Glamping: The New Vacation Trend

Some call it glamorous camping, others call it luxury camping, but what better way to experience the Wild West? Get off the beaten path and truly get out into nature by sleeping under the stars like a true Western cowboy or cowgirl. What really makes these glamping options truly unique is that they are all all-inclusive. This means meals, lodging, horseback riding, and other activities are all included in your rate! What’s more glamorous than not having to try to keep up with your spending while on vacation? Get comfortably out of your comfort zone by staying at one of these beautiful, DRA approved, dude ranch glamping destinations!

Bar W Ranch

Glamping

Bar W Guest Ranch offers an unforgettable glamping experience right outside of Glacier National Park. Each of the four luxury canvas tents has a queen size bed, handcrafted log futon, private porch, refrigerator, and coffee maker. Don’t worry--your private, heated bathroom is located just a few feet from your tent. Grab your coffee, sit back, and relax while you watch the horses graze in the meadow from your own front porch.

C Lazy U Ranch

Glamping

Glamping at C Lazy U Ranch will no doubt top the list as your most memorable accommodation set-ups! A ranch hand will guide you to your Conestoga Wagon where the great outdoors (and a s'mores kit!) await you. After an evening around the fire with your loved ones, cozy up in your king-size bed made with luxurious linens and let the sounds of peace and serenity drift you to sleep.

Flat Creek Ranch

Glamping

For the more adventurous glampers, visit Flat Creek Ranch! Ride into the backcountry by horseback and take in views of the Tetons and Wind River mountain ranges, Cache Peak, and the headwaters of Flat Creek. After a good night’s sleep in your cozy, canvas tent under the stars, you will wake up to coffee brought to your tent. A hardy breakfast will leave you well rested and ready for your ride back to the ranch! 

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

Glamping

Experience the best of the Southwest from a pioneer wagon at Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch! This wagon can comfortably sleep five with a king-size bed and three bunk beds and has electricity, air conditioning, and heat to ensure a relaxing stay under the stars. Private bathrooms and showers are provided nearby. These wagons are a once-in-a-lifetime experience--Come see why!  

Greenhorn Ranch

Glamping

Tucked away in a discrete part of Greenhorn Ranch, awaits a charming 1972 Airstream. This fully restored camper, located along a seasonal creek, takes glamping to a whole new level! The soothing white classic is complete with a queen bed, small fridge, and a streamlined bathroom. Sit under the stars on your private deck and enjoy California glamping at its finest! 

Bull Hill Guest Ranch

Glamping

Glamping at Bull Hill Guest Ranch brings back a tradition that began when the ranch first opened in 1995. Beautifully furnished with two comfy queen beds, these tents are ideal for young couples, families, or those seeking privacy with a romantic twist. Each glamping tent has its own private bathroom 100 feet away as well as power, heat, and fans to keep you cool in the summer. 

Goosewing Ranch

Glamping

Get away from the world and internet-and cell service for that matter-and truly unwind while glamping at Goosewing Ranch! Three of their custom, handcrafted wagons can sleep up to five guests, while the fourth wagon with a king-size bed will make for the perfect romantic getaway for a couple. This is glamping, not camping, so you will have a dedicated chef, wrangler, and event coordinator at your service!

Glamping at a dude ranch is the new favorite way to relax and unwind while on vacation. Which ranch do you want to visit? Need help narrowing down the options further? Contact one of our dude ranch experts! info@duderanch.org • 308-587-2339

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Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Are you planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park this year? We don’t blame you, it’s one of the most magical places in the Wild West and the world’s very first national park. The beautiful waterfalls, colorful Grand Prismatic Spring, wide-open spaces, and abundant wildlife bring people from all over the world. It’s fun to imagine what the first pioneers thought when they first saw the beauty of Yellowstone from horseback. Luckily, our dude ranches near Yellowstone allow their guests the chance to see the West for the first time from the back of a horse, just like the pioneers! The Dude Ranchers’ Association has approximately 20 ranches outside of Yellowstone; however, here is a list of 13 ranches 60 minutes from one of the four parks’ entrances: 

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

7D Ranch | Cody, WY

7D Ranch is located just off the infamous Chief Joseph Highway, nestled in a stunning valley. Daily activities include horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, and skeet shooting. Your day will be followed with evening activities ranging from outdoor lawn games, horse training, campfires, evening entertainers, dances and an Indian sweat lodge.

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Covered Wagon Ranch | Gallatin Gateway, MT

Covered Wagon Ranch’s specialty is horseback riding trips into the surrounding backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. You can also choose to relax by fly fishing on world-renowned waters, rafting, mountain biking, hiking and wildlife viewing. Whatever your choice, you will have the time of your life!

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Crossed Sabres Ranch | Cody, WY

Crossed Sabres Ranch offers riding for everyone: a first-timers’ lesson in the arena, a short morning or afternoon ride, and an all-day ride with a packed lunch to explore beautiful mountain scenery. Rest up from riding by taking advantage of their guided van tours of Yellowstone's lower loop, white water rafting, clay shooting, archery, ax throwing, and a trip to the famous Cody Nite Rodeo! *Not taking reservations for 2020*

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Elkhorn Ranch | Gallatin Gateway, MT

Located on the northwest edge of Yellowstone, the Elkhorn Ranch has been a family-oriented ranch since 1922. This means that you’ll be able to find some outdoor fun for everyone in the family! Take a scenic hike or ride through the Rocky Mountains on horseback during the day and sing and dance around the campfire at night. Elkhorn Ranch will surely feel like your own personal paradise. *Not taking reservations for 2020*

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch | Emigrant, MT

Hubbard’s Six Quarter Circle Ranch is an upscale ranch where you can ride all day every day on 25 square miles of pristine wilderness outside of Yellowstone. Guests are encouraged to participate in real-life ranch work by moving cows to greener pastures and fixing fence! Experience is not necessary here; the cowboys will provide instruction and strong mountain horses for every level of ability.

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Lone Mountain Ranch | Big Sky, MT

Located just 18 miles from Yellowstone, Lone Mountain Ranch is the perfect place to experience the beauty and endless recreational opportunities of the West. They provide a warm, relaxed atmosphere with the right comforts to help you "get away from it all.” Horseback rides, hikes, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, canoe trips, and guided tours into Yellowstone will keep you busy for days. 

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Lost Creek Ranch | Moose, WY

Lost Creek Ranch is located 20 miles north of Jackson, ideally set between towering mountains just 60 minutes from Yellowstone. Ranch activities are numerous and participation is by individual choice. Wranglers lead guests on horseback trips into the wilderness of unbelievable solitude and beauty. The lodge and cabins reflect quality and comfort with breath-taking views of the Grand Tetons.

Moose Head Ranch Tetons

Moose Head Ranch | Moose, WY

30 miles from Yellowstone, Moose Head Ranch offers intimate rides in the mornings and afternoons as well as all-day rides where lunch is served over an open fire. When you don’t feel like riding, play volleyball or croquet on the lawn or go fishing! Sunday night cookouts are a highlight of the week with delicious food, singing, s'mores and camaraderie.

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch | Emigrant, MT

Just a 30-mile drive to the north entrance of Yellowstone, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch’s primary draw is their horseback riding. Their program includes rides for all skill levels, as well as arena instruction for those looking to learn the basics. Take advantage of their horseback rides through Yellowstone during your visit to get the real Western experience! 

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch | Gallatin Gateway, MT

Adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, Nine Quarter Circle Ranch is surrounded by incredible scenery and offers excellent riding opportunities. The ranch features riding for all ages and levels of experience while traditional activities such as campfires, cookouts, hayrides and more are a big hit, as are their dedicated kids' programs. And this all comes served with the West's best hospitality!

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Parade Rest Guest Ranch | West Yellowstone, MT

Parade Rest Ranch is located a whopping 15 minutes from the west entrance of Yellowstone, making it the closest of all the Montana ranches. Their experienced wranglers and gentle horses will ensure everyone enjoys their family ranch vacation, from novice to seasoned riders. The sound of the trickling creek on the ranch will become a favorite as you drift asleep at the end of an adventurous day.

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Rimrock Ranch | Cody, WY

At Rimrock Ranch your week will be filled with riding, rafting, rodeo, and an all-day tour of Yellowstone. Enjoy a day participating in a fishing tournament, cowboy singing, and an afternoon in the ranch arena playing games on horseback. And we can’t forget the spectacular views from the ranch’s swimming pool and hot tub!

Dude Ranches Near Yellowstone

Triangle X Ranch | Moose, WY

Triangle X Ranch presents unsurpassed views of the Teton mountains and is a stunning 45-minute drive from Yellowstone. The ranch is home to over 180 gentle and sure-footed mountain horses. Venture into the heart of one of the most remote wildernesses in the lower 48 as you explore a natural paradise few have ever seen - all from the back of a horse on a once-in-a-lifetime pack-trip!

If you’re planning a trip to America’s most famous national park, we’re very envious. If you add on a dude ranch vacation to your Yellowstone trip, everyone you know will want to follow in your footsteps! Come experience the West as it was 100 years ago. Click HERE to view more ranches 60+ minutes from Yellowstone. Not ready to book for 2020? Most ranches are already accepting bookings for 2021! If you need further assistance in narrowing down the options, contact a dude ranch vacation specialist today! info@duderanch.org 307-587-2339

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Where are the Best Dude Ranches?

Best Dude Ranches

     There are hundreds of dude ranches across the globe. How could you possibly filter through them all and narrow the options down to the best dude ranches? Scrap the ones that aren’t all-inclusive -the ones that are going to charge you for every activity and meal separately. Keep the ones that have a genuine, friendly Western welcome with staff, food, accommodations, facilities and activities to authenticate it. You would still need to sort through the, again, HUNDREDS of ranches. So, the Dude Ranchers’ Association did the leg work to make it easy for you! The DRA has 95+ approved member ranches. These ranches go through a rigorous 2-year long application process to ensure that they are of the highest standard in the dude ranching industry. They are all all-inclusive (i.e. meals, lodging, and most activities), have a main focus on horseback riding, and offer a vacation experience like no other destination!

Let’s explore the best dude ranches by state and province!

Arizona

Best Dude Ranches

     Arizona is home to some of the most colorful characters in American history: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Staying at an Arizona ranch puts you right in the middle of that rich history. Explore nearby gold mines, ghost towns, and hideouts, even Skeleton Canyon where Geronimo finally surrendered. Your Arizona ranches provide an authentic ranch experience. Guests may ride over grasslands, through Saguaro studded desert and along mountain trails morning, afternoon, and into the sunset. Sunsets in Arizona are not to be missed – they are the most dramatic and breathtaking in the country. A sunny day in the saddle, a brilliant sunset with a margarita on the patio and a hearty home-cooked dinner will make your Arizona dude ranch day complete!

