Book before January!

As families get together for the holidays and consider past celebrations, vacations and shared moments, the conversations often move to the topic of “Where are we going to book our next family holiday destination?” The Thanksgiving through New Years holiday season is a busy time of vacation inquiries for dude and guest ranches. That being said, most small venue dude ranches have a guest capacity under 50 persons. An extended family group that incorporates 2-4 family units might mean that an inquiring party is looking at reserving greater than half of the ranch capacity. This means that you must select a date that has minimal prior reservations in order to book for your family group size. To book last minute at these smaller venue vacation destinations is extremely difficult, since the prime dates often fill-up a year in advance. If you are considering a dude ranch or guest ranch vacation, and you hope to travel during the months of June, July, or August, then firming up your travel plans by the prior January is not too early. In fact, many of the prime weeks will already be filled by January. Small venue size, loyal returning clients, restrictive travel dates, and competing advance planners all add-up to a call to action for prospective dude ranch vacationers. Don’t Wait! Choose your ideal ranch, and make the call now, before you are disappointed by having your only available travel date blocked-out with a filled to capacity ranch. Below are some great ranches you might choose from. By Doug Cole, Marble Mountain Ranch

Book a Stay with Rawah Ranch

Colorado high country To the mountain tribe of Ute Indians, “Rawah” was the word meant for “abundance.” Nestled at 8,400 feet, just south of the Wyoming border neighboring the snow capped peaks of the rugged Rawah Wilderness, Rawah Ranch and Fly Fishing Lodge occupies a magical setting in the still undiscovered Big Laramie River valley.

  Book a Stay at Elk River Guest Ranch

The Elk River Valley, within the historic ranch lands of Steamboat Springs, Colorado Bordered by the 2.2 million acre Medicine Bow - Routt National Forest (clear up into Wyoming) and offering 2,000 feet of private river frontage, the Elk River Guest Ranch offers a unique blend of outdoor activities, town proximity, and mountain solitude.

  Book a Stay at Deep Canyon Ranch

The foothills of the Rocky Mountains Nestled in the Teton Canyon, our 1,200 acre ranch offers a diversity of riding experiences. From the foothills of the Rocky Mountain Front to the canyons entering the Bob Marshall Wilderness, you can enjoy the magnificence of nature at it's best at the Deep Canyon Ranch. A capable and experienced staff, with room for 20 guests, and owner operated, we have made this our home and business since 1958. Enjoy your free time in our spacious lodge or dining room with-a-view, or in your comfortable, modern cabin with it's porch overlooking the valley.

Book a Stay at the Sweet Grass Cattle Ranch

Sixth generation, family-owned cattle operation and guest ranch With miles of Sweet Grass Creek winding through the ranch, alpine forests, pristine lakes, and rolling foothills dotted with vibrant wildflowers, Sweet Grass Ranch offers spectacularly diverse terrain beckoning to be explored.  Our family welcomes guests to join us for exceptional horseback adventures, authentic cattle work, and to experience the area’s abundant recreation opportunities; including hiking, plentiful wildlife viewing, and lake, stream or pond fishing.


5 Extraordinary Dude Ranches for Families

There’s one vacation category where extraordinary families can simply park the car, unpack their bags and settle in for a week of jam-packed action. It’s the Western dude ranch, a place where folks don’t have to think about what comes next because all the details are in place to let the good times roll!  Sure, the horse and riding are paramount to any Western dude ranch experience. The Dude Ranchers’ Association is the first to confirm riding is at the heart of any ranch getaway. But, according to DRA Executive Director, Colleen Hodson, there are folks who wouldn’t dream of hopping on a saddle that choose a DRA Western dude ranch for active family vacations. In addition to riding or sometimes in place of riding, guests ride the rapids, paddle a canoe, play golf or tennis, hike in the wilderness, cycle the back roads and mountain trails, go caving, hot air ballooning or rock climbing. She says active parents usually participate in the same sports as their kids, and she adds, “Another beauty of multi-sporting at a dude ranch is when they want to take time for themselves, Dad can play a round of golf and Mom can relax with spa treatments.”  The ranches listed below offer extraordinary opportunities for families.  The information listed for each ranch is only the beginning. To find out more follow the links or give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call at 307.587.2339.

All Day Kids Program

A Bar A Ranch - Encampment, Wyoming

A Bar A Kids Horse

The ranch is a paradise for children, and our Children’s Program helps them explore it with fun and safe activities. Children ages 3 through 12 can choose to participate in the Children’s Program from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., including lunch, dinner, and snacks. Riding, fishing, soccer, arts and crafts, music and drama, swimming, tennis, and educational games are just a few of the activities offered by caring and fun children’s counselors.



Visit Local Petroglyphs

CM Ranch Dubois, Wyoming

CM Arena High Five

Children of all ages are welcome at the CM. For children 5 years and older there is supervised riding with the kiddy wrangler, who makes sure they have a lot of fun while learning western riding skills. Children will experience flavorful ranch traditions and may spend an afternoon exploring nearby ancient Indian petroglyphs or visiting the local fish hatchery. Our large recreation building provides an abundance of space for crafts, games and music. The CM staff works hard to make sure everyone has the most enjoyable ranch experience possible.



Saddle & Paddle Program

Marble Mountain Ranch Somes Bar, California

Marble Mountain Family Vacation

Our signature all inclusive "saddle and paddle" or raft and ride vacation joins our superb dining experience and our youth buckaroo program to create the best and most complete family dude ranch vacation. Our horseback trail riding and equestrian programs are spectacular, but our defining feature is our ability to keep whole families engaged with our variety of outdoor Western adventures. No other ranch can duplicate our all inclusive summit to sea experience with mountain trail riding, white water rafting, steelhead fly fishing, or jet boat tours to the Pacific Ocean!



Bring Your Own Babysitter for Free

Cherokee Park Ranch Livermore, Colorado

View More:

We pride ourselves on our kids programs which are for 2-12 year old. We will keep them busy with arrow head hunting, bow and arrow shooting, boat building, critter petting, crafting, horseshoe painting, kickball playing, panning for gold, fort making, hiking, scavenger hunting, s’more making, & tee pee camp outs and of course, daily horseback rides! If you like, you may even join in on the kid’s ride! For young ones under three, we offer a unique opportunity: bring your own full-time baby-sitter, free of charge.


Yellowstone's "Boiling River" - Offsite Adventure Trip for Teens

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Emigrant, Montana

Mountain Sky Dude Ranch Family

Why should the little ones get to have all the fun? Our energetic teen counselors are here to ensure that our guests 13 and older have the vacation experience of a lifetime! Activities include gourmet teen dinners, hilarious talent show skits, and off-site adventures like trips to Yellowstone’s “Boiling River”, rock climbing in Yankee Jim Canyon, and clay target shooting in Paradise Valley.


Dude Ranches for Families


There’s one vacation category where extraordinary families can simply park the car, unpack their bags and settle in for a week of jam-packed action. It’s the Western dude ranch, a place where folks don’t have to think about what comes next because all the details are in place to let the good times roll!

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our privacy policy for more information.