine covered ridges, families, adults, singles and groups alike, have 3,000 acres to explore and 3.5 miles down the road from this serene wilderness is the vibrant resort town of Whitefish, offering up the finest in shopping, dining, theater, and nightlife. Friendly staff, scrumptious food, great riding and wonderful accommodations await you at the Bar W   Red Horse Mountain Ranch Harrison, Idaho Phone: +1 888-689-9680 Located on 300,000 acres, the ranch is 1.5 hour drive from the Spokane International Airport, near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Full service, all-inclusive vacation is available from June through October. Booking now for 2013 Summer. 15% off All rates until January 1st, 2013!     White Stallion Ranch Tucson, Arizona Phone: +1 888-977-2624 Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest. You will experience the aura of a real Western ranch combined with present-day comforts and conveniences. Varied riding program, guided hikes, full bar & excellent food. 41 rooms, heated pool, fitness center, gift shop & meeting room.     Smith Fork Ranch Crawford, Colorado Phone: +1 855-539-1492 Smith Fork Ranch is a private luxury destination nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains amidst thousands of acres of the West Elk Wilderness and the Gunnison National Forest. SFR offers unique western adventures, gracious hospitality, superb farm to table cuisine and an award winning wine list.     Wilderness Trails Ranch Durango, Colorado Phone: +1 800-527-2624 Reconnect, Relax, Recharge! Experience the Best of the West with an exclusive vacation with Wilderness Trails, the Durango-Silverton Train, & famous Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado -a "Top 10 Town of the West"! World-class riding, hiking, fishing, dining, kids programs, adults-only weeks, & more

What Makes Fishing at a Dude Ranch So Special?

Fly Fishing Packing TipsIs it the fresh mountain air or the wide open spaces? …or could it be that flash of color rising from the dark, clear pool as that beautiful, sleek trout rises to your offering?

Why not experience all of this combined with spectacular scenery, miles of private fishing waters, experienced guides, and more…grab your fly rod and head to one of the Orvis Endorsed Dude Ranches listed below for the fishing experience of a lifetime!
 
 North Fork Ranch & Fishing Lodge
Shawnee, Colorado Phone: +1 800-843-7895 Welcome to life at North Fork Ranch! One hour from Denver, in the majestic Rocky Mountains, you will find horseback riding, whitewater rafting, world class fly fishing (Orvis Endorsed), zip line, evening activities, intimate accommodations, dining with a gourmet flare and activities for all ages!
 
 
  C Lazy U Ranch
Granby, Colorado Phone: +1 970-887-3344 Serving guests since 1919, the C Lazy U Ranch is known for providing the highest level of personalized service, professional horsemanship programs, first-class amenities, enriching children's programs, gourmet meals and upscale accommodations.
 
 
 Home Ranch

Clark, Colorado Phone: +1 970-879-1780 Featured in the first edition of "1,000 Places To See Before You Die", The Home Ranch, located 18 miles north of Steamboat Springs, CO in the stunning Elk River Valley, is the only Relais & Chateaux dude ranch in Colorado, an Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge, and a year round paradise for families.

Hidden Meadow Ranch

Greer, Arizona Phone: +1 866-333-4080 Celebrate the seasons at this pristine quest ranch surrounded by thousands of acres of national forest in Arizona's White Mountains.    

Hubbards Six Quarter Circle Ranch

Emigrant, Montana Phone: +1 406-848-7755 We are a working cattle ranch with upscale accomodations and food. We feature a very personalized riding program that includes daily cattle drives, scenic trail rides, and the chance to canter through our alpine meadows.  

The Lodge & Spa At Brush Creek Ranch

Saratoga, Wyoming Phone: 307-327-5284 Situated on 15,000 acres of expansive, rolling wilderness in Saratoga Wyoming between the peaks of the Sierra Madre and Snowy Mountain Ranges. Designed for high-end group experiences, the ranch offers something for everyone from horseback riding to guided fly fishing and snowmobiling.

Lone Mountain Ranch

Big Sky, Montana Phone: +1 800-514-4644 Discovery is in our Nature! Endless recreational possibilities at this historic ranch offering horseback riding , hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, fly fishing and Outdoor Youth Adventures just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Cozy, comfortable log cabins with western furnishings.  

High Lonesome Ranch

DeBeque, Colorado Phone: (970)283-9420 The High Lonesome Ranch is a high-end guest ranch that offers experiences ranging from sporting pursuits, weddings, corporate group retreats, family reunions and hunting leases. A getaway to the High Lonesome Ranch can be "exactly as wild as you want it" by customizing it to your specific needs.

Spotted Horse Ranch

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-528-2084 Located south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Spotted Horse Ranch offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. From horseback riding to river rafting; from the Jackson Hole Rodeo to bar-be-que cookouts, we offer something for everyone, which enhances your western experience.  

Dude Ranches and National Parks

Moosehead-Kids-Lake-Swimming_edited-1In honor of National Parks Week, I wanted to share with you a great summer vacation idea located nearby some of most visited national parks in America, according to a recent study released by the National Park Service: a dude ranch vacation. As ecotourism is becoming more popular than ever, the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s dude and guest ranches have been the pioneers of green living and green vacations for decades. At a guest ranch you can reconnect with nature in some of the most tranquil, pristine areas of the country and learn to “live off the land” with fishing trips, bird watching, hikes, wildlife viewing and more. Below, please find a sample of DRA-accredited ranches located right in the heart of or near some of the country’s top national parks.

  • Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the 20 largest national parks in the United States. There are two DRA ranches located within an easy drive of the park, which is known for its abundance of wildlife and more than 700 miles of hiking trails. A day trip to Glacier National Park from Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch and Bar W Guest Ranch is highly recommended.
  • Several DRA-accredited guest ranches are either located in or bordered by national parks. Both Moose Head Ranch and Triangle X Ranch are located completely within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park, a location that attracts nearly four million visitors per year to northwestern Wyoming. White Stallion Ranch borders Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, while Tanque Verde Ranch – the largest DRA-accredited ranch in terms of acreage – is less than a 10-mile drive. The Buffalo National River – America’s First National River – runs through Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, which borders Buffalo River National Park in the Ozark region of Arkansas.
  • Many dude and guest ranches are located within an easy day trip from national parks. Located in the north-central region of Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is a short, scenic drive away from not one but four DRA-accredited ranches: Drowsy Water Ranch, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch and C Lazy U Ranch. Pikes Peak – a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains – is within an hour drive of Tarryall River Ranch. Dude ranch guests can drive to the top, take the Pikes Peak Cog Rail (the world’s highest cog railroad), or enjoy a panoramic view of Pikes Peak from one of Tarryall’s trail rides.

Destinations that are Perfect for Reviving Your Mind, Body and Spirit

While the term ‘dude ranch’ usually brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, dude ranches are actually all this and much more – especially when it comes to wellness experiences. In keeping with the belief that wellness starts from within, many DRA-accredited ranches offer a variety of rejuvenating activities and services in a lush oasis environment to give you “whole body” relief from the stress of modern life. Imagine enjoying a spa escape or a yoga class in some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. As the original all-inclusive vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary, and no additional costs once you arrive to your destination. There are more than 100 DRA-accredited dude ranches in North America (two in Canada), all of which uphold the highest quality of services within the industry. No matter what type of getaway you’re in search of, there is the perfect dude ranch out there for you. Please see below for a sampling of DRA-accredited ranches that feature unique wellness experiences.

Western horseman- Diamond D RanchThe Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch Located in Saratoga, Wyoming, The Trailhead Spa at Brush Creek Ranch is a place to feed and rejuvenate the soul in an environment where the indoor elements reflect the Western landscape of the ranch itself. Incorporating traditions of the American West with indigenous ingredients to create a truly sensory experience, a day at The Trailhead Spa will quench your restorative needs just as the stunning natural landscape quenches your adventurous side. Brush Creek Ranch also offers a number of fitness and wellness programs and activities, including yoga and personal training.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa If there was one phrase to capture Echo Valley's wellness philosophy, it would be “Sabai Sabai,” a Thai term used to describe balanced harmony of mental, physical and spiritual health and wellbeing. Everything at this destination wellness resort and luxury spa in British Columbia sets the stage for the perfect wellness retreat. At Echo Valley, the water you drink is taken from one of the five natural springs located on the ranch. Echo Valley also offers two types of spa experiences: a Thai-style spa offering a range of authentic Thai therapies and a Western-style spa offering contemporary aesthetic services.

Diamond D Ranch Every year, Diamond D Ranch in Stanley, Idaho hosts an annual weeklong health retreat to soothe the soul and inspire a healthier life. Guests connect with supportive professionals who teach resilience in the modern world and explore new activities while nourishing the body, mind and spirit such as yoga, Pilates, hiking, trail running, massages, horseback riding and much more. While at the ranch, guests enjoy superb accommodations and facilities, delicious cuisine, and the breathtaking Salmon River Mountains. This year’s health retreat is TBD but more information will be available soon.   For more information about these ranches or any of the other ranches in The Dude Ranchers' Association please call 866-399-2339 or visit www.duderanch.org.

Dude Ranch Dining - an Incredible Experience

When some people think of a dude ranch vacation they picture a guy named cookie whipping up bacon and beans in the sagebrush. Sorry to disappoint but you will discover that dining at a dude ranch will be one of the most memorable parts of your vacation. Whether you are dining around a camp fire, under the stars, enjoining a pool side barbecue or sitting at an elegant candlelit table, the food is simply amazing. The fare will range from home-style cooking to the finest western cuisine you will find anywhere. Ranches offer freshly baked pastries and breads, fresh fruits and vegetables (often grown right on the ranch) and some of the most delectable desserts you have ever imagined. Your dining experience is truly one of our highest priorities; special dietary needs are always accommodated upon request.

