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

 

Grandparents Traveling with Grandchildren Love Dude Ranch Vacations

Marble Mountain Ranch Grandparents Traveling with Grandchildren

Photo: Marble Mountain Ranch

Dude Ranches are Great Destinations for Grandparent Trips with Grandchildren

 

For grandparents traveling with grandchildren an all-inclusive dude ranch vacation out west is the perfect option for connecting with nature while spending quality time with each other. With many different activities, including horseback riding, you get to experience firsthand the beauty of the American West with your precious grandbabies, whether they are still a toddler or if they are older in their teenage years. The all-inclusive packages on a dude ranch will allow for a carefree week of enjoyment for grandma and grandpa. And there are plenty of things to do on the ranch for the grandchildren. Activities, accommodations and meals are all taken care of for the week, so everyone can focus on having a great vacation together. We’ve put together some reasons why  why dude ranches are the best vacations for grandparents and grandchildren along with some great examples of ranches that would fantastic destinations for a summer trip. 

 

Discover nature together

The wildflowers blooming, birds chirping and deer grazing in the fields are all apart of the vacation with the grandkids, just waiting to be discovered. All of the dude ranches in the Dude Ranchers’ Association are located in the middle of incredibly beautiful country. Take for example the Red Horse Mountain Ranch. It is a 560 acre ranch with 300,000 acres of public land to explore. Once you arrive at the ranch you will be fully immersed in the beautiful Idaho landscape. Get your camera ready! You’ll want to take pictures. 

For grandparents traveling with grandchildren an all-inclusive dude ranch vacation west is the perfect option for connecting with nature while spending quality time with each other. With many different activities, including horseback riding, you get to experience first hand the beauty of the American West with your precious grandbabies, whether they are still a toddler or if they are older in their teenage years.

Photo: Red Horse Mountain Ranch

Turn off the screens

How can the kids text, make phone calls or play on the internet when there’s very little connectivity? It’s not possible! They won’t be able to spend hours on their phone each day. You’ll really enjoy the face to face time at a dude ranch when all batteries die and there’s little point in carrying around a device. You’ll find at Crossed Sabres Ranch that staying off electronics comes very easily. There is no cell phone service or wifi! There’s a guest computer connected to the internet in the lodge for communal use or, you can teach the younger generation a thing or two about how to use a landline!

Crossed Sabres Dude Ranch Vacation for Grandparents Traveling with Grandchildren

Photo: Crossed Sabres Ranch

Splash around in the water 

Nothing says your on vacation like an afternoon by the water. Would you like to go fly fishing? Raft down the river? These are a couple of the options for grandparents and grandkids to do while on a dude ranch vacation at the Marble Mountain Ranch in Somes Bar, California. This destination is known for their rafting, fly fishing and horseback riding. 

Fishing at Marble Mountain Ranch

Photo: Marble Mountain Ranch

Ride out from the barn on horseback 

There’s a reason horseback riding is the central program on a dude ranch - children really love horses. There are specialized trail rides for everyone’s riding experience and desires. The folks at Geronimo Trail Ranch are experts at taking grandparents traveling with grandchildren on an adventure through the Gila National Forest and showing them 1,000 -yearold cliff dwellings. You’ll certainly join them in their enthusiasm while riding your own trusty steed. 

Even though riding is the best part of working with horses on a dude ranch vacation other fun activities with horses include brushing, tacking up, feeding - all very important activities for children who are in love with horses. Wranglers, (the cowboys and cowgirls at the ranch) are well equipped with the knowledge and resources to teach children about horses and the western lifestyle. You’ll find that the barn is where your grandchildren will want to spend the majority of their time. 

Geronimo Trail Ranch Grandparents Traveling with Grandchildren

Photo: Geronimo Trail Ranch

Stay in a cabin

Trips for grandparents and grandchildren require a relaxing place to unwind. That’s why at a dude ranch you’ll have the option to stay in a personal cabin for the week to unpack your things and get comfortable in your own space. At the Tumbling River Ranch this includes a personal fireplace and a great view. Western style accommodations means the cowboy look isn’t just in the button-up wrangler shirts and cowboy boots. All the bedding and furniture is inspired by the western lifestyle that you might like to have in your own home. 

Tumbling River Ranch Cabin Grandparents Traveling with Grandchildren

Photo: Tumbling River Ranch

Dine at the ranch with the family

A family vacation isn’t complete without fantastic dining opportunities. Dude ranches are known for very satisfied guests, even for picky eaters. Meals are thoughtfully prepared three times a day and served in a beautifully appointed dining room for your family gathering. At the Black Mountain Ranch you be delightfully surprised at the gourmet cuisine presented at each meal. And for the grandchildren there’s always a kid-friendly option that they can fill up on. Save room for desert! Everyone will love the sweets from the pastry chef. 

