Dude Ranches are Great for Those Who Love the Outdoors

Travelers that are looking for a new experience will enjoy dude ranches for a vacation centered around the West’s most iconic activity - horseback riding. Not only this, but dude ranches are located in the most beautiful destinations and offer much more adventure for all ages. Because dude ranches are privately owned, guests experience a tailored itinerary away from the crowds. Secluded valleys, mountain top cabins, and all-day excursions will put you and your family in picture-perfect moments your friends will drool over. Traditionally, dude ranches plan for a full week of Western life for their guests, but some have short stay, immersive experiences for those with limited travel time. No matter how long you stay, it is sure to be an exciting trip. Wondering what you might experience on the best dude ranches in North America? Take a look below at some of the specialties that make dude ranches more than just horseback riding in the American West, but an adventure vacation for everyone who loves the outdoors.  

1. Ranch Life 

From the time you arrive for your ranch vacation, you’ll understand that this is a completely different world from suburban life. The horseback riding, pace of life and even the people represent the Western experience that you will be a part of for the week. It is a timeless traditional lifestyle that has been a part of American history for past centuries and your group will become apart of it. Pack your cowboy boots and western hat, because you'll want to look the part!

2. Cattle WorkTravelers that are looking for a new experience will enjoy dude ranches for a vacation centered around the West’s most iconic activity - horseback riding. Not only this, but dude ranches are located in the most beautiful destinations and offer much more adventure for all ages.

Cowboys and cattle go hand in hand. At many dude ranches, cattle work is a central activity where you can jump in and have hands-on cowboy experiences. From baby calves being bottle fed to driving the herd on an all-day cattle drive, there are a lot of different ways to interact with cattle. Have you heard of team penning? It’s a rodeo event that guests love to participate in with their fellow travelers. Winning this event will definitely give you bragging rights for the year. You can also learn about how to swing a rope! 

3. Fly Fishing 

The rivers and streams of the West are calmly waiting for you to disrupt their slumber. Fly fishing is the traditional Western way of catching fish that is easy to learn but takes a lifetime to truly master. So, fly casting techniques, knot tying, trout behavior, fishing strategies and even river anatomy will be taught at ranches from a knowledgeable and experienced guide. Your guide can accommodate the beginners and also those who just need to be pointed in the right direction of the best fishing holes. Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout and Grayling are just a few of the fish you might encounter on your trip. 

4. Programs for Children

Families who love the outdoors and getting away from technology will also love dude ranches. Well qualified staff show children the Western way of life, from young toddlers to teenagers there’s something for everyone. Pony rides, volleyball, three-legged races, lawn games… the list goes on and on for what dude ranches have prepared for children to engage with each other in the outdoors. 

5. Cuisine and Dining Experience

Dining on dude ranches is more than just filling your belly. It’s a shared time to relax and enjoy the evening with great food and great company. Hors d'oevoures and cocktails start in the saloon or in the rocking chair on the porch. Birds are chirping and the sun is setting as the kitchen staff rings the dinner bell for everyone to gather for a home-cooked, farm-to-table style dinner prepared for guests that are treated like family. 

Great Dude Ranches to Choose From

Dude ranches are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in a spectacular location. You’ll be with your family in a more intimate environment than you would have milling through the crowds of people traveling to the most popular destinations. While you can still take trips to national parks and the famous destinations, dude ranches will give you the inside scoop and some even provide a personal guide. Take a look at the ranches below for some suggestions on dude ranches for your next vacation. 

Dude Ranches R Lazy S Ranch

Special Rides for Kids - The R Lazy S Ranch is a great ranch near Jackson Hole, Wyoming and offers a great program for families. Special rides for kids include instruction, gymkhana arena riding, half day trail rides and all day trail rides to mountain lakes.

 

Lazy L&B Dude Ranches have great evening activities

Campfire Dinners and Cowboy Poetry - For campfire dinners and cowboy poetry, you'll want to take a trip to the Lazy L&B Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. They offer a full day of adventure with evening entertainment you'll want to experience yourself. 

 

K Diamond K Dude Ranches With Lots of Acres to Explore

30,000 Acres to Explore - The K Diamond K Ranch, in Republic, Washington has 30,000 acres to explore on horseback, along with cattle work for your family and travel companions. 

 

Moose Head Ranch Tetons View

A Grand View of the Teton National Park - Moose Head Ranch, in Moose, Wyoming is famous for their views of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. Have your picture taken on horseback with your family in a way you couldn't dream of!

 

Blacktail Ranch Dude Ranch Cattle Drive

Fall Roundup Cattle Drive - Have the time of your life in late August / early September at the Blacktail Ranch in Wolf Creek, Montana for their fall roundup cattle drive. The cows can't stay up on the mountain all winter, and they want your help to bring them home! 

 

Focus Ranch Fly Fishing Dude Ranch Activities

Fly Fishing ClinicFocus Ranch in Slater, Wyoming not only has a fly fishing clinic this summer but also specialty weeks for yoga, photography, birding and painting!

