A Day on a Dude Ranch

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

A Day on a Dude Ranch

Trail Ride at a dude ranch

Lone Mountain Ranch - Montana

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

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

kids high fiving at a dude ranch

CM Ranch - Wyoming

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

outdoor picnic at a dude ranch

Black Mountain Ranch - Colorado

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

wine at a dude ranch

Triangle C Ranch - Wyoming

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

square dancing at a dude ranch

Wind River Ranch - Colorado

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

cabin at a dude ranch

Marble Mountain Ranch - California

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

307-587-2339 ~ info@duderanch.org

 

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

Reviving your Mind, Body and Spirit at a Dude Ranch

While the term dude ranch usually brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, dude ranches are actually all this and much more – especially when it comes to wellness experiences. In keeping with the belief that wellness starts from within, many DRA-accredited ranches offer a variety of rejuvenating activities and services in a lush oasis environment to give you “whole body” relief from the stress of modern life. Imagine enjoying a spa escape or time in the great outdoors with a small group, giving you the opportunity to decompress and to actually contemplate all the things that you just do not have time to on a day to day basis. How freeing will it be to breathe the fresh mountain air, hike to the top of a bluff to view a morning sunset, to actually have time to read a book or to just sit a listen to Mother Nature?  We at the Dude Ranchers’ Association think spending time alone with your thoughts is just as important as any exercise program. Below you will see that there are some real opportunities to revive your mind, body, and spirit while experiencing some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest.

As the original all-inclusive vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary, and no additional costs once you arrive at your destination. There are more than 95 DRA-accredited dude ranches in North America (two in Canada), all of which uphold the highest quality of services within the industry. No matter what type of getaway you’re in search of, there is the perfect dude ranch out there for you. Please see below for a sampling of DRA-accredited ranches that feature unique wellness experiences.

Greenhorn Ranch

Greenhorn Ranch in California believes lost is the time when we gathered for a shared purpose when we communed under the stars and truly connected. Interruptions are far too easy in a normal setting. Escape to a place beneath the stars where cell phone service is shoddy, WiFi works when you need it, and the campfire is always warm and crackling under the starlit sky. Relax, enjoy the stay and relish the much-anticipated time together.  Their 3-day wellness retreat starts September 26th – 29th. There will be seminars on relieving stress through your camera with David Herman, learn how to cook delicious meals in just 90 minutes with Pamela Salzman. Learn to manage your stress with healthy food and herbs. Tina Quinn reminds you that “The most important things in life are the ones you can’t see”.  

You will also get the opportunity to learn why Winston Churchill often said: “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man”. 

dude ranch

A Bar A Ranch

Sometimes all a person needs to revive your mind, body, and spirit is to get outside in the woods.  At A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming, they offer what they call an “Expedition” which are custom Western adventures. Up to six guests stay in luxurious cabins or tents, taking full advantage of their 100,000-acre property. Days are spent riding, fishing, hiking, and exploring.  The A Bar A Ranch sits along the banks of the North Platte River in the heart of the beautiful Medicine Bow Mountains. 

The A Bar A Classic Expedition is perfect for families or friends seeking a private experience on a classic guest and cattle ranch. Ride to your luxurious cabin on horseback taking in the amazing Wyoming scenery. Your Expedition Guide will take care of everything for you, they will also be your gourmet cooks. A Bar A expeditions give you the chance to design the vacation that is just perfect for you. 

dude ranch

Rancho de los Caballeros

If you are looking for a more traditional wellness experience look no further than the Spa at Los Caballeros at Rancho de los Caballeros Ranch in Arizona. The resort spa offers classic services and signature treatments you won’t find anywhere else, such as their desert baths, scrubs, and wraps. Whether you’re looking to enrich your skin or touch up your pedicure, Spa Caballeros has a wonderful treatment for you. End an action-filled day by unwinding with an enriching facial, hot stone massage, or aromatic bath in our claw-foot tubs. Parents can share a spa day with their daughters by booking nail treatments together. 

The ranch is surrounded by the Sonoran Desert’s hiking trails and beautiful blooming cacti, their 20,000-acre ranch resort does not waste any space. You will not only get to enjoy the amazing horseback riding but can also experience their acclaimed 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and heated pool.

dude ranch

Majestic Dude Ranch

Majestic Dude Ranch in Colorado sets aside a week in May and the month of September specifically for adults. They realize that the non-stop programming their summer session offers isn’t for everyone. Learn to relax, take a deep breath and heal from the inside out.  Enjoy cooking classes, wine and cheese tastings or just sitting on your porch taking in the peace and quiet the ranch has to offer. There is nothing better for the soul and mind than a little quiet time alone.