 

Allow for some adult time with a kids program

While spending time together is the main reason for the vacation, a little alone time might be enjoyable too. Dude ranches offer kids activities throughout the day with a supervised program that will be tons of fun your your grandchild, and also the other children at the ranch. This will give you time to slip away. At the Gros Ventre River Ranch that might be in a hammock on the lawn, soft chair by the fire or laze about by the river.  Take a moment to refresh, and when you come together you’ll only have that much more to talk about. 

 

Can’t you imagine your next trip with your grandchildren on a dude ranch vacation? There will be fun and excitement in the outdoors and the opportunity for relaxation. You’ll certainly never forget the memories you make at the ranch together on your multi-generational trip. Grandparents traveling know how important these special times are to have while the grandchildren are still in school and have the time to make memories together through a shared experience. 

 

Discover more Dude Ranches Grandparents will Love:

Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

Dude Ranch Family Reunions

Dude Ranches with Great Kids Programs

 

 

Gros Ventre River Ranch Grandparents Traveling with Grandchildren

Photo: Gros Ventre River Ranch 

 

 

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6 Dude Ranches with Great Kids' Programs

Kids' Programs for all Ages

Trying to plan a family vacation can be a hard thing to do. Arranging all the meals to make sure everyone is happy, including enough activities to keep everyone busy and finding accommodations that can fit everyone’s taste is nothing short of a challenge. Planning a family vacation is very tough and it seems like the options are never ending. One thing that is even harder in today’s world it seems, is trying to find a vacation where the kids are more excited about the activities happening everyday rather than the screens and devices in front of them. It has become increasingly harder to truly disconnect from the real world anymore, but on a dude ranch vacation disconnecting your entire family may have just gotten easier. Do you know what else got easier? Planning a family vacation to fit everyone’s needs and wants! 

One of the hidden gems of dude ranches is the fact that all of the ranches in the Dude Ranchers’ Association are all-inclusive. What does this mean exactly? This means that lodging, meals and most activities are all included in one price. Continue reading to learn more about 6 dude ranches that have great kids’ programs to keep everyone in your family entertained. The memories created at dude ranches will be talked about for years to come! 

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch – Emigrant, MT

kids' programs

The Mountain Sky Guest Ranch located in Montana, North of Yellowstone National Park is a ranch that truly has activities for everyone in the family to enjoy. This ranch takes a great amount of pride in their kids’ program. In order to ride at Mountain Sky, children have to be seven years of age or older. So, for kids under the age of seven, the kids’ program was developed in order to ensure no misses out on the fun at Mountain Sky. Some of the activities that Mountain Sky Guest Ranch’s kids’ program has to offer would be lead-line horseback rides, scavenger hunts, games in the heated pool, as well as many arts and crafts activities; those activities are just during the day! At night the kids are encouraged to join the buffet-style dinner tailored around the kids’ likes and appetites and then join the counselors for campfire cookouts, camouflage capture the flag, hays rides and many more great activities! Every age is welcome in the kids’ program at Mountain Sky, the programs are tailored to the age of the kids, and there is even a teen program! These programs facilitate parents to be able to relax and enjoy a wonderful vacation. The parents can enjoy a day riding, doing yoga, going to the spa or playing a round of golf. 

Marble Mountain Ranch – Somes Bar, CA

kids' programs

Looking for a great kid -friendly family vacation? Marble Mountain Ranch in California loves to have kids take over the ranch during the summer time! The folks at the ranch enjoying getting to teach kids what it is like to enjoy the outdoors and have a genuine fun time without electronics and screens. Marble Mountain really encourages the parents to be involved in the kids’ program they offer; they know how important it is, especially in today’s world, for kids and parents to bond. In the kids’ program, the activities include feeding small animals, harvesting chicken eggs, fishing competitions, campfires, lariat challenges, Western frontier games, river rafting and so much more! Families enjoy getting to raft together, fish together, eat together and ride as much as possible as a group. This ranch is a great destination for a family reunion or for a family that has some “water bugs” in the group! And if the parents are looking to enjoy some time of their own, there are adult programs too. The dude ranch allows families to create the vacation they really want; the freedom is a wonderful feeling! 

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch – Estes Park, CO

kids' programs

At Wind River Christian Dude Ranch in Colorado there is a kids’ program for every age and it gives the parents a great opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in a peaceful environment. Wind River Ranch takes pride in being able to provide correct child care for any age, even babies and toddlers! In 2012 the ranch built a nursery and every season it is fully staffed with child care providers to help make your vacation a great time for everyone. There are three groups in the kids’ program and they are broken out by age. Children ages 2-9 participate in “The Kids Club,” ages 10-13 are in the “Pre-Teens Club” and 14-18 can participate in the “Teens Club” if they choose. The activities for all of the kids include horseback riding for kids seven and older, ranch carnivals, pool parties, putt putt golf, guided hikes, kayaking and much more. The activities are endless for everyone and the ranch is a safe environment that disconnects kids and parents from technology and reconnects them with their families and nature. Wind River Ranch’s resort-like accommodations will please everyone in the family, and the activities will ensure that the kids, and parents sleep great at night! 

