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

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

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

Bar W Guest Ranch – Whitefish, MT

Winter Sleigh Ride

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

C Lazy U Ranch – Granby, CO

Winter Sleigh Ride

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

Lone Mountain Ranch – Big Sky, MT

Winter Sleigh Ride

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

Vista Verde Ranch – Steamboat Springs, CO

Winter Sleigh Ride

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

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, ID 

Winter Sleigh Ride

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

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

Winter Sleigh Ride

The Best of Late Autumn and Early Winter Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

Come late autumn, most the Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches (Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming) close for the season come September’s end and the last of the fall foliage. However, there are a select few ranches in each state that allow for shorter stays during some of the most magical and quieter times of the year. If you’ve ever been on the fence about a dude ranch stay, make the off-season the in-season for a dude ranch experience, and get on that horse!

Colorado has the most abundant offerings for curious folk to explore Western lure in the late season. 

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

C Lazy U Ranch, easily accessible in Granby, can even be combined with a train trip from Denver’s Union Station via the airport; guests don’t even need a car! The 8,500-acre luxury ranch celebrated their centennial this past summer and the party continues late into the year. The year-round ranch offers horseback riding, snow sports, incredible meals and cabins and suites along with a hot tub, workout facility, stunning barn and main lodge with much more.

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

Located within minutes of downtown Loveland is the family-owned-and-operated Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. Come late October and into the holiday season, there are nearby bike trails with fall foliage packages and more festivities for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years' with short stays, themed weekends and incredible outdoor sports.

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Red Feather Lakes can accommodate 24 guests, and it is this boutique nature that makes the off-season even more enjoyable. The ranch is run more like a B&B and add-on activities include a horseback ride to a lake (in warm seasons, horses even swim in the water), murder mystery weekends and other clever twists on classic dude ranch style. A hot tub, gathering area, and good home-cooked food and limitless cookies await visitors.

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

Lost Valley Ranch, one of the easiest ranches to access from the metro Denver area, is open through December 1st each year and offers a great value for anyone looking to fall in love with the dude ranch culture. There is a Thanksgiving celebration week that is always a big draw, and smaller horsemanship clinics throughout the fall that allow the novices to expert riders the opportunity to build skills and confidence. 

There are so many more in Colorado! It’s truly the optimal time to test the experience. Wind River Christian Ranch near Estes Park and luxury properties like The Home Ranch and Vista Verde Ranch near Steamboat Springs typically operate into the second and third weeks in October, weather dependent; however, snag an incredible rate for next autumn now, if tempted. And, one of Colorado’s most high-end ranches, The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley, a branch of Broadmoor Hotel, runs a season into early November, again, weather dependent. 

 

Montana has one of the largest collections of massive, stunning and rare properties in the ranch portfolio. However, due to elevation and weather conditions, their season limits late autumn and winter seasons to four of their ranches.

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, runs a year-round dude ranch season. The 3,200-foot elevation makes it a bit milder then high mountain terrain and the guest capacity at 35 keeps it intimate and eventful. Winter comes early and the ranch is ready! There are B&B stays November through April in six main lodge rooms and two cabin suites. Activities might include horse-drawn sleigh rides, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice fishing and more including an onsite hot tub.

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

Rocking Z Guest Ranch in Wolf Creek might have a smaller guest count of 20, but it’s almighty in terms of autumn and winter activity. If there’s a Montana sport, the ranch certainly tries to offer guests an opportunity to experience it throughout guided instruction. From horsemanship to archery, shooting, hiking, fishing, soaking in the hot tub, and abundant winter options, the ranch is always a choice spot come quieter times in November. The large, comfortable guest rooms are equipped with cozy individual fireplaces and the onsite saloon is always roaring with spirits and festive activity. 

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

For those who are curious about hunting and the true Montana wilderness, Upper Canyon Outfitters and Guest Ranch in Alder has the smallest guest count on this list of 18, but their June through December season runs into late autumn and early winter for those truly in the know of intimate and unparalleled places in the United States! There are both youth and family hunts that are a true rarity, the fishing program runs daily, and horsemanship clinics and trail rides paired with luxury accommodations in private cabins keep the experience high end. The food will keep your belly warm and happy and the antelope, moose, deer and elk hunts and viewings, simply spectacular. 

 

Note; Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant typically runs into the second week of October for early planners in 2020. Rich's Montana Guest Ranch in Seeley Lake opens for the winter season directly after Christmas for early winter scouts as well! 

 

Wild Wyoming goes winter white quite quickly! Only two ranches keep their barn doors open to the herds come the later months each year. This is an opportune time to witness true working ranches, horsemanship and iconic Western moments. 

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

In the sleepy town of Ten Sleep, is the 26-guest dude ranch, Red Reflet Guest Ranch. The exquisite, high-end, all-inclusive operation has an enormous amount to offer come late October through December, and they also host a hunting season for tagged and licensed hunters for a variety of mammals. Horseback riding, cattle activities, ATV tours (weather permitting), fishing, a fitness center, pool, open kitchen policy accompanied with gourmet cuisine and yoga in a floor-to-ceiling windowed studio make this ranch a standout year-round. For some of the best wildlife viewing and tranquility, late October through Thanksgiving proves to be the best value and experience for those who like secret, sneak-a-way deals! 

 

Rocky Mountain Dude Ranches

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch. The name alone is alluring and the late autumn and early winter experience will demonstrate the reason it’s called The Hideout, you won’t want to leave. There is a tight window for this opportunity; the ranch’s season typically ends the first week in November, weather dependent. Guests might have sun and blue sky, or snow and snuggle time. There is trail riding for all levels, riding initiations and lessons, cattle work and drives, stockmanship orientation, guided fly-fishing, trap shooting, and archery, hiking, mountain biking and more! Accommodations vary including cabins, casitas, and homes. Fine dining is offered for three meals and plenty of snacks to satisfy the late-season activity. 

 

If you’re a bit more flexible with the season, there are a few more ranches to consider. Spotted Horse Ranch in popular and easily-accessible Jackson, typically operates until the second week of October. Triangle X Ranch in Moose closes the first week in October for their main season but re-opens directly after Christmas until the second week of March for a winter season.

 

All of these dude ranches and many more are members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association and can be found at www.duderanch.org. Contact Bryce or Josie at 307-587-2339 or info@duderanch.org for help on finding and picking the perfect ranch. 

Off-Season Secrets to the

Take Your Vacation Days!

Vacation Days

Only 23% of employees are taking all of their eligible time off, according to a recent survey by job site Glassdoor. In fact, the average employee takes about half (54%) of his or her vacation time—a number that hasn’t changed much since Glassdoor asked the question in 2014.

We are often asked why do dude ranches want you to stay a full week versus a couple of days? Well, there are many reasons which we will get to but first, we wanted to give you some facts about why using all your vacation days is so important to not only your physical health but your mental health. The top four reasons that we found are:

Vacations clear your mind and relieve stress – Allowing you to actually think about what is really important to you and what makes you happy, not your employer.

• Disconnect and recharge – Helping you reconnect with family and friends in person.

• They give you more energy, you naturally get exercise when traveling which in return will help you sleep better.

• Getting outside and connecting with nature.


Here are a couple of great articles supporting the importance of taking time off:

10 Reasons to Vacation

The Importance of Taking A Vacation


Now back to full weeks versus shorter stays at dude ranches.  As you all know dude ranches are all-inclusive destination vacation spots. Therefore, they operate on a schedule to make sure you as a guest get to experience everything there is to experience. Below are the top three reasons to spend a week at a dude ranch:

1. If you leave only after three days you will definitely be missing out on either the breakfast ride, the all-day ride, the white-water rafting trip, the talent shows, the rodeo, the dance night, the campfire cowboy singer, steak night, an incredible morning hike to watch the sunrise and the list goes on and on.

