Your Next Wild West Adventure

Wild West Adventure

After scorching summers of heat, fire, drought, and, of course, the pandemic, it’s not uncommon to dream of a different life, much simpler, based on nature, and rooted in outdoor adventure and cozy relaxation come sunset. Luxury, traditional, and working dude ranches have survived prior pandemics, fierce natural disasters, and economic downfalls. The beginning of this decade proved to the world; the ride will go on! 

Throughout the Rocky Mountains, West to the Pacific, there are huge expanses of land and Western lifestyle to help elevate your mental and physical struggles during the pandemic. Here are four distinctly different ranches, in four Rocky Mountain enclaves to get you thoughtfully planning your next wild, West adventure. Next summer, where’s your ride going to be?

Wild West Adventure

Blacktail Ranch: Back to Nature in Montana

Located one hour from Great Falls and Helena, Montana, for air travel, or for easy drive-to directions, the Blacktail Ranch is nestled in the Rocky Mountains at the base of the Continental Divide surrounded by white-capped mountains, fields, and forests with a clear sparkling river running through the property. Guests can choose from a variety of cabins for their accommodations and there are three and seven-night all-inclusive options. 

Horseback riding is offered for ages seven and older for all levels. Children ages four to seven can ride horseback around the property while being led by a wrangler. Exclusive to this ranch is the Blacktail Cave Exploration & Museum, a cave tour, and museum visit. There is also a three-day Divide Ride that takes you to the top of the Continental Divide. Bird watching, body work, yoga, fishing, and rafting are just a handful of the weekly activities. And, with a prime location between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, guests never, ever can run out of outdoor activity.  

Fast Facts

Elevation: 4,600 Feet

Season: June-September

Connectivity: Wifi in the main lodge, cellular service is marginal at the ranch. 

Wild West Adventure

Klondike Ranch: Working the Wyoming Land

When you dream of wild, open, Wyoming, the landscape is exactly that of Klondike Ranch. This is a working cattle ranch, situated in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. The week-long, all-inclusive experience truly immerses guests into the cowboy lifestyle. Accommodations include modern and comfortable cabins, each with their own private bathroom, and offer a home-away-from-home element, with some added rustic charm. Some cabins do have kitchenettes, as well as living areas.

Guests who want to ride, this is the destination! They have the opportunity to horseback ride, herd cattle, assist in ranch work, and take the horses out on an overnight campout. The owners, the Tass Family, truly work to match each rider with the best horse for their ability in order to enjoy the extreme immersion into the ranching West. Guided fishing, hiking, photography, and historical tours are also offered as well as the weekly rodeo. 

Fast Facts

Elevation: 5,000 feet

Season: June-September

Connectivity: Internet available

Wild West Adventure

McGarry Ranches: Ideal Idaho

The McGarry Ranch is actually two separate ranches located in southeastern Idaho, in the upper Snake River Valley and along the South Fork of the Snake River, approximately 90 miles west of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Theron McGarry, a lifelong cowboy, and fourth-generation rancher, started the guest ranch which continues on with his family today, your hosts. 

There are not many dude and guest ranches in the State of Idaho; therefore, the experience of daily activities such as roping, driving cattle to new pastures, fence-mending and never-ending odd jobs, all of which maintain the integrity of the herd, allow guests to escape to another genre and truly embrace the Gem State’s outrageously diverse land. 

Guest spend most of the week scattering cattle on the range, doctoring cattle, packing salt for cattle, trailing cattle to a new pasture on the mountain, and gathering up stray cattle in some of the most scenic mountain country of Idaho. Come sunset there is plenty of space to relax, stock small items in the cabin refrigerators, browse a library of paperback books, and a TV in the dining room and the Vet Shed (but you'll be too busy or tired to watch).

Fast Facts

Elevation: 4,800 feet

Season: May-October

Connectivity: Wifi in the main lodge

Wild West Adventure

Drowsy Water Ranch: Legacy Landscape

The 700-acre family guest ranch is nearly their 100th anniversary celebration this decade! The Fosha Family have owned and operated the ranch since 1977, and have developed a world-renowned reputation for unpretentious quality, insanely personal and experiential Western activity, and most importantly, a nice cabin for bunking down and plenty of homemade food to keep the fuel going in your belly for plenty of riding. 

This week-long dude ranch opportunity is only 90 miles from Denver, and travelers can now arrive at the ranch with such ease. Fly into Denver, hop on the light rail to Union Station, grab the scenic Amtrak train to Granby and the ranch will be there to pick you up! Of course, driving is lovely, passing by the continental divide in route to this vast landscape is spectacular, especially with surrounding wildlife such as deer, elk, moose, coyote, and birds of prey in the area.

The ranch has over 100 head of horses for guests to ride, each personally matched to the riders’ ability and comfort level. Drowsy Water is family-oriented with a world-class kids’ program. Whitewater rafting is included with each week’s activity and there is also an onsite zipline. Just miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, the ranch has premiere views and sunsets and sunrises that cannot be found in many parts of the country. 