Arkansas

Best Dude Ranches

     Typical Arkansas vacation ranch activities include horseback riding, caving, and rock climbing. Searching for Native American arrowheads is also popular, as is exploring National Parks and Wilderness Areas. Unlike many states, mechanized vehicles are not allowed in any Arkansas Wilderness Area, and a lovely quiet pervades. Guests of Arkansas Dude Ranches ride horses, canoe, and hike through this wilderness, sometimes feeling as if they were the first to ever do so. Arkansas has a long tradition of welcoming guests to the state. People have traveled to Hot Springs and the surrounding area for over a century to soak themselves in the restorative thermal waters. Try a different type of restorative therapy - lots of fresh air and activity at an Arkansas dude ranch.

British Columbia

Best Dude Ranches

     British Columbia is a remarkable place. It stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, Washington state to the Yukon and Alaska. Some of the wildest, most rugged mountains on the continent are found here; indeed, the Coast Range has been dubbed the Himalayas of the west. Tall, rocky peaks tumble down into valleys that rival the Grand Canyon in depth, width, and magnificence. Those who journey here are richly rewarded. Consider a dude ranch vacation in British Columbia, one of the most striking parts of the world!

California

Best Dude Ranches

     California conjures images of sun-kissed beaches, foggy San Francisco Bay, and giant redwood forests. The diversity of the state is unmatched by any other in the nation. Luxury dude ranch vacations in the state of California may include fly fishing, river rafting, and panning for gold. Guests may explore the land on bikes, watch birds, or rock climb. In addition, California vacation ranches offer their guests an authentic ranch experience. Guests may ride over grasslands and along mountain trails morning, afternoon, and at sunset. They may even participate in cattle round-ups and cattle drives, just like true cowboys. 

Colorado

Best Dude Ranches

     Colorado is known for its natural beauty. Much of Western Colorado is covered by the Rocky Mountains, where more than 50 mountain peaks reach over 14,000 feet. The eastern third of the state is the start of the high plains. Evergreen and aspen forests, deep canyons, and sand dunes - all are found in the state. Colorado dude ranch vacations are as varied as the ranches. Some focus on horseback riding, with trail riding and rodeo taking center stage. Some are all about luxury - the food, the lodging, the spa. Most offer a variety of activities for all ages: hiking, rafting, biking, skiing, riding, and fishing. All Colorado Dude Ranches specialize in creating unforgettable vacations full of fresh air, activity, and friends.

Idaho

Best Dude Ranches

     Idaho is comprised of rugged and beautiful terrain that stretches from British Columbia to Nevada and Wyoming. The Rocky Mountains cover much of the eastern border of the state, while Hell's Canyon, the deepest canyon in the country, is found along the Oregon and Washington border. Idaho is a lovely spot for a dude ranch vacation, for the wilderness beckons. Ride through grasslands and along forested trails. Head into the mountains, follow a stream bed, and spend a week as a cowboy. Everywhere there is fresh air and a beautiful natural setting, perfect for a luxury ranch vacation.

Montana

Best Dude Ranches

     Variously known as "The Big Sky State" and "The Last Best Place", Montana is truly a state of vast open spaces, incredible wilderness, and stunning scenery. It seems the proper place for a dude ranch vacation; and Montana dude ranches do take advantage of their spectacular surroundings, leading guests into national parks, through the Rocky Mountains, and across the prairie lands. Some dude ranches in Montana offer guests the opportunity to drive cattle like a real cowboy. Others specialize in sharing the wonders of fly fishing on pristine rivers and mountain streams. Some shower guests in luxury, spa packages and gourmet meals; others make you feel like a part of the family, with homestyle meals and marshmallow roasts around fire pits. Whatever your idea of the perfect dude ranch vacation, you will surely find it in Montana!

New Mexico

Best Dude Ranches

     There is much to see in New Mexico, from the wondrous Carlsbad Caverns to the Black Range Mountains and the brilliant gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument. Guests of New Mexico dude ranches have a unique opportunity to explore the land and gain insight into the culture. They offer guests a chance to experience the cowboy life, with a bit more luxury if desired. Become a ranch hand and participate in rugged cattle drives, or ride along miles of fence looking for breaks in need of repair. After a day in the saddle, revel in simple luxuries such as soaking sore muscles in a hot tub or stretching out by a fire under a vast canopy of stars. Now that's a vacation!

Oregon

Best Dude Ranches

     Oregon is breathtaking, plain and simple. Western Oregon is cool and green, while Eastern Oregon is dry and vast. Mountains stand in the middle, running north to Washington state and south to California. A stay at a luxury Oregon dude ranch allows guests time and leisure to explore some of the natural beauty of this state. It stands to reason that vacations at Oregon dude ranches include a wide variety of outdoor recreation. Go horseback riding on forested trails and through grassland. Experience the thrill of fly fishing on a private stretch of water, with mountains tall in the distance. Hike into one of Oregon's many wilderness areas or along a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, or rock climb up a sheer cliff. There is whitewater rafting spring through fall, and skiing in the winter.

Washington

Best Dude Ranches

     The diverse natural beauty of the state encourages outdoor recreation. There are four volcanos in the Cascades which range in elevation from 8,300 feet to over 14,400. The Olympic Peninsula, west of Puget Sound, is home to the Olympic National Park, Hoh Rain Forest, and long stretches of wild, wind-swept Pacific beaches. Eastern Washington boasts sunshine, world-class wineries, and vast open spaces. Time spent at a Washington dude ranch will inevitably include outdoor recreation. Imagine horseback riding through grassland ringed by mountains or deep into evergreen forests. Additional activities may include angling in lakes or rivers, tubing down a river, biking or hiking. A dude ranch vacation in Washington is an ideal way to reconnect with nature, bond with family, and make new friends!

Wyoming

Best Dude Ranches

     The Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains in the state of Wyoming. This is true cowboy country with few people and vast, open spaces. The bulk of Yellowstone National Park is in Northwest Wyoming. Many Wyoming dude ranches include excursions into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Hundreds of trails traverse the parks, providing access to deep backcountry areas, remote lakes, and scenic overlooks. Moose, elk, and bear inhabit this stunning area and are frequently spotted during guided excursions. These ranches may be rustic or luxurious. Guests may ride all day and herd cattle or soak in a hot tub and enjoy a massage. Activities may range from horseback rides through the mountains to fly-fishing to river rafting. Wyoming dude ranches strive to create the perfect vacation for guests.

     Whether your perfect dude ranch is in Arkansas, Washington, or somewhere in between, we’re sure that it will be one of our DRA approved ranches! There is a little cowboy in all of us. Come find yours today! 

Need help narrowing down the options further? Contact one of our dude ranch experts! info@duderanch.org • 308-587-2339

Best Dude RanchesBest Dude RanchesBest Dude Ranches

The History of Dude Ranch Memorabilia

A recent blog post here on the Dude Ranchers’ Association website mentioned four ways to help dude ranches while we’re all stuck at home and unable to visit our favorite places. One of these was buying memorabilia, whether it’s a tee-shirt, a cap, or a coffee mug. Souvenirs are a long-standing tradition in the history of dude ranching, and here’s a look at some of the interesting ways ranchers have helped their guests take home some memories. 

By the early 1930s, ranchers were designing and printing up brochures. These had details about which railroad line to take, what the cabins or rooms looked like, what clothing the dudes should pack, and, of course, a list of activities. Some were very plain, with just the raw information, but most ranches used photographs to liven up their brochures. Potential guests picked these up back East in travel agencies and railroad stations, but many people kept the brochures even after their vacation was over, adding them to scrapbooks.

History of Dude Ranch

Communicating with guests after they went home was very important. Dude ranchers wanted to create relationships and repeat visitors, and one way to do this was with regular mailings, which sometimes turned into souvenirs themselves. Larry Larom, who co-founded the Valley Ranch outside of Cody in 1915, was especially good at this. He was also one of the organizers of the Dude Ranchers’ Association and served as its first president when it was founded in 1926. He sent out cheerful letters about the ranch to former guests in the off-season, and always included a sprig of local sagebrush in the envelope. 

In the 1920s Larom started writing the Valley Ranch newsletter, Corral Dust, which he also sent to his previous visitors, along with his signature piece of sage. Many ranches soon began publishing their own newsletters and also sent out Christmas cards.

Postcards easily forged a connection between ranchers and dudes. These have been around since the 1860s in various forms, and in 1907 postcards featured images on the front, with a place for both a message and an address on the back. By the late 1930s, dude ranch owners could print up images of their ranches for guests to buy and send to their friends. Many people kept the cards for themselves as a souvenir. Postcard companies also created generic illustrations of dude ranch life, and so did railroads and airlines. These were also on hand for guests to enjoy and keep.

History of Dude Ranch

Cameras were popular and affordable by the early 20th century, and who knows how many photos of dude ranches are in family photo albums today. Some ranchers got into the act themselves and gave specially printed souvenir photo albums to their guests. One of them was the Jack & Jill Ranch in Montague, Michigan (Midwest “dude ranches” were controversial at the time, but that’s another subject). In the 1940s the album included a map of the ranch, a letter from the owners, photos of the owners and wranglers, a place for “Friends” to write their name and address, two pages of lyrics to popular cowboy songs, goofy drawings of dude ranch life, commemorative photos, and blank pages for guests to use for their own photographs. Visitors to Jack & Jill also received a wooden pin with the ranch logo and their name written on it in dark ink.

History of Dude Ranch

Speaking of ink, before the widespread use of the ballpoint pen in the 1950s (when the price came down) everyone used fountain pens to write with. The inked letters stayed wet for quite a while so most people used a blotter or heavy, absorbent blotting paper to dry them more quickly. Businesses of all kinds took this opportunity to make and give away blotters with their logo or advertising images on the front, leaving the back blank to use as the actual blotting paper. Some dude ranches did the same. You could use these quite a few times, which meant that after you went home from your vacation, you would remember the dude ranch every time you wrote a letter or signed your name.

History of Dude Ranch

Some giveaways had even more practical uses. If you watch old movies, you’ll note that nearly everyone was a smoker. Souvenir ashtrays were common souvenirs through the 1980s. Dude ranches often bought branded ashtrays for guests to use, and to take home. Some were pretty generic – just glass with a logo. But some were in the shape of cowboy hats, horseshoes, spurs, or other western designs. Matchbooks were just as common as branded ashtrays, and a lot cheaper to make.

Clothing with logos or advertising, such as tee shirts, started appearing on the shelves of dude ranch gift shops in the 1960s. These were aimed at younger visitors, the Baby Boom generation, which adopted the tee as a uniform. 

Guests also have fond memories of the great meals served at ranches. Recipes for dude food appeared in The Dude Rancher magazine as early as the 1930s, and guests often took home informal collections of recipes and souvenir menus. Starting in the 1970s many ranchers got the idea to print up cookbooks with the recipes from their own kitchens, which they sold to guests (and some still do). A few examples are the CM Ranch in Dubois, WY; Covered Wagon Ranch in Gallatin Gateway, MT; and Medicine Bow Lodge and Adventure Guest Ranch in Saratoga, WY. 