2. In this busy world that we all live in it takes the first three days on any vacation just to destress, disconnect and get your mind off work and all that encompasses. At a dude ranch, you need time to really experience not only all the activities but the beautiful surroundings these ranches are located in. You need time to sit on the porch with a good book, have an actual conversation with your kids, or how about just being still enough to hear the wonderful sounds of nature, a babbling stream, the beautiful sounds of a meadowlark? Trust me you will not need your “White Noise” app to get a good night’s sleep here. 

3. Because of dude ranch’s small guest capacities, the atmosphere lends itself to really connecting with the other guests there. Trust us, if you stay the entire week you will make lifelong friends. The DRA has ranches that have guests that come back year after year the same week so they vacation with the people they met the first time they visited the ranch. It is really hard to make these valuable connections in less than a week. The longer stay gives your kids the chance to connect not only with the other kids but with their horses and the amazing kids’ wranglers these ranches have on staff. 

Below is a sampling of ranches in The Dude Ranchers Association that offer week-long stays during their prime season:

Bar Lazy J Ranch, Colorado

Vacation Days

Nestled in a peaceful valley along the banks of the Colorado River, they are considered the oldest continuously operating Colorado Dude Ranch. Since 1912 their family-friendly ranch has been welcoming guests for recreation and relaxation. That’s over 100 years of creating lasting memories!

JJJ Wilderness Ranch, Montana

Vacation Days

Their all-inclusive Montana ranch vacation getaways are for anyone, from the beginner to experienced rider, hiker or fisherman. Included are excellent meals, private log cabin lodging, unlimited outdoor activities, responsive horses, friendly staff, fantastic kids’ programs or special adult-only weeks. Great for families! The folks at JJJ believe in Western hospitality, gracious service, and lasting friendships.

7D Ranch, Wyoming

Vacation Days

Surrounded by national forest and just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, the 7D offers a setting of extraordinary beauty. Whether you are looking for a great guest ranch vacation, a pack trip into the Wyoming wilderness, or a fall hunting trip, let 7D’s friendly family and staff provide you and yours with an experience of a lifetime.

Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado

Vacation Days

Cherokee Park Ranch is a family-owned, all-inclusive Colorado dude ranch vacation and horseback riding destination nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Livermore, Colorado. They always say, “Come as a stranger, leave as family,” and they promise that as a guest, Cherokee Park Ranch will forever hold a special place in your heart. In fact, 86% of their guests are returns, that just goes to prove how special this place really is!

McGarry Ranches, Idaho

Vacation Days

If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the American Cowboy with a legitimate cattle outfit, riding daily on an American Quarter Horse, then this is the ranch for you. Located in southeastern Idaho along the Snake River, log cabins surrounded by a slough is scenic and restful. A fire pit just outside your door makes for relaxed comfortable evenings with your fellow wranglers from many parts of the world.

Triangle X Ranch, Wyoming

Vacation Days

Surrounded by Grand Teton National Park, you will enjoy spectacular scenery, warm hospitality, and a relaxed pace beneath sunny, western skies. The activities include horseback riding, unmatched wildlife viewing, cookouts, square dancing, hiking, sightseeing, an engaging children’s program, world-class fishing, and scenic float trips on the Snake River plus so much more! You do not want to miss out on this ranch which has been in the Turner family for generations! 

Marble Mountain Ranch, California 

Vacation Days

Marble Mountain’s signature all-inclusive “saddle and paddle” or “raft and ride” vacation is combined with a superb dining experience and youth buckaroo programs to create the most complete family dude ranch vacation. This ranch meets the diverse interests and needs of your entire family or group. Their horseback trail riding and equestrian programs are spectacular, but their defining feature is their ability to keep whole families engaged with the large variety of outdoor Western adventures. 

While we want you all to experience everything dude ranches have to offer during a full week stay there are several amazing ranches that will let you “sample” what a ranch vacation is all about with a shorter stay. You can find a list here. Either way please do yourself and your family a favor and TAKE YOUR VACATION DAYS! You will not regret taking the time off. 

For more information, contact Bryce or Josie at 307-587-2339 or info@duderanch.org, info2@duderanch.org.  

Vacation Days

 

It is Never to Early to Book a Dude Ranch Holiday Vacation the Entire Family Will be Amazed By!

It may seem too early to start thinking about holiday gifts and it probably is if you are just going to give “stuff” again this year. Here at the Dude Ranchers’ Association, we think the best holiday gifts don’t support designer logos nor do they come from big box stores. We feel one of the true meanings of the holidays is families spending time together, away from the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded shopping malls and there is no better place to spend time with your family than on a dude ranch holiday vacation.

This year we challenge you all to think outside the pretty wrapped boxes and consider giving you and your loved ones the gift of time spent together. The members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association have long believed that family time is the most important time and what better time of year for that then the holiday season.

DRA-member ranches in Arizona offer trail rides under the warm desert sun, as well as hiking, mountain biking, tennis and swimming. Northern ranches from Colorado to Canada entertain families with guided snowmobile tours, horse-drawn sleigh rides, access to superb downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice-skating and maybe even a little ski jorning. There is something to make everyone happy.

Below are several dude and guest ranch options to consider for your dude ranch holiday vacation!

It may seem too early to start thinking about holiday gifts but if you plan on giving more than just

Western Pleasure Ranch - Idaho

As a blanket of white transforms, the Western Pleasure Ranch into a winter wonderland, you and your family can enjoy scenic horse-drawn sleigh rides powered by one of their many draft teams. You will feel like a child again as they jingle through a 2-mile loop trail of dense forests in the foothills of the Cabinet Mountains with amazing views of the Selkirk Mountain Ranch. With a wide variety of horse-drawn sleighs, including a five-passenger, three twelve passengers and a two-passenger, they have the right size sleigh to accommodate your family, friends and even that special someone for the romantic two passenger sleigh. 

dude ranch holiday vacation

Circle Z Ranch - Arizona

At Circle Z Ranch their Thanksgiving festivities are legendary! They have been hosting families with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for more than 50 years. With amazing fall weather as a backdrop, your horseback rides will be a Thanksgiving memory your family will not soon forget. During the Christmas holiday season, it has been said that you will get to meet Santa Clause as he has been known to show up at the ranch in a horse-drawn sleigh, something the kiddos will talk about for years to come. 

dude ranch holiday vacation

The Home Ranch – Colorado 

The beautiful Elk River Valley is known for its legendary snowfalls of powdery magnificent snow. When you stay at this ranch you can ski it all Backcountry, Classic, Skate, Steamboat, Telemark and never get behind the wheel of a car. With some of the best Nordic skiing in the world at your doorstep, deluxe cowboy chic accommodations, and exceptional cuisine this is one of the best winter getaways the beautiful state of Colorado has to offer. On top of all that during your Christmas holiday, a live Christmas tree will be provided in your room for you and your family to decorate and just think no un-decorating when you get back home.

dude ranch holiday vacation

Lone Mountain Ranch – Montana 

Spending the Holidays at Lone Mountain Ranch near Big Sky ski resort in Montana sounds like heaven to us. What’s so great about this ranch…Nordic skiing over 85Km of trails, snowboarding, candlelit dinners in their historic North Fork Cabin, moonlight skiing just to mention a few. Add in gingerbread house making and a quick ski with Santa and you and your family will have had the very merriest of holidays.

