13 Best Dude Ranches for Families

The ultimate family vacation has grown exponentially in terms of options and accommodations — and dude ranch vacations are no exception. In fact, there are very few resorts that emulate the offerings of the dude ranch community. “Activity options have skyrocketed. From ropes courses and ziplines to rock climbing, cooking classes, and more, some dude ranches now have more than 100 activities,” says Colleen Hudson, Executive Director of The Dude Ranchers’ Association.

The diversity and abundance of activities for families, along with stunning resort locations near national parks and public lands, solidify the Western dude ranch as one of the best family vacation experiences on the planet. These are the best of the best.

13 Best Dude Ranches for Families 

 

1. The Home Ranch – Clark, CO

Best For: Cuisine and Cooking

The Home Ranch does many things exceptionally well, including innovative cuisine and cocktails, luxury accommodations and extraordinary programming. Nestled in Clark, Colorado, a 30-minute drive from Steamboat Springs, the ranch is one of the few Rocky Mountain dude ranches that offers four-season activities and family options for children ages 6 and over. Bonus: All meals, lodging, local transportation, fishing gear, guide services, and on-ranch activities and adventures are included in the price of your stay.

dude ranches

2. Rainbow Trout Ranch – Antonito, CO

Best For: Authentic High Mountain Experience

We love the focus on disconnecting from technology at the Rainbow Trout Ranch. None of the 16 log cabins onsite offer TVs, and the Wi-Fi isn’t strong — and that’s on purpose. They do offer cozy fireplaces, though, and some of the cabins can sleep up to eight guests. The ranch is nestled on 600 acres at 9,000 feet and surrounded by national forest lands, providing abundant terrain for riding and spectacular views. Fly-fishers enjoy the ranch’s private 1.5-mile stretch of the Conejos River, ripe with supreme-size rainbow trout. Aside from delicious meals, accommodations, and onsite activities galore, a weekly whitewater rafting trip is included in the cost of your stay.

dude ranches

3. White Stallion Ranch – Tucson, AZ

Best For: Evening Entertainment

White Stallion is one of the two largest dude ranches in the nation; yet it remains family-owned and family-focused. The True family actually has a trifecta of ranches under their Arizona chaps (White Stallion, Tombstone Monument and Ranch de la Osa). But it’s their home base and incredible Tucson property that is one of the best family dude ranches in the world! The horse program is stellar, with various riding options, educational opportunities, family-specific rides, a weekly ranch rodeo and more. The resort also does a great job with nightly entertainment, with options such as astronomy classes with telescopes, country and western line dancing and lessons, and water color lessons with the resident artist, Ute Vaughn. And if you like shopping, you’ll be glad to know this dude ranch has one of the largest onsite gift shops of any dude ranch in the nation.

dude ranches

4. Circle Z Ranch – Patagonia, AZ

Best For: Old West Experience

If your family wants an authentic Western experience, complete with Hollywood-esque desert moonscapes, rolling hills of cacti with Southwest accommodations, fabulous cuisine, and an even better atmosphere, Circle Z Ranch is for you. Open late-October through early-May each year, Circle Z is the oldest continually operating guest ranch in the state of Arizona.

Originally a sheep ranch, Circle Z was transformed into a dude ranch in the 1920s.  Numerous generations of families have connected here ever since. Movie buffs — study up on “Broken Lance” with Spencer Tracy, “Monte Walsh” with Lee Marvin, “El Dorado” with John Wayne, and the final episode of “Gunsmoke” — all were filmed on this property.

dude ranches

5. Bonanza Creek Country Guest Ranch – Martinsdale, MT

Best For: Riding in the Wide Open Country  

This dude ranch is not for the wee ones; the focus is riding and cattle work. Bonanza Creek has a maximum allowance of 12 guests at a time, but usually averages around eight people — making this one of the most intimate guest dude ranches in the nation. There are 40 guest horses on the ranch, who welcome families into their lifestyle and incredible landscape.

