5 Reasons Why Dude Ranches are the Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

It is no secret that 2020 has turned the travel industry, and the world for that matter, upside down. Any kind of plans, especially for a vacation, more than likely changed more than once! As people are starting to get more and more interested in traveling again, finding the best destination that provides everything they are looking for and is taking the extra recommended precautions can be difficult. One industry that has seemed to “take the bull by the horns”, if you will, has been the dude ranch industry. When COVID-19 became a global pandemic in March, Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude ranches immediately starting working to find ways to still give their guests an authentic Western experience that was safe and inviting for all travelers. If you are wondering why DRA dude ranches are the best destination vacation in 2020, see the top five reasons below!

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Individual Cabins/Accommodations

Each dude ranch is different, but almost all of the DRA member ranches have individual cabins for each group of guests. Whether you have a family of five or are a solo traveler you will find cozy rustic-chic accommodations fit for any size group. In these cabins, you will find comfortable beds, individual bathrooms, beautiful western themed decorations, and more. Your cabin will be your home away from home for your stay; settling in and letting the stresses of the world melt away won’t be a problem. Kick back, relax, and make peace in knowing you do not have to share accommodations with anyone besides your group on your dude ranch vacation. Some ranches do have lodge rooms with their own bathrooms and lounging space if you do not want to share common areas with other folks. 

Budget-Friendly – All-Inclusive

Dude ranch vacations really are perfect for any traveler and that means even the travelers on a budget. Since DRA member ranches are all-inclusive (meals, lodging, and most activities) they are much more affordable, and much easier to plan, than a day-to-day vacation that is five to seven days long. DRA member ranches range in prices and are reasonably priced for everything that is included in the stay. Three meals a day, activities all day long (if you choose to do guided activities that can be an additional fee), and beautiful accommodations to come home to at the end of the day are built into the price. Plus, the memories and friends you make at a dude ranch are lifelong and priceless! 

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Top-Notch, Carefully Prepared Meals 

Great food is a guarantee at a dude ranch! Some ranches even have their own farm-to-table programs and serve some of the cleanest, healthiest, and most delicious food you will ever find at an all-inclusive destination. In addition, top-notch chefs prepare all meals carefully and great precaution, even more so this year. DRA member ranches want their guests to feel safe and comfortable, always, and through all of the uncertainties, one thing that is for certain is that dude ranches are providing their guest meals in the safest and cleanest environment possible. Extra sanitization, taking staff members temperatures before entering any food preparation areas, no buffet lines, families, and groups sitting together at the same table all week, and more precautions have been implemented. If you want to know the details of what extra steps a ranch is taking during these times, visit their websites or give them a call. They are happy to answer any questions folks have. 

Scenery and the Great Outdoors 

Breathtaking scenery and the great outdoors are just outside your cabin door at a dude ranch. Many folks have said that dude ranches were social distancing before it was even a “thing”, which is true! Being outside gives people a large space to spread out, but still enjoy each other’s company and all that nature has to offer. At a dude ranch, almost every activity available is offered outside. Whether you are on a horse or fishing the stunning stream that flows through the ranch, you will find plenty of wide-open spaces and social distancing on your dude ranch vacation. Did you know that if you are on a trail ride, the next closest person either in front or behind you is at least six feet away? While you are on a trail ride you will be surrounded by some of the world’s most incredible landscapes and scenery. Many DRA member ranches are in very close proximity to national parks as well, you can get the beauty of a national park without all of the crowds or lines! Is there anything better than that? No matter what ranch you choose to visit, the views will be amazing and the air crisp and clean. 

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Rent out the Ranch

Still not sure about embarking on a destination vacation? Grab your best friends and their families and head out on a dude ranch vacation where you can have the ranch to yourselves! Many folks are concerned about coming into contact with people they do not know this year, but if you and your close family friends travel together that issue is eliminated. Several ranches are running specials this year for renting out the entire ranch. Special pricing could be applied and splitting the cost between the families could be the best way to vacation this year. Experience a vacation like never before at a dude ranch that is all yours for the week. Ride horses with your closest friends, watch the kids create even stronger friendships to take home and relax knowing that you are in a safe and clean environment. 

The list of reasons why dude ranches are the perfect vacation destination, especially in 2020, could go on for a while, but for now, we will leave it to these five great reasons! You can see all of the DRA member dude ranches here, and if you need help in finding the best ranch for your 2020 vacation, or any future vacation, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association today! 307-587-2339 | info@duderanch.org 

5 Reasons Why Dude Ranches are the Best Destination Vacation in 2020Best Destination Vacation in 2020Best Destination Vacation in 2020

10 Luxury Dude Ranches for Your Next Vacation

Luxury Dude Ranches

Are you looking for a fun and entertaining vacation, but also want a relaxing and luxurious getaway at the same time? Luxury dude ranches are the vacation you have been searching for! These ranches offer a great atmosphere of adventure and relaxation all at the same time. Want to bring the kids along? Most luxury dude ranches have a great kid’s programs where the children can interact with other children their age and make memories to last a lifetime while the adults can also have their alone time to relax. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and prefer an adult-only getaway, it’s best to book in the shoulder seasons or during a specialty week. Whatever experience you’re looking for; these DRA approved luxury dude ranches will fit the bill of a fantastic vacation for the whole family. 


Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort - Solvang, California

Located in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country is a 10,000-acre, working cattle ranch and full-service resort: The Alisal Guest Ranch. The rows of sycamores along the ranch driveway welcome you into your warm and inviting cabin. After a satisfying breakfast, go for a trail ride through the stunning rolling hills where you’ll pass cows grazing in the fields or play a round of golf on one of the two 18-hole courses on the property. The spa and pool will be waiting for you once you return to the ranch in the afternoon. Finish your day off by enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail in the bar and one of the best dinners you will ever have!

Luxury Dude Ranches


C Lazy U Ranch - Granby, Colorado

C Lazy Guest Ranch prides itself on its personalized 5-star service, professional horsemanship programs, first-class amenities, enriching children's programs, gourmet dining, and luxury accommodations (as they should!). Nestled in the heart of Colorado’s notorious Rocky Mountains, they offer the picturesque luxury ranch experience that people dream of.  As a year-round ranch, they are the perfect destination for both summer and winter getaways offering limitless activities from cross-country skiing to Orvis endorsed fly-fishing. Whether you’re looking for a family adventure or a romantic getaway, C Lazy U will be sure to impress!

Luxury Dude Ranches


Red Reflet Guest Ranch - Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Red Reflet Guest Ranch is the definition of luxury. Guest’s chalets include a full kitchen, hot tub, and steam showers. Spend your day working cattle, fishing on private streams, and exploring the 25,000-acre property on an ATV. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you will be one of the few people to experience Red Reflet’s gourmet dining -- many of the kitchen’s ingredients come straight from the ranch’s butcher shop, organic greenhouse and gardens! Don’t miss out on the exclusive cooking classes offered by the ranch’s 5-star chef so you can recreate these delectable meals at home!

Luxury Dude Ranches


Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch - Emigrant, Montana

Do you want a working ranch experience with world-class luxuries? Hubbard’s Six Quarter Circle Ranch in Montana may be the place for you. Guests actively participate in ranch work, whether it's pushing cattle to higher greener pastures, throwing salt, or fixing fence. But don’t worry, it’s not all work; many people brag about Hubbard’s famed massages that you won’t want to miss out on! And after a long day of work, every cowboy and cowgirl deserves a good beer in the bar while a juicy filet mignon steak with all the trimmings is prepared in the kitchen.

Luxury Dude Ranches


Rancho de los Caballeros - Wickenburg, Arizona

Want to escape somewhere warm and sunny this year? Let Rancho de los Caballeros spoil you with their upscale amenities and endless activities on your next Arizona getaway. This ranch is the ideal Southwest retreat with 20,000-acres of open range to explore by horseback and a full spa and salon to enjoy after a long morning in the sun. Adventure through the desert by ATV, tee off on the 18-hole championship golf course (while the “mini ranchers” play at the Kids Club), or spend a much-needed day doing nothing by the heated pool, preferably with a margarita in hand! 

Luxury Dude Ranches


The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado Springs, Colorado

You may not get much more luxurious than The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley. Just a short ride up the mountain from the ever-famous Broadmoor sits the beautiful Ranch at Emerald Valley, a distinct western experience. This ranch is certainly in the high-end rustic retreat category. So, if you are in search of an extremely highly-rated luxury dude ranch for a romantic getaway or family vacation, don’t miss this ranch. Here, you can experience a variety of high-class activities along with a full-service spa. Your vacation here will be the perfect mix of western charm and a top-quality resort. An abundance of activities and great memories await you and your chosen travel partners at The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley.

Luxury Dude Ranches


Lost Creek Ranch - Moose, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole are known for their extravagance. Placed between these two locations and equally as magnificent is Lost Creek Ranch. Offering open-air massages with views of the Tetons, the spa at Lost Creek is one that will surely put your city’s spa to shame. Float the infamous Snake River, hike and horseback ride in the Tetons, or take a tour of Yellowstone -- all once-in-a-lifetime experiences you won’t want to miss out on! At the end of the day, settle down in your own cozy, log cabin where you will drift to sleep in the comforts of home listening to the cool mountain breeze or crackling fireplace.

Luxury Dude Ranches


Lone Mountain Ranch - Big Sky, Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch sits at the base of the mountains in Big Sky, Montana just north of Yellowstone. The ranch welcomes families of all ages to join in on their western way of life. The Lone Mountain dining options will surely impress you with their high-quality Rocky Mountain cuisine including Kobe beef, elk, and vegetarian selections. Experience a long refreshing hike into the surrounding Gallatin Mountains, a horseback ride up to the mountain tops and gaze over the stunning canyons, or take advantage of their guided canoe trips. Whatever your definition of relaxation and rejuvenation may be, the luxury of Lone Mountain Ranch will help you escape reality and help you to truly enjoy your vacation and time away.

