A Day on a Dude Ranch

Dude ranch vacations are becoming ever popular for every type of traveler, multigenerational family reunions, couples, solo adventurists and even corporate groups. Dude ranches are a great destination to be as active or relaxing as one pleases; the ability to choose your own schedule and enjoy a way of life you may not be familiar with is relaxing in itself. Depending on the ranch, the list of activities could be quite simple or endless, but what does a day on a dude ranch entail? The folks at the Dude Ranchers’ Association can help you out in answering that question, continue reading to learn more! 

A Day on a Dude Ranch

Trail Ride at a dude ranch

Lone Mountain Ranch - Montana

Your stay at a dude ranch will start off with your arrival, being greeted by friendly faces and checking in. A tour around the ranch and help with your luggage is usually first on the list. After you have some time to settle in, you will probably hear a dinner bell ringing indicating it is time to start vacation off on the right foot, with great food! You will join other guests in the dining room where introductions will be made and the fun begins. Most ranches do not have riding available on the day guests arrive, but there are some that do, so when you are planning your trip, just be sure to ask. 

The next day will be a full day of activities! Most guests will probably choose to head on down to the corral to see the horses and get fitted for stirrups so you are comfortable in the saddle. You will then get the opportunity to hear an orientation speech about safety precautions around the corral and some basic riding instruction for the beginners in the group. Even if you have riding experience, it is necessary and important to listen to the horse safety orientation speech because each horse is different and so is each ranch. These orientations cover much more than basic instruction of riding, each ranch has specific guidelines for riders and they want to ensure every one is as safe as possible and can enjoy their vacation! Once you have heard the speech, you will be on your way, riding through the beautiful landscapes and fresh mountain air these dude ranches lie in. You may be thinking, "what about the kids?" Don’t you worry, many ranches have fantastic kids’ programs and counselors to keep them busy while the adults are away. Obviously, if they are old enough to ride, that is probably where they will spend much of their time, but for the younger kiddos or maybe the ones not so interested in riding, there will be something to keep them busy and making memories! 

kids high fiving at a dude ranch

CM Ranch - Wyoming

After your morning ride, you will head into lunch where, again, there will be great food awaiting you! After a satisfying lunch, you may be ready for a nap, to go lay by the pool, try your hand at fishing or head back out on the trails. This is where the autonomy of a dude ranch shines through, the choice is completely up to you on how you spend your vacation! Each ranch has its own list of activities for guests to participate in, so when you are starting your search for a ranch, be sure the activities you want to enjoy are available. If you do not know where to start on making a list of activities you want to try, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association and they will be able to help! 

outdoor picnic at a dude ranch

Black Mountain Ranch - Colorado

By afternoon, everyone is off on their next adventure of the day! Horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, swimming, kids’ club or reading a good book might be the adventure. Once that adventure comes to an end for the day, it will be time for, you guessed it, another fantastic meal! Some ranches do host cocktail hours before dinner so guests can mingle and share stories of the day. This is a great time for the kids to get together and play while the adults have some time to decompress. Other ranches do not have the ability to host these cocktail hours, but guests are welcome to bring beverages of their choice and enjoy them before and during dinner. 

wine at a dude ranch

Triangle C Ranch - Wyoming

After dinner, many ranches have events scheduled for guests to enjoy. These events may include dancing, campfire sing-a-longs and s’ mores, a rodeo, hay rides, games and more! These events make the best of memories, especially if you have never participated before. Usually, the staff members of the ranch get involved too and make it even more fun! If you choose to visit a dude ranch for five to seven days, you may find that there is a scheduled event most nights; if this is something that interests you, be sure to ask before booking your stay. 

square dancing at a dude ranch

Wind River Ranch - Colorado

Evening festivities will wrap up and you will be ready to head to your comfortable lodge room, cabin or maybe even a glamping tent. A good night’s sleep will be no problem after all of the excitement from the day. Before you know it, you will wake up and it will start all over again with meals, activities, great company and memories to last a lifetime. 

cabin at a dude ranch

Marble Mountain Ranch - California

The Dude Ranchers’ Association currently has almost 100 member ranches spread throughout the Western United States and Canada that ensure you will receive a genuine Western experience combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards of hospitality.  Finding a ranch where you can check all of the activities off of your bucket list can be very easy. Contact the folks at the DRA and they will help you find the perfect ranch for your destination vacation! 

