23 Dude Ranch Activities

When you think of a dude ranch vacation do you imagine time in the saddle and think it might be fun for a day or two, but wonder if there is enough to do for an entire vacation? Well, there is great news for travelers who would enjoy any amount of western lifestyle activities such as horseback riding and cattle work. If you look into it further, modern day dude ranches offer a lot more than just this. With scenic landscapes, great accommodations and knowledgeable staff, dude ranch activities vary for a diverse crowd - whether that is your multigenerational family, business associates or small group of best friends. 

It doesn’t matter if you would consider yourself a “city slicker” or an equestrian, everyone will get to ride horses and spend time doing what they enjoy the most. Dude ranches offer attractions and services that travel far beyond the trail. Fine dining? Well that’s just the beginning. Outdoor exercise? Any and all kinds. Relaxation? You got it. 

So, if you’re considering a dude ranch vacation and would like to fill your week with many types of activities, consider adding these activities to your to do list.

Dude Ranch Activities  

 

Trail Riding on Horseback

The best way to experience the West is most definitely horseback riding. Starting out with an orientation ride, you’ll easily determine how much adventure you’ll enjoy with your personal horse or horses for the week. You might be content with a daily stroll up to a nice view or have a need for speed on twice daily loping rides. 

Dude Ranch Activities

R Lazy S Ranch - Teton Village, WY

Bird Watching

For avid bird watchers dude ranches offer some exclusive places to find rare species of birds specific to the area. Many horseback rides at the Triple R Ranch in South Dakota explore deep into wildlife’s natural habitats especially native birds. It is almost guaranteed that on these rides you will see some type of unique species! 

Dude Ranch Activities

Triple R Ranch - Keystone, SD

White Water Rafting

Suited up in your life jacket you’ll get to race (or meander) down crystal clear water for yet another perspective on this beautiful location. Rimrock Ranch in Wyoming has an afternoon of their weekly program that is designated for a white water rafting trip for all of the ranch guests to enjoy.

Dude Ranch Activities

Rimrock Ranch - Cody, WY

Petting Zoos

Petting zoos on dude ranches are not just for children. Even adults enjoy interacting with all sorts of farm animals, from baby goats and pigs to gathering eggs from the chicken coop.

Overnight Campouts or Pack Trips

There’s no better place to see the stars than on an overnight campout or a pack trip into the mountains. In a lot of these places motorized vehicles are not allowed, so the only way to get out there is on foot or by horseback. On a pack trip with the Broken Arrow Lodge you’ll go through two mountain ranges in the spectacular Rocky Mountains!

Dude Ranch Activities

Broken Arrow Lodge - Alder, MT

Cattle Drives

Hup, hup! You’ll get to understand what life is like as a cowboy once you experience first hand what it’s like to move cattle across the range. From several hours to a full day cattle drive, this is the real deal when it comes to the cowboy lifestyle activities on a dude ranch. At the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Montana cattle ranching is not just a business - it’s a way of life. And you’ll be apart of it. 

Dude Ranch Activities

Bonanza Creek Ranch - Martinsdale, MT

Kids Activities

From 0 - 18 kids always have something to do on the ranch. With counselors for different age ranges, kids are engaged and have no need for electronics. There’s a creative activity to do every moment, from swimming pools to nature walks or even visiting that petting zoo we talked about earlier.

Massages

Why not sign up for a relaxing massage to complete your afternoon? With trained professionals in some of the most beautiful locations you’ll enjoy a lavish spa experience. You’ll really like the full body massage customized for your preferences at the Hubbard’s Six Quarter Circle Ranch in Montana. After a day in the saddle this is just what the doctor ordered.

Dude Ranch Activities

Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch - Emigrant, MT 

Shooting & Archery Sports

You’ll be given instruction and participate in a safely controlled environment to learn and practice shooting different types of firearms and archery.

ATV Rides

Cinch down your helmet and hit the road for an afternoon of exploring on ATV’s as one of the most fun dude ranch activities. 