Luxury Dude Ranches


4UR Ranch - Creede, Colorado

Can you imagine a place more luxurious than a vacation with a natural hot spring right on site? The 4UR Ranch in Colorado is home to two historical natural hot springs that supply the warm water for their hot tub and other pools. The ranch was constructed around these natural wonders to make sure no damage was made and to preserve history. The healing waters provide serene relaxation and many people believe the waters are a natural healer. The ranch has much more to offer than just their top-notch spa; they have horseback rides, incredible cuisine for all ages, great fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and more! Take a wonderful family vacation this year and have luxury meet you at the door at the 4UR Ranch. 

Luxury Dude Ranches


Mountain Sky Guest Ranch - Emigrant, Montana

Located 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park, is Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, a prime luxury dude ranch destination for both families and couples. There is something for everyone to do here. Whether you are an avid horseback rider, enjoy fly-fishing or archery, want to play a round of golf at the on-site golf course, or spend an incredible day in Yellowstone, you will not run out of activities on this vacation! Their truly impressive kids’ program will ensure that kids of all ages also enjoy the vacation of a lifetime. You won’t worry about a thing while at Mountain Sky; book the trip, pack your bags, and prepare yourself for a vacation filled with excitement, relaxation, and memories no one will soon forget! 

Luxury Dude Ranches

 

Do you know which one you want to visit yet? If not, let us know! Our ranch vacation specialists will help you pick the best ranch to fit your next vacation. 307-587-2339 info@duderanch.org 

Interested in including the Dude Ranchers’ Association in an article? Contact us today! 307-587-2339 info2@duderanch.org

Luxury Dude RanchesLuxury Dude RanchesLuxury Dude Ranches

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

More and more people are breaking out of the traditional vacation mold and venturing off to more unknown and unexpected travel destinations. Disney World, cruises, and beach vacations are slowly losing their appeal due to stressful crowds and long lines. Vacationers are longing for a vacation that will stand out from their neighbors and friends. Because of this new craving for new, less touristy adventures, dude ranches are thriving! A dude ranch vacation can provide so much peace, adventure and an experience that will leave your friends envious! 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch: Kamloops, British Columbia

Located halfway between Vancouver and Banff, Campbell Hills Guest Ranch is easily accessible, yet still remote enough to provide rest, relaxation and solitude for guests. When you arrive at the ranch, you’ll feel your worries drift away as you settle into perfect harmony with the rhythms of nature. Ride a horse on the alpine meadows, observe unique birds in their natural habitat and discover the many hidden fishing spots in British Columbia. We guarantee it’ll be an experience unlike any other!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Bull Hill Guest Ranch: Kettle Falls, Washington

Bull Hill Guest Ranch sits at the Canadian border in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Travelers looking for a more laid-back horseback riding experience can saddle up for a scenic, guided trail ride. The trail rides combine breathtaking views and a variety of terrain, including open meadows and forests. Riders can even hit the trail to visit the nearby winery to sample selections in the tasting room or enjoy a cold brew in the Crown Creek Saloon. After dinner is time to socialize and enjoy the evening sunset. Why not head up to the trap shooting range and fire off a few rounds and show your shooting prowess? The cowboys will bring up the gear and the clays; all you need to do is have fun!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Diamond D Ranch: Stanley, Idaho

The Diamond D Ranch is nestled in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states, the Frank Church Wilderness, and is surrounded by the beautiful Salmon River mountains. There is an endless amount of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish and mountains in which to hike or horseback ride. To experience true untouristed areas, ask about their pack trips and backpacking trips! Some of their other activities include gold panning, volleyball, archery, target and skeet shooting, barbecues, campfires, swimming in their pool, or relaxing in their hot tub, wildlife viewing, scenic trips, fly fishing, and recently added wilderness photography tours!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch: Saratoga, Wyoming 

The Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch sits at approximately 8,500 feet in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains and is the perfect place for the adventurous traveler to escape and explore. Guests can participate in pottery, enjoy the peaceful surroundings in the pristine mountain air while fly fishing, or visit the nearby town of Saratoga and soak in the natural springs and famous hot pool. Above all, we encourage you to explore the beautiful mountains on the horseback ride of a lifetime at this ranch. 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Focus Ranch: Slater, Wyoming

The Focus Ranch is situated right on the Wyoming/Colorado border so it’s perfect for the traveler trying to check off states on their bucket list! It is a traditional working cattle ranch that invites guests to live out the GENUINE cowboy and cowgirl lifestyle by participating in the real day-to-day operation of the ranch. But don’t worry, you don’t have to spend your entire vacation working cattle if you don’t want to! Spend some time relaxing by fly-fishing in the Little Snake River, hiking, or taking advantage of the Insta-worthy photography opportunities! 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