Guests are matched with their horses for the half-week to week-long stay. Each stay includes lodging, three meals a day, horseback riding, herding cattle, team penning, hiking, private lake fishing, wildlife watching, a breakfast ride and cookout, campfires, and wagon rides with a team of horses.

dude ranches

6. Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort – Solvang, CA

Best For: Wine Country and Activities

Easily accessible from Santa Barbara, California, Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is a family-owned working dude ranch. The 10,500-acre ranch is consistently awarded as best luxury dude ranch for numerous reasons.

The upscale ranch offers 73 cottages, all with working, wood burning fireplaces, and all without phones or televisions. Horseback riders can access 50-plus miles of riding trails; a 100-acre, spring-fed lake; two 18-hole championship golf courses; tennis courts; a pool; and spa.

dude ranches

7. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, ID

Best For: Off-Season Vacations

Many dude ranches in colder climates close for the season come late autumn. And while Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in northern Idaho certainly welcomes visitors year-round, it’s their off-season that’s a standout. Families will be charmed by the four hand-hewn log cabins at the ranch, each one authentically decorated and super cozy. Or, guests can choose Grandma or Grandpa’s room on the main level of the lodge, or a suite on the second level.

The ranch is located on 1,100 acres in the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountain ranges. The spectacular and changing scenery of the seasons varies the activities — enjoy horseback rides in the fall (ages 8 and up), fat bike rides in the winter, and skiing and snowmobiling in the spring! What’s also unique is the cabins can be booked without meals — a rarity at dude ranches.

dude ranches

8. Paradise Guest Ranch – Buffalo, WY

Best for: Water Activities

Come summer, it’s the child in all of us who yearns to be by water. At Paradise Guest Ranch, families can participate in an extensive fly-fishing program – either on French Creek or one of the stocked, nearby trout ponds. There’s also an onsite swimming pool.

dude ranches

9. Bar W Guest Ranch – Whitefish, MT

Best For: On-Trend Vacations

The Bar W Guest Ranch, outside of Glacier National Park, recognizes the needs of millennial families. Their traditional summer offerings have exploded in recent years, with new activities and adventures for all ages. Trail rides, wagon rides and a cultural kids’ program keep families busy on the ranch. The resort is also popular for its glamping in canvas tents with wood floors and luxurious bedding. And the resort’s location in Whitefish means you’re close to cute shops and kid-friendly restaurants and breweries.

dude ranches

10. Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch – Saratoga, WY

Best For: Best-Kept Riding Secret  

The Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch is nestled into the Snowy Range, about 20 miles from Saratoga, Wyoming, and two hours from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Operating since 1917, the resort was most recently purchased by new owners in 2002, who truly enhanced the horsemanship of the ranch and riding possibilities. The maximum guest count is 15.

Families will especially love the summer program, with all-day rides, breakfast rides, overnight pack trips, sunset trip rides, fish and ride scenic trips (one of the only ones in the nation!) and other options. Guests can also participate in horse grooming and feeding, or just watch or photograph.

dude ranches

11. Triangle C Dude Ranch, Dubois, WY

Best For: Getting a True Sense of Working Cattle

Featuring an 8,000-square-foot, rustic log remodeled to include a full-service spa, home theatre, library, pool and fine dining, Triangle C Dude Ranch provides a home-away-from-home while enjoying the ranch. But, forget the luxury and enjoy the ranch’s Pack Trips that provide a true sense of the working cattle in the Rockies. Following wranglers on trails on horseback, days end at campsites where you’ll gather around the fire for dinner. Back at the resort, kids may prefer the programs geared for ages 2 to 12, including nature-based crafts, sleeping in a tepee and learning the ropes in a junior wrangler program.