Horse Drawn Wagon/Sleigh Rides

Riding in a horse drawn wagon or sleigh should be on everyone’s bucket list. At the K Diamond K Guest Ranch in Washington guests are given a tour of the ranch by a team of Belgian draft horses pulling a 12-passenger wagon. Experience transportation like the cowboys used to in the times of the old west! 

Dude Ranch Activities

K Diamond K Ranch - Republic, WA

Yoga

Try a yoga class with a certified trainer whenever you like. You might enjoy a class outside amongst the aspen trees or in a quaint cabin studio.

Fly Fishing

Whether you are an expert or a beginner your own personal fly-fishing guide will help you catch various types of trout on super private waters. The Goosewing Ranch offers twice weekly instruction on their stocked pond, allowing you to fine tune your fishing skills. Also, they offer all sorts of equipment for the guests to use and a map of all the prime fishing locations on the ranch. 

Dude Ranch Activities

Goosewing Ranch - Jackson, WY 

Glamping 

Glamping has become the new trend it seems and dude ranches are following suite. The Bull Hill Guest Ranch in Washington has 2 new glamping tents less than 5 years old! Each tent is just 100 feet from the shower house where each tent has its own private bath and shower. Both tents are fully furnished and do have electricity as well as heat. They also have beautiful porches to kick back and relax after a day full of ranch activities.  

Dude Ranch Activities

Bull Hill Guest Ranch - Kettle Falls, WA

Rustic Weddings

Picturesque settings, wide open spaces and top-notch amenities draw thousands of brides-to-be and their grooms to dude ranches each year. Whether you would like to run off and elope or prefer inviting the whole family there’s plenty of options for planning your dude ranch wedding. The Absaroka Ranch in Wyoming can accommodate 16 people in their four cabins and host up to 200 guests for the day of the wedding. There’s nothing like a reception with 360-degree breathtaking views and a mountain backdrop.

Dude Ranch Vacations

Absaroka Ranch - Dubois, WY

Talent Show

The ranch staff and guests alike are some pretty talented people and friendly competition can be found in many forms during your vacation. You’ll enjoy watching and participating in a talent night at the ranch. You can sing, tap or joke your way to local stardom in a talent show. You won’t soon forget these memories! 

Jeep Tours

At the Hawley Mountain Ranch, you’ll get to take an all-day jeep tour adventure to places where very few people can travel. Ready to see an old ghost town or visit Monument Peak at nearly 11,000 feet?? Hawley Mountain Ranch will take you there!

Dude Ranch Activities

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch - McLeod, MT 

Zip Line 

Zoom! Your adventure guide will take you on a view of the ranch like none other. You’ll get to fly through the air for another kind of wild ride. 

Tennis & Golf 

Practice your professional swing while having a good time with friends. Some ranches have tennis courts and golf courses on site or within a close radius of the ranch. The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley in Colorado gives their guests the opportunity to take a short ride down to the Broadmoor’s 2 different 18-hole golf courses that look like they are out of a picture book. They also have state of the art tennis courts available to guests to use, you will just have to schedule a time to go play! 

Dude Ranch Activities

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado Springs, CO 

Fine Wine and Fine Dining 

Ranches have well trained (even Cordon bleu trained) chefs that take a lot of pride in offering 5-star cuisine with beautifully paired wines. There are many dude ranches that also participate in Farm to Table Cuisine programs. Beautiful vegetables and fruits are harvested just a few yards from the kitchens and have flavors like you’ve never tasted before. Several ranches also have a long list of fine wines and beer selections for guests to choose from. 

Cooking Classes

These same chefs would love to share their kitchen with you and/or your kids to teach you their secret recipes on amazing ranch cuisine. 

Team Penning

With a team of 3 riders you’ll try your hand at a seriously fun rodeo sport. With rules that can be modified to suite, the idea is to separate a cow or steer from the group and herd it into a pen. Who ever is the fastest wins! 