JJJ Wilderness Ranch: Augusta, Montana

Escape to the JJJ Wilderness Ranch: the place to discover landscapes so big and open and rugged that it stretches your soul. Tucked just inside Montana's majestic Rocky Mountain Front between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, the ranch offers an adventure for every traveler: horseback riding, fishing, campfires, dancing and so much more! We can’t forget to mention the casual sightings of elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and black bear! A lot has changed in the world, but not here.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Rankin Ranch: Caliente, California

Break out of the hustle and bustle of city life and discover the tranquility that Rankin Ranch has to offer. Horseback riding is a clear favorite at the ranch, but visitors also enjoy bicycling, fishing, hiking, and swimming (in the pool and in the creek!). Nights are filled with fun evening activities…square dancing, pool and foosball tournaments, talent shows, and their exciting “Horse Races” complete with stick horses. Another guest favorite is the weekly evening hayride and barbecue to the meadow complete with a horseshoe tournament. Another favorite activity is a visit to Sarah’s Farm where you can bottle feed calves and toss corn out for the chickens.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Sprucedale Guest Ranch: Eager, Arizona

Nestled high in the pine country of Northeastern Arizona – 7,400 ft. above the sea and miles from civilization - is a little-known secret called, Sprucedale Guest Ranch. This family-owned, working ranch provides all the ingredients for good old-fashioned time. Pull on your boots and mount a horse for a thrilling ride through pine-covered mountains flowing with trout-filled streams. Horseback riding takes center stage at Sprucedale and is a sheer pleasure for beginner and experienced riders alike! Sprucedale Guest Ranch is truly a glimpse of heaven on earth!

Now, there are only 8 ranches on this list, but we have a total of 97 in the Dude Ranchers’ Association! Connect with one of our vacation specialists today to find the perfect unexpected travel destination for you or use our Activities & Amenities page to help narrow down your search. It will be the adventure vacation your family and friends will NEVER forget!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations 8 Unexpected Travel Destinations 8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

The hospitality world literally idolizes millennial travelers and their trends. They have changed the standards of accommodations and amenities. This generation expects different activity, cuisine, and service. However, dude ranches have always offered many of the confusing or even cryptic components of millennial travel. Let's dig deeper into the good-time of an Instagramable dude ranch...

Experience 

Millennials crave authentic, experiential travel over packaged or conventional travel. Nothing is more authentic than Western Dude Ranches and the nearly 100 different options of ranches in the DRA portfolio that offer everything from working ranches to luxury-based stays across the country and Canada.

Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Brand names are still important; however, access to unique, obscure, or even, first-ever sports and adventures are more on par with millennial travel trends than a more traditional three-night hotel stay. A bonus, many ranches such as White Stallion in Tucson, Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Eaton’s in Wyoming and Lost Valley Ranch near Denver, have an onsite concierge to not only assist with ranch activity, but nearby reservations and bookings, something that is still desirable in off-the-grid areas, or those not listed on the internet. 

Productivity 

Millennials are not about wasting their vacation time and like to go full speed, and the DRA certainly offers up all these longings. Truthfully, it’s hard not to be productive on a ranch, even if that means relaxing. Dude ranches provide guests with a dozen or more activities daily, making for multiple adventure-days. This embodies a millennial attitude; why do one activity when you can have the option to do three? And, what if the three activities change daily? Think of all the adventures to be accomplished in a week! 

Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Horseback ride in the morning, hike in the afternoon, and snag a trout come sunset, that’s a typical day at many Rocky Mountain ranches. Come winter in Idaho and Montana, imagine a fresh snowfall horseback ride after a gourmet breakfast, followed by ski journing, then lunch by the fire before afternoon sledding, ice skating, cross-country skiing or sleigh rides, and the sun hasn’t even set! 

Cuisine

Dude ranches have an adventure in every imaginable form, but many still have a reputation of pork and beans when it comes to food. Get out the silverware and set the table, because over two dozen of the ranches have won food and beverage awards. 

Rawah Ranch, close to the border of Colorado and Wyoming, hosted one of the top millennial “athleisure” brands in the world for their version of The Last Supper. In planning their schedule, the Chicago-based organizer inquired if they could ask attendees about what their dream last meal would be. Then, the ranch’s chef would prepare each meal to specification, served with an intricate explanation. “That’s the thing at Rawah, there are no limitations on requests from fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to seasoned Cornish hen for BBQ night. 

Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Latigo Ranch, another Colorado Ranch outside of Kremmling, has a family legacy of dessert. Spencer, the owner's son, works his craft in the kitchen. “His desserts—they’ve become the stuff of legend in the last decade. Coffee crème caramel with a shortbread cookie, Vanilla-bourbon crème brûlée, served in a martini-chiller over shards of caramelized sugar, with a fresh, warm, house-made, yeast doughnut drizzled in Spencer’s own salted caramel sauce, and milk chocolate mousse in a sugar sphere. World-traveled guests have raved over its perfection.” Hannah, his wife adds, “Latigo is service. Our food is artistry. And the taste is out of this world.”