A few of the DRA ranches that really stand out in the “Gourmet Food” category  are:

The Home Ranch, Colorado

4UR Ranch, Colorado

Tanque Verde Ranch, Arizona

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Montana

Red Reflet Guest Ranch, Wyoming

A Bar A Ranch, Wyoming

For more info on Dude Ranches that lean toward gourmet cooking go to www.duderanch.org  click on gourmet food then click search. You will be amazed….

home ranch Dining

A New Mexico Cattle Drive

Burnt-Well-Icon-Cattle-ColorBurnt Well Cattle Drive - by Mark Bedor Anybody who’s ever seen the movie City Slickers has dreamed about going on a cattle drive!  I was fortunate enough to be one of ten people who had come to Burnt Well Guest Ranch in New Mexico from as far as Florida and California to go on a weeklong cattle drive to move more than 150 cows to their summer pasture. The cattle drive would put us in the saddle of that real cowboy world all week. The chance to do this was a dream come true for many in our group, like 73-year old Kathy from New Jersey. “I’ve always wanted to do this,” she told me as we rode along that first morning. “I figured if I don’t do it soon, it’s gonna be too late.” Starting out Monday on the Burnt Well's  24 square mile spread (relatively small by arid New Mexico standards), a willing, yet inexperienced group of guests would help push the herd across four neighboring ranches,  before finally arriving at Bonney Canyon Ranch, where Kim Chesser, owner of Burnt Well along with his wife Patricia,  had leased pasture land to graze those cattle for the summer. When they say “pushing cows,” that is an accurate description. Without constant pressure, the herd of 156 animals including 30 heifers (females that had never given birth), six bulls, and 60 pairs of momma cows with brand new baby calves, would  just stop and eat. The unspoiled ranch lands we rode through are the very definition of wide open spaces. With a rugged beauty all its own, this horseback view of New Mexico is a jaw dropping sight to people who spend most of their lives in a congested city. “I’ve never been in a place this open in my life,” beamed  Liz Edwards, here from Boston with her husband Chris. “There’s so much beauty.” The couple had flown in a day early, and got a taste of the area’s cowboy culture when they made a side trip to nearby Ruidoso, New Mexico.  Saturday night they dined and danced at the town's very Western Texas Club. “Just a completely different side of the United States,” marveled Chris. “We’re all Americans... same as us... but it’s a totally different world." The cattle drive gave us the chance to visit with some of the area’s real working cowboys, as the ranches we crossed provided horseback escorts through their property. These guys are real pros and they make stringing out a herd and keeping it moving look easy. “This is the fun part of cowboyin’,” smiled rancher Kevin Floyd.  As we rode along, Kevin talked of the very difficult challenges ranchers face, not the least of which is a largely urban public’s misguided perceptions of the cattle industry. “I saw an article... a serious editorial in a newspaper... that said if all you ranchers would go to the grocery store like the rest of us to get your meat...you wouldn’t be harming animals!” There are lots of tough issues. Ranchers can be sued by trespassers who get hurt on their property. Sheep ranching, once a thriving business here, is being decimated by out of control predators.  Inheritance taxes and land values make it next to impossible for young people to get into ranching. “But it’s still a wonderful life,” smiles Kevin, as we ride along, enjoying perfect horseback weather on a cool and cloudy morning. “You get to be with God out here.” That Wednesday morning we were up, with bedrolls, tents and personal gear packed in time for breakfast at six. We’d been told to be prepared for a twelve hour day in the saddle. And that was no exaggeration. Local horse trader and  veteran cowboy, Dave McIntosh saddled up to ride with us on what would be the toughest day of the trip. It started out easy enough, with Dave showing us how it’s done, we had those cows stepping out nicely. “Most everybody thinks that cattle drive from the back,” revealed Dave, when I asked for his views on the best way to drive a herd. “But if you work the sides and keep 'em pushed in... and keep the front end goin’ somewhere... the back end’ll want to stay up with the front.” Lunchtime found us at the base of that imposing barrier known as Border Hill. Steep and rocky, it wasn’t the easiest place to just ride a horse, let alone drive cattle. “It’s gonna be tough,” warned wrangler Tim. It was tough, and we had to push hard on those cows and our horses every step of the way. Slowly but surely, we climbed that steep and rugged incline. We made  it to the top and at six that evening, we reached the corrals where we’d park the herd for the night and refill our depleted canteens.  After settling the herd in for the night we still had another hour’s ride to get to camp. Finally, we arrived!  We'd been in the saddle almost twelve hours on the dot when we stepped off those horses. As we plopped into camp chairs, and savored a cold beer, the trials of a long day were suddenly replaced by a great sense of both achievement and camaraderie. “We all came together as strangers... and look what we accomplished,”  reflected Linda from Minnesota. “That’s so cool!” And many of those in our group of ten had done it with very little riding experience. Linda, an accomplished rider who owns her own horse back home, was very impressed with not only the horse she rode, but the other mounts of the Chesser string. “I look at Cheyenne and Mickey and Mo,”  she observed of the horses the beginners had ridden. “They take good care of people.” After three days and some 35 miles,  we’d spend the next two nights at this last camp. We had one short two hour ride Thursday morning to push the cows from their holding pens to the pasture where they'd spend the summer. That  afternoon we had  another easy ride, checking some five miles of fence with wrangler Tim, a great chance to relax in the saddle and soak in the beautiful vistas of New Mexico. There were other treats to enjoy before we’d ride out to the trail head on Friday morning.  Thursday evening Patricia’s fiddle came out, and our camp meadow became an impromptu dance floor filled with fun and laughter.  And in this part of New Mexico, where you can’t see any lights of civilization and the heavens don’t shine any brighter, many of us also took advantage of the perfect dry weather to sleep out under the stars. Staring at the stars from a sleeping bag is not something Chris and Liz do very often in Boston. “We’re officially converted!,” she laughed on Friday morning. It had been quite a week, not to mention  all the wildlife we saw, like abundant mule deer, jack rabbits, wild turkeys, and even a bobcat!  Yes, there were moments when it was hard, but as we rode out Friday morning I felt so good. Restored. Alive. And I wasn’t the only one. “I’m coming back actually feeling better than when I arrived,” said 69-year old Addie.  “Very refreshed! Coming back. It’s something a lot of guests do who visit the Burnt Well Guest Ranch. I'd like to come back myself. Burnt Well Guest Ranch is a member of  The Dude Ranchers’ Association which was formed in 1926 to preserve this special way of life and the wonderful environment in which dude ranching takes place. When you vacation at a Dude Ranchers’ Association Dude Ranch, you can be sure of a quality vacation. Membership in the Association is a rigorous two year inspection and approval process, to assure that guests are treated to genuine western hospitality combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards. Our Dude Ranches offer all-inclusive vacations that are perfect for everyone, from the littlest rancher to Grandpa and Grandma.  Horseback riding, hiking, petting zoos, swimming holes, rodeos, fishing, games, skeet shooting, archery, art classes, cooking classes and more await your discovery on your next Dude Ranch Vacation.  Horses, Hats, History and Hospitality – they’re the foundation of every ranch. There is a little cowboy in all of us… come find yours… For More information about Burnt Well Guest Ranch  you can visit www.duderanch.org or call 866-399-2339.    

Go White Water Rafting at this Colorado Dude Ranch

Rafting or white water rafting is the challenging recreational outdoor activity of using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on white water or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers. The development of this activity as a leisure sport has become popular since the mid-1970s

For the first time, Rainbow Trout Ranch, a dude ranch located deep in the southern Colorado Rockies, is offering whitewater rafting included in their rates.

The Rainbow Trout Ranch has been in operation for over eighty years, the last twenty under the ownership of the Van Berkum family. Summer guests are mainly families looking for a western vacation in the spectacular scenery of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The ranch rates are based on a per person/per week scale and have always included all meals, accommodations and ranch activities such as riding, fishing, kids and teen programs, trapshooting and evening entertainment. In the past, guests paid extra for the whitewater rafting trip on the Rio Grande River near Taos, NM. (read more)

Enjoy Every Opportunity for Family Fun at White Stallion Ranch

Michelle McCoy is a blogger for Trekaroo.  Michelle was kind enough to share her latest blog about her family's wonderful trip to White Stallion Ranch with us and I wanted to make sure to pass it on for you to enjoy as well. Going on an all-inclusive guest ranch vacation is now at the top of my family’s list of All-Time Fun Vacations! For the kids, they were absolutely thrilled to eat cookies out of the bottomless jar, drink lemonade, ride horses, swim in the pool, play air-hockey, and shoot pool in the game room all day long. For us parents, there was nothing better than feeling the freedom to enjoy all those things with our kids. There was no worry about where we were going to eat next, what we were going to do with our time, and how we would get there. I so enjoyed playing a game of chess with my boys while hanging out in the cozy lodge waiting for dinner that I knew would be spectacularly delicious. White Stallion Ranch did everything with excellence. The food was amazing and healthy. The horses were well cared for and the wranglers were gentle and helpful. Our kids were never bored and had an abundance of fun things to enjoy. The True family has established a guest ranch with a personal touch that made every guest we talked to feel welcomed and happy. We can’t wait to go back!  (Read More)

White-Stallion-Wagon

Three Ranches - Book Review

Life on a ranch can be lonely, hard, breathtakingly beautiful, often ironic, and sometimes downright hilarious. Welcome to one family’s three ranches. From the Jacket Cover: "How, in this day and age in the United States, do you run a successful guest ranch, manage thousands of acres of land for livestock and wildlife, and raise top quality beef cattle? This is the story of three Western ranches, two in southern Wyoming and in northern Colorado. They have been owned since the 1960s by the extended family of Charles C. Gates Sr. One is a guest ranch; the other two are working cattle operations. All three confront a daily challenge to survive and thrive." By Will and Deni McIntyre, with an introduction by ranch managers Lissa Howe, Justin Howe, and Mark Dunning. Will and Deni McIntyre have photographed at the A Bar A guest ranch almost every year since 2002. For this project they brought in their scope to include the Big Creek and State Line Ranches as well, recording a year in the life of all three spreads. “For the text, we had access to wonderful archives both private and public,” Deni McIntyre says. “They held documents going back to when these ranches were homesteaded. I selected excerpts that helped tell the story, and they became the background of the book.”

