Pet & Dog Friendly Ranch Vacations

Dog Friendly Ranch VacationsA ranch is your next adventure vacation and there is no way your "best friend" can stay with your neighbor or at a boarding facility for a week or more. So, take your dog with you to dog friendly ranch vacations! If your dog is fit for long distance mountain traveling, doesn't chase anything but toys and stays off the furniture, he or she may be a great fit on a dude ranch. Even if you have an older dog whose running days are drifting away, he or she can relax at the ranch while you're trail riding and join you later for an afternoon of fishing or a stroll around the ranch property.

Ranch vacations are famous for their hospitality and the ranches listed below would love to treat you and your pet like family. However, ranches consider pets on a case by case basis and would like the opportunity to discuss your specific animal(s) you are traveling with and if it would be a good fit for the ranch. The ranchers have to ensure a safe environment for you, the dog and other guests with allergies and therefore have a variable pet policy. Please contact the ranches individually to find out more about their dog friendly policies and requirements.

Dog Friendly Ranch Vacations

Arizona ~ Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

California ~ Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch

Colorado ~ Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch

Idaho ~ Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Montana ~ The Bar W Guest RanchSweet Grass Ranch, Broken Arrow Lodge, Rocking Z Ranch, Covered Wagon Ranch

Washington ~ Bull Hill Guest Ranch

Wyoming ~ Klondike Ranch, Spotted Horse Ranch

 

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Riding Lessons Before My Ranch Stay?

The Dude Ranchers' Association often receives inquiries about riding lessons before going on a dude ranch vacation. Recently, Philip W asked,

"Should I attend a Western riding school here in England before? Or, would it be better to wait till I am at the ranch in case the teaching here is not as good as (or would conflict with) that which I would receive on the ranch?"

In short, I responded "I think it would be a great idea to take riding lessons before you go." The long explanation below has a little more information. English and Western riding styles vary but the essential muscles used are the same. Taking lessons from a quality location will teach you about basic interactions with horses and help get you in shape for a weeks worth of riding. However, please understand that horse training and styles of riding can be related to intense perspectives. The more flexible you are at learning different viewpoints the more you are apt to benefit from the dude ranch experience and independent riding lessons. Each dude ranch in this association has policies and guidelines in place to keep riders safe. Adaptation to each location will be essential. Most riding lessons will occur in an enclosed arena and most dude ranches ride over hills, mountains and National Parks. If you can imagine these differences of locations you can imagine why the instructions might be different.

Should I Take Riding Lessons Before My Ranch Stay?

  • Introduction to Equus Caballus, the modern day horse

A horse weighs anywhere from 840 - 2,300 pounds, 4.7 - 6 feet at the shoulders and has as many different breeds as dogs. There are lots of different things you can learn about this animal and the equipment used in your lessons. The physical characteristics, proper etiquette and basic grooming techniques. Each horse you meet is different from the next; the more interactions you have with them the more you can discover.

  • Physical Fitness

Horseback riding does not require extreme athleticism, but like learning any new sport or exercise, new muscles can be "discovered" by soreness. Taking lessons would be an accurate, if not the most accurate, way to identify these muscles. Preventing soreness would definitely make your ranch stay more enjoyable.

  • Coordination, Balance and Stability

First time riders may soon realize that riding a horse is tougher than it looks. It requires coordination, balance and stability. There are a lot of parts and pieces to keep up with. A lot needs to happen simultaneously to get a horse to pick up speed or even walk in a circle without wandering off. Riding lessons will begin this learning journey, that even the most experienced of riders continue to improve upon.

Riding is definitely not as hard as walking a tight rope at the circus, but it does require you to straddle the horse and stay in the middle. Balancing and stabilizing your weight in your seat and in the stirrups gets easier with practice. And the better you are at this the easier it will be on the horse.

All this being said, dude ranches are accustomed to and enjoy sharing their love of horses and horseback riding with novice riders and can accommodate all experience levels. You can ride for as long as you like each day and your down time is flexible. Did you know that most dude ranches offer riding lessons as well? All in all I would say riding lessons are a good idea before, during and even after your dude ranch stay. Make sure the location is a quality one and learn all you can. Call the office at 307.587.2339 if you have any questions. Be inspired by this quote from Denis Diderot

"There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge... observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination."
Sundance Trail Arena Rodeo Barrel Race Riding Lesson
Sundance Trail Ranch in Colorado Offers Riding Lessons and Rodeo Activities

Read more about the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Rocking Z Arena Round Pen Riding Lessons
The Rocking Z Ranch Teaches Lessons from Pat Parelli

Read more about the Rocking Z Ranch

McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch Riding Lessons
 
Learn about cattle work at the McGinnis Meadows Cattle Ranch

Read more about the McGinnis Meadows Cattle Ranch

 

Do I Need Riding Lessons Before a Dude Ranch Vacation?

The Dude Ranchers' Association often receives inquiries about riding lessons before going on a dude ranch vacation. Recently, Philip W asked, "Should I attend a Western riding school here in England before? Or, would it be better to wait till I am at the ranch in case the teaching here is not as good as (or would conflict with) that which I would receive on the ranch?" Read more about why we think it may be a good idea to take riding lessons before your stay.

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Ride for the Adventure

Would you like to ride out on the open prairie shoulder to shoulder with your family?  If so there are great ranches who offer advanced horseback riding opportunities as the terrain permits. At the member ranches of the Dude Ranchers' Association safety is always first.  Trail guides are knowledgeable of horsemanship and teaching basic riding skills.  So take off on your next vacation and enjoy some advanced riding at a dude ranch. You are sure you would like some riding in the West, but maybe, not so sure about selecting the right ranch with the right personalities for your travels. No worries, the ranches listed below are carefully selected to provide you with the most adventure. They are listed by two separate categories, a working cattle ranch experience focusing on teaching you the ways of the cowboy and a traditional dude ranch experience focusing on trail riding and all sorts of other kinds of adventure. Once you have made it that far in your decision, further narrow in on your perfect match by looking at the terrain of the ranch, the time of year you are traveling and the scale of luxury you prefer.

 

Advanced Riding on a Working Cattle Ranch

Working cattle ranches would like guests to help them with their cattle work, so nose to tail  riding is discouraged while trailing a herd of 100+ cattle on a cattle drive.  You will find adventure around everyday cattle work well.

 

 

McGinnis Meadows Advanced Horseback Riding

McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch, Libby, Montana

McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch is an authentic working cattle ranch located in the northwest corner of Montana. Beginner riders to experienced leave here with more knowledge about horses, horsemanship, and cattle, than they've experienced anywhere else. With approximately 15 guests per week, we can better know you, work with you individually, and tailor each day to you.

 

 

Burnt Well Advanced Horseback Riding

Burnt Well Guest Ranch, Roswell, New Mexico

Burnt Well Guest Ranch is located in warm, sunny, southeastern New Mexico. Guests have said "This is John Wayne country!" Our riding is in open pasture unless you opt for a mountain trail ride for your day trip, with a 6 day package.

 

 

MCgarry Ranches advanced Horseback Riding

McGarry Ranches, Rexburg, Idaho

If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the American Cowboy with a legitimate cattle outfit, riding daily on an American Quarter Horse then here is what we are and what we offer. Upon arrival at the ranch you will be given the firm handshake or welcoming hug after which you will lose the guest handle and become one of the McGarry Ranches Family of Wranglers. In other words, just one of us.

 

Advanced Riding on a Traditional Ranch

 

Traditional style ranches are equipped to offer adventure for the whole family, whether that's advanced riding for the horse enthusiast or an all day fly fishing trip or a children's program with water activities. Visit these ranches' websites to see which one offers your families style.

 

Colorado Trails Advanced Horseback Riding

Colorado Trails Ranch, Durango, Colorado

Family fun abounds at Colorado Trails Ranch located in the beautiful San Juan Mountains just outside of historic Durango, Colorado. Rides are grouped by ability (and desire). The rides range from scenic walk rides to loping through trees and meadows.

 

 

Vee Bar Advanced Horseback Riding

Vee Bar Guest Ranch, Laramie, Wyoming

The Vee Bar located near Laramie, Wyoming just 2 1/2 hours north of Denver, Colorado is a world-reknown family guest and dude ranch with a relaxed atmosphere sure to feel like home to your entire family. You will find a variety of terrain to suit your entire group. Loping rides are offered and we can comfortably accommodate riders of ALL abilities.

 

 

 

Blacktail Adventure Ranch

Blacktail Ranch, Wolf Creek, Montana

The Blacktail Ranch is a Historic 8,000 acre jewel, located where the prairie meets the Rockies in Wolf Creek Montana. Sign up for our two night three day "Divide Ride" where we stay in our upper camp and then ride to the top of the Continental Divide where you will experience expansive views of the Majestic Rocky Mountains from every direction.

 

Would you like to ride out on the open prairie shoulder to shoulder?  If so there are great ranch vacations offering advanced horseback riding opportunities as the terrain permits all across the Western United States. Read about them here.

More Advanced Horseback Riding?

Have more questions?  Please reach out to the DRA office  where more than one hundred ranches are represented across the Western United States and Canada.

 

 

Discover Dude Ranching

Discover the  taste of the authentic American West where horses, hats, history, heart and hospitality abound. With over 100 carefully chosen member ranches, we know there is a ranch that will fit you and your family– perfectly, all while protecting lands, parks, forests and wildlife. Our Dude, Resort and Working Ranches are in the most picturesque regions of the USA and Canada near historic sites and national parks for a photographer’s heyday! Each has its own unique history, incredible horseback riding tailored to the rider’s age and ability, and exciting outdoor adventures like white water rafting, paradise fishing on scenic rivers, fun hay rides, hikes, golfing. Blue skies, starry nights and the sounds of silence are also included in your dude ranch vacation. Lounge in a hammock until the dinner bell rings and then breathe pure clean air as you discover the brightest shining stars peaking out from Heaven. Want to gaze into a crackling fire instead of a computer screen? Then, it’s time to discover the majestic beauty of the land and got reacquainted with your family and friends.  Join us anytime of year for genuine western hospitality. Prices, programs and activities vary. We guarantee the lodging industry’s highest standards whether staying in a rustic cabin or top end ranch resort. Once you’ve had a taste of a dude ranch, you may never want to go anywhere else on vacation again.

Discover Blacktail Ranch

Traditional Ranch

Blacktail Ranch – Montana The Blacktail Ranch is a Historic 8,000 acre jewel, located  where the prairie meets the Rockies in Wolf Creek Montana.  Our Grandfather first came this valley back in the late 1800's and our family has lived and worked here ever since.  We have been operating as a guest ranch since the 1950's.  


Discover Vista Verde Resort Ranch

Resort Ranch

Vista Verde Ranch - Colorado What makes Vista Verde special is the combination of all the great amenities, dining and service of a great resort that are delivered in a down to earth, relaxed and homey setting.  The activities included in your stay range from mountain biking to riding clinics, cooking classes and wine tastings, and back country skiing and sleigh rides in the winter months.    


Discover Focus Ranch - Working Cattle

Working Cattle Ranch

Focus Ranch - Wyoming Focus Ranch is a traditional working cattle ranch that invites guests to share in the day-to-day operation of the ranch. From mid-May into September, we run 1300-1400 head of yearling cattle and another 100 head of cows and calves. Running cattle is the basis of our agricultural operation and holistic grazing has been practiced for over 20 years.  


 

Dude Ranches: Activities and Programs for Millennials

Millennials are the world traveling generation; they crave excitement and unique experiences that cannot be satisfied with just any vacation. According to a recent study done by MMGY Global, millennials travel more often than any other generational group. With an influence forecasted to grow even more over the coming decades, millennials are looking for destinations that provide them with one-of-a-kind, authentic activities along with “green” and sustainable travel experiences.

With the DRA representing more than 100 dude and guest ranches that offer an abundance of unique activities to satisfy any millennial’s adventurous spirit, we think we are the perfect fit for them. From sunup to sundown, millennials can go horseback riding, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV riding and much more.

A dude ranch is an all-inclusive, one-stop shop with a variety of offerings that cater to the millennial set, from accommodations and scenery to lessons and excursions. Additionally, DRA-accredited guest ranches have been the pioneers of green living and sustainable vacations for decades. From growing organic food and using energy-efficient appliances to making their own biodegradable fuel, dude ranches offer guests the ability to enjoy travel while reducing their “footprint.”

Below please find a sampling of unique programs and experiences available at DRA member ranches that appeal to millennials.

Dude Ranches: Activities and Programs for Millennials

• Many DRA-accredited dude ranches like Rainbow Trout Ranch and the Bar W Ranch have whitewaterrafting expeditions for guests to enjoy. Experience whitewater rafting dude ranch-style at the Bar W Ranch in Montana or at Rainbow Trout Ranch in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and challenge yourself to an adventure through the wild rapids. Take in the scenic backdrops of the beautiful Rockies or rolling ridges that adorn the Montana countryside while working together as a team.

Horseshoe Canyon activities Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is offered at multiple dude ranches like Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas. Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is known in the climbing community for some of the finest sandstone sport climbing in the world. Come experience it for yourself as you scale large cliffs and peer over the breathtaking terrain.

• Celebrating farm-to-table cuisine is an important part of Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, Colo. The ranch’s own farmstead garden cultivates over 80 varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemicals. Additionally, with access to 1.3 million acres of the Gunnison National Forest and West Elk Wilderness, the ranch has a nearly unlimited and untouched outdoor kingdom right outside its doorstep.

• Situated in the heart of the Salmon River Mountains in Stanley, Idaho, Diamond D Ranch is completely off the power grid as electricity is provided by the ranch’s very own hydro-electric generator. The ranch features an endless variety of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish, and mountains to hike or horseback ride.

• Dude ranches like Gros Ventre River Ranch and the Home Ranch offer diverse horseback riding programs. At Gros Venre River Ranch, choose between a scenic walking ride or a challenging excursion into the surrounding hills. For a different take on horseback riding, visit The Home Ranch in Clark, Colo., for a unique luxurious week of health, wellness and relaxation with its “Experience Yoga and Horses Retreat” that takes place during exclusive weeks in late May and October.

 

Dude Ranches: Activities and Programs for Millenials

With the DRA representing more than 100 dude and guest ranches that offer an abundance of unique activities to satisfy any millennial’s adventurous spirit, we think dude ranches are the perfect fit for them. From sunup to sundown, millennials can go horseback riding, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV riding and much more.

Family Bonding – Dude Ranch Style

There is much to be said about children getting too much screen time in today’s tech-saturated world. But look around most playgrounds and you will see that parents are just as guilty. Too often, we’re reaching for our phones rather than focusing on what’s truly important – strengthening family bonds and making memories that will carry us well into the future.

As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family sans technology, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Try a warm family getaway that breaks the spring break cliché of crowds and beaches or, a special trip designed to include the extended family. Dude ranches can accommodate and entertain family members of all ages. This vacation promising a one-of-a-kind vacation with opportunities for the young and young at heart, and everyone in between. Families can challenge and revive their bodies, minds and spirits in the most breathtaking areas in the US. You'll experience outdoor adventures such as; rock climbing, cattle roping, horseback riding, zip lines, ATV riding and whitewater rafting.

Take a gander at just some of these dude ranch options from the Dude Ranchers’ Association. They’re sure to leave the kids clamoring to tell you all they’ve done for the day over dinner, served family-style, of course.

 

Family Wagon Ride at Rainbow Trout Ranch Colorado

Imagine horseback riding with your family through meadows dotted with wildflowers, while the Rocky Mountains tower around you. If you and your family are in need of reconnecting, to each other and to the land, then you’ve found the right place. Rainbow Trout Ranch is rustic with all the modern amenities you’ll ever need. It caters to children of all ages. Located near several historic Spanish land grants in Antonito, Colo., Rainbow Trout is surrounded by the spectacular San Juan Mountains. Ride horses, catch some trout, hike to an overlook with your kids, and relax. Let the land and each other remind you of the important things in life. Kids ages six and older – “Cowpokes” – are given their own horse for the week. “Buckaroos” – children ages three to five – are led on short rides by ranch counselors.

A Bar A Kids Ride at a Family Dude Ranch in Wyoming

On horseback, on foot, or in vehicles – expedition guests at A Bar A Guest Ranch experience a privately guided, customized, small-group adventure. Located along the banks of the North Platte River in the heart of southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains, A Bar A Guest Ranch is one of the oldest and largest ranches in the country.  Located on nearly 100,000 acres surrounded by National Forest and Wilderness Area for guests to explore. The ranch is a paradise for children, with riding, fishing, soccer, arts and crafts, music and drama, swimming, tennis, and educational games such as cork boat and sack races. Teenagers enjoy inner tubing down the river before joining their parents for dinner cooked outside over an open fire.

