Looking to Plan a Last-Minute Vacation? Here is Why You Should Consider a Dude Ranch Vacation!

Have you looked at the calendar lately and thought “oh man, spring is here, summer is right around the corner and we have no plans for an incredible 2019 vacation”? Don’t you worry, the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) has you covered and can help organize a great last-minute vacation! With over 100 ranches scattered throughout the Western United States and Canada, you are sure to find a ranch with availability to make your 2019 vacation one you will never forget. Have you considered taking an early summer vacation or perhaps an early fall vacation? There are many ranches in the Association that are still taking reservations for the 2019 season and are even offering some great discounts, read all about them here.

last-minute vacation

Gros Ventre River Ranch - Wyoming

What is the best time to visit a dude ranch you may ask? Personally, the folks at the DRA believe anytime is the best time to visit a dude ranch, but in reality, it comes down to what you are looking for in a vacation. You may be looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation with crisp mornings, warm days and campfire nights, or maybe you are looking for a high energy and action-packed vacation with more activities than you could ever imagine. Whatever kind of vacation you are looking for, an all-inclusive dude ranch is a great destination.

The DRA has ranches in Arizona, Arkansas, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, so the options are in a sense, endless! Most dude ranches in the North West are open from the end of May until the middle of September; of course, each ranch has their own dates of operation, but they are roughly the same. Memories will be made on a dude ranch vacation no matter when or where you decide to go, but to enhance your experience, choosing the right time is key.

If you are looking for a “kid free”, quieter vacation at a dude ranch, the ideal time to visit would be in early June or in the end of August/September. In June, the kids are usually still in school and the big families have not started vacation season quite yet. The end of August/September is also a great time because kids have gone back to school and the ranches are starting to wind down for the summer. Ranches usually designate adult only or specialty weeks during these times to ensure that guests looking for a “kid free” or relaxing and tranquil vacation get what they are looking for. Early summer and fall are some of the most picturesque times in the West. In the early summer the wild flowers are in full bloom and fill the landscape with bright, vibrant colors. In the late summer and fall the leaves are starting to change and the ranches glow with shades of yellow, orange and red. The sunrises and sunsets are exquisite and watching them from the porch of the lodge or your cabin in something you will always remember. The temperatures are a bit cooler and more enjoyable to be out in during the day; you will truly be able to take in all that the mountains, streams and animals have to offer.

last-minute vacation

Elkhorn Ranch - Montana

If you are looking for a vacation to take the entire family on, experience all of the great activities a ranch has to offer and reconnect as a family, then the ideal time is during the peak season of the summer, July and August. During the peak season you will find big families from all over the world joining in on the dude ranch fun! The kids’ programs for the ranches are in full swing and all ages will be engaged in different activities. The kids and adults alike will make new friendships and will create ever lasting memories together at the ranch. We can promise there is nothing quite like watching your kids play on a big, green lawn with nothing more than their imaginations and new friends to entertain them.

last-minute vacation

Lost Valley Ranch - Colorado 

Now, you might be a little more open to considering a dude ranch vacation and have thought about when you want to experience this adventure. Why is it a good idea to plan this big of a vacation at the last minute? There are three main benefits to last minute vacations. The first being that it is exciting and spontaneous. The best adventures seem to always be the most spotaneous ones! The second is that you are saving time. You are not wasting weeks and months trying to plan a vacation, by the time you get to the vacation it may not be as fun as you would like because the planning was draining. The third benefit is that you could save money! Who doesn’t like to save money? It was mentioned above that several ranches are currently running some stellar deals and discounts on their vacation packages, you do not want to miss out. (Read about them here.)

Although it may seem a little rushed, dude ranches make it easy to plan a quick last-minute vacation with their all-inclusive packages. All meals, lodging and most ranch activities are all included in one price at a dude ranch. No planning meals, planning activities to make everyone happy or having to research and plan lodging accommodations for the whole vacation, the ranch takes care of everything for you (besides travel arrangements.)The biggest worry you will have is deciding whether to go on a breathtaking horseback ride or relax and read a book by the pool.

last minute vacation

Rancho de la Osa - Arizona

All-inclusive packages, minimal planning, discounts and a vacation you will never forget, are you ready? Enjoy horseback riding, fly fishing, shooting sports, zip lining, river rafting, swimming and so much more on a dude ranch vacation. Most importantly though, you will enjoy a vacation creating memories that you will never forget. Contact the Dude Ranchers' Association today and plan your last-minute vacation in 2019 to a dude ranch, embark on an adventure like you never have before, you will be pleasantly surprised! 

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All-inclusive packages, minimal planning, discounts and a vacation you will never forget, are you ready? Enjoy horseback riding, fly fishing, shooting sports, zip lining, river rafting, swimming and so much more on a dude ranch vacation. Most importantly though, you will enjoy a vacation creating memories that you will never forget. Contact the Dude Ranchers' Association today and plan your last-minute vacation in 2019 to a dude ranch, embark on an adventure like you never have before, you will be pleasantly surprised!