White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, offers a patio utopia with and outdoor pizza oven and Tandoor—a cylindrical clay oven where heat is made by charcoal or wood to create a radiant cooking method—incredibly on-trend with the desire to know and see how your food is being prepared and cooked. Dinner is often served alfresco throughout the week featuring foods such as classic BBQ, brisket, pork tenderloin, steak, ribs, chuck roast, and locally-sourced vegetables. Steamship leg of pork, corn on the grill, produce skewers, wild rice, this is just a sampling of the gorgeously presented ranch food underneath the Tucson stars.

Online Impact with Authenticity 

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

You don’t exist unless you have a website, well, that was 2014. Now, you need to have a social media presence and following to really attract the millennial traveler. With multi-generational ownership, millennials, of who have been raised on the ranches, are taking to social media and the authentic content has followings long after guests leave the ranch.

Cherokee Park Ranch (@cherokeeparkranch) has true rugged, seasonal images from the multiple generations that own and maintain the Colorado ranch. The millennial behind the campaign, Caree Prince (@careeoke), has her own following nearly 17K strong and loaded with Western wear, life, and landscape, authentic to her home daily activity, and it’s ragingly popular and constantly loaded with comments.

Triangle X Ranch, a historic ranch, in pristine Jackson Hole, runs five generations deep, and that’s their strategy. The engagement numbers on their Instagram (@trianglexranch) are some of the highest of all the dude ranches in the world! Nighttime skies, sunsets, and horses rack up hundreds of likes for each post. 

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch (@thehideoutshellwy), east of Cody, Wyoming, also does a millennial-worthy job on their Instagram with sincere landscape from winter rides through feet of snow to cowboy sunrises and sunsets with the herd. Their remote location is the star of the photos with backdrops of dreams. 

The DRA member ranches will provide working, traditional, and luxury dude ranch vacations for all types of travelers and guests. Different activity, cuisine, and service will set the new standard for millennial adventure travel. For more information or assistance in selecting the right dude ranch for you, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association! With almost 100 years of experience and over 95 ranches to choose from, we will help find the right ranch for you! 

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

info@duderanch.org ~ 307-587-2339

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend   The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Winter Vacations – Take a Magical Sleigh Ride at a Dude Ranch

Winter is quickly approaching in the Western U.S. and we are trying to stay positive about the snow and cold that we know is coming very quickly! We have been thinking about some of our favorite parts of wintertime, like snuggling up and watching Christmas movies! We have all seen the Hallmark Christmas movies where the people take the magical horse-drawn sleigh ride through the beautiful white snow with cozy blankets, hot chocolate, and breath-taking scenery all around. Every romantic has dreamt of this scenario happening to them at one time or another, who wouldn’t want to go dashing through the snow with the one they love!? This scenario may be just a dream for many hopeless romantics because of one big obstacle, where do you go to take a sleigh ride like you see in the movies? We have the answer! A sleigh ride at a Dude Ranchers’ Association dude ranch in the mountains of the Western U.S. can provide you with that magical movie scene you have always dreamed of and can double as a great romantic getaway destination! 

The Dude Ranchers’ Association has some fantastic ranches that offer sleigh rides in the wintertime for their guests, and this activity pairs nicely with the other activities and amenities these ranches have to offer. These ranches are great destinations for a romantic getaway, but they are also wonderful for families in the wintertime as well! If you and your kids have never been sledding, you definitely need to go…it truly is an experience like no other! Take a look at a few of the DRA’s dude ranches below that offer sleigh rides in the wintertime to their guests and get ready embark on that magical sleigh ride! 

Bar W Guest Ranch – Whitefish, MT

Winter Sleigh Ride

Head to the mountains of Montana for a fantastic winter (or summer) getaway at the Bar W Guest Ranch. Every season provides magical opportunities for guests, like sleigh rides in the wintertime or wonderful trail rides in the summertime. If you choose the winter getaway, on these sleigh rides you will glide across Montana’s snow-blanketed landscape while cozied up under a plush blanket enjoying the company of other guests. Each sleigh ride winds through open fields and woodlands giving you the chance to take in the beauty of Montana in the wintertime. The sleigh rides last approximately 45 minutes and after your ride, you can warm up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and homemade cookies! Alcoholic beverages are not provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you choose! Don’t forget to make your reservations, these popular sleigh rides fill up fast and you don’t want to miss out! At the Bar W in the wintertime, you will experience snow, horses, divine hospitality, delicious food, and cozy cabins or lodge rooms if you choose to stay a few days! Come back in the summertime for a longer stay and enjoy all of the summer activities the ranch has to offer! 

C Lazy U Ranch – Granby, CO

Winter Sleigh Ride

Experience one of Colorado’s most luxurious dude ranches this winter and take a sleigh ride while you are there! The C Lazy U Ranch is the perfect getaway for any couple or family looking for some winter and snowy fun! Their sleigh rides offer the opportunity to ride through the ranch’s 200 horses and see them up close. You might even see Petey, they miniature donkey who is mighty handsome! The sleighs can only hold up to 12 guests, so it is the perfect group of people to go dashing through the snow. Sleigh rides are not the only snow-related activities offered at C Lazy U, take the opportunity to go horseback riding through the snow, go ice skating or play ice hockey, go snowmobiling or even snow tubing/sledding. There are several other snow activities as well! If you would rather stay inside and stay warm, you can head on over to the ranch’s hot tub or take advantage of their award-winning spa. This is also a great option after your snow activities too because even though the snow is beautiful, it can be a little chilly. Along with all of these activities, you will experience beautiful lodging accommodations and gourmet meals prepared by the ranch’s chefs. Escape to Colorado for a romantic couple’s getaway or a family vacation that will create memories to last a lifetime! 