Fast Facts

Elevation: 8,200 feet

Season: June-September

Connectivity: Wifi in the main lodge

Need help narrowing down the options further? Contact one of our dude ranch experts! info@duderanch.org • 308-587-2339

Vacation 2021Vacation 2021

The Best Dude Ranch Spas

    Best Dude Ranch Spas

     Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. However, research shows that it takes a few days for a person to TRULY begin to relax on a vacation. But a day at the spa on a dude ranch definitely can’t hurt in speeding up the process of de-stressing! Here are some lush dude ranch spas that will leave you feeling recharged and renewed during your vacation:

Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort | Solvang, CA

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort has a top-notch spa center. Offering nine different massages that will cater to everyone from the mommies-to-be to the cowboy and cowgirls before and after their rides. Along with their broad range of massages, Alisal also offers three different facial treatments: an antiaging facial, vitamin-C infused and a customized rejuvenating facial. Whether you schedule a whole spa day or slip in after a long day of riding, Alisal’s spa center will SURELY relax you during your dude ranch vacation!

C Lazy U Ranch | Granby, CO

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     C Lazy U Ranch’s massages and facials are to-die-for! In addition to these, they offer a detoxifying and toning body wrap. This peaceful treatment begins with an exfoliation followed by a cocoon-like body wrap that will immerse your body in nutrients to detoxify and brighten your skin. C Lazy U also offers a decadent body scrub treatment that is the perfect solution after a dusty trail ride. This scrub will leave your skin looking supple, refreshed and deeply moisturized! And last, but certainly not least, C Lazy U offers copper tub soaks that every cowboy and cowgirl will enjoy. Soak away any stress while enjoying views of the Continental Divide. (Pro tip: Order a bottle of wine or champagne in advance for ultimate relaxation!)

Lost Creek Ranch | Moose, WY

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Want to relax in the beauty and solitude of the Grand Tetons? Lost Creek Ranch is the place to do it! Nothing beats a rejuvenating mineral bath and facial after your first day in the saddle. After your cozy, peaceful bath, melt away your worries and tired muscles with an open-air massage (you didn’t come this far to be inside!). Once you’ve concluded your spa treatment, grab a light snack and some fruit and enjoy the mountain views by the pool. Lost Creek is any weary traveler’s dream come true!

Rancho de los Caballeros | Wickenburg, AZ

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Rancho de los Caballeros offers a seemingly endless menu of spa options: bath soaks, body scrubs, wraps, massages, manicures, pedicures, and even hair and makeup services! This ranch has one of the most diverse facial menus with services designed specifically for the needs of dry, sun-damaged skin (you are in Arizona after all). A must-have treatment with immediate results you will be able to see and feel is the oxygenating facial. This revolutionary treatment improves circulation and eliminates toxins leaving the skin absolutely illuminated. Rancho de los Caballeros hasn’t forgotten about the cowboys that need to be pampered! Their spa also offers a grooming facial that includes a customized treatment along with grooming of the eyebrows, ears and nose. This will be a perfect Arizona retreat!

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch | Tucson, AZ

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Relieve your mind, relax your muscles and reduce your stress at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Their massages include a therapeutic “Ranchers Dream Aroma Touch Therapy” massage which uses eight therapeutic grade essential oils to reduce and eliminate your daily stresses. This treatment also enhances your immune system, reduces inflammation and will create balance in your body. Follow this with one of their lavish body wraps and facials that will replenish your skin and leave you revitalized and hydrated. Tanque Verde Guest Ranch’s spa will surely help you wind down after an adventurous day in the desert.

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

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     The Spa at the Broadmoor boasts an infinite list of spa treatments and services: hydrotherapies, facials, massages, body treatments, waxing services, and hair and makeup services. We’ve narrowed it down to their three decadent packages: The “Queen Bee” package beings with a divine honey-based wrap with an agave nectar massage. This package is followed by a manicure and pedicure. Your second option is the “Wine Down” package. This begins with a 30-minute sugar scrub, succeeded by a 50-minute Swedish massage with olavie wine therapy oil, and ends with a signature manicure and pedicure. The third package is the “B.F.F.” This well-rounded package opens with a 50-minute massage, followed by a 50-minute custom facial, and concludes with a pedicure. No matter which package you select, you will certainly be left rejuvenated and restored. 

     The services offered in dude ranch spas are good for the body, mind, and soul. Massages can not only help ease altitude discomfort but also help in boosting your immune system after traveling. Facials and body treatments will nourish your skin after riding in the sun all day and are a great treat for yourself to help you destress. No matter which dude ranch spa you visit, it will truly be a pampering experience you never knew you needed! For more information on dude ranches with spas contact a dude ranch specialist at the Dude Ranchers’ Association today! Email us at info@duderanch.org or give us a call 307-587-2339! We represent over 95 dude and guest ranches in the Western United States and Canada, we will help you find the ranch of your dreams!