dude ranches

12. Three Bars Guest Ranch – British Columbia, Canada

Best For: Private Cabins and Communal Meals

Three Bars Guest Ranch, a family-owned and operated dude ranch, is located in British Columbia, just a stone’s throw from Montana and Banff National Park. Families will enjoy private cabins and daily meals in a communal setting, where guests enjoy week-long visits together and fast become friends before the trip comes to an end. Daily horseback rides for all levels are available, as well as guided and non-guided hikes, mountain biking, river rafting and more. Each night, guests gather for drinks and dinner with the staff and enjoy games and entertainment as the stars come out and bonfires glow.

dude ranches

13. Drowsy Water Ranch – Granby, CO

Best For: Young Children

Less than two hours outside of Denver, Drowsy Water Ranch has been in business since the 1920’s. About 100 head of horses, primarily quarter horses and paints, make their home at the Drowsy Water. Nine individual cabins snuggled beside the creek offer lodging for families.

The 700-acre Drowsy Water Ranch welcomes children of all ages, even infants. The children’s program is unstructured, but comprehensive. Children ages 5 and under in the Buckaroos program are led on smaller horses in a pen. For children ages 6 to 13 in the Range Riders program, rides are held twice a day. The kids are allowed to walk, lope and trot according to trail conditions and their comfort level on the horses.

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The ultimate family vacation has grown exponentially in terms of options and accommodations  — and dude ranch vacations are no exception; families love dude ranches!

 

Read the full article by Julie Bielenberg here

Horseback Riding Vacations

The Dude Ranchers’ Association recommends the best horseback riding vacations in North America. At one of these carefully selected dude and guest ranches groups will experience equestrian activities and all sorts of outdoor adventures on a short stay of three or four nights, or a full week immersed in a Western trail riding destination. Guests have everything provided for them on all-inclusive stays including lodging, dining and activities. With lodges and cabins preserved and restored from when they were built many decades ago, guests experience riding horses in a uniquely Western environment. It’s no wonder dude ranch vacations have been popular since the early 1900’s! 

At these ranches guests have a horse personally selected for each person’s riding ability and personality. Because horseback riding is a daily or twice daily activity there is an opportunity to get to know the horse on hundreds, if not thousands of acres of trails in the mountains and plains of the slimly populated West. And after guests climb out of the saddle there’s always plenty of options like relaxing by the pool, fly fishing on private lakes and streams, hiking to scenic vistas or rocking their cares away on the porch in a classic rocking chair. 

Here are some of the best riding ranches for your next vacation. 

 

Crossed Sabres Ranch, Cody, Wyoming

All Day Rides on 2.2 Million Acres

For guests looking to cover some ground, the charming Crossed Sabres Ranch is one of the oldest dude ranches in the country located outside of Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. This is a family run operation that specializes in custom horseback riding for individuals or groups of up to 30 people. Knowledgeable wranglers take guests out on well trained and trustworthy horses whether they have no experience or years of experience on horses. Each horse is paired specifically for each guest to match not only personality, but also riding ability. The ranch offers lessons for those looking to get individual instruction on riding in a comfortable arena environment. There are short morning and afternoon rides or all-day rides into the Shoshone National Forest’s 2.2 million acres for guests to enjoy truly spectacular scenery. 

Horseback Riding

 

Medicine Bow Lodge, Saratoga, Wyoming

Overnight pack trip in the Medicine Bow National Forest

High up in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains the Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch offers just what their name implies - adventure. With a very diverse riding program each guest can determine what kind of adventure they would like to have. First time riders will become more and more confident on each ride at their own pace with a personal wrangler. With this instruction and getting to know their trusty steed, the horses will earn the trust of newbie riders throughout the week. Guests who have experience can ride out on fast rides, loping and trotting their way through the mountains of Wyoming. The ranch offers all day rides and even an overnight pack trip in the hills. Kids of all ages have something to do at the ranch as well. Kids 5 and under will be led around the ranch and taught about horse care and ages 6 and up can head out on the trail. Here families can literally ride off into the sunset on the appropriately named Sunset Ride

Horseback Riding

 