Drowsy Water Family Dude Ranch

Drowsy Water Ranch, situated 90 miles west of Denver, Colo., has programs for children, from infants to teenagers, with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents alike. Capture the fun and your children’s hearts when you help them lasso a steerhead. Ditch your tablets for outdoor group activities, such as; obstacle courses, zip lining, swimming, hiking, archery and rafting. Afterward, head to the main lodge to enjoy playing cards, browsing in the library or just visiting with new friends while drinking lemonade.  

Colorado Trails Family Dude Ranch Vacation

Who needs a video game when you can focus on capturing the real thing in person! Colorado Trails Ranch provides an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in the San Juan Mountains. Families will enjoy a one-of-a-kind fishing vacation with access to some of the finest trout fishing around. You’ll find more choice spots than you can fish in a week, with specialists trained at introducing beginners to the sport. Whether you’re a fishing fan or not, no one in your family will be bored on this vacation. Here, kids and adults can enjoy their own level of adventure. Counselors see to the kids’ needs. The parents can go off exploring by foot or horseback. From whitewater rafting to swimming in the heated pool – there’s enough tech-free adventure to suite everyone’s tastes.

The Dude Ranchers' Association - Search for family bonding

With more than 100 accredited ranches, the Dude Ranchers’ Association can help you find the perfect ranch for your family bonding vacation. Several accredited ranches offer customized packages tailored to families in search of a hassle-free family getaway. No matter which ranch you choose, a dude ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to kick-back, spend time with friends and family and create memories that will last a lifetime.

 

As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family sans technology, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Try a warm family getaway that breaks the spring break cliché of crowds and beaches or, a special trip designed to include the extended family. Dude ranches can accommodate and entertain family members of all ages.

So Many Things to Do

“I had no idea there would be so many things to do ” or “There just isn’t enough time to do everything” are two common comments heard on dude ranches throughout the West. Most folks think of horses when they think of a dude ranch which is natural since horses are the primary focus. What many people don’t realize is that ranches offer a wide variety of activities for those who want more than riding.

Hawley Mountain Ranch - Things to do - Hiking Summit

Hike to the summit at Hawley Mountain Ranch

Like hiking, for instance? Ranches are usually located in the most beautiful, natural areas of the western states and typically offer fantastic hiking opportunities in the adjacent national parks, forests or other public lands. Experience gorgeous arrays of brilliant wildflowers, the fragrance of a pine forest, or the excitement of sighting an undisturbed elk or mule deer in a misty mountain meadow as you tread where few others have been before you. If wetting a fly line is your passion, you’re in luck again. Many ranches are located along private stretches of world famous trout streams and rivers. Others are within easy reach of cold, clear mountain lakes and streams that see little action, except from ranch guests. Many ranches offer fly fishing lessons and expert guides that can help you find that perfect spot. Some even have Orvis endorsed fishing programs. Almost all have a stocked fishing pond right on the premises.

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch - Things to do - Cast a line

Cast a line at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

Learn about our natural history, hunt for arrow heads, or even find a dinosaur bone! You can do it on a dude ranch. Try out Native American crafts or skills, join one of the ranch trips to nearby historical or archaeological sites, or pack a lunch and spend a day on a guided 4X4 trip touring gold mines, ghost towns or your favorite national park. Don’t forget your camera! Looking for a more relaxed pace? No problem. Wile away the day lounging by the pool or hot tub, read a good book in the shade of a stream-side tree or see how many of the abundant and colorful birds you can identify from your cabin porch swing. Evening walks in the meadow with family or friends are good for the soul - - and you might even see that doe and fawn coming to the stream for a drink. Don’t forget the optional overnight pack trip, river rafting, mountain biking, tennis, cookouts, hayrides, campfires sing-a-longs and line or square dancing offered by many ranches.

Diamond D Ranch - Things to Do - Pack Trips

On the way to your pack trip at the Diamond D Ranch

Remember, no cooking, cleaning or chores of any kind on a ranch vacation (unless you want to help the cowboys round up a few strays or feed the horses), just more fun and relaxation than you can imagine. Can’t fit it all the things to do in to one week? Don’t worry, there’s always next year to look forward to.

Find more things to do

Search www.duderanch.org for more things to do on our Find a Ranch by Activities and Amenities interactive search page.  

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!    

Romance & Horses, Your Dude Ranch Vacation


'A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.' - definition of romance Riding horses with your partner is, surely, full of excitement and mystery. Consider a ranch stay to put some extra special romance into your relationship. It is as easy as picking out your geographic setting(mountain range of choice) and paring your personalities with a ranch. Then, hop on a plane and arrive at your secluded cabin for an 'all-inclusive' destination experience. Don't worry, there are plenty of activities to inspire other than saddling up and riding into the sunset at a dude ranch; morning fishing trips, spa afternoons, hot tub evenings and nights full of fine dining pared with excellent wine. Valentine's day is a great motivator to book you and your partner a vacation full of romance and connection - away from the monotonous crowd of chocolates and teddy bears. Experiences turn into memories, and those memories turn into a lifetime of togetherness.

Ranches for Romance

The ranches below are just a few options for your choosing. If you don't find one that you connect with, give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call. We can help. 307.587.2339.  


The Heart of the Rockies, Colorado

Elk Mountain Couple Hill Side Romance

Elk Mountain Ranch Fall is for adults only - Enjoy the mountains during the peak of the fall colors in the Colorado Rockies. The already spectacular scenery at the Ranch unveils more glory in the Autumn. Aspens crown the mountainside in golden grandeur. Fall is exclusively for adults at this Colorado dude ranch. The tranquility and stillness are uninterrupted, whether you’re riding through the aspen forests…or curling up with a favorite book by an crackling fireplace.


The Ruby River, Montana

Upper Canyon Fishing Couple Romance

Upper Canyon Outfitters One of the best uncrowned waters in Montana - "My wife and I ventured to Upper Canyon this summer to enjoy the ranch, fishing, horseback riding and hiking and preview where I had booked an elk and mule deer hunt this fall. After returning from the fall hunt all that I can do is reinforce the previous comments complimenting the complete operation of Upper Canyon Outfitters, from the facilities to the staff. It seems like they are all extended family." - Roland


7,000 Acres in the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Eatons Gather Sunset Romance

Eaton's Ranch Freedom to ride into the sunset - Eatons’ offers our guests the unique opportunity to ride one of our 220 horses unescorted with the permission of the Ranch. This allows guests the remarkable freedom to fully explore this beautiful 7,000 acres of country. Guests can ride out from this Wyoming Dude Ranch twice a day Monday through Friday, choosing among morning, afternoon and evening rides. Also, there all-day rides into the Bighorn National Forest as well as breakfast and dinner rides.


Yellowstone Country, Montana

Mountain Sky Romance

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch A rare treat - After a day filled with ranch activities, dinner is always a highly anticipated event. Kick things off with hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the saloon, where friends share stories of the day's adventure next to a crackling fire. What follows is an unforgettable three- to five-course dinner featuring carefully crafted and regionally-inspired dishes prepared by Chef Brian Bielen and his talented team. Complement your dinner with a bottle of wine from a fine selection, and do try to leave room for that slice of chocolate decadence or Basque cake.


     

Take a Break - A Spring Break at a Dude Ranch

Take a break from the norm this spring and treat yourself or your family to a one-of-a-kind authentic adventure at a dude or guest ranch. Cliché spring break traditions like bikinis, tequila and crowds are out and horseback riding, skiing and miles of serene terrain are in. With ranches located in both warm climates like Arizona and cold climates like Wyoming and Oregon, spring breakers can choose to experience the “Old West” while basking in the sun or bundle up for one more romp in the snow. No matter which option you choose, we can help you find the perfect guest ranch for your spring break vacation. 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 to your destination. Several DRA-accredited guest ranches offer customized packages tailored to families and students in search of a hassle-free spring break getaway. No matter which ranch you choose, a dude ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to kick-back, spend time with friends and family, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some great options for your spring break at a dude ranch:

Long Hollow Lodge Spring Break

Long Hollow Ranch - Open Year-round

Sisters, Oregon

Long Hollow Ranch is a wonderful location to host large group events. Guest accommodations make the ranch an intimate, special place for a small group retreat, reunion, or family gathering. Beautiful grounds and 100-year-old barn create a stunning backdrop for a country outdoor wedding. The barn is newly remodeled inside and features a large deck on the front. The building is designed with plenty of space for both your wedding ceremony and reception. The facility includes a food service area, restrooms, and a dressing room.


 

Hideout Mountain Spring Break

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch - Season starts March 15

Shell, Wyoming

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is located East of Yellowstone National Park and Cody, Wyoming. The service, food, accommodations and amenities are all upscale while remaining a ranch and not a resort. The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is a working cattle, riding, horsemanship and adventure ranch.  The ranch is located on a 300,000 acre ranch and farm. During most weeks our guests can experience a hands-on working cattle adventure. In addition to the land we ranch and farm, we have access to approximately 650,000 acres of Big Horn National Forest and Wilderness to explore.


  Stagecoach Trails Arizona Spring Break

Stagecoach Trails Ranch - Open Year-round

Yucca, Arizona

At Stagecoach Trails we offer a riding program that is tailored to each rider. First of all, we do our best to make sure you are matched up with the appropriate horse - we want you to be comfortable with your horse and your ability to control the type of horse you are going to be riding. Secondly, we want you to be able to go on the type of ride you like. If you prefer a shorter, slower walking ride or if you would like to go on a more advanced trotting and/or trotting and loping ride, we will be happy to accommodate you.


Lost Valley Spring Break

Lost Valley Ranch - Season starts March 7

Sedalia, Colorado

Nestled among the timeless beauty of the Pike National Forest and the Rocky Mountains, Lost Valley Ranch offers an authentic Colorado dude ranch experience with activities suited to a range of interests and skill levels. Saddle up with our professional wranglers for an afternoon of horseback riding, soak up the sun by our heated Olympic-scaled swimming pool or learn the ways of the cowboy by helping our wranglers with their daily chores. We also have two all-weather tennis courts onsite, guided hiking adventures and family-friendly evening entertainment. Lost Valley also offers plenty of time to just relax with a book, do a puzzle or stroll along Goose Creek.

With ranches located in both warm climates like Arizona and cold climates like Wyoming and Oregon, spring breakers can choose to experience the “Old West” while basking in the sun or bundle up for one more romp in the snow. No matter which option you choose, we can help you find the perfect guest ranch for your spring break vacation.    

Sun and saddles in Southern Arizona

'Sun and saddles in southern Arizona' By Larissa Milne, originally posted on Philly.com If you're looking for a midwinter break with a twist, consider a dude ranch in southern Arizona. With sunny days and cool clear nights, the area offers glimpses into the Arizona Territory of years gone by, when the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were becoming legends. Dude ranches have evolved from the days when working cattle ranches hosted a few paying guests from back East to help with ropin' and ridin'. Modern guest ranches still raise cattle, but they offer comfortable lodging, gourmet meals, and as much (or little) horseback riding as you want. southern Arizona

Photo Credit - Larissa Milne

Read more here to find out about the Tombstone Monument RanchWhite Stallion Ranch, and how the Dude Ranchers' Association can help plan your Western dude ranch vacation at the other great Arizona ranches.    

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The Western dude ranch rejuvenates & boosts health

According to experts, taking a vacation is good for your health.  Despite this fact, Americans and Canadians tend to shortchange their vacation time, often leaving earned time on the table or taking a day here and a day there instead of a week or more at one stretch. The Western dude ranch rejuvenates & boosts health.

Since 1926 the Dude Ranchers’ Association shaped and established the highest quality standards in the guest ranch industry. A DRA (as it’s known,) guest ranch is the epitome of a Western holiday and providing both the time and environment to foster good health. Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each guest.

According to the career website, Workopolis, “Psychologists say that it takes five to seven days to de-stress from work, so doing it piecemeal can be counter productive. Most of the studies show people need about two weeks in one block a year to feel the benefits of a vacation.”  During summer the majority of DRA guest ranches operate in week-long increments, allowing guests the time to unwind, settle in and savor the experience. In addition to horsemanship, ranches offer activities satisfying the recreational and social needs of each generation. Tennis clinics, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip-lining, bird watching, crafts, hiking, whitewater rafting, and golf; each can be enjoyed during a  Western ranch vacation. Some ranches also offer known stress reducers like yoga, meditation, massages and other soothing spa treatments.

The Home Dude Ranch Yoga Retreat for your health

Dude ranches are ideal places for kids and families to re-connect.  Without the typical distractions of TV, phones, computers and electronic games, families spend quality time together sometimes just hanging out on the porch swing or sitting around the campfire. There are more than 100 members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association in the Western US and Canada.  Each is a little different but each DRA dude ranch vacation is the most potent tonic to combat the stress caused by the uncertain times we live in.  Check out our website at www.duderanch.org or e-mail us at colleen@duderanch.org.


 

Travelers can Practice Healthy Lifestyles or Explore New Ones at DRA Member Ranches

Travelers committed to practicing their own version of a healthy lifestyle can do so at a number of traditional Western dude ranches. Many ranches cater to modern guests with spa services and treatments, yet some are going further by adopting holistic menu plans or adding spiritual elements to their activity menus. Guests can find a ranch compatible with their own lifestyle through The Dude Rancher’s Association, or DRA.

Echo Valley Meditation

The organization provides details of each of its’ more than 100 members in the Western US and Canada, details like those associated with The Echo Valley Ranch & Spa in British Columbia’s spectacular Cariboo Country where healthy living is the mantra. Ingredients used by the Executive Master Chef are hand-picked. Mushrooms, local berries and vegetables from the organic garden go into every dish. The entire staff follows a diet based on particular blood types outlined in a popular book authored by a renowned physician. Guests detoxify and decompress with Thai massages and the ancient Thai art of Ruesri-dat-ton, similar to yoga but considered gentler and so easily adapted by individuals of any fitness level. At one stateside ranch even the horses get into the act. “Equestrian Yoga for Women Only” fills up quickly at The Home Ranch in Clark Colorado. Participants are instructed in hatha yoga breathing and postures that address the specific physical needs of riders. The intent is for guests to achieve more balance and better communication with her mount. The result, according to ranch literature is a “deeper level of trust between horse and rider.
Home Ranch Yoga Horseback

At Bonanza Creek we are taking it a step further to experience a different kind of relationship with a horse; about empowering yourself, about wanting more out of life.  If you are a horsewoman, you are surely aware of how horses can know you so well without you ever uttering a word. Your behavior, energy, intent, touch, soul. . . . All are read continually by the horse. That level of sensitivity and knowledge makes horses excellent partners for self-exploration.  Supported by coaches, horses, beautiful country, and new friends, you’ll have an experience that may change your life.
Bonanza Trail

To find a ranch where one can engage in a preferred fitness routine, or explore new practices for a healthy lifestyle, consult the DRA website or request a detailed catalog of member ranches. The DRA has set the standards for a quality dude ranch vacation since 1926.


 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

DRA White LargeAt the National Dude Ranchers' Association we are so thankful this Thanksgiving to be a part of such a wonderful organization that dates back to 1926.   We are proud to be  supported by our member ranches, clients in search of a dude ranch and all of the associate members who make commerce and networking successful. On a day such as this we are reminded of Theodore Roosevelt when he said, "Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds." As we embark on the next 90 years for the association we would like to promise our continued perseverance in promoting and protecting the dude ranch industry.  In pursuit of this we are launching a new website in 2016 as well as enhancing our marketing efforts to connect to all of our stakeholders.  We are excited to expand our current markets in North America and abroad. Again, thank you for being apart and we look forward to many more years of success and celebration. Happy Thanksgiving, From all of us at the DRA office and the Board of Directors.  

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: http://oneoakphotography.pass.us/cpr

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!

There's a Dude Ranch for Everyone

Enjoy a taste of the authentic American West where horses, hats, history and hospitality abound. With over 100 carefully chosen member ranches, the Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA) has one to match your dream vacation – perfectly, all while protecting lands, parks, forests and wildlife. Our Dude, Resort and Working Ranches are in the most picturesque regions of the USA and Canada near historic sites and national parks for a photographer’s heyday! Each has its own unique history, incredible horseback riding tailored to the rider’s age and ability, and exciting outdoor adventures like white water rafting, paradise fishing on scenic rivers, fun hay rides, hikes, golfing. Blue skies, starry nights and the sounds of silence are also included in your dude ranch vacation. Lounge in a hammock until the dinner bell rings and then breathe pure clean air as you rediscover the brightest shining stars peeking out from Heaven. Want to gaze into a crackling fire instead of a computer screen? Then, it’s time you discovered the majestic beauty of the land and got reacquainted with your family and friends. Join us any time of year for genuine western hospitality. Prices, programs and activities vary. We guarantee the lodging industry’s highest standards whether staying in a rustic cabin or top end ranch resort. Once you’ve had a taste of a dude ranch, you may never want to go anywhere else on vacation again. These ranches below offer unique, personalized experience. Find the one that fits you and yours below.