dude ranch holiday vacation

C Lazy U Ranch – Colorado 

If going away for the Thanksgiving holiday seems a little odd since it is such a family-focused holiday know that taking a memorable family trip to C Lazy U Ranch during the holidays doesn’t have to mean forsaking traditions. The ranch hosts a Thanksgiving getaway that will quickly become the “new” family tradition. This ranch allows families to “power down” while still having fun in a family-friendly setting that harkens back to simpler days. With unique activities like daily horseback riding, winter sports, games and bonding time between your family and other guests this Thanksgiving at C Lazy U will be one for the books.

dude ranch holiday vacation

Rich Ranch – Montana 

Snowmobile the Rocky Mountains and discover the scenic backwoods that this great state has to offer. This is an all service vacation spot that includes meals, lodging and use of ranch amenities and guide service to 1500+ miles of groomed mountain snowmobile trails right out your cabin door. You will enjoy awesome scenery abundant wildlife and no crowds. You will stay in cedar/log cabins with private baths, propane fireplaces and all the amenities you could want. This is such a great place to unwind and reconnect after a full day of play in the fresh Montana air.

dude ranch holiday vacation

As you can, see best of all, a DRA dude ranch offers families something one can’t find in a shopping mall; precious time spent together making memories to last a lifetime! Book now before they all fill up. For more information contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association at info2@duderanch.org or 307-587-2339.

 

 

7 Reasons to Visit a Dude Ranch for Your Next Vacation

When you see the great pictures, big smiles and memories being made by people on a fantastic horse oriented, dude or guest ranch vacation, have you ever thought, why would they take a trip like that? How did they even find a vacation destination like a dude ranch? What made them decide to go to a dude ranch on vacation? Well, there are a lot of different reasons as to why people visit a dude ranch, but below are the seven main reasons people choose a ranch vacation!

Sprucedale Guest Ranch Visit A Dude Ranch

The Best Reasons to Visit a Dude Ranch

 

1. Horses

Horseback riding is the central theme on ranch vacations and the quality of horses and trail rides available would be a dream to the equestrian in your travel group. From a couple of hours to all-day rides, the length of the trail ride is always customizable, as well as the speed in which you ride. Do you like to go fast or slow? For a long or short while? There will be a ride that matches what you would like to do. At Sprucedale Ranch their rides are grouped by age, so that the beginner riders, teenagers and adults will get to ride together in their own group. This ranch offers two rides a day, and for the special occasion, once a week you get to ride off into the setting sun. Imagine yourself in the Arizona countryside on horseback and you’ll understand why dude ranch vacations are one of the most picturesque destinations for adventure travel. 

Triangle X Ranch Water Activities Visit a Dude Ranch-1

2. Water 

If you have never seen the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming before, one of the best places to see it is from one of the boats at the Triangle X Ranch. You can experience a fantastic float trip down the Snake River which lies in the shadows of these extraordinary mountains, or you can enjoy a guided fishing trip. The guides will be sure to show you all of the great fishing holes and the scenery along the way. There are a couple of different packages offered by the ranch for their float trips. There is a 10-mile float trip or a dinner float trip with beautiful scenery and a meal. That sounds like a pretty great deal! The guided fishing trips will leave you daydreaming of time in the mountains after you return home. There are streams and rivers to be fished all around the property and you will even have the opportunity to fish in Grand Teton National Park and/or Yellowstone National Park if you would like. At the Triangle X Ranch, you will enjoy some of the finest trout fishing in the West! 

What makes people decide to go to a dude ranch on vacation? Well, there are a lot of different reasons as to why people visit a dude ranch, but below are the seven main reasons people choose a ranch vacation!

 

3. Hikes

While the horses at Colorado Trails Ranch in Durango, Colorado catch most of their guests attention, the hiking around the ranch is something to catch guest’s attention as well. The ranch property borders the two million acre San Juan National Forest and the places to explore are endless here! Colorado Trails Ranch sits in a breathtaking valley with ridges and mountains sweeping up to create an incredible panoramic view. The property around the ranch will give you a great understanding of why people moved out West and claimed this untouched land as their own; the beauty is indescribable. The ranch offers guided hikes or you can hike out on your own, the freedom is yours! Climb to the mountain tops and see the Rocky Mountains from your point of view...literally! 

Absaroka Hunting Pack Trip Visit a dude ranch

4. Camping

The Absaroka Ranch, at the headwaters of Wyoming’s Wind River and at the base of the spectacular Absaroka mountain range is a location you will find solitude and beauty on a scale very few places can match. The pack trips that Absaroka Ranch provides include top-notch amenities in the backcountry of the Shoshone National Forest. Their camp is a place anyone wanting to get away from the “real world” would want to be. It truly is unique and holds a beauty you will not understand until you see it for yourself!  The 4 ½ hour horseback ride begins right from the ranch and offers amazing views and challenging terrain. The scenery is unforgettable and the memories created will be too.  3 to 6-night stays are offered for a pack trip so you get to choose how long you want to escape reality! While on your trip you will get to enjoy crystal clear lakes and small stream fishing, incredible 360-degree views while on horseback rides, delicious camp cooking and even a shower tent with on-demand hot water! How about that for top notch service! Tents, cots, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and wood stoves are all provided on the trip so you do not have to worry about a thing! 

5. Fishing

Cast a line into some of the most spectacular streams, rivers and bodies of water that the West has to offer. With a variety of species of fish to target, most ranches have a serious fishing program that any angler would enjoy. Take for example the Majestic Dude Ranch in Mancos, Colorado. Every week the ranch owner teaches a fly fishing class for the beginners in your group and the next day has a fly fishing trip. The "Bear Creek Horseback Ride" is an all-day ride, which includes several hours of fly fishing in an unbeatable setting.

Spotted Horse Fishing Visit a Dude Ranch

Catching a trout at the Spotted Horse Ranch

Spotted Horse Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is also known for its fantastic fishing program. It has an Orvis Fly Shop for anglers to gear up and a variety of casting lessons, fishing spots on the ranch and guided fishing trips on three different local rivers. Whether you fish every day or have never cast a line, dude ranches offer fishing as a way to engage the entire group in a beautiful outdoor setting. 

C Lazy U Ranch Food Visit a Dude Ranch

6. Food 

Excellent food is the standard on every ranch experience. Gathering around the table for a well-prepared meal completes every outdoor adventure. After a full day of being outdoors in the mountains, you’ll want delightful meals. At the C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado, they are serious about exceeding the expectations. With fine wines and an extensive alcohol selection, pairing your meal with your beverage of choice is a fundecision to make. You’ll enjoy your family-style dinner in the lodge for most meals, and then for Friday mornings during the summer you’ll have a "Woodsie Breakfast" outside for a traditional cowboy experience. 

Bar Lazy J Kids Visit a Dude Ranch

 

7. Family

Family time is definitely a priority while you are on vacation. You get to spend an extended period of time with the people in your life that matter the most. From the moment you pack your bags and head to the airport, every moment that is spent together has the potential to make lasting memories that you will cherish forever. When you visit a dude ranch every moment is filled with family activities that all ages will enjoy. For example, at the Bar Lazy J Ranch in Parshall, Colorado each day begins with feeding the animals in the petting zoo and the kid's counselors and wranglers make sure each moment is filled with something for each age group to be actively engaged in the western lifestyle experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bar Lazy J Wagon Cat Post

Evening Wagon Ride at the Bar Lazy J Ranch

 

 

 

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The 25 Most Popular Destinations for a Colorado Vacation at a Ranch

An outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland, Colorado is jam packed with breathtaking landscapes, and more than 300 sunny days a year for travelers to come and explore its diverse areas. From the spine of North America, the famous Rocky Mountains, to lush valleys and the easily accessible Denver Airport, Colorado is an obvious choice for all types of travelers - families, couples, solo travelers and business associates - who are looking for adventure. With an unlimited variety of outdoor attractions, scenic destinations and diverse wildlife, Colorado is urging you to explore. From cross country skiing, hiking a National Park or horseback riding through the country, Colorado has a long list of things to do all year. Read on to discover the best places to take a Colorado vacation. 

