This Summer's Best Fishing Trip: Colorado Fly Fishing

C Lazy U Ranch Fly Fishing

For so many anglers, both amateur and pro, there’s nothing quite like Colorado in the summertime. Colorado fly fishing is some of the best to be had. For a fly fishing vacation with exclusive access to private territory and trained guides, C Lazy U is ready with an Orvis-certified experience for all skill levels – even the kids!

Fly fishing 101

While fly fishing has a reputation of taking a lifetime to master, first-timers are often charmed by its intuitiveness. After some practice, the cast begins to feel even more natural than casting with a spinning reel. So what is fly fishing, and how exactly does it differ from standard “spin” fishing? The main difference is what you’re actually casting out. When fishing with a spinning reel, you cast out a weighted lure. The lure propels the light fishing line forward, then it lands with a small splash and sinks. Fly fishing, on the other hand, is a more covert approach. The fly angler uses a weighed line, casting out the weight of the line itself. The advantage? You can fish with microscopic bait (“flies”) attached, launching them great distances without startling fish with the splash and sink of a lure. Yes, this does take a little more finesse than chucking out a lure into the water, but once you graduate to fly fishing you’ll likely be hooked.

“Spin” fishing versus fly fishing in Colorado

Lucky for anglers who like a little bit of both, Colorado is home to premier mountain lakes and rivers that lend themselves beautifully to all versions of the sport. Colorado’s waters are full of trophy-sized fish, from wild salmon to northern pike to a healthy variety of trout. In fact, the Centennial State is one of the top trout destinations in the world – with cutthroats, browns, “brookeis” and rainbows to be reeled in ad infinitum. Colorado boasts a whopping twelve fisheries that have gained Gold Medeal Trout Water designation from the US Department of Natural Resources, based on density of quality specs. So which approach is best for catching and releasing your own trophy fish in Colorado? The expert guides at C Lazy U are a little partial to fly fishing, just because our private stretch of the Colorado River headwaters is set up so beautifully for it. Conditions are perfect for learning or fine-tuning fly fishing skills. On a Colorado fly fishing vacation at the lodge you’ll find:

  • Wide open spaces. One of the biggest differences between fly fishing and “spin” fishing is the amount of space needed for a successful cast. If you’re in too-cramped quarters, you’ll end of spending most of the day untangling your line from tree branches. On a private fishing excursion, you’ll have the elbow room needed to really hone your skills.
  • Familiarity. One of the trickiest parts of fly fishing is being familiar with the river and all its structures. This makes it a little more challenging to pick up on a fishing vacation to Colorado or any terra incognita. Luckily, the passionate fishing guides at C Lazy U have been angling at the nearby fishing holes for years and are ready to share their tips on where to start.
  • Patience. Even more so than “spin” fishing, fly fishing requires Zen-like patience. Success and gratification is less instantaneous, more elusive. Again, here’s where a private excursion with an expert guide really delivers. Infinitely patient, they will take as much time as needed to impart their own knowledge as you move along the learning curve of fly fishing.
  • The right gear. In general, gearing up for fly fishing costs a bit more than outfitting yourself for plain old “spin” fishing. In addition to finding the right flies, anglers need to upgrade their rod, reel, leaders, tippets, and waders. Where to start? C Lazy U can take the guesswork out of this – our fishing opportunities include everything you’ll need for a first-time fly fishing experience. This gives newbies a good sense of what to start adding to their own gear collections.

Check out how passionate and dedicated the C Lazy U fishing guides are!

How big is big? Trophy fish in Colorado

One important thing to know about fly fishing in Colorado: permits are required. In order to maintain a healthy fish stock and keep populations strong, catch and release policies govern how many fish per day you can take home, and what constitutes a trophy fish that must be released. Here are some guidelines for what you can keep for the grill and what you’ll need to release after the photos have been snapped. Check with your guide about the limits on number of non-trophy permitted to take home each day. And if you’re lucky enough to reel in any of these trophies – be sure to kiss it goodbye!

  • Cutthroat Trout: Trophies are 20” or larger. In Colorado, these beauties rarely grow larger than 12”, but the record size was a 33-incher caught by angler Rob Peckham in 2005.
  • Rainbow Trout: Trophies are 24” or larger. Average size for this spec ranges between 12 and 16 inches, but the pros regularly reel in monsters of 26 inches and bigger!
  • Brook Trout (a.ka. “brookies): Trophies are 16” or larger. You’re likely to pull in a brookie of 12-14 inches and weighing in at around half a pound. The record in Colorado for brook trout dates back to 1947, when George Knorr hooked a spec weighing in at over seven pounds.