307-587-2339 ~ info@duderanch.org

 

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ude ranch vacations are becoming ever popular for every type of traveler, multigenerational family reunions, couples, solo adventurists and even corporate groups. Dude ranches are a great destination to be as active or relaxing as one pleases; the ability to choose your own schedule and enjoy a way of life you may not be familiar with is relaxing in itself. Depending on the ranch, the list of activities could be quite simple or endless, but what does a day on a dude ranch entail?

Unique Fitness Adventures on a Dude Ranch Anytime of Year

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

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

Unique Dude Ranch Fitness Adventures

 

Mountain Biking – Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, Arizona

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

fitness adventures

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch - Yucca, AZ 

Snowshoeing – Campbell Hills Guest Ranch, British Columbia 

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

fitness adventures

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch - Kamloops, BC

Paddle Boarding – Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana 

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

fitness adventures

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge - Bigfork, MT

Hiking – Rancho de la Osa, Arizona

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

fitness adventures

Rancho de la Osa - Sasabe, AZ 

Cross Country Skiing – Triangle X Ranch, Wyoming

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

fitness adventures

Triangle X Ranch - Moose, WY

Rock Climbing – Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Colorado 

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

fitness adventures

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch - Red Feather Lakes, CO 

Kayaking – Wind River Christian Guest Ranch, Colorado 

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

fitness adventures

Wind River Christian Guest Ranch - Estes Park, CO 

Yoga – 7D Ranch, Wyoming

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

fitness adventures

7D Ranch - Cody, WY

Snowmobiling – Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch, Idaho

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

fitness adventures

Seven Devils Lodge and Guest Ranch - Council, ID

 

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

Culinary Chic at Dude and Guest Ranches

With food tourism being one of the fastest growing sectors in travel and one of the biggest travel trends of 2013, I want to talk about a vacation many foodies may not consider, but would be pleasantly surprised with a dude or guest ranch vacation.   You are probably thinking “culinary chic at a dude ranch?”  And I am here to tell you yes, as a stay at a DRA guest ranch is sure to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure. Below is a list of  the “Top 5 Culinary Facts You Wouldn’t Expect at a Dude Ranch,” as well as a few highlighted ranches where you are sure to experience flavorful, savory cuisine crafted using fresh, high-quality ingredients morning, noon and night.   

1). Renowned Chefs When some people think of a dude ranch vacation they picture a guy named Cookie whipping up bacon and beans in the sagebrush. In reality, guest ranches are home to many award winning and experienced chef’s such as Chef Mike Rosenberg at Zapata Ranch who has been a  personal chef to the Carnegie family, catered JFK Jr.'s wedding, owned his own restaurant and brings over 40 years of experience to the table.  

2). Farm to table Many DRA dude ranches grow, raise and serve their own produce and meats and items that cannot be reaped from their own land are sourced locally. Take High Lonesome Ranch which in many instances raises the meat right on the ranch. Their eggs are fresh from their chickens and ranch’s signature Black Angus beef graces the menu when the timing and aging process is complete. As for produce, the ranch’s gardens and orchards enjoy ideal conditions for growing apricots, apples, peaches, pears and plums as well as an abundance of vegetables like corn, peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, carrots, radishes, pumpkins and onions.

3). Recognized Globally Besides having a wide breadth of talented and innovated chefs, the creations they serve have been praised globally such as The Home Ranch which is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux and has been recognized by Bon Apetit, Gourmet, Food and Wine, among others.    

4). Exceptional Wine Lists A culinary exploration wouldn’t be complete without wine pairings and dude ranches have you covered there too. Smith Fork Ranch has won the Wine Spectator’s Award for Excellence two years in a row and has assembled an eclectic wine mix. Ranging from wines from their private cellar, specific vintages from wineries they admire and wines from the premiere growing regions of France, Italy, Australia and America's West Coast.    

5). Cooking Classes/Workshops Besides enjoying delicious food, many dude ranches encourage you to learn about the food as well. At Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, one of the best seats in the house is at the kitchen counter where their Master Chef provides ranch resort guests with cooking demonstrations, tips and techniques.  There is also the opportunity to explore the concepts of Eating Right for Your Blood Type - a healthful way of eating that promotes overall good health including good digestion, cholesterol counts, weight loss and more.  

 

Lone Mountain Culinary Food Steak

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