The amenities at this ranch are pretty nice. They offer Tempur-Pedic mattresses in every room so you’ll rest easy after a long day of activities. Diffusers stocked with soothing oils in each room make coming back to your cabin an even more relaxing experience. No one ever goes hungry at Majestic – that’s their commitment. Their mission is to provide hearty, yet healthy meals for all guests. Their chefs cater to all dietary restrictions, allergies, and tastes. If you still feel the need to work out they offer, for their especially active guests, unlimited gym access. With a treadmill, free weights, an assisted pull-up bar, and several machines, there’s plenty to keep you fit and on your gym schedule.

dude ranch

We know it can be hard in this stress-filled busy world we live in to take time for yourself, but we feel it is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy mind, body, and spirit!

www.duderanch.org ~ info2@duderanch.org ~ 307-587-2339 

While the term dude ranch usually brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, dude ranches are actually all this and much more!

Top 6 California Dude Ranch Vacations

California dude ranch vacations offer accommodations and itineraries that are exciting for the whole family or solo traveler. Horseback riding through mountains and meadows makes guests forget about the stereotypical beaches and crowds of California’s big cities. Guests see this undiscovered side at a dude ranch. Life at the ranch creates a sense of calm any traveler can appreciate with well-appointed cabins, rocking chairs and hot coffee. 

Sitting across from a cowboy in wrangler jeans and a white straw hat, adventure travelers can hear stories of what some would call the bygone days of the cowboy. Here it’s still alive and well. Guests are amazed at the exceptional experience dude ranching offers.  As a week-long immersion into Western culture begins, guests get to release tension and enjoy the outdoors. 

Just because this is a ranch vacation doesn’t mean all there is to do is horseback riding. There is an abundance of outdoor activities for the perfect balance for a week spent in the serene areas of California. Here are the top 6 places to hang your hat and saddle up for a week. 

Top 6 California Dude Ranch Vacations 

 

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

A Golf Resort Meets Dude Ranch

With all the luxuries of a fine resort, The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort boasts an experience envied by Californians and travelers from all over the world. The ranch offers a variety of activities and packages to suit a romantic getaway or a large family reunion in a beautiful location near the Danish town of Solvang and right in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country. If guests are looking to try horseback riding and enjoy traditional outdoor activities like golf, cycling or fishing this is a great place to be. 

Alisal California Dude Ranch

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort - Solvang, CA 

V6 Ranch 

A Family Tradition of Cattle Work

In central California between Los Angeles and San Francisco lies the 20,000 acres of the V6 Ranch, inviting guests to experience a true, authentic western cattle ranch. Rugged riding, working cattle all day long, sleeping in tents on the range are a few of the options the ranch offers. If guests choose not to go on the cattle drives, the main lodge rooms and cabins are luxurious, the restaurant is very nice and other activities include hiking, photography, bird watching and 50 miles of trails to explore. 

V6 California Dude Ranch

V6 Ranch - Parkfield, CA

Hunewill Circle "H" Guest Ranch

A Charming Ranch in Western Style

Guests feel right at home on this California dude ranch. The staff is known for being friendly and accommodating, getting to know everyone on a personal level. Hunewill Ranch creates lasting friendships through creek-side barbecues, trout fishing, hiking, mountain biking and of course, horseback riding. The Bridgeport Valley where the ranch is located is an unspoiled recreational paradise and even borders Yosemite National Park

Hunewill California Dude Ranch

Hunewill Cirlce "H" Guest Ranch - Bridgeport, CA

Marble Mountain Ranch

A Saddle and Paddle Adventure for Everyone

Famous for their signature “Saddle and Paddle Program” the folks at Marble Mountain Ranch are experts at exciting white-water rafting trips down the Klamath River and horseback rides through the inherently rugged and forested area. And this is just the beginning of the family adventures the ranch offers. ATV rides, steelhead fly fishing, barrel racing, a paint ball course and campfire events are just a few more adventures guests get to experience at this ranch in Northern California. 