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Why a Ranch Vacation is the Perfect Destination for you

Ideal vacations allow for a perfect blend of adventure, recreation, and rejuvenation, at the same time maintaining a level of affordability that allows you to depart without spending more than you planned. Whether you’re a solo adventurer, a family man, or a friend vacationing with friends, you aren’t alone in your search for the optimal vacation experience. With respect to your many options, there’s an often-unsung choice that exists as one of America’s premiere vacation options. High-class hotels, destination outings, and stay-in vacations all have their place, but if you haven’t yet discovered the unique relaxation style and way of life that is a traditional ranch vacation, you’re selling yourself short. Stay tuned to discover the reasons why you deserve an authentic ranch vacation, the perfect destination vacation. 

Ranch Vacation

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1. Immersion into Local Wildlife

Sure, it’s great when your hotel or vacation rental features a panoramic view of the surrounding nature. The only thing better than a view of a beautiful landscape is the capacity to live on the land itself. This opportunity is afforded to you exclusively with a ranch vacation, when you forfeit the worries of the world for a few days of natural living. You’ll familiarize yourself with the lay of the land, all while sharing the territory with natural wildlife. Between the fresh air and the night stars, you’ll find yourself well entertained.

For those lovers of the outdoors, this unique vacation opportunity gets you closer to the nature you’re dying to see. Relax under the stars, live off the land, and eat like the cowboys, for a vacation that boasts a completely different feel: this is the excuse to experience a vacation that puts you in contact with the great outdoors. If immersion into local wildlife is on your bucket list, it’s time you crossed it off with a ranch vacation.

Ranch Vacation

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2. Fun for All Ages

The diversity of activities available to you with any authentic ranch vacation is nearly unparalleled. No matter your age or skill set, you can find a home at a ranch. The focal point is obviously the time you’re privileged to spend on a horse, honing your horseback riding skills before qualified riding experts and staff. Bring friends or family along, whether they’re first-time or experienced riders, to enjoy the great outdoors in a safe environment.

Available riding packages often include day trips, nature and mountain rides, rides set to a specific trail, hunting outings, and more. Make sure to call ahead and determine the available rides that match your prospective arrival date.

Even if you’re not into horseback riding, you’ve arrived at a haven for a wide range of engaging, dynamic opportunities. Expansive ranch estates allow you to take advantage of each amenity onsite, where tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, campfire pits, rock climbing, hay rides, cooking classes, and more are likely to be found. Beat the rain with indoor attractions like pool tables and recreational rooms, before discovering parks in the local vicinity.

Ranch Vacation

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3. Rejuvenation at Your Own Pace

When it comes to ranch vacationing, sometimes the best activity isn’t one. Such an immersive, organic outdoor experience allows you to get to know the lay of the land around you. This experience allows you to understand firsthand the importance of relaxation while on the premises. Whether you’re awake early to catch a sunrise over the distant horizon, hiking in search of local birds, or simply settling down with a good book in a comfortable niche, you’ll discover a pace of life well conducive for your own enjoyment, under blue ranch skies. Stay outside to experience a clear night, uninterrupted by city lights or traffic. Wake and sleep at a time comfortable for you, and venture outdoors at your own leisure. Ranch silence is rejuvenating as any remedy you’re likely to find elsewhere on vacation.

 Ranch Vacation

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4. Live Unplugged 

Life today, at least on the corporate end, is inundated with notifications, emails, phone calls, social media, networking, and technology. Research shows, and ranchers agree, that to abandon your cell phone and computer, even for a short period of time, provides you a freedom you’re not going to experience anywhere else. Live life untethered from the pull of corporate responsibility, when you abandon the devices causing the stress in favor of the wide-open countryside. There aren’t many better upgrades than the moment you trade a desk or a cubicle for the expansive, territorial freedom of a ranch vacation.

Ranch Vacation

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5. Bonds Set to Last a Lifetime 

If you’re looking to get close to those individuals who join you on your ranch vacation, rest assured that a ranch outing brings everyone closer together. Something about the atmosphere, the shared camaraderie, and the collective experience of enjoying together an alternative vacation makes for easy memories all around. And with the friendly, knowledgeable staff waiting onsite at your nearest ranch destination, you’ll form bonds with family, friends, and ranch expert alike.

Ranches are unique in the communal bonds formed between those who participate in their upkeep. The sense of togetherness runs deep among ranchers, and they’re sure to pass that love for the land on to you and the entire vacation party. Grow closer together with those special people in your life, all while bonding over your awe-inspiring location, exciting activities, and wonderful proximity to local landmarks and recreation. Make new friends, strengthen old relationships, and establish an entirely new set of memories of a ranch setting no one is likely to soon forget.

Ranch Vacation

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6. Escape to a Ranch Today

When it’s time to escape your cell phone for even a day or two, find yourself onsite at a working ranch, where you’re introduced to wide open spaces, clear skies and sunny days. Whether you’re atop a horse, chasing the kids through green grass, or hiking well-maintained wilderness, a ranch vacation is your ticket to rejuvenation like you’ve never before experienced it. Sometimes, it pays to pursue an unconventional vacation style! So long as you’re looking to feel refreshed and revitalized after your next vacation, it’s time you set your sites on the nearest ranch.

For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, hotels and vacation rentals, check out Trip101.

Ranch Vacation

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Read more about destination vacations here

 

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Ideal vacations allow for a perfect blend of adventure, recreation, and rejuvenation, at the same time maintaining a level of affordability that allows you to depart without spending more than you planned. Whether you’re a solo adventurer, a family man, or a friend vacationing with friends, you aren’t alone in your search for the optimal vacation experience.