Book Reviews The Western ranch is an American icon that few people experience first-hand. In Three Ranches, Will and Deni McIntyre present an intimate, well-researched, visual story that includes historic photographs and excerpts from the personal memoirs of people who have called these ranches home. The McIntyres bring their sense of humor, friendship, and personal appreciation of these ranches to this wonderful book. If you only buy one photo book about ranching in the West, this should be it. For more information please visit: www.abararanch.com/three-ranches/

A Bar A Creek Fishing Boat

Dude Ranchers' Association Holidays

CODY, Wyo.- This holiday season travelers are trading stress for spurs while enjoying all-inclusive dude ranch stays. Everything from decorations and activities to cooking and cleaning are taken care of so guests can kick back by the fire or tackle new adventures. The Dude Ranchers Association can help travelers choose a ranch based on location, amenities, activities, and riding style. A few ideas to help get in the holiday spirit: Vista-Verde-Snow-Trail-Ride-Family-Square

Flying E Ranch in Arizona brings families together for a good old fashioned cowboy Christmas complete with making ornaments for the tree, caroling by the fire, and a Christmas morning breakfast ride. Families can find holiday luxury including their own personal Christmas tree, Santa arriving by horse-drawn sleigh, gourmet Christmas dinner, and lots of snowy adventures at Colorado’s C Lazy U Ranch.

Couples looking for a romantic escape have warm and cold holiday options. At Arizona’s Rancho de la Osa, couples can sip margaritas in the historic Cantina, horseback ride through the peaceful Sonoran Desert, and indulge in a southwestern turkey feast.

A snowy option in British Columbia is Echo Valley Guest Ranch’s Winter Getaway complete with mulled wine, cross country skiing, ice fishing, Thai yoga, spa treatments, and more. Want to give the gift of a stress-free holiday season? Gift certificates are available at some ranches such as Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Colorado and The Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming.

Learn more about ranch holidays by visiting the Dude Ranchers Association website www.duderanch.org.

 

Arizona Dude & Guest Ranches...A Great Place to get Away this Winter!

Now that the snow has started to fall, I am sure many of you are like me and have started to think about some fun in the sun.  Don't get me wrong, I look forward to the snowy winter weather we have here in Wyoming because it brings with it skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling and for some of my friends even ice climbing up frozen waterfalls.  But even the hardiest of us die hard winter sports enthusiasts dream of sitting by a pool or playing a round of golf (while wearing shorts) after a nice day of riding an exceptional horse in the scenic and warm desert.  Lucky for me, I will be in Arizona this coming January enjoying the fun in the sun, recharging my battery so I can come back home and enjoy the winter sports I love so much. ArizonaGuide.com recently wrote an article that enforces the reality of this warm winter dream. The article states, "After a long day in the saddle, even the most grizzled of wranglers would enjoy a soothing massage, delicious food and wine, and a starlit soak in a hot tub. Besides offering traditional trail rides, cookouts and hikes, many of Arizona’s fabled guest ranches are pampering guests with gourmet meals, wine tastings, spa services and more." So...before the winter blues take hold, start planning your trip to one of our great Dude Ranchers' Association ranches in the desert this winter!  You will have something grand to look forward to and when you get back home you will have memories to sustain you through to Spring!Elkhorn AZ Trail Family Reunion

 
 
Tanque Verde Ranch
Tucson, Arizona - Phone: +1 800-234-3833 Located just east of Tucson, Tanque Verde Ranch Resort is one of the premier, all-inclusive dude ranch resorts in the country. You will find the perfect blend of western adventure, solitude and luxury amenities to make your next getaway unforgettable.
 
 
 
Elkhorn Ranch
Tucson, Arizona - Phone: +1 520-822-1040 Sunny winter season Sonoran Desert guest ranch in scenic Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Family owned and operated since 1946. Comfortable living and excellent horseback riding for singles, couples and families of all ages and abilities. Adventure, relaxation, friendship.
 
 
 
Circle Z Ranch
Patagonia, Arizona - Phone: +1 888-854-2525 Join us at Circle Z Ranch for an old-time ranch adventure! From the moment you arrive you feel a sense of stepping back in time.
 
 
 
Flying E Dude Ranch
Wickenburg, Arizona - Phone: +1 888-684-2650 With 20,000 acres to ride and roam there is seldom a day without sunshine. The Flying E Dude Ranch is a working cattle ranch and the ideal place to take a step back in time.Enjoy delicious home cooked meals, great horses and a comfortable place to relax at the end of the day.Open Nov 1 to April 30.
 
 
 
Rancho De Los Caballeros
Wickenburg, Arizona - Phone: +1 800-684-5030 Saddle up and make a perfect getaway to the warm heart of the Old Southwest! 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. It's the kind of place where everyone knows your name.
 
 
 
Hidden Meadow Ranch
Greer, Arizona - Phone: +1 866-333-4080 Celebrate the seasons at this pristine quest ranch surrounded by thousands of acres of national forest in Arizona's White Mountains.
 
 
 
White Stallion Ranch
Tucson, Arizona - Phone: +1 888-977-2624 Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest. You will experience the aura of a real Western ranch combined with present-day comforts and conveniences. Varied riding program, guided hikes, full bar & excellent food. 41 rooms, heated pool, fitness center, gift shop & meeting room.
 
 
 
Rancho De La Osa Guest Ranch
Sasabe, Arizona - Phone: +1 800-872-6240 Rancho De La Osa is a special place that rejuvenates the spirit and invigorates the soul. The gracious lifestyle of the old Southwest is captured in the 1800's era Hacienda and territorial-style guest quarters. Enjoy the serenity, friendly horses, fine wine, and delectable Southwest cuisine.
 

Great Leaf Peeping in the National Parks

USA Today Travel recently wrote an article discussing how national parks are a great place to experience the beautiful colors of fall.  The article mentions of The Dude Ranchers' Association's very own Triangle X Ranch located in Grand Teton National Park.  Following is an excerpt.

by David and Kay Scott, NationalParksTraveler.com

As the days grow cooler and darkness lingers a little longer, it's time to savor the brilliant colors of fall. The glorious reds, bright yellows, and vivid oranges produced by oaks, maples, cottonwoods, sumac, and other broad-leaved trees and shrubs become a visual treat in much of the country. What better place to view this grand spectacle than a national park? What's more, children are back in school and crowds are down. Some national park lodges even offer discounts during this shoulder season. Here's a sampling of parks with lodging facilities.

The Western Parks  For foliage colors farther west consider America's first national park, Yellowstone, and itssouthern neighbor, Grand Teton National Park. A fall visit to either of these Wyoming parks avoids the summer crowds and is likely to result in more wildlife sightings. Peak time for the leaves is generally from mid-to-late September and early October. Yellowstone has nine lodging facilities spread throughout the park. All are managed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts. Closing dates are frommid-September to mid-October (travelyellowstone.com; 888-297-2757). Grand Teton National Park has five lodging facilities, three of which are managed by Grand Teton Lodge Company (gtlc.com; 800-628-9988):

Colter Bay Village  closes in late September;

Jackson Lake Lodge  and Jenny Lake Lodge  each close in early October.

Signal Mountain Lodge  with 79 cabin units, including a few with kitchens, closes in mid-October (signalmountainlodge.com; 307-543-2831).

09_TRIANGLEX_07_001-001Triangle X Ranch  is a dude ranch that requires a four-night minimum stay from September to the first week in November when it closes for the season (triangleX.com; 307-733-2183). According to Triangle X employee Megan Johnson, the park has been through a relatively dry year and the aspen and cottonwoods have already started to change colors, a process that is likely to last through early October. For more information or to make reservations please visit www.trianglex.com or call 307-733-2183

High Lonesome Ranch Review - A Colorado Dude Ranch that is the West at its Best

Splash Magazine published a great review of The High Lonesome Ranch so I wanted to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy it! By Andrea Gross; photos by Irv Green With well over thirty dude ranches in Colorado, you wouldn’t think that there was a need for another one. But in May of 2012, High Lonesome Ranch, a luxury getaway for fly fishermen and big game hunters, began welcoming wannabe cowboys as well. The property, which is situated on the west slope of the Rockies, consists of 300 square miles of leased and permitted land. As such it is bigger than 25 of the nations 58 national parks. Paul Vahidiek Jr., a Houston attorney who began buying some of the property in 1994, is determined that this land—a mix of high mesas covered with sparse vegetation and deep valleys filled with greenery—be preserved and protected from rampant development. Opening the ranch to guests year round helps fund the conservation and restoration projects that take place on the ranch, but even more important, it imbues young children with an appreciation for all that nature has to offer. “We want children to experience and appreciate the great outdoors,” says Scott Stewart, general manager of the dude ranch. “They are the policy makers of tomorrow, and we want them to understand the importance of land conservation and preservation.” The new ranch aims to differentiate itself by offering guests an almost totally customizable experience. Yes, the main focus is on equestrian experiences, but there are also plenty of activities for the non-horsey set. My family and I are among the first guests, and we bring new meaning to the phrase “beginning riders.” All of us—grandparents, parents and two kids—are admittedly, if sadly, city folks through and through, more at home with four-lane highways than with four-legged creatures. We eye the other guests warily. Will we be the only novices in a group of experts? The answer becomes clear the next morning when we go down to the stables for our first horseback ride. Everyone else is wearing a cowboy hat or riding helmet. We, on the other hand, are decked out in baseball caps and bonnets. Oh dear! (read more)HighLonesome_s92x3i

Hosting Guests Helps Ranchers Endure Lean Times

Fount this article at Capital Press and thought you might enjoy it!