Hiking

From rigorous climbs to easy ambles you can get out and explore the mountains on foot. At the Flat Creek Ranch, you’ll be able to hike up to the Teton Overlook trail for a panoramic view of the Grand Teton National Park. Hike in the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Gros Ventre Wilderness Area while at the ranch and experience some of Wyoming's most undiscovered land. 

Dude Ranch Activities

Flat Creek Ranch - Jackson, WY

These are not all the activities you can find on dude ranches. We haven’t even talked about National Park Trips, rock climbing, winter sports, and more! 

To find that dude ranch experience with the right combination of activities use the search by amenity page on duderanch.org or give a ranch vacation expert a call at the Dude Ranchers’ Association. 

Search by Amenity 

Call a Ranch Expert 307.587.2339

 

Save this pin for later! 

When you think of a dude ranch vacation do you imagine time in the saddle and think it might be fun for a day or two, but wonder if there is enough to do for an entire vacation? With scenic landscapes, great accommodations and knowledgeable staff, dude ranch activities vary for a diverse crowd - whether that is your multigenerational family, business associates or small group of best friends.

Dude Ranch Short Stays - 3 Night Ranch Vacations

Dude Ranch Vacations are famous for the traditional week long experiences for trail riding and western lifestyle activities, but with travelers having less time to stay many ranches offer dude ranch short stays of 3 nights. On these short stays you’ll get to experience all the highlighted activities, view the spectacular scenery and refresh your mind in the wide open spaces. While some ranches offer these short stays during the off-season, other ranches offer flexible packages every week they are open.

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Find some great dude ranch short stays listed below. For the complete list of ranches select “3 nights” on the Search by Activity and Amenity page.  You can also read about spectacular discounts during the shoulder season.

 


Colorado Dude Ranch Short Stays


Badger Creek Ranch, Colorado - 3 night minimum short stay, open June through October

Laramie River Ranch, Colorado - 3 night short stay available from Sunday to Wednesday, open mid-June through mid-September


Montana Dude Ranch Short Stays

 

Broken Arrow Lodge, Montana - 3 night minimum stay, 2 days of horseback riding, arrival Sunday or Wednesday, May 1 - September 1

Covered Wagon Ranch, Montana - 3 night minimum short stay, open June through mid-September

Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle and Guest Ranch, Montana - 3 days minimum, open June 1 - September 1

Rich Ranch, Montana - 3 day minimum, open May 1 through September 30

Rocking Z Guest Ranch, Montana - 3 night minimum stay with custom length stays available, open year-round


New Mexico Dude Ranch Short Stays

 

Creek Ranch, New Mexico - 3 night minimum short stay (otherwise on request), open April 1 through October 31

Burnt Well Guest Ranch, New Mexico - 3 day minimum short stay, free airport transfer, open year-round

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, New Mexico - 3 night minimum short stay, open March 1 - Mid-November


Washington Dude Ranch Short Stays


K Diamond K Ranch, Washington - 3 night minimum short stay from July 1 - September 1, Bed and Breakfast options available year-round

 

Pin this for Later! Dude Ranch Short Stays

Dude Ranch Vacations are famous for the traditional week long experiences for trail riding and western lifestyle activities, but with travelers having less time to stay many ranches offer dude ranch short stays of 3 nights. On these short stays you’ll get to experience all the highlighted activities, view the spectacular scenery and refresh your mind in the wide open spaces. While some ranches offer these short stays during the off-season, other ranches offer flexible packages every week.

Pet & Dog Friendly Ranch Vacations

Dog Friendly Ranch VacationsA ranch is your next adventure vacation and there is no way your "best friend" can stay with your neighbor or at a boarding facility for a week or more. So, take your dog with you to dog friendly ranch vacations! If your dog is fit for long distance mountain traveling, doesn't chase anything but toys and stays off the furniture, he or she may be a great fit on a dude ranch. Even if you have an older dog whose running days are drifting away, he or she can relax at the ranch while you're trail riding and join you later for an afternoon of fishing or a stroll around the ranch property.