Dude ranchers have been creating souvenirs for over a century. They know what their guests want, and today’s branded memorabilia reflects what is meaningful for 21st-century dudes. What will the next decades bring? You may not be able to get a t-shirt or coffee mug from when your favorite dude ranch first started, but you will more than likely be able to get one now! If you do not have a favorite ranch, you should consider finding the perfect dude ranch for you. Contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association today at 307-587-2339 or info@duderanch.org and they will help you find your dream ranch vacation. To learn more about dude ranch history, visit the Dude Ranch Foundation website.

Lynn Downey is a historian and author from northern California. Her historical novel, Dudes Rush In, comes out this summer from Pronghorn Press. She is also writing a history of dude ranching which will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2022.

The Best Dude Ranch Spas

    Best Dude Ranch Spas

     Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. However, research shows that it takes a few days for a person to TRULY begin to relax on a vacation. But a day at the spa on a dude ranch definitely can’t hurt in speeding up the process of de-stressing! Here are some lush dude ranch spas that will leave you feeling recharged and renewed during your vacation:

Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort | Solvang, CA

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort has a top-notch spa center. Offering nine different massages that will cater to everyone from the mommies-to-be to the cowboy and cowgirls before and after their rides. Along with their broad range of massages, Alisal also offers three different facial treatments: an antiaging facial, vitamin-C infused and a customized rejuvenating facial. Whether you schedule a whole spa day or slip in after a long day of riding, Alisal’s spa center will SURELY relax you during your dude ranch vacation!

C Lazy U Ranch | Granby, CO

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     C Lazy U Ranch’s massages and facials are to-die-for! In addition to these, they offer a detoxifying and toning body wrap. This peaceful treatment begins with an exfoliation followed by a cocoon-like body wrap that will immerse your body in nutrients to detoxify and brighten your skin. C Lazy U also offers a decadent body scrub treatment that is the perfect solution after a dusty trail ride. This scrub will leave your skin looking supple, refreshed and deeply moisturized! And last, but certainly not least, C Lazy U offers copper tub soaks that every cowboy and cowgirl will enjoy. Soak away any stress while enjoying views of the Continental Divide. (Pro tip: Order a bottle of wine or champagne in advance for ultimate relaxation!)

Lost Creek Ranch | Moose, WY

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Want to relax in the beauty and solitude of the Grand Tetons? Lost Creek Ranch is the place to do it! Nothing beats a rejuvenating mineral bath and facial after your first day in the saddle. After your cozy, peaceful bath, melt away your worries and tired muscles with an open-air massage (you didn’t come this far to be inside!). Once you’ve concluded your spa treatment, grab a light snack and some fruit and enjoy the mountain views by the pool. Lost Creek is any weary traveler’s dream come true!

Rancho de los Caballeros | Wickenburg, AZ

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Rancho de los Caballeros offers a seemingly endless menu of spa options: bath soaks, body scrubs, wraps, massages, manicures, pedicures, and even hair and makeup services! This ranch has one of the most diverse facial menus with services designed specifically for the needs of dry, sun-damaged skin (you are in Arizona after all). A must-have treatment with immediate results you will be able to see and feel is the oxygenating facial. This revolutionary treatment improves circulation and eliminates toxins leaving the skin absolutely illuminated. Rancho de los Caballeros hasn’t forgotten about the cowboys that need to be pampered! Their spa also offers a grooming facial that includes a customized treatment along with grooming of the eyebrows, ears and nose. This will be a perfect Arizona retreat!

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch | Tucson, AZ

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     Relieve your mind, relax your muscles and reduce your stress at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Their massages include a therapeutic “Ranchers Dream Aroma Touch Therapy” massage which uses eight therapeutic grade essential oils to reduce and eliminate your daily stresses. This treatment also enhances your immune system, reduces inflammation and will create balance in your body. Follow this with one of their lavish body wraps and facials that will replenish your skin and leave you revitalized and hydrated. Tanque Verde Guest Ranch’s spa will surely help you wind down after an adventurous day in the desert.

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley | Colorado Springs, CO

Best Dude Ranch Spa

     The Spa at the Broadmoor boasts an infinite list of spa treatments and services: hydrotherapies, facials, massages, body treatments, waxing services, and hair and makeup services. We’ve narrowed it down to their three decadent packages: The “Queen Bee” package beings with a divine honey-based wrap with an agave nectar massage. This package is followed by a manicure and pedicure. Your second option is the “Wine Down” package. This begins with a 30-minute sugar scrub, succeeded by a 50-minute Swedish massage with olavie wine therapy oil, and ends with a signature manicure and pedicure. The third package is the “B.F.F.” This well-rounded package opens with a 50-minute massage, followed by a 50-minute custom facial, and concludes with a pedicure. No matter which package you select, you will certainly be left rejuvenated and restored. 

     The services offered in dude ranch spas are good for the body, mind, and soul. Massages can not only help ease altitude discomfort but also help in boosting your immune system after traveling. Facials and body treatments will nourish your skin after riding in the sun all day and are a great treat for yourself to help you destress. No matter which dude ranch spa you visit, it will truly be a pampering experience you never knew you needed! For more information on dude ranches with spas contact a dude ranch specialist at the Dude Ranchers’ Association today! Email us at info@duderanch.org or give us a call 307-587-2339! We represent over 95 dude and guest ranches in the Western United States and Canada, we will help you find the ranch of your dreams!

Best Dude Ranch Spas  Best Dude Ranch Spas  Best Dude Ranch Spas

Your All-Inclusive Vacation Plans Changed. Now What?

All-Inclusive Vacation

     2020 has been a wild year…and we’re not even halfway through it yet. Cruise lines are no longer operating, Disney is shut down, and there’s talk of keeping beach resorts closed. What happens when your vacation destination cancels on you? You have all your vacation days just waiting to be used and you love your annual family vacations - and the all-inclusive ones make it so much easier on you. Your family needs to get outdoors because being stuck inside doing one more online class, trying to teach this “new” math to your kids just might push you over the edge. So, what can you do? What’s a good (or better) alternative? The answer: a dude ranch.

All-Inclusive Vacation

     Now hear me out! Some people don’t know what to think when they think of a “dude ranch.” The Dude Ranchers’ Association member ranches are all, for the most part, all-inclusive. This means meals, lodging, and most activities are all included in the weekly rate. We say “most activities” as spa services, alcohol, and some guided activities may not be covered. However, your all-day horseback ride, shooting sports, and *ehem* children’s programs are! That’s right - a lot of our ranches offer children’s programs for kids ages 3-17. The “kid wranglers” will keep the kids entertained and having fun while the adults can have fun on their own adventure. If you’d prefer hanging out as a whole family, that’s an option too! Go river rafting, explore the petting zoo, and splash around in the pool! The options for activities are almost endless at a dude ranch. To read more about dude ranch activities check out our Dude Ranch Activities blog.

All-Inclusive Vacation

     If you’re wanting more of a romantic adventure experience, dude ranches cater to that as well! What’s dreamier than cowboys, rodeos, and wide-open spaces with mountain views? (We’ve all seen the show Yellowstone at this point). Grab your hunny and your cowboy boots and head out West. Spend the day soaking in a copper tub in the mountains of Colorado or exploring the Arizona desert by horseback or in an ATV. Rekindle the romance by going on a horseback picnic lunch and taking in the breathtaking views. There’s nothing like an adventure and experiencing new places to reignite the romance that four-plus weeks in quarantine may have dimmed. 

All-Inclusive Vacation

     Lodging accommodations differ at each ranch, but they all have the same comfy and homey feeling when you walk in the door. Some ranches have a more rustic, western-chic decor and some have an adobe design and structure. DRA member ranches offer lodge rooms or private cabins for their guests, a few ranches even offer glamping tents and converted wagons. Relax and recharge in comfortable beds and beautiful bathrooms and enjoy a glass of wine with your envious views from your room or cabin. You are sure to feel right at home and get a good night’s sleep after a day full of adventures!

All-Inclusive Vacation

     Dude ranches are known for making people feel like they’re in a whole other world and helping them forget their worries. If you wanted to relax and find some peace of mind laying on a beach, we assure you, there’s nothing more awe-inspiring than riding through a green valley with the mountains stretched out above you. Become more grounded by taking a once in a lifetime yoga class with views that your friends will never believe. Let your mind become quiet as you listen to the trickling river while you fly-fish with the birds chirping above you. Learn a new skill besides horseback riding and take one of the amazing gourmet cooking classes some of our ranches offer or learn how to rope! 

     Still not convinced an all-inclusive dude ranch vacation is for you? Take into account that if you were to choose a destination vacation that is not all-inclusive you have quite a long list of planning to do. You would need to budget and plan for at least three meals a day, lodging accommodations for each night, activities that are diverse enough to please everyone in your group and the list goes on. Save yourself the headache and time and honestly consider an all-inclusive dude ranch vacation, it may be the best vacation you ever take! The hardest part of booking a dude ranch all-inclusive vacation is deciding which ranch to go to! Don’t worry, if you are having a hard time choosing between all of the great options, contact the ranch experts at the Dude Ranchers’ Association at info@duderanch.org or 307-587-2339 to make the process of choosing a destination much easier.

All-Inclusive Vacation All-Inclusive Vacation All-Inclusive Vacation

Canceled Your International Travel Plans? 5 Reasons Why THIS Vacation Is the Best Alternative.

Travel Plans

It’s no surprise that people are canceling their international travel plans and cruises due to fear of sickness. The sheer idea of sitting on a flight with recycled air for 6+ hours is enough to make your head spin. But what are you going to do about your big annual family vacation? Is there somewhere else you can go? Something else you could do? You need somewhere with fresh air, wide-open spaces that are all around good for your physical and mental health! Your family needs a dude ranch vacation and here are 5 reasons why:

#1 Being outdoors can help boost your immune system

Travel Plans

Being close to nature has some diverse and significant health benefits. In addition to getting your good ole’ vitamin D outside, scientists also believe that breathing in natural chemicals put off by plants can increase our white blood cell levels and help us fight off infections and diseases such as obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. These natural scents can also provide aromatherapy that can make you feel calmer and more relaxed! 

#2 Wide Open Spaces

Travel Plans

Nothing beats getting out of the madness of the hazy city and humid, crowded beaches and out into the peace and quiet. Not only will you be away from swarms of people, but you’ll be taking in soul-cleansing, mountain air that will make you feel revived. Let’s not forget that these vast spaces allow for some of the best horseback riding experiences in the world!

#3 Natural Exercise

Travel Plans

Whether you look forward to your daily exercise or not, you’ll inevitably get your workout in on a dude ranch. From holding yourself upright on your horse to casting your fly out into the river to holding your bow up while practicing archery - you’ll more than likely get some exercise. Oh, and we can’t forget the refreshing yoga classes and wild rock climbing that some dude ranches have! These activities are also great ways to turn your exercise time into family time.

#4 Bonding Over New Experiences

Travel Plans

Dude ranches openly welcome families of all types and invite them to come learn and experience the legendary Western way of life. Learn how to rope, experience a real western rodeo, get involved in a real cattle drive, and then hop on the river and go rafting. The adventures are truly endless on a dude ranch and will keep your family reminiscing for years to come (or until your next visit!).