Elkhorn Family Reunion

Elkhorn Ranch - Montana

The Elkhorn Ranch is one of the few remaining traditional dude ranches where outdoor activities are the focus each day. We are a family-oriented guest ranch with guests of all ages enjoying time with their friends, new and old, without sacrificing the very special feeling of shared family time.    

Medicine Bow Western Family Vacation

Medicine Bow Lodge

The Medicine Bow Lodge And Guest Ranch is located at approximately 8500 feet in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains. The closest town is Saratoga, Wyoming which is about 22 miles to the west. The land on which the Guest Ranch sits is located in the Medicine Bow National Forest.    

Red Reflet Ranch Lodges

Red Reflet Ranch

The Red Reflet is both Working Ranch and Luxury Resort where guests are treated like family. Super inclusive of ATV use, all riding, lessons, all beverages, snacks, stocked kitchen, all activities.      

Triangle X Grand Teton National Park

Triangle X

Triangle X Ranch is an authentic working dude ranch located in the heart of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Established in 1926 by the Turner family, Triangle X offers unparalleled horseback riding and one of the most complete outdoor recreational packages of any facility in the Mountain West.  


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Yellowstone Dude Ranch Vacation

Yellowstone Entrance Sign

Yellowstone is proud to be the nations first National Park founded in 1872. This was even before Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were granted statehood. President Teddy Roosevelt legally protected this rich, 2.2 million acres of mountains, wildlife and famous geological monuments. This is a place for seeking adventure and exploration that's truly a living American history. In your travels to Yellowstone National Park consider staying at a historical dude ranch, with an industry heritage starting in the early 1900's. 

Dude rancher's were authentic western settlers of the west and operate today to share the charismatic personality of the 'true' West. Who would want to stay in a regular hotel on their way to Yellowstone anyway? At one of these nationally accredited dude ranches you can experience your own personal Western views on horseback while staying at a ranch full of adventurous activities.

Yellowstone Old Faithful

North Entrance

At the North entrance of Yellowstone you can participate in herding cattle over the Gallatin Mountains at Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch.  Here you can enjoy remarkable views of Paradise Valley and the Yellowstone River. Their approach is both upscale and personal with a small capacity of only 12 guests. They are open June 15th - September 30th and are only 25 minutes from the park.

South Entrance

If you are going to make a be line into the park to see the famous Old Faithful Gyser head up through the South Entrance with the Moose Head Ranch.   They offer a guided tour of the Southern Loop of Yellowstone.  You will see waterfalls, hot pots, mud volcanoes, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and, of course, Old Faithful.  They offer  summer and winter packages and with a capacity of 45 they can host your larger family and corporate groups.

Yellowstone Elk

East Entrance 

Crossed Sabres Ranch is not only 8 short miles from the East Entrance, but also in part of the 2 million acres of the Shoshone National Forest.  During the summer season this ranch will show you some wild and western wilderness. Along with their outstanding horseback riding they offer impressive fishing with Orvis gear on 40 miles of the Shoshone River, white water rafting and dynamic hiking. Billings International Airport is one of many airports used by Yellowstone explorers. Here it is easy to rent a car and head towards the Northeastern Entrance.

The 7D Ranch is off the beaten path between the two. This ranch is the perfect way to connect with family and nature. As a family ranch, your kids will have a blast here experiencing the Western way of life with children's counselors and a wide variety of activities. 

West Entrance 

There are three great dude ranches that are about 40 miles from the West Entrance to Yellowstone that are outstanding dude ranches. Take a look at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch, Elkhorn Ranch and the Covered Wagon Ranch

Find more DRA ranches near Yellowstone National Park here.      

 

 

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In your travels to Yellowstone National Park consider staying at a historical dude ranch, with an industry heritage starting in the early 1900's. Dude rancher's were authentic western settlers of the west and operate today to share the charismatic personality of the 'true' West. Who would want to stay in a regular hotel on their way to Yellowstone anyway?

Perfect Winter Holiday ~ Arizona & New Mexico Dude Ranches

Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Painted Desert. There are high ponderosa pine forest, rolling grasslands, and stark desert landscapes. In New Mexico there is the wondrous Carlsbad Caverns, the Black Range Mountains and the brilliant gypsum of the White Sands National Monument. Between the Cottonwoods, the Oak trees and the many various grasses, sage and vines the brilliant colors of autumn will take your breath away.

Flying E Trail Arizona Dude Ranch

Flying E Ranch

The Dude and Guest ranches of Arizona and New Mexico take advantage of their spectacular surroundings; horseback riding outings explore the canyons and forested ridges. What a great cure for the winter blues this year, so for the perfect winter holiday grab your family and friends and head to one of these truly amazing family friendly dude and guest ranches.

Geronimo Trail New Mexico Dude Ranch

Geronimo Trail Ranch

Geronimo Trail Ranch is all about Real "Old West" adventure! A Small family ranch with a relaxed and personal atmosphere, located in the breathtaking untouched Gila National Forest of SW New Mexico. Geronimo Trail Ranch features Pithouses, Cliff Dwellings and rock art of the early Mimbres.

Get your real Cowboy on at Burnt Well Guest Ranch, located in warm, sunny, southeastern New Mexico. Guests have said "This is John Wayne country!" "I can't believe how far you can see sometimes 50-60 miles!!"

Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest at White Stallion Ranch. You will experience the aura of a real Western ranch combined with present-day comforts and conveniences.

Or step back in time at the Circle Z Ranch were guests have ridden their ranch-bred horses on 165 miles of trails through the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains and along the ever flowing Sonoita Creek for over 83 years. They are recognized worldwide for birding.

Fifty-one miles southwest of Tucson, in its own valley where mountains and desert meet, lies the Elkhorn Ranch. Since 1945, three generations of the Miller family have owned and operated this ranch, offering exceptional riding and comfortable living for thirty-two guests. Riding is the main interest with gentle or loping rides through the desert and more vigorous trips along the many mountain trails. Saddle up and make a perfect getaway to the warm heart of the Old Southwest!

Rancho de los Caballeros is the resort with the soul of a bed and breakfast offering full resort amenities and privacy, yet with the charm and intimacy of yesteryear. It's the kind of place where everyone knows your name. With 20,000 acres to ride and roam there is seldom a day without sunshine.

The Flying E Dude Ranch is a working cattle ranch and the ideal place to take a step back in time.

Located just east of Tucson, Tanque Verde Ranch Resort is one of the premier, all-inclusive dude ranch resorts in the country. You will find the perfect blend of western adventure, solitude and luxury amenities to make your next getaway unforgettable.

Rancho de los Caballeros Arizona Dude Ranch

Rancho de los Caballeros


 

Adventures in Living ~ Idaho Dude Ranches

Idaho is more than just potatoes. It is also home to your next mountain adventure. Whether this state is your next vacation destination or you are just passing through, it is worth an extra moment to enjoy. For a top quality ranch experience, stay at one of these Idaho sweet spots. A destination wedding, some 'ranch-y' cattle work or a guided hunt into the wilderness is just the beginning. Find more Idaho family or horsemanship locations here.

Happily Ever After

Diamond D Ranch in Idaho

Say your vows in the chapel built by hand, to create some of your most incredible memories at the Diamond D Ranch.  This special chapel was the vision of Linda Demorest and it took 11 summers to complete, built rock by rock. Linda is a minister and performs many weddings in this small, beautiful chapel built along Loon Creek.

Dates Open June 1 - October 15


4th Generation Cattle Ranch

McGarry Ranches Cattle Drive 2

Theorn McGarry, a lifelong cowboy, oversees the day to day cattle operations.  As the fourth generation rancher he invites you to participate in the maintenance and well being of his ranch cattle herd. Day to day activities also include roping, driving cattle to new pastures, fence mending and never ending odd jobs on over 55,000 acres at the McGarry Ranches.

Dates Open May 1 - October 31


Elk, Deer & Bear Hunts

Seven Devils Lodge in Idaho

Seven Devils Lodge & Guide Service hunts are guided on all private land with no fences.  Because the lodge is so passionate about the entire hunting experience they look forward to glassing in the morning and being out at first light just as much as the hunter.   A true sportsman experience is what we’re about.

Dates Open ~ January 1 - November 30


     

Anytime is the Best Time to Go to a Dude Ranch

Dude Ranches are the original western adventure vacation. They are locations in the wilderness that 'haven't had all the rough ridden off of it.'  While at the same time still being the perfect vacation spot will all the amenities you could need or want. Often clients of the Dude Ranchers' Association ask when is the best time of year to go to a dude ranch. The answer is always, 'Anytime you would like.' In all four seasons there are ranch destinations available to meet your expectations. Even if your are traveling through the holidays!  There are ranches open year round with exclusive spots catering around special seasons of the year. Summer is the peak season for our Northwestern Ranches. It's the high time to enjoy nice warm sunny days in the mountains. At the end of the summer season for these ranches life in the mountains slows down to almost a halt. Some destinations are snowed in until spring and the only way in or out is by snow mobile.  At these ranches, this means only a select few employees are allowed to stay and maintain, while other ranches invite you into their winter wonder land,  full of winter adventures of all types. What happens when you live in a cold place and you would like to warm up a bit? Well, you head south of course. Where the dry dessert winter has plenty of warm sunshine to melt away your winter blues. Leave your parka's at home. Put on your cowboy boots and jeans and head out for a few days or a week to our Southern Ranches.  This is their time to shine as an adventure vacation destination.  The weather here has reached the peak of enjoyment.

No matter where you are or what kind of weather you are looking for, the Western United States and Canada is home to your preferred western adventure ranch. Below are highlighted few winter and summer destinations.

Vista Verde Drive Cattle

Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado

June - October, December - March

K diamond Krcrossing the river

K Diamond K Guest Ranch, Washington

Year-Round

Seven Devils Snow Snowmobiling

Seven Devils Lodge & Guide Service, Council, Idaho

January - November

Hideout AZ

Hideout Guest Ranch, Portal, Arizona

Year-Round

Circle Z Ranch

Circle Z Guest Ranch, Patagonia, Arizona

October ~ May

 

Best Time of Year for a Ranch Vacation 

     When is the Best Time for a Ranch Vacation

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7 Things You May Not Know About Dude Ranches

Three Bars Guest Ranch - Things to know about dude ranches

What comes to mind when you think of dude ranches? Putting on cowboy boots and saddling up your steed for a trail ride? You’re halfway there. Now picture this: indulging in a luxurious spa treatment and eating a gourmet cuisine after an action-packed day of whitewater rafting and archery. While dude ranches (also known as guest ranches) are known for providing guests with authentic, one-of-a-kind Western adventures, many have also expanded their offerings to cater to a diverse crowd of travelers – from families to couples to singles – with activities, attractions and services that extend far beyond the trail. Read on for seven surprising things you may not know about a ranch vacation.

 

Surprising Things You May Not Know About Dude Ranches

 

Dude Ranches Span The Country

Accredited DRA ranches are located in numerous states from Montana and Wyoming down to New Mexico and Arkansas. Many are located in some of the most scenic areas of the country, each offering a unique guest experience.

Find ranches by state

 

Dude Ranches Pamper You

Just because you’re on vacation at a ranch and not a five-star hotel, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice luxury amenities.

Find resort ranches

 

Dude Ranches Indulge Your Taste Buds

Gourmet farm-to-table cuisine is an important part of the culture at the Flat Creek Ranch where they use local and organic meat whenever possible. They also include fresh vegetables form their garden.

Find ranches by culinary experiences

Flat Creek Guest Ranch Dining

Dude Ranches Teach Yoga

The “Experience Yoga and Horses Retreat” at The Home Ranch, led by two fabled Cowgirl Yoginis, prioritizes health and wellness through gentle and soothing yoga, restorative horseback riding, fine wine and relaxation – serving as the perfect girls getaway.

Find ranches that offer yoga

 

Dude Ranches Host Weddings

With picturesque mountain views and luxurious accommodations, a dude ranch is the perfect spot to say “I do.”  Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch offers romantic nuptials atop the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.

Find ranches that host weddings

 

Dude Ranches Test Your Limits

Outdoor and adventure enthusiasts will feel right at home on a dude ranch with a variety of high-endurance activities to choose from. Three Bars Guest Ranch offers weekly whitewater rafting tours, along with fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, archery and ATV tours.

Find adventure ranches

 

Dude Ranches Welcome Children

Kids can come too! Programs catering to young children and teens are available at Rainbow Trout Ranch. Children ages three and older are supervised by qualified counselors during daytime activities such as riding, nature study and Western crafts. Teens are given more independence and can embark on day trips to an abandoned gold mine or the Colorado Gator Farm.

Find ranches for family vacations with kids

Rainbow Trout Ranch Children's Program - Things to know about dude ranches

 

7 Things You May Not Know About Dude Ranches

 

What comes to mind when you think of dude ranches? Putting on cowboy boots and saddling up your steed for a trail ride? You’re halfway there. While dude ranches (also known as guest ranches) are known for providing guests with authentic Western adventures, many have also expanded their offerings to cater to a diverse crowd of travelers with activities, attractions and services that extend far beyond the trail. Read on for seven surprising things you may not know about a ranch vacation.

Relax in the Spa at these Dude Ranch Locations

Western dude ranches are typically located in rural areas far from the events of today. For over a century weary city-dwellers have been seeking to escape the pressures of urban life and to find spiritual relief in the beauty and simplicity of the American West. Returning to nature and a 100 year old, simple, honest ranch way of life seems to wash away those unsavory layers of stress that have become an accepted part of modern life. A natural process of unwinding starts when guests first set foot on a dude ranch. It helps them to slow down and to begin discovering the wonders around them and even within themselves. At the below ranches you can find that true spa treatment to care for yourself. You have the option to adventure out on horseback or other dude ranch activities or hideout in these serious spa locations.

Lost Creek Spa

Lost Creek Ranch

Soak in the sunlight as you are gently massaged in the Rocky Mountain air. Or, immerse yourself in a mineral bath in our cozy, peaceful treatment rooms. Savor a light, healthy lunch, take an aerobics class, work out with our personal trainers, or simply read a book while lounging on our patio.

   


Smith Fork Chef

Smith Fork Ranch

Smith Fork Ranch is the perfect destination for not only fun and adventure, but also relaxation and wellness.  Enjoy your massage in one of our tranquil rooms or creek-side at our wonderful Massage Outpost, situated among the serene beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

       


The Broadmoor Spa

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley

From the moment you step into the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Spa at The Broadmoor, you'll be treated to an extraordinary journey of rejuvenation, balance and pure relaxation. The healing properties of our natural surroundings, from the crystal-clear spring waters to the clean mountain air, have long been a beacon of wellness for residents and travelers alike.

     


Rancho de los caballerso Spa

Rancho De Los Caballeros

 A short walk from the main lodge is The Spa at Los Caballeros, an oasis in the truest sense, for relaxation in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Whether you choose specialty treatments like a Hassayampa Hot Stone massage, or more traditional therapies like facials and foot treatments, you'll find your zen and lose yourself in bliss.

 


   

What are you doing this fall for your vacation?

Dude and guest ranches are well known as popular family vacation destinations, but the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) recognizes that adults also value time to themselves from time to time. When the kids get back on the bus, it’s time for parents to get back in the saddle for a classic Western getaway. Even if you don’t have children, it sounds tempting, doesn't it? Imagine a trip to the Wild West, with spectacular scenery, abundant activities, and top-notch accommodations and amenities for couples, solo travelers or even groups of friends. Starting at the end of August and continuing through October, dude ranches can be an enticing option for adult travelers looking to get away, with several ranches offering special adults-only weeks. Guests can enjoy a variety of activities during their visit from outdoor adventures like fishing and horseback riding, to taking in some of the nation’s most remarkable fall foliage, to experiencing flavorful, savory meals and wine pairings.

Dude ranches are an ideal vacation for those looking for much needed time alone, a new and exciting adventure, or even for those wanting to rekindle romance with their significant other. Read on for a list of dude ranches offering specialized activities and packages for adults this fall.

Paradise Guest Ranch Fall

Fall at Paradise Guest Ranch

Cattle Drives

• For working ranches, fall means cattle drives, and guests are often invited to join in these memorable and interactive experiences. Colorado Cattle Company offers guests the chance to escape from reality and become a real life cowboy or cowgirl during their stay. This working ranch is located on 10,000 acres of grassland with cattle, rolling hills, canyons, streams and bluffs in Northeastern Colorado. Guests must be at least 18 year old, and will actively participate in everything from saddling and grooming their horse to sorting cattle, making an adult getaway here a true learning experience.

Romance

• Rekindling the romance is what Red Horse Mountain Ranch is all about in the fall. The ingredients are all there for a perfect getaway with your loved one: adventure, rustic and cozy suites, well-designed meals, romantic settings, 100+ horses, an attentive staff and a ranch nestled on 300,000 acres of Idaho’s Rocky Mountains. As an added bonus, the ranch also offers a variety of entertainment including wine tastings, seven-course dining experiences, evening concerts and readings from local cowboy poets.

