Working Cattle Ranches Are Great For Young Adults

As your kids grow into adulthood (17 to early 20s) their individual interests begin to branch off into new and different directions.  As parents you long to plan trips that will fully engage them and create long-lasting memories.  But how?  How do parents get their burgeoning young adults to fully abandon their pocket technology and other distractions and simply hang out as a family…and love it? These questions popped up regularly in our house as my husband and I considered where to spend our family vacations.  Colorado Cattle Company Adult

We wondered if a dude ranch might hold some answers but, as a family of four from Ohio with mixed horse experience and knowledge, we had some reservations.  Our family: Brian (20), Emily (18), Bill, and Kristin. We were concerned that our 20-yr-old son, and complete non-horseman, would not enjoy it. We didn’t worry about our daughter (18); she is our resident equestrian, riding English since third grade. 

My husband grew up in rural Ohio with a “pet” horse but no formal training and no continued riding experience as an adult, while I had what I termed horse familiarity as a “barn mom” – but no actual riding experience. Well, after a number of years of cautious consideration we finally pulled the trigger and booked at Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch, owned and operated by Tom & Darcy Carr in New Raymer, CO.  Looking toward the main ranch gate–nothing but pastures, rolling hills, and bluffs for miles and miles and miles, in all directions. What can we share?  First and foremost, we shouldn’t have waited so long!  If you’re on the fence about booking a similar trip with your “emerging adult children,” Go For It!  And Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch would be an excellent option

... Read the rest of Kristin Shawd's experiences here.  Kristin is a wife, mother-of-two and soon-to-be-empty-nester who has just launched TuesdayPause.com - a travel blog with a go-often, go-local twist.

 

For more information about working cattle ranches throughout the west, look to these additional states to offer a similar experience to Kristin's. Wyoming

The Klondike Ranch is nestled in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains of north central Wyoming, and has been in their family since the 1920's. You are invited to take part in their way of life, and experience the thrill of a real Western ranch in the beautiful atmosphere of the Old West. You will  become a part of the family and they take great lengths to ensure you are comfortable, well fed, taken care of and get as much riding in as you can handle. At Klondike, they enjoy making your stay there as memorable and enjoyable as it should be.

Nebraska

Step back into the Old West and satisfy the cowboy in you as you come alongside the cowboys of the 1+1 Ranch. This 7,000 acre ranch, set in the beautiful sand hills of Nebraska is the perfect setting for your getaway & some of the most spectacular horseback riding ever. Get involved as much or as little as you want in daily ranch activities such as cattle drives, branding, working cattle, gathering & sorting, roping, checking cattle & windmills in the wide open pastures. Arena activities are also available as time allows - riding lessons, team penning, tracking & roping lessons. You will be matched up with one of the ranch raised quarter horses that you can call your own during your entire stay.

You can read more stories about cattle work on our blog and contact the Dude Ranchers' Association with any questions.

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Love is in the Air

Love is in the air! Well, maybe not quite yet, but Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. Make this year truly special by surprising your significant other with a planned romantic getaway and giving the gift of shared memories that he or she will treasure for years to come. The below ranchers, offer effortless planning with all-inclusive vacations located in some of the most awe-inspiring areas of the Western U.S. and Canada.

Savor an Adults-Only Romantic Retreat. Fall in love all over again at Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado. Couples can enjoy a mix of relaxing time in the hot tub or private cabin with shared adventures out on the trail. Amenities at this luxury resort ranch include fine dining, plush accommodations and personal service. With a secluded setting 25 miles outside of Steamboat Springs, the ranch’s intimate setting will rekindle the romance in your relationship in no time. Winter adult only times are Jan. 3 through Feb. 12, 2015.

Vista Verde Dude Ranch Snow Trail Ride

Play a Round (or Two) of Award-Winning Golf. Located in Wickenburg, Arizona (just 75 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport), Rancho de los Caballeros is a historic dude ranch that offers the ultimate dude ranch resort experience. Think peaceful horseback rides through the desert, soothing hot stone massages, lounging by the pool and laidback games of golf. Couples that like to bond on the greens will appreciate that the course is a Golf Digest top-five rated course and a top 100 course nationally.

Go Off the Grid to the Ultimate Winter Playground. Active couples can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding and skiing in Wyoming at Triangle X Ranch and Triangle C Ranch. Centrally located in Grand Teton National Park, Triangle X offers secluded, quiet and comfortable lodging in cozy cabins highlighted with four-star dining. After a full day, return to the comfortable lodge and relax Western-style with a warm fire and a large outdoor jacuzzi. Triangle C is nestled in the Rocky Mountains between Jackson Hole and Dubois. Explore 600 miles of groomed trails in Wyoming’s abundant fresh powder, or opt for a luxurious snow-coach tour of Yellowstone.