#5 You Can Make a Road Trip Out of It

Travel Plans

We have over 95 ranches west of the Mississippi River, so you are most likely less than a 24 drive from one of our dude ranches! So, if you don’t feel like taking a chance on a short flight, you can always hop in the car and make a road trip out of it! There are plenty of sites to see along the way. From ever-changing landscapes to national parks and monuments, check them all off your family’s bucket list this summer while making your way to your new favorite vacation!

So, since you’re canceling that stuffy 8-hour flight overseas this summer, consider taking a dude ranch vacation this year! We guarantee it’ll be an experience your family will never forget. Let us know if you need help sifting through 95+ DRA approved ranches; our DRA ranch experts are here to help you! Contact us today DudeRanch.org 307-587-2339.

Travel PlansTravel PlansTravel Plans

7 Unexpected Travel Destinations

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

More and more people are breaking out of the traditional vacation mold and venturing off to more unknown and unexpected travel destinations. Disney World, cruises, and beach vacations are slowly losing their appeal due to stressful crowds and long lines. Vacationers are longing for a vacation that will stand out from their neighbors and friends. Because of this new craving for new, less touristy adventures, dude ranches are thriving! A dude ranch vacation can provide so much peace, adventure and an experience that will leave your friends envious! 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch: Kamloops, British Columbia

Located halfway between Vancouver and Banff, Campbell Hills Guest Ranch is easily accessible, yet still remote enough to provide rest, relaxation and solitude for guests. When you arrive at the ranch, you’ll feel your worries drift away as you settle into perfect harmony with the rhythms of nature. Ride a horse on the alpine meadows, observe unique birds in their natural habitat and discover the many hidden fishing spots in British Columbia. We guarantee it’ll be an experience unlike any other!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Bull Hill Guest Ranch: Kettle Falls, Washington

Bull Hill Guest Ranch sits at the Canadian border in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Travelers looking for a more laid-back horseback riding experience can saddle up for a scenic, guided trail ride. The trail rides combine breathtaking views and a variety of terrain, including open meadows and forests. Riders can even hit the trail to visit the nearby winery to sample selections in the tasting room or enjoy a cold brew in the Crown Creek Saloon. After dinner is time to socialize and enjoy the evening sunset. Why not head up to the trap shooting range and fire off a few rounds and show your shooting prowess? The cowboys will bring up the gear and the clays; all you need to do is have fun!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Diamond D Ranch: Stanley, Idaho

The Diamond D Ranch is nestled in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states, the Frank Church Wilderness, and is surrounded by the beautiful Salmon River mountains. There is an endless amount of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish and mountains in which to hike or horseback ride. To experience true untouristed areas, ask about their pack trips and backpacking trips! Some of their other activities include gold panning, volleyball, archery, target and skeet shooting, barbecues, campfires, swimming in their pool, or relaxing in their hot tub, wildlife viewing, scenic trips, fly fishing, and recently added wilderness photography tours!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch: Saratoga, Wyoming 

The Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch sits at approximately 8,500 feet in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains and is the perfect place for the adventurous traveler to escape and explore. Guests can participate in pottery, enjoy the peaceful surroundings in the pristine mountain air while fly fishing, or visit the nearby town of Saratoga and soak in the natural springs and famous hot pool. Above all, we encourage you to explore the beautiful mountains on the horseback ride of a lifetime at this ranch. 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

JJJ Wilderness Ranch: Augusta, Montana

Escape to the JJJ Wilderness Ranch: the place to discover landscapes so big and open and rugged that it stretches your soul. Tucked just inside Montana's majestic Rocky Mountain Front between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, the ranch offers an adventure for every traveler: horseback riding, fishing, campfires, dancing and so much more! We can’t forget to mention the casual sightings of elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and black bear! A lot has changed in the world, but not here.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Rankin Ranch: Caliente, California

Break out of the hustle and bustle of city life and discover the tranquility that Rankin Ranch has to offer. Horseback riding is a clear favorite at the ranch, but visitors also enjoy bicycling, fishing, hiking, and swimming (in the pool and in the creek!). Nights are filled with fun evening activities…square dancing, pool and foosball tournaments, talent shows, and their exciting “Horse Races” complete with stick horses. Another guest favorite is the weekly evening hayride and barbecue to the meadow complete with a horseshoe tournament. Another favorite activity is a visit to Sarah’s Farm where you can bottle feed calves and toss corn out for the chickens.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Sprucedale Guest Ranch: Eager, Arizona

Nestled high in the pine country of Northeastern Arizona – 7,400 ft. above the sea and miles from civilization - is a little-known secret called, Sprucedale Guest Ranch. This family-owned, working ranch provides all the ingredients for good old-fashioned time. Pull on your boots and mount a horse for a thrilling ride through pine-covered mountains flowing with trout-filled streams. Horseback riding takes center stage at Sprucedale and is a sheer pleasure for beginner and experienced riders alike! Sprucedale Guest Ranch is truly a glimpse of heaven on earth!

Now, there are only 8 ranches on this list, but we have a total of 97 in the Dude Ranchers’ Association! Connect with one of our vacation specialists today to find the perfect unexpected travel destination for you or use our Activities & Amenities page to help narrow down your search. It will be the adventure vacation your family and friends will NEVER forget!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations 8 Unexpected Travel Destinations 8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

The hospitality world literally idolizes millennial travelers and their trends. They have changed the standards of accommodations and amenities. This generation expects different activity, cuisine, and service. However, dude ranches have always offered many of the confusing or even cryptic components of millennial travel. Let's dig deeper into the good-time of an Instagramable dude ranch...

Experience 

Millennials crave authentic, experiential travel over packaged or conventional travel. Nothing is more authentic than Western Dude Ranches and the nearly 100 different options of ranches in the DRA portfolio that offer everything from working ranches to luxury-based stays across the country and Canada.

Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Brand names are still important; however, access to unique, obscure, or even, first-ever sports and adventures are more on par with millennial travel trends than a more traditional three-night hotel stay. A bonus, many ranches such as White Stallion in Tucson, Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Eaton’s in Wyoming and Lost Valley Ranch near Denver, have an onsite concierge to not only assist with ranch activity, but nearby reservations and bookings, something that is still desirable in off-the-grid areas, or those not listed on the internet. 

Productivity 

Millennials are not about wasting their vacation time and like to go full speed, and the DRA certainly offers up all these longings. Truthfully, it’s hard not to be productive on a ranch, even if that means relaxing. Dude ranches provide guests with a dozen or more activities daily, making for multiple adventure-days. This embodies a millennial attitude; why do one activity when you can have the option to do three? And, what if the three activities change daily? Think of all the adventures to be accomplished in a week! 

Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Horseback ride in the morning, hike in the afternoon, and snag a trout come sunset, that’s a typical day at many Rocky Mountain ranches. Come winter in Idaho and Montana, imagine a fresh snowfall horseback ride after a gourmet breakfast, followed by ski journing, then lunch by the fire before afternoon sledding, ice skating, cross-country skiing or sleigh rides, and the sun hasn’t even set! 

Cuisine

Dude ranches have an adventure in every imaginable form, but many still have a reputation of pork and beans when it comes to food. Get out the silverware and set the table, because over two dozen of the ranches have won food and beverage awards. 

Rawah Ranch, close to the border of Colorado and Wyoming, hosted one of the top millennial “athleisure” brands in the world for their version of The Last Supper. In planning their schedule, the Chicago-based organizer inquired if they could ask attendees about what their dream last meal would be. Then, the ranch’s chef would prepare each meal to specification, served with an intricate explanation. “That’s the thing at Rawah, there are no limitations on requests from fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to seasoned Cornish hen for BBQ night. 

Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Latigo Ranch, another Colorado Ranch outside of Kremmling, has a family legacy of dessert. Spencer, the owner's son, works his craft in the kitchen. “His desserts—they’ve become the stuff of legend in the last decade. Coffee crème caramel with a shortbread cookie, Vanilla-bourbon crème brûlée, served in a martini-chiller over shards of caramelized sugar, with a fresh, warm, house-made, yeast doughnut drizzled in Spencer’s own salted caramel sauce, and milk chocolate mousse in a sugar sphere. World-traveled guests have raved over its perfection.” Hannah, his wife adds, “Latigo is service. Our food is artistry. And the taste is out of this world.”

White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, offers a patio utopia with and outdoor pizza oven and Tandoor—a cylindrical clay oven where heat is made by charcoal or wood to create a radiant cooking method—incredibly on-trend with the desire to know and see how your food is being prepared and cooked. Dinner is often served alfresco throughout the week featuring foods such as classic BBQ, brisket, pork tenderloin, steak, ribs, chuck roast, and locally-sourced vegetables. Steamship leg of pork, corn on the grill, produce skewers, wild rice, this is just a sampling of the gorgeously presented ranch food underneath the Tucson stars.

Online Impact with Authenticity 

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

You don’t exist unless you have a website, well, that was 2014. Now, you need to have a social media presence and following to really attract the millennial traveler. With multi-generational ownership, millennials, of who have been raised on the ranches, are taking to social media and the authentic content has followings long after guests leave the ranch.

Cherokee Park Ranch (@cherokeeparkranch) has true rugged, seasonal images from the multiple generations that own and maintain the Colorado ranch. The millennial behind the campaign, Caree Prince (@careeoke), has her own following nearly 17K strong and loaded with Western wear, life, and landscape, authentic to her home daily activity, and it’s ragingly popular and constantly loaded with comments.

Triangle X Ranch, a historic ranch, in pristine Jackson Hole, runs five generations deep, and that’s their strategy. The engagement numbers on their Instagram (@trianglexranch) are some of the highest of all the dude ranches in the world! Nighttime skies, sunsets, and horses rack up hundreds of likes for each post. 

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch (@thehideoutshellwy), east of Cody, Wyoming, also does a millennial-worthy job on their Instagram with sincere landscape from winter rides through feet of snow to cowboy sunrises and sunsets with the herd. Their remote location is the star of the photos with backdrops of dreams. 

The DRA member ranches will provide working, traditional, and luxury dude ranch vacations for all types of travelers and guests. Different activity, cuisine, and service will set the new standard for millennial adventure travel. For more information or assistance in selecting the right dude ranch for you, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association! With almost 100 years of experience and over 95 ranches to choose from, we will help find the right ranch for you! 

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

info@duderanch.org ~ 307-587-2339

The Newest Millennial Travel Trend   The Newest Millennial Travel Trend

Unique Spring Break Adventure Destinations

Spring Break Adventure Destination

Spring is coming! That’s right, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and winter is going to come to an end…eventually! With the spring season comes spring break! Now, you could go the basic route and go to the beach and be surrounded by tons and tons of people while you fight for your spot in the sand OR you could spend your spring break at an all-inclusive dude ranch where things will be catered to you, you will find your peace and quiet AND your adventure! Keep scrolling on down to see some unique spring break adventure destinations for you, your friends, and your family!