Take a Colorado Vacation

All of the 25 best ranches in Colorado will give you a wonderful vacation - each unique in its own way. 

Colorado Vacation

Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, CO 

Colorado Trails Ranch

Near Durango, Colorado the Colorado Trails Ranch is an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in the San Juan Mountains. This is definitely a great place to go if you are looking for excitement and relaxation on your vacation. The delicious home cooked meals, delightful cabins and activities for all ages makes this an incredible dude ranch experience. 

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch

Get packed and saddle up for a week at the Bar Lazy J Ranch. Just Southeast of Rocky Mountain National Park, this ranch is famous for recreation and relaxation. There are tons of outdoor activities, including a 1,500-foot zipline - and countless ways to sit back and unwind. 

Laramie River Ranch

Laramie River Ranch is known for horseback riding, but has so many well-developed programs and activities. Expert fly fishing, natural horsemanship demonstrations, team penning, naturalist programs for birdwatching, star gazing and wild flower identification makes the Laramie River Ranch a destination for those interested in an educational and fun outdoor adventure. 

Colorado Vacation

Laramie River Ranch - Jelm, CO 

Badger Creek Ranch

Ride out with the cowboy crew at the Badger Creek Ranch. You’ll get to do all the important tasks that makes a cattle operation run. Ready to fix a fence? Sort cattle? Go on an iconic cattle drive? Then Badger Creek is a great place for you. 

Black Mountain Ranch

Ready for a  Saturday afternoon cattle drive for the Black Mountain Ranch’s herd of long horn cattle? You’ll not be bored during the week while you wait, doing some of the most exhilarating outdoor adventures - loping rides, fly fishing, paddle boarding, skeet shooting, white water rafting and even a cookout in the Colorado sunset. 

The High Lonesome Ranch

If you are looking for your inner cowboy you can find it at the High Lonesome Ranch. Known for the nostalgic combination of the views of the Rocky Mountains, equestrian activities and culinary adventures this ranch has an assortment of things for everyone to enjoy.  

Colorado Vacation

The High Lonesome Ranch - DeBeque, CO

Zapata Ranch

As a working cattle and bison ranch the Zapata Ranch and Nature Conservancy offers guests the chance to experience what it takes to run a ranch. Have you ever seen a bison up close and personal? Here’s your chance! With a capacity of only 15 you’ll get a tailored vacation. You might even select one of their themed weeks to get more in depth on Western painting, photography workshops and some cattle working special events. 

4UR Ranch

The 4UR Ranch boasts 3,000 acres of adventure and 6 miles of private trout stream on the Rio Grand River. Not only this, but the ranch also has miles and miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding, a natural hot springs and top-notch accommodations. A well-rounded ranch no doubt. 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Everyone is welcome at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, from Grandma and Grandpa and the kids to your pet dog and best trail riding horse. There are a variety of different horseback rides from beginner to advanced as well as plenty of activities to do while not riding. You can even play a round of frisbee golf!

Colorado Vacation

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch - Red Feather Lakes, CO 

Drowsy Water Ranch

From infants to teenagers the Drowsy Water Ranch has a program and counselors in place with plenty of activities to teach your kids about the western cowboy lifestyle in Colorado. And there’s plenty to do here for adults as well!

Tumbling River Ranch

Shine up your cowboy boots for the evening entertainment at the Tumbling River Ranch. With live music and square dancing after a day in the saddle you’re sure to love this western ranch experience. 

Vista Verde Ranch

The vastness of the views at the Vista Verde Ranch makes you feel like your vacation experience is in high definition. You’ll have an unforgettable luxury experience that will bring you back year after year. 

Colorado Vacation

Vista Verde Ranch - Steamboat Springs, CO 

Cherokee Park Ranch

Have you always wanted to learn how to rope? Cherokee Park Ranch offers roping lessons for all age groups to learn one of the longest art forms of the cowboy. With hay rides, tubing the river and even art classes everyone will have something they really want to do when they aren’t horseback riding. 

The Majestic Dude Ranch 

The Majestic Dude Ranch is known as the ultimate adventure ranch. Along with spectacular horseback riding, the ranch offers paintball and laser tag, mountain biking, white water rafting, baseball, hiking and more. 

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch

You’ll never forget the Wind River Christian Dude Ranch. With a ministry component to the ranch you’ll fill your soul while in some of the most beautiful places in Colorado. 

Colorado Vacation

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch - Estes Park, CO

Elk Mountain Ranch

Elk Mountain Ranch offers an intimate Colorado dude ranch setting for your family. When you arrive, your hosts will tailor the experience to meet each guest’s needs for their vacation. And then you’ll get to settle in to cozy and comfortable cabins. 

Smith Fork Ranch

Fine dining at the private luxury destination of the Smith Fork Ranch is definitely worth writing home about. Farm to table cuisine, an incredible wine list and a view like non-other sets this ranch apart from all the rest. 

Lost Valley Ranch

Reconnect with the spirit of the old west at the Lost Valley Ranch. Set against 26,000 acres of public land in the Pike National Forest fresh mountain air has never been more pristine. And with a history that begins in the late 1800’s the Lost Valley Ranch invites guests to become a part of the story of the ranch. 

Colorado Vacation

Lost Valley Ranch - Sedalia, CO 

C Lazy U Ranch 

Located in Granby, Colorado, the C Lazy U Ranch is a top-notch resort ranch with the finest offerings for accommodations, food and of course outdoor adventure activities. With a capacity of 95 this location can host large groups of multi-generational families and offer tons of things to do for solo travelers and couples. 

The Home Ranch

Ready for a summer or winter adventure? The Home Ranch offers a fine dude ranch stay through out the summer and from December through March. You can ride out into green mountains or cross-country ski across snow covered hills. 

Latigo Ranch

Majestic scenery reaching all the way to the Continental Divide, the Latigo Ranch has an experience for you like no other ranch. Gourmet contemporary cuisine will delight the senses in the evenings and phenomenal horseback riding and fishing will engage your family during the day. 

Colorado Vacation

Latigo Ranch - Kremmling, CO 

Rainbow Trout Ranch

The Rainbow Trout Ranch is all about the family adventure. Your kids and teens will rave about the whole new world of fun and activities they can do on a ranch. You’ll find old fashioned hospitality and the Colorado backcountry a very charming vacation. 

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley

The Ranch at Emerald Valley is just a short ride up the mountain from the famous Broadmoor Hotel. You’ll be set for an incomparable luxury vacation here in one of 10 beautifully appointed cabins with modern amenities and all set to ride horses in some really incredible country. 

Rawah Ranch

Ready for a romantic escape with someone special? The Rawah Ranch knows how important it is to cultivate your relationships and fosters a wonderful experience with champagne and roses upon arrival, your own private trail ride and private massages. 

Colorado Vacation

Rawah Ranch - Glendevey, CO

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Take time to play on your next business trip to the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. You’ll get a variety of outdoor activities and team building opportunities and even a challenge course. A wagon ride followed by a campfire in the evening will complete your western experience for a company meeting, training or retreat. 