6 Things to Know Before Booking a Dude Ranch Stay

A common misconception when it comes to a dude ranch vacation is that it is a working vacation, as in you are paying to work as a ranch hand. Not so, my friends. In fact, a dude ranch vacation is one of the most relaxing vacations you can take. Take it from me and my family -- who now have experienced three dude ranch vacations -- and look forward to our next!  Your dude ranch stay will move at a pace that best suits the guest, and in this fast-paced world, it is  a gift to be able to take advantage of such a schedule.

 

You won’t be roughing it….unless you really want to.

 

 rawah-ranch-cabin

Take a look at one of the cabin’s at Rawah Guest Ranch Photo Credit: Allison Taylor

 

With three dude ranch vacations under our belts, I can safely say that my family’s experiences were the farthest thing from being rustic.

One of the dude ranches my family stayed at was C Lazy U Ranch. The cabins featured heated tile floors in the bathrooms, luxuriously high thread count sheets, and a plush living area begging for a book to be read on it’s oversized couch.

Often, ranches will offer the option of going on an overnight camping trip should you want to get up close and personal with nature. Even those aren’t terribly strenuous because a guide from the ranch helps with the entire camping experience, taking away the roughing it aspect.

 

The food is often the best you’ve ever had.

 The Food at Rawah Ranch

One of our favorite meals at Rawah Guest Ranch! Photo Credit: Allison Taylor 

 

My husband and I loved the food so much at Rawah Guest Ranch, that we have attempted to recreate some of the recipes at home. Our favorite meal was chicken fried chicken with jalapeno gravy and mashed potatoes. What’s better? The food at Rawah Ranch was so good that my kids were willing to try dishes that took them outside of their comfort zones, like lamb chops!

The food may just very well be the highlight of the three dude ranch vacations we experienced. The portions were large and hearty, a good thing because often days on a dude ranch are packed with physical activities.

 

Horse lover? Good news, you will love the dude ranch life!

 

Yes, a large component of most dude ranches involve horses, but you don’t have to be a horse lover in order to have the time of your life. A dude ranch offers a wide variety of activities that if you don’t ever want to come into contact with a horse, it is possible to steer clear!

For me, the horse component of the vacation was my favorite part. I grew up riding horses, so I am very comfortable on the back of a horse. But even for those less experienced, guests at dude ranches are matched by skill level.

When we visited Rawah Guest Ranch with our children, the staff went above and beyond helping them learn the correct techniques for riding. My oldest participated on a trail ride right away, but my youngest spent time in the arena under the watchful eye of an instructor before allowing him to join a family trail ride. Once he graduated to that level, he was so proud of all that he accomplished. 

 

A dude ranch vacation will broaden your horizons


 Fly Fishing on a Dude Ranch

Who Knew I would like fly fishing so much?! Photo Credit: Allison Taylor

 

Often, when my family takes a trip, we go to our old standby spots. This wasn’t the case for us when we chose to go to a dude ranch. We tried activities that we hadn’t ever thought of trying before. In fact, I found that I really enjoyed (and was quite good at) using a compound bow for target shooting. My boys discovered they liked fly fishing better than the typical bank fishing that they are used to, the only problem is that they have been using their fly fishing skills on our family farm!

Some ranches are so remote that you will be able to totally disconnect.

 

Look, I know, for some, the mere thought of not having cell service or cable results in a panic attack. Unfortunately -- and fortunately -- some dude ranches are so remote that they do not have these luxuries. In fact the dude ranch we frequented the most does not have cell service, wifi, or cable and I highly recommend giving that experience a try!

Rawah Ranch offered my family the gift of “checking out.” My husband and I played board games with the kids and I read two books while we were there. And no one missed the TV for one moment! However, if you just can’t disconnect all the way, plenty of dude ranches are close enough to civilization that your email inbox won’t get out of control.

 

It is sure to be a trip that your family will talk about forever.

 

At least once a week, one of my children tells me that they want to hop on a plane and head back to the ranch that sold us on the wonders of a dude ranch vacation. We talk about our time on the ranch often with friends and family, I am sure by now that they wish we would stop talking about it already!

If a dude ranch vacation has been on your list of potential vacations to try, it is time to move it from something you have been considering to booking the trip!

Author: Allison Taylor, familyvacationsus.com

 

•	Considering your first family dude ranch vacation? Don't make common newbie mistakes! Lessons learned on a first dude ranch vacation.

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Stop Working and Start Vacationing at a Dude Ranch

Stop working and start vacationing.

Under many state laws vacation pay accrues as it is earned, and cannot be forfeited.  Why would you want to forfeit your vacation time anyway, or even just let it pile up in your work account. Get out there and use that time and money for memories and experiences. You'll come back to work with stories to tell and refreshed from time away.

We, at the Dude Ranchers' Association, think a ranch vacation in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado are some pretty great states to get going on using your vacation time.

Some options are to fly into Bozeman, MT, Jackson Hole, WY or Steamboat Springs, CO or take some extra vacation time and make a road trip out of it.

Take a look at the ranches below and the information about traveling to them from your airport. Want more information? We have it here in the office at 307.587.2339, info@duderanch.org or message us on social media using #ranchvacationexpert.

 

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN)

 

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch ~ Gallatin Gateway, MontanaNine Quarter Circle Ranch Baby Foal

Distance from Bozeman Airport: 1 hour 17 minutes

Highlights:

  • 100+ years of ranching experience
  • Pack trips into Yellowstone National Park
  • Wide variety of specialty weeks.