Three Bars Guest Ranch – Cranbrook, BC

kids' programs

Three Bars Guest Ranch located in beautiful British Columbia, Canada is the perfect family ranch vacation for the little cowboys and cowgirls of the family. Kids of all ages feel at home at Three Bars, and they experience a sense of freedom and comfort on the ranch. Kids ages six and older will have to ability to go out on trail rides and experience some of the best kids’ horses around! The kid’s horses at Three Bars have been around for many years and are trusted to take great care of their new riding companions each week. While out on the rides, the kids may find themselves stopping at destinations to catch frogs, pan for gold or build forts. This ranch has a special way of connecting kids to the outdoors world and making them forget about their tablet or phone sitting in the cabin. For the kids not old enough to go on trail rides, they will have the chance to gather chicken eggs, feed the sheep and see the other farm animals in the ranch petting zoo. The kids can cook marshmallows over the campfire and the parents are of course welcome to join, s’mores have no age limit! A ranch vacation at Three Bars can be as family oriented as you choose. The kids will make friends of their own and can still come together for family time on rides or in other activities. The accommodations and food are very family-oriented and the ranch strives to make everyone feel at home.

Red Horse Mountain Ranch – Harrison, ID

kids' programs

If you are looking for a ranch vacation where your toddlers can ride their very own horse, Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Idaho is definitely a place to consider. Ages three – six will get to ride their own horse and gain confidence while a wrangler leads them for a little extra guidance. Trail rides and lessons are available for ages three and up and learning as much about horses as possible is a big goal of the ranch. Along with horseback riding there is an abundance of other activities available. Ziplining, kayaking, mountain biking, shooting sports, bobbing for applies are just a few activities to do in the kids’ program. This ranch is a kid’s paradise! They will make new friends and create memories with those friends as well as family members that they will not soon forget. All of these activities are available for the parents as well! Test your skills on the climbing wall and ropes course or take a relaxing kayak trip out on the lake. The accommodations are beautiful and the food superb. When looking for a truly memorable family vacation to entertain every age, truly consider Red Horse Mountain Ranch! 

Red Rock Ranch – Kelly, WY

kids' programs

Your kids will be talking about the program at the Red Rock Ranch in Wyoming for many years and there is a good reason why! The kids’ program at the ranch is very horseback riding centered. The kids will become very confident of the back of a horse and will have top-notch wranglers helping improve their skills and confidence levels. Kids must be six years or older to participate and it is a completely supervised program. The kids will learn to brush, saddle, bridle and completely care for their horse while at the ranch. The kids will participate in Gymkhanas, full and half day rides, team penning, gymnastic skills (vaulting) on horseback as well as many other activities. When not around the horses, you can find the kids in the swimming pool, in a fly-fishing clinic, hiking and playing games. There is no need for devices or screens at Red Rock, the kids will simply not have the time! The parents will have the opportunity to watch their kids grow while at the ranch and can watch all of their activities if they choose. Parents will also have the option to go horseback riding, fly-fishing, square dancing or simply relaxing on the porch with a good book. The cabins at the ranch are perfect for families and have a great western charm. The food is fantastic and the baked goods, you will just have to test for yourself because they are too good to explain! A family vacation at the Red Rock Ranch may be the vacation your family has been searching for for a long time!

Dude ranches are the perfect destination to find activities for everyone! The Dude Ranchers’ Association represents over 100 ranches that are all different and each ranch has something unique to offer. There are activities for everyone on a dude ranch and the ranch vacation experts at the DRA can help you find the right ranch for your needs and wants!

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Memories created at dude ranches will be talked about for years! Read about 6 dude ranches that have great kids’ programs to keep everyone entertained!

 

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White Water Rafting and Float Trips at Dude Ranches

White Water Rafting

Marble Mountain Ranch - Somes Bar, CA

The best part about being in the outdoors is that there are numerous possibilities to have fun and acquire experiences that will turn into precious memories. When it comes to activities in nature, being close to water has something special and relaxing about it. Just try to imagine how it would be to see the water, hear it and get engaged in activities that have water as the main ingredient. Yes, it is about enjoying water rafting and float trips in some of the best places in the USA and Canada. While white water rafting is for those with a more adventurous and restless spirit, float trips are calmer and more relaxing, giving you the chance to enjoy the wildlife and gorgeous scenery. Of course, no one stops you from enjoying both experiences.

White Water Rafting

Triangle X Ranch - Moose, WY

North America has some of the best places for water rafting in the whole country. Why is it so great to come here for this kind of activity? Not only will you be charmed by the stunning landscape, but you will also find experienced guides and instructors that will make this experience safe from start to end. So, even if you never tried water rafting before, traveling to North America can be a good way to give this a try. It is worth mentioning the rivers are split into classes, depending on their degree of difficulty, based on their structure and water speed. Thus, the easiest rivers belong to class 1, while the most difficult and dangerous are placed in class 6. You can be sure that the person in charge of your experience will select a river adequate to your level of experience and will certainly not leave you alone in the boat.