Focus Ranch, Slater, Wyoming

Move 1,300 head of yearling cattle 

On the border of Wyoming and Colorado the Focus Ranch is a working cattle ranch, inviting guests to embrace the authenticity of ranch life on their vacation. At this ranch, “cowboy” is both a noun and a verb. Riding here entails managing the health and grazing patterns of the heart and soul of the ranch - cattle. The ranch can adjust the length and speed of rides to accommodate a wide variety of riders, and the work that needs to be done varies throughout the summer. One of their most exciting endeavors for guests is to move the entire herd of 1,300 yearling cattle from one pasture to the next within three days! This happens several times throughout the season. Sometimes, guests enjoy it so much they might hire on to work at the Focus Ranch! 

Horseback Riding

 

Badger Creek Ranch, Canon City, Colorado

Natural Horsemanship is a photographer’s dream

Badger Creek Ranch is located in an area rich in natural beauty and history. This area has been well traversed by the Ute Indians, Spanish Conquistadors, pioneers, miners and cowboys of the old West, but is now occupied by a relatively small number of people. Photographers enjoy secluded trails in the mountains and meadows of Colorado. As a working cattle ranch the guests are also offered a chance to ride out with the cowboy crew to check fence, doctor and sort cattle. Before heading out, guests start their relationship with their horse with ground work following the feel of natural horsemanship and continue in the saddle in a location that can only be described as a photographer’s dream. 

Horseback Riding

 

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch, Gallatin Gateway, Montana

Ranch bred, raised and trained Appaloosas

The Nine Quarter Circle Ranch is not only a premier family destination with luxury log cabins, activities for all ages and very delicious meals, but also an unforgettable horseback riding destination. The ranch boasts a herd of 120 Appaloosa horses that were born and will live their whole lives on the ranch. This is an uncommon feature of a dude ranch to know all the history of every one of their horses. Their select breeding program is a reflection of the Appaloosa breed, chosen for their stamina, sweet temperament and suitability to mountain riding. Every spring a new crop of foals are born on the ranch, and guests enjoy watching the brand-new foals jump and play around the ranch. These horses will eventually be trained and added to their remuda of trail riding horses. 

Horseback Riding

 

Want to know more about a particular type of dude ranch? Take a look at the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s Working Cattle Ranches, Luxury Resort Ranches and Family Style Ranches here

 

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The Dude Ranchers’ Association recommends the best horseback riding vacations in North America. At one of these carefully selected dude and guest ranches groups will experience equestrian activities and all sorts of outdoor adventures on a short stay of three or four nights, or a full week immersed in a Western trail riding destination. Guests have everything provided for them on all-inclusive stays including lodging, dining and activities.

Favorite Dude Ranch Desserts (With Recipes)

 Medicine Bow Mud Pie from Medicine Bow Lodge

Favorite Dude Ranch Desserts

 

Move over campfire s'mores and simple scout camp recipes that your grandparents taught you, these promising dude ranch dessert recipes are sure to knock your socks off! We have compiled a list of dude ranch dessert favorites from four dude ranches across the United States and can't wait to see which one you like best.

 

The tradition of great cowboy cooking and how ranchers continue that tradition at dude ranch vacations is one of the big draws for visiting these majestic destinations across the country. The real pleasure lies in tasting - and making -- these delicious dude ranch food recipes.


Medicine Bow Mud Pie from Medicine Bow Lodge


Relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with loved ones at the Medicine Bow Lodge. 22 miles from Saratoga, Wyoming, in the Medicine Bow National Forest, sits this 100-year-old Ranch. The Medicine Bow Lodge is rustic with a touch of elegance.


Activities at this all inclusive resort include horseback riding, fishing, hiking, rock collecting, cooking lessons, archery, animal tracking, campfires with s'mores, star gazing, dancing, crafts, shopping, and birding. Tim and Deborah Bishop have created an experience that is perfect for beginners and expert riders.

Here is a heavenly frozen dude ranch dessert recipe Medicine Bow Lodge has shared that will compliment any meal. Bonus, it makes a wonderful presentation with the distinct layers.