Save this pin for later! 

An outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland, Colorado is jam packed with breathtaking landscapes, and more than 300 sunny days a year for travelers to come and explore its diverse areas. Colorado is urging you to explore. From cross country skiing, hiking a National Park or horseback riding through the country, Colorado has a long list of things to do all year. Read on to discover the best places to take a Colorado vacation.

National Media Outlets Turn Spotlight to Dude Ranches

Dude Ranches are winning awards! From Forbes Magazine to Real Simple and accolades in nearly every accredited journalism outlet, the allure and experience of Dude Ranch Vacations is dominating vacation stories and bookings in 2018, but why? Is it the heat of the summer that literally drove folks to the mountains for escape into cool nights accented with breezy pine aromas and horses hooves mashing hay in the background? Or is it a generational shift to become more attached and aware of landscapes and the people that work them?

2018 Dude Ranches Winning Accolades

 

The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, California

Wine Country Wins

Operating one of the largest dude ranches in the nation, Alisal certainly delivers entertainment for varying ages and curiosities. This year, Men’s Journal named the ranch one of the ‘Best Luxury Dude Ranches’ in the nation for many a good reason. The 10,500-acre ranch in California’s Santa Ynez Valley is a family-owned working ranch about 30 miles northeast of Santa Barbara. The property has 73 cottages, all with working, wood burning fireplaces, and without phones or televisions.

Onsite vacationers can access 50-plus miles of riding trails, a 100-acre, spring-fed lake, two 18-hole championship golf courses, tennis courts, pool, spa, in addition to fine dining. Don’t forget it’s wine country and just minutes away are more than 75 renowned vineyards and wineries. “Or, stay rustic, and take the hay truck out to the lake for kayaking, boating and fishing,” explains Shelly Rivoli, founder, Travelswithbaby.com and Familytravel411.com. 

However, it’s the multi-generational offerings that make this an award-winning ranch. Rivoli visited Alisal this past summer with her kids and mother-in-law in tow to ride, learn and shoot archery, and, of course, photograph her sister-in-law, Jill Rivoli, the ranch’s first female head wrangler. “The activities at the ranch made it easy for our three generations to stay entertained and happy, and to seamlessly move between time together as a big group and and time spent apart or in pairs,” explains Rivoli. 

For Rivoli’s family, it’s the game room, horseshoe pit, personalized corn hole games created in front of each cottage, and swimming pool that are most popular for the kids. “For me, it’s the breakfast ride to the old adobe, with hot cakes, beverages, fresh fruit, all while sitting under the old Oak Trees and Sycamores.”  

Dude Ranches

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort - Solvang, CA 

Rainbow Trout Ranch, Colorado

Remote Paradise, Iconic Architecture and Western Wear

Preparation can be half the excitement of a vacation. From roping in new clothing for the journey to educating oneself on altitude acclimation, new landscapes provide the quintessential ‘true adventure’ many millennials are yearning for in a vacation. 

When Real Simple journalist Cari Wira Dineen needed some serious apparel and packing advice for her Western Dude Ranch adventure and editorial piece, she called Courtney Frazier, an expert in terms of raising mindful children on a ranch while impeccably and appropriately dressed, working tirelessly for the Colorado Dude Ranch Association and Colorado Tourism Office, and more importantly, championing for conservation and thoughtful preservation through hands-on ranch education and experience. 

Needless to say, Frazier needs a little R&R when possible to take off her own cowgirl hat and rhinestone jeans come dusk. Frazier describes to Real Simple the epitome of Western Dude Ranch culture and dress in the article while exploring the possibility of ranch activity for a guest. 

“My family and I stayed at the Rainbow Trout Ranch for a week and it was hospitality-forward from the get-go. Personalized and customized riding and activity for our entire family, diverse sport in terms of hiking, riding, fishing, cool and breezy evenings at 9,000 feet and splash time for the kids while we ate grilled fajitas poolside." 

Rainbow Trout Ranch continually draws families from around the world to their remote paradise. Roaring evening and morning fires are welcomed by enormous wrap-around porches, views of pines for acres, and aromas from the biscuit-shooter and roller for those airy dough-goods, it’s hook, set and catch! 

Rainbow Trout’s bean master, or cook, serves family-style, home cookin’, perfectly accentuated with evening entertainment once the corral has settled down for the evening. From classic Western line dancing to legendry cowboy guitar tunes by the fire, once the stars arrive, ranches such as Rainbow Trout understand the need and importance for multi-generational activity and enjoyment not centered around a bar, cantina or alcohol.  Many returning guests even seek out Western wear throughout the year to bring to the evening activity.

PS. Rainbow Trout Ranch has the second largest wood lodge east of the Mississippi; for architecture and history buffs, it doesn’t get any better, photography for days! 

Dude Ranches

Rainbow Trout Ranch - Antonito, CO

White Stallion Ranch, Arizona

Wild, Wild, Luxury and Entertainment

White Stallion Ranch, a longtime member of the DRA, was named one of ‘America's Best Family Resorts’ by a USA Today Readers Choice poll. The award was based on readers' votes for the resort determined by kids' amenities and family programming. A panel of experts including USA Today editors, 10Best.com editors, expert contributors and media had nominated the ranch. 

"We are so very proud to have this honor bestowed on the White Stallion Ranch," said Russell True, co-owner of True Ranch Hospitality. "This ranch has been in my family for more than five decades. We pride ourselves in offering the best hospitality and exceptional service at a fair value for all our guests, including families. For example, kids under five stay at the ranch for free," True added.

Ali Isroff, Chicago native, joined in on a family reunion at the ranch, including her three boys less than seven years of age. “White Stallion Ranch was awesome, it was a really great vacation for our family, super kid friendly and accommodating. My sister-in-law did a ton a research and felt that the ranch would offer something we all could enjoy—from 76 years old to 1 years old—and it didn’t disappoint!”

White Stallion Ranch is also one of the largest capacity dude ranches in the nation. Therefore, they are able to offer wild, wild, west entertainment once the stars come out and all the dishes have been cleared. 

Dude Ranches

White Stallion Ranch - Tucson, AZ 

Eatons' Ranch, Wyoming

Longevity Proves Attractive

Eatons' Ranch is one of the most famous dude ranches in the nation, and for deserved reason, it’s been operating for over 135 years and is the true essence of the Old West. The five-generation working cattle ranch is nestled on the pine covered eastern slopes of the Bighorn Mountains. The 7,000-acre ranch offers massive expanses of Wyoming rolling hills and over a hundred activities within this terrain to keep anyone out cowpoking or meandering through valleys for days.

Nearby Sheridan provides the easiest access for most visitors with numerous daily flights and only an 18-mile transport to the ranch. It’s not only attractive for families, weddings and reunions, but also corporate groups. “My company hosts their annual conference at Eatons' Ranch every fall,” notes Lani Oneil, director of national accounts, Frontier Asset Management. “We bring in clients from all over the US and the event is always a new and memorable experience for the, It definitely beats spending long days in hotel conference rooms followed by the usual steakhouse dinner.” 

Dude Ranches

Eatons' Ranch - Wolf, WY

Colorado Lovin’

Colorado doesn’t have the largest number of dude ranches of the States, but it certainly achieves the most palaver (discussion) for its consistent and numerous accolades. 

C Lazy U

C Lazy U, 90 minutes from Denver and easily accessible via the Amtrak Train from hipster downtown Union Station has won three awards from Travel + Leisure in 2018 for Top Hotel in the World (#74), Top 15 Continental US Resort Hotels (#6) and Top 10 Resort Hotel in the American West  (#3) And, for the second year in a row, C Lazy U was ranked #2 Destination Resort in USA TODAY’s 2018 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Destination Resort. Paging through Sunset Magazine, you might notice that C Lazy U was the runner up “Hotels That Impress” in the Sunset 2018 Travel Awards. 