Lone Mountain Ranch – Big Sky, MT

Winter Sleigh Ride

The Lone Mountain Ranch in the famous ski town of Big Sky, Montana is calling your name! Experience their winter Discovery Package and all it has to offer. This ranch nestled in the mountains right above Big Sky is the perfect destination for your next winter getaway! The Discovery Package offers some great options, including a sleigh ride to the legendary North Fork Cabin where dinner will be waiting for you. You will also get the chance to do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, yoga, and listen to live Western music while at Lone Mountain Ranch. This package includes three gourmet meals a day, luxurious Western-chic lodging accommodations, all of the previously mentioned activities, airport transfers to and from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and more. Grab your significant other, family or group and head to Montana for a fantastic winter adventure vacation. The memories and experiences will be unforgettable! 

Vista Verde Ranch – Steamboat Springs, CO

Winter Sleigh Ride

Enjoy the scenes of a winter wonderland and so much more at the luxurious Vista Verde Ranch located in Steamboat Springs. The Rocky Mountains provide the perfect blanket of snow for winter activities at Vista Verde, one of those activities being sleigh rides. There is an option for the sleigh rides at this ranch to be a little more unique if you choose. Of course, you still get the joys of gliding through the snow on a horse-drawn sleigh, taking in the beautiful snow-covered landscape and scenery if would like. Or, you can take a more adventurous sleigh ride with some of the crew by helping them feed the ranch’s herd of horses on a horse-drawn sleigh! Each day the ranch hitches up their draft horse team to haul a very large load of hay out to the horse pasture to feed the horses. Guests are invited to jump on the sleigh and toss out hay or just enjoy the ride; it is quite the experience! Before tractors and machines, this is how ranchers used to feel their livestock in the old days, so this is a true Western tradition. Enjoy the sleigh rides, snow, other winter activities, fantastic food and beautiful accommodations at this ranch. It is a great romantic getaway or a vacation destination for the whole family. No matter what type of winter vacation you are looking for, Vista Verde Ranch might just be what you are looking for. 

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, ID 

Winter Sleigh Ride

The options for a magical, snowy sleigh ride at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Idaho are abundant. For a group sleigh ride, one of the ranch’s five teams of draft horses will gracefully take you and your loved ones dashing through the snow…literally! If you are looking for a more romantic, snow-filled adventure you can choose to take the sleigh pulled by one horse and enjoy the beauty of North Idaho with your significant other. This will make your Hallmark movie dream moment come true! After the sleigh ride, you can head over to the ranch’s lodge to warm up by the fire and enjoy warm beverages and freshly popped popcorn! If you are wanting more than just snacks, the ranch offers a sleigh ride and dinner package as well! The ranch also has a special offer that includes getting a Christmas tree while out on your sleigh ride. There is an additional cost for this, but what better way to go get a Christmas tree than on a horse-drawn sleigh, now that sounds like a winter dream! Western Pleasure Guest Ranch has lodging and meal accommodations available for guests who choose to live out the winter dream at the ranch for a few days. There are other activities available and it is a great getaway, especially for couples! No matter which sleigh ride adventure you choose to take, the folks at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch will be sure to take care of you and help you create memories to last a lifetime! 

Now that you have learned a little more about magical winter vacations that could include horse-drawn sleigh rides, skiing adventures, snow tubing/sledding and more, you can start planning your getaway! If you think a winter dude ranch vacation may be a bit too cold for your liking, look into a summer dude ranch vacation! If you need help in finding information about dude ranch vacations or need help on where to start planning this type of vacation, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association, info@duderanch.org or 307-587-2339. 

Winter Sleigh Ride

The Wildest Trail Rides of 2018

The National Dude Ranch Association (DRA) has over 10,000 trail rides throughout the Western United States and Canada. Travel across National Forest, BLM, private acreage and hundreds of miles of waterways that traverse high and low altitude, valley and mountain, desert and coast, with the wranglers of the DRA. However, of all these options, which is truly the wildest in 2018?

Border Ride—THE WILDEST TRAIL RIDE

Rancho de la Osa, Sasbe, Arizona

It’s both scenery and the current political state of the country that makes this trail ride at the remarkable ranch, quite possibly, the wildest ride in the West! Rancho de la Osa houses Arizona’s oldest continually used building, constructed in an Indian village around 1720 by Jesuit missionaries.