Rancho de la Osa

unique spring break adventure destinations

Rancho De La Osa is a sportsman's paradise surrounded by 120,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona, high in the Sonoran Desert along the Mexican Border. The ranch offers an unparalleled experience with exceptional food and wine, unmatched hospitality, and enough activities to keep you and your friends and family busy day and night. They offer horseback riding for all skill levels through the ranch's many sandy washes, over rocky terrain and past incredible rock formations. Explore the high desert grasslands, take a guided off-road tour to visit the U.S.-Mexico border or take a nearby ghost tour in an off-road vehicle, test your shooting and archery skills, or lounge by the pool and relax! If you want ADVENTURE for your spring break, this ranch may be one for you!

Burnt Well Guest Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Burnt Well Guest Ranch is located in warm, sunny, southeastern New Mexico. They don't have set schedules; flexibility is the word there and YOU are the focus while you are at Burnt Well. Horseback riding, cattle work, cattle drives, and archery shooting sports will keep you busy during your days here. There is no nose to tail riding at Burnt Well! Their riding is in open pastures unless you opt for a mountain trail ride for your day trip. Go to Burnt Well, get dirty and have some fun, then kick your boots off and relax!

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Near the pristine Buffalo National River Wilderness near Jasper, Arkansas, your spring break includes wonderful food, lots of riding and rock climbing, and comfortable, rustic log cabins with spectacular views of rolling meadows and high cliffs. Other activities include campfires, hiking, elk viewing, cookouts, shooting, Via Ferrata, zip-lining, river swimming, petting zoo, cook-outs, fishing pond, lodge games and more. The ranch has a pool and a hot-tub too! Enjoy canoeing down Buffalo National River. Rock climbing is popular year-round, scale large cliffs and peer at breathtaking terrain that seems endless. After a full day of activities, you can relax on your porch, hit the hot tub, or just snuggle in and let your mind be at peace.

V6 Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Nestled in the Cholame Valley, the V6 Ranch envelops 20,000 acres of the most diverse and alluring country in the heart of central California. They’re conveniently located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, just a four-hour drive from either city, they offer the delight of bygone days in a world where fast is the average speed. This beautiful ranch offers activities to tickle the fancy of any person that seeks peace and quiet this spring. The clean air and warm nights are ideal for laying out under the stars. They offer trail rides, cattle drives, and horse camping with over 50 scenic miles of trails to explore with maps and trail markers to show the way. The ranch also offers hiking, photography, over 200 varieties of wildflowers, wildlife, and bird watching.

Elkhorn Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Fifty-one miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona, in its own valley where mountains and desert meet, lies the Elkhorn Ranch. Riding is the main interest with gentle or loping rides through the desert and more vigorous trips along the many mountain trails. There are 70 head of horses and the right horse can remain with each guest throughout the visit. We can’t forget to mention the roomy accommodations and good food. This spring break, go enjoy the sunshine, wintering birds, tennis and swimming! The company you endure at this ranch will be fantastic too! 

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch is a historic guest ranch in the heart of the Wild West on the outskirts of Wickenburg, Arizona. Activities at the ranch center around the riding program, with rides twice a day except for Sunday when they have one long morning ride and a trail-side cookout. The wranglers love introducing children (minimum age 7) and adult first-time riders to the joys of riding the trail on a trusty mount. Experienced riders find many delights in riding the Arizona hills. When you’re not riding, you can enjoy the ranch pool, whirlpool spa, evening group activities, hiking, and exploring the western town of Wickenburg. Local golf courses also welcome spring break visitors!

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Opening in March, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is a small ranch located in the mountains in southwest New Mexico. Activities to be enjoyed include seeing 1,000-year-old archaeological sites near the ranch, campfires at night, fantastic stargazing, hiking, roping lessons, photography, and swimming in the creek. Horseback riding here takes you through open meadows and tall ponderosa forests (often with elk and other wildlife!), up high hills where the views go on forever across the 3.3 million-acre Gila National Forest, and down into deep canyons with sheer cliffs and crystal-clear streams. The trails start at their back door and we have millions of acres to discover!

Rancho de los Caballeros

unique spring break adventure destinations

Do you dream of desert landscapes and a margarita in your hand lounging by the pool? Then saddle up and make a perfect spring break getaway to the warm heart of the Old Southwest! Rancho de los Caballeros is the kind of place where everyone knows your name and your favorite horse. Go ride the rugged trails, tee off at the golf courses or luxuriate in a spa treatment featuring local desert ingredients. Savor cookout feasts with old friends and old wines, or make new friends over fresh local fare in the nostalgic main lodge. At Rancho de los Caballeros there's always something to do, including doing nothing, preferably by the pool because it’s spring break after all! At Rancho de los Caballeros, you'll feel right at home on the range.

Circle Z Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Circle Z Ranch is located on thousands of acres and offers some of the most scenic horseback riding in Southern Arizona. They offer all-inclusive ranch vacations; three delicious meals a day, horseback riding, tennis, game room, outdoor pool, hiking, campfires, cookouts, nature walks and guided stargazing. You will explore lush riparian areas, beautiful canyons, high mountain tops and grass valleys. Experience the best of the Sky Islands of Arizona this spring break!

Tombstone Monument Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Tombstone Monument Ranch is Tombstone's only dude ranch and is styled as an Old West Town with 18 uniquely designed rooms, all high-end and individually furnished. You can ride miles of trails where historic cowboys rode in the Tombstone hills, along old, abandoned railroad grades, in and out of dry gulches and washes, and along old dirt roads. Burst through the swing doors and step back in time in the Old Western-style saloon and enjoy fun evening entertainment after a hearty dinner. Really get to know the West's most iconic town - Tombstone. Situated only three miles away from the ranch, the town boasts more history of cowboys, Indians, silver mining, and gunfights than any other destination in the West! The nearby turquoise mines are a big attraction too!

White Stallion Ranch

unique spring break adventure destinations

Welcome to the White Stallion Ranch, where the pavement ends and the West begins. The easiest ranch to get to in Arizona, just 1.5 hours from the Phoenix airport and 35 minutes from the Tucson airport, with over 300 days of sunshine every year. In addition to a riding program that offers you up to 6 hours a day in the saddle, their most popular riding event is team cattle penning. Young and old alike find this the most exhilarating activity on horseback and they offer it three times a week. For the non-riders, their shooting range, fat-tire e-bikes, rock climbing, hiking, tennis court, sports court, petting zoo, game room, movie theater, pool, hot tub, exercise room and spa offer a wide variety of activities for all ages. Go join the White Stallion Ranch family this spring!

No matter where you choose to go, you can be sure that your spring break at a dude ranch will be one you will not soon forget! If you need help finding the right dude ranch for your spring break vacation, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association! With almost 100 years of experience and over 95 ranches to choose from, we will find the right ranch for you! 

info@duderanch.org ~ 307-587-2339

Unique Spring Break Adventure Destinations Unique Spring Break Adventure Destinations  Unique Spring Break Adventure Destinations  Unique Spring Break Adventure Destinations

The #1 Adventure Destination for Solo Travel

Solo Travel

Nowadays, more and more people are saddling up and taking off to find themselves on soul-searching solo trips. From gap-year students to the recently single, everyone seems to have a thirst for adventure. Planning solo travel can be very intimidating and overwhelming; where should you go and what should you do? While venturing off to the rural mountains of India might not be intimidating to some people, it wouldn’t be our top recommendation for your first solo trip. If you’re looking for a solo vacation that is comfortable, yet pushes you out of your comfort zone, we recommend the #1 Western Adventure Destination: a dude ranch. There are many advantages to dude and guest ranch destinations for solo travelers, keep reading to learn about why a ranch vacation surpasses the rest!

Fun and Safe Environment

You won’t have to worry about getting lonely on the ranch! You will instantly feel like part of the family as there is great camaraderie amongst guests and staff. It instantly becomes your home away from home! Many guest ranches only accommodate up to 30 or 40 guests per week, which not only allows the staff to know your name but also results in you getting to know most of the other guests. Meals are often served family-style so there are always guests to chat with throughout the day, making sure you feel like part of the family and never like you are on the “outskirts” if traveling alone. Horseback riding will bring you closer with other guests too; engaging conversations with people on your rides as you share the beautiful landscape and memories together will be something you always remember.

Activities

There is never a dull moment at a dude ranch. There are activities to keep you busy from sunup to sundown such as horseback riding for beginner and advanced riders, fly fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV-riding and SO much more. Plus, these activities are usually done in groups so you won’t encounter any “couples only” activities or events if you don’t want to. All of the DRA  member ranches are all-inclusive, taking away the burden of trying to decide where to eat and what to do. If you are looking for a little time by yourself though, relaxing at your cabin reading a good book or soak in nature at her finest in a hammock is an option too. The beauty of a dude ranch is that you get to choose your own schedule, your vacation can be as active or as quiet as you like!

Adult-Only and Specialty Weeks

Many dude and guest ranches report fewer “couples” visiting now than in the past. As a result, many of these ranches host adult-only weeks in the fall. Activities during these weeks range from wine and cheese tastings, guided hikes, cooking classes, country dance instruction, cookouts, themed cocktail receptions, fly-fishing clinics and much more. These weeks offer a great environment for solo travelers because mostly everyone is there for a relaxing getaway with no families and the opportunity to meet new people and bond over the mystic beauty of the Old West.

Develop As An Individual 

Solo travel is an empowering way to find your independence and develop more as an individual. Dude ranches are a great place to spend time alone to revive your body, spirit, and mind in some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. Whether it’s a rejuvenating day at the spa, an adventurous hike or a relaxing day reading a book under the sun, you are sure to have plenty of quality alone time. Many ranches will even allow you to completely “unplug” by being out of cell phone and internet service. You may be surprised at how good this could be for you once you get the chance to do so, especially in today’s world.

How to Find a Ranch for Solo Travelers

Finding the right ranch for a solo traveler might be a little overwhelming because of all of the varying options. Let the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) help you plan the perfect solo vacation (for FREE!). Whether you are looking for an authentic cowboy experience or a luxury resort, the DRA can help customize the solo trip of your dreams. There are currently almost 100 DRA-accredited dude and guest ranches in the Western United States and Canada, all of which uphold the highest quality of services within the industry. Take a look at some fantastic DRA ranches suited for solo travelers by visiting www.duderanch.org. If you need further assistance in selecting a ranch, contact a dude ranch expert at info@duderanch.org!

Solo Travel

How Important Are Family Vacations?

Family Vacation

How Important Are Family Vacations?

In today’s world, the simple idea of family can seem to get lost in all of the hustle and bustle. I know that it might sound a little crazy, but think about it. Between work, school, extracurricular activities and whatever else comes around, quality family time seems to get less and less with every passing year. Traveling to a soccer tournament or on a business trip where the family can tag along isn’t true family time. Someone is always occupied doing something else and the sole focus isn’t on strengthening the family roots and dynamics. 