Traveling Solo

• Many dude ranches offer special adults-only weeks and packages in the fall, providing solo travelers and couples the chance to experience a unique vacation. 63 Ranch, located about 50 miles north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and 7D Ranch, Wyoming’s premiere guest ranch located in the heart of the Absaroka Mountains, both offer adults-only weeks in late August and September. These ranches are home to some of the most remote and scenic areas of the country, and offer guests an abundance of activities from pack trips and hunting trips in the Wyoming wilderness to wild trout fishing and horseback riding under a canopy of rich red and gold leaves in Montana.

Cowgirl Retreat

• Picture yourself riding horseback across the gorgeous rolling hills of Montana while taking in the vibrant autumn views. Bonanza Creek Country Guest Ranch offers a special, four-day Cowgirl Retreat during which female travelers will be treated to authentic Montana hospitality, the big sky and the chance to experience what it’s like to be a true cowgirl. From hearty meals to relaxing and reflecting with your horse, this getaway provides an enriching and enlightening experience that guests will cherish for a lifetime.

Bonanza Fall Cowgirl Retreat

Cowgirl at the Bonanza Creek Guest Ranch

Photographers Paradise

• The pace is relaxed during adults-only weeks at Paradise Guest Ranch, starting in late August through September. Located in Buffalo, Wyo., the ranch offers a photo-worthy setting complete with blue skies, beautiful fall colors and cool temperatures. During adults-only weeks, guests can enjoy horseback riding across the ranch’s sage meadows, hiking among wildflowers, fishing, performances from a number of guest musicians and talented crew members, and plenty of opportunities to re-energize and relax away from the kids.


 

A New Twist on an Old Trend Seen By Dude Ranch Owners

“Same time, same place next year,” is a promise often heard on the trail and around the campfire of a dude ranch.   The remote, peaceful setting lends itself to easy camaraderie, so it’s not uncommon for lifetime friendships to develop during a ranch vacation.   Statistics bear out this phenomenon with dude ranch owners reporting more than a third of all reservations each season made by repeat visitors. Colleen Hodson reports a similar yet different pattern among the daily inquiries she receives at the headquarters of the Dude Rancher’s Association in Cody, Wyoming. Hodson, Executive Director of the DRA, as it’s known, says she’s starting to hear from folks she refers to, (tongue in cheek,) as “ranch junkies.”   These are travelers loyal to the Western ranch destination but preferring to explore a different DRA ranch each trip.

The traditional pleasures of Western living - riding, hiking, camping and fishing are still the major draw of a ranch escape.  And guests can always count on any DRA member ranch meeting the highest industry standards as well as being authentic and accurately portrayed in all of its’ advertising. But that’s where the commonality ends. Travelers considering a dude ranch destination only need to glance at the DRA website or member brochure to get a sense of the many types of ranches and menu of activities offered. One finds special ranch getaways for cowgirls or adults only, while many are a virtual “Disney World” for kids of all ages. Some ranches focus on the culinary experience serving the finest wine and food pairings along with cooking instructions by noted chefs. Others attract devotees to fitness by offering yoga, meatless menus and spa treatments.  Still more are known for birding, astronomy, and special eco-tours. And, photography classes, tennis clinics, and painting workshops are just a few options for guests looking for a Western styled learning adventure.

Hodson says, "the great thing about the diversity of DRA member ranches is no matter what ranch people choose they’ll experience the same wonderful western hospitality we’ve been promoting for 90 years.” See the ranches below for a warm, welcoming hospitality and a sense of belonging with your dude ranch owners.

Blacktail Ranch

Blacktail Ranch

The Blacktail Ranch is a Historic 8,000 acre jewel, located  where the prairie meets the Rockies in Wolf Creek Montana.  Our Grandfather first came this valley back in the late 1800's and our family has lived and worked here ever since.  We have been operating as a guest ranch since the 1950's.


Hawley Mountain Ranch

Hawley Mountain Ranch

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.


McGarry Ranches

McGarry Ranches

A working cattle ranch with cattle managed on approx. 55,000 acres in the Rocky Mountains. We only accept 10 guests per week, a chance to get to know everyone. If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the American Cowboy while riding daily in scenic mountains we invite you to come ride with us.


Nine Quarter Circle

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

Adjacent to Yellowstone Park, the Nine Quarter Circle is "magical" thanks to our remote location which provides incredible scenery and excellent riding opportunities. Our family-oriented vacations feature riding for all ages and levels of horsemanship while awesome blue-ribbon fly-fishing can be found on-site and in nearby rivers. Traditional activities such as campfires, cookouts, hayrides and more are a big hit, as are our dedicated kids' programs. And this all comes served with the West's BEST hospitality!


Upper Canyon Outfitters

Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch

Upper Canyon Outfitters is nestled on the banks of the Ruby River, between three mountain ranges. Our family has been exploring these beautiful and wildlife-rich mountains since 1910. We are proud to offer a truly unforgettable Western Montana experience.


 

Live your Western Vacation Dream in Wyoming

Think all inclusive holidays are an invention of the big tour operators? Then think again. The Dude Ranch Association (DRA) has been leading the way for years. There is a broad spectrum of DRA-accredited guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you can find DRA-accredited ranches throughout the Western US, as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada. If ever a state lends itself to this type of vacation, it's Wyoming.

This is where the Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains, true cowboy country, with few people and vast, open spaces. It is a land that inspires dreams of riding horseback across the plains and Wyoming luxury Dude Ranch vacations help guests realize that dream.

Yellowstone National Park

The bulk of Yellowstone National Park is in Northwest Wyoming and the Grand Loop Road provides a wonderful overview of the area, from the steaming geysers to majestic waterfalls and deep canyons. Hundreds of trails traverse the park, providing access to deep back-country areas, remote lakes, and scenic overlooks.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is also in Northwest Wyoming. The first glimpse of the jagged mountains that explode out of the Jackson Hole Valley have been known to take the breath away. Pristine lakes and grassland dot the valley floor and glaciers slide down steep rocky peaks from elevations of more than 12,000 feet.

Jump to eastern Wyoming and find Devil's Tower, a massive, monolithic volcanic neck that rises out of the Black Hills. Visitors circumnavigate the tower and try to spot some of the many climbers,  or play hide and seek with the prairie dogs that reside within the park boundaries.

Wyoming Dude Ranch vacations can be anything from rustic to luxurious, with guests spending all day in the saddle herding cattle, or soaking in a hot tub and enjoying a massage. Activities may range from angling to river rafting and hiking, or lounging on a porch with a book. ‘The Dude Ranchers’ Association takes great pride in all of our ranches and we are particularly fond of the adventures and warmth that guests can enjoy during the winter months at our Southwest ranches, says Colleen Hodson, executive director of the DRA. ‘These ranches offer a scenic escape from the bleak winter conditions many people are experiencing at this time of year and guarantee a vacation that is anything but ordinary.’

Check out these genuinely lovely Dude Ranch Locations of the Cowboy State...

7D Couple Trail

7D Ranch

The 7D Ranch is Wyoming's premier family guest ranch since 1958. Extensive trail riding in a pristine mountain setting. Fly-fishing with instruction. Supervised children's program. Western cuisine. Hiking from the ranch as well as in the Beartooth Mountains. A weekly trip into Yellowstone is offered.  

Heart Six Guest Ranch

Heart 6 Wedding Horseback

Heart Six Guest Ranch is located in Beautiful Jackson Hole Wyoming. With great views of the Grand Teton Mountains the scenery is second to none. Our main activity is horseback riding, but we have lots to offer guests of all ages - from very young to very young at heart!    

Lazy L&B Ranch

Lazy L&B Kid Moment

The Lazy L & B Ranch has a quality horse program for all ages and abilities with extensive riding through wildlife habitat, forest, river gorges and high desert in small groups. There's also great fishing, hiking, swimming (pool or river) and just hanging out.    

Vee Bar Guest Ranch

Vee Bar Cattle

The Vee Bar Ranch, located near Laramie Wyoming, is a family-friendly vacation destination that is sure to please the horse loving cowboy or cowgirl in you. A variety of activities, ranging from horseback riding to river tubing, will suit each member of your group. Experience true western hospitality here!  


 

3 Cattle Drive Vacations Out West

For those looking for that working ranch experience of a cattle drive, there are certain weeks working cattle ranches invite guests to experience the original cowboy life. At these ranches guests have the opportunity to learn firsthand about the challenges and joys of caring for a herd of grass-fed, range cattle, monitoring their health and moving them to new grazing grounds as water and grass vitality dictates.

Each ranch is unique, with different breeds of cattle, size of the herd and the terrain. Because each one is so unique, when you experience one ranch you might end up on a journey to discover as many as your can. Please be aware that the length and location of these cattle moves will vary depending on grass, weather, and cattle health. It’s important to plan and book your vacation far in advance to be sure to reserve your space at these events. If you are late in planning for this year please still stop by the ranches for a vacation doing cattle work.

The cattle are there year-round and require lots of unique opportunities to be apart. You might enjoy a few days of cattle work, some fishing, hiking and trail riding. You might also consider another special event at ranches called branding. This is a big community event and it is an honor in the cowboy code to be invited. Whatever activities you get involved in at a working ranch will be an incredible vacation experience all your friends will be jealous to hear. Call the National Dude Ranchers’ Association with questions or any of the ranches below for more information.


Drive cattle through miles of alpine forests, crystal clear lakes and rolling foothills of Montana at the Sweet Grass Ranch

Sweet Grass Cattle Drive


Tent Camp along your route in the Plains of New Mexico with the Burnt Well Guest Ranch

Burnt Well Ranch Cattle Drive


Drive cattle to and from high in the Mountains of Washington State with the K Diamond K RanchK Diamond K Cattle Drive


 

Celebrating 90 Years of Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Western Way of Life

Historic Dude Ranch

Created in 1926, the National Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) was founded to preserve, protect and promote the unique experience and identity of a dude ranch vacation. And 90 years later, the association has stayed true to its mission – while also evolving to offer guests the ultimate, all-inclusive Western vacation experience. While its core values and emphasis on horsemanship have remained the same, the DRA has continued to strengthen its presence and purpose each year through promoting new member experiences and innovative ideas within the industry. Nearly a century ago, the DRA was created as the official governing body of the West’s dude ranch industry. In September of 1926, the first official DRA meeting was held and attended by 32 ranchers, railroad and national park officials. During the two-day meeting, attendees discussed initial objectives, including standardizing dude ranch practices, transportation and proper care of guests.

Paradise-Ranch-Historic

2016 officially marks 90 years of introducing guests from all over the world to the Western way of life. Over the years, vacati on expectations have shifted, and the DRA and its member ranches have evolved their offerings to fit with changing times. The association is currently made up of more than 100 ranch members, all of whom have completed a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process, and over 150 affiliated members. Members represent a broad spectrum of guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches offering five-star cuisine and spa treatments. True to the spirit of authentic Western hospitality, today’s guest ranch experience includes plenty of opportunities for fun and entertainment for families of all sizes, ages, ability levels and interests. 

Triangle-X-Historic-2

This “original Western vacation” introduces the unique beauty of the American West and seeks to foster dude ranch heritage and passion for wild nature. From horseback riding to overnight pack trips and hunting trips to cattle drives, there are plenty of ways to explore the outdoors at a dude ranch. Guests can also enjoy hiking and nature walks, interacting with the ranch’s animals at their petting zoos, fishing, archery and more. For those interested in activities beyond the saddles and cowboy boots, many guest ranches offer programs catered to photographers, foodies, artists, wine aficionados and more. Guests can even mix their love for the rustic outdoors with luxury amenities such as massage services, hot tubs, and workout facilities and classes.

The DRA will kick off its yearlong anniversary celebrations at the 90th Annual Dude Ranchers’ Association Convention on January 19-23, 2016, in Cody, Wyoming, where more than 60 member ranches are expected to attend the four-day event. Seminars will discuss topics related to the various aspects of the dude ranching and hospitality industries, such as new vendor introductions, marketing initiatives and risk management. We hope you will join us in celebrating the legacy built by the DRA. Its 90th anniversary milestone not only represents a history of success for dude ranches, but also looks forward to a future of upholding the ultimate Western vacation. By Wrangler Network contributor, the Dude Ranchers’ Association


 

Navigating Your Dude Ranch Search

At the National Dude Ranchers' Association we are proud of everyone of our members and their commitment to cleanliness, hospitality and wonderful horseback riding adventures. Ride the West with the Best and make sure you book your vacation with an accredited member of the National Dude Ranchers' Association. Find out more about our standards here. When planning your (or your clients) vacation it can be a momentous task to navigate you search of all the available dude ranches in North America. Let us help make your planning a breeze. Take some time to brain storm about your trip and ask yourself a few questions.

CM Guest Ranch

What type of riding would you like to do? Different ranches offer different experiences. They range from all day in the saddle working cattle to short, beautiful summit rides with your kids.

What kind of accommodations would you like? Cleanliness and quality are high standards at all ranches. When you visit you can be assured your accommodations are freshly cleaned and stocked. If you prefer chocolates on your pillows and fluffy robes to wear to the spa after your ride a resort ranch would be your style. If you prefer the classic log cabin and ranch homestead feel, a traditional dude ranch would suite you just fine.

When would you like to go? Consider the weather and geographic location. The weather often coordinates when the ranches open, close or transition their seasonal activities. The West is wide open for all sorts of geographic preferences: States, National Parks, Mountain Ranges, birding, foliage, wildlife, etc. Explore your options and then narrow your choices. With these questions answered you are ready to find the ranch you are going to book for your next vacation.

Use our Find by Amenity search engine.

Keyword Search

You can just dive on in if you're feeling lucky with a keyword search like "dancing" or "skiing." Those searches would pull up 22 and 6 ranches respectively. Or you can search our blogs. They are listed by category or you can use the blog search box at the top right of the categories.

Check a few Amenity Boxes

Select a box out of each of these categories and it will help eliminate a lot of ranches who offer a different experience than the one you are expecting. Don't worry if your search comes back with too many (or too few) ranches. Keep checking more (or less) boxes for each consecutive search. When choosing a dude ranch go with your guy feelings; go with the unique experience that you've always imagined it to be. Our personal favorite categories to select are:

  • Capacity
  • Dates Open
  • Length of Stay
  • Ranch Policies
  • Specialty Events

Collect your Favorites in the Saddle Bag

When you see a ranch that catches your eye add it to your "Saddle Bag." This is your dude ranch term for shopping cart. This icon is found to the right of each ranch’s profile. Once you click on ‘View Saddle Bag’ this will take you to a table of the ranches you have selected for easy viewing and narrowing your search. Here you can also send a message to all of them at once to ask about pricing and availability.

Book your Vacation with your Favorite Ranch

Once you have completed your search and found the perfect fit for your vacation needs call and book the ranch directly. Don't forget to ask about travel arrangements to and from the airport!

Additional Help If you would like additional help in planning your vacation please give us a call or send over an email to our office. We can help point you in the right direction! 307.587.2339 info@duderanch.org    

The Comfort of Luxury at the Finest of Dude Ranches

The Dude Ranchers' Association offers you and yours luxury vacation opportunities fit for a king. I mean, our Past President Teddy Roosevelt loved his dude ranches and we would like to connect you to the finest of them all. The alluring nature of these vacation destinations couples very nicely with the culture and hospitality of the American West. You will ride horses, see the beautiful countryside and fill your soul with the warmth and kindness of your cowboy hosts.  These ranches are spick-and-span. So take out your white gloves for a quality inspection. You won't be disappointed.

 

Stay in Hand Built Cabins from the 1920's

 

Cm Ranch Cabin Luxury Dude Ranch

Welcome to the CM Ranch, Hunter and Mollie Sullivan's gorgeous home and historic dude ranch, specializing in summer vacations since 1927. The logs for the ranch buildings were cut in the upper Jakey’s Fork canyon in the 1920’s, and hauled to the ranch by teams of horses and wagons. Several of the old wagons are still on the ranch property. The charming old buildings are spaced along the stream.  The ranch’s proximity to Yellowstone Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming make it an ideal destination to hang your hat and get acquainted with the beautiful, wild West.

 

 

Experience Recreation at Its Finest

 

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge Luxury Dude Ranch

The Averill family has been hosting guests from around the world for over 65 years at the Flathead Lake Lodge. They invite you to come vacation at this historic guest ranch home and experience the all-inclusive Montana dude ranch vacation of a lifetime! Located only 35 miles from Glacier National Park, the Lodge offers the ultimate family vacation with unlimited horse & water recreation. Why not go sailing, fly fishing, golfing, white water rafting, and then settle down for a message? Enjoy unmatched Western hospitality and a truly priceless family experience…Montana style!