Rancho de los Caballeros Golf Course

Get Up Close and Personal with Nature. Nestled on the banks of Wyoming’s Buffalo Fork River, Turpin Meadow Ranch offers endless views of the Teton Range. Completely restored in 2013, the ranch’s 80-year old cabins now have luxurious bathrooms, gas-lit fireplaces and locally crafted furniture. This winter, stay three nights in a refined Cabin, Chalet or Lodge Room with breakfast each morning and incredible wildlife watching from your front porch, and Jackson Hole Wildlife Eco Tour Adventures into Grand Teton National Park.

Elope to a Quiet B&B. Bed and Breakfast season at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Colorado runs from late September until mid-May. Enjoy home cooked, Western-style meals, lodging (with all the amenities you expect but without the big resort atmosphere) and horseback riding on the trails of Roosevelt National Forest in a gracious, quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Many couples have found this to be the perfect destination for a low key, simple elopement wedding – the ranch will even help you plan it! The winter season is also pet-friendly at Sundance Trail, just in case your special day wouldn’t be complete without your four-legged family member.

Latigo Dude Ranch Skiing

Ski to Your Hearts Content. Drink in the views, inhale the crisp mountain air and revel in some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery during a dreamy Nordic ranch winter getaway to Latigo Ranch. Activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing, along with tempting amenities like a hot tub, historic log lodge (which offers a panoramic view of 100 miles of the Continental Divide) and complete food service. Rental equipment is available on-site, and you can also ski just for the day. You can also find great on-snow Fat Biking fun on the ranch’s groomed mountain trails.


 

Winter Weddings, Sleigh Rides and Skiing

Has that summer lovin' turned into something more serious? Sundance Trails Ranch specializes in making your winter weddings and elopements both beautiful and memorable. Honeymoons here are complete with Colorado snowy vistas and warm fireplaces in your own private log cabin. Stargazing from the jacuzzi completes the dream stay. Who knows, your one night stay may turn into two or a full week.

Lone Mountain Ranch Larry & Curly Draft Horses

Meet Larry and Curly. They are 6 year old Percherons at the Lone Mountain Ranch in the famous Big Sky, Montana. After two years in their sleigh ride program Curly is known to be full of energy and mischievous. Apparently it's not unusual to see him take the hose out of the water tank and spray water around. Larry is also playful and loves to push against things. These guys are a team of the noble steeds, if you will that draws the sleigh rides to the remote North Fork cabin. Here you'll have a very special dinner cooked on an old fashioned wood-fired cook stove.  A Montana-sized prime rib dinner is served family style in a room illuminated by kerosene lanterns. Cowboy music rounds out an evening reminiscent of times long ago. 

While ranches in more northerly states are generally busiest during the summer, many ranches from Wyoming, Montana and Colorado all the way up to British Columbia, Canada, are open for business during winter. With 60 Kilometers of machine groomed trails Latigo Ranch offers cross country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. As a member of the Cross Country Ski Areas Association they guarantee a winter adventure's paradise. Check out a map of their cross country ski trails.  


 

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Head South for the Winter

If you’re planning a getaway or full-fledged vacation during the heart of the winter, consider heading South. There is wide range of options available from the member ranches of The Dude Ranchers’ Association. Winter provides an ideal opportunity in the warmer climates of the Southwest for a traditional dude ranch vacation. Across Arizona, for instance, ranches operate either year-round or seasonally from fall through spring. Horseback rides through inspiring stretches of the desert or on stunning mountain trails are just the beginning. Hiking, mountain biking, swimming, scrumptious meals, and plenty of time to kick back and relax amidst the region’s natural splendors makes for a great ending.Circle Z Icon

Want to stay in a traditional setting?  Circle Z Ranch this winter will be an enchanting vacation. This ranch has seven historic Spanish- style adobe guest cottages that dot the plateau on which the ranch lies. Accommodations vary from individual rooms to suites with living rooms or entirely private cottages, each reflecting Southwestern charm. The Casa Rosa (arch way pictured above) is an adobe building in the Spanish Revival style embracing a fountain courtyard. There are eight double rooms, each with a private bath and courtyard entrance. This is a favorite of many returning guests. Several of the rooms have connecting doors for families.

Western style horseback riding at Elkhorn Ranch provides adventure and a great way to see the incredible scenery of the Baboquivari Mountains. The ranch’s ten thousand acres provide plenty of remote canyons and mountain country to explore, a true wilderness experience. Experience gentle or loping rides through the desert and more vigorous trips up into the mountains – including all day ventures with sandwiches or a mule-packed hot lunch. You won't forget this winter vacation. Flying E Celebrate a cowboy Christmas at the ranch. Take a step back into old west days and celebrate the season. Make ornaments to decorate a real Christmas tree, eat cookies by the fire, and sing carols while waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning breakfast ride offers a western breakfast at Yucca Flats. Hotcakes on the campfire griddle, ham, sausage, cowboy potatoes, eggs and the best dutch oven biscuits you have ever tasted. The best gift is the gift of family time. Additional Arizona Ranches: Rancho de los Caballeros White Stallion Tanque Verde


 

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