Ranch vacations are famous for their hospitality and the ranches listed below would love to treat you and your pet like family. However, ranches consider pets on a case by case basis and would like the opportunity to discuss your specific animal(s) you are traveling with and if it would be a good fit for the ranch. The ranchers have to ensure a safe environment for you, the dog and other guests with allergies and therefore have a variable pet policy. Please contact the ranches individually to find out more about their dog friendly policies and requirements.

Dog Friendly Ranch Vacations

Arizona ~ Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

California ~ Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch

Colorado ~ Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch

Idaho ~ Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Montana ~ The Bar W Guest RanchSweet Grass Ranch, Broken Arrow Lodge, Rocking Z Ranch, Covered Wagon Ranch

Washington ~ Bull Hill Guest Ranch

Wyoming ~ Klondike Ranch, Spotted Horse Ranch

 

A ranch is your next adventure vacation and there is no way your Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

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Mother May I... Go on a Ranch Vacation for Mother's Day?

Mom stands facing away from a line of kids. She then chooses a child and announces,

"Brian, you may take 3 giant baby steps forward."

The child responds, "Mother may I?"

Mom then states, "Yes" or "No," depending on her whim, and the child complies.

If, however, the child forgets to ask "Mother may I?" he goes back to the starting line.

First one to touch Mother wins, or in this case, first one to take Mother on a ranch vacation wins.

  There are a lot of games to play on a ranch vacation for this special holiday, "Mother May I" included. Without a TV or cell phone you'll get lots of time to play on horseback, in the water or all over the mountain side with adventure activities. The recommended prescription is a full week of a lively Mother's Day Celebration either the 14th through the 20th of May, or any ole' week that will work for mom's schedule. Either way, a crayon drawn certificate about her special week with the family on a ranch is what this year calls for. Don't worry about which one to choose, take a look at the wonderful selections below from your #RanchVacationExperts at the Dude Ranchers' Association or give us a call and before you know it you'll have a short list of the best options for your Mother's Day Vacation.

Long Hollow Lodge Mother's Day

Long Hollow Ranch

Sisters, Oregon Phone: +1 541-923-1901 Looking for a truly memorable dude ranch vacation on a working ranch? A chance to ride with a cattle drive, fly fish on the ranch? Look no further! We have them all at Long Hollow, a working cattle ranch in beautiful central Oregon. Come spend a week us for the vacation you will never forget.

Broken Arrow Trail Mother's Day

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters

Alder, Montana Phone: +1 406-842-5437 Located in southwest Montana with the Ruby River flowing through the lodge property.All ages are welcome, children's activities for any age. Horses and mules to ride in western tack. Lessons and instruction provided for all activities. Custom trail rides to fit your ability and satisfy your desire.

Rich Ranch Pack Trip for Mother's Day

Rich's Montana Guest Ranch

Seeley Lake, Montana Phone: 1-800-532-4350 On behalf of our family and crew we invite you to come and share our rural country lifestyle and passion for Montana’s great outdoors. Here at the ranch we specialize in traditional dude ranch vacations, horseback riding, Bob Marshall Wilderness pack trips, camping, Blue Ribbon fly fishing, winter snowmobiling, and fair-chase hunts for elk and deer.

K diamond K Ranch Mother's Day

K Diamond K Guest Ranch

Republic, Washington Phone: 509-641-1003 Cell The K-Diamond-K Guest Cattle & Guest Ranch is open year round for single, couples & families of all ages. Guests staying at the ranch are made to feel at home and enjoy the warm hospitality in a relaxed atmosphere. Horseback riding, fishing, hunting, archery, gold panning, hiking & mountain biking.

Medicine Bow Lodge Mother's Day

Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch

Saratoga, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-409-5439 The Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch is located at approximately 8500 feet in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains. The closest town is Saratoga, Wyoming which is about 22 miles to the west. The land on which the Guest Ranch sits is located in the Medicine Bow National Forest.   Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

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