White Water Rafting

Spotted Horse Ranch - Jackson Hole,WY

What are the best rivers in North America for white water rafting and float trips? The Salmon River in Idaho would be a great option, although it is recommended for those with some experience in white water rafting. The waters of this river are not too fast, but you will need some skills to avoid rocks and other obstacles that may come in your way. The Arkansas River in Colorado is another exceptional choice, especially if you are looking for a more relaxing and enjoyable adventure. For those that want to feel adrenaline pumping in their veins, the Nahatlatch River in British Columbia will have what it takes to deliver.

white water rafting

Majestic Dude Ranch - Mancos, CO

But what about accommodation? What better accommodation option to pair with a water rafting and float trips than a luxurious ranch? Dude ranches are some of the best ranches in North America that give guests the chance of staying at a real ranch, without having to compromise their comfort. Also, it is worth bearing in mind that the previously mentioned rivers are just a few examples. If you’re truly interested in white water rafting and float trips, you can always ask at the ranch where you are staying what your options are when it comes to available activities in the outdoors. Now, let us check out the best dude ranches in the area and what they have to offer.

White Water Rafting and Float Trips at a Dude Ranch

 

Cherokee Park Ranch – Livermore, Colorado

White water Rafting

Even if river rafting is not your favorite activity, this ranch will still have what it takes to keep you busy and entertained. Activities such as river tubing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hikes, square dancing and many more are available. It will be entirely up to you if you want a relaxing experience or something more exciting.

Cherokee Park Ranch ~ Livermore, Colorado

Phone: +1 970-493-6522

Majestic Dude Ranch – Mancos, Colorado

white water rafting

For those that are actually interested in enjoying water rafting on their vacation, the Majestic Dude Ranch is very close to the Animas River. In fact, you will have the price of this particular activity included in your accommodation, so you won’t have to worry about anything. It is an activity for people with all levels of experience in this sector, as everything is entirely safe.

Majestic Dude Ranch ~ Mancos, Colorado

Phone: +1 970-533-7900

Spotted Horse Ranch – Jackson Hole, Wyoming

White Water Rafting

This particular ranch is ideal for those that simply want to lie back and relax. The scenery around the ranch is amazing and you can even enjoy the nearby river from its terrace. This place is also a great option if you want to enjoy float trips on the river, taking things down a notch and just getting the most nature has to offer. Of course, there are many more activities to experience here, so don’t hesitate to check out what this ranch has to offer.

Spotted Horse Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Phone: +1 307-733-2097

Triangle X Ranch – Moose, Wyoming

white water rafting

How about floating gently in a boat while gazing at majestic mountainous peaks? This is what you can enjoy if you choose to visit this ranch and spend your vacation in this area. The nearby Snake River has large portions of calm waters that make leisure activities extremely pleasant. The trips will be accompanied by a guide and your safety will be guarded at all times, so there’s no need to worry.

Triangle X Ranch ~ Moose, Wyoming

Phone: +1 307-733-2183

Marble Mountain Ranch – Somes Bar, California

white water rafting

If you want to go river rafting with the entire family and make sure it is safe and fun for everyone, you should take a look at what this ranch has to offer. The Klamath River flowing in the area has, for most of its length, calm waters, but it will also offer a few waves to increase the level of excitement. You don’t even have to be experienced in water rafting, as you will have an experienced person with you at all times.

Marble Mountain Ranch ~ Somes Bar, California

Phone: +1 530-469-3322

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch and Guide Service – Council, Idaho

white water rafting

From calm and relaxing trips to water-splashing adventures, there’s something for everybody to enjoy in this part of Idaho. If you choose this particular ranch, you will discover the river in ways you’ve never imagined. Of course, everything will be according to your desires, although you should not miss the opportunity to try something different. The safety of guests is the most important part of this ranch, so you will never face anything dangerous.

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch and Guide Service ~ Council, Idaho

Phone: +1 208-253-3014

Three Bars Guest Ranch – Cranbrook, British Columbia

white water rafting

Whether you are looking for activities on water or on land, you will not be disappointed if you choose to spend your vacation at this ranch. It is a family-friendly ranch where guests of all ages will find something enjoyable to do. At the same time, luxury and comfort will wait for you at the ranch, after a day filled with fun activities and outdoor exploration.

Three Bars Guest Ranch ~ Cranbrook, British Columbia

Phone: +1 250-426-5230

Hopefully, the previous lines opened doors toward an unforgettable and enjoyable vacation in North America, with the help of dude ranches. These ranches are members of The Dude Ranchers’ Association that guarantees a long tradition in everything that means ranching and communion with nature; these ranches have what it takes to offer you the chance of enjoying some of the best vacations you will ever experience.