 

Medicine Bow Mud Pie from Medicine Bow Lodge

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of chocolate wafers
  • 1/2 gallon of coffee ice cream
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of melted butter
  • 2 jars of marshmallow cream
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 1/2 cups whipped cream
  • 8-10 oz. chocolate chips (melted)
  • Chocolate shavings

Directions:

  1. Crush the chocolate wafers in a food processor and add the melted butter. Spread the crumbs in a baking pan. Bake in a 350° degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Spread ice cream carefully onto crust. Freeze 1 1/2 -2 hours or until solid. (The ice cream will spread easily when you let it thaw a little)
  3. Whip the heavy cream until light and fluffy. Add the marshmallow cream to the whipped cream.
  4. Place marshmallow cream mixture gently and quickly on top of ice cream layer.
  5. Place covered back in freezer.
  6. Pour melted chocolate over frozen dessert and spread gently to cover completely.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to freeze completely.
  8. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy.

 

3 Favorite Dude Ranch Desserts from Elk Mountain Ranch

 

The Elk Mountain Ranch is in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, within the San Isabel National Forest, two hours from Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Ranch has a 30 guest maximum, allowing for a more intimate experience.

Enjoy your one week, all inclusive adventure with an array of activities including horseback riding, whitewater rafting, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, square-dancing, hayrides, campfires, and playing backgammon. Tom and Sue Murphy tailor visits based on their guests' needs and interests. Read on for their shared three decadent and impressive dude ranch desserts to make at home for your own family and friends.

 

Strawberry Shortcake from Elk Mountain Ranch

 

Strawberry Shortcake from Elk Mountain Ranch

 

Ingredients for shortcakes:

  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Directions for shortcakes:

  1. Gradually add sugar to butter, beating at high speed about 6 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.
  4. Gradually add flour, baking powder, and nutmeg.
  5. Pour batter into floured and greased sheet pan.
  6. Bake in 325° oven for 25-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Should just be lightly golden.
  7. Cut into hearts with cookie cutters.
  8. Use for strawberry shortcake with sweetened sliced strawberries (1/4 cup sugar added to 6 cups sliced strawberries).
  9. Add homemade whipped topping.

Whipped Topping:

Whip heavy whipping cream (1 qt.) with sugar (1/2 cup) and vanilla (1 tsp.) and almond extract (1 tsp). Whip to desired consistency.  Whip too long and you will soon get butter!

 

Denver Cheesecake from Elk Mountain Ranch

 

Denver Cheesecake from Elk Mountain

 

Ingredients for batter:

  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon peel-grated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Ingredients for crust:

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat cream cheese.
  2. Add sugar, flour, salt, lemon peel, and vanilla.
  3. Then add cream and set aside.
  4. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 1/2 cup butter. Divide in 1/2 and press mixture into greased spring.form pan.
  5. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes.
  6. Place 1/2 cream mixture in each pan.
  7. Cover pans with aluminum foil.  Place pans in a water bath and bake at 500° for 10 minutes.
  8. Reduce temperature to 200° and bake for 70-80 more minutes (until firm).
  9. Remove foil and cover each pan with a metal bowl until cool.
  10. Place in walk in and cut when chilled.  (Can be baked a day ahead.)

Oreo Ice Cream from Elk Mountain Ranch

 

Oreo Ice Cream from Elk Mountain Ranch

 

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 – 13 oz. cans evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Pour into ice cream maker.
  3. Surround ice cream maker with ice and rock salt.
  4. Churn until thick.
  5. Pour into a storage container.
  6. Thoroughly add in crushed Oreo cookies.
  7. Freeze.

 

2 Favorite Dude Ranch Desserts from Vista Verde Ranch

 

Take a Luxury Colorado Ranch Vacation at the Vista Verde Ranch north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy AAA Four Diamond amenities plus Western hospitality at this all inclusive Ranch.