 

Horses N Courage ~ Martinsdale, Montana

Distance from Bozeman Airport: 1 hour 45 minutes

Highlights:

  • Working Cattle Ranch with 4 day, 3 night luxury camping tent accommodations
  • 2,000 acres of private riding to work cattle with the Hereim family
  • Specialty Healing Retreats for Women

 

 Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)

 

Spotted Horse Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Distance from Jackson Hole Airport: 39 minutes

Highlights:

  • Guided fly fishing on the Snake River with an Orvis endorsed equipment
  • White water rafting, scenic rafting and local hot springs soak
  • The main lodge includes a dining room overlooking the Hoback River

 

Moose Head Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Distance from Jackson Hole Airport: 21 minutes

Highlights:

  • Completely surrounded by Grand Teton National Park
  • Family vacations to ride, eat and play together with your children
  • Riding is mostly just your family and a wrangler

 

Denver International Airport (DEN)

 

Drowsy Water Ranch ~ Granby, Colorado

Distance from Denver Airport: 2 hours 21 minutes

Highlights:

  • Programs for children from infants to teenagers with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents
  • Zip-line course, mountain biking, fishing, rafting, dancing and gymkhana rodeos
  • Horseback riding instruction along with variety of terrain for fast rides and slow rides

 

Wind River Ranch ~ Estes, Colorado

Distance from Denver Airport: 1 hour 30 minutes

Highlights:

  • A Christian Family Guest Ranch Resort
  • Minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Family vacation weeks with specialty speakers

 

Stop Working and Start Vacationing Use your Vacation Time for a Ranch Vacation

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Five Reasons to Take Your Family on a Dude Ranch Vacation

Everything They Want, Everything You Need! Horseback riding and high-end luxury. Cookouts and craft wine. Zip-lining and line dancing. Rodeos and rafting. On a dude ranch vacation, you can have it all… and more. Indulge in the finest cuisine, pamper your senses, or satisfy your sense of adventure. Whatever you’re seeking, you’ll find it here on a dude ranch vacation.

1. Focus on the Family Your teenager’s a thrill seeker. Your little one wants to explore. And you’re caught between craving some peace and quiet, and some quality family bonding time. Dude ranches pride themselves on their ability to provide all of it: plenty of activities for all skill levels, opportunities to get close to nature, and chances to slow down, team up, and enjoy time together as a family.    

2. Delicious Food Home to cowboy barbecues, farm-to-table fresh cuisine, and elegant wine selections, dude ranches offer an impressive culinary scene to rival that of any four-star resort. The foodies in your party will definitely find something to enchant their taste buds!

Deep Canyon Ranch

Deep Canyon Ranch in Montana is a great location for your family.


3. Variety of Activities Maybe you’d like to refresh your spirit on a leisurely horseback ride, or wade in a stream and fish. Or you might want to earn your keep by working the cattle with the ranch hands. Perhaps you prefer the adrenaline rush of whitewater rafting or soaring over the treetops on a zip-line. And what if your idea of “adventure” is trying all the spa services offered over the course of your stay? Well, there’s a dude ranch vacation for you, too. You’re sure to find something that appeals to you among a ranch’s impressive range of offerings.  

The Home Ranch Family Vacation

The Home Ranch in Colorado is spectacular for a leisurely trail ride in the spring.

4. Nightlife Immerse yourself in a vibrant nighttime scene unique to the dude ranch experience. Sing and dance the night away at a saloon or a dance hall, to the tune of the fiddle and joyful laughter. Or, relax around the campfire with some s’mores after a full day of adventures, and enjoy an unobstructed view of the stars.

5. Options With over one hundred ranches to choose from, you’re sure to find one that will fit easily into your next national park trip or Western heritage adventure. Many are located near small towns boasting of local character, history, cuisine, and crafts; as well as national parks and monuments for an easy day trip. There’s plenty to make a dude ranch the perfect choice for your next vacation! This story has been created in partnership with DUDE RANCHERS’ ASSOCIATION.               

 Take your Family on a Dude Ranch Vacation

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5 Reasons a Ranch Vacation Is Better Than Disney

There’s no denying that a Disney vacation is at the top of most children’s list of travel wishes. Unfortunately for parents, a Disney vacation often means long lines, overcrowded parks and high expenses, all without much time for genuine family bonding. While amusement and theme parks are an easy, go-to solution for family vacations, there are other magical travel options that can offer exposure to new activities, interaction with nature, and discovery of culture and history outside of most families’ normal comfort zones. As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a dude or guest ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Dude ranches give families the opportunity to challenge and revive their bodies, minds and spirits in some of the most breathtaking areas in the U.S., with a myriad of outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, cattle roping, horseback riding, zip lines, ATV riding and whitewater rafting. Here are 5 reasons a dude ranch vacation is better than Disney:

Explore, play and more – 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 dude ranches in the country, with nearly 100,000 acres for guests to explore. The ranch is a paradise for children, with activities including horseback riding, fishing, soccer, arts and crafts, music and drama, swimming, tennis, and educational games, such as cork boat and sack races. Teenagers can enjoy inner tubing down the river and golf before settling down with their family to enjoy dinner cooked outside over an open fire.