 

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While white water rafting is for those with a more adventurous spirit, float trips are calmer, giving you the chance to enjoy the scenery surrounding you!But what about accommodation? What better accommodation option to pair with a water rafting and float trips than a luxurious ranch? Dude ranches are some of the best ranches in North America that give guests the chance of staying at a real ranch, without having to compromise their comfort.

Blog written by: Olivier Templar-James

http://www.luxurytravelersguide.com/

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

 

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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.

Dude Ranch Vacations offer Affordable Discounts for June

If you are looking for a dude ranch vacation with affordable discounts for this June look at these specials from the member ranches of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. With all inclusive rates that include lodging, horseback riding, fishing, kids programs and three meals a day you’re getting a deal on an adventure vacation. On top of being a budget and cost effective vacation, the dude ranches listed here are offering special discounts for June. Don’t forget to ask about additional savings for large groups and military families. And tell them the Dude Ranchers' Association sent ya!

 

Red Rock Ranch Discounts for June 2018

 

 

10% off a Saddle and Paddle Vacation the week of June 18, 2018 

MARBLE MOUNTAIN RANCH Somes Bar, CA

guestranch@marblemountainranch.com

The Marble Mountain Ranch in Northwestern California offers an exclusive dude ranch program called the "Saddle and Paddle" theme. They combine horseback mountain trail riding vacations and thrilling white water rafting and kayaking with other outdoor activities. Give Doug a call at 800.552.3284 to try out this special program at 10% off during the week of June 18, 2018.

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10% off Opening Weeks starting June 17, 2018 and June 24, 2018 

NINE QUARTER CIRCLE RANCH Gallatin Gateway, Montana

info@ninequartercircle.com

At the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch just to the North of Yellowstone National Park there are so many things to do, and so much those things will do for you. There’s no spa here, but the ranch offers an approach to relaxation that’s been working for 100 years. It starts with a stunning setting that starts to clear the mind, and outdoor activities that could turn your focus to simple enjoyment. Talk to Kameron for 10% off your adventure by calling 406.995.4276.

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12% off Opening Week starting June 10, 2018  

THE RED ROCK RANCH Kelly, Wyoming

info@theredrockranch.com

The Red Rock Ranch is a family owned dude ranch located outside of the Grand Teton National Park. Offering an authentic western dude ranch vacation with polished amenities. They have a flexible riding program, kids program, over 2 miles of private fly fishing, fantastic dining, hiking, a heated pool and that "it" factor that your family will love. Give Doug a call for their 12% off discount for the week of June 10, 2018 at 307.733.6288. 

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15% off Branding Week June 10 - 17, 2018 

ZAPATA RANCH Mosca, Colorado

cowboy@zranch.org

Take part in ranching’s oldest tradition and learn to wrestle a calf, vaccinate, ear tag and gather at Zapata Ranch. This is a hands-on, team-oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action. Through the week explore the ranch and the Great Sand Dunes National Park on horseback, help check fence, water and herd health while moving and gathering cattle ending the week in a full day of branding. Also available are interpretive hikes with a naturalist, fly fishing, rafting, roping and leather working sessions as well as massage to assist with those activity filled days. Talk to Kate at 888.592.7282 about their 15% discount for the week of June 10, 2018.

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About 25% off Summer Discount Weeks starting June 15, 2018 through August 31, 2018 

CREEK RANCH Santa Rosa, New Mexico

creekranchnm@gmail.com

The Creek Ranch is a small guest ranch offering an intimate working cattle ranch experience for 10 people or less each week. The terrain here is like none other. You'll experience the wild and natural views of Northeastern New Mexico from horseback just like Billy the Kid did during his heydays. Read more about their discounts for the summer time here

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If you are looking for a dude ranch vacation with affordable discounts for this June look at these specials from the member ranches of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. On top of being a budget and cost effective type of vacation, the dude ranches listed at the link below are offering special discounts for June.

The fun doesn't stop here! You can read more stories on Affordable Ranch Vacations

 

Affordable Ranch Vacations for your Family

Ranches of the DRA offer unmatched value in dude ranch vacations for families on a budget and for those who want to save money by getting all the adventure of twice daily riding, fishing, kids programs, 3 meals a day and lodging all for one price. Here are some of the DRA picks for the best budget and cost effective ranch holidays. 

 

Dude Ranches Offer Best Value For Travel Dollar

With the current economic situation  a vacation to any destination may seem like a “pipe dream.” But don’t rule out a summer getaway completely until you’ve considered a stay at a Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude ranch. These quintessential Western getaways have always offered exceptional value for the money.

 

Many Dude and Guest Ranches are Offering Spectacular Savings During their Shoulder Guest Seasons

Shoulder seasons are the weeks before and after the main season begins and ends.  A ranch will sometimes offer added values like a massage, private riding lessons or a fine bottle of wine upon check-in etc. They may offer a repeat guest discount, a group of more than 20 people discount or an early bird booking discount. 