 

 

Escape to Luxury in the Clouds

 

Emerald Valley Ranch Luxury Dude Ranch

The Ranch at Emerald Valley combines a unique retreat offering refined luxury with the rustic charm and inspiration of a wilderness enclave. It is surrounded by over 100,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, where you can indulge in your own private escape. While you may be 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor at the Cloud Camp, you are still connected to every amenity at the resort. Dining, golf, spa and meeting space are all accessible via shuttle with a single phone call. Cue the classical music and see for yourself about the Broadmoor’s luxury experience.    

 

 

Engage in a Themed Vacation

 

Zapata Painting Workshop Luxury Dude Ranch

The Zapata Ranch is a 103,000-acre bison and guest ranch in Southern Colorado.  Are you not sure what you are going to do at this ‘working’ ranch vacation? Attend one of Zapata’s specialty weeks for a solid calendar of events. You can either learn about the real cowboy work of calving and branding or ‘work’ at your photography, painting, and poetry skills on the different themed weeks throughout the summer. These cowboys truly understand the finer things in life. 

 

 

Luxury Ranch Vacations

 

The alluring nature of these luxury ranch vacation destinations couples very nicely with the culture and hospitality of the American West. You will ride horses, see the beautiful countryside and fill your soul with the warmth and kindness of your cowboy hosts.  These ranches are spick-and-span. So take out your white gloves for a quality inspection. You won't be disappointed.

 

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Red White and Blue ~ 4th of July at a Dude Ranch

The 4th of July is all about family, BBQ’s, Rodeos, Parades and our Freedom. Why not celebrate in 4th of July style every day of the week with  a vacation that involves riding horses in the great open spaces of the American West and the Canadian Rockies. Dude Ranches are located in some of the most breathtaking areas of the U.S. (and Canada), dude ranches can handle any request, from horseback riding and fly fishing to yoga and cooking classes to zip lining and hiking, campfire cookouts, BBQ's, line dancing and much more.

The term ‘dude ranch’ typically brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, a la the popular 1991 comedy, “City Slickers.” While dude ranches still evoke those same memories and are rooted in American tradition, they are much, much more. There is a broad spectrum of guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you can find DRA-accredited ranches throughout the Western U.S. in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada.

The DRA was founded to preserve and protect the unique dude ranch vacation experience and identity. It requires its members to uphold top quality and service standards. The DRA’s experienced staff helps families of all ages customize their experience, guiding them to the perfect ranch that suits their needs and desires.

Priced competitively with respect to other similar all-inclusive vacation options, almost all meals, activities and special events are included in the cost of a ranch visit. “The Dude Ranchers’ Association takes great pride in all of our ranches, and we know families will have an unforgettable trip, regardless of which guest ranch they choose. One of the best things about a dude ranch vacation is that it makes family travel easy: from working with our experts to plan and customize your trip, to airport pickup, to on-site activities and meals once you arrive, it’s easy and hassle-free and most importantly, fun.”

No matter which guest ranch you choose, a dude ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime and a vacation destination you’ll want to return to time and time again. Many dude ranches have special programs and events tailored to children of varying ages, including customized horseback riding lessons based on experience and ability level. Activities can often be done solo or as a group, giving guests the option to spend time as a family and individually. Like the ranches themselves, accommodations vary from luxurious and elegant to rustic and cowboy-chic, from private cabins that can sleep entire families to lodge rooms that share common space. All DRA-accredited lodging options will soon feel like your “home away from home.”

Below are a few ranches you should consider this summer for your “All-American Family Vacation”

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Red White and Blue`

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch - Arkansas

Stagecoach Trails Red White ad Blue

Stagecoach Trails Ranch - Arizona

Hunewill Guest Ranch Red White and Blue

Hunewill Guest Ranch - California

Black Mountain Ranch Red White and Blue

Black Mountain Ranch


The White Grass Ranch Lives On

This week in the Dude Ranch History Museum I had the privilege of meeting Mike Jackoboice and reminiscing with him over his dude ranch years. Mike worked at the White Grass Ranch in Moose, Wyoming in 1979. After his time there the land rights returned to Grand Teton National Park and the dude ranch facilities shut down and were left in stillness for many years. Recently Mike went back for a visit, and as he says 'My how things have changed.' Where the main driveway once was there are now 15 year old pine trees. As his story goes, Mike was hired on at the ranch to manage the irrigation systems. He fondly remembers asking the owner what hours he would be working, an 8 to 5?  His manager replied, 'You are finished when the work is done.'

White Grass Ranch

White Grass Ranch 1950s

Walking through the fields Mike could barely see where the irrigation ditches used to be. They are now filled almost completely with soil; however, the rock piles he had to move three times a day to hold down the irrigation tarps hadn't moved. They were a clear reminder of the good, honest work he put into the ranch.  And, like the manager said, Mike never left work until the job was finished. Sometimes that would be 7 or 8 o'clock at night. Nonetheless the White Grass Ranch wasn't just a place to work, Mike raved about the food. The morning biscuits and gravy gave him a full belly for the day and helped add on an extra few pounds in spite of all the hard work. Even after so many years of being away he still remembers working on the ranch as one of his fondest Western memories.

Mike was also pleasantly surprised to discover the ranch was rustled out of its stillness around 2006 to become the Western Center for Historic Preservation. It is now an education and resource center dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of cultural resources in the Western national parks. The center invites people from around the country to learn how to restore cabins and historical locations. The White Grass Ranch was lucky to become a place that encourages the preservation of western history and the history of dude ranching. Mike was able to see cabin #15 completely and sustainably restored and left the new White Grass Ranch with nostalgia and even a little hope. Do you have a story from your history with dude ranching? Please share it with me at: info@duderanch.org. Happy Trails! Leah Bright Moose, Wyoming Ranches Are you looking for active dude ranches in Moose, WY? Take a look at the Gros Ventre River Ranch, Moose Head Ranch, Lost Creek Ranch and the Triangle X Ranch.


         

5 Pack Trips in the Untamed Wilderness of the West

True or False? Taking a wilderness pack trip is just taking a weekend camping trip with the family. False. A wilderness pack trip is easier and more adventurous. On a pack trip you can expect to have all the fun of camping minus all the camp set up, cooking, cleaning and caring for the animals. Leave all that to the professionals. Out there all you have to do is enjoy the freedom and solitude the mountains can offer.  Let your imagination run wild with all the things you can do and discover during the day when you are hours and hours into the untamed and secluded mountains of the West.  At night you will be closer than ever to the stars by your campfire.  Couple that with genuine companionship from the wranglers and guides and you are well on your way to spending the most memorable few days in the wild. Take a look at some of the top pack trip adventures you can find West of the Mississippi and give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call today to help plan your stay.

Pack Trips of the West

 

5 Pack Trips Out West

 

Absaroka Ranch - The Land of Mountain Men

There is a place in Northwestern Wyoming to the Northeast of Jackson Hole and adjacent to Yellowstone National Park that is the largest intact Wilderness area in the lower 48 States. By virtue of the Wilderness Act of 1964 this area has been set aside as a place where the only possible means of transportation within are by foot or upon a horse. Travel with Absaroka Ranch by horseback into this special country, home of many of the great mountain ranges of the West: the Tetons, the Wind Rivers, and the Absarokas. The scenery is nothing less than spectacular - crystal clear mountain streams, awesome snow - capped peaks, cool green river valleys.

 

JJJ Wilderness Ranch - Roughing it in Style!

The JJJ crew sets up each camp in a picturesque setting beside a river or mountain stream. The wilderness kitchen offers a protective dining-fly with wood stove where the camp cook prepares delicious, hearty meals for you to enjoy around the campfire. Expect to be surprised! Guests have spacious private tents with sleeping pad, waterproof floors, and screen windows. Portable showers are available for your comfort, although the more adventurous wash away the days’ dirt in the creek – talk about invigorating! JJJ provides everything for these horse camping trips, so all you need to bring is your sleeping bag, pad and personal items.  Out here your job is all play and no work. Vacation in wilderness luxury.

 

Triangle X Ranch - Wyoming's Back Country

This contiguous ecosystem, over 6,000 square miles, offers one of the richest wildlife complexes anywhere in the world. This is Continental Divide country and contains the headwaters of the Snake,Yellowstone and Shoshone rivers. It is a land filled with amazing beauty, history and legend. A Triangle X Ranch pack trip into this beautiful region offers you one of the most exciting and rewarding vacations of a lifetime.

 

Broken Arrow Ranch - Fly Fishing Paradise

Montana is known for some of the best fly fishing in the world and the Broken Arrow Lodge is right in the center of fly fishing paradise. Imagine being surrounded by five famous Montana fly fishing trout streams, all with different fly action. All Broken Arrow's surrounding fly fishing rivers fish very well in early and late spring with very little pressure in any of the rivers. The ranch fly fishing guides are very experienced Montana natives who have been fly fishing on the water for many years. When they are not guiding, they are fly fishing. They are very knowledgeable about the entomology, the water, and the fish. Guided wade or float fly fishing is available on lakes, streams, or ponds. This pack trip is for anglers that want a real ‘River Runs Through It’ experience!

 

Wait! There's more!! Read more stories about pack trips here

 

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Dude Ranch Pack Trips

True or False? Taking a wilderness pack trip is just taking a weekend camping trip with the family. False. A wilderness pack trip is easier and more adventurous. On a pack trip you can expect to have all the fun of camping minus all the camp set up, cooking, cleaning and caring for the animals. Leave all that to the professionals.

What Type of Dude Ranch Fits you?

Are you planning a dude ranch vacation for the first time? When it comes to vacation options, there are lots of questions to ask yourself and those traveling with you. One of the ones you might not have considered before is, “What type of dude ranch fits me?” The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) represents more than 100 guest ranches in North America (two in Canada), ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you can find DRA-accredited ranches throughout the Western U.S., as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada.

Bonanza Creek Ranch Type of Dude Ranch - Family Style Traditional Dude Ranch

 

What Type of Dude Ranch Fits You?

 

1) How often do you pull out your Wranglers and Justin's?

a) Every chance I get

b) Mainly when country concerts and the rodeo comes to town

c) What are Wranglers and Justin's?

 

2) How adventurous are you?

a) I’m up for just about anything!

b) Middle of the road – let’s not get too crazy…

c) As long as it doesn’t involve going fast, jumping out of anything, jumping off of anything, swimming with something with large teeth…

 

3) What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘cowboy?’

a) Herding cattle and tending ranches

b) Cowboy boots, the Wild West and horseback riding

c) I’ve seen a few actors play cowboys in Western films but don’t know much about them

 

4) Which of the following activities sound the most fun to you?

a) Fishing, hunting and riding

b) Hiking, mountain biking and ATV riding

c) Pool time, spa and yoga

 

5) How do you feel about horses?

a) I’d ride them all day, everyday if I could

b) I’ve ridden a few times in the past – would love to do it more often

c) I love to look at them from afar

 

6) What’s your idea of a relaxing evening at home?

a) Catching up on yard work or other things around the house

b) Tackling the DIY project I found on Pinterest that I’ve been putting off

c) Sofa. TV. Enough said.

 

7) What is your idea of the perfect meal?

a) Steak and potatoes – don’t give me any of the fancy stuff

b) Doesn’t matter to me, as long as it’s tasty

c) A least three courses, please…and don’t forget the wine

 

8) What does “team penning” mean to you?

a) Bring it on – I’m the best

b) Sounds interesting – I’d be up for trying it

c) Does it have to do with penmanship?

 

9) What kind of group do you normally travel with?

a) Usually just me, or one other adult

b) The whole gang – kids, grandparents, etc.

c) Usually just me and the significant other, or a group of girlfriends/guys

 

10) Which of the following best describes your vacation style?

a) No frills

b) Comfortable

c) Luxury

 

If you answered mostly a’s: A working ranch might be right up your alley. These rustic, no-frills ranches will provide you with a traditional dude ranch experience, during which time you’ll work alongside ranch hands and owners doing daily ranch activities like cattle working and cattle drives.

If you answered mostly b’s: You’re in luck, because the majority of ranches accredited by the Dude Ranchers’ Association are traditional, family-style ranches. They specialize in offering a variety of activities for groups of all ages, abilities and interests, and many of them feature outstanding kids’ program.

If you answered mostly c’s: You like to travel in style, and you’re not ashamed to admit it. A luxury resort-style guest ranch is just the place for you: picture some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, gourmet food, award-winning spas and golf…and that’s just the beginning.

 

What Type of Dude Ranch Fits You? 

Are you planning a dude ranch vacation for the first time? When it comes to vacation options, there are lots of questions to ask yourself and those traveling with you. One of the ones you might not have considered before is, “What type of dude ranch fits me?” Fill out this questionnaire to find out.

 

Plan Your Dude Ranch Family Reunion

When asking yourself how to plan your dude ranch family reunion it may be helpful to follow this question guide. The ranches listed here are great examples of places to take your family for your next family reunion. They are all accredited members of the Dude Ranchers' Association. As such they are held to the highest industry standards and are kept accountable to provide unforgettable destination vacations. Find your ranch today. Let us help.

Sylvan Dale Reunion

A Sylvan Dale Ranch Reunion

When would you like to go?

Planning ahead is essential. We recommend that the larger size the group the farther in advance you should book your stay. Ranches fill up quick during their peak season. Are you planning a vacation during the spring time? Then you should probably start looking the summer before and asking about availability.  You can do this for multiple ranch at once using our Favorites Feature.

 

Where would you like to be geographically?

Maybe somewhere near a National Park or National Monument? How about a climate specific location? Or elevation? Oh, and what about Grandpa's siblings who live out West somewhere?  For example, if Yellowstone National Park is at the top of your list, please look at these ranches for your next reunion: Rimrock Ranch, Elkhorn Ranch and R Lazy S Ranch.

 

How many people will be there?

No matter how big or small your reunion will be there are ranches who can accommodate. If the whole family would like to be in one large cabin that can hold up to 10 -20 people that can be arranged. Or maybe the older adults would like to be in a more secluded, quiet part of the ranch while the younger generations can have a cabin right in the middle of all of the action. Rich Ranch, Paradise Guest Ranch and the Red Reflet Ranch are great locations with many different housing options for your next reunion.

Elkhorn Family Reunion

Elkhorn Ranch Trail Ride

What would you like to do?

Would you prefer to take only the adults on your vacation and ride in the saddle all day working cattle with cowboys who center your reunion around their cattle operation? Use the Search by Amenity Page to discover these ranches.  Or maybe turn loose the whole family on a variety of activities during the day? For starters that would include horseback riding, white water rafting, hiking fishing, mountain biking, or zip lining.  What about your less active relatives? For them they can relax by the pool, enjoy the spa services or swap stories in the saloon.  Have no concern for the youngest, they will be included as well.  At the Red Horse Mountain they are famous for their extensive kids program starting at age 3. Babysitting serves are generally offered at an additional cost or ranches may offer a steep discount for a nanny.

 

How long would you like to stay?

In hearty dude ranch tradition some ranches require a full week stay in order to really experience life on the ranch. However, we realize you may not be able to spend 6 nights and 7 days at the ranch. Please consider Medicine Bow Lodge, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Majestic and Covered Wagon Ranch for your shorter stay requirements.

 

Ranch Pictures

The Cabins at Paradise Guest Ranch

 

If you would like more personal assistance planning your vacation please contact us (Leah and Colleen) at the Dude Ranchers' Association. We are able to provide a more concise and tailored list of ranches to choose from. We understand that navigating through all 104 ranches in our Association is a little overwhelming. Sketch out the details of your trip and let us help with the rest. You can call 307.587.2339 from 8 - 4:30 MST or email info@duderanch.org anytime you like. We look forward to hearing from you.  Happy trails!


     

Give Mom and Dad the Gift of Memories this Year

Most Moms and Dads have more than enough “stuff,” and if asked, they may confess they haven’t even opened last year’s gift. This year, how about thinking a little outside the box when it comes to their special day? Why not consider sending Mom and Dad on a Western adventure vacation to a dude ranch? It’s surely a gift they will never forget. Whether they are traveling with or without the kids there’s the right ranch to fit all vacation plans.

Elk Mountain Ranch Mom Special DayElk Mountain Ranch Mom Special Day

Deals for the Parents

Elk Mountain Ranch is offering a complementary airport transfer (a savings of $375) and a complimentary cowboy hat for Dad during the weeks of June 21 - 28. Goosewing Ranch is offering a 40% discount special off the peak season rates for any package if you book your 2015 summer vacation before Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015. Let Mom enjoy her vacation; They will handle the cooking, cleaning, planning, and organizing, Mom just needs to sit back, relax and enjoying being surrounded by loved ones. Daily adventures and one Massage included in all our packages! For Father’s Day Goosewing Ranch is offering 40% discount special off the peak season rates for any package booked during the dates of June 11th - 28th 2015. Here Dads will enjoy fishing, exploring on UTVs, skeet shooting, and much more.

