Your Next Wild West Adventure

Wild West Adventure

After scorching summers of heat, fire, drought, and, of course, the pandemic, it’s not uncommon to dream of a different life, much simpler, based on nature, and rooted in outdoor adventure and cozy relaxation come sunset. Luxury, traditional, and working dude ranches have survived prior pandemics, fierce natural disasters, and economic downfalls. The beginning of this decade proved to the world; the ride will go on! 

Throughout the Rocky Mountains, West to the Pacific, there are huge expanses of land and Western lifestyle to help elevate your mental and physical struggles during the pandemic. Here are four distinctly different ranches, in four Rocky Mountain enclaves to get you thoughtfully planning your next wild, West adventure. Next summer, where’s your ride going to be?

Wild West Adventure

Blacktail Ranch: Back to Nature in Montana

Located one hour from Great Falls and Helena, Montana, for air travel, or for easy drive-to directions, the Blacktail Ranch is nestled in the Rocky Mountains at the base of the Continental Divide surrounded by white-capped mountains, fields, and forests with a clear sparkling river running through the property. Guests can choose from a variety of cabins for their accommodations and there are three and seven-night all-inclusive options. 

Horseback riding is offered for ages seven and older for all levels. Children ages four to seven can ride horseback around the property while being led by a wrangler. Exclusive to this ranch is the Blacktail Cave Exploration & Museum, a cave tour, and museum visit. There is also a three-day Divide Ride that takes you to the top of the Continental Divide. Bird watching, body work, yoga, fishing, and rafting are just a handful of the weekly activities. And, with a prime location between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, guests never, ever can run out of outdoor activity.  

Fast Facts

Elevation: 4,600 Feet

Season: June-September

Connectivity: Wifi in the main lodge, cellular service is marginal at the ranch. 

Wild West Adventure

Klondike Ranch: Working the Wyoming Land

When you dream of wild, open, Wyoming, the landscape is exactly that of Klondike Ranch. This is a working cattle ranch, situated in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. The week-long, all-inclusive experience truly immerses guests into the cowboy lifestyle. Accommodations include modern and comfortable cabins, each with their own private bathroom, and offer a home-away-from-home element, with some added rustic charm. Some cabins do have kitchenettes, as well as living areas.

Guests who want to ride, this is the destination! They have the opportunity to horseback ride, herd cattle, assist in ranch work, and take the horses out on an overnight campout. The owners, the Tass Family, truly work to match each rider with the best horse for their ability in order to enjoy the extreme immersion into the ranching West. Guided fishing, hiking, photography, and historical tours are also offered as well as the weekly rodeo. 

Fast Facts

Elevation: 5,000 feet

Season: June-September

Connectivity: Internet available

Wild West Adventure

McGarry Ranches: Ideal Idaho

The McGarry Ranch is actually two separate ranches located in southeastern Idaho, in the upper Snake River Valley and along the South Fork of the Snake River, approximately 90 miles west of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Theron McGarry, a lifelong cowboy, and fourth-generation rancher, started the guest ranch which continues on with his family today, your hosts. 

There are not many dude and guest ranches in the State of Idaho; therefore, the experience of daily activities such as roping, driving cattle to new pastures, fence-mending and never-ending odd jobs, all of which maintain the integrity of the herd, allow guests to escape to another genre and truly embrace the Gem State’s outrageously diverse land. 

Guest spend most of the week scattering cattle on the range, doctoring cattle, packing salt for cattle, trailing cattle to a new pasture on the mountain, and gathering up stray cattle in some of the most scenic mountain country of Idaho. Come sunset there is plenty of space to relax, stock small items in the cabin refrigerators, browse a library of paperback books, and a TV in the dining room and the Vet Shed (but you'll be too busy or tired to watch).

Fast Facts

Elevation: 4,800 feet

Season: May-October

Connectivity: Wifi in the main lodge

Wild West Adventure

Drowsy Water Ranch: Legacy Landscape

The 700-acre family guest ranch is nearly their 100th anniversary celebration this decade! The Fosha Family have owned and operated the ranch since 1977, and have developed a world-renowned reputation for unpretentious quality, insanely personal and experiential Western activity, and most importantly, a nice cabin for bunking down and plenty of homemade food to keep the fuel going in your belly for plenty of riding. 

This week-long dude ranch opportunity is only 90 miles from Denver, and travelers can now arrive at the ranch with such ease. Fly into Denver, hop on the light rail to Union Station, grab the scenic Amtrak train to Granby and the ranch will be there to pick you up! Of course, driving is lovely, passing by the continental divide in route to this vast landscape is spectacular, especially with surrounding wildlife such as deer, elk, moose, coyote, and birds of prey in the area.

The ranch has over 100 head of horses for guests to ride, each personally matched to the riders’ ability and comfort level. Drowsy Water is family-oriented with a world-class kids’ program. Whitewater rafting is included with each week’s activity and there is also an onsite zipline. Just miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, the ranch has premiere views and sunsets and sunrises that cannot be found in many parts of the country. 

Fast Facts

Elevation: 8,200 feet

Season: June-September

Connectivity: Wifi in the main lodge

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

Vacation 2021Vacation 2021

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

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

last-minute vacation

Gros Ventre River Ranch - Wyoming

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

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

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

last-minute vacation

Elkhorn Ranch - Montana

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

last-minute vacation

Lost Valley Ranch - Colorado 

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

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

last minute vacation

Rancho de la Osa - Arizona

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

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

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Luxury and Kids Go Together at Resort Guest Ranches

Resort-style guest ranches combine the adventure of dude ranch vacations with the luxury of all-inclusive resorts for your kids and yourself. The Dude Ranchers Association has over 100 member ranches across the western U.S. and Canada with many hosting special programs and activities for kids. Below are a few ranches that do Luxury and kids like no other destination vacation spot.

At Colorado’s Tumbling River Ranch kids from age 3 to teen find adventure and independence. Kids are split into groups by age and spend their days going on scavenger hunts, hay rides, camp outs, horseback rides, hikes, and more. Teens love hanging out with the college-aged counselors while rock climbing, rafting, fly fishing, playing capture the flag, and going on an overnight pack trip.    

From morning until bedtime, Montana’s Mountain Sky Guest Ranch offers a variety of fun children’s activities that will entertain and delight all ages - like horseback rides, games in the heated swimming pool, fishing in the ranch pond, sing a longs, arts and crafts, nature walks, rodeos, tennis, and fun surprises cooked up by the creative staff .     

Wyoming’s Lost Creek Ranch and Spa, made famous last fall as the setting for Modern Family’s season premiere, lets kids leave their “boring parents” relaxing at the spa, playing golf, or exploring Grand Teton National park. Special kids-only activities are tailored to the interests and abilities of participants.      

Lone Mountain Ranch has an Outdoor Youth Adventure program that is designed for young people (ages 3-18) to have fun while developing an appreciation for nature and building their self-confidence through a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities. These experiences are geared to entertain and challenge the interests of varying age groups. When you combine the experiences we offer with our kind, energetic and knowledgeable staff, the kids can't help but have fun and look at life from a different perspective. The confidence they gain with their peers outdoors is something they can take with them wherever they go.  

The Home Ranch, in Colorado, is a family-friendly ranch that requires no advance planning, no childcare arrangements, no dinner planning, and no stress. You and your family can simply follow your individual bliss while we take care of everything else for you. Our all-inclusive children’s program and dedicated kids counselors offer a wide menu of daily activities and adventure for kids and teens - and make it very easy for the whole family to unwind, relax, and do what they want, when they want, how they want to do it.    

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