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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Surprising Places You’ll Find Dude Ranches

Do you think a dude ranch vacation is limited to cowboy country? Think again! Although most people associate dude ranches with Colorado and Wyoming, some of the best dude ranches for families are located in some surprising places! Read on to learn about ranch adventures in some surprising places – and how your family can enjoy a dude ranch experience, no matter where you are!

Best Dude Ranches for Families

Some of the best dude ranch experiences come in unexpected places. Try some out-of-the-way ranches for an excellent adventure of your very own! Photo courtesy of The Dude Ranchers Association.

 

Blame Hollywood. Thanks to the cowboy westerns we’ve seen on the big screen, many of us think that dude ranches are strictly found in states like Wyoming and Colorado. Of course, those states do boast some great ranches, but why limit yourself? You can find some of the best dude ranches for families almost anywhere in the country from Arkansas to California – and even in Canada! Here are some great ranch experiences in some very surprising places.

 

The Arkansas Rancher

 

A vacation in Arkansas is often associated with the relaxing Hot Springs. But you can couple that relaxation with the adventure of a lifetime at an Arkansas Dude Ranch! Nestled by the gorgeous Buffalo National River wilderness, the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas, offers a genuine dude ranch experience through beautiful Ozark Country.  At the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, experience the best of both worlds – a genuine western experience flavored with down home southern hospitality.  This family-owned, family-operated dude ranch caters to families, offering a variety of activities for all ranchers of all ages.

 

Horseshoe Canyon-zip line

Horseback riding is only the beginning at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Visitors also enjoy rock climbing, target shooting and even zip lining! Photo courtesy of The Dude Ranchers Association.

 

A visit to the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is all-inclusive, so all the horseback riding, zip lining, rock climbing, swimming and other activities are included. Often recognized as one of the best climbing areas east of the Rockies, the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch offers over 300 rock climbing routes, ranging from beginner to expert.  If you prefer water activities, the Buffalo National River is just minutes away. Enjoy a lazy canoe ride down, peering into the clear water to watch the turtles and fish. If you want to join them, feel free! Just jump off a bluff at one of the established swimming holes.

Your adventure will continue with other activities you select. Of course, there are so many choices; it may be hard to narrow them down. Other favorites include the petting zoo, skeet and target shooting, fishing and archery – just to name a few! The large variety of activities, as well as the gorgeous wilderness location, makes this one of the best dude ranches for families, bar none!

Whatever activities you chose for the day, return to your cozy yellow pine cabin that’s the perfect blend of modern and rustic. Relax with a soak in the outdoor hot tub before being served your choice of dinner. With everything from Mahi Mahi to barbecue ribs on the menu, your meal will be just what you wanted to cap off your day.

When you want to unplug and reconnect with your family, there’s no better way than to share a western experience – southern style! 

Horseshoe Barn Fall Colors

Any season is a great time to set out on a dude ranch adventure. Photo courtesy The Dude Ranchers Association.

 

California, Here I Come!

 

California is often associated with luxury. Many vacationers head to the Golden State for the classic amusement parks, the allure of movie stars, the giant redwoods and the winding streets of San Francisco. But the amazing natural landscape of this large state makes it perfect for outdoor activities – and that includes dude ranches!

If you’re looking for a bit of luxury while enjoying the great outdoors, head to one of California’s many luxury dude ranches. One favorite is Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, a luxury ranch nestled on 10,000 acres in the Santa Barbara wine country. This working ranch offers a telephone and television-free environment – but you won’t miss being plugged in while enjoying the comforts of your private cottage, featuring a wood-burning fireplace and touches of fine western art.

 

Alisal Guest Ranch Sunset

Luxury ranching California style is on gorgeous display at the Alisal Guest Ranch, right in Santa Barbara wine country. Photo courtesy of The Dude Ranchers Association.

 

Alisal represents the epitome of luxury ranching, with 50 miles of trails for riding and two championship-level golf courses on site. Located just minutes away from the wineries and vineyards, Alisal also offers a “sip, saddle and spa” package perfect for those wanting a complete “glamping” experience.

Of course, you can still find traditional dude ranch experiences in California. At Marble Mountain Ranch in Somes, treat yourself to the signature “saddle and paddle” package, riding the lush mountain trails one day and white water rafting the next. Do you feel the need for speed? Then book a jet boat tour to the Pacific.

Families flock to Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch in Quincy, where activities like country western, line and swing dancing and guest rodeo events come along with the miles of horseback trails. Prove you’ve mastered the dude ranch life by competing in such events as barrel racing, pole bending and keyhole. Then have a home-cooked and hearty meal in the Chuck House.

Want a real taste of the ranching life? Try some Rankin Ranch beef, a specialty on the menu at Rankin Ranch in Caliente, CA. A working cattle ranch for over 150 years, Rankin’s western hospitality features comfortable mountain cabins, horseback riding through mountain and meadow, and trout fishing. For evening entertainment, try your luck in a foosball or horseshoe tournament. But for true relaxation, nothing beats counting constellations in the star-studded California sky.