 

Triangle C Clinic Dude Ranches for Horsemanship

Beginner Horsemanship Instruction - The Triangle C Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming offers daily riding instruction for beginner riders looking to learn the in's and out's of horseback riding. 

 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch for Weddings and Elopements

Weddings and Elopements - Along with a great dude ranch stay, the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado is well prepared to host your wedding or elopement in a spectacular location. 

 

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch Rodeo Activities in Colorado

Rodeo RidingSylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado has a special rodeo week for those looking to turn up the heat on their rodeo skills. 

Hunewill Ranch in California Dude Ranches for Trail Riding-1

On the Border of Yosemite National Park - Near Bridgeport, California the Hunewill Ranch shares their way of life as a working cattle ranch. 

 

View the Complete List of Dude Ranch Vacations in North America

 

Contact a Ranch Vacation Expert or the Dude Ranchers' Association for More Information 

 

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All-American Dude Ranches in the West

At the more than 100 dude ranches that make up the Dude Ranchers’ Association, guests are sure to find the All-American Western vacation they have been dreaming of—days spent in the saddle, enjoying stunning scenery and breathing fresh country air, and evenings enjoying tasty down-home cooking and ranch entertainment. Today, as it did over a century ago, the western dude ranch experience offers relief for both the body and spirit of those seeking refuge from the pressures and routine of modern life.

Dude ranch vacations are based on a lifestyle that stretches back more than a century. By the end of the 1800s, most of the American West had been explored and the stories of its natural wonders had spread throughout the Eastern portion of the country as well as Europe. Lured by the promise of awesome beauty, a spirit of romance and adventure, and the honest simplicity of the western way of life, travelers headed west in search of a respite from the crowded, noisy squalor of fast-paced cities.

Most dude ranch guests are looking for that same experience today—a chance to rejuvenate their souls and refresh their spirits. And with the impressive array of activities found at these dude ranches, everyone—Mom, Dad, kids, grandparents, couples or singles—can find something that interests them.

Dude ranches are ideal places for kids and families to re-discover each other. Without the typical distractions of TV, phones, computers and electronic games, families spend time together, riding, hiking, playing games or simply talking. And while dude ranches are a popular destination for families, couples, singles and groups of all types love this unique traveling option as well. Most ranches offer a wide variety of activities such as horseback riding, fly fishing, river rafting, swimming pools, children’s programs, cattle drives, cookouts, line dancing and plain relaxing on the porch swing, so everyone in a group is sure to find something that appeals to them. And since the cooking, cleaning and planning is all taken care of, everyone enjoys a true vacation.

Cattle Ranches Dressed in the All-American Cowboy Tradition

Rowses All-American Cattle Ranch

Rowse’s 1+1, Burwell, Nebraska

Klondike Ranch, Buffalo, Wyoming


Family Owned and Operated - Generation after Generation

4UR All-American Cowgirl

McGarry Ranches, Rexburg, Idaho

4UR Ranch, Creede Colorado


Mount Rushmore - the All-American US Presidential Monument

Triple R Mount Rushmore USA

Triple R Ranch, Keystone, South Dakota


Rocky Mountain Range - Home of the Tetons

Moosehead Ranch in Rocky Mountains USA

Goosewing Ranch, Jackson, Wyoming

Moose Head Ranch, Moose, Wyoming

For more information about the unique experience of a dude ranch vacation or to request a brochure, call 1-866-399-2339 or visit www.duderanch.org.


 

All Aboard! Amtrak Train Rides to Dude Ranches

Train travel and dude ranches go way back in their relationship. In fact, the historical Northern Pacific Railway influenced early western expansion and the beginnings of leisure travel to Western States. Early dude ranchers, as in Larry Larom and his peers, founded the Dude Ranchers' Association in 1926. From the start the organization promoted leisure travel to dude ranches via train and established industry standards. Traveling to a dude ranch today is still possible. Amtrak is now the modern train travel company. They offer trips from the East coast of the United States to the West Coast and many places in between. Are you ready to take your next adventure via train?

Northern_Pacific_Railway_North_Coast_Limited_Diner

Immerse yourself in the spirit of the West and travel via train to your next dude ranch. Parasols, lace gloves, suits and heavy trunks are not necessary. Simply purchase your ticket and head out West. Below are some tools to plan your trip using the contemporary Amtrak trains. The stations are listed by state and the dude ranches close by are linked below the city. If you would like more information please call the Dude Ranchers' Association at 307.587.2339 or email us at info@duderanch.org. The Amtrak National Route Map (PDF) and the duderanch.org Interactive Map may be helpful as well.