In 1812, the ranch was part of the Ortiz Brothers Spanish land grant and with Mexican independence from Spain, the ranch became part of Mexico. In 1916, Pancho Villa raided and attempted to take Rancho de la Osa and a cannon ball from the attack was found embedded in the adobe wall of the Hacienda, which is on display today.

Once you’ve taken in the enormous breadth of Rancho de la Osa’s history, saddle up and choose the Ranch’s U.S.—Mexico Border ride. Yes, you read that correctly, guests of all riding abilities can see and even touch The Wall.

Start on horseback through wooded mesquite trails and low sandy washes. Next, the wranglers will take you past the Ranch’s cemetery, dating from the early 1800s. From here, the horses leave the ranch, cross into La Mirador Ranch and continue to the border with Mexico, about a 20-minute ride. You travel directly to the fence separating the countries. There, wranglers can describe the scenery that unfolds. They can explain the reason for the black jugs piled feet high in some places, the blankets, clothes and more.

After all questions are answered, and there are many, wranglers will continue on with the ride reemerging at the ranch. For those who are curious, the wall ends abruptly in the desert. Draw your own conclusions, but history and reality is present, evident and relevant!

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The Other Border Ride

Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, Montana

For the second wildest ride, the DRA is going to take you to our northern border with Canada. At Bar W Ranch, there is a full-day horseback trail ride that will take guests to an extremely wild site. Throughout the day the terrain changes, and riders can walk, trot, or lope through open meadows and lush forests before exploring Lake Koocanusa. Riders think they’ve entered a postcard with a majestic mountain backdrop and long sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. Lake Koocanusa signifies the cooperation between two friendly neighbors, “Koocanusa” is an abbreviation of KOOtenai River and the first three letters of CANada and USA.

The “wildest” part of this ride is traveling along the three-wire fence separating the two neighbors, USA and Canada. The fence can be seen for miles stretching in a straight line across rolling hills before disappearing into the distance. A small stone obelisk distinguishes the border and makes for a prime photo opportunity for guests who dare to put a leg on each side and claim being in two countries at once. 

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Get Lost in the Lower 48’s Largest Protected Wilderness

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, Winston, New Mexico

The Gila National Forest expands over 3.3 million acres, is the largest federally protected landmass in the lower 48, and is also the first wilderness area designated in the United States.  

The terrain is wild, and the history won’t disappoint either. In one canyon alone, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch takes riders through 1,000 years of history from Mimbres to Apaches to Basque and tin miners. Aptly named Dwelling Canyon, this location has been a geologically unique stopping place for years marked with pictographs, cliff dwellings, Basque structures, and mining equipment. Sitting in a cave that demonstrates humanity for thousands of years, now that’s wild. 

The ranch will also take you on trail rides through Taylor Creek Canyon, Beaver Canyon, Whitewater Canyon, Hoyt Canyon, just some of the spectacular canyons that are truly awe-inspiring and jaw dropping. Gaze up at canyon walls as you ride through creeks fed by warm spring waters.

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Private Elk Pastures

Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, Flathead Lake, Montana

Horseback ride through a 500-acre Montana elk preserve. Guests are led into the ranch’s private elk preserve where they will be able to view mature bull and cow elk in their natural habitat. Depending on time of year riders view the Lodge’s heard in full velvet or mature growth. In the fall guests can watch from a distance as the bull elk spar with each other testing their strength for the rut. 

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Moose in Moose, WY

Gros Ventre River Ranch, Moose, Wyoming

Grab a cup of cowboy coffee and a glance at one of America’s largest mammals along this wild breakfast ride. Gros Ventre River Ranch in Moose, WY, has riders leave by 7 am from the barn to get the best in at dawn when wildlife are active before bedding down for the day. Exciting sightings include moose, elk and eagles. The Jackson Hole area is notorious for iconic wildlife and this particular ride allows guests to see the ranch’s valley during a serene time when most are still sleeping.

The final destination is a picnic spot by the Gros Ventre River. There, breakfast is prepared in cast iron pots over the fire. The menu includes biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, fruit tea, juice, hot chocolate, and, of course, more cowboy coffee. 

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Wild Horses

Lazy L&B Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

There are few spots left in America where you can view wild horses. Luckily, the horses on staff at Lazy L & B Ranch know where to find them. The ranch offers a three-hour round trip ride where wranglers will bring you atop a mesa behind the ranch. The view is spectacular, and more often than not, guests will have the opportunity to see at least one of the herds of wild horses that inhabit the area. It’s remarkable to be on horse and take in the noises and sights of their wild cousins.

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The National Dude Ranch Association (DRA) has over 10,000 trail rides throughout the Western United States and Canada. Travel across National Forest, BLM, private acreage and hundreds of miles of waterways that traverse high and low altitude, valley and mountain, desert and coast, with the wranglers of the DRA. However, of all these options, which is truly the wildest in 2018?