Reconnect with nature on horseback – If your family is in need of reconnecting, then you’ve found the right place. Rustic yet replete 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 more. Kids ages six and older – fondly known on the ranch as “Cowpokes” – are given their own horse for the week, and “Buckaroos” – children age’s three to five – are led on short rides by ranch counselors.

Drowsy Water Ranch Vacation Better than Disney

Learn to work as a teamDrowsy Water Ranch, situated 90 miles west of Denver, Colo., has programs for children of all ages, from infants to teenagers, along with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents. Capture the fun and your children’s hearts when you help them lasso a steer-head. Ditch technology for outside activities like obstacle courses, zip lining, swimming, hiking, archery and rafting. Afterward, head to the main lodge to enjoy playing cards, browsing the library or just visiting with new friends while drinking lemonade.

Relax, rejuvenate and reconnect in styleMountain Sky Guest Ranch sits on over 10,000 operational acres of unspoiled wilderness in the heart of Yellowstone Country in Emigrant, Mont. The ranch combines outdoor adventure for the entire family and the comforts of an upscale resort in the region’s most spectacular location. There’s no doubt your family will enjoy the breathtaking views, fine dining and luxury environment. From a crisp morning hike, to rafting down the Yellowstone River, to horseback rides through acres of meadows, there’s something for every member of the family. End the day with a mealtime horseback ride, where you’ll be treated to tasty barbecue, learn to dance with the wranglers and sing your favorite western songs around the campfire.

One-of-a-kind fishing adventures4UR Ranch provides an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in Mineral County, Colo. Try your hand at fly fishing with access to some of the finest waters around, including one of the only entirely private tail-water trout streams in the American West, trophy ponds, and both sides of the legendary Rio Grande River. Grab one of the ranch’s guides for a personal introduction to the area’s waters and trout. Whether you’re a family of anglers or not, no one will be bored on this vacation. Here, kids and adults can enjoy their own level of adventure. The ranch’s staff sees to the kids’ needs while the parents are off hiking, horseback riding or fishing. From nature explorations, to soaking in the hot springs, to a round of golf at the nearby Rio Grande Club – there’s plenty of adventure to suit everyone’s tastes.

5 Reasons Ranch Vacations are Better Than Disney

5 Reasons Ranch Vacations are Better Than DisneySave

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Dude Ranchers’ Association Welcomes Four New Accredited Ranches

Newest members all receive seal of approval for upholding the highest standards in the Dude Ranch industry. We added four new ranches to our impressive list of accredited ranches: The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in California, Creek Ranch in New Mexico, Badger Creek Cattle and Guest Ranch in Colorado, and Rancho De La Osa in Arizona. All four ranches went through a rigorous inspection and approval process and were found to meet the highest standards in the dude ranch industry. We represent a broad spectrum of guest ranches across North America, ranging from luxury ranches with five-star cuisine and spas to no-frills working ranches and are proud to have the below ranches as part of our membership.  These ranches combine the highest hospitality standards with the charm and unparalleled spirit of the Wild West.

 

Newest Dude Ranchers' Association Members

 

Alisal Guest Ranch newest Dude Ranchers' Association Member

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort  – Santa Barbara, Calif. The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is a secluded property located in California’s famed wine country, Santa Ynez Valley, just 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara. Alisal features 50 miles of riding trails, a 100-acre spring-fed lake, two 18-hole championship golf courses, tennis courts, a pool, a spa and much more. The Western-themed accommodations and activities ensure guests will enjoy a true dude ranch experience, but Alisal prides itself on being “far more” than your traditional ranch. With its year-round temperate climate, Santa Ynez Valley is the perfect place to visit all year. 

Creek

 

Creek Ranch – Creek Ranch, N.M. Creek Ranch, located 30 minutes from Santa Rosa, N.M., is a bare-boned Wild West experience. At this carefree and relaxed ranch, guests can horseback ride as much as they desire and end each day sitting around a campfire telling stories. Creek Ranch boasts 8,200 acres of unspoiled land with stunning sunsets as the backdrop. Consider these spectacular views all the frills you’ll need in order to experience the ultimate dude ranch vacation. This ranch only accommodates up to eight people at a time, keeping it as personal and customized as possible for each and every guest. With roping and shooting lessons on the agenda in addition to riding, Creek Ranch is perfect for those who have dreamed about a true Wild West experience.

 

Badger Creek Ranch

Badger Creek Cattle and Guest Ranch – Badger Creek Basin, Colo. Whether you’re looking for a lighthearted riding experience or a serious lesson in cattle sorting, your Western vacation at Badger Creek Cattle and Guest Ranch is sure to be unforgettable. Your horse for the week will be your new “best friend,” making the riding experience even more fulfilling. Located on the border of the San Isabel National Forest and Pike National Forest, this ranch is a photographer’s dream, with breathtaking views of the Collegiate Peaks and Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Outside of horseback riding and taking in the incredible views, guests can experience spectacular fly fishing near the ranch, as well as hiking and mountain biking. Of course, relaxation is an option, too. The front porch beckons guests to sit, relax and gaze at the endless stars in the Colorado Rocky Mountain skies.