By JOHN O'CONNELL Capital PressWestern-Pleasure-Blog-Contest-Danielle-Ottis-Winner-2014-Bareback

When cattle and sheep prices dipped eight years ago, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, rancher Ken Andrus and his family supplemented their income by opening their home to visitors. The customers still come from throughout the world to ride horses and experience the open space and cowboy life at the Andrus Guest Ranch. Andrus, the Republican chair of Idaho's House Agricultural Affairs Committee, enjoys the stable revenue the side business generates and the opportunity to employ his children on the ranch, which he runs with his brother. They raise 350 head of cattle and another 350 head of registered Suffolk sheep. They also offer two-hour trail rides for $50 each, a bed and breakfast for $100 per person and a six-day guest ranch experience for $800 per adult, with reduced rates for children. "Compared to the ranch it's minimal," Andrus said of the added income, "but it does help." Startup costs included renovating lodging for guests, creating a website and obtaining liability insurance. They entertain roughly 100 customers per year. On July 11, the de Froidmont family of Belgium checked in. "For us, America is also Western," said Anne de Froidmont, adding she grew up watching spaghetti Westerns. "And to experience the ranching lifestyle is very interesting." Andrus advises any rancher interested in starting a guest ranch to take breaks between visitors. "The guest ranch thing can be quite draining because you're with people all the time," he said.  Janice and Roley Schoonover carved a niche for themselves and their children at the family's ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho, by opening Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, which serves about 3,000 guests per year, counting weddings, sleigh rides and trail rides. They leave the actual ranching to Janice's brother. "Ranch people are very tight. You want your kids around you," said Janice, who heads a loose association of about eight Idaho guest ranches. Colorado, Montana and Wyoming are the major guest ranching states, according to the Dude Ranchers' Association, which represents more than 100 U.S. guest ranches. Only a few operations remain in Washington and Oregon. Dick and Shirley Bloomfeldt opened their Long Hollow Ranch in Sisters, Ore., to guests in 1998, after hearing a presentation from the Oregon Department of Agriculture about alternative agricultural income sources. The guest ranch now represents the majority of their income. "If you don't like people, you won't like this. They eat three meals a day with you," said Dick Bloomfeldt. Based largely on inspiration from the movie City Slickers, Don Guglielmino opened Bull Hill Guest Ranch in Kettle Falls, Wash., in 1995. "We were looking at a way of diversifying and creating a cash flow that would help carry us through those lean times," Guglielmino said. Guglielmino, who has a background in the hotel industry, oversees the guest business, which now accounts for more than 70 percent of the operation's income. His brother Pete runs the ranching. "You have to have the right mix of personalities in the business and family to make it happen," Guglielmino said.

Dude Ranches: Beyond the Stables

  Anyone that’s been on a dude ranch vacation or retreat knows how much fun they have to offer.  From arena games to family rides to pony rides for the kids, there’s truly something out there for everyone.  Still, with all of the fun horse-riding activities and “ranch” related things to do, it’s sometimes easy to forget how many other great activities are offered on America’s Guest Ranches.  Here is a list of five activities offered on various DRA Dude Ranches that you may not have known existed, but should make sure not to miss…  Western Dancing – While you’re out on the ranch, why not delve into a little dancing?  There’s nothing like a sunset hoedown, and there are 51 different DRA certified ranches that offer such shindigs!  Next time you’re out on a guest ranch vacation, throw on your dancing shoes and a cowboy hat and let the good times roll.          Zip Line – While riding around on the ground can be fun, zip lining through the sky can bring your trip to a whole new level.  Guaranteed fun for both adults and kids, there are dude ranches in Arkansas, Colorado and Idaho that each offer zip lines.  Get out there, and get ready to fly!          Fishing – Take your rec time from the stables to the lake for some good old-fashioned dude ranch fishing.  There are 87 Dude Ranches that offer fishing activities, so there’s no excuse not to pull out the hook, line and sinker and catch tonight’s dinner!          Yoga – Vacations are all about relaxing, and when it comes to relaxing, there is nothing like a little bit of yoga.  Whether you want to start your day with a short session before you head out into the wilderness, or you just want to finish the day off with a nice calming activity, yoga has what you’re looking for.  There are fifteen different dude ranches that offer yoga, so if this is something that interests you, you’re in luck!          Archery – When you think of a dude ranch you don’t necessarily think of archery, but there are thirty different DRA ranches that offer such activities.  Nothing’s more fun for the family then a little bit of friendly competition, and archery is the perfect outlet for this.  Take a break from horses and test your skills and coordination, archery can be more fun than you might expect!     As far as fun non-riding activities offered on dude ranches, this is a great start, but the list is by no means exhaustive.  Bird watching, mountain climbing, river rafting and more are all available at guest ranches across the country.  Next time you visit a guest ranch, make sure to take advantage of all the activities they have to offer, and you’re sure to have the time of your life.  

Ride Horses Off Into the Sunset at These Great Family-Friendly Dude Ranches

I came across this great article from May 2010 issue of Travel & Leisure Magazine  and wanted to share it with you! From May 2010 By Lee Magill

It’s a little past dawn as you and your family lead horses through a still-damp Colorado meadow, the awakening sun turning distant mountains a gorgeous shade of purple. The Continental Divide appears, and soon you arrive at a dramatic overlook, the Western wilderness stretched out before you. You dismount to find breakfast sizzling over a charcoal fire, and chow down in awestruck wonder. Riding horses at a dude ranch is one of the West’s iconic experiences, and the Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, CO, has been saddling up families for the past 82 years. But Latigo’s hardly the only one. Dude ranches exist all over America, offering the opportunity to combine a trip into the great outdoors with some quality family time. Dude, of course, is the original slang for “city slicker,” and dude ranches’ collective history dates back to the 1880s, when families who’d recently moved out west would invite friends to visit their cattle ranches. Once the practice spread, thanks to the expansion of the railroad (and the enthusiasm of visitors), ranch owners realized they’d better start charging for room and board. The business model proved so successful that many converted their cattle operations into guest ranches in the early 1900s—a tradition that continues today. “It’s one of the last vacations out there where you get to relax and not be so plugged in,” says Colleen Hodson, executive director of the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA).

And indeed, a number of ranches, including Wyoming’s premier A Bar A, purposely leave TVs and phones out of their guests’ otherwise well-outfitted rooms. “We are all about riding and getting to know the outdoors,” says longtime manager Justin Howe. By definition, a dude ranch is a family-friendly guest ranch offering horseback riding, though only DRA members—those that have undergone the DRA’s rigorous three-year horse-safety program—are certified as such. Historically, their emphasis has been squarely on horses, and that’s still true of most on our list, including the exceptional Hideout at Flitner Ranch, in Shell, WY, which offers all the riding you could want, plus the rare opportunity to do actual cattle work, such as herding cows to new pastures. But according to Hodson, the newest trend is ranch resorts, among them Montana’s spectacular Ranch at Rock Creek, where getting away no longer means roughing it—in any way. Instead, the focus is on pure relaxation, whether it’s fly-fishing, spa treatments, or riding. All ranches are, like any business, driven by the bottom line. Still, there’s something grand and ineffable about what the best of them offer: a quintessential experience of the American frontier, whose reality and myths have obsessed Americans—and a great portion of the world’s citizens—for centuries. One look at the relaxed, tuned-in faces of your kids after a week in the wild and you realize how very important these places are.  (Read More)

Latigo-Riders-silhouette-sunset

Dude Ranches: The Affordable Family Vacation

Have you ever dreamed of going to an affordable family vacation where you can experience the beauty of the outdoors and leave “real life” behind for a while?  The noises of construction and sirens…and your boss…are left at home and replaced with the sounds of a gurgling stream, birds chirping, children laughing and even silence.  If you have ever fantasized about leaving commute traffic behind and replacing it with horses on the trail or cattle being guided to summer pasture, then a Dude Ranch is the place for you! Lots of people have this dream but think it’s too expensive for them.  Many of these same people have the misconceived notion that a cruise or a trip where they pay for items a la carte will be more affordable. 

The one thing you can be assured of is that when our DRA ranches state all-inclusive it means just that.  The rate at our ranches includes your lodging, meals, horseback riding and most of the other activities offered.  There are no additional charges for valet parking or resort fees and the forests and deserts these ranches are located in never charge you for the beauty that will surround you because fresh air and the joyful noises  of nature are priceless. The following is a cost comparison between  what an average DRA ranch would cost for a week for a family of 4 (not including airfare, taxes and gratuity) and a an a la carte trip where the same family would take part in all of the same activities and pay and plan for everything separately: **Prices updated for 2017**

  DRA Ranch A La Carte
Lodging Included

$1750

Meals Included $2000
Horseback Riding (twice daily) Included $2640
Rodeo Included $100
National Park Tour Included $740
Evening Entertainment Included $500
Car Rental/Gas N/A $900
     
     
Total $7200 $8630

 

 As it turns out, a dude ranch vacation is a bargain!

Additionally there is so much more to a dude ranch than a cold hotel room with a bed and a restaurant in the lobby.  The part of a dude ranch vacation you can’t put a price on is the personal interaction and sense of family you feel at a ranch.  Many guests will leave the ranch at the end of their stay and will have made lifelong friends with the owners, staff or even other guests.  I have even heard stories of several families that met on a ranch vacation years ago and continue to see each other once a year on that annual trip to what many families consider their second home. Dude ranches pride themselves in going the extra mile to make their guests feel special which is why over 60% of all dude ranch guests are repeat customers.  If the ranches weren’t doing it right, the guests wouldn’t come back year after year…some for 2,3 and even 4 generations.

So the next time you are planning a vacation consider the value of a dude ranch and the memories you take home will last a lifetime. For more information about the 100+ ranches in The Dude Rancher's Association or if you need assistance in choosing the perfect ranch for YOUR affordable family vacation, please visit www.duderanch.org or feel free to give us a call at 866-399-2339.

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What Should I Pack for Summer Dude Ranch Vacation?