Dude Ranches

C Lazy U Ranch - Granby, CO

Cherokee Park Ranch

And, to get a diverse round up (pun intended) of the ‘Best American Dude Ranch’ voted by readers of USA Today’s 10Best, the list has Cherokee Park Ranch with another #1 win. All but one of the ranches featured have been a longtime member of the DRA! (10best.com/awards/travel/best-dude-ranch

Cherokee Park Ranch, one of Colorado's first guest ranches, was a stagecoach stop between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Laramie, Wyoming. Accommodations include suites in their 120-year-old lodge and six outlying cabins, each outfitted with porch swings to take in the sites and splendor of the remote location miles from any city. 

Again, it’s the multigenerational activities, stunning new barn and kids activity space, and good old-fashioned dancing that keeps the families both returning and new ones seeking out this isolated vacation spot. For our family, it’s always the infamous line and country dancing nights. 

Dude Ranches

Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, CO 

Vista Verde Ranch

Located in Steamboat Springs, is one of the only four-season dude ranches in the State. When it comes to awards, and assortment of sport for all seasons, and weather conditions, Vista Verde Ranch is noted annually in dozens of publications. Think biking on snow in December, fall fly-fishing for off-season spawns or cooking classes or wine tastings al fresco or by roaring fire, the ranch’s luxurious offerings and certainly an anomaly for the Old West, but certainly welcomed.

Vista Verde Ranch has a AAA Four Diamond Award and the ranch’s Chef Chol has been building the cellar wine list to rival that of some of the country’s greatest restaurants. Fodor’s announced that Vista Verde had been selected as a Fodor’s Choice recipient yet again. And, from Shape Magazine to the Gene Kilgore World’s Best Ranches Award to mentions in everything from National Geographic ADVENTURE Magazine to Los Angeles Times and oodles more, this ranch lassos attention from all genres of vacationer. 

Dude Ranches

Vista Verde Ranch - Steamboat Springs, CO 

Save this Pin for Later! 

From Forbes Magazine to Real Simple and accolades in nearly every accredited journalism outlet, the allure and experience of Dude Ranch Vacations is dominating vacation stories and bookings in 2018, but why?

Dude Ranch Weddings - Ride Off Into The Sunset

Make your Wedding day truly extraordinary. Dude ranch weddings are the perfect setting for your ceremony. With their spectacular scenery and private settings you’ll create a lifetime of memories.

Dude Ranch Weddings 

The options are endless; a magical hand built chapel at Diamond D Ranch, the remarkable back drop of the Wyoming Tetons at Moose Head Ranch or under the glorious Colorado skies at C Lazy U Ranch

 

C Lazy U Ranch Colorado Dude Ranch Weddings

 

Extraordinary gourmet cuisine is what Red Reflet Ranch and Tanque Verde Ranch do best, while at Sundance Trail Ranch it is not unusual to see the bride and groom ride off into the sunset. 

 

Red Relfet Ranch Wyoming Dude Ranch Weddings

 

Celebrate your first kiss as husband wife at Greenhorn Creek Ranch during the running of the horses, take a wagon ride under the stars at the Bar W Ranch or let Sylvan Dale Ranch help customize your dream wedding. 

 

Bar W Ranch Montana Dude Ranch Weddings

 

With our Western Hospitality you can be assured your wedding day will be perfect!  

 

Read more about Dude Ranch Weddings 

Here are some great luxury wedding destinations from our friends at LuxuryTravelersGuide.com 

and more articles about dude ranch destination weddings from our blog

 

Bull Hill Ranch Washington Wedding 25 Great Reasons to Have a Dude Ranch Wedding

Anyone who has been involved in planning a traditional weeding knows that it can be a really demanding undertaking for one of the most important milestones in a couples future. There seems to be countless decisions to make: from booking the venue, selecting the theme, narrowing the guest list, creating and sending invitations, gift registsrations, florists and the music playlist. All to make your day look as "Pinterest Perfect" as your wedding board has created. 

 

RawahRanch_HorsebackRiding_Meg&Tim_Sm4 Honeymoon Trends at a Ranch Vacation

Get inspired for your honeymoon with a ranch vacation experience you won't soon forget. Think outside the sand box of a beach destination and go for adventure recreation at a honeymoon paradise. These DRA accredited ranch vacations will exceed your expectations and make many opportunities to creatively start your journey together.

 

Bride-and-Lazy-LB-Ranch-horseA Splendid Ranch Wedding at the Lazy L&B Ranch

 I have been to a few ranches and absolutely loved the lifestyle, the way my body and spirit felt. My inspiration was ignited every single time in unexpected ways and, aside from allowing my senses to absorb it all in, I have shared my journey with others through images and words. It was through a chain of magical coincidences that I was called upon to capture Michele and Jason’s Western inspired wedding at the breathtaking Lazy L&B Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming.

 

Make your Wedding day truly extraordinary. Dude ranch weddings are the perfect setting for your ceremony with their spectacular scenery and private settings. Read about some of the top dude ranches for weddings and other wedding planning resources.

The Best Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

Family Reunions at Dude Ranches Offer Fun for Everyone. There is something for everyone to enjoy at a dude ranch and the best part is DRA dude ranches are all-inclusive. Meals, lodging, horseback riding and much more are included in one rate, making it simple to plan and budget for your next family reunion. Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each multi-generational family.

Private family time. If your family is just looking to spend time with each other where you can totally reconnect a small intimate ranch where you are the only guests might be just the ticket. Where you ride together as a family, have meals together as a family and just get to know each other again.

Dude Ranches Are Fun for Kids. Most ranches have daily activities offered for kiddos 3+ and many ranches can accommodate infants as well.

Teens Enjoy Dude Ranch Adventures. The teens in the family will have the time of their lives as they zip down a mountain zip line, tube down a rushing creek, or enjoy a ‘teens only’ ride up to a cookout lunch or an overnight camp out.

Adults Have Fun, Too. Adults will find they can do as much or as little as they would like. Unlimited horseback riding, river rafting, superb fishing, fine dining the list goes on and on.

So what are you waiting for? Book you next great multi-generational adventure today!

#MultiGenerationalRanchVacation


Western Pleasure Multi-Generational Ranch Vacation

Wyoming

Eatons' Ranch - For over 137 years, our Wyoming dude ranch has offered guests a western experience and shared with them a way of life.

Lazy L&B Ranch - At the Lazy L&B Ranch there’s nothing we like better than seeing grandparents hanging with grandkids, siblings catching up with each other and cousins exploring that special relationship that friends just can't compete with.

Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch - The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is an all-inclusive upscale working cattle, riding, fly-fishing and adventure guest ranch in Shell, WY (east of Cody and Yellowstone National Park).

California

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch - Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch is a rustic western resort located in the High Sierra of northern California on 600-acres of pine forest and pasture land, creeks and ponds.

Marble Mountain Ranch - Our goal is to provide a battery of exciting interactive experiences that are based in western traditions, and in outdoor adventure sports.

Idaho

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch - Escape, explore and experience the beauty and wonder of the outdoors with your family at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

Arizona

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch - Our guest ranch is dedicated to providing you with the best family reunion experience you can imagine.

White Stallion Ranch - Family Vacations have become rare opportunities to leave the demands of your everyday life behind, relax, regroup and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.

