Dude Ranches are Great for Those Who Love the Outdoors

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

1. Ranch Life 

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

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

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

3. Fly Fishing 

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

4. Programs for Children

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

5. Cuisine and Dining Experience

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

Great Dude Ranches to Choose From

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

Dude Ranches R Lazy S Ranch

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

 

Lazy L&B Dude Ranches have great evening activities

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

 

K Diamond K Dude Ranches With Lots of Acres to Explore

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

 

Moose Head Ranch Tetons View

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

 

Blacktail Ranch Dude Ranch Cattle Drive

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

 

Focus Ranch Fly Fishing Dude Ranch Activities

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

 

Triangle C Clinic Dude Ranches for Horsemanship

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

 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch for Weddings and Elopements

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

 

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch Rodeo Activities in Colorado

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

Hunewill Ranch in California Dude Ranches for Trail Riding-1

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

 

View the Complete List of Dude Ranch Vacations in North America

 

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

 

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Grand Teton National Park Vacations

If you have never had the chance to experience the beauty and serenity of Grand Teton National Park, you should probably add it to your bucket list. Comprising one side of the Snake River Valley is the Teton Mountain Range, the hasty vertical rise of the peaks and the jagged edges of the mountains stand out greatly against Wyoming’s big blue skies. Explore the sage-covered valley, glacial lakes and see many different types of wildlife either by vehicle or by foot. There is always another option of how to enjoy Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding area as well, from the back of a horse! Grand Teton National Park vacations allow for great family or solo traveler fun! 

There are 9 different dude ranches all within an hour drive of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and they are all members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. Many of these ranches have the ability to take horseback rides in close neighboring areas of the park.  Some of these ranches are even allowed to take guests into the actual park boundaries on rides.  Continue reading to find out more about these dude ranches located in close proximity to Grand Teton National Park and how they might just be the next perfect vacation destination.

Grand Teton National Park Vacations 

 

Gros Ventre River Ranch

Located only 12 miles from the entrance into Grand Teton National Park is the Gros Ventre River Ranch, an adventure ranch waiting for you and your family! Enjoy all of the activities that the ranch has to offer as well as the surrounding area of Jackson Hole. You may want to take a few days before or after your ranch stay to explore the national parks. Yellowstone National Park is just to the north of Grand Teton and is easy to access if you are already going through Grand Teton. At Gros Ventre River Ranch you can embark on a rejuvenating vacation while connecting with nature and family in so many aspects. There is wildlife all around the ranch and you can even head into Jackson Hole for some touristy fun if you are up for it. No matter what you want your Grand Teton National Park vacations to entail, complete relaxation or total adventure, Gros Ventre is a great ranch to consider.

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

R Lazy S Ranch

Located at the base of the Teton mountains and at the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park lies the R Lazy S Ranch. With spectacular views of the entire mountain range and Snake River Valley, you will not be disappointed with the scenery. The majority of the horseback rides and fly-fishing trips available at the ranch are taken into the park boundaries; you will ride along canyons, lakes, streams and open meadows; the fishing in the park is quite impressive as well. There are high chances of seeing numerous types of wildlife such as large elk herds, deer, bison and moose if you are lucky!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Flat Creek Ranch

Less than 30 miles from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park is the pristine and petite Flat Creek Ranch. With only 5 cabins and a maximum capacity of 14 people, you are sure to feel relaxed and unplugged from the real world, all while having a chance to reconnect with nature. The ranch offers several outdoor activities but they are known for their fly-fishing expertise and challenging waters of Flat Creek and Flat Creek Lake.  While out fishing, hiking or horseback riding, there is a good chance you will see some sort of wildlife wandering around. If you are a fly-fishing or outdoor enthusiast with an itch to see a few national parks, Flat Creek is a great vacation destination for you!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Spotted Horse Ranch

Located on the banks of the Hoback River and just over a 30-minute drive from Grand Teton National Park is the Spotted Horse Ranch. The Spotted Horse is unique to the Jackson Hole area dude ranches because it sits in the Hoback Canyon rather than the Snake River Valley. They offer fantastic fly-fishing opportunities and have a stocked Orvis retail fly-shop on the ranch. They have resident fly-fishing instructors/guides that will teach you the ins and outs of the trade and provide a great experience on and off the water. They also have great horseback rides and pack trips, climbing out of the canyon to mountain peaks with 360-degree views happens every day. The ranch is the perfect distance from Jackson Hole and from Grand Teton National Park, a day trip is a great way to experience the park while at Spotted Horse. If you are a fly-fishing enthusiast or are looking for a relaxing ranch with close proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, Spotted Horse Ranch just may be the vacation destination for you!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