Best Dude Ranch Spas  Best Dude Ranch Spas  Best Dude Ranch Spas

7 Unexpected Travel Destinations

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

More and more people are breaking out of the traditional vacation mold and venturing off to more unknown and unexpected travel destinations. Disney World, cruises, and beach vacations are slowly losing their appeal due to stressful crowds and long lines. Vacationers are longing for a vacation that will stand out from their neighbors and friends. Because of this new craving for new, less touristy adventures, dude ranches are thriving! A dude ranch vacation can provide so much peace, adventure and an experience that will leave your friends envious! 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch: Kamloops, British Columbia

Located halfway between Vancouver and Banff, Campbell Hills Guest Ranch is easily accessible, yet still remote enough to provide rest, relaxation and solitude for guests. When you arrive at the ranch, you’ll feel your worries drift away as you settle into perfect harmony with the rhythms of nature. Ride a horse on the alpine meadows, observe unique birds in their natural habitat and discover the many hidden fishing spots in British Columbia. We guarantee it’ll be an experience unlike any other!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Bull Hill Guest Ranch: Kettle Falls, Washington

Bull Hill Guest Ranch sits at the Canadian border in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Travelers looking for a more laid-back horseback riding experience can saddle up for a scenic, guided trail ride. The trail rides combine breathtaking views and a variety of terrain, including open meadows and forests. Riders can even hit the trail to visit the nearby winery to sample selections in the tasting room or enjoy a cold brew in the Crown Creek Saloon. After dinner is time to socialize and enjoy the evening sunset. Why not head up to the trap shooting range and fire off a few rounds and show your shooting prowess? The cowboys will bring up the gear and the clays; all you need to do is have fun!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Diamond D Ranch: Stanley, Idaho

The Diamond D Ranch is nestled in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states, the Frank Church Wilderness, and is surrounded by the beautiful Salmon River mountains. There is an endless amount of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish and mountains in which to hike or horseback ride. To experience true untouristed areas, ask about their pack trips and backpacking trips! Some of their other activities include gold panning, volleyball, archery, target and skeet shooting, barbecues, campfires, swimming in their pool, or relaxing in their hot tub, wildlife viewing, scenic trips, fly fishing, and recently added wilderness photography tours!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch: Saratoga, Wyoming 

The Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch sits at approximately 8,500 feet in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains and is the perfect place for the adventurous traveler to escape and explore. Guests can participate in pottery, enjoy the peaceful surroundings in the pristine mountain air while fly fishing, or visit the nearby town of Saratoga and soak in the natural springs and famous hot pool. Above all, we encourage you to explore the beautiful mountains on the horseback ride of a lifetime at this ranch. 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

JJJ Wilderness Ranch: Augusta, Montana

Escape to the JJJ Wilderness Ranch: the place to discover landscapes so big and open and rugged that it stretches your soul. Tucked just inside Montana's majestic Rocky Mountain Front between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, the ranch offers an adventure for every traveler: horseback riding, fishing, campfires, dancing and so much more! We can’t forget to mention the casual sightings of elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and black bear! A lot has changed in the world, but not here.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Rankin Ranch: Caliente, California

Break out of the hustle and bustle of city life and discover the tranquility that Rankin Ranch has to offer. Horseback riding is a clear favorite at the ranch, but visitors also enjoy bicycling, fishing, hiking, and swimming (in the pool and in the creek!). Nights are filled with fun evening activities…square dancing, pool and foosball tournaments, talent shows, and their exciting “Horse Races” complete with stick horses. Another guest favorite is the weekly evening hayride and barbecue to the meadow complete with a horseshoe tournament. Another favorite activity is a visit to Sarah’s Farm where you can bottle feed calves and toss corn out for the chickens.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Sprucedale Guest Ranch: Eager, Arizona

Nestled high in the pine country of Northeastern Arizona – 7,400 ft. above the sea and miles from civilization - is a little-known secret called, Sprucedale Guest Ranch. This family-owned, working ranch provides all the ingredients for good old-fashioned time. Pull on your boots and mount a horse for a thrilling ride through pine-covered mountains flowing with trout-filled streams. Horseback riding takes center stage at Sprucedale and is a sheer pleasure for beginner and experienced riders alike! Sprucedale Guest Ranch is truly a glimpse of heaven on earth!

Now, there are only 8 ranches on this list, but we have a total of 97 in the Dude Ranchers’ Association! Connect with one of our vacation specialists today to find the perfect unexpected travel destination for you or use our Activities & Amenities page to help narrow down your search. It will be the adventure vacation your family and friends will NEVER forget!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations 8 Unexpected Travel Destinations 8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

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

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