 

Rancho de la Osa Accredited Ranch

Rancho De La Osa – Sasabe, Ariz. Rancho De La Osa is one of the most historically significant ranch properties in the West. The trails here were once frequented by U.S. presidents and legends like Pancho Villa. Guests can even relax in the room where the Marshall Plan was drafted and Margaret Mitchell wrote the American classic “Gone With the Wind.” Aside from being a historical treasure, Rancho De La Osa is a sportsman’s paradise, situated on 509 acres and surrounded by 120,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge. The food and wine are exceptional, the hospitality top-notch, and the views mystifying. This is the ultimate dude ranch for riding, biking and hiking all while soaking in some of the most important moments in Southwestern history. Save Save

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Available Ranch Vacations for the Great American Eclipse

Flat Creek Ranch to view the Great American EclipseThe first total eclipse to span the United States in nearly four decades – The Great American Eclipse – will take place on August 21, 2017. The center of the eclipse path – where the moon completely blocks out the sun, creating a few minutes of night in the middle of the day – will pass over Northwestern Wyoming and Central Idaho. The most dramatic scenery for the eclipse can be found here. Countless visitors will no doubt flock to the area to try and find a prime viewing spot. The BEST destination for eclipse viewers is one of the area’s dude ranches. Why? Ranches are located in some of the most tranquil, untouched areas of the country. Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, you’re that much closer to nature. And there is a very good chance for clear skies in Wyoming & Idaho in August. Here are some ranches who may have spots available:

Flat Creek Ranch Flat Creek Ranch in the Gros Ventre Wilderness is, without a doubt, a great place to be for this special event. The ranch offering as spectacular 7 night all inclusive getaway for up to 10 people in one party. You will start with 3 nights at a traditional back country camp located in the heart if the Wilderness where you will be guided around the mountains by expert staff. On Monday, the large alpine meadow will be the perfect setting to witness the full solar eclipse.

Absaroka Ranch The Absaroka Ranch is located 16 miles northwest of Dubois, Wyoming, on the slopes of the Absaroka mountain range. The Absaroka is offering a 4 night Eclipse package. The valley is surrounded by National Forest and Wilderness, offering the peace and solitude that is rare to find in the West today. This area is unspoiled and unchanged. At an elevation of 8,000 feet, the ranch enjoys one of the most delightful spring, summer, and fall climates to be found anywhere.

Heart Six Ranch Heart Six Guest Ranch is located in Beautiful Jackson Hole Wyoming. With great views of the Grand Teton Mountains the scenery makes a great location to view the eclipse. The main activity is horseback riding, but there is lots of things for guests of all ages - from very young to very young at heart! You'll be able to ride horses every day, as well as other scheduled activities such as paintball, fly fishing, spin fishing, scenic floats, junior wrangler program, weekly entertainment, Yellowstone Tour, and Jackson Hole Rodeo.

Spotted Horse Located south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Spotted Horse Ranch offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages and a great eclipse destination. Endless trails take you through majestic mountains, valleys of wildflowers, and along river banks by horseback.  During your week stay there are two evening cookouts with live entertainment from local talent.  Nothing smells better than steaks grilling followed by roasting marshmallows over an open fire.  Enjoy a quiet scenic float on the Snake River or a whitewater trip can be arranged for the more adventurous. Volleyball, ping-pong, square dancing and horseshoes are available as well.

Seven Devils Lodge Located in central Idaho, just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, the Seven Devils Lodge lies in a unique area, neighboring jutting canyons, high desert, and soaring mountains. The Lodge is just nine miles from Hells Canyon, known as the deepest canyon in North America for your eclipse viewing pleasure. Seven Devils is one of the few guest ranches in the state operating on an actual working cattle ranch founded in the early 1900's, the historic OX Ranch. The Seven Devils Lodge is a 5500 sq ft facility with 6 spacious bedroom suites: The Boss, The Angler, The Hunter, The Trapper, The Cowboy and The Gardener. Each room has been uniquely decorated, using themes from the surrounding great outdoors.

Goosewing Ranch Goosewing Ranch combines the lifestyle of ranching in the Wyoming wilderness with many of the modern refinements that make your visit especially enjoyable. Remote with spectacular scenery overlooking and close proximity to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  For the eclipse, Goosewing is offering a 7 night pack trip & ranch stay package. You would start the package with a 3  night/4 day pack trip.  Spending the time of the solar eclipse directly under the path in a remote back country location.  Then return to to ranch for four nights.  Goosewing also has glamping wagons for your 7 night stay.   Save Save Save

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Ranch Vacation Retreats & Specialty Weeks for 2017

Ladies and Gentleman! Youth of [most] all ages! Step right up and get hooked on your next ranch vacation! We are here to offer you the most wonderful of specialty weeks for this summer!

 

From 7AM to midnight, Scrapbooking Retreat

 

Poker games, whiskey tasting & wagon rides, Cowboy Games Week

 

Chris Cox instruction & ranch responsibilities, Youth Camp

 


Rankin Ranch Scrapbooking Specialty Week

Ladies Scrapbooking Retreat ~ Caliente, California

 

March 16-19, 2017 March 23-26, 2017 You'll love this weekend getaway at Rankin Ranch with scrapbooking from 7 a.m. to midnight without any distractions!  The ranch offers a unique and beautiful atmosphere for a unique getaway.  Enjoy gorgeous views of the ranch outside the windows and the lingering aromas from our  kitchen where home cooked meals are being prepared. The century old Rankin family home is the setting for this weekend of fun and relaxation.  The guest ranch dining room is transformed into the scrapbooking room where each lady has her own personal table.  Meals will be served in the family dining room for an intimate group of 12. Looking for more crafty events? Check out some basket weaving or quilting.