Kid’s Program for Your Freedom

Elk Mountain Rafting Silly Mom and Kids

Majestic Ranch in Durango, Colorado is offering a 30% discount for both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. They have an awesome kids program so Mom and Dad can spend all the time they want with the kids or some much needed alone time.  Here the counselors, who have all worked with kids of all ages before working here, do an amazing job keeping all the kids busy so parents can rest easy while they enjoy their vacation. All kids ages six and up are able to ride trails while younger kids are given the option to ride in the arena. Additionally, kids pan for gold, play laser tag in our Old Western Town, learn to shoot bows and arrows and BB guns, spend time supervised in the pool, take part in a rodeo, and sleep under the stars in Teepee Village. Parents consistently make comments about how excited they are to see their kids, usually glued to their phones and game consoles, playing outside and smiling all day. While your kids will probably need a bath before going to bed, they will definitely sleep well each night.

Pampering for Mom

C Lazy u Mom and Dad

Enjoy a weekend getaway and treat your mom to a Mother’s Day escape at C Lazy U Ranch. Refresh her body, relax her mind and feed her soul with a serene combination of fine dining and elegant accommodations. For the ultimate pampering mom can take advantage of the ranch’s spa. Flowers will be budding and the trees will be in full bloom as she horseback rides, hikes and mountain bikes across C Lazy U's extensive trail system. If that’s not enough excitement she can do some fly fishing, shoot trap or archery, tackle the ropes course or zoom across the zip line. Spoil Mom and kick off spring with a fun getaway she will never forget. • DATES: May 8-10, 2015 • 2 night minimum • $375 per adult per night • $125 per child per night 3-17 Fly Fishing for

Dad

Focus Ranch Fly Fishing Sqaure

What Dad does not like spending time on the river bank trying to outsmart the cut-throat trout? Focus Ranch on the Wyoming, Colorado boarder will be offering a fly fishing clinic in 2015. Whether you are new to fly fishing or just needing some tips, this clinic is designed to tailor the content to participants’ needs -providing practical experience. It covers a broad range of skills-novice to experienced. Those who want a thorough introduction to the sport, will receive hands on instruction. Those who are already proficient, may benefit from his guiding skills. Topics to be covered include: fly casting techniques; gear; knot tying; trout behavior; water entomology and flies; river anatomy; fishing strategies, catch and release and trout fishing techniques.  

Triangle C Mom Dad

I have often heard “the best part of Memories is making them” and I would have to totally agree. So grad your Mom and Dad and give them memories that will last a Lifetime!!


 

National Parks Week on a Dude Ranch

In honor of National Parks Week we wanted to share with you two great travel story ideas about the best ways to experience some of the awe-inspiring National Parks in America: through a dude ranch vacation.

Moosehead Grand Teton National Park

1.    Great news for road trip lovers this summer! Road trips will be cheaper than they’ve been in six years, according to a new government report that predicted lowgas prices over the summer. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that a gallon of gasoline will cost an average of 32% lower than last year nationwide. With that in mind, may we suggest a piece that explores a road trip to Wyoming and Montana guest ranches nearest some of the country’s most breathtaking national parks? 2.    Similarly, as ecotourism becomes more popular, the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s guest ranches have been the pioneers of green living and green vacations for decades. At a guest ranch, you can explore the country’s National Parks System while reconnecting with nature in some of the most tranquil, pristine areas of the country. Learn to “live off the land” with fishing trips, bird watching, hikes, wildlife viewing and more.

Below, please find a sample of Accredited DRA ranches located near or right in the heart of the country’s top national parks.

Elkhorn MT Yellowstone National Park

Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the 20 largest national parks in the United States. There are two DRA ranches located within an easy drive of the park, known for its abundance of wildlife and more than 700 miles of hiking trails. Take a day trip to Glacier National Park from Three Bars Guest Ranch and Bar W Guest Ranch is highly recommended.

Triangle X Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park - Moose Head Ranch and Triangle X Ranch are located completely within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park, a location that attracts nearly four million visitors per year to Northwestern Wyoming. The R Lazy S Ranch is located on the Southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park, within walking distance from your cabin. Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and home to a large variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk. Visit Rimrock Ranch to enjoy a picnic lunch on their Friday tours of the park, when guests are treated to a tour of the whole "Lower Loop" of the Park, which includes Sylvan Pass, Fishing Bridge, Yellowstone Lake, West Thumb, Old Faithful, Madison, Norris Geyser Basin, Canyon and Yellowstone Falls, and Yellowstone River. Elkhorn Ranch is located 1.5 miles from the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park and 35 miles from the entrance at West Yellowstone. So don’t miss out this summer give us a call and let us help you plan your trip. 307.587.2339


 

5 Ranch Activities to Connect with Your Family

Drowsy Water Zipline

There is much to be said about children getting too much screen time in today’s tech-saturated world. But, look around most playgrounds and you will see that parents are guilty too. Too often, we’re reaching for our phones rather than connect with what’s truly important – strengthening family bonds and making memories that will carry well into the future. In fact, making time for your family to connect does more than provide a fleeting moment of happiness: it can make you healthier. Studies have indicated frequent family dinners lead to higher levels of emotional well-being and satisfaction. The only requirement? Keep your phones turned off. As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a dude ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to connect as a family. Families can challenge and revive their bodies, minds and spirits in the most breathtaking areas in the U.S. Listed below are the top 5 ranch activities to connect with your family. They are sure to leave the kids clamoring to tell you all they’ve done over a family style dinner.

Colorado Trails

1. Ride out of town – Imagine horseback riding with your family through meadows dotted with wildflowers, while the Rocky Mountains tower around you. You and your family are in search of that reconnection, to each other and to the land, and you’ve come to the right place: Rainbow Trout Ranch. Rustic with all the modern amenities you’ll ever need, Rainbow Trout Ranch caters to children of all ages. Located near several historic Spanish land grants in Antonito, Colo., Rainbow Trout is surrounded by the spectacular San Juan Mountains. Ride horses, catch some trout, hike to an overlook with your kids, relax, and let the land and each other connect you of the important things in life.

2. Take an expedition – On horseback, on foot, or in vehicles – expedition guests at A Bar A Guest Ranch experience a privately-guided, customized, small-group adventure. Located along the banks of the North Platte River, in the heart of southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains, A Bar A Guest Ranch is one of the oldest and largest in the country, with nearly 100,000 acres for guests to explore, surrounded by National Forest and Wilderness Area. The ranch is a paradise for children, with riding, fishing, soccer, arts and crafts, music and drama, swimming, tennis, and educational games, such as cork boat and sack races. Teenagers enjoy inner tubing down the river and golf before connecting with their parents to a dinner cooked over an open fire.

3. Work as a teamDrowsy Water Ranch, 90 miles west of Denver, Colo., has programs for children, from infants to teenagers, with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents alike. Capture the fun and your children’s hearts when you help them lasso a steer - head. Ditch your tablets for team building group activities outside, such as obstacle courses, zip lining, swimming, hiking, archery and rafting. Afterward, head to the main lodge to enjoy playing cards, browsing in the library or just connect with new friends while drinking lemonade.

Lost Creek

4. Fish in trout heaven – Who needs a video game when you can focus on capturing the real thing in person! Colorado Trails Ranch provides an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in the San Juan Mountains. Enjoy an awesome fishing vacation with access to some of the finest trout fishing around. You’ll find more choice spots than you can fish in a week, with specialists trained at introducing beginners to the sport. Whether you’re a fishing fan or not, no one in your family will be bored on this vacation. Here, kids and adults can enjoy their own level of adventure. Counselors connect with the kids’ needs while the parents are off hiking, horseback riding or fishing. From whitewater rafting, to swimming in the heated pool – there’s enough tech-free adventure to suite everyone’s tastes.

5. Relax in styleLost Creek Ranch Lodge & Spa is nestled between Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The ranch combines outdoor adventure for the entire family and the comforts of a world-class resort in the region’s most spectacular location. Yours may be the first footstep in a pine forest that day. Or you may be the first person of the day to say hello to a wandering deer. Every aspect of the buildings, log cabins, corrals, spa and other facilities ensures you connect to the beauty and solitude of the Grand Tetons.


 

9 FAQs of Dude Ranching

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of Dude Ranching

G Bar M Ranch

1. Why choose a Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) ranch? With more than 100 DRA  accredited ranches, the perfect ranch experience is out there for you. The DRA’s expert staff helps travelers and travel agents customize the experience, guiding visitors to the perfect ranch to suit their needs and desires. The DRA requires its members to uphold the highest quality and standards within the dude ranching industry. Membership into the DRA is obtained only after a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process.

2. What are some of the typical activities for those visiting a dude ranch? While most people usually associate dude ranches with cowboys and cattle drives, they are so much more. Dude ranches are the original all-inclusive vacation, committed to preserving and sharing the Western way of life. Guests are able to customize their ranch experience to plan their ideal vacation. From yoga and cooking classes, to fly fishing and hiking, to swimming and bird watching, a vacation to a DRA accredited guest ranch guarantees a memorable experience unlike anything else. Horseback riding is a top activity at most DRA accredited guest ranches, as is fishing. Many guest ranches have added spa offerings and other luxury amenities to their properties for guests’ enjoyment. Other activities include whitewater rafting, hay rides, western dancing, golfing, ATV riding, trap shooting, hiking, mountain biking, baseball games and more. Almost all DRA accredited ranches of-fer evening activities such as campfire cowboy singers and s’mores, casino nights, Western movie nights and stargazing.

3. What does “all-inclusive” mean?

Vista Verde Ranch Snow Trail Ride Family Square

The “all-inclusive rate” concept originated at dude ranches – rooms, meals and most activities have been included in the rate since the late 1800’s. Dude ranch vacations are priced competitively with respect to other similar all-inclusive vacation options. Ranch vacations are a great value and make it easy to stay within a budget. There are no hassles because everything is taken care of, from transportation to lodging to meals to activities. All-inclusive does not mean watered down drinks or sub par food. It simply means everything is included in the price.

4. Where are DRA accredited ranches located? Dude ranches are located in some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. Member ranches are located in 12 Western states and two Canadian provinces: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

5. What transportation options are available to a dude or guest ranch? Guests should discuss their travel plans with the ranch they’ll be visiting. Most guests travel by commercial airlines, and the ranches provide shuttle service to and from the nearest airport. For those guests within reasonable distances or wishing for more of a “road trip” experience, driving is another option.

6. What should I consider when planning a dude ranch vacation? We recommend taking four main things into consideration:

  • Style of Riding – Choose the riding environment that appeals most to you: open meadows, prairies, mountain trails or southwestern desert. The location of the ranch determines the terrain.
  • Accommodations – Guest ranch accommodations vary depending on the ranch from luxurious and elegant to rustic and cowboy-chic. Whether you are staying in your own private cabin or in a lodge room, rest assured you will sleep on comfortable beds, in superbly kept rooms, with all the amenities you will need for a pleasant and relaxing stay.
  • Time of Year – May to October is peak dude ranch season. Some dude ranches are open year-round and some seasonal ranches offer special holiday activities. You’ll find the southern ranches are more popular in the winter months, while the northern ranches are the most popular in the summer months. Any time of the year is a great time to visit a dude ranch!
  • Ranch Size – Smaller ranches may only be able to host several families at one time, while larger ones can host a couple hundred people.

7. How do I choose the perfect ranch for my vacation?

Colorado Cattle Company

The best way to start narrowing your options is to go online to the Dude Ranchers’ Association website. You can search for ranches according to a variety of criteria, such as activities/amenities or location (state or province), or even by proximity to national parks. Modify your search until you find exactly what you’re looking for. You can even put your favorite ranches into your “saddle bag” for side-by-side comparison. As you narrow down your choices, call one of the DRA’s expert staff members at (866) 399-2339 to help guide you to the perfect ranch selection based on what’s most important to you.

8. How authentic is the ranch experience? Most DRA accredited ranches are multi-generational owned and operated, so they are the real deal.

9. How can I learn more about the DRA? Visit us online at any of the following places: Website: www.duderanch.org Blog: www.duderanch.org/blog Facebook: www.facebook.com/DudeRanchers Twitter: https://twitter.com/duderanchers YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/DudeRanchers


 

Ranch Accreditation

The Trade Association Promoting Dude Ranches

Why should prospective dude ranch vacationers give priority consideration to ranches accredited by the Dude Ranchers Association (DRA)? The answers are in the education and training for higher levels of hospitality, and higher standards of safety that are afforded to association members. DRA members have access to training and professional growth courses available through the association. The Dude Ranch Association offers a key path to gain ongoing training of ranch members who constantly improve their levels of service. Secondly, entrance into the association itself requires that applicant ranches are inspected and verified as meeting and maintaining DRA standards of excellence. An independent governing body has placed a stamp of approval on all ranches accepted into membership.

Marble Mountain Dude Ranch

Dude Rancher Association Members Operate At Verified High Standards

When you select a DRA member dude ranch, you be assured that the ranch is operating at the highest levels of the ranching industry. In your search for the ideal dude ranch, you will find hundreds of ranches that are quite varied, and different in almost every conceivable way. Rather than first focusing on price, or activity offerings, or location, the first step you might consider in your search, is to limit the selection to ranches that are most likely to offer you a genuine western experience and offer the highest standards of quality. This will be a Dude Ranch Association member ranch.

Marble Mountain Dude Ranch

Anybody can hang an "open for business" sign out on the ranch gate, publish a slick website, and purchase inclusion into various fee based internet ranch directories. None of these things will guarantee any level of honesty in offered services, any standard of risk management, or any quality assuredness in hospitality. The mere fact that a member ranch has gone through the association application process, has been inspected, and has been accepted into the association, should imply that the ranch is reaching for a higher standard. These are the ranches you should be considering prior to evaluating all the other parameters of location, cost, and program offerings. The dude ranch association membership is the quality seal that should be considered along with the confirming tripadvisor reviews, and the BBB ratings for the ranch. Your vacation is a significant investment. It warrants due diligence in researching and ferreting out the ranch that will surpass your quality expectations as well as meeting the unique needs of your party. Increase the likelihood that your dude ranch vacation will meet and exceed your expectations, by selecting first from the list of over 100 Dude Ranch Association approved ranches. ** Thank you to our new member, Marble Mountain Ranch for posting this content**


 

10 Surprising Dude Ranch Activities

Does “dude ranch” conjure images of office workers doffing their Dockers in favor of denim? Do you envision time in the saddle, or sleeping under the stars, and think it might be fun for a day or two … but you’re not sure about an entire vacation? There’s good news for travelers who would like a taste of the dude ranch experience blended with a heaping serving of other vacation-type activities. Today’s dude ranches cater to a diverse crowd – from families to couples to singles – with activities, attractions and services that travel far beyond the trail. “While dude ranches still provide that one-of-a-kind ‘cowboy-style’ vacation you can’t find anywhere else, many have also expanded their offerings to appeal to the diverse and discriminating tastes of today’s traveler. So if you’re considering a dude ranch vacation and would like to spend time out of the saddle, consider these 10 surprising things to do on today’s dude ranches:

1. Get a massage or spa treatment Hotels and resorts around the world have hopped on the spa bandwagon, spending millions to build lavish facilities or offer massage, salon and spa services. Many dude ranches now offer comparable services, like White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona where guests can indulge in a massage and much more.

2. Take a yoga class Many ranches that offer spa services also provide yoga classes and training. Before a long day in the saddle, guests can have a relaxing limbering-up session with certified trainers.

Smith Fork Wine Tasting

3. Indulge in a wine tasting Gourmet cuisine and wine paring are gaining popularity at dude ranches and the wine list at the Smith Fork Ranch offers varied choices. They have chosen some favorites from their private cellar as well as other specific vintages from wineries they admire. Wines from the premiere growing regions of France, Italy, Australia and America's West Coast are represented, as well as Colorado's own fine wine country just a short distance northwest of the ranch. Above all we want you to enjoy a wine that is a perfect match with the cuisine our chef prepares for you.

4. Get married Picturesque settings, wide open spaces and top-notch amenities draw thousands of brides-to-be and their grooms to dude ranches each year. Some dude ranches even offer personal wedding planners to assist couples in planning every facet of their special day – a leading-edge service you would expect to find in the finest hotels or resorts. At Sylvan Dale Ranch, you can even rent the entire ranch for your event.

5. White Water Rafting Three Bars Guest Ranch offers weekly white water rafting tours on the St. Mary’s River. Rafting down this unspoiled natural stone stream allows you to explore the river from a unique perspective. They put in only a 10 minute drive from the ranch. After a quick safety talk you will board the rafts and travel eight miles down this Class II and Class III River. The trip winds through the St. Mary's Valley and past the ranch to the pull out location, just a 5 minute drive from the ranch.