Authenticity also rules at Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch, just north of Yosemite National Park in Bridgeport. Emphasis here is on great horseback riding through 26,000 acres of beautiful meadow. Other activities include family dance night, a talent show, and world class trout fishing. Or you can put on your spurs and join the hands-on cattle work essential to this working ranch. After building up a hearty appetite, enjoy the Creekside cookout, complete with campfire singalong and s’mores. Next time you’re California dreaming, your mind will be filled with memories of moments like these.

 

Authentic Oregon

 

If you really want to relax, unplug and get back to the goodness of nature, take a vacation at an authentic working cattle and hay ranch. That’s what you’ll find in (surprise!) Oregon. At the Long Hollow Ranch in Sisters, OR, guests participate in cattle drives and fly fishing expeditions as well as the traditional horseback adventures.

Everything about the Long Hollow Ranch is authentic, from the century-old ranch buildings to the home cooking and family style meals. Of course, the ranch has been updated, but each room reflects the simpler, gentler time when it was originally built. Other activities include rock climbing, rafting, and simply sharing stories with new friends under the gorgeous Oregon sky.

 

Best Dude Ranches for Families

 

 Surprising places you can find dude ranches | You might expect to find dude ranches in Colorado and Wyoming, but did you know there are ranches in Arkansas? California? Canada? Oregon? Unexpected ranch destinations for family vacations.

 

Think Outside the Box in British Columbia

 

Feel the concept of “dude ranch” is strictly western Americana? Think again.  Discover dude ranches throughout Canada, our neighbor to the north. In fact, some of the best dude ranches for families are found between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, in British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province. (See, there’s a connection to the west!)

 

Three bars ride

Visit British Columbia for a ride in Canada’s westernmost province! Three Bars Guest Ranch employees share their love of the cowboy lifestyle! Photo courtesy of The Dude Ranchers Association

 

Want an authentic vacation on a working ranch – but with plenty of amenities? Try a stay at the Three Bars Guest Ranch in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Specializing in all-inclusive vacation experiences for riders and non-riders alike, Three Bars Guest Ranch is a working cattle ranch in the Canadian Rockies just south of Banff National Park.

The Beckley family, owners of the Three Bars Guest Ranch, share their love of authentic cowboy lifestyle with their guests. Guests stay in private hand-built log cabins, complete with all modern amenities and a welcoming front porch, the epitome of laid-back relaxation. The cabins surround the Main Lodge, a gorgeous log building that houses a business center, gym and fitness center, the ranch store, recreation center and more. Upscale dining is available in the restaurant, with each meal being more delicious and satisfying than the last.  

The ranch is also home to more than 120 horses. Anyone participating in the world-class horseback riding program will be matched with a horse for the length of the stay. Your horse will be ready whenever you decide to ride the beautiful terrain of green fields with majestic mountain views.

 

Best Dude Ranches for Families

You’ll be riding more than horses during your Canadian dude ranch experience. Three Bars Guest Ranch offers a variety of activities, from white water rafting to an outdoor Jacuzzi! Photo courtesy The Dude Ranchers Association

 

Of course, the Canadian dude ranch experience isn’t just limited to horseback riding. Three Bars Guest Ranch offers a plethora of activities so visitors can enjoy a complete cowboy experience. Choices range from the excitement of mountain biking and fly fishing to the relaxation of an outdoor hot tub and Jacuzzi. Whether you want a relaxing vacation or a new adventure – or a little of both – this Canadian dude ranch aims to please!

Next time you want a taste of down home hospitality, don’t limit your thinking to traditional ranching states. Dude ranches from all over the country (and outside of it!) welcome all visitors, giving us a chance to unplug and connect with authentic living and the simple pleasures of life. What more could you want in a vacation?

By Mary Dixon Lebeau

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Dude Ranch Seasonal Changes

The changing of season always ushers in a sense of excitement. The start or end of a school year, a shift in the climate, the grandeur of nature as it blossoms and matures. For most people, new seasons bring certain inevitable changes. We brace for the cold of winter, or relax into the cozy climate of Fall. For dude ranchers, changing seasons mean more than decorations or change of apparel. A changing season means transitioning into a different business model, or perhaps shutting down the business for a season of rest. Geography is the largest factor in determining how severe seasonal changes can be on the land. California in particular is known for its beauty and geographical diversity. In the mountains of remote northern California, the weather boasts a balanced diet of four complete seasons. The start of the year is met by the cold, brisk winter, which leaves the mountaintops with a healthy layer of snow, and a soggy, rain-soaked valley.