What is Orvis Endorsement?

C Lazy U is proud of its hard-earned Orvis Endorsement as a fly fishing lodge. This means that we meet Orvis’ high standards in the areas of great service, great fishing, and highly experienced professional staff. Orvis also rates us on our ability to cater to all levels, from beginner to expert. Orvis keeps us on our toes, continually reviewing our qualifications and checking in with guests for their critiques. That means that when you plan a summer fishing trip to Colorado at C Lazy U, it’ll definitely be worth the experience! Originally posted on the C Lazy U Ranch Blog. Video edited in part by Maddie Brenneman   Save Save Save Save

Perfect Winter Holiday ~ Arizona & New Mexico Dude Ranches

Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Painted Desert. There are high ponderosa pine forest, rolling grasslands, and stark desert landscapes. In New Mexico there is the wondrous Carlsbad Caverns, the Black Range Mountains and the brilliant gypsum of the White Sands National Monument. Between the Cottonwoods, the Oak trees and the many various grasses, sage and vines the brilliant colors of autumn will take your breath away.

Flying E Trail Arizona Dude Ranch

Flying E Ranch

The Dude and Guest ranches of Arizona and New Mexico take advantage of their spectacular surroundings; horseback riding outings explore the canyons and forested ridges. What a great cure for the winter blues this year, so for the perfect winter holiday grab your family and friends and head to one of these truly amazing family friendly dude and guest ranches.

Geronimo Trail New Mexico Dude Ranch

Geronimo Trail Ranch

Geronimo Trail Ranch is all about Real "Old West" adventure! A Small family ranch with a relaxed and personal atmosphere, located in the breathtaking untouched Gila National Forest of SW New Mexico. Geronimo Trail Ranch features Pithouses, Cliff Dwellings and rock art of the early Mimbres.

Get your real Cowboy on at Burnt Well Guest Ranch, located in warm, sunny, southeastern New Mexico. Guests have said "This is John Wayne country!" "I can't believe how far you can see sometimes 50-60 miles!!"

Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest at White Stallion Ranch. You will experience the aura of a real Western ranch combined with present-day comforts and conveniences.

Or step back in time at the Circle Z Ranch were guests have ridden their ranch-bred horses on 165 miles of trails through the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains and along the ever flowing Sonoita Creek for over 83 years. They are recognized worldwide for birding.

Fifty-one miles southwest of Tucson, in its own valley where mountains and desert meet, lies the Elkhorn Ranch. Since 1945, three generations of the Miller family have owned and operated this ranch, offering exceptional riding and comfortable living for thirty-two guests. Riding is the main interest with gentle or loping rides through the desert and more vigorous trips along the many mountain trails. 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. 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.

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.

Rancho de los Caballeros Arizona Dude Ranch

Rancho de los Caballeros


 

Snow Free Spring Break Dude Ranch Vacation

The spring break push for vacation venues is here, but Mother Nature shipped most all of the West Coast snow to Boston! What to do if the family doesn’t want to spend Easter holiday skiing on rocks at Tahoe or boarding over mud at Mammoth? Consider swapping your snow boots for cowboy boots and visit one of the Dude Ranch Association ranches that are open during Spring break.

Try looking at an Arizona ranch or any lower elevation mountain dude ranch – Like Rancho de Los Caballeros, Flying E Ranch or California's Marble Mountain Ranch! Spring in Arizona offers some spectacular desert trail riding. The cooler spring climate makes time on the Arizona trails comfortable. Most visitors to the sunshine state consider the Spring season to be one of the most beautiful while the cactus and wildflowers are in full bloom. At Rancho de Los Caballeros you could spend your afternoons exploring the desert on a Jeep or ATV tour or riding horseback through the colorful high Sonoran Desert. While the kids are swimming or on scavenger hikes, Mom and Dad can relax at the spa or play a round of golf at the Los Caballeros Golf Course, which was named one of Golfweek's "Best Courses to Play."