Colorado

High Lonesome Ranch - High Lonesome Dude Ranch Generations Experience – Exactly as wild as you. To help keep sporting traditions alive within family generations, we invite grandparents to come FREE while passing the torch to their next generation.

C Lazy U Ranch - Located in the heart of Colorado’s stunning Rocky Mountains, C Lazy U is the premier luxury guest ranch getaway.

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch - Named "Best Family Vacation" by Frommer's Colorado guidebook and rated among the "Top Ten Colorado Dude Ranches" by True West Magazine, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch offers year-round outdoor adventure.

Colorado Trails Ranch - At Colorado Trails Ranch, the vacation experience is all-inclusive from the accommodations, to the meals, to virtually all the activities and the gratuity.

Elk Mountain Ranch - Located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies with off-the-beaten path charm.  Colorado’s Highest Guest Ranch at 9,600 feet.

Latigo Ranch - The best way to enjoy your family vacation is care-free, and that’s what Latigo is offering this season. Forget worrying about finding something for everyone to do or meals which suit every dietary restriction, Latigo has it all

Montana

Elkhorn Ranch - Located at the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park in the upper Gallatin Canyon, the Elkhorn has been a family oriented ranch since 1922.

Lone Mountain Ranch - Lone Mountain Ranch has set the standard for luxury ranch destinations in the West for over a century. Located a mere 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, our ranch offers authentic accommodations in newly renovated private cabins featuring the finest modern amenities (and a few curated decor moments inspired by the old West).

 Bar W Guest Ranch - 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.

New Mexico

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch - Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is a small family run ranch. We have just 4 cabins and take a maximum of 12-16 guests.

Surrounded by spectacular beauty on a ranch vacation, far from the noise  of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each multi-generational family.

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6 Things to Know Before Booking a Dude Ranch Stay

A common misconception when it comes to a dude ranch vacation is that it is a working vacation, as in you are paying to work as a ranch hand. Not so, my friends. In fact, a dude ranch vacation is one of the most relaxing vacations you can take. Take it from me and my family -- who now have experienced three dude ranch vacations -- and look forward to our next!  Your dude ranch stay will move at a pace that best suits the guest, and in this fast-paced world, it is  a gift to be able to take advantage of such a schedule.

 

You won’t be roughing it….unless you really want to.

 

 rawah-ranch-cabin

Take a look at one of the cabin’s at Rawah Guest Ranch Photo Credit: Allison Taylor

 

With three dude ranch vacations under our belts, I can safely say that my family’s experiences were the farthest thing from being rustic.

One of the dude ranches my family stayed at was C Lazy U Ranch. The cabins featured heated tile floors in the bathrooms, luxuriously high thread count sheets, and a plush living area begging for a book to be read on it’s oversized couch.

Often, ranches will offer the option of going on an overnight camping trip should you want to get up close and personal with nature. Even those aren’t terribly strenuous because a guide from the ranch helps with the entire camping experience, taking away the roughing it aspect.

 

The food is often the best you’ve ever had.

 The Food at Rawah Ranch

One of our favorite meals at Rawah Guest Ranch! Photo Credit: Allison Taylor 

 

My husband and I loved the food so much at Rawah Guest Ranch, that we have attempted to recreate some of the recipes at home. Our favorite meal was chicken fried chicken with jalapeno gravy and mashed potatoes. What’s better? The food at Rawah Ranch was so good that my kids were willing to try dishes that took them outside of their comfort zones, like lamb chops!

The food may just very well be the highlight of the three dude ranch vacations we experienced. The portions were large and hearty, a good thing because often days on a dude ranch are packed with physical activities.

 

Horse lover? Good news, you will love the dude ranch life!

 

Yes, a large component of most dude ranches involve horses, but you don’t have to be a horse lover in order to have the time of your life. A dude ranch offers a wide variety of activities that if you don’t ever want to come into contact with a horse, it is possible to steer clear!

For me, the horse component of the vacation was my favorite part. I grew up riding horses, so I am very comfortable on the back of a horse. But even for those less experienced, guests at dude ranches are matched by skill level.

When we visited Rawah Guest Ranch with our children, the staff went above and beyond helping them learn the correct techniques for riding. My oldest participated on a trail ride right away, but my youngest spent time in the arena under the watchful eye of an instructor before allowing him to join a family trail ride. Once he graduated to that level, he was so proud of all that he accomplished. 

 

A dude ranch vacation will broaden your horizons


 Fly Fishing on a Dude Ranch

Who Knew I would like fly fishing so much?! Photo Credit: Allison Taylor

 

Often, when my family takes a trip, we go to our old standby spots. This wasn’t the case for us when we chose to go to a dude ranch. We tried activities that we hadn’t ever thought of trying before. In fact, I found that I really enjoyed (and was quite good at) using a compound bow for target shooting. My boys discovered they liked fly fishing better than the typical bank fishing that they are used to, the only problem is that they have been using their fly fishing skills on our family farm!

Some ranches are so remote that you will be able to totally disconnect.

 

Look, I know, for some, the mere thought of not having cell service or cable results in a panic attack. Unfortunately -- and fortunately -- some dude ranches are so remote that they do not have these luxuries. In fact the dude ranch we frequented the most does not have cell service, wifi, or cable and I highly recommend giving that experience a try!

Rawah Ranch offered my family the gift of “checking out.” My husband and I played board games with the kids and I read two books while we were there. And no one missed the TV for one moment! However, if you just can’t disconnect all the way, plenty of dude ranches are close enough to civilization that your email inbox won’t get out of control.

 

It is sure to be a trip that your family will talk about forever.

 

At least once a week, one of my children tells me that they want to hop on a plane and head back to the ranch that sold us on the wonders of a dude ranch vacation. We talk about our time on the ranch often with friends and family, I am sure by now that they wish we would stop talking about it already!

If a dude ranch vacation has been on your list of potential vacations to try, it is time to move it from something you have been considering to booking the trip!

Author: Allison Taylor, familyvacationsus.com

 

•	Considering your first family dude ranch vacation? Don't make common newbie mistakes! Lessons learned on a first dude ranch vacation.

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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

All Aboard! Amtrak Train Rides to Dude Ranches

Train travel and dude ranches go way back in their relationship. In fact, the historical Northern Pacific Railway influenced early western expansion and the beginnings of leisure travel to Western States. Early dude ranchers, as in Larry Larom and his peers, founded the Dude Ranchers' Association in 1926. From the start the organization promoted leisure travel to dude ranches via train and established industry standards. Traveling to a dude ranch today is still possible. Amtrak is now the modern train travel company. They offer trips from the East coast of the United States to the West Coast and many places in between. Are you ready to take your next adventure via train?

Northern_Pacific_Railway_North_Coast_Limited_Diner

Immerse yourself in the spirit of the West and travel via train to your next dude ranch. Parasols, lace gloves, suits and heavy trunks are not necessary. Simply purchase your ticket and head out West. Below are some tools to plan your trip using the contemporary Amtrak trains. The stations are listed by state and the dude ranches close by are linked below the city. If you would like more information please call the Dude Ranchers' Association at 307.587.2339 or email us at info@duderanch.org. The Amtrak National Route Map (PDF) and the duderanch.org Interactive Map may be helpful as well.