Activities and amenities include an indoor riding area, kids cabin, swimming pool, fitness center, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, yoga, paddle boarding, massages, white water rafting, cooking class, hot air ballooning, skiing, snow tubing, sleigh riding, and private hot tubs. Vista Verde Ranch offers designated times throughout the year for adults only.

Laura and Chris Jones make sure their guests have plenty to do no matter what time of year they visit! And with their two favorite dude ranch desserts, you can create a little dude ranch heaven at home.

 

Applesauce Gingerbread Cake from Vista Verde Ranch

 

This dude ranch dessert is perfect for cold weather, a warm fire, and a cozy evening. You can make the full dessert, or just enjoy the cake by itself!Applesauce and Gingerbread Cake from Vista Verde Ranch

 

 

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm milk

Directions for cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in stand mixer.
  3. Beat in eggs, applesauce, and molasses.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Slowly add to wet mixture.
  5. Mix in warmed milk.
  6. Bake in greased and floured 9×9 pan.

Ingredients for toffee sauce:

  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

Directions for toffee sauce:

  1. Combine sugar, butter, molasses, and corn syrup in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted and the mixture is bubbly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat cream in a separate saucepan.
  3. Add hot cream slowly to sugar mixture. Whisk continuously.
  4. Continue to cook, 3-5 minutes. Cool until slightly thickened. Serve.

 

Blueberry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake from Vista Verde Ranch

 

Blueberrry Upside Down Cake from the Vista Verde Ranch

(need 2-9" cast iron pans)

Ingredients for cake batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pound butter, soft
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

Directions for cake:

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  2. In the mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  4. Add the vanilla and sour cream and combine until smooth.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and combine until incorporated. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Ingredients for berries:

  • 4 oz. butter, divided
  • 1 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 6 cups fresh blueberries, divided

Directions:

  1. Melt half the butter in each of the cast iron pans, add the brown sugar and cook until it bubbles together.
  2. Divide the blueberries into each pan and remove from the stove. Top with half of the cornmeal batter and place on a sheet pan and then in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool slightly for about 15 minutes, run a knife around the outer edge and invert the cake onto a cutting board for slicing. Top with vanilla whipped cream.

 

Alisal's Oatmeal Pie by Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

 

The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is in the heart of Santa Barbara, California Wine Country, minutes from 75 renowned vineyards and wineries. The Resort offers a 100-acre spring-fed lake, two 18 hole championship golf courses, tennis courts, pools, and a spa nestled in California's Santa Ynez Valley.

Choose from several packages, all offering something different: Sip Saddle Spa, Horseback Riding, Golf Getaway, BBQ Bootcamp, Cycling and Spa, Meetings, and Bird Golf Academy. There is truly something for everyone at the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. Since this is Alisal's most requested recipe, we thought you would enjoy a copy for your personal cookbook.

Alisal's Oatmeal Pie by Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups oats
  • 2 1/4 cups corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups melted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups coconut
  • 3 Tbsp. vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 3 9" unbaked pie shells

Directions:

  1. Place pie shells on cookie sheet.
  2. Mix all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie shells.
  3. Bake in a 350  oven for 45-55 minutes.
  4. Makes 3 pies.

 

Old Fashioned Creme Brule from the Lone Mountain Ranch

 

The Lone Mountain Ranch sits in a small valley at the base of the mountains near Yellowstone National Park, in Big Sky, Montana. The Ranch has a 70 guest maximum, allowing for a variety of activities.

Enjoy your one week, all inclusive adventure with an array of activities including horseback riding, Yellowstone Excursions, hiking, fishing, yoga, and more. The Lone Mountain Ranch is open yearround, and offers sleigh rides, cross country skiing and winter activities. You're going to love their creme brule recipe.