If the kids feel like they are second to their parent’s work, that can take a toll on their childhood. And if the parents don’t feel like they are getting enough time with their kids, a significant amount of stress can overcome them. So, why is taking a family vacation important? The answer is simple really, to take the quality time for you and your family to rekindle relationships and strengthen bonds between everyone. Families need to go on a true vacation where you can all disconnect from technology and the outside world and reconnect with people, nature and the important people who surround you. You will feel a sense of peace and accomplishment when you look back on the trip and realize all of the good that happened! Take the kids and parents on a family trip that they will remember forever to a Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude or guest ranch. 

By taking a family vacation to a dude or guest ranch, you are giving everyone the chance at endless opportunities to explore. Experience something you have never done before like horseback riding or fly fishing. Take the time to truly relax and unwind, put the real world away for a couple of days and live in the moment. Enjoy some time at the spa or sitting on your cabin porch reading that book you have been meaning to get to. Go watch or even participate with your kids making precious memories that can’t be made anywhere else. Take a look at a few DRA member ranches below that are perfect for families looking to reconnect on family vacations! 

Black Mountain Ranch – Colorado 

How Important Are Family Vacations

At Black Mountain Ranch in Colorado, you will find activities for everyone in the family and a destination that is perfect for families to reconnect. Your entire family will remember your vacation at this ranch and will talk about the stories of horseback riding, driving Longhorn cattle (yes, like you see in the movies!), trap shooting, fly-fishing, white water rafting, going to the rodeo and so much more! No matter what your riding levels the options at Black Mountain Ranch will fit everyone. Come mealtime your family will get the chance to sit around the table and share stories of the day and enjoy food that everyone will indulge in, even the picky eaters of the bunch! The accommodations at the ranch are comfortable and are great for families as well. A family vacation here will be one to remember forever. 

Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch – Montana

How Important Are Family Vacations

The Averill family knows how to create the perfect family vacation for you and your group at their Flathead Lake Ranch in Montana. There are more activities than you can imagine at this ranch, horseback riding, mouse racing, barn dancing, sail boating, jet skiing and so much more. This ranch sits directly on the banks of Flathead Lake and has become the summer tradition for many families for generations. These families want to share the same experiences and memories with their children that they did when they were their age. The kids’ program at Averill’s is phenomenal, talented kids’ counselors and wranglers will make sure the kids are enjoying their time in the great outdoors and gaining confidence on the back of a horse. Being in the beautiful mountains of Montana and on the banks of the lake will give you time to relax and reconnect with your family. The memories you create here will be the talk of family dinners for weeks, months and probably years to come. 

Crossed Sabres Ranch – Wyoming

How Important Are Family Vacations

Grab your family and venture on out to the wonderful, wild state of Wyoming to the Crossed Sabres Ranch located just outside of Yellowstone National Park and the famous tourist town of Cody, Wyoming. Here, your family will reconnect under a golden, Wyoming sunset in the mountains of the wild west. Enjoy horseback riding, skeet shooting, a day trip to Yellowstone, fly-fishing and so much more while you are here. The fun adventures will be endless and so will the memories! Crossed Sabres Ranch is located in the Shoshone National Forest, there is no cell phone reception on the ranch and no Wi-Fi connection in the cabins. Everyone will be too busy to be concerned with screens anyway, but the ranch understands that sometimes you can’t completely disconnect, therefore there is Wi-Fi available in the lodge for business purposes and a landline in case of emergencies. There is no better place to disconnect from the real world than at a dude or guest ranch! 

Diamond D Ranch – Idaho

How Important Are Family Vacations

Diamond D Ranch, nestled beneath the beautiful Salmon River Mountains in the Frank Church Wilderness, is where you will find the perfect destination to disconnect and reconnect with your family. Comfortable cabins, delicious food and activities for everyone in the group await you here! Horseback rides, overnight pack trips, gold panning, target shooting, photography hunts, campfires, swimming and more keep the kiddos and the parents entertained all day long here. The best part is, you can do all of these activities together as a family. Explore the mountains of Idaho where only a few people have been and enjoy the incredible beauty that surrounds this ranch. This ranch does sit off the beaten path and is cut off from the power grid and most communication; this is a place you want to visit if you are looking to completely disconnect for a period of time. It may seem scary to think about at first, but trust us when we say you will find the most freedom you have felt in a long time at this ranch. 

Colorado Trails Ranch – Colorado

How important are family vacations

Head over to the beautiful valley next to the San Juan National Forest to find the hidden gem of Colorado Trails Ranch outside of Durango, Colorado. Here your family will have the chance to participate in activities that are great for all ages and make everlasting memories. Take the opportunity to go horseback riding, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, hiking, swimming in the heated pool or soak in the hot tub. If you are looking for some relaxation and rejuvenation though, you can opt-out of activities and enjoy a peaceful day on the porch of your cabin. The most wonderful thing about dude and guest ranches is that this is your vacation and it is entirely up to you how busy or laid back you want your schedule to be! Colorado Trails Ranch is all about family and bringing families together. Most of the guests that come to this ranch are families, sometimes multigenerational, which gives your group the chance to enjoy this magical place with other families. The kids will make fast friends and the parents will have the chance to make acquaintances too! 

Now that you have learned a little bit about why family vacations are so important, what are you waiting for? Grab the kids and start planning the vacation of a lifetime! Everyone in the family will appreciate the time and dedication to strengthening family bonds. Unplug and reconnect with your family, you will not be sorry you did! 

For more information on dude ranch vacations and for help finding the right ranch for you and your family, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association at 307-587-2339 or info@duderanch.org

Click here to see a list of more DRA member ranches that are great for any type of traveler! 

How Important Are Family Vacations

Take Your Vacation Days!

Vacation Days

Only 23% of employees are taking all of their eligible time off, according to a recent survey by job site Glassdoor. In fact, the average employee takes about half (54%) of his or her vacation time—a number that hasn’t changed much since Glassdoor asked the question in 2014.

We are often asked why do dude ranches want you to stay a full week versus a couple of days? Well, there are many reasons which we will get to but first, we wanted to give you some facts about why using all your vacation days is so important to not only your physical health but your mental health. The top four reasons that we found are:

Vacations clear your mind and relieve stress – Allowing you to actually think about what is really important to you and what makes you happy, not your employer.

• Disconnect and recharge – Helping you reconnect with family and friends in person.

• They give you more energy, you naturally get exercise when traveling which in return will help you sleep better.

• Getting outside and connecting with nature.


Here are a couple of great articles supporting the importance of taking time off:

10 Reasons to Vacation

The Importance of Taking A Vacation


Now back to full weeks versus shorter stays at dude ranches.  As you all know dude ranches are all-inclusive destination vacation spots. Therefore, they operate on a schedule to make sure you as a guest get to experience everything there is to experience. Below are the top three reasons to spend a week at a dude ranch:

1. If you leave only after three days you will definitely be missing out on either the breakfast ride, the all-day ride, the white-water rafting trip, the talent shows, the rodeo, the dance night, the campfire cowboy singer, steak night, an incredible morning hike to watch the sunrise and the list goes on and on.

2. In this busy world that we all live in it takes the first three days on any vacation just to destress, disconnect and get your mind off work and all that encompasses. At a dude ranch, you need time to really experience not only all the activities but the beautiful surroundings these ranches are located in. You need time to sit on the porch with a good book, have an actual conversation with your kids, or how about just being still enough to hear the wonderful sounds of nature, a babbling stream, the beautiful sounds of a meadowlark? Trust me you will not need your “White Noise” app to get a good night’s sleep here. 

3. Because of dude ranch’s small guest capacities, the atmosphere lends itself to really connecting with the other guests there. Trust us, if you stay the entire week you will make lifelong friends. The DRA has ranches that have guests that come back year after year the same week so they vacation with the people they met the first time they visited the ranch. It is really hard to make these valuable connections in less than a week. The longer stay gives your kids the chance to connect not only with the other kids but with their horses and the amazing kids’ wranglers these ranches have on staff. 

Below is a sampling of ranches in The Dude Ranchers Association that offer week-long stays during their prime season:

Bar Lazy J Ranch, Colorado

Vacation Days

Nestled in a peaceful valley along the banks of the Colorado River, they are considered the oldest continuously operating Colorado Dude Ranch. Since 1912 their family-friendly ranch has been welcoming guests for recreation and relaxation. That’s over 100 years of creating lasting memories!

JJJ Wilderness Ranch, Montana

Vacation Days

Their all-inclusive Montana ranch vacation getaways are for anyone, from the beginner to experienced rider, hiker or fisherman. Included are excellent meals, private log cabin lodging, unlimited outdoor activities, responsive horses, friendly staff, fantastic kids’ programs or special adult-only weeks. Great for families! The folks at JJJ believe in Western hospitality, gracious service, and lasting friendships.

7D Ranch, Wyoming

Vacation Days

Surrounded by national forest and just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, the 7D offers a setting of extraordinary beauty. Whether you are looking for a great guest ranch vacation, a pack trip into the Wyoming wilderness, or a fall hunting trip, let 7D’s friendly family and staff provide you and yours with an experience of a lifetime.

Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado

Vacation Days

Cherokee Park Ranch is a family-owned, all-inclusive Colorado dude ranch vacation and horseback riding destination nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Livermore, Colorado. They always say, “Come as a stranger, leave as family,” and they promise that as a guest, Cherokee Park Ranch will forever hold a special place in your heart. In fact, 86% of their guests are returns, that just goes to prove how special this place really is!

McGarry Ranches, Idaho

Vacation Days

If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the American Cowboy with a legitimate cattle outfit, riding daily on an American Quarter Horse, then this is the ranch for you. Located in southeastern Idaho along the Snake River, log cabins surrounded by a slough is scenic and restful. A fire pit just outside your door makes for relaxed comfortable evenings with your fellow wranglers from many parts of the world.

Triangle X Ranch, Wyoming

Vacation Days

Surrounded by Grand Teton National Park, you will enjoy spectacular scenery, warm hospitality, and a relaxed pace beneath sunny, western skies. The activities include horseback riding, unmatched wildlife viewing, cookouts, square dancing, hiking, sightseeing, an engaging children’s program, world-class fishing, and scenic float trips on the Snake River plus so much more! You do not want to miss out on this ranch which has been in the Turner family for generations! 

Marble Mountain Ranch, California 

Vacation Days

Marble Mountain’s signature all-inclusive “saddle and paddle” or “raft and ride” vacation is combined with a superb dining experience and youth buckaroo programs to create the most complete family dude ranch vacation. This ranch meets the diverse interests and needs of your entire family or group. Their horseback trail riding and equestrian programs are spectacular, but their defining feature is their ability to keep whole families engaged with the large variety of outdoor Western adventures. 

While we want you all to experience everything dude ranches have to offer during a full week stay there are several amazing ranches that will let you “sample” what a ranch vacation is all about with a shorter stay. You can find a list here. Either way please do yourself and your family a favor and TAKE YOUR VACATION DAYS! You will not regret taking the time off. 

For more information, contact Bryce or Josie at 307-587-2339 or info@duderanch.org, info2@duderanch.org.  