Goosewing Ranch Specialty Weeks Cowboy Games

Cowboy Games ~ Jackson, Wyoming

 

September 10-17, 2017 ~ Cowboy Games Goosewing Ranch has four special weeks in 2017 set aside for just adults with a special theme.  Take for example the Cowboy Games week - from team penning to poker games, and whiskey tasting to wagon rides there is something for every cowboy or cowgirl to enjoy during the Cowboy Games week at Goosewing Ranch. When the horseback rides return, the outdoor heated pool, hot tub, brand new sauna and massage room provide excellent relaxation before the daily scheduled activities begin. Target shooting, archery, roping, horse games, wagon rides, skeet shooting, hatchet throwing, team penning, and arts and crafts are only a few of the afternoon activities. Evening activities include line dancing, campfires, cookouts, UTV sunset rides, star gazing, and more.  

 

Traingle C Ranch Specialty Weeks Ranch Vacation

Not Your Average Youth Camp ~Dubois, Wyoming

 

 June 4-10, 2017 ~ Boys     (ages 11 -17):
 June 11-17, 2017  ~ Girls     (ages 11-17):

The Triangle C Ranch will be hosting a camp to teach your youth to understand the mentality of the horse, how the horse thinks and how the horse reacts. This week of leadership and communication are as much cornerstones of being successful in life as being successful with the horse. During this week of development your youth will be engaged in many activities - horsemanship instruction from world renowned horseman Chris Cox, fly fishing, teepee camping, cattle driving, and even handling various responsibilities related to ranch life. Qualified counselors, instructors, and special guest speakers ensure a remarkable week of development for our future leaders.     Save Save Save

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Team Work Makes the Dream Work - Ranch Team Building

Staying on a dude ranch will offer tons and tons of activities in addition to horseback riding. At an Idaho ranch you can take your family and/or your coworkers for a week long, adventure filled vacation with activities designed for team building. For starters, there are challenge courses, zip lines, climbing walls, cattle work and river rafting. Then, once the team work is completed you can enjoy some solitude in the mountains.  Take a look at the different specialties offered.  

Challenge Course

At the Red Horse Mountain Ranch the challenge course is unlike any other experience you will have. Elements range from the ground to high elements like the 300 foot zip line. The course is designed to challenge you and your group mentally and physically with each element progressing in difficulty. The challenge course is a fantastic way for all ages to build confidence, work as a team and achieve new heights. Your challenge course facilitators will accompany you at the course; each is well trained and professionally certified to provide a fun and safe climbing environment.  Once you complete this course you have many, many other fun things to do before you leave the ranch.  

Working Cattle Ranch

If you are looking for a less traditional approach to team building, consider a working cattle ranch.  There's real teamwork in the ancient cowboy tradition of tending a herd of cattle. Wait, what? Yeah, at the McGarry Ranches your group becomes a part of the cowboys.  You might venture into a thousand acre pasture to find, gather and move 150 mama and calf pairs. Or, you might be sent off to rustle up some in the trees below. Doing authentic cattle work will be a wonderful change to any other type of group meetings.  Not only will you grow in confidence in yourself, your confidence in your companions' abilities will grow as well.  

White Water Rafting

White water rafting with the Seven Devils Lodge is, most definitely, a team building exercise. This rafting trip will take you down the world famous Hells Canyon, one of the most famous rafting destinations.  Be sure to go during high water for the most intensity. If you have ever been on a rafting trip you know that everyone has to paddle to ensure safety. Everyone works together to make the adventure fun and safe. It takes a team. And, team work makes the dream work on the river, in the office, at home, and everywhere else you are a part of a team.  Do yourself a favor - build your team somewhere fun, memorable and full of adventure - at a ranch.

Contact the Dude Ranch Team

Call the Dude Ranchers' Association for more information on planning your team building event or family vacation.

Red Horse Ropes Course Team

Challenge Course at Red Horse Mountain

McGarry Ranches Cowboy Team

Cowboys and Friends at the McGarry Ranches

Seven Devils Lodge River Rafting

Hells Canyon View by the Seven Devils Lodge



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Colorado Ranch Vacation - Horses & Much More

Colorado is famous for being the center of the Rocky Mountains. It is also a central destination of Western travelers with the ease of access and number of flights to and from the Denver International Airport and connections to the Aspen, Durango and Colorado Springs airports. While you are making your travel plans you might also consider slipping into any corner of the state on highways and byways. Once you arrive you will soon feel the warm invitation of a vacation oasis. There are things to do year round here that can be found at the most convenient of destinations - a dude ranch. Not only a destination for horse enthusiast, but also for the most specific of recreational fun.

  • Fisherman can enjoy the North Fork of the South Platte River when they are not rafting, back-country hiking or trapshooting at the North Fork Ranch.
  • Rock Climbers can take a break from the rock wall to have a round of frisbee golf, volley ball and a turn on the zip line at the Wind River Ranch.
  • Mountain bikers can take a break from the world class trails of the Majestic Dude Ranch to play a round of paint ball or laser tag.
  • Environmental Enthusiasts can learn about Laramie River's sustainable ranching, natural horsemanship and cattle work.
  • Bride and Grooms can be assured that there is something to do for destination wedding guests of all ages, from the youngest to the oldest of the extended family at the Tumbling River Ranch.