Dude Ranch Food Old Fashioned Creme Brule Lone Mountain Ranch

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts cream
  • 14 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 oranges
  • 3 ounces of Bourbon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Brandied Cherry per serving

Directions:

  1. Zest oranges into cream and heat to boiling. Allow to steep for 10 minutes off the heat.
  2. Combine sugar with egg yolks
  3. Strain cream into egg misture to temper
  4. Mix in bourbon and bitters
  5. Allow to cool before baking
  6. Place a cherry in each ramekin (small mason jar)
  7. Fill with the creme brulee base to just about 1/2" below top
  8. Place in a 2" pan with water bath.
  9. Cover with Foil and bake at 300 until done (45 minutes to 1 hour)

 

Author: Melody Pittman, whereverimayroamblog.com

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7 easy and delicious dude ranch dessert recipes from the chefs at some of America's top all inclusive ranches. Bring the taste of campfire cooking home with a luxury twist with favorites like strawberry shortcake, oatmeal pie, blueberry cornmeal upside-down cake, and several more.

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Mother May I... Go on a Ranch Vacation for Mother's Day?

Mom stands facing away from a line of kids. She then chooses a child and announces,

"Brian, you may take 3 giant baby steps forward."

The child responds, "Mother may I?"

Mom then states, "Yes" or "No," depending on her whim, and the child complies.

If, however, the child forgets to ask "Mother may I?" he goes back to the starting line.

First one to touch Mother wins, or in this case, first one to take Mother on a ranch vacation wins.

  There are a lot of games to play on a ranch vacation for this special holiday, "Mother May I" included. Without a TV or cell phone you'll get lots of time to play on horseback, in the water or all over the mountain side with adventure activities. The recommended prescription is a full week of a lively Mother's Day Celebration either the 14th through the 20th of May, or any ole' week that will work for mom's schedule. Either way, a crayon drawn certificate about her special week with the family on a ranch is what this year calls for. Don't worry about which one to choose, take a look at the wonderful selections below from your #RanchVacationExperts at the Dude Ranchers' Association or give us a call and before you know it you'll have a short list of the best options for your Mother's Day Vacation.

Long Hollow Lodge Mother's Day

Long Hollow Ranch

Sisters, Oregon Phone: +1 541-923-1901 Looking for a truly memorable dude ranch vacation on a working ranch? A chance to ride with a cattle drive, fly fish on the ranch? Look no further! We have them all at Long Hollow, a working cattle ranch in beautiful central Oregon. Come spend a week us for the vacation you will never forget.

Broken Arrow Trail Mother's Day

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters

Alder, Montana Phone: +1 406-842-5437 Located in southwest Montana with the Ruby River flowing through the lodge property.All ages are welcome, children's activities for any age. Horses and mules to ride in western tack. Lessons and instruction provided for all activities. Custom trail rides to fit your ability and satisfy your desire.

Rich Ranch Pack Trip for Mother's Day

Rich's Montana Guest Ranch

Seeley Lake, Montana Phone: 1-800-532-4350 On behalf of our family and crew we invite you to come and share our rural country lifestyle and passion for Montana’s great outdoors. Here at the ranch we specialize in traditional dude ranch vacations, horseback riding, Bob Marshall Wilderness pack trips, camping, Blue Ribbon fly fishing, winter snowmobiling, and fair-chase hunts for elk and deer.

K diamond K Ranch Mother's Day

K Diamond K Guest Ranch

Republic, Washington Phone: 509-641-1003 Cell The K-Diamond-K Guest Cattle & Guest Ranch is open year round for single, couples & families of all ages. Guests staying at the ranch are made to feel at home and enjoy the warm hospitality in a relaxed atmosphere. Horseback riding, fishing, hunting, archery, gold panning, hiking & mountain biking.

Medicine Bow Lodge Mother's Day

Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch

Saratoga, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-409-5439 The Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch is located at approximately 8500 feet in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains. The closest town is Saratoga, Wyoming which is about 22 miles to the west. The land on which the Guest Ranch sits is located in the Medicine Bow National Forest.   Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

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There's a Dude Ranch for Everyone

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


Elkhorn Family Reunion

Elkhorn Ranch - Montana

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

Medicine Bow Western Family Vacation

Medicine Bow Lodge

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

Red Reflet Ranch Lodges

Red Reflet Ranch

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

Triangle X Grand Teton National Park

Triangle X

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


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Spring Break is Upon Us - Let's Go!