Three Bars Ranch

6. Shooting Sports At Red Horse Mountain Ranch, you’ll be given instruction and will be participating in a safely controlled environment. Shooters will be provided with the opportunity to have a lot of fun, to learn some things about shooting, and be challenged. There are 5 stations, each providing their own unique targets. The routine is much like golf; shooters will be starting in small groups, which move from station to station. Our Sporting Clay course has made good use of thick brush, steep terrain and other natural features to make the shooting both difficult and realistic. Our Sporting Clays course will have everything to fit your needs, including shells, different shotguns, shooting glasses, ear protection, vests, pouches, and of course a guide and trapper.

7. Perform in a Talent Show Friendly competition can be found in many forms on dude ranches, from roping contests to talent shows. If lassoing a speeding calf isn’t your forte, you can sing, tap or joke your way to local stardom in a talent show.

8. Ride a Zip Line The Bar Lazy J Ranch has one of Colorado's longest and fastest zip lines and is the only one that crosses the Colorado River. The zip line starts on a steep bluff overlooking the Colorado River dropping 82 feet in elevation as it crosses the river, through the trees and across a pasture to the landing platform. You will be zipping along at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour. This activity is for guests ages 13 and up.

Bar Lazy J Ranch Activities Zipline


 

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.


 

3 ways Dude Ranches Offer Best Value for Travel Dollar

Due to the cost of travel a vacation to any destination may seem like a “pipe dream.” But don’t rule out a summer getaway completely until you’ve considered a stay at a Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude ranch. These quintessential Western getaways have always offered tremendous value for the money. Below are 3 ways Dude Ranches offer best bang for your buck.

Your Dollar Buys More at Home - To keep cost down many travelers are looking for vacation destinations within the USA. For the same reason, so are many European and other foreign travelers. The dude ranch has always been popular overseas for its quintessential American flavor. So, even if you forgo a British Isles trip this season, your kids may very well get the opportunity to mingle with kids from another country at a Western DRA member dude ranch. When you are ready, head out to the Cowboy State - Wyoming and visit the Rimrock Ranch  and Medicine Bow Lodge & Guest Ranch. Visit with the Rocking Z family operated ranch in the big sky country of Montana.    

All-inclusive - DRA ranches are typically all-inclusive operating under the American plan. At Marble Mountain Ranch you can enjoy their saddle and paddle program - riding horses and white water rafting all for one price. Most activities don’t come with extra charges, including extra costs for dining out. Ranches are notorious for hearty wholesome meals – many catering to guests request and special dietary needs. At the Red Reflet Ranch you are provided with farm raised produce and beef excellently prepared by the executive chef.       Red-Horse-All-Inclusive

There’s A DRA Ranch to Fit Each Lifestyle, Each Budget - While each DRA ranch guarantees an authentic Western experience, each offers different amenities and activities. A carefully selected ranch can satisfy the entertainment needs for each member of the family. Ranches come with hot tubs, rifle ranges, swimming pools, spas, fishing guides, tennis and basketball courts, whitewater rafting and more. Red Horse Mountain Ranch is one with a very extensive list of family fun adventures.  While each DRA ranch is a quality destination, rates do vary. For the budget minded there are ranches offering stays of shorter duration. At Three Bars Guest Ranch you can stay for three nights or indefinitely.  And, don’t forget it’s possible to pay off-season, reduced rates for periods just before and following the “high season” of Mid June through late August and September. Today, there are more than 100 DRA member ranches in the Western US and Canada, and at least one of them has all the elements making it an ideal and affordable getaway for your 2015 summer vacation.


Luxury and Kids Go Together at Resort Guest Ranches

Resort-style guest ranches combine the adventure of dude ranch vacations with the luxury of all-inclusive resorts for your kids and yourself. The Dude Ranchers Association has over 100 member ranches across the western U.S. and Canada with many hosting special programs and activities for kids. Below are a few ranches that do Luxury and kids like no other destination vacation spot.

At Colorado’s Tumbling River Ranch kids from age 3 to teen find adventure and independence. Kids are split into groups by age and spend their days going on scavenger hunts, hay rides, camp outs, horseback rides, hikes, and more. Teens love hanging out with the college-aged counselors while rock climbing, rafting, fly fishing, playing capture the flag, and going on an overnight pack trip.    

From morning until bedtime, Montana’s Mountain Sky Guest Ranch offers a variety of fun children’s activities that will entertain and delight all ages - like horseback rides, games in the heated swimming pool, fishing in the ranch pond, sing a longs, arts and crafts, nature walks, rodeos, tennis, and fun surprises cooked up by the creative staff .     

Wyoming’s Lost Creek Ranch and Spa, made famous last fall as the setting for Modern Family’s season premiere, lets kids leave their “boring parents” relaxing at the spa, playing golf, or exploring Grand Teton National park. Special kids-only activities are tailored to the interests and abilities of participants.      

Lone Mountain Ranch has an Outdoor Youth Adventure program that is designed for young people (ages 3-18) to have fun while developing an appreciation for nature and building their self-confidence through a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities. These experiences are geared to entertain and challenge the interests of varying age groups. When you combine the experiences we offer with our kind, energetic and knowledgeable staff, the kids can't help but have fun and look at life from a different perspective. The confidence they gain with their peers outdoors is something they can take with them wherever they go.  

The Home Ranch, in Colorado, is a family-friendly ranch that requires no advance planning, no childcare arrangements, no dinner planning, and no stress. You and your family can simply follow your individual bliss while we take care of everything else for you. Our all-inclusive children’s program and dedicated kids counselors offer a wide menu of daily activities and adventure for kids and teens - and make it very easy for the whole family to unwind, relax, and do what they want, when they want, how they want to do it.    

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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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5 Reasons to Visit in the Fall

With the kids back in school, Labor Day behind us and the days getting shorter, it can only mean one thing; fall is quickly approaching and will give you 5 good reasons to visit a dude ranch. Whether you’re looking for fall break travel ideas, a long weekend away without the kids or an extended vacation, a dude ranch is an ideal destination to enjoy the fall.

Circle Z Ranch Visit in the Fall

5 Reasons to Visit a Dude Ranch in the Fall

Steals and Deals: As with many vacation destinations, summer is peak season for dude ranches. However, as the air cools down travelers can take advantage of less crowds and discounted rates. Budget-friendly offers range from a percentage off standard rates to special packages. Colorado Trails Ranch  has a 25 percent discount during the fall. During Circle Z Ranch’s Lone Star Long Weekend guests receive a discount on a four-day/three-night stay.

Adult-Only Weeks: Many dude ranches offer special adult-only weeks in the fall. This gives couples, groups and solo travelers the chance to make memories that will last a lifetime. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, for example, offers an Adult Horsemanship Week. This is a hands-on approach where guests experience the true pleasure of caring for and learning about these noble animals. Or, guests can enjoy a little pampering here, a little adventure there, and a lot of girl talk (and maybe some wine!) with a girlfriend’s getaway to Red Horse Mountain Ranch.

Cattle Drives: For working ranches, fall means cattle drives. Guests are often invited to join in these adventurous and interactive experiences. Hunewill Ranch will embark on its 105th cattle drive this fall. Guests are welcome to take part in the ultimate Old West experience by riding with the Hunewill family for five days. This trek covers 60 miles from Bridgeport, California to Smith Valley, Nevada. Participants herd 600 cows as they are driven to their winter range.

Fall Foliage: Imagine horseback riding under a canopy of Technicolor fall foliage in glorious reds, bright yellows and vivid oranges. Some of the nation’s most spectacular leaf peeping can only be found when you head off the beaten path. Choose from guest ranches in Arizona or Colorado where fall changes the Aspen leaves. Book a getaway to a dude ranch located near a National Park such as Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park or Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which borders Buffalo River National Park.

Escape the Cold: People who live up north will be pulling out their jackets in no time.  For those looking to bask in the sun one last time, a long weekend getaway in the Southwest will do the trick. With six ranches to choose from in Arizona and two in New Mexico, travelers are sure to find the right ranch for them to ride off into the (still warm) sunset.

 

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Fall is quickly approaching and will give you 5 good reasons to visit a dude ranch. Whether you’re looking for fall break travel ideas, a long weekend away without the kids or an extended vacation, a dude ranch is an ideal destination to enjoy the fall.

 

Hollywood Meets the Wild West

Forget Hollywood: many dude ranches have had Hollywood come to them to film some of the most notable classic Western movies ever to hit the big screen over the years.  Take for example, White Stallion Ranch. This family-owned 3,000-acre dude ranch located outside of Tucson, Ariz., has been attracting Hollywood filmmakers to its unspoiled desert and rugged mountain landscape for more than 70 years. Notable Western movies filmed on-site include the 1939 legendary film, “Arizona,” as well as “Winchester 73,” “Apache Ambush” and “Backlash.” And the list doesn’t stop at just Western films. Scenes from “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” starring George Clooney were filmed on the ranch. The 2007 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue even used this desert setting for its hugely popular annual photo shoot! 

Another guest ranch known for its movie history is Circle Z Ranch. Also located in Arizona, Circle Z Ranch is the oldest continuously operating guest ranch in the state and has served as the backdrop for movies and TV shows including “Gunsmoke” and John Wayne’s “Red River.”

Most recently, the 2006 movie “Flicka” was filmed at Eaton’s Ranch in Wyoming. Upon arriving to the ranch’s 7,000 acres of beautiful open country with rolling hills, grassy meadows and hidden valleys, you too will see why the setting was perfect for the big screen.  Whether you’re a movie buff looking to visit the settings of some of your favorite movies or searching for a thrilling adventure in an off-the-beaten-path locale, guest ranches provide you with the full on star treatment. Thanks to their warm Western Hospitality and full lineup of daily activities and programing, you’re guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime…straight out of a Hollywood Western.eatons fall (2)


 

Cody, Wyoming Dude Ranches

Crossed-Sabres-with-Logo-600x387Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting out of the office to visit Crossed Sabres, a Cody, Wyoming Dude Ranch. We took a drive down the North Fork Highway that leads right to the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. We passed the famous Buffalo Bill Damn and the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. There are some good pictures to be taken at these scenic outlooks! At just 10 miles from the East gate we pulled into the Cross Sabres Ranch. This ranch has been there for many, many years, but recently ranch ownership has changed hands. The cabins and facilities enjoyed a fresh coat of paint and care from the new owner Kenny Long. He purchased the ranch a couple of years ago and has done an amazing job restoring much of the ranch. We heartily give him a welcome into the Dude Ranchers Association and wish him and his family the best of luck. Kenny gave us the grand tour of the lodge, cabins and riding facilities, but not before feeding us a home cooked lunch of soup and sandwiches.  I have to say it was delightful and the oatmeal raisin cookies were one of the best ranch cookies I have had. Their lodge is centrally located within the ranch. There is a beautiful great room with a high ceiling and an intimate feel next to the fire place. This room leads up to a game room upstairs. There is a large dining hall and a Western style saloon that opens to the front porch. You can imagine yourself having a drink and watching the kids play off of the porch, learning to rope a calf dummy. You might also sneak away to stroll though the cabins strategically placed around Libby Creek, which meanders through the ranch. Picking out a secluded spot to read a book and letting the sounds of the creek fill your soul would be one the moments guest ranching is famous for. While horseback riding is the main focus for all DRA member dude ranches they do have a fishing guide that is happy to get you all suited up with their on- property Orvis gear and take you out to find that perfect fishing hole.  There is a small archery and BB gun shooting area.  Hiking is endless in the Shoshone National Forest so, as you can see there is something for everyone. On our visit we had the pleasure of hanging out with this guy. He was lying just outside one of the cabins, relaxing in the sunshine.  He is just an example of the diversity of wildlife you can see on your adventures in Yellowstone. After saying good bye to the buffalo and our friends at Cross Sabres we headed back towards town.  On our way we stopped at The Historic UXU Dude Ranch.  The ranch welcomed new managers Ally and Jim and we wanted to introduce ourselves.  They certainly added their personal touches and everything looked great. They are excited to welcome their first guests of the season. The cabins are decorated with beautiful western furniture done in the Moles Worth Style. The wranglers were cutting trails and getting the horses and tack ready for the season. This made for breath taking scenery with cowboys, green pasture and the warm Wyoming sun reflecting off of the North Fork of the Shoshone River. Heading back to town I was filled with thoughts of adventure not only for what these 2 ranches have to offer, but also the trails and sights along the way in the foothills of the Absaroka Mountain Range. I can’t wait to explore the other DRA dude ranches around Cody, Wyoming. Check out the list of the nearby ranches below and imagine the memories to be made at these vacation destinations.  

7D Ranch The 7D Ranch is Cody, Wyoming's premier family guest ranch since 1958. Extensive trail riding in a pristine mountain setting. Fly-fishing with instruction. Supervised children's program. Western cuisine. Hiking from the ranch as well as in the Beartooth Mountains. Weekly trips into Yellowstone NP.       

Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch in Shell, Wyoming, is 300,000-acre working cattle, riding & fly-fishing ranch. This upscale all-inclusive quality ranch is located 60 miles East of Cody, Wyoming & Yellowstone National Park. Limited to around 25 guests per week. Quarter, Paints, Gaited & Mustang horses. 4 languages.       

Rimrock Ranch Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, halfway between Cody, Wyoming and the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. This dude ranch is family owned and operated since 1955. The week is filled with riding, rafting, rodeo, and an all day tour of Yellowstone. Heated pool, hot tub and fishing pond.    

   

More than 200 Attendees from 56 Ranches to Ride into Town for Annual Convention

The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) is excited to announce that its 88th annual convention will take place on January 22-25, 2014 at The Bahia Hotel in San Diego. Attendees, consisting of top dude and guest ranch owners and operators from across North America, will trade their cowboy boots for flips flops as they head to sunny California, a twist for the convention as previous events have been held at DRA-accredited member ranches.     DRA White Large

The four-day conference will feature numerous seminars related to the various aspects of the dude ranching and hospitality industries such as new vendor introductions, fodder education, marketing updates and initiatives, horse safety seminars, moral workshops and “Dude Ranching 101.” There will be a series of roundtables moderated by subject matter experts in the areas of blogger outreach, public relations and website marketing. The annual action for the Dude Ranchers’ Educational Trust will also take place at the convention. The Trust protects and preserves the history of dude ranching by maintaining a museum and archives for educating the public on the historical nature of the dude ranching industry. The Trust also has a scholarship program which support Dude Ranching and the future of Dude Ranching by providing financial  assistance and encouragement to students pursuing an educational program that will lead to a career of benefit to them and the Dude Ranch industry.  

The DRA has scheduled an impressive line-up of speakers for this year’s event, including Nancy D. Brown, a travel writer and journalist who currently writes a travel column for the Contra Costa Times and Lamorinda Sun; Kirk Weisler, an international keynote motivational speaker; Jon Albert, founder of Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation; and Pat McCauley, President of InsideOut Solution, a hospitality marketing company.    

Networking will be an important part of the convention, as ranch owners and operators exchange ideas and experiences to help one another continue to meet and exceed the highest standards in the dude ranch industry, promote the Western ranch vacation experience, and preserve and protect parks, forests and wildlife. Programming for this year’s convention was designed to allow plenty of time to explore all San Diego has to offer such as the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, USS Midway Museum and the Gaslamp district. Attendees will also be able to take full advantage of the resort’s amenities including on-site watersports, the Bahia Belle Mission Bay Cruise, or simply relaxing by the pool or on the beach.  

The DRA represents a broad spectrum of dude and guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches offering five-star cuisine and spa treatments. Established in 1926, the DRA was founded to preserve, protect and promote the unique experience and identity of a dude ranch vacation: the original all-inclusive vacation destination. The association is currently made up of more than 100 guest ranch members.

At the Heart of every Dude Ranch Vacation is the Horse

 At the heart of every Dude Ranch vacation is the horse. However, novices need not be overwhelmed with visions of straight backs, dress coats and bouncing up and down on tiny saddles, the whole ethos of Western riding is based on comfort and control. Those old time cowboys would be on the go all day and Western saddles reflect this being higher in the back, with pommels in the front and wide long stirrups. The horses are also schooled to stop, go and turn with the minimum of effort which basically means you do not need to be an Olympic standard equestrian to enjoy this style of vacation. Equally, those with riding experience are more than well catered for as one guest explains, ‘having horses of my own and riding on regular basis for the past 30 years I thought I would find the riding a little regimented and more geared to just the beginner rider. Well was I wrong! They truly can accommodate any riding level from the most inexperienced to the most experienced.’ Furthermore , ‘the wranglers at Dude Ranches are some of the most well rounded, diverse people I have ever been around,’ she laughs. ‘You may get a kid who grew up on a cattle ranch working cows since he was four, or a kid that just graduated from Cornell and was on the polo team, and everything in between. The one thing they all have in common is their love of horses and people.’ 