Marble Mountain California Dude Ranch

Marble Mountain Ranch - Somes Bar, CA

Greenhorn Ranch

Live California’s Lost Sierra 

Greenhorn has an incredible set up to share with guests in the Lost Sierra, an alpine paradise of 8,500-foot peaks and turquoise lakes. Guests are invited to dine with wranglers and soak up the Western lifestyle experience in this spectacular home away from home. They head out on the trail to grow in confidence with horses and their horseback riding skills. Once back at the barn guests have plenty of options for outdoor activities and relaxation. 

Greenhorn California Dude Ranch

Greenhorn Ranch - Quincy, CA

Rankin Ranch

150 Years and 5 Generations of History

As a historical working cattle operation, the Rankin Ranch was homesteaded 150 years ago and now is the home for the 4th and 5th generation of ranchers from the Rankin family. Businesses, families and travelers from around the world stop by to see what California dude ranch life is really all about. That is - riding through mountains and meadows, swimming, hiking and fishing in the Tehachapi Mountains or at the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest.  

Rankin Ranch California dude ranch

Rankin Ranch - Caliente, CA

 

View more dude ranches outside of California here!

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California dude & guest ranch vacations offer accommodations and itineraries that are exciting for the whole family or solo traveler. Horseback riding through mountains and meadows makes guests forget about the stereotypical beaches and crowds of California’s big cities. Guests see this undiscovered side at a dude ranch. Life at the ranch creates a sense of calm any traveler can appreciate with well-appointed cabins, rocking chairs and hot coffee.

Destination - California Ranch

With 163,696 square miles and 8,436 miles of coast California is home to more than just Hollywood and Silicon Valley. It is home to far more acres of recreation and history than you can imagine. Take yourself and your family into a secret corner for a vacation experience on a ranch. The Dude Ranchers' Association recommends four guest ranches of the highest quality spread out along the state of California.

California

Starting from the Northwestern corner of the state in the Klamath National Forest there is the Marble Mountain Ranch. This ranch specializes in what they call the 'Saddle and Paddle Program' where you can have equal parts horseback riding through the mountains and extensive white water rafting down the Klamath River. Oh, and you can get your NRA Basic Pistol Certification while you're there.

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch lies in the Northeast of Sacramento away from all the crowds. Greenhorn is sandwiched in the middle of Plumas National Forest for plenty of extra curricular activities within your dude ranch stay. Did you know racing frogs was a thing? Because you can take your children to the Greenhorn ranch to do just that. Experience some wild competition with the other families at the ranch to see who's giant frog will cross the finish line first. No worries, touching frogs is optional. Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular destinations for recreation in California.

At the Hunewill Guest Ranch they will take you on a trip there and give you the native scoop on all the most fascinating details of the park. The fun won't stop there because the ranch is also home to 1,200 head of cattle, 190 horses and an assortment of llamas, goats and sheep. You will definitely be out numbered by the livestock as the ranch can only host 45 guests at a time. The ranch was founded in 1861 by Napoleon Bonapart Hunewill and his wife Esther. The meals are still served in their original Victorian ranch house. Add all those years up and it's more than antique, it's living history.

Rankin Ranch is new to the Dude Ranchers' Association. We welcomed them with open arms this year after they successfully completed the application process for membership. They may be new kids on the block with the Association, but they have been in operation for over 150 years. It is one of the oldest and largest family owned ranches in California. Here you can immerse yourself in the sincere Western hospitality of home cooked meals, fresh vegetables and ranch raised beef. As a famous location in Caliente, California (super close to Los Angeles) you can escape with your friends and family to their mountain valley in the heart of California's Tehachapi Mountains and the Southern end of the Sequoia National Forest. In other words, next time you head to California, consider staying somewhere unique. Somewhere your family can get to know the locals who have been around for many generations. Have a ton of fun while living the ranch experience. For more information on each ranch's unique personality give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call for some clarification. Our number is 307.587.2339

Marble Mountain Ranch Saddle and Paddle in California

Marble Mountain's Saddle and Paddle Program

Hunewill Ranch California Herd of Horses

Hunewill Ranch Herd of Horses

Greenhorn Creek Ranch in California

Greenhorn Creek Ranch in California

Riding at Rankin Ranch California

Riding at Rankin Ranch California

Hunewill Ranch California Victorian Home

Hunewill Ranch Original Victorian Home


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Snow Free Spring Break Dude Ranch Vacation

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

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

Rancho de Los Caballeros

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

Flying E

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

Marble Mountain Rafting

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

Western Dude Ranches Appeal to Worldwide Travelers

There are some folks that drive across their home state or province to visit a dude ranch.  Others make a trans-Atlantic journey and don’t speak the same language as their hosts. Colleen Hodson, Executive Director of the Dude Ranchers’ Association says Western dude ranches (found throughout the plains, deserts and mountains of the US and Canada,) have mass appeal. 