Amtrak Train Stations by State

Norther Pacific Railroad Train Poster

Idaho

Sandpoint, Idaho Station

Western Pleasure Ranch, Sandpoint, Idaho

Washington

Spokane, Washington Station

Red Horse Mountain, Harrison, Idaho

Colorado

Granby, Colorado Station

C Lazy U Ranch, Granby, Colorado

Drowsy Water Ranch, Granby, Colorado

Bar Lazy J Ranch, Parshall, Colorado

Montana

Whitefish, Montana Station

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge, Bigfork, Montana

Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, Montana

Arizona

Kingman, Arizona Station

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, Yucca, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona Station

White Stallion Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Benson, Arizona Station

Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch, Tombstone, Arizona


 Train Travel Stamp

7 Ranches for your 2016 Hunting Trip

It is time to start planning for your 2016 hunting trip. The Dude Ranchers' Association is here to help you find the personalized hunting trip for you and your family this fall. Below we have gathered some of the most exciting places available. Don't forget to book early, as ranches only have a limited number of trips available. For more information on planning your trips please contact the Dude Ranchers' Association office at 307.587.2339.

Hunting Trips

JJJ WIlderness Hunting & PackTrip

JJJ WIlderness Hunting & PackTrip

Bob Marshall Wilderness, MT

JJJ Wilderness Ranch Join us for the hunt of a lifetime in Montana's 1.5 million acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Home to North America's foremost big game animals, this unspoiled wilderness provides unsurpassed beauty and trophy opportunities. To hunt the "Bob" is to experience one of America's national treasures.

Seven Devils Mountain Range, ID

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch and Guide Service Seven Devil's hunts are guided on 18,000 acres of private land, no fences.  We pride ourselves on providing a hunt that is more than just tagging a great animal.   Because we are so passionate about the entire hunting experience we look forward to glassing in the morning and being out at first light just as much as the hunter.   We treat each hunt as if it were our own.  A true sportsman experience is what we’re about.  Give us a call and learn more about what we have to offer in services even after you fill your tag.

Dunoir Valley, WY

Absaroka Ranch The hunting area is the magnificent Dunoir Valley located northwest of Dubois, Wyoming. The Dunoir remains one of the last truly abundant wildlife and virtually hunter - free areas in the state, if not the entire West. The ranch provides nearly everything for your hunt such as saddles, rifle scabbards and saddle bags, and you will enjoy a comfortable, modern cabin and excellent, hearty meals. All you provide is license, rifle, ammunition, and other personal hunting gear.

Upper Ruby Valley, MT

Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch UCO offers guided and unguided archery hunting packages that are 5 day/6 nights or longer.  Guided packages including all meals, accommodations in cabins or lodge, Bozeman pick-up & return.  Guests can stay in the lodge or cabins during their stay. Free WiFi throughout the ranch.  In addition, we can arrange to accommodate non-hunting guests & youth hunters.

Triangle X Hunting Trip Sunset

Triangle X Sunset View

Teton Wilderness Range, WY

Triangle X Ranch The Triangle X Ranch operates three hunting camps in the Teton Wilderness region of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming directly south of Yellowstone National Park. The camps offer some of the finest big game hunting in America. Our region has unsurpassed opportunities for trophy elk. The hunting camps are located so that they give us a near monopoly on one of the finest and largest hunting areas in the state of Wyoming.

Beaverhead National Forest, MT

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters Nearly half of the entire elk harvested in the state of Montana come from region of the Ranch. With a local herd in this area we are not dependent on a migration. All hunting is done within a 15-20 mile radius of the lodge. Depending on your ability and the method that is best suited for you, whether it be by foot, 4-wheel drive, or horseback.

C Lazy u Mom and Dad Hunting Trip Glamping

C Lazy U Glamping on your Hunting Trip

Granby Mesa Mountain, CO

C Lazy U Ranch Ladies! Your husband has booked a 6 day luxury hunt in the mountains of Colorado and you’re wondering what to do with yourself, aren’t you? Go with him! It sounds crazy, especially if you’re familiar with what hunting trips can be like; but your husband hasn’t booked a trip to your typical male elk camp, where “ruffing it” means cold showers and subpar meals. No, he’s booked a trip to the C Lazy U Ranch. What does this mean for you and your kids? We thought you’d never ask!  Situated in a private valley with 8,500 acres, the C Lazy U Ranch offers you everything from amenities that pamper (like our world class “Lazy You” spa, where you can indulge yourself in treatments that allow the pressures and stresses of life melt away), to adventure of your own (like loping across a beautiful mesa at the base of the Rockies on horseback, or fly fishing with your very own guide). You and your kids will be sure to beg your husband to go hunting every year!    

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

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

 

C Lazy U Winter

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

Latigo Winter

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

Bar W Winter Sleigh

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

Western Pleasure Winter

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

Home Ranch Winter

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

Lone Mountain Winter

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

Seven Devils Winter

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

Vista Verde Winter

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

Sundance Winter

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

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


   

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For A Holiday Wrapped in Western Hospitality, Make Your Dude Ranch Reservation Today!

For many, holiday’s come wrapped with “to-do lists.” Extra chores without additional time can seriously dampen what’s supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” That’s why more and more families are tossing out the lists and giving each other the very special gift of time. It seems travelers are discovering a DRA guest ranch an ideal place to give thanks and make merry with friends and family. Some ranches you might consider for that perfect stress free holiday are listed below:

Flying E Ranch for the Holiday

Warm Arizona Holiday at the Flying E Ranch

Flying E Ranch in Arizona brings families together for a good old fashioned cowboy Christmas complete with making ornaments for the tree, caroling by the fire, and a Christmas morning breakfast ride. Chef Sergio and the kitchen crew at Tanque Verde Ranch are already planning the Christmas dinner. The pastry kitchen crew is also busy preparing all those holiday treats we love to eat! Families can find luxury including their own personal Christmas tree, Santa arriving by horse-drawn sleigh, gourmet Christmas dinner, and lots of snowy adventures at Colorado’s C Lazy U Ranch. Another snowy option is in British Columbia at Echo Valley Guest Ranch’s Winter Getaway complete with mulled wine, cross country skiing, ice fishing, Thai yoga, spa treatments, and more. Perhaps the family would like to try a little skiing in Montana over the holidays. If so than Lone Mountain Ranch is the place for you. Always a guest favorite, the Discovery Package features an array of pursuits from robust to relaxing. It’s everything you and your family might want for an unforgettable getaway in the mountains of Montana. 4 night minimum.

Lone Mountain Winter Sleigh Ride Snow

Winter Sleigh Ride in the Snow at the Lone Mountain Ranch

Whether your dream getaway is a warm weather paradise that lets you escape from the cold, or a snowy wonderland that helps you embrace the magic of the season, DRA ranches have you covered. With over 100 member ranches, found in the deserts and mountains of the American West and Canada, your family can spend the holidays at a ranch best suited to your interests and lifestyle. What’s more, many of the DRA’s all-inclusive ranches offer special holiday packages, making them a smart holiday choice. But best of all, a DRA dude ranch offers your family something not found in a shopping mall: precious time spent together making memories that will last a lifetime. The Dude Ranchers Association


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

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

Bar W Guest Ranch Corporate Meeting Space

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

 

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

 

Facilities

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

Red Reflet Corporate Meeting

Meeting Space at the Red Reflet Guest Ranch in Wyoming.

Technology

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

 

All-inclusive Rate

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

 

Tanque Verde Corporate Meeting Room Accommodations

Room accomodations at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch in Arizona.

Team Building Activities

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

    C Lazy U Activities Swinging Corporate Meeting Team Building

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

Corporate Meeting at a Dude Ranch

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

Fishing + Dude Ranches = A Great Family Getaway

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

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

The High Lonesome Ranch Fishing View

 

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

 

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

4UR Ranch Fly Fishing Boat

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

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

 

Fishing + Dude Ranches = A Great Family Getaway

 

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

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