Vacation Days

 

Top 6 California Dude Ranch Vacations

California dude ranch vacations offer accommodations and itineraries that are exciting for the whole family or solo traveler. Horseback riding through mountains and meadows makes guests forget about the stereotypical beaches and crowds of California’s big cities. Guests see this undiscovered side at a dude ranch. Life at the ranch creates a sense of calm any traveler can appreciate with well-appointed cabins, rocking chairs and hot coffee. 

Sitting across from a cowboy in wrangler jeans and a white straw hat, adventure travelers can hear stories of what some would call the bygone days of the cowboy. Here it’s still alive and well. Guests are amazed at the exceptional experience dude ranching offers.  As a week-long immersion into Western culture begins, guests get to release tension and enjoy the outdoors. 

Just because this is a ranch vacation doesn’t mean all there is to do is horseback riding. There is an abundance of outdoor activities for the perfect balance for a week spent in the serene areas of California. Here are the top 6 places to hang your hat and saddle up for a week. 

Top 6 California Dude Ranch Vacations 

 

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

A Golf Resort Meets Dude Ranch

With all the luxuries of a fine resort, The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort boasts an experience envied by Californians and travelers from all over the world. The ranch offers a variety of activities and packages to suit a romantic getaway or a large family reunion in a beautiful location near the Danish town of Solvang and right in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country. If guests are looking to try horseback riding and enjoy traditional outdoor activities like golf, cycling or fishing this is a great place to be. 

Alisal California Dude Ranch

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort - Solvang, CA 

V6 Ranch 

A Family Tradition of Cattle Work

In central California between Los Angeles and San Francisco lies the 20,000 acres of the V6 Ranch, inviting guests to experience a true, authentic western cattle ranch. Rugged riding, working cattle all day long, sleeping in tents on the range are a few of the options the ranch offers. If guests choose not to go on the cattle drives, the main lodge rooms and cabins are luxurious, the restaurant is very nice and other activities include hiking, photography, bird watching and 50 miles of trails to explore. 

V6 California Dude Ranch

V6 Ranch - Parkfield, CA

Hunewill Circle "H" Guest Ranch

A Charming Ranch in Western Style

Guests feel right at home on this California dude ranch. The staff is known for being friendly and accommodating, getting to know everyone on a personal level. Hunewill Ranch creates lasting friendships through creek-side barbecues, trout fishing, hiking, mountain biking and of course, horseback riding. The Bridgeport Valley where the ranch is located is an unspoiled recreational paradise and even borders Yosemite National Park

Hunewill California Dude Ranch

Hunewill Cirlce "H" Guest Ranch - Bridgeport, CA

Marble Mountain Ranch

A Saddle and Paddle Adventure for Everyone

Famous for their signature “Saddle and Paddle Program” the folks at Marble Mountain Ranch are experts at exciting white-water rafting trips down the Klamath River and horseback rides through the inherently rugged and forested area. And this is just the beginning of the family adventures the ranch offers. ATV rides, steelhead fly fishing, barrel racing, a paint ball course and campfire events are just a few more adventures guests get to experience at this ranch in Northern California. 

Marble Mountain California Dude Ranch

Marble Mountain Ranch - Somes Bar, CA

Greenhorn Ranch

Live California’s Lost Sierra 

Greenhorn has an incredible set up to share with guests in the Lost Sierra, an alpine paradise of 8,500-foot peaks and turquoise lakes. Guests are invited to dine with wranglers and soak up the Western lifestyle experience in this spectacular home away from home. They head out on the trail to grow in confidence with horses and their horseback riding skills. Once back at the barn guests have plenty of options for outdoor activities and relaxation. 

Greenhorn California Dude Ranch

Greenhorn Ranch - Quincy, CA

Rankin Ranch

150 Years and 5 Generations of History

As a historical working cattle operation, the Rankin Ranch was homesteaded 150 years ago and now is the home for the 4th and 5th generation of ranchers from the Rankin family. Businesses, families and travelers from around the world stop by to see what California dude ranch life is really all about. That is - riding through mountains and meadows, swimming, hiking and fishing in the Tehachapi Mountains or at the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest.  

Rankin Ranch California dude ranch

Rankin Ranch - Caliente, CA

 

View more dude ranches outside of California here!

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California dude & guest ranch vacations offer accommodations and itineraries that are exciting for the whole family or solo traveler. Horseback riding through mountains and meadows makes guests forget about the stereotypical beaches and crowds of California’s big cities. Guests see this undiscovered side at a dude ranch. Life at the ranch creates a sense of calm any traveler can appreciate with well-appointed cabins, rocking chairs and hot coffee.

The Best Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

Family Reunions at Dude Ranches Offer Fun for Everyone. There is something for everyone to enjoy at a dude ranch and the best part is DRA dude ranches are all-inclusive. Meals, lodging, horseback riding and much more are included in one rate, making it simple to plan and budget for your next family reunion. Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each multi-generational family.

Private family time. If your family is just looking to spend time with each other where you can totally reconnect a small intimate ranch where you are the only guests might be just the ticket. Where you ride together as a family, have meals together as a family and just get to know each other again.

Dude Ranches Are Fun for Kids. Most ranches have daily activities offered for kiddos 3+ and many ranches can accommodate infants as well.

Teens Enjoy Dude Ranch Adventures. The teens in the family will have the time of their lives as they zip down a mountain zip line, tube down a rushing creek, or enjoy a ‘teens only’ ride up to a cookout lunch or an overnight camp out.

Adults Have Fun, Too. Adults will find they can do as much or as little as they would like. Unlimited horseback riding, river rafting, superb fishing, fine dining the list goes on and on.

So what are you waiting for? Book you next great multi-generational adventure today!

#MultiGenerationalRanchVacation


Western Pleasure Multi-Generational Ranch Vacation

Wyoming

Eatons' Ranch - For over 137 years, our Wyoming dude ranch has offered guests a western experience and shared with them a way of life.

Lazy L&B Ranch - At the Lazy L&B Ranch there’s nothing we like better than seeing grandparents hanging with grandkids, siblings catching up with each other and cousins exploring that special relationship that friends just can't compete with.

Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch - The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is an all-inclusive upscale working cattle, riding, fly-fishing and adventure guest ranch in Shell, WY (east of Cody and Yellowstone National Park).

California

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch - Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch is a rustic western resort located in the High Sierra of northern California on 600-acres of pine forest and pasture land, creeks and ponds.

Marble Mountain Ranch - Our goal is to provide a battery of exciting interactive experiences that are based in western traditions, and in outdoor adventure sports.

Idaho

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch - Escape, explore and experience the beauty and wonder of the outdoors with your family at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

Arizona

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch - Our guest ranch is dedicated to providing you with the best family reunion experience you can imagine.

White Stallion Ranch - Family Vacations have become rare opportunities to leave the demands of your everyday life behind, relax, regroup and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.

Colorado

High Lonesome Ranch - High Lonesome Dude Ranch Generations Experience – Exactly as wild as you. To help keep sporting traditions alive within family generations, we invite grandparents to come FREE while passing the torch to their next generation.

C Lazy U Ranch - Located in the heart of Colorado’s stunning Rocky Mountains, C Lazy U is the premier luxury guest ranch getaway.

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch - Named "Best Family Vacation" by Frommer's Colorado guidebook and rated among the "Top Ten Colorado Dude Ranches" by True West Magazine, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch offers year-round outdoor adventure.

Colorado Trails Ranch - At Colorado Trails Ranch, the vacation experience is all-inclusive from the accommodations, to the meals, to virtually all the activities and the gratuity.

Elk Mountain Ranch - Located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies with off-the-beaten path charm.  Colorado’s Highest Guest Ranch at 9,600 feet.

Latigo Ranch - The best way to enjoy your family vacation is care-free, and that’s what Latigo is offering this season. Forget worrying about finding something for everyone to do or meals which suit every dietary restriction, Latigo has it all

Montana

Elkhorn Ranch - Located at the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park in the upper Gallatin Canyon, the Elkhorn has been a family oriented ranch since 1922.

Lone Mountain Ranch - Lone Mountain Ranch has set the standard for luxury ranch destinations in the West for over a century. Located a mere 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, our ranch offers authentic accommodations in newly renovated private cabins featuring the finest modern amenities (and a few curated decor moments inspired by the old West).

 Bar W Guest Ranch - The Bar W is open year round and treats you with true Western hospitality - from the moment you arrive until long after you have left.

New Mexico

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch - Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is a small family run ranch. We have just 4 cabins and take a maximum of 12-16 guests.

Surrounded by spectacular beauty on a ranch vacation, far from the noise  of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each multi-generational family.

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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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Ranch Vacation for your Rodeo loving, Barrel Racing Children

Your children have gone absolutely horse crazy and all you hear about is horseback riding camps and more riding lessons. So, how can you compromise on a family vacation and have lots of horsing around and barrel racing for your children and moderate amounts of all types of adventure recreation for the rest of your family? Well, a barrel racing ranch vacation of course! For your barrel racing enthusiasts there will be some type of barrel racing throughout the week with authentic cowgirl staff. You might have the arena set up to "turn and burn" with some ladies (and gentleman) who have competed in the barrel racing world.

You might dabble in all the experiences offered on horseback - some riding at different speeds, some team penning, some specialty rides, etc. You might take a all day picnic ride with the whole family where your interests in photography will have beautiful high mountain scenery to capture. If that may be a little too much time in the saddle you might all take the afternoon to go white water rafting, a guided naturalist hike or a drive through a National Park. Whew, that's a lot of fun together, but what about for mom and dad? For mom, she might sneak away for an afternoon massage while dad learns to fly fish and the kids are off with the horses and kid wranglers. That night during a fine dinner with a nice wine list you won't find a lull in the conversation about the stories of the day. After dinner you might turn in, or maybe catch your second wind and head down to the lawn for a camp fire, western dancing or into the saloon for a game night.

Tumbling River Kids Barrells

Arena Activities at the Tumbling River Ranch, Colorado

 

Barrel Racing Ranch Vacations

Paradise Guest Ranch Paradise Ranch has a way of reconnecting kids with animals and the outdoors. An award winning kids program exposes children to the natural world but it also offers parents a chance to enjoy their own pursuits or spend time with their children. Arts and crafts, pony rides, talent show, kid's fishing derby, kid's rodeo and even overnight pack trips are just some kid's activities offered through the program.  The Kid's Rodeo is a special afternoon in which all the young cowgirls and cowboys participate in a ranch rodeo with barrel racing hosted by none other than your very own wranglers. With clowns, audience games, and exhilarating wrangler competitions. 

CM Ranch The CM is a family friendly environment with a welcoming atmosphere and a unique charm. The expansive ranch lands are contiguous with the Shoshone National Forest and Fitzpatrick Wilderness, which allow for almost endless private riding and fishing in country of great variety and beauty. During your week stay you can ride, fish, hike, swim, picnic, participate in activities, or relax with your book during the day. Evenings can be spent with others at square dances or cookouts, playing softball, horseshoes or volleyball on the lawn, or ping pong and card games. On Friday, your kids can participate in the ranch rodeo (gymkhana) and head down town for the Dubois rodeo. Guest participation is encouraged.