The Red Rock Ranch

A short drive of about 30 minutes from The Red Rock Ranch will take you into Grand Teton National Park and gives you the option to venture into Yellowstone National Park if you please. There is a great amount of adventures to be had in the parks. You can hike to beautiful glacier fed lakes through meadows of wildflowers and see wildlife everywhere you turn. You can also rent bikes to travel through the park a little quicker, a great bike trail system is in place and takes you to the highlighted areas. You may want to participate in some water activities, paddle boards and canoes are available to rent in a couple different places in close proximity to the park as well. The Red Rock Ranch is a great vacation destination that allows you to enjoy ranch life and two different national park experiences without having to travel very far!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Moose Head Ranch

With breath-taking scenery in every direction, friendly and hospitable staff, two national parks right out the back door and an abundance of activities to enjoy, Moose Head Ranch will check every box on your list. Moose Head is the last privately-owned guest ranch completely within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park. So even if you do not get the time to go and enjoy all of the beauty and fun the park has to offer while on your vacation, you can still say you have spent a week in Grand Teton National Park! While at Moose Head it is almost guaranteed you will see elk, mule deer, bison and several other types of wildlife.  You will have the opportunity to explore via horseback and fish in the streams and lakes running through and around the property. Moose Head is a wonderful destination vacation for a family or any kind of traveler!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Lost Creek Ranch

A luxury resort awaits your company at the Lost Creek Ranch located right outside of Grand Teton National Park. Living in the ecosystem of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park insinuates that adventures are bound to be had while at the ranch. From horseback riding with beautiful mountain and valley views to relaxing in their highly rated spa, there is something for everyone at Lost Creek. The folks at the ranch are equipped and prepared to help you coordinate all types of activities so your vacation is everything you hoped for, and possibly more!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Triangle X Ranch

The Triangle X Ranch has been in the Teton Mountain Range and the Grand Teton National Park area before national parks were even established! Rich with history and charm is one of the best ways to describe the Triangle X. The Turner family, who owns Triangle X, have been in the Jackson Hole area since the early 1900’s. Five generations of Turners have called the ranch home and to this day the Turner family still owns and runs the ranch in a traditional way. The ranch and Turner family truly grew with the times of history and Grand Teton National Park. They have watched it develop and change over the years, yet still they understand and respect the preservation of the park as well as the history of the valley. There is something for everyone to do at the Triangle X Ranch. Horseback rides, pack trips, float trips and day to day activities take place within the park’s boundaries and offer stunning views and unforgettable memories. If you are looking for a historic and charming dude ranch close to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, look no further than the Triangle X Ranch!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Goosewing Ranch

Ride through spectacular fields of wildflowers with the Teton Mountains acting as an astounding backdrop. At the Goosewing Ranch you will travel by horses to see some of the best views the Snake River Valley and Wyoming has to offer. You could also experience these views while fly fishing or just simply relaxing around the ranch. However you want to spend your days on vacation, you can be certain to find beautiful views and a sense of peace. While on your vacation you can venture into Grand Teton National Park, and even Yellowstone National Park if you choose, on a day trip. See all different types of wildlife and amazing views you will not find anywhere else. Goosewing is a mere 17 miles to the park, approximately a 20-minute drive, that is if the bison do not cause a traffic jam! You will not want to miss the opportunity to see two of the most beautiful national parks the country has to offer!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

 

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 Grand Teton National Park vacations are wonderful for every traveler! If you have never experienced this park, you should add it to your bucket list!

6 Dude Ranch Vacations to Take this Summer

With great weather, longer days and the kids out of school it's time to pack up and go on vacation. An extended, relaxed trip with the kids to a dude ranch is a great way to experience something unique and authentic. This summer you can bond with your family while riding horses, fishing, hiking and water sports at one of the best dude ranches in the country as a Dude Ranchers' Association member. Here are 6 places you should put at the top of your list for this summer. 