Rancho de Los Caballeros

At the Flying E, a dude and working cattle ranch, the casual and relaxed atmosphere is as natural as our gorgeous sunsets. The calendar may say winter, but that has a whole new meaning in Arizona. Winters are warm and dry, averaging temperatures in the mid-70s. The nights are cool and refreshing, illuminated by a canopy of brilliant stars. Clean air, warm sun, good horses, breathtaking scenery and genuine cowboys as your guides will fill your hearts with memories to treasure for the rest of your life.

Flying E

Marble Mountain's low elevation mountain trails are open for spectacular horseback trail riding and their covered arena is running full swing with barrel racing and other thrilling riding challenges. The spring river flows on California’s Klamath River are ideal for rafting and kayaking and the covered shooting stations at the shotgun trap course are ready for action. The “saddle and paddle” vacation is in Northern California, and is another viable alternative to a vacation venue that has been diminished by disappointing snow levels.

Marble Mountain Rafting

So, if you can wrap your mind around an Arizona riding adventure, or a California raft-n-ride vacation, pack away the snow boots for the season. Visit an Arizona dude ranch or come explore a piece of Northern California that most people don’t even know exists. When the fog burns off the forest floor with the morning sun, you will discover a lush and verdant Klamath National Forest, abundant wildlife, and legend hospitality from your hosts in either California or the Sunshine state.

Head West for Your Next Meeting or Convention

Tired of holding corporate meetings and conventions at run-of-the-mill hotels and banquet halls? Make your next annual meeting an unforgettable experience complete with adventure and good old-fashioned Western hospitality at a dude or guest ranch.

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

The Dude Ranchers' Association just concluded our 89th Annual Convention at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.  Made complete by the type of star treatment that is typical of Western hospitality. From pickup service at the airport, to personally assisted check-in, bag delivery and homemade cuisine, every guest was treated to feel right at home. The DRA is able to help meeting planners and groups plan the perfect meeting, convention or retreat at one of our 100+ accredited, all-encompassing guest ranches across North America. Ranches range from rustic working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches that offer five-star cuisine and spa treatments.

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

Tanque Verde Ranch is one of America's old time cattle and guest ranches, nestled amongst the Rincon Mountains and adjacent to Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest in Arizona. Set amidst 60,000 acres of Tucson's most breathtaking desert landscapes, Tanque Verde Ranch offers a variety of unique activities to enhance travelers’ ranch vacations. Guests can choose from horseback riding, guided hiking and biking, swimming, dancing and fishing, or relaxing with a full host of spa treatments.

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

True to the spirit of authentic Western hospitality, the convention's programming included plenty of opportunities for fun. There was live musical entertainment from the 2 Lazy 2 Ranch band and a 9-hole scramble golf tournament.  To top it all off there was Steve Shaw's Famous Pigeon Rolling Contest, featuring a special breed of pigeons that roll and somersault through the air, all for the benefit of the Dude Ranchers' Association Educational Trust. Consider trading in banquet hall food and sterile walls for five-star cuisine, or maybe a hearty cookout under the stars. Whatever the size of your group there is the perfect ranch location to meet all your needs.

Tanque Verde Ranch      

Love is in the Air

Love is in the air! Well, maybe not quite yet, but Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. Make this year truly special by surprising your significant other with a planned romantic getaway and giving the gift of shared memories that he or she will treasure for years to come. The below ranchers, offer effortless planning with all-inclusive vacations located in some of the most awe-inspiring areas of the Western U.S. and Canada.

Savor an Adults-Only Romantic Retreat. Fall in love all over again at Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado. Couples can enjoy a mix of relaxing time in the hot tub or private cabin with shared adventures out on the trail. Amenities at this luxury resort ranch include fine dining, plush accommodations and personal service. With a secluded setting 25 miles outside of Steamboat Springs, the ranch’s intimate setting will rekindle the romance in your relationship in no time. Winter adult only times are Jan. 3 through Feb. 12, 2015.

Vista Verde Dude Ranch Snow Trail Ride

Play a Round (or Two) of Award-Winning Golf. Located in Wickenburg, Arizona (just 75 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport), Rancho de los Caballeros is a historic dude ranch that offers the ultimate dude ranch resort experience. Think peaceful horseback rides through the desert, soothing hot stone massages, lounging by the pool and laidback games of golf. Couples that like to bond on the greens will appreciate that the course is a Golf Digest top-five rated course and a top 100 course nationally.