What to wear on a ranch vacationChoosing what to pack for your dude ranch vacation can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it is your first time visiting one of these great ranches.  Most ranches are very laid back and casual attire is the name of the game.  Occasionally you will find a ranch that has a dress code for the dining room, so make sure you look into this as you pack. Whether you are going to Arizona in January or Montana in July, jeans and comfortable shirts are absolute essentials on a ranch.  Temperatures can vary, so make sure you bring a variety of layers to stay comfortable.  Sunscreen is always a must and it is also a good idea to bring a hat.  Most ranches will have a gift shop with those little items you forget and many ranches also have guest laundry facilities. Following is a list of suggestions to include in your packing list:

Horseback Riding -Jeans -Lightweight, breathable shirts -Riding boots with a 1" heel and smooth sole (we also have boots available to borrow) -Light windproof jacket and fleece jacket -Long socks for riding, wool or wool blend is ideal -Rain jacket -Riding helmet (we also have helmets to borrow) -Cowboy/ cowgirl hat

Fly Fishing -Lightweight shirt (no cotton preferably) -Polarized sunglasses -Synthetic base layer (Patagonia® or Smartwool) for under waders -Rain jacket -Warm jacket or fleece jacket -Gloves and hat (for cooler days)

Hiking -Lightweight breathable shirt and shorts or pants -Hiking Boots -Water Bottle

Teens -If interested in the overnight backpacking trip, backpack, sleeping pad & sleeping bag (we also have these items to borrow)

Accessories and Other Items -Sunglasses -Hat -Day pack -Swim suit -Comfortable clothing (yoga or relaxing) -Socks (wool or wool blend; no cotton) -Gloves and warm hat (chilly mornings and evenings) -Sunscreen -Insect repellent -Lip balm with sunblock -Flashlight or headlamp (and extra batteries) -Binoculars -Camera and memory card Additional Tips -If you are unable to fit everything, try sending us some of your items in advance to the ranch.  Contact the ranch for the best method of shipping and the appropriate shipping address. -Wear your cowboy boots or hiking boots the day you travel, as it leaves more room for other items if you are wearing the larger, heavier items

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Luxury Dude Ranch Vacations

Interested in "roughing it" in style? Don't want to sacrifice comfort while communing with nature? Here's what to expect on a luxury dude ranch vacation.

by Darley Newman of www.equitrekking.com If camping out under the stars isn't your thing, but you like to ride horses or want a very comfortable ranch vacation, a luxury dude ranch vacation might be a good fit for you. After researching upscale ranch holidays across the United States and Canada, I came up with answers to some common questions travelers may have about what type of vacation they'll experience at one of these luxury ranches and some fun photos from ranches that you might want to choose.

Home Ranch, Colorado One of the biggest modern luxuries for riders who visit Home Ranch in Colorado is the million acres of Rocky Mountain Wilderness.

What are the accommodations like at a luxury dude ranch? As in with any upscale vacation, accommodations vary, but many luxury dude ranches offer beautiful Western decor. You may recline on handmade log furniture. You may be staying in your own cabin, an elegantly furnished log structure or entire ranch style home with grand stone fireplaces, a hot tub and fully stocked bar.

Siwash Lake RanchAt BC's Siwash Lake Ranch, suites and luxury tents have plush linens, private baths, balconies and beautiful lake and wilderness views.

Other ranches help you feel closer to nature in plush tents–– tents that you won't be pitching yourself. Many are constructed on wooden floors and have en suite bathrooms, art decorating the walls, and even electricity.

Home Ranch accommodations Adobe-style log beams, Native American rugs, and king beds with down comforters decorate rooms at Home Ranch

How much does a luxury ranch vacation cost? Riding vacations in general can be economical, which surprises many people when they think about how expensive it is to keep a horse! Ranch vacations average from around $1000 or $2000 per person for an all-inclusive week to around $3500. Considering that this includes all riding, meals, accommodations and sometimes transportation, this can be a good deal. Another advantage of many ranch and riding vacations is that you can know your budget well ahead of time. Luxury ranch vacations that I came across ranged from $250 a night per person double occupancy to $7,500 and more. The sky is the limit, as are the perks! What are some fun perks those prices include on luxury dude ranch holidays? Your vacation package may include private guides for hiking, fly-fishing or horse riding, golf, gourmet meals, dinner shows, fitness centers, indoor riding arenas, hot tubs, personal chefs, spa time and private cabins with fully stocked bars.

Rancho de los Caballeros Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona offers Home Sweet Home Milk Baths, brown sugar scrubs and peppermint essential oil body wraps. 

For instance at Home Ranch in Colorado, food is a major focus. Dinner may consist of pan-seared quail stuffed with dates and prosciutto topped with a demi-glace and Maytag bleu cheese crumbles over soft polenta with manchego cheese and asparagus or crispy seared Alaskan halibut with braised spinach, wild rice pilaf and glazed baby carrots. Is your mouth watering yet? At Vista Verde Ranch, a Colorado luxury ranch resort, an Executive Chef hosts a hands-on cooking classes and wine tastings. House wines, beer and a variety of sodas are included in your stay.

Vista Verde Ranch Vista Verde Ranch hosts formal multi-course dinners to delight ranch "foodies."

For more information on Dude Ranch vacations please visit www.duderanch.org or call The Dude Ranchers' Association at 866-399-2339.

10 Great Dude Ranches for Families

Saddle up at one of these dude ranches for families

by:  www.travelsavvymom.com Of all the many trips I’ve taken with my family, I get the most questions about our horse back riding vacations.  It turns out I’m not the only one who with a cowgirl fantasy. When I planned our first dude ranch vacation, I used the Dude Rancher’s Association website (full disclosure: they are now an advertiser of ours). Using their search tool, I was able to browse their 100 member properties by amenity and then compare them side by side.  Here are ten that stood out:

Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch Where: Big Fork, Montana Rates: $342-464 Open: May-October Is there any image more iconic than kids jumping in a lake?  When you’re not jumping in the lake, you can sail, canoe, water ski, paddle board, kayak, and fish in it too.  Plus, all the usual horse-y fun. You’ll feel like you’ve walked onto the set of a coming of age film. Averills Flathead Lake Lodge for Families Vista Verde Guest Ranch Where: Steamboat Springs, Colorado Rates: $295-545 Open: January-March,  June-August,  September,  December Picture this: after an outrageously fun day of riding, learning to herd cattle, or watching your kids compete in a just-for-fun rodeo, you unwind on the porch of your private cabin in your private jacuzzi.  It’s heaven. We’ve been there — read our review.

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch Where: Gallatin Gateway, Montana Rates: $253-362 Open: June-September Can’t decide between visiting one of America’s western national parks and spending a week at a dude ranch?  With the rustic and wonderful Nine Quarter Circle Ranch (overlooking the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park) you don’t have to.  The owners breed and raise their own Appaloosas and have just the right ride for everyone.

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch for Families  

Rancho de los Caballeros Where: Wickenburg, Arizona Rates: $202-232 Open: January-May, October-December This luxury dude ranch in the Arizonan Sonora Desert offers convenient a la carte pricing for families that tend to go in different directions on vacation.  It’s a really great option for multi-generation trips where not everyone rides.  Guests can also play golf and tennis, hike, visit historic Wickeburg, or partake of the spa. We’ve been there — review coming soon.  

The Home Ranch Where: Steamboat Springs, Colorado Rates: $275-575 Open: January-March,  June-October,  December When you imagine a dude ranch vacation, you probably don’t imagine snow.  But guess what?  Winter is a magical place to be at a ranch.  Get ready for sleigh rides, cross country skiing, tubing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding.  And if you overdo it, you can relax in front of a roaring fire or book a massage.  This ranch is wonderful in the summer too, of course.

THe Home Ranch for Families

Black Mountain Ranch Where: McCoy, Colorado Rates: $307-369 Open: June-September If you’re looking for an intimate ranch experience, look no further than Black Mountain Ranch.  With a capacity of just 40, this place is cozy.  If you have a big family (or a lot of friends), you could easily take over the whole ranch! Animal loving kids will appreciate that this ranch has more than just horses — there are rabbits, chickens, ducks, alpacas, donkeys, dogs, and baby goats too. We’ve been there — read our review.

 C Lazy U Ranch Where: Granby, Colorado Rates: $325-525 Open: Year round If you’re looking for a ranch with a really great kids’ program that will feel like summer camp to them (except for the fact that they’ll have to spend some time with their parents), check out C Lazy U Ranch.  Unlike some of the smaller ranches, this one is big enough that your kids will meet lots of kids who share their age, gender, temperament, and interests.  

Tanque Verde Ranch Where: Tucson, Arizona Rates: $195-395 Open: Year round If your fantasy dude ranch vacation features saguaro cactus, roadrunners, and endless sunshine, point your compass south.  The riding at Tanque Verde Ranch is great, but so is the pool scene.  You’ll quickly adjust to the rhythm of the desert — for a lot of the year, that means playing in the morning and at dusk and resting in the middle of the day.  Sounds like a vacation to me. We’ve been there — read our review.  

Burnt Well Guest Ranch Where: Roswell, New Mexico Rates: $234-260 Open: Year round There are some places that I’m longing to visit, but they’re just too far away or remote to justify the trip.  My personal list includes Mt. Rushmore, the Four Corners, and Roswell, New Mexico.  Imagine my delight when I discovered this authentic working cattle ranch within easy striking distance of Roswell and all its UFO fun!  Go for the riding.  If you pick up any alien souvenirs while you’re there, it’ll be our secret.  

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Dude Ranch Family Vacations

 Written by Diana Lambdin Meyer www.familyvacationcritic.com
 Hideout-Horses-Running-Square

Few vacations are more all-American than one that involves riding horses in the great open spaces of the American West. But if an adult-acquired fear of actually riding a horse compromises your willingness to fulfill your children's vacation dreams of being a cowboy or cowgirl for a week, do not fear. There's plenty for mom and dad and the entire family to do at many dude ranches other than ride horse. Think swimming holes or swimming pools, hikes in the woods, fishing, square dances, star gazing, bird watching, or just sitting in a lawn chair reading a good book. Dude ranches, which are often called guest ranches, are as diverse as the clientele they serve and the individuals who operate them. Many are located in some of the most intriguing parts of the country adjacent to national parks, along historic pioneer trails and near charming little communities where the Old West is not that far in the past. And while roughing it is an option, with overnight trail rides and cooking over an open fire, a dude ranch vacation can just as easily include a full-service spa, culinary workshops, a round or two of golf and five-star accommodations. Either way, quality family time and a memorable vacation experience are available without fear of horses on a Dude Ranch Family Vacation.