 

6 Dude Ranch Vacations to Take this Summer

 

Wind River Ranch Summer Vacation Flag Rodeo

WIND RIVER RANCH

Airport: Denver

Are you tired of being tired after your summer vacation?  Where to eat, what to do, how do we get there, the decisions are endless and exhausting!  At Wind River Ranch they take care of all the details for you.  The executive chef will prepare your meals, the wranglers will guide you through scenic Rocky Mountain National Park and the staff will provide entertaining programs that each of your children will enjoy.

WHAT TO DO: 

Wind River Ranch offers its guests much more than horseback riding. Each day offers a myriad of activities that your entire family will enjoy while leaving plenty of time to lounge by the resort pool and hot tub, listen to a featured Christian guest speaker, read a book on your porch or even take a well-deserved nap.  

Read more about all Colorado Dude Ranches 

 

A Bar A Dude Ranch Vacations for this Summer

A BAR A RANCH

Airport: Laramie

In the heart of southern Wyoming's Medicine Bow Mountains, lies the A Bar A Guest Ranch. Established in 1926, it is one of the oldest guest ranches in the country. It is also one of the largest: nearly 100,000 acres for guests and staff to explore, in addition to National Forest and Wilderness Area that surrounds the ranch. The return guest rate is 92% so you’ll have to book early at this popular ranch!

WHAT TO DO: 

Horseback riding, fly fishing, and hiking are primary draws, but the ranch also has tennis, golf, skeet, trap, sporting clays, a heated swimming pool, excellent meals, and first class children's and teen's programs.

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches

 

Colorado Trails Summer Vacation Dude Ranch

COLORADO TRAILS RANCH

Airport: Durango

Family fun abounds in the summer at Colorado Trails Ranch located in the beautiful San Juan Mountains just outside of historic Durango, Colorado. You'll find that the ranch tailors the riding program to accommodate all ability levels. If you're a new rider, they'll teach you the basics; if you're an experienced rider, you will appreciate the quality of the horses and the opportunity to do more than just "nose-to-tail" trail rides. 

WHAT TO DO: 

Colorado Trails Ranch offers fly fishing, riflery, archery, trap shooting, full children/teen's programs for three separate age groups, each with their own counselor. Plus hiking, swimming, rafting, relaxing and evening programs.

Read more about all Colorado Dude Ranches 

 

R Lazy S Ranch Summer Vacation at a Dude Ranch

R LAZY S RANCH

Airport: Jackson Hole

Operating since 1947, the R Lazy S Ranch is located in one of the West's most scenic area - Jackson Hole. Just 20 minutes from the town of Jackson, the ranch is bordered by Grand Teton National Park to the North, and the beautiful Snake River to the East. The towering Teton Mountains are in full view and only minutes away from the ranch.

WHAT TO DO: 

Enjoy your entire stay right at the ranch, or take advantage of many activities and sights available nearby, for example, the Jackson Hole Rodeo. There are several night spots offering excellent Western music for listening and dancing. Play a round of golf on several beautiful 18-hole golf courses; or take mountain climbing instruction. Ride bicycles along many miles of paths located nearby the ranch as well as in the park. 

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches

 

Red Horse Camp Fire Summer Vacation Dude Ranch

 

RED HORSE MOUNTAIN RANCH

Airport: Spokane

Red Horse Mountain Ranch is well known for its extensive list of guided adventures, well appointed accommodations, and first rate western hospitality for summer vacations. Along with the full schedule of beginner to advanced western horseback riding and outdoor adventures, the ranch includes a famous kid's program packed with outdoor activities and horseback riding (ages 3 and up). 

WHAT TO DO: 

Additional activities include massage, jetovator, and fly fishing. Guided adventures include advanced horseback riding, scenic and all day horseback rides, horseback lessons, fly fishing lessons, lake fishing, archery, sporting clays, high element challenge course, zip line, climbing wall, hiking, yoga, kayaking, bike tours, mountain biking,  swimming, along with a lengthy list of self-guided adventures.

Read more about all Idaho Dude Ranches

 

Spotted Horse View Trail Family

SPOTTED HORSE RANCH

Airport: Jackson Hole

Located south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Spotted Horse Ranch offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. From horseback riding to river rafting; from the Jackson Hole Rodeo to bar-be-que cookouts, we offer something for everyone, which enhances your western experience.

WHAT TO DO: 

Enjoy a quiet scenic float on the Snake River or a whitewater trip can be arranged for the more adventurous. Volleyball, ping-pong, square dancing and horseshoes are available as well.