DRA Brown Tag -1In fact, it seems they cross cultural barriers.  “I would say about 10 to 20 percent of our dude ranch guests are European, with folks from The UK and Germany representing the largest share,” notes Hodson. What is the tremendous lure of the Western dude ranch?  For starters, there’s the call to adventure, exhilarating freedom instilled by the wilderness, definite experience of place, sociability and camaraderie. 

 For more than a century, these are a few of the elements that have enticed visitors from around the globe and keep them coming back year after year. The opening of dude ranches in the American and Canadian West to paying guests has a long and illustrious history.  Media reports on the Western adventures of Teddy Roosevelt followed by the “Western” movie and prime time television shows like “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza” fueled the public’s fascination in the US and abroad with ranching and cowboys. 

In 1926 the Dude Ranchers’ Association was formed to represent the interests of the rapidly growing industry. Today the organization remains strong.  More than 100 ranches in the Western US and Canada are members of the DRA, as it’s often called. Each DRA member ranch has its own distinct character and charm. Before selecting a ranch visitors are encouraged to contact the DRA for suggestions of ranches matched best with their own style and preferences.  

There are several factors to consider including the classification of the ranch into one of three broad and sometimes overlapping categories.

Types of Western Ranches

First is the traditional Dude Ranch, centered on the horse and horse related activities.  Guests can ride to their hearts content and try their hand at wrangling, barrel-racing and may even perform in the weekly ranch rodeo. People who prefer this category of ranch tend to love horses and other rugged outdoor activities. 

 

The Resort Dude ranch includes riding as an activity along with many other pursuits and a variety of onsite facilities in addition to the stables.  These ranches are generally larger, able to accommodate more guests at one time and often appeal to the traveler who opts for a vacation with more luxuries. 

Finally, there’s the Working Dude Ranch.  These ranches are working cattle or sheep operations, with the riding adventure dictated by the work schedule surrounding the livestock.  Visitors of these ranches are immersed in the life of a working cowboy. The decision upon which ranch to visit is a personal one.  But it’s highly recommended the ranch selected is a DRA member.  This guarantees visitors from near and far that it  meets the highest industry standards in quality, safety, and authenticity.  (Not all ranches that apply for DRA membership qualify.  In fact 30% do not meet the strict standards!)   

Ranches accepted for membership are on probation for two years.  Every DRA ranch is inspected on a regular basis to ensure high DRA standards are maintained. No matter how far folks travel to reach their DRA ranch vacation destination and no matter what language they speak they can be reassured knowing a quality vacation experience awaits them.

 

 

Experience the Beauty of Fall at a Dude Ranch

Don’t just walk through the leaves, ride through the leaves as dude ranches are the original all-inclusive destination for fall travel, and it’s never too early to start planning your getaway. Imagine horseback riding under a canopy of technicolor fall foliage ranging from glorious reds, bright yellows, and vivid oranges.  Some of the nation’s best leaves can only be seen when you get off the major highways and head out to the winding country roads. Choose from guest ranches in Arizona or Colorado where fall changes the Aspen leaves or book a getaway to a dude ranch located near or within a National Park such as Triangle X Ranch located in Grand Teton National Park or Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which borders Buffalo River National Park in the Ozark region of Arkansas.

As the air cools down and the days get shorter on a dude ranch, fall fishing, hiking, and of course, horseback riding  are popular outdoor activities among guests to enjoy and take in the beautiful colors of fall. Many ranches also offer fall photography workshops to help guests capture the natural beauty of the autumn season. For those dude ranches that are actual working ranches, fall means cattle drives, and guests are often invited to join these memorable and one-of-a-kind drives.

Triangle X Ranch Sunset Creek fall

 While many people tout the benefits of “all-inclusive vacations,” few realize the variety of choices out there and that not all are created equal. Guest ranch getaways offer numerous advantages such as no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary and no hidden fees. In addition, dude ranches are the ideal all-inclusive destination for families of all types and sizes, especially multi-generational families with a wide variety of interests and abilities.