With the vast array of different experiences on offer, the Dude Ranch experience can be pretty much tailor-made. Further considerations therefore must also be given to the type of environment you want to ride in, i.e. meadows, mountains or prairies (as this will dictate the geographical location) the type of riding you would like to do and the level of comfort of the ranch itself. Accommodation is a lot simpler to choose from and basically consists of three different types. A working ranch, which will let you experience some real cowboy activities rounding up livestock, a Classic Dude Ranch which again will emphasis the riding but is usually combined with outdoor activities and last but not least, the resort Dude Ranch where western riding is obviously a feature, but also offer a diverse selection of activities and onsite facilities.

DRA ranches offer excellent diversification of accommodation, terrain and conditions. Where the Rocky Mountains meet the high plains providing breathtaking backdrops for your adventure on horseback. From the world famous Yellowstone and Grand Tetons national parks with their steaming geysers, stunning waterfalls and deep canyons. DRA ranches offer a choice ranging from the rustic to the luxurious with a range of activities both on horseback and off, as diverse as the stunning landscape.   

Guest expectations may have changed  over the years and ranchers have had to change with them, but the core principles and foundation of every Dude Ranch remain the same HORSES, HATS,HISTORY, HEART, HONESTY  and HOSPITALITY. There is a little cowboy in all of us come find yours at DRA Dude Ranch.  

Lone Mountain Cowgirl Loping Dusty Adventure

Hunger Games Adventures at Dude Ranches

 Countless fans will flock to movie theaters across the country starting tomorrow to cheer on Katniss and her admirable and enviable archery skills as biggest movie of the fall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,  opens nationwide. And while some fans might not know of the outcome of the epic Quarter Quell yet, one thing is certain: the second installment is sure to leave fans across the country wanting more.

 Experience a bit of the “Hunger Games” yourself (minus the gut-wrenching battles) by visiting a dude ranch to try your hand at archery, along with many other Hunger Game-inspired skills such as fishing, zip lining, skeet shooting and navigating the wilderness.

 With 95 ranches in North America (two in Canada), we are positive that there is a ranch that will fit all your needs.  Below is a sampling of ranches perfect for those in search of a Hunger Games-inspired experience.

 Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Idaho, Adventure for the Whole Family!Red Horse Lake Activities Kayak

Whether it’s riding horseback to breathtaking vistas, conquering the climbing wall, practicing your aim at the shooting range, or simply relaxing in the tranquility of a Rocky Mountain dude ranch, you decide how to spend your week at Red Horse Mountain Ranch. Red Horse Mountain Ranch offers a Western dude ranch vacation experience with a wide variety of seasonal activities…View ranch website.

 

Black Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Rather than a rigid itinerary we strive to offer our activities in the most flexible way possible.  Click here if you want to see exactly what Colorado Dude Ranch Vacations are like.  We want you to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it, and whom you want to do it with.  We encourage families to ride together but also offer kid's programs and activities.  Teens will never be bored here and singles will find this is a great place to hang out and make new friends.  View ranch website.

Wilderness Trails Ranch, Colorado We pride ourselves in creating perfect Colorado dude ranch vacations and AdvenTours (adventure tours) for our guests. Whether you are seeking adventure or R&R, we can customize a vacation for you, and we have something for everyone - from our exceptional horseback riding program, unsurpassed wilderness and lake access, phenomenal fishing, award-winning Never Bored Kids Program, incredible mountain biking opportunities, overland tours, indulgent spa treatments, taste-bud tantalizing cuisine, specialty events and more! View ranch website.

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Arkansas

In addition to our scheduled activities other things to try include campfires, hiking, cave trips, elk viewing, cookouts, skeet shooting and .22 target shooting, a petting zoo, fishing pond, archery, disc golf, wagon rides, games in the lodge and barn and more. There’s no need to leave the ranch if you need a quick dip. Cool off in the pool in the summer, or relax those muscles in the hot tub and let your cares melt away. Spend some time alone: Several cool springs, cascading streams, and quiet pools await you on hikes and nature walks. The rock outcroppings and caves along the bluffs are there to be explored and arrowheads are waiting to be found. View ranch website.   Save

Top 8 Reasons to Take Your Family to a Guest Ranch for the Holidays

 By: PJ Wirchansky Did you know that Guest Ranches offer similar amenities and benefits to all-inclusive resorts and hotels? Whether your family is looking for a working dude ranch, luxury ranch, or spending the holidays at a Guest Ranch, there is likely a ranch that fits your needs. As the holiday season approaches, many families are looking for different and unique ways to spend time with their loved ones. Here are the top 8 reasons to take your family to a Guest Ranch this holiday season.

You know the price up front. Most Guest Ranches are all-inclusive so you know the price before your arrival. Typically holiday ranch packages include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day. Most ranches include holiday festivities such as tree trimming, a kid’s holiday program, sleigh rides, cookie decorating, visits from Santa, and caroling with crew and other guests. Knowing what is included in your package gives you peace of mind for your holiday budget.

It’s not always about the horses. When people think of a Guest Ranch, horses are often the first thing that comes to mind. Some ranches do offer trail riding during the winter; however, many Guest Ranches do not offer winter horseback riding. With that being said, there are so many other activities for everyone to enjoy. Some of the winter activities offered at ranches include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice skating, dog sledding, and nearby downhill skiing. There is always something for all ages and skill levels to enjoy.  

Holiday Children’s Programs. There are many Guest Ranches that offer a children’s program during the holiday season. This gives kids the opportunity to meet other children from around the world, interact with counselors and learn new things about the ranch. Children will often take part in activities such as cookie decorating, visiting with Santa, reindeer tracking, sledding, building igloos, cross country skiing, learning about wildlife and so much more.    

Family Time. We all know that family time can be limited in our everyday lives. Parents are working, children are in school, and grandparents live in different states. Holidays always seem to bring families together from all over the country and what better way to enjoy this Christmas then at a cozy, inviting Guest Ranch. This gives families a chance to reconnect with one another, spend time away from their busy lives, and appreciate each other’s company.

Connect with Nature. Whether you live in a metropolitan area of the northeast, in a warm, humid southern city, or live along the west coast, there is a Guest Ranch for you. Are you looking for beautiful majestic mountains, a white Christmas, and pristine snow-laden forests? Spending time away from your home town can be a great way to disconnect, and experience the natural world. Many guests do not spend much time in their cabins, but rather enjoy the fresh air and the wonderful offerings a Ranch provides.

Unplug from technology. So often in today’s world, technology is a way of life. Many guest ranches do not have television, phones or internet service (unless you really need it J). This gives families a chance to unplug from technology and enjoy spending the holiday season with their loved ones without distractions.

Meet other families. One great thing about traveling to a Guest Ranch is the opportunity to meet families from all over the world. Ranches will host guests from New York, California, Georgia, as well as England and Australia. Many guests coming from another part of the world want to experience the holiday season and meet other families from the United States. Learning about different cultures can be so rewarding and often times, families will make lifelong friends.    

Great food. Who doesn’t love great food? Guest ranches are known for providing guests with wonderful, hearty food and the holiday season is no exception. Many Guest Ranches have a fabulous Christmas Eve Dinner, a huge holiday spread for Christmas Brunch, and another Christmas Dinner. Don’t worry!  You will be able to burn off those delicious holiday calories with the many activities that Guest Ranches offer.        

Flying E Dude Ranch Wickenburg, Arizona Phone: +1 888-684-2650 With 20,000 acres to ride and roam there is seldom a day without sunshine. The Flying E Dude Ranch is a working cattle ranch and the ideal place to take a step back in time.Enjoy delicious home cooked meals, great horses and a comfortable place to relax at the end of the day.Open Nov 1 to April 30.  

Elkhorn Ranch Tucson, Arizona Phone: +1 520-822-1040 Sunny winter season Sonoran Desert guest ranch in scenic Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson, Arizona. Family owned and operated since 1946. Comfortable living and excellent horseback riding for singles, couples and families of all ages and abilities. Adventure, relaxation, friendship.

Circle Z Ranch Patagonia, Arizona Phone: +1 888-854-2525 Join us at Circle Z Ranch for an old-time ranch adventure! From the moment you arrive you feel a sense of stepping back in time.      

Vee Bar Guest Ranch Laramie, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-483-3227 The Vee Bar, located near Laramie Wyoming, is a family-friendly vacation destination that is sure to please the horse loving cowboy or cowgirl in you. A variety of activities, ranging from horseback riding to river tubing, will suit each member of your group. Experience true western hospitality!  

Vista Verde Ranch Steamboat Springs, Colorado Phone: +1 800-526-7433 Located just north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Vista Verde Ranch offers a luxurious ranch vacation with a top notch riding program, but also so many other activities that it is much more than just a riding ranch. Adventures await both summer and winter.     Latigo Ranch Kremmling, Colorado Phone: +1 800-227-9655 Latigo was voted Colorado's Best Dude Ranch by "Colorado's Best: The Essential Guide to Favorite Places". Why? Latigo guests rave about Latigo's caring staff, solid horse program, fun activities, sumptious meals, and majestic scenery. It's a family vacation filled with memories to last a lifetime.  

Lone Mountain Ranch Big Sky, Montana Phone: +1 800-514-4644 Endless recreational possibilities at this historic ranch offering horseback riding , hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, fly fishing and Outdoor Youth Adventures just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Cozy, comfortable log cabins with western furnishings.    

Vista-Verde-Drive-Cattle

How to Select the Perfect Ranch for Your Dude Ranch Vacation

Now is the time to start planning your next Dude Ranch Vacation!  We thought it might be helpful to provide some information on how to find the perfect ranch for you.  Everyone has different ideas and visions on what that ideal ranch vacation should be like, so here are some suggestions to help you weed your way through all of the options.  While you are on your quest for that ultimate ranch experience, don't hesitate to call us here at the office for help!  We would love to talk to you!  You can reach us at 1-866-399-2339 or 1-307-587-2339.

McGinnis Meadows Cattle Drive

How do you choose the ranch to match your dreams? Riding should be your first consideration - choose the riding environment that appeals to you; open meadows, prairies, mountain trails or southwestern desert. The location of the ranch determines the terrain.

Then, choose the type of riding you'd like; working livestock, cattle drives, pack trips, team penning and arena games or daily trail rides. All ranches fall into one of the following categories - which will help you make the best choice:

  • WORKING DUDE RANCH These are working cattle or sheep operations. Your horseback riding adventures will be determined by the ranch's livestock and the work related to them. Be prepared to experience these activities first hand.
  • DUDE RANCH Horseback riding is central to these ranches. The cowboy in you will experience Western riding and a variety of outdoor activities.
  • RESORT DUDE RANCH Horseback riding is featured, and these ranches offer an array of diverse activities and onsite facilities. These are apt to be the larger ranches.

Your next consideration should be the time of year - typically, the ranches in the northern states (and cooler climates) are the busiest in the summer months, while the southern ranches offer warm weather riding in the winter months.

The number of guests that a ranch can host will also be something to think about - a stay at a ranch with only eight guests is a dramatically different experience than choosing a ranch that serves eighty or one hundred guests. The difference is most noticeable in the dining and social experiences.

Your accommodations are also an important consideration - ranch atmospheres range from rustic to luxurious, and everything in between. Ranches are always extremely clean and comfortable, but if you need hair dryers, TV's, Jacuzzi tubs, a daily massage and wireless Internet to make your dream vacation, just choose your ranch accordingly. With over one hundred unique ranches in the Association, we have one to match your dreams - perfectly. As you narrow your choices down to a couple ranches, call and explain to them what's most important to you - they'll help you make the best choice.  Choose a Dude Ranchers' Association ranch and Ride The West with The Best!

Summary of Dude Ranching’s Core Principles

Dude ranches are the original Western vacation.  Our first ranchers introduced the unique beauty of the American West to “dudes” from all over.  All this happened in the best way possible: from the back of a horse.  This horseback adventure was surrounded by honest and real Western hospitality that these dude ranch pioneers considered a part of the code of the west. The Dude Ranchers’ Association was founded to preserve, protect, and promote their unique vacation experience and its identity.  Though guest expectations have changed and ranchers have had to change with them, the core principles of dude ranching remain the same. The following six words beginning with H represent the ideas that summarize those principles.  The notes clarify how these principles apply to any ranch that is a member or seeks to become a member of the DRA.DRA White Large

Horses

  • Horses are central to any dude ranch experience.
  • There must be adequate stock, tack, facilities, and trails for the riding program.  All will be well cared for.
  • Attention will be paid to horse and rider safety.

Hats

  • Hats symbolize the special emphasis on Western atmosphere and appearance.

Hospitality

  • A genuine friendly Western welcome with staff, food, accommodations, facilities, and activities to authenticate it.

Heritage

  • Dude ranch vacations began as long stays where relationships developed and guests had an exclusive and complete ranch experience.
  • Dude ranch guests will be on an American plan.
  • Even amidst today’s pressures for quick visits and short vacations, ranches should encourage week-long stays (6 or 7 nights.)
  • Regular multi-day dude ranch guests should not be significantly or adversely affected by any non-dude ranch business.

Honesty

  • You are at least a good as you advertise, if not better.
  • You operate your business with integrity.

Heart

  • You have a heart for developing friendships with your guests and demonstrate it in your actions.

Western Wear – What to Wear to a Dude Ranch

After you decide to book a western vacation to a Dude Ranch, you now need Western wear, cowboy boots and western apparel for your trip. I really enjoyed Jamie Pearson’s article where she mentions to bring more clothes and she wished she had brought cuter clothes. I have just the thing! Western Clothing and apparel has to be durable and comfortable and I have picked some items for Men, Women and Children that combine Western fashion and function for your dude ranch getaway. Cowboy hats, Western wear, Cowboy Boots & Western Accessories are some things you want to stock up on. Look great while on your western Dude Ranch vacation! Make sure you have the “cute clothes” Jamie refers to. I’m going to let you know what’s hot in western wear plus durable enough to withstand a day in the saddle. Let’s start at the top:

What to wear on a ranch vacation

Cowboy Hats - Although most people think of a traditional felt cowboy hat, if you are going to a Dude ranch in the summer you will want a straw cowboy hat. Charlie 1 Horse Hats (pictured on the woman in this picture) are our best selling womens hats.Want to know how your cowboy hat should fit? Watch our Cowboy Hat Fit Video on Youtube.

Western Shirts - It’s a toss up between a long sleeve shirt to protect against dust, sun or bugs and a short sleeve western shirt to stay cool. I would recommend both – one for hot mid-day and one for evening. Western shirts come in a variety of styles, from traditional western yokes to modern retro cowboy shirts.

Western Jeans - Here is one of the most important decisions you can make directly correlating to your comfort while riding. I've spent many hours in the saddle and I can truly recommend some jeans to keep you comfortable while looking great. Make sure you order them 2” longer than normal to allow for creep while in the saddle and to cover your boots creating the traditional "stacked" look preferred by cowboys and cowgirls.

Top picks for Womens western jeans for horseback riding:

  • Wrangler Q-Baby  Ultimate Riding Jeans – These fit any woman’s body shape. No gap waistband, minimal seam on inside of leg to reduce friction against the saddle.
  • Cowgirl Tuff Dark Don’t Fence Me In Jeans Modern Styling on a cowgirl jean – designed by a barrel racer these jeans look amazing and are comfortable in the saddle.  Rise is a bit lower than the previous 2 jeans.

Top picks for Mens western jeans for horseback riding:

All of the Kids Jeans from Wrangler, Cinch and Cowgirl Tuff are excellent for riding.

Cowboy Boots -  There are so many choices for cowboy boots out there, but you want your feet to be happy on a vacation, so here are some based on comfort, safety and cowboy boot style.

  • Tony Lama Men’s Ostrich Cowboy Boots Handsome, supple leather, Made in USA. Square toe – Classy cowboy style.
  • Lucchese Cowgirl Collection Ostrich Boots  This high quality super comfy crepe sole boot features a bucking bronco for true cowgirl spirit. Pamper yourself in these handmade beauties.
  • Ariat Cowboy Boots - Overall, for those new to the game, Ariat is an excellent choice for your first cowboy boot. They are a very versatile boot and most have rubber soles designed to help keep your feet in the stirrups.
  • Kids Cowboy Boots in all colors and styles from infant to youth.

Western Accessories - Don’t forget western accessories to complete your look! Many of these western accessories double with your regular wardrobe and look great! I’ve also included some “must haves” for your Dude Ranch trip like stampede strings.

Thanks for reading this article and browsing the choices for western wear, cowboy boots and western accessories for your Dude Ranch getaway or western vacation. These items are tested and tried by real cowboys and cowgirls and I’m sure you will like them for yourself. If you are not sure about the fit and style of western wear, please see the Western Wear Sizing Center to help determine what size clothing, cowboy hat or cowboy boots to get. To find a Dude Ranch or pick out the perfect western vacation visit the Dude Ranch Association website.  Happy Trails!

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