What is your family doing for Spring Break? Stormy weather is upon us and for many, the passing of Valentine’s Day and the shortest month of the year means more than candied hearts and roses. For many, the passing of January and February signal the perfect excuse to plan your next big break and welcome a spring vacation. Luckily, as the country’s original all-inclusive adventure vacation, guest ranches offer effortless options to satisfy any taste this spring. Whether it’s a warm family getaway that breaks the cliché of bikinis, tequila and crowds or a ski trip with friends, guest ranches can handle any request. Guest 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 while you enjoy your stay. Ranches located in warmer climates like Arizona allow guests to escape the winter cold and bask in the sun while horseback riding or enjoying luxury spa services. Vacationers wishing to cozy up to the fire can enjoy ranches located in cooler climates, like Colorado and Montana, where guests get the opportunity to bundle up and have one more romp in the snow before spring.

Tombstone Monument Ranch  

Warm Escapes

  • Under the Tucson SunTanque Verde Ranch, located in Tucson, Ariz., offers an abundance of activities for all ages. Whether you’re seeking to explore the desert and mountains, relax and reconnect with yourself, satisfy a creative craving, or burn up some energy with a challenging game, Tanque Verde offers a variety of activities to help you make the most of your guest ranch vacation. Spring break activities include horseback riding, guided hiking and biking, swimming, dancing, fishing or relaxing at the spa.
  • Western Adventure – Treat yourself to an historic Wild West adventure while enjoying all of the comforts and conveniences of the modern world at Tombstone Monument Ranch. Set up like an 1880’s Western frontier town, this guest ranch is situated amidst ancient bolder formations and the Dragoon Mountains, located three miles outside of Tombstone, Ariz. in the heart of Cochise County. Ride miles of trails where historic cowboys rode in the Tombstone hills, along old, abandoned railroad grade, in and out of dry gulches and washes, and along old dirt roads. Afterward, guests can step back in time through the swinging doors of an Old West-style bar and enjoy fun evening entertainment after a hearty dinner. Or, get to know the West’s most iconic town, Tombstone, which is home to more history of cowboys, Indians, silver mining and gunfights than any other destination in the West.  Tombstone is owned by the same operators as White Stallion Ranch – another warm-weather ranch in Tuscon, Ariz., featuring unspoiled desert mountains and cactus that have brought Hollywood filmmakers and generations of visitors to the ranch for more than 70 years.
  • Home Ranch

Winter Weather Getaways

  • Family Style – Taking a spring break at The Home Ranch is a perfect idea for families that want to truly unwind, play in the snow, and still get all the sunshine a spring break vacation requires. Located just outside Steamboat Springs in Clark, Colo., visitors enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding in the snow, sleigh rides, cooking classes and more. This guest ranch is known for its cuisine, offered family-style at long ranch tables. Rates include all meals, ranch activities, equipment, lessons, guides, and transportation to the Steamboat ski area and Hayden airport.
  • Snow on the RangeThe Medicine Bow Lodge And Guest Ranch is located in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains set within the Medicine Bow National Forest. While the closest town is about 22 miles West, in Saratoga, Colorado, guests will find plenty of bustling activity during their stay. The Snowy Range, with its alpine terrain, is unique in its beauty and splendor. Old mining and logging towns can be seen on horseback rides within just a few miles of the lodge, along with the hundreds of lakes, ponds, and streams that fill the valleys. Snowmobiling is at its all-time best here, where guests can enjoy trails painted with fresh, untouched powder along the back country. Afterward, guests can enjoy cross country skiing or snow shoeing, then cozy up by the huge stone fireplace in the lodge to await their homemade meal.

       

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