 The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) can help travelers and travel agents choose the perfect guest ranch for their fall getaway from its more than 100 DRA-accredited guest ranches in North American (two in Canada). Ranging from luxury resort-style ranches to working ranches, all of these dude ranches uphold the highest quality of services within the industry.

 

Fall is a Great Time for Couples to Visit a Dude Ranch

Flat-Creek-Fall-Tetons

 

When the kids get back on the bus it’s time for parents to get back in the saddle for a classic Western getaway.  From the latter part of August through October, dude ranches are a couples’ best bet to rekindle romance and replenish spirit.  And the price is right too!  

The height of summer finds most ranches filled to capacity with families.  In fall couples have their pick of dude ranches with September traditionally a time for adults only.  No need to break the bank for airfare, car rentals or a dozen tanks of gas, since for many American’s and Canadians, a ranch is found within less than a day’s drive.  And with rates including meals, riding, other activities, and accommodations, it becomes an even more attractive getaway.

To narrow the search and ensure high quality standards, consider only ranches belonging to The Dude Ranchers’ Association.  There are more than 100 DRA, as it’s known, ranches in the Western US and Canada.  Since 1926, the DRA has kept the bar raised high for the industry.   Travelers can be assured of an authentic Western experience and high standards of quality at any DRA ranch.

Spectacular dude ranch scenery is at an all time high in autumn when aspens sport yellow cloaks and icy mountain streams swirl with fat trout.  These are the conditions found at Northern California’s Hunewill Ranch.  Just East of Yosemite National Park, couples have their pick of packages this fall.  There’s the “Escape to the Ranch” weekend package in early September, or in the latter part of the month an “Autumn Getaway.”  For those with a little more time the “Fall Color Ride,” September 27 - October 1 is a dramatic adventure. 

 The only traffic passing Waunita Hot Springs Ranch  is an elk or two.  Perched high in the Colorado Rockies, surrounded by Gunnison National Forest land, time is measured only by shadows cast by the sun.  Add to the remote location an immense swimming pool, bathhouse and hot tub fed by natural hot springs and any cares or worries melt away.  The remote retreat caters to adults only August 25 - September 28. 

“An outpost of unpretentious comfort” is how folks describe the Spotted Horse Ranch in NW Wyoming.    An Orvis affiliate, and host to a trout fishing school, The Spotted Horse draws riders and angler from all over the world.  Sixteen miles from the Western resort town of Jackson Hole, it’s far enough away from the action that guests can enjoy solitude, but get a taste of city amenities like art galleries, fine shopping and sizzling nightlife.  In September and October this Wyoming paradise is reserved for adults only.  

The Dude Ranchers' Association was formed in 1926 to preserve this special way of life and the wonderful environment in which dude ranching takes place. When you vacation at a Dude Ranchers' Association Dude Ranch, you can be sure of a quality vacation. Membership in the Association is a rigorous two year inspection and approval process, to assure that guests are treated to genuine western hospitality combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards. Our Dude Ranches offer all-inclusive vacations that are perfect for everyone, from the littlest rancher to Grandpa and Grandma.  Horseback riding, hiking, petting zoos, swimming holes, rodeos, fishing, games, skeet shooting, archery, art classes, cooking classes and more await your discovery on your next Dude Ranch Vacation.  Horses, Hats, History and Hospitality - they're the foundation of every ranch. There is a little cowboy in all of us... come find yours...

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

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

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

Smith Fork Ranch Crawford, Colorado Phone: +1 855-539-1492 Smith Fork Ranch is a private luxury destination nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains amidst thousands of acres of the West Elk Wilderness and the Gunnison National Forest. SFR offers unique western adventures, gracious hospitality, superb farm to table cuisine and an award winning wine list.

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

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

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

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch McLeod, Montana Phone: +1 877-496-7848 Enjoy a Montana ranch vacation in a remote pristine wilderness north of Yellowstone. Small guest capacity and unique activities. Horseback riding; Fly fishing on private frontage along the Boulder River; Jeep ride to ghost town and historic gold mines; Hiking; Scenic raft float; Campfires/cookouts.  

THREE BARS CATTLE & GUEST RANCH Cranbrook, British Columbia Phone: +1 877-426-5230 Three Bars GuestRanch, The Adventure Ranch of the Canadian Rockies, invites you to experience the ultimate horseback riding vacation. Located just south of Banff National Park, Three Bars Ranch offers the most diverse activities program available anywhere. Voted Canada's #1 Dude Ranch 2011.

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

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