What is a Dude? Contrast to more common, everyday slang that may be mumbled from your child's mouth more frequently than you prefer, "dude" in the context of dude ranching is a term of respect for those experiencing a lifestyle they don't otherwise know or understand. There are basically two kinds of dude ranches. The first is a working dude ranch. That's where you get out there and really get your chaps dirty, working with cattle, sheep and other livestock. You may have the chance to throw a lasso, haul some hay, or scoop some poop. The second kind of dude ranch is a resort dude ranch. Riding horses is the primary activity, but there are other activities to be pampered and enjoy the outdoors. These are places with hot tubs and hot toddies, maybe a tennis court or fitness center, but certainly an atmosphere of relaxation and tranquility. However, the horses are the basis of any dude ranch experience and that's what the kids want. Ask about programs that emphasize riding techniques, that partner the horse and rider for the duration of your stay, and that allow the guest to participate in choosing the horse right for them. It's a better quality experience for the rider and for the horse as well. And be sure to ask about riding instruction and guided rides versus free rides, as well as opportunities for Mom and Dad to get away for a few minutes without the kids.

Choosing a Ranch When searching for a dude ranch, a good place to start is at The Dude Ranchers' Association of America, a 90-year-old organization representing properties in 14 western states and two Canadian provinces. From its website, you can search for amenities, price ranges, and destinations from more than 100 ranches. Membership in the association is based on many factors, including care and protection of animals. as well as the natural landscape of a region. (click here to read more....)

To Stand or Not to Stand?

The Home Ranch Family VacationBy John Fisher of The Home Ranch, Granby, CO Let’s not beat around the bush.  Why do you stand up in the saddle when your horse is urinating?  Although this question may sound humorous, what is probably more humorous is that I have developed an obsession with this question I operate a guest ranch in Colorado, so already my sanity comes into question. It all started about 10 years ago.  We had a new wrangler in from Virginia.  This woman had an incredible resume with numerous credentials in the horse industry.  She was giving instruction to a group when one of the horses started urinating.  “Stand up! Stand up!” she cried.  The befuddled guest remained motionless.  “Stand up in the stirrups when your horse is urinating!” she demanded.  The poor guest hadn’t noticed that the horse had changed positions and was now urinating.  Myself, having never heard of such a thing stood helpless in amazement.  This was something big!  Shame on me.  I had been riding horses for years and I never once stood up while a horse was urinating.  Think of all the pain I personally inflicted on all of those horses!  I discussed this new concept with this wrangler later that day.  She explained to me in very technical terms about why it made sense to get off the horse’s kidneys and many other anatomical functions that went along with it.  Those credentials of hers were impressive, and gosh I had learned everything I know from country hicks. My mind is always seeking answers, and apparently those credentials never quite impressed me to the point that they fully convinced me.  Recently, while attending a horsemanship clinic with a horseman that I like and respect, a horse started urinating, the woman stood up in the saddle, and he pointed out that standing in the stirrups was a good habit to develop.  “That’s what riding a horse is all about - developing good habits.” Why do you stand in the stirrups?  The question burned inside of me.  I couldn’t ask the question in front of all these people.  They paid good money to ride in this clinic, I couldn’t waste their time and money with my silly question.  Ten minutes went by, my stomach was churning, we were going over the importance of impulsion when my hand went up. “Marty, I’m really sorry but this has been bugging me and I can’t stand it anymore.  I’ve got a question.” “Go ahead John.” “Well you see, everything that you have said today makes sense to me.  Pay attention to the horse - he tells you a lot, etc… Why do you stand in the stirrups when a horse urinates?”  (Some laughter from the crowd)  “No, I’m serious.  Has a horse said ‘man that feels good’ or has anyone done any research that proves that we should do this?” Marty’s reply - It just makes sense, you get off the horse’s kidneys. Now for the kicker.  Well, I had to admit that I’ve done some experiments on myself with tightening my belt and placing it over my kidneys and other unmentionable things.  Frankly, I found no difference.  I still did not have an explanation that was satisfactory for me. Well, it is now two months later, and I’ve done considerable research trying to find an answer to my question.  I’m not convinced.  All of the horse gurus have done a wonderful job improving the lives of horses and riders the world over and have been able to explain to me all sorts of mysteries regarding the mind of the horse, but I still don’t have a good answer to my question. I would like to offer another theory on horses urinating.  I think that they would prefer us to sit right where we are during urination.  If you’ve ever noticed, a horse almost goes through a ritual to get ready for urination -  this is true whether we’re on his back or not.  Male or female, they get prepared and get balanced before the moment.  I’m not suggesting that folks go to the lengths that I do, but imagine yourself, male or female, without the aid of a toilet, wearing a 20-pound backpack getting prepared to urinate.  Then the backpack makes a major move on your back.  It would be rather uncomfortable to now proceed, but you must. The act of urination has nothing to do with the kidneys.  The kidneys are involved in the process of making urine, but it is the bladder that is relieved during urination. This may seem rather trivial, but so much of the horsemanship that I learned was because so and so said this, or does this.  With the progression of good horsemanship, I would like proof that we should stand in the stirrups.  I’m waiting.

A Week On An Authentic Wyoming Ranch - Reading, Writing and Riding

By:  Janet Rodgers, Contributor to Forbes Magazine April 9, 2012 Hankerin’ for a creative, outdoor adventure this summer right here in the U.S.? The historic landmark Vee Bar Guest Ranch in Wyoming (2 ½ hours from Denver) beckons.  Authentic ranch is framed by the Snowy Range Mountains, pasturelands with real cattle, and cabins dotting the shore along the Little Laramie River. The Vee Bar, 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! Open to those at any level of writing and riding skills, Page Lambert, award-winning author and writing coach, and Sheri Griffith, legendary sportswoman/adventurer, invite you for one unique week, June 2 – June 7, 2012.  “Through the Eyes of the Horse – Literature & Landscape of the Horse Retreat” will surely rekindle even the most dormant of creative fires. Learn what horsemanship can teach us about our own natural instincts instead of relying only on the intellect. Basic requirements for the retreat: you’ve got to be interested in equine culture, be happy to ride, and you should be able to read and write. The retreat is tailored to fit each individual – so let them know your creative goals (writing, painting, photography, journaling) and your horse-related/nature-related interests…

  • The Riding Part: Sheri teaches herd dynamics, communicating with horses, horses as working animals, horses (and us) as sensate beings in a sensate world, horse heartbeats, grooming and tacking up. Rides will be out in the open (abreast of one another) in 3 different groups – leisurely walking, trotting, and fast track. Each group has two wrangler guides, and the groups are fluid – ride with one group one day, then switch to a different one.
  • The Reading and Writing: Page leads literature discussions about horses and animals as characters, reads aloud appropriate excerpts, and shares the wisdom of ‘horse whisperers.’  She encourages immersion in the natural world, keeping journals, and dispenses fun, short writing prompts.

$300 will hold your horse.  Oprah loves these two gals and this retreat!  Cost: only $1490. Click: http://www.pagelambert.com/horse_literature.html Or write directly to page@pagelambert.com. You can also contact the ranch at 800-483-3227 or visit www.veebar.com for more information and to make reservations.

Saddle up! - Group Adventure Travel

March 28, 2012 Looking for a unique, authentic way to enjoy the best of Arizona? Consider a visit to a dude ranch. At one of the nine ranches affiliated with Arizona Dude Ranch Association, it is possible to savor the real western lifestyle, where the world moves at a more relaxed pace and where horseback riding is an everyday treat. A girlfriends getaway, an intergenerational adventure or any other group outing can be enjoyed. The ranches are as diverse as the state, “ranging from the more traditional smaller, remote ranches, where horseback riding and ranching are the primary focus, to our larger resort-style guest ranches, with all the amenities,” said Lacy Gambee, a spokesperson for the association.

Circle Z Ranch  Circle Z, located 60 miles southeast of Tucson, is a guest ranch operated continuously since 1926. Here, guests ride ranch-bred horses through the foothills of the historic Santa Rita Mountains. As a quiet, family-oriented ranch, the emphasis is on riding and down-home hospitality. The ranch has 27 rooms and is open from October through May. The Circle Z is known for excellent horses and great variety of trails, but also recognized worldwide for birding throughout the ranch and on the adjacent Patagonia Nature Preserve. (888) 854-2525, www.circlez.com

Elkhorn Ranch  The Elkhorn Ranch lies 50 miles southwest of Tucson in its own mesquite-covered valley, where the mountains and open desert meet. Since 1945, the Miller family has operated the ranch with exceptional riding and comfortable living for 32 guests in 20 cabins. Visitors enjoy wildlife and wintering birds, lazy hours in the sun, tennis, swimming and shuffleboard from November through April. (520) 822-1040, www.elkhornranch.com

Flying E Ranch   High on a mesa in the Hassayampa Valley, 60 miles northwest of Phoenix, the Flying E Ranch offers a personal approach to the dude ranch experience with a strong family feeling between guests and staff. Since 1946, the Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg has specialized in authentic Western hospitality, with great horses for every rider, ranch-style home cooked meals and a comfortable place to relax at the end of the day. The 17-room ranch is in operation from November through May. (888) 684-2650, www.flyingeranch.comFlying E Barn Gather

Hidden Meadow   This luxurious guest ranch is surrounded by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona’s White Mountains. Guests enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fly-fishing, archery and horseback riding on the hundreds of miles of national forest trails surrounding the ranch. The 12-cabin ranch is open year-round.(866) 333-4080, www.hiddenmeadow.com