A Colorado Vacation at the Ranch

North Fork Fly Fishing in Colorado

North Fork Ranch, Shawnee, Colorado

The North Fork River is alive with trout. One cast might produce a fourteen inch brown trout, the next might be a three pound rainbow. This water is known for BIG fish.


Tumbling River Colorado Vacation Ranch

Tumbling River Ranch, Grant, Colorado

What about teenagers? At Tumbling River, teens have the best situation of anyone. Teens at the ranch can participate in all activities, with or without parents.


Wind River Colorado Vacation Ranch

Wind River Ranch, Estes Park, Colorado

 Wind River Ranch is outfitted with a one-of-a-kind challenging par 3 Frisbee golf course. Designed by the legendary Kyle Ford in 1997, the current course record is 13 under.  The ranch also has a wonderful kids program to involve your little ones.


Majestic Dude Ranch

Majestic Dude Ranch, Mancos, Colorado

With the ranch open in the winter and summer, you're not just booking a room at the Majestic Dude Ranch, you're planning an outdoor adventure.


Laramie River Colorado Vacation Ranch

Laramie River Ranch, Jelm, Colorado

Try your hand at team penning at the Laramie River Ranch. The object is to separate (or "cut") one or more steers from the larger group and move them across the corral and in to a holding pen. Sounds easy, doesn't it?


Click on the map below to interact with the Colorado Dude Ranch Map or call the Dude Ranchers' Association for more information at 307.587.2339.

Colorado State Map     Save Save Save

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.    

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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Staycation in Colorado This Summer at Your Local Dude Ranch

Have you already explored many local Colorado locations by hiking, mountain climbing, bouldering or cycling? What about by horseback riding? Journey into the old west, to a time before chacos and mountain bikes. A time when wagon wheels and horses were your means of transportation. A dude ranch vacation is themed in Western tradition. Don't worry, they won't make you wear a dress to ride, and suspenders are optional. The only requirements are cowboy boots and a desire to explore a new piece of country by a living means of transportation (horses).

The below ranches are all located within driving distance from your downtown or suburban life in Colorado, and offer a spectacular new perspective on the state you call home. Trail riding in the National Parks and National Forests of the Rocky Mountains will be just the start of your historical dude ranch adventure. Your stay will also include fine dining, nightly Western 'cowboy' activities and cozy high-end cabins. Bring the whole family (even the ones not too keen on horses). There are plenty of additional outdoorsy activities for them to be included, not to mention kids programs that will rival any day care or summer camp. Look over  the below ranches and imagine your family summer staycation. Any questions you can't find on our website will be easily answered by Colleen and Leah at the Dude Ranchers' Association. Give us a call or shoot us an email. 307.587.2339 or info@duderanch.org. Wind River Ranch

Wind River Ranch Staycation

Wind River Ranch is located seven miles south of Estes Park, Colorado, between mile-marker 7 and 8 on Highway 7 at 9,200 feet of elevation. The ranch has one of only 15 Concessionaire's permit with the Rocky Mountain National Park and also does have permits to ride in the Roosevelt National Forest on certain trails. You will get to ride up to Eugena Mine, Aspen Brook, Twin Sisters, Lily Lake, and many other beautiful spots. Let the horses carry you up to the top during summer staycation. Call 800.523.4212 for more details.   Lost Valley Ranch

Lost Valley Ranch Colorado Staycation

While Lost Valley Ranch is just 90 minutes from Colorado Springs and two hours from Denver, it's the trip's last nine miles you will remember forever. That's where the pavement ends and your adventure begins. You may be eager to arrive...but take your time. Half the fun in getting here is changing your pace; leaving the concrete world behind and learning to watch for wildlife, smelling the fresh mountain air and reveling in the splendor of the majestic Rocky Mountains.  The ranch is located in the middle of tons of adventure. Call the Lost Valley Ranch for more information at 303.647.2311.   Waunita Hot Springs Ranch

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch Colorado Staycation

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch, located high in the Colorado Rockies at an elevation of 8,946 ft., is 10 miles west of the Continental Divide. The ranch is surrounded by Gunnison National Forest land and summer pasture. U.S. Forest permits and private leases enable us to ride on, pasture and otherwise enjoy use of hundreds of thousands of acres in eastern Gunnison County. The ranch is also the site of Colorado's hottest springs, allowing us not only water for our 35x90 ft. swimming pool, but also heat and domestic hot water for all buildings. Here you can ride all day and soak in the hot springs at night. Call them to schedule your stay at 970.641.1266.   Tarryall River Ranch

Tarryall River Ranch Staycation Colorado

The Tarryall River Ranch is located in the Pike National Forest and is abundant with great trails to ride horses or hike. They range from easy to challenging. On the ranch's Box Canyon ride you will get to both ride and hike to some really incredible geological sites.  After riding over rolling hills on a secluded trail you are able to tie up your horses to experience some extremely large boulders and rock formations. Take a look at the picture to the left and give Tarryall River Ranch a call.  800.408.8407  


 

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.

 

Horses, Hats, Hospitality, Heritage, Honesty & Heart

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.

7 D Ranch

A wrangler and his horses at the 7d Ranch

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 as 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.

Take a look at these 6 H's in action on our dude ranches. Our photo gallery has content sourced from guests like you. Don't forget to #duderanch this summer!

Eatons Historical Father Son Moment

From the archives of Eaton's Ranch: Father - Son Moment


 

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