Marble Mountain Seasonal Changes at the Ranch

For dude ranchers,  the colder precipitous months of late fall to early spring bring a much needed break from the public eye, as well as a concurrent loss of cash flow and some serious concerns about surviving the brutally harsh weather patterns. In an especially wet year, northern Californians can expect landslides, flooding, swollen creeks and rivers, and saturated vegetation that pulls loose from soil. If the rains are warm, the snow-pack is melted and increases the runoff that drains into creeks and streams. Over time, all of these factors create road blockages and major damage on mountainsides. To a rancher in these parts, nothing is worse than heavy, warm rain after a substantial snowfall in early spring.

The care and protection of equipment and livestock are difficult during times of cold and wet. Animals both young and old need secure shelters from the harsh elements and predatory wildlife. Large machinery needs to be kept safe from moisture and the cabins and ranch buildings need to be kept dry and protected. Our trips into town for supplies also need to be carefully timed and planned between storm pulses. In mid April, when spring begins to unfurl in the mountains, the world shifts gears once more. For ranchers, this is a time of haste. What was left undone during the winter months must now be accomplished at a faster pace. Trees that have overgrown in a winter of arboreal neglect, begin to bear fruit prior to their appointed prunings.  The pruning then picks up an even faster pace.  Large tangled and brown piles of slash left in the gardens are suffocating  infant seedlings trying to take root beneath them. Livestock that has been kept behind doors for months are restless. People who have been cooped up in their houses for months due to bad road conditions are typically going cross eyed with cabin fever. It’s not a very pretty sight as this time of Winter rest is transformed into a time of panicked Spring hustle. rainbows and clouds cover the pastures of California's dude ranch.

Seasonal changes in weather and in business at California’s Dude Ranch By June, the blossoms have dispersed and the mountain range is awash in a fresh shade of green. The balmy days of spring are passed and have given way to the heat of summer. The river is lower and the foliage has matured to a darker, handsomer green. Tourists trickle down the winding mountain roads; eager for fresh mountain air and recreation. For ranchers, this is a time of work now in the eye of the public. The day is divided into three parts: morning, afternoon, and evening. The cooler air of morning and evening make them prime hours for performing outdoor chores. This means waking earlier, and going to bed later. The heat of the afternoon brings about a lull when manual labor becomes stressed under oppressing heat. 

The Summer “prime season” is the season of harvest as we execute our primary business model of a public dude ranch.  We persist in the “dude ranch” business model from May to September unless we are  interrupted by the start of wild fires in late July/ August. In the year 2016, the amount of acres burned in the United States was 46% above normal. Sadly, the charm of things turning rose colored dissipates with the decline of air quality and news of home evacuations. Wildfires have been known to last into the early part of October. For a guest ranch, this is sad news and can mean refunds on booking deposits with re-scheduled family holidays. Late September marks the beginning of the fishing season. The steady flow of city-crazed tourists has ebbed, replaced by fisherman and small groups of people seeking cozy lodging to enjoy the fall weather in.

For ranchers and landowners, coping with wildfire takes many forms. Assuming that evacuation orders have not been issued, the protection of property becomes a full-time position that rivals closely with the responsibility of guard duty at a super max. Eyes must always be keenly aware of the elements. Which way is the wind blowing? Is the smoke getting closer? Is the ash getting closer? Is there burning debris traveling with the wind? Is flame visible? How dry is the air? What is the mph of the wind? Are their sirens? Can I hear the falling of trees or the crackle of fire? It is a taxing position, one that landowners in Northern California have sadly become too familiar with. Surviving in the mountains of northern California requires one to be fire smart. This means first of all that you have invested time and due diligence in reducing the fuel load around your property improvements.  This is more than being especially observant, or being up to date with local announcements. All threatening vegetation should have been removed or reduced and available water sources, such as hoses and sprinklers, are placed near large structures for protection. If you have a hose, hook it up and pull it up to your house! And then repeat with additional hoses as many times as possible. Anything that is not fire safe needs to be secured and or relocated. Fuel tanks, flammable objects, dry debris, anything combustible, must be accounted for. All livestock should be moved to a safe location if not evacuated. All vehicles should be ready for emergency departure, with food, water, and first aid supplies as necessary.

These are the seasons of life in northern California. From an outdoor enthusiast perspective, it is a paradise of many wonders. In reality, living remotely ultimately requires more of people. It means greater emergency preparedness, increased self-reliance, a strong work ethic, and if you are lucky, an impressive stash of hot chocolate and great books. The wilderness is not just a playground, it is a living breathing force that is unpredictable and can be harsh. The only way to survive there is to be prepared, and with equal intensity, to meet the fickle demands of dear mother nature.

Marble Mountain Ranch Seasonal Changes with Snow

Cierra Sorensen Cierra Sorensen is the youngest child and only daughter of Doug and Heidi Cole.  She now lives in Salt Lake City with her husband Jason and their two boys while Jason pursues a doctorate at the University of Utah. Save Save Save

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Ranch Accreditation

The Trade Association Promoting Dude Ranches

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

Marble Mountain Dude Ranch

Dude Rancher Association Members Operate At Verified High Standards

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

Marble Mountain Dude Ranch

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


 

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