Rancho De La Osa  Rancho De La Osa is a 300-year-old ranch property and one of the last great haciendas in the U.S. Established as a guest ranch in 1924, visitors enjoy innovative Southwest cuisine and scenic trail rides, while surrounded by history that has been lovingly preserved in the beautiful buildings set in the Sonoran Desert. The ranch, located 65 miles southwest of Tucson, has 18 rooms and is open year-round. As the ranch borders the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, there are abundant opportunities for viewing birds and wildlife — on foot or on horseback. (800) 872-6240, www.ranchodelaosa.com

Rancho de los Caballeros   This ranch, with 79 rooms, is located in Wickenburg. It’s open from October through May. Tee off on the 18-hole championship golf course, enjoy a scenic trail ride, play tennis or relax in the spa. (800) 684-5030, www.sunc.com

Sprucedale Guest Ranch  Sprucedale Ranch is nestled high in the pine country of northeastern Arizona at an elevation of 7,600 feet. It has been in the Wiltbank family since 1941, and it is a haven for people to ride horses, relax and reconnect with nature. In addition to horseback riding, there are activities for all ages — cow milking, gymkhana rodeos, colt leading, branding, western dance lessons, cookouts, fishing and hiking trails. The 14-cabin ranch is open from May through October. (928) 333-4984, www.sprucedaleranch.com

Tanque Verde Ranch  A historic working ranch and a Mobil 4 Star Resort, Tanque Verde Ranch combines the adventurous lifestyle of the Old West with the comfort and amenities of a world-class resort. Located on 640 acres in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, Tanque Verde Ranch offers horseback riding lessons, trail rides, hiking, mountain biking, tennis, swimming, fishing and La Sonora Spa. The 74-room ranch is open year-round. (800) 234-3833, www.tvgr.com

White Stallion Ranch  The White Stallion Ranch sits on 3,000 acres of the beautiful Sonoran desert, adjoining Saguaro National Park, north of Tucson. The varied riding program includes walk rides, lope rides, breakfast rides, mountain rides, all-day rides and team cattle penning (a horse and cattle game done in the arena). Saturdays typically offer an exhibition rodeo with steer wrestling, team roping, and barrel racing. White Stallion Ranch, a 41-room property, is open year-round. (888) 977-2624,  www.whitestallion.com

 

Ride the Outlaw Trails of Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!

Whether on horseback or hiking you will enjoy some of the most beautiful, untouched country in America here at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. Ride the outlaw trails of Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and visit Native ruins where the Mimbres people of 750-1150 AD, and later Geronimo and the Apaches once roamed. Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is a small ranch with a relaxed and personal atmosphere, located in the mountains in the beautiful Gila National Forest of SW New Mexico. Horseback riding here takes you through open meadows, tall ponderosa forests, up on high hills where the views go on forever across the 3.3 million acre National Forest, and down into deep canyons with sheer cliffs and crystal clear streams. We have wonderful gentle and responsive horses good for any ability to see it all by. The trails start at our backdoor and we have millions of acres to discover. Our main focus is on riding and making this a special vacation for you. No lines or schedules here! You can ride as much as you want or not at all.... the choice is yours. Other activities that our guests enjoy are campfires at night with s’mores and fantastic stargazing, musical entertainment around the campfire or in our rec hall, barbecues, outdoor and indoor games, roping lessons, photography, rodeo games and riding lessons in our arena, swimming in our small pool or the creek, or just reading a good book on one of our bench swings. We have two miniature paint horses and two mini donkeys that are fun to groom, pet, and just watch trying to be bigger than they really are! Since we are in the mountains we have moderate temperatures all year round. One great bonus of living at this altitude is that we are almost bug free so it's the perfect place for all outdoor activities. We have lots of sunshine with turquoise New Mexico skies that invite you to spend your time outside.

Top Reasons we are a Great Place for a Family Vacation! 

We are a small family run ranch. We have only 3 cabins and take a maximum of 12 guests. Because of this we are able to cater to our guests desires. You tell us what you want the schedule to be with your family! 

This is a great place to spend quality time with your family having fun! In today’s busy world it can be hard for families to have time to spend together. Everyone has their own schedule and often it is not even possible to have a meal together. Here at the ranch families can ride horses, eat meals together, relax around a campfire, hike, swim in the creek, play games, line dance, and make memories together that will last a lifetime!

Getting back to nature! We are located in the middle of the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest. This is a great place for families to get away from the hustle and bustle of town and city life. Wildlife is plentiful here including large herds of elk, many types of birds, mule deer, javelina, eagles, and much more.  It is a great place to learn and experience the beauty of our natural world. We love sharing our knowledge of the flora, fauna and wildlife with our guests! And the scenery is unparalleled: deep canyons, views from up high, open meadows, ponderosa forests, the variety is endless.

History! The Mimbres people were in this area from 750-1150AD. Right in our area there are remains of pit houses, cliff dwellings and pictographs (rock paintings) that we take guests to explore. This is unique because these are not part of a National Park and there will be no one else there! Later, the Chiricahua Apaches were also in this area and Geronimo’s birthplace is within 15 miles of our ranch! Even more recently Cowboys and Basque Sheepherders stayed in the area and made shelters which remain today.

The price is all-inclusive! Comfortable cabin, 3 full meals a day, horseback riding, hiking and all other activities and entertainment are included in the price!

This is a great place for a family reunion! If there are between 10-15 people in your group you will have the ranch to yourselves and our undivided attention!

Ask about packages for groups of 7-9! For more information please call 575-772-5157 or visit www.geronimoranch.com  

Geronimo Trails Creek Crossing

How to Select the Perfect Ranch for Your Dude Ranch Vacation

Now is the time to start planning your next Dude Ranch Vacation!  We thought it might be helpful to provide some information on how to find the perfect ranch for you.  Everyone has different ideas and visions on what that ideal ranch vacation should be like, so here are some suggestions to help you weed your way through all of the options.  While you are on your quest for that ultimate ranch experience, don't hesitate to call us here at the office for help!  We would love to talk to you!  You can reach us at 1-866-399-2339 or 1-307-587-2339.

McGinnis Meadows Cattle Drive

How do you choose the ranch to match your dreams? Riding should be your first consideration - choose the riding environment that appeals to you; open meadows, prairies, mountain trails or southwestern desert. The location of the ranch determines the terrain.

Then, choose the type of riding you'd like; working livestock, cattle drives, pack trips, team penning and arena games or daily trail rides. All ranches fall into one of the following categories - which will help you make the best choice:

  • WORKING DUDE RANCH These are working cattle or sheep operations. Your horseback riding adventures will be determined by the ranch's livestock and the work related to them. Be prepared to experience these activities first hand.
  • DUDE RANCH Horseback riding is central to these ranches. The cowboy in you will experience Western riding and a variety of outdoor activities.
  • RESORT DUDE RANCH Horseback riding is featured, and these ranches offer an array of diverse activities and onsite facilities. These are apt to be the larger ranches.

Your next consideration should be the time of year - typically, the ranches in the northern states (and cooler climates) are the busiest in the summer months, while the southern ranches offer warm weather riding in the winter months.

The number of guests that a ranch can host will also be something to think about - a stay at a ranch with only eight guests is a dramatically different experience than choosing a ranch that serves eighty or one hundred guests. The difference is most noticeable in the dining and social experiences.

Your accommodations are also an important consideration - ranch atmospheres range from rustic to luxurious, and everything in between. Ranches are always extremely clean and comfortable, but if you need hair dryers, TV's, Jacuzzi tubs, a daily massage and wireless Internet to make your dream vacation, just choose your ranch accordingly. With over one hundred unique ranches in the Association, we have one to match your dreams - perfectly. As you narrow your choices down to a couple ranches, call and explain to them what's most important to you - they'll help you make the best choice.  Choose a Dude Ranchers' Association ranch and Ride The West with The Best!

How To Have the Best Horseback Riding Vacations

I thought this was a great post from Colorado Trails Ranch...so I am posting it for all of you to read.  Enjoy! 08.18.2011 Colorado Trails Digest Did you know that you and your horse are supposed to work as a team? That’s the secret to a truly enjoyable experience on any type of horseback riding vacations. Here at Colorado Trails guest ranch, we understand that spending a week in the saddle having a great time begins by matching each guest to the right mount. A mismatched team is always a problem. This is true of married couples, poorly chosen sports teaColorado-Trails-Kid-Moment-Arena-2ms, business partners and the list of bad matches goes on and on. The same is true of horse and rider. Having spent many decades in the dude ranch business, we long ago discovered that our horses know what type of personality is on their back and will act accordingly. You see, horses have personalities that are as unique as those we find in people. There is really no such thing as a dumb horse, though they may put on a show of ignorance, there is something else going on. They are very social, intelligent and sensitive to any situation animals. Some of the most disagreeable horses are actually acting out as a result of suffering abusive handling, though you won’t find any of this lot on our dude ranch. Everyone of our huge herd of riding horses is handpicked for health, conformation and attitude, as well as their training. People of all types and walks of life come to spend their time away on Colorado Trails horseback riding vacations. Being able to give each and every one of them a week to remember, means having a wide assortment of horse personalities and levels of docility on hand. It also means that we need excellent wranglers on staff that understand horses and people very well. We don’t hire just anyone to fill the role of wrangler here on the guest ranch. The more you learn about horses, the more interesting they become. There’s a lot more depth to each animal’s character and mannerisms than a less experienced rider might suspect. Our guests who grew up with horses already understand this unique quality. For them we have more challenging mounts that easily match their skill set and personality type. Through our years of hosting fun and exciting horseback riding vacations, we’ve learned that putting a novice rider on a Type A personality horse isn’t going to allow either of them to have fun. Some people think that a small horse is better for a child to ride over a large one. This isn’t always the case though. We have several huge 16-hand tall horses that are as docile as a lamb. Additionally, a horse can sense that there is a child on its back over an adult, and display a behavior set accordingly. When you come to our dude ranch for horseback riding vacations, we’ll teach you a lot about these fascinating and beautiful animals. Even if you’ve never considered yourself the ‘horsey type’ – when you leave here, we can just about guarantee that you’ll love horses and be wondering when you can come back again.