Go Off the Grid to the Ultimate Winter Playground. Active couples can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding and skiing in Wyoming at Triangle X Ranch and Triangle C Ranch. Centrally located in Grand Teton National Park, Triangle X offers secluded, quiet and comfortable lodging in cozy cabins highlighted with four-star dining. After a full day, return to the comfortable lodge and relax Western-style with a warm fire and a large outdoor jacuzzi. Triangle C is nestled in the Rocky Mountains between Jackson Hole and Dubois. Explore 600 miles of groomed trails in Wyoming’s abundant fresh powder, or opt for a luxurious snow-coach tour of Yellowstone.

Rancho de los Caballeros Golf Course

Get Up Close and Personal with Nature. Nestled on the banks of Wyoming’s Buffalo Fork River, Turpin Meadow Ranch offers endless views of the Teton Range. Completely restored in 2013, the ranch’s 80-year old cabins now have luxurious bathrooms, gas-lit fireplaces and locally crafted furniture. This winter, stay three nights in a refined Cabin, Chalet or Lodge Room with breakfast each morning and incredible wildlife watching from your front porch, and Jackson Hole Wildlife Eco Tour Adventures into Grand Teton National Park.

Elope to a Quiet B&B. Bed and Breakfast season at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Colorado runs from late September until mid-May. Enjoy home cooked, Western-style meals, lodging (with all the amenities you expect but without the big resort atmosphere) and horseback riding on the trails of Roosevelt National Forest in a gracious, quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Many couples have found this to be the perfect destination for a low key, simple elopement wedding – the ranch will even help you plan it! The winter season is also pet-friendly at Sundance Trail, just in case your special day wouldn’t be complete without your four-legged family member.

Latigo Dude Ranch Skiing

Ski to Your Hearts Content. Drink in the views, inhale the crisp mountain air and revel in some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery during a dreamy Nordic ranch winter getaway to Latigo Ranch. Activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing, along with tempting amenities like a hot tub, historic log lodge (which offers a panoramic view of 100 miles of the Continental Divide) and complete food service. Rental equipment is available on-site, and you can also ski just for the day. You can also find great on-snow Fat Biking fun on the ranch’s groomed mountain trails.


 

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!!

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.    

Vista-Verde-Drive-Cattle

Beat the Winter Blues with a Getaway to a Southwestern Dude Ranch

Dreaming of warmth, sunshine and adventure? Leave the cold and dreary weather at home and embark on the original all-inclusive vacation at a   Southwestern dude ranch located in Arizona or New Mexico  There is a broad spectrum of DRA-accredited guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you can find DRA-accredited ranches throughout the Western U.S., as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada. Flying E Barn Gather

If you’re dreaming of a warm vacation destination this season, the DRA can help plan the perfect winter escape to a Southwestern dude ranch where activities include horseback riding, swimming, fishing, nature walks, whitewater rafting and much more. If you’re looking for a luxury dude ranch experience, Arizona’s dude ranches might be the perfect fit. The breathtaking backdrop of extraordinary landscapes like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and The Painted Desert is just the start to a memorable vacation.

Tanque Verde Ranch, located just east of Tucson, 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 vacation unforgettable. Or escape to the warm heart of the Southwest at Rancho de los Caballeros.  This resort has the soul of a bed and breakfast offering full resort amenities and privacy, yet with the charm and intimacy of yesteryear. Additional ranches in Arizona that offer a wide range of activities and amenities include Circle Z Ranch, Elkhorn Ranch,  Ranch, Flying E Dude Ranch and White Stallion Ranch     

To experience the true cowboy life, select one of New Mexico’s dude ranches where evidence of the American Old West is visible at every turn. Explore the outlaw trails of Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid on horseback or head into the canyons that sheltered the great Apache warrior Geronimo in the 1800s. Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is perfect for an “Old West” family adventure. This ranch is located in the untouched Gila National Forest of Southwestern New Mexico and offers a relaxed and personal atmosphere. New Mexico is also home to Burnt Well Ranch, a small family owned cattle and sheep ranch located in Southeastern New Mexico. Burnt Well Ranch is another great ranch to visit in the winter due to its mild winter temperatures ranging in the 60’s. As you can see there are plenty of options so let us help you find the perfect ranch for your winter getawy.  

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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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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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)

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

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.

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)

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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.
 

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.

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

 

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