Amtrak Train Stations by State

Norther Pacific Railroad Train Poster

Idaho

Sandpoint, Idaho Station

Western Pleasure Ranch, Sandpoint, Idaho

Washington

Spokane, Washington Station

Red Horse Mountain, Harrison, Idaho

Colorado

Granby, Colorado Station

C Lazy U Ranch, Granby, Colorado

Drowsy Water Ranch, Granby, Colorado

Bar Lazy J Ranch, Parshall, Colorado

Montana

Whitefish, Montana Station

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge, Bigfork, Montana

Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, Montana

Arizona

Kingman, Arizona Station

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, Yucca, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona Station

White Stallion Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Benson, Arizona Station

Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch, Tombstone, Arizona


 Train Travel Stamp

Dude Ranches During the Winter: Here's Where and Why

Freshly-fallen snow, sleigh rides and skiing make these dude ranches a magical winter getaway By Lyn Mettler Travel Expert December 7, 2015 Originally Posted on 10Best.com Set in some of the most beautiful scenery in the American West and covered in blankets of snow for months, these dude ranches offer a secluded yet active winter getaway for all ages. Whether for skiing or enjoying seasonal activities like sleigh rides and snowmobiling, these ranches have it all when the weather turns cold.

 

C Lazy U Winter

C Lazy U Ranch | Granby, Colorado While the ground might be covered in white, count on plentiful sunshine and clear blue skies at C Lazy U Ranch. Take advantage of private skiing with no lift lines where the Snowcat delivers guests back up the hill or pop the kids on a tube or sled for a wild downhill ride. Other winter options include back country snowmobiling, horseback riding or snowshoeing, and there’s even ice hockey on the ranch's pond. C Lazy U also provides fine dining and luxury accommodations to refuel and recharge for the next day's adventure.

Latigo Winter

Latigo Dude Ranch | Kremmling, Colorado Located along the Continental Divide in Colorado, Latigo Dude Ranch caters to skiers during the winter months with some of the state's best snow conditions (about 18 feet every winter) and nearly 40 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing. Other winter activities at the ranch, which is approaching 100 years old, include snowshoeing, tubing, biking on snow or simply taking in the quiet and seclusion from the front porch of the historic log lodge with panoramic mountain vistas.

Bar W Winter Sleigh

Bar W Guest Ranch | Whitefish, Montana The Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana gets up to 300 inches of snow every year. The ranch offers terrain for every level of skier, including cross-country, downhill and backcountry skiing. Kids love dog sledding, taking a sleigh ride with ranch horses Duke and Dutch, and ice skating or hockey on the ice rink. You can even try ice fishing for trout, perch and more in area lakes or joining in a square dance. End the day with down-home cooking Montana style.

Western Pleasure Winter

Western Pleasure Ranch | Sandpoint, Idaho A favorite activity of visitors to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in North Idaho is a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride by one of the ranch’s draft teams. A two-mile loop trail takes passengers through a forest and offers snow-covered views of the nearby Selkirk Mountains. There's also snowmobiling and plenty of scenic skiing for all levels. When the day is done, cozy up by the lodge fire and then head back to one of the ranch's log cabins or lodge rooms.

Home Ranch Winter

Home Ranch | Clark, Colorado Nestled in Colorado's Elk River Valley, just north of Steamboat Springs, the Home Ranch becomes a winter wonderland when its legendary snowfalls begin each season. Considered one of the most beautiful cross-country skiing resorts in Colorado, the ranch has top-notch Nordic skiing, a world-class chef and rustic accommodations. Guests can even help feed the ranch’s herd of more than 100 horses while visiting.

Lone Mountain Winter

Lone Mountain Ranch | Big Sky, Montana Voted the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine, and located just six miles from some of the country's best skiing, Lone Mountain Ranch is a skier's paradise. Guests can also take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes. If you're feeling daring, try out winter fly fishing too. Cap it all off with a sleigh ride under starlit skies to the North Fork cabin for a family-style prime rib dinner, lit by oil lanterns and warmed by a hundred-year-old cookstove.

Seven Devils Winter

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch | Council, Idaho  Just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch sits on 18,000 acres among canyons, high desert and mountains. A working ranch since the early 1900s, it is one of the most sought after destinations for backcountry snowmobiling ("boondocking") because of its widely varied terrain, which begins right out the front door. The lodge has six individually-themed bedroom suites and serves family-style ranch meals in the dining room.

Vista Verde Winter

Vista Verde | Steamboat Springs, Colorado Vista Verde offers guests an upscale, all-inclusive winter experience with plenty of activities for all interests. Spend days frolicking in the snow on skies, snowshoes, by sled or tube or even by fat tire bike. Enjoy a sleigh ride led by ranch horses or take a horseback ride through softly packed snow. There are even yoga classes and private hot tubs in guest cabins to soothe aching muscles after the day's snowy adventures.

Sundance Winter

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch | Red Feather Lakes, Colorado Head out on horseback into winter's crisp morning air for a ride through Roosevelt National Forest at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. A small horse ranch with a lodge and cabin suites for accommodations, Sundance Trail even welcomes dogs to join owners during winter months. An outdoor Jacuzzi lets guests stay warm as the snow softly falls.

What can you expect at a dude ranch in winter? When the weather turns cold, dude ranch fun is just getting started. Snow sledding, skiing, sleigh rides, and other winter activities. Plus tips for winter vacation planning.


   

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