 

Romance & Horses, Your Dude Ranch Vacation


'A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.' - definition of romance Riding horses with your partner is, surely, full of excitement and mystery. Consider a ranch stay to put some extra special romance into your relationship. It is as easy as picking out your geographic setting(mountain range of choice) and paring your personalities with a ranch. Then, hop on a plane and arrive at your secluded cabin for an 'all-inclusive' destination experience. Don't worry, there are plenty of activities to inspire other than saddling up and riding into the sunset at a dude ranch; morning fishing trips, spa afternoons, hot tub evenings and nights full of fine dining pared with excellent wine. Valentine's day is a great motivator to book you and your partner a vacation full of romance and connection - away from the monotonous crowd of chocolates and teddy bears. Experiences turn into memories, and those memories turn into a lifetime of togetherness.

Ranches for Romance

The ranches below are just a few options for your choosing. If you don't find one that you connect with, give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call. We can help. 307.587.2339.  


The Heart of the Rockies, Colorado

Elk Mountain Couple Hill Side Romance

Elk Mountain Ranch Fall is for adults only - Enjoy the mountains during the peak of the fall colors in the Colorado Rockies. The already spectacular scenery at the Ranch unveils more glory in the Autumn. Aspens crown the mountainside in golden grandeur. Fall is exclusively for adults at this Colorado dude ranch. The tranquility and stillness are uninterrupted, whether you’re riding through the aspen forests…or curling up with a favorite book by an crackling fireplace.


The Ruby River, Montana

Upper Canyon Fishing Couple Romance

Upper Canyon Outfitters One of the best uncrowned waters in Montana - "My wife and I ventured to Upper Canyon this summer to enjoy the ranch, fishing, horseback riding and hiking and preview where I had booked an elk and mule deer hunt this fall. After returning from the fall hunt all that I can do is reinforce the previous comments complimenting the complete operation of Upper Canyon Outfitters, from the facilities to the staff. It seems like they are all extended family." - Roland


7,000 Acres in the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Eatons Gather Sunset Romance

Eaton's Ranch Freedom to ride into the sunset - Eatons’ 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 this Wyoming Dude Ranch twice a day Monday through Friday, choosing among morning, afternoon and evening rides. Also, there all-day rides into the Bighorn National Forest as well as breakfast and dinner rides.


Yellowstone Country, Montana

Mountain Sky Romance

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch A rare treat - After a day filled with ranch activities, dinner is always a highly anticipated event. Kick things off with hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the saloon, where friends share stories of the day's adventure next to a crackling fire. What follows is an unforgettable three- to five-course dinner featuring carefully crafted and regionally-inspired dishes prepared by Chef Brian Bielen and his talented team. Complement your dinner with a bottle of wine from a fine selection, and do try to leave room for that slice of chocolate decadence or Basque cake.


     

Many Dude and Guest Ranches are Offering Spectacular Savings During their Shoulder Guest Seasons

Shoulder seasons are the weeks before and after the main season begins and ends.  A ranch will sometimes offer added values like a massage, private riding lessons or a fine bottle of wine upon check-in etc. They may offer a repeat guest discount, a group of more than 20 people discount or an early bird booking discount.  Some ranches will  offer special packages during these times as well like fishing packages, riding only packages, horse clinic packages, shorter stay packages,  pack trips packages,  overnight camping and much more. We know finding the perfect ranch match for your family can sometimes be hard so The Dude Ranchers Association wants to help, give us a call at 866-399-2339 or shoot us an e-mail and we will do all we can to help you find that perfect ranch for your family. Any time is a great time to make memories with your family so what are you waiting for let us help you make memories that will last a lifetime!!!

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch Red Feather Lakes, Colorado Phone: +1 (800) 357-4930 Family dude ranch vacation in the Colorado Mountains; Smallest smallest of the CO member ranches. Western Horseback Riding; NOT nose-to-tail; we love teaching beginners! A relaxed, stress-free, hassle free, easy going atmosphere that only a very small family dude ranch can enjoy. Sundance-Trail-Arena-Rodeo

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.

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch Quincy, California Phone: +1 (800) 334-6939 A truly all inclusive guest dude ranch vacation, we provide the perfect location for family vacations, reunions, weddings, corporate and business retreats, meetings, special events, equine guided education and so much more. Still serving up the best hospitality in the west!

Goosewing Ranch Jackson, Wyoming Phone: +1 888-733-5251 Here at Goosewing Ranch, we combine the lifestyle of ranching in the Wyoming wilderness with many of the modern refinements that make your visit with us especially enjoyable. Remote with spectacular scenery overlooking and close proximity to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Excellent horseback riding, fly fishing, newly remodeled outdoor heated pool and hot tub, and kids activities.

Paradise Guest Ranch Buffalo, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-684-7876 Celebrating 100 years of FUN in 2007. Tucked away in the scenic Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Luxury log cabins with fireplaces, outdoor decks & spacious living rooms.

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.  

THREE BARS CATTLE & 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.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa Jesmond Clinton, British Columbia Phone: 1.800.253.8831 Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is located in the pristine Cariboo region of British Columbia. Surrounded by wide open spaces and tranquil wilderness, Echo Valley offers horseback riding, hiking, fly-fishing, gold panning, bird watching, rafting, golf and a world class spa.

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