Western Wear – What to Wear to a Dude Ranch

After you decide to book a western vacation to a Dude Ranch, you now need Western wear, cowboy boots and western apparel for your trip. I really enjoyed Jamie Pearson’s article where she mentions to bring more clothes and she wished she had brought cuter clothes. I have just the thing! Western Clothing and apparel has to be durable and comfortable and I have picked some items for Men, Women and Children that combine Western fashion and function for your dude ranch getaway. Cowboy hats, Western wear, Cowboy Boots & Western Accessories are some things you want to stock up on. Look great while on your western Dude Ranch vacation! Make sure you have the “cute clothes” Jamie refers to. I’m going to let you know what’s hot in western wear plus durable enough to withstand a day in the saddle. Let’s start at the top:

What to wear on a ranch vacation

Cowboy Hats - Although most people think of a traditional felt cowboy hat, if you are going to a Dude ranch in the summer you will want a straw cowboy hat. Charlie 1 Horse Hats (pictured on the woman in this picture) are our best selling womens hats.Want to know how your cowboy hat should fit? Watch our Cowboy Hat Fit Video on Youtube.

Western Shirts - It’s a toss up between a long sleeve shirt to protect against dust, sun or bugs and a short sleeve western shirt to stay cool. I would recommend both – one for hot mid-day and one for evening. Western shirts come in a variety of styles, from traditional western yokes to modern retro cowboy shirts.

Western Jeans - Here is one of the most important decisions you can make directly correlating to your comfort while riding. I've spent many hours in the saddle and I can truly recommend some jeans to keep you comfortable while looking great. Make sure you order them 2” longer than normal to allow for creep while in the saddle and to cover your boots creating the traditional "stacked" look preferred by cowboys and cowgirls.

Top picks for Womens western jeans for horseback riding:

  • Wrangler Q-Baby  Ultimate Riding Jeans – These fit any woman’s body shape. No gap waistband, minimal seam on inside of leg to reduce friction against the saddle.
  • Cowgirl Tuff Dark Don’t Fence Me In Jeans Modern Styling on a cowgirl jean – designed by a barrel racer these jeans look amazing and are comfortable in the saddle.  Rise is a bit lower than the previous 2 jeans.

Top picks for Mens western jeans for horseback riding:

All of the Kids Jeans from Wrangler, Cinch and Cowgirl Tuff are excellent for riding.

Cowboy Boots -  There are so many choices for cowboy boots out there, but you want your feet to be happy on a vacation, so here are some based on comfort, safety and cowboy boot style.

  • Tony Lama Men’s Ostrich Cowboy Boots Handsome, supple leather, Made in USA. Square toe – Classy cowboy style.
  • Lucchese Cowgirl Collection Ostrich Boots  This high quality super comfy crepe sole boot features a bucking bronco for true cowgirl spirit. Pamper yourself in these handmade beauties.
  • Ariat Cowboy Boots - Overall, for those new to the game, Ariat is an excellent choice for your first cowboy boot. They are a very versatile boot and most have rubber soles designed to help keep your feet in the stirrups.
  • Kids Cowboy Boots in all colors and styles from infant to youth.

Western Accessories - Don’t forget western accessories to complete your look! Many of these western accessories double with your regular wardrobe and look great! I’ve also included some “must haves” for your Dude Ranch trip like stampede strings.

Thanks for reading this article and browsing the choices for western wear, cowboy boots and western accessories for your Dude Ranch getaway or western vacation. These items are tested and tried by real cowboys and cowgirls and I’m sure you will like them for yourself. If you are not sure about the fit and style of western wear, please see the Western Wear Sizing Center to help determine what size clothing, cowboy hat or cowboy boots to get. To find a Dude Ranch or pick out the perfect western vacation visit the Dude Ranch Association website.  Happy Trails!

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Dude Ranch Vacations Five things to know before you go

April 4th, 2011 | by Jamie Pearson

1. Find the right ranch I know you wish the ranch fairy would fly down and just tell you which ranch is perfect for your family.  I wished that too, but it didn’t happen.  So I made a list of all the things we wanted (not too many guests at a time, a high staff to guest ratio, riding clinics at no extra cost, luxury accommodations, and river rafting), and then researched until I was cross eyed. After talking to some horsey friends and Googling myself silly, I chose Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.   If you don’t know a working ranch from a guest ranch and have no idea what you’re looking for in terms of amenities, I highly recommend you start with The Dude Rancher’s Association website. Knowing your family helps.  If you have shy kids, don’t choose a ranch with mandatory separate kid and adult activities every day.  If you don’t care about anything but riding, don’t pay extra for activities you won’t try. Vista-Verde-Drive-Cattle

2. Book the right week Once you’ve decided on a ranch, the next step is choosing a week to book.  Weather is obviously a consideration and holiday weeks (such as July 4th) may cost more.  We went the third week in July and were lucky to be able to participate in a cattle drive.  Had we gone in June, it would have been too wet and boggy. Also, call the ranch and ask who has already booked the week you’re considering.  Ideally you want there to be kids your kids’ ages.  I’d also recommend avoiding weeks with big family reunions—these groups tend to be very self-contained, which limits socializing opportunities.

3.  Bring a sports bra I won’t go into too much detail on this one, but suffice it to say there’s a lot of trotting and galloping at dude ranches.  Hours and hours of trotting and galloping, in fact.  And running around with your kids.  And mountain biking.  And rock climbing.  You get the point.

4.  Pack more clothes than you think you’ll need I travel extensively, often, and all over the place with my kids and I flatter myself that I know how to pack.  I could have done a lot better on our dude ranch vacation, however.  Every time we stepped outside the door of our cabin, we got really, really dirty.  My husband and I could have used another two or three outfits each.  The kids were so perpetually filthy (and happy) that I’m not sure that would have helped. Dinners were casual, but I wished I had cuter clothes.  Not to mention clothes that weren’t covered in dust and horse slobber.  Laundry service was convenient and inexpensive, but I wasn’t willing to part with my favorite jeans to have them washed. If you choose a ranch in Colorado, throw in a rain jacket for everyone too.  It rained briefly (or threatened to) nearly every afternoon.  

5. Don’t expect to relax too much There are so many exciting things to do at dude ranches that it can be hard to relax.  I wasn’t able to just sit down with a book and read because I felt like I’d be missing something fun.  Worse, I felt like I’d be paying to miss something fun. If you’re the kind of person who prefers to lounge around a pool or on a beach doing nothing for seven consecutive days, this might not be the right vacation for you.  There are evening activities too, like campfires, rodeos, and barn dances, so you won’t go to bed early very often.  Even the kids got a little worn out by the end of the week.

 

What To Consider When Taking a Dude Ranch Vacation

Since every ranch is a direct reflection of the family operating it, there are no two dude ranches alike. For our first time guests, we've created a list of basic questions. We encourage you to visit the ranch web sites and The Dude Ranchers' Association web site  For guest comments, try looking the ranch up on tripadvisor.com or a similar web site. Call or e-mail the ranches that you are interested in and ask them to help you. If they don't offer everything you're looking for, they will recommend a ranch that does. Association dude ranches work together in a spirit of cooperation to insure that your next vacation is your best vacation, a ranch vacation!

How do we get there? When making your reservations, discuss your travel plans with the ranch. They will gladly advise you. Most guests travel by commercial airlines and have the ranch pick them up at the nearest airport. Ranches are frequently located near regional airports which accommodate private aircraft. For those of you within reasonable distances or wishing to explore more of the West, driving is always an option. (Although, you won't use your car once you get there.)

Where are most ranches located? Member ranches are located in the following 12 Western states and 2 Canadian provinces: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

Who takes ranch vacations? People from all walks of life enjoy ranch vacations. Because they are a family -oriented, intimate environment, they are perfect for people traveling alone. Staff and guests are quick to include you as part of the group. Families enjoy ranch vacations for the wholesome environment which fosters quality time and valuable learning experiences. Children experience an amazing sense of freedom on a ranch. It's a safe haven where the only people they will come in contact with are staff and guests. Active adults enjoy ranch vacations for all the outdoor activities and the unique socializing. Many ranch guests form lasting friendships and plan their vacations together. The love of horses and the wilderness brings people together from all over the world, to create a unique and diverse group of friends.

Are there ever discounted or special rates? Dude ranches are similar to hotels and resorts in the sense that they have busy periods and quiet times. It is quite possible that you will receive a discounted or special rate if you are traveling during a slow period. If you have some flexibility in your travel plans, be sure to ask the ranch for details. You will often see their "specials" highlighted on their web sites.

When should we make our reservations? Ranches enjoy a large percent of returning guests each year, but you should be able to make your reservations in the same time-frame as any other vacation. Just remember that ranches are small, (compared to most hotels and resorts) and you will want to choose a busy or a quiet time based on your expectations. School vacation periods are typically busy - perfect if you're traveling with children. For more of an "Adults Only" experience, just ask the ranch to recommend a quiet time, or inquire about special programs for adults.

When are they open? You can plan a ranch vacation any time of the year. You'll find the southern ranches are most popular in the winter months and the northern ranches are the most popular in the summer months - some ranches are open year round and some seasonal ranches offer special holiday activities.

What are the rates and what is included? The "all inclusive rate" concept originated at Dude Ranches. Rooms, meals and activities have been included in the rate since the late 1800's. Typical Full American Plan rates are inclusive of food and lodging. With the exception of one or two ranches, the riding program is included as well. You may find extra charges for riding lessons, alcoholic beverages, airport transfers, river rafting, pack trips and cattle drives. But, for the most part, you will find that your rate includes a full day of activities as well as your meals and lodging. Ranch vacations are a great value and make it easy to stay within a budget. Because of the high ratio of staff to guests, a gratuity is usually added to the final bill and distributed to all employees. Rate cards for all ranches clearly state what is included and any additional charges that may apply.

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