Cherokee Park Barrel Racing

Barrel Racing at the Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado

 

Rimrock Ranch Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, halfway between Cody and the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The ranch is family owned and operated since 1955. The week is filled with riding, rafting, rodeo, and all day tour of Yellowstone. Heated pool, hot tub, and fishing pond.  Rimrock offers private lessons for your barrel racer and is located 30 minutes from Cody, Wyoming, the “Rodeo Capital of the World.” On Tuesdays all the ranch guests are shuttled to a river float trip and to the rodeo which runs for 90 consecutive days throughout the summer. As a rodeo enthusiasts, your daughter might have you rent a car and go to the rodeo every night of the week. You'll might get the opportunity to watch Gary Fales, the owner of Rimrock Ranch compete in team roping too! 

Sweet Grass Ranch Sweet Grass Ranch is a sixth generation, family-owned and operated working cattle ranch and guest ranch. Watching children have the freedom to run and play under Montana’s Big Sky, is one of the best parts of a Sweet Grass Ranch vacation, where children and grandchildren abound. We don’t have a “formal” separate children’s program, as kids are welcome to participate in all aspects of ranch life.  We are lucky to have several wonderful kids’ horses and offer “pony” rides for the very young and lessons, progressing to gymkhanas, bareback rides and a host of horse-related activities designed to build comfort and confidence. Teens often go on their own rides, swim their horses, and participate with cattle work. Sweet Grass is well set up for kids’ entertainment with a variety of activities,  including soccer, volleyball, softball, paintball, campfires, the natural water slide, pool, cards and board games.

 

 Barrel Racing Ranch Vacation For Your Kids

 

Your children have gone absolutely horse crazy and all you hear about is horseback riding camps and more riding lessons. So, how can you compromise on a family vacation and have lots of horsing around and barrel racing for your children and moderate amounts of all types of adventure recreation for the rest of your family? Well, a barrel racing ranch vacation of course! Take a look at these dude ranches who offer barrel racing for kids.

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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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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.    

Western Adventure Vacation

Whether you are looking to get your family to unplug and reconnect or to challenge and revive your body, spirit and mind in breathtaking off-the-beaten path locales, an all-inclusive dude ranch is the perfect vacation destination – paired with thrilling adventures, opportunities to recharge and a chance to explore the “Wild West.” Think horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart. And that’s just the beginning.

As the original all-inclusive western adventure 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. Guest ranches also offer a wide variety of activities. From horseback riding and hiking, to zip lining and archery, to swimming and yoga, a dude ranch vacation guarantees a memorable experience and memories that will last a lifetime.

The three most asked questions when people call the DRA to find out information about a western adventure vacation on a dude ranch are as follows:

What will I do?

The activities at all of our dude ranches can be as leisurely or active as you want. While unlimited horseback riding is the main focus of all DRA ranches the other activities you can experience are endless. Hiking in National Parks and forests, white water rafting, world class fly fishing on private waters, overnight pack trips, mountain biking, trap shooting, golf, children’s programs, evening entertainment, cattle work and much, much more. There really is something for everyone.

 

What will I eat?

Dining at a dude ranch will be one of the most memorable parts of your vacation. Whether you are dining around a camp fire, under the stars, enjoying a pool side barbeque, or sitting at an elegant candlelit table, the food is simply amazing. The fare will range from home-style cooking to the finest in western cuisine. Ranches offer freshly baked pastries and breads, deserts, fresh fruits and vegetables. Many ranches have farm-to-table relationships with the local farming communities so you can be assured of freshness. Special dietary needs can be accommodated upon request.

 

Where will I stay?

Sitting in a big overstuffed chair with your favorite book by a crackling fire or standing on a porch looking at a view that simply takes your breath away. No noisy streets, no high-rise buildings, just you and Mother Nature at your fingertips. Dude Ranch accommodations vary from luxurious to elegant rustic, to cowboy chic. Whether you are staying in your own private cabin or in a lodge room, rest assured you will be sleeping on comfortable beds, in superbly kept rooms with all the amenities you could need.

 

Western Adventure Vacation 

 

As the original all-inclusive western adventure 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. With horseback riding, hiking, zip lining and archery a dude ranch vacation guarantees a memorable experience. Here are the top 3 FAQ's about dude ranches.

A New Mexico Cattle Drive

Burnt-Well-Icon-Cattle-ColorBurnt Well Cattle Drive - by Mark Bedor Anybody who’s ever seen the movie City Slickers has dreamed about going on a cattle drive!  I was fortunate enough to be one of ten people who had come to Burnt Well Guest Ranch in New Mexico from as far as Florida and California to go on a weeklong cattle drive to move more than 150 cows to their summer pasture. The cattle drive would put us in the saddle of that real cowboy world all week. The chance to do this was a dream come true for many in our group, like 73-year old Kathy from New Jersey. “I’ve always wanted to do this,” she told me as we rode along that first morning. “I figured if I don’t do it soon, it’s gonna be too late.” Starting out Monday on the Burnt Well's  24 square mile spread (relatively small by arid New Mexico standards), a willing, yet inexperienced group of guests would help push the herd across four neighboring ranches,  before finally arriving at Bonney Canyon Ranch, where Kim Chesser, owner of Burnt Well along with his wife Patricia,  had leased pasture land to graze those cattle for the summer. When they say “pushing cows,” that is an accurate description. Without constant pressure, the herd of 156 animals including 30 heifers (females that had never given birth), six bulls, and 60 pairs of momma cows with brand new baby calves, would  just stop and eat. The unspoiled ranch lands we rode through are the very definition of wide open spaces. With a rugged beauty all its own, this horseback view of New Mexico is a jaw dropping sight to people who spend most of their lives in a congested city. “I’ve never been in a place this open in my life,” beamed  Liz Edwards, here from Boston with her husband Chris. “There’s so much beauty.” The couple had flown in a day early, and got a taste of the area’s cowboy culture when they made a side trip to nearby Ruidoso, New Mexico.  Saturday night they dined and danced at the town's very Western Texas Club. “Just a completely different side of the United States,” marveled Chris. “We’re all Americans... same as us... but it’s a totally different world." The cattle drive gave us the chance to visit with some of the area’s real working cowboys, as the ranches we crossed provided horseback escorts through their property. These guys are real pros and they make stringing out a herd and keeping it moving look easy. “This is the fun part of cowboyin’,” smiled rancher Kevin Floyd.  As we rode along, Kevin talked of the very difficult challenges ranchers face, not the least of which is a largely urban public’s misguided perceptions of the cattle industry. “I saw an article... a serious editorial in a newspaper... that said if all you ranchers would go to the grocery store like the rest of us to get your meat...you wouldn’t be harming animals!” There are lots of tough issues. Ranchers can be sued by trespassers who get hurt on their property. Sheep ranching, once a thriving business here, is being decimated by out of control predators.  Inheritance taxes and land values make it next to impossible for young people to get into ranching. “But it’s still a wonderful life,” smiles Kevin, as we ride along, enjoying perfect horseback weather on a cool and cloudy morning. “You get to be with God out here.” That Wednesday morning we were up, with bedrolls, tents and personal gear packed in time for breakfast at six. We’d been told to be prepared for a twelve hour day in the saddle. And that was no exaggeration. Local horse trader and  veteran cowboy, Dave McIntosh saddled up to ride with us on what would be the toughest day of the trip. It started out easy enough, with Dave showing us how it’s done, we had those cows stepping out nicely. “Most everybody thinks that cattle drive from the back,” revealed Dave, when I asked for his views on the best way to drive a herd. “But if you work the sides and keep 'em pushed in... and keep the front end goin’ somewhere... the back end’ll want to stay up with the front.” Lunchtime found us at the base of that imposing barrier known as Border Hill. Steep and rocky, it wasn’t the easiest place to just ride a horse, let alone drive cattle. “It’s gonna be tough,” warned wrangler Tim. It was tough, and we had to push hard on those cows and our horses every step of the way. Slowly but surely, we climbed that steep and rugged incline. We made  it to the top and at six that evening, we reached the corrals where we’d park the herd for the night and refill our depleted canteens.  After settling the herd in for the night we still had another hour’s ride to get to camp. Finally, we arrived!  We'd been in the saddle almost twelve hours on the dot when we stepped off those horses. As we plopped into camp chairs, and savored a cold beer, the trials of a long day were suddenly replaced by a great sense of both achievement and camaraderie. “We all came together as strangers... and look what we accomplished,”  reflected Linda from Minnesota. “That’s so cool!” And many of those in our group of ten had done it with very little riding experience. Linda, an accomplished rider who owns her own horse back home, was very impressed with not only the horse she rode, but the other mounts of the Chesser string. “I look at Cheyenne and Mickey and Mo,”  she observed of the horses the beginners had ridden. “They take good care of people.” After three days and some 35 miles,  we’d spend the next two nights at this last camp. We had one short two hour ride Thursday morning to push the cows from their holding pens to the pasture where they'd spend the summer. That  afternoon we had  another easy ride, checking some five miles of fence with wrangler Tim, a great chance to relax in the saddle and soak in the beautiful vistas of New Mexico. There were other treats to enjoy before we’d ride out to the trail head on Friday morning.  Thursday evening Patricia’s fiddle came out, and our camp meadow became an impromptu dance floor filled with fun and laughter.  And in this part of New Mexico, where you can’t see any lights of civilization and the heavens don’t shine any brighter, many of us also took advantage of the perfect dry weather to sleep out under the stars. Staring at the stars from a sleeping bag is not something Chris and Liz do very often in Boston. “We’re officially converted!,” she laughed on Friday morning. It had been quite a week, not to mention  all the wildlife we saw, like abundant mule deer, jack rabbits, wild turkeys, and even a bobcat!  Yes, there were moments when it was hard, but as we rode out Friday morning I felt so good. Restored. Alive. And I wasn’t the only one. “I’m coming back actually feeling better than when I arrived,” said 69-year old Addie.  “Very refreshed! Coming back. It’s something a lot of guests do who visit the Burnt Well Guest Ranch. I'd like to come back myself. Burnt Well Guest Ranch is a member of  The Dude Ranchers’ Association which was formed in 1926 to preserve this special way of life and the wonderful environment in which dude ranching takes place. When you vacation at a Dude Ranchers’ Association Dude Ranch, you can be sure of a quality vacation. Membership in the Association is a rigorous two year inspection and approval process, to assure that guests are treated to genuine western hospitality combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards. Our Dude Ranches offer all-inclusive vacations that are perfect for everyone, from the littlest rancher to Grandpa and Grandma.  Horseback riding, hiking, petting zoos, swimming holes, rodeos, fishing, games, skeet shooting, archery, art classes, cooking classes and more await your discovery on your next Dude Ranch Vacation.  Horses, Hats, History and Hospitality – they’re the foundation of every ranch. There is a little cowboy in all of us… come find yours… For More information about Burnt Well Guest Ranch  you can visit www.duderanch.org or call 866-399-2339.    

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