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches

 

 

Pin this for later - 6 Summer Dude Ranch Vacations

 

An extended, relaxed trip with the kids to a dude ranch is a great way to experience something unique and authentic. This summer you can bond with your family while riding horses, fishing, hiking and water sports at one of the best dude ranches in the country as a Dude Ranchers' Association member. Here are 6 places you should put at the top of your list for this summer.

Northwest Wyoming Dude Ranch Vacations

The beauty and wonder of Wyoming is undeniable: with mountains lakes, forests and prairies, the state has a lot going for it. That’s just the start of a naturally awesome place. Wyoming is also home to Yellowstone National Park in the Northwest corner. When you find yourself planning your next trip to the greater Yellowstone area or Jackson Hole in Northwest Wyoming here are some truly special hidden dude ranch vacations that are worth the trip alone. 

Although Wyoming ranches focus on horseback riding, guests can experience a wide range of activities which include; hiking, fishing, shooting, archery, rafting, and camping. Whether you are looking for a family adventure vacation, a family reunion location, a corporate retreat getaway, or a unique wedding destination, these ranches are what you have been looking for.

 

 

R Lazy S Ranch

 

Good Old Fashioned Hospitality, Excellent Food and Casual Living at Its Best

The R Lazy S Ranch specializes in the real meaning of vacation: You can be as active or inactive as you please at this Jackson Hole dude ranch. Go horseback riding for an hour or two, all day, or take an afternoon riding lesson. Fish in America’s top trout streams, take a scenic or whitewater river float trip, or see an authentic Western Rodeo.

Life at this dude ranch goes back to simpler times. The R Lazy S Ranch provides good, old fashioned hospitality, excellent food, and casual living at its best.

 

 

CM Kids HIgh FIve smaller

 

A Family Friendly Atmosphere with a Unique Charm

The CM Ranch is a friendly, casual establishment with various generations and age ranges attending. The ranch is run much like it was back in 1927 – passionate management hosting an array of lovely guests that have set out to partake in simple pleasures and commune with the wilderness.

Your host's love for the outdoors and quality time with friends and family is, without a doubt, infectious. The beautiful environment, activities, and infrastructure provided allow all of our out-of-towners to build fond, long-lasting memories. It is truly an unforgettable homeland.

 

Lost Creek Ranch View

 

The Best of a Western Guest Ranch and World-Class Resort

Lost Creek Ranch combines the best of a western guest ranch with a world-class resort. Every aspect of the buildings, log cabins, corrals, spa, and other facilities ensures your comfort, safety and enjoyment. The most important and noticeable feature of our Wyoming dude ranch lies not in its structures but in its people. The ranch is dedicated to personal service and with over 50 years of great service Lost Creek Ranch is committed to bridging the gap between today and the way things used to be.

 

Allen's Diamond 4 Ranch trail Mountains

 

Visit the Wind River Mountain Range and the Largest Active Glaciers in the Lower 48

Allens Diamond 4 Ranch is located in the rugged Wind River Mountain Range and is Wyoming's highest wilderness guest ranch offering log cabins, mountain trail riding, fly fishing, wilderness pack trips, and hunting. As the ranch's backdrop the Wind River Mountain Range boasts the largest active glaciers in the lower 48 states, hundreds of alpine lakes teeming with wild trout, abundant wildlife and world class fly fishing and mountain climbing. The unique setting of the Diamond 4 Ranch in Dickinson Park gives you access to 100,000 spectacular acres. Saddle up and join them for a real western adventure!

 

 

Absaroka Pasture Aspen Fall Horses smaller

 

A Place for Solitude and Beauty on a Grand Scale

Here in the West, very few places remain that offer both solitude and beauty on a grand scale. The Absaroka Ranch, located at the headwaters of Wyoming's Wind River and at the base of the spectacular Absaroka mountain range, is such a place.

The ranch welcomes all people and families looking for a true western experience. With the Absaroka Mountain Range as the backdrop there are endless opportunities to enjoy beautiful scenery, see unique wildlife and make meaningful memories.

 

Triangle C Horses Gather

 

Enjoy Family, Friends and Horsemanship

Triangle C Ranch is the perfect place to enjoy family, friends and horsemanship all while being surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain views in the world. Chris and Barbara Cox, along with their dedicated staff, share a passion to educate and motivate all ages through their horsemanship journey right here at Triangle C Ranch. Chris has implemented a safe and effective Horsemanship Program for every skill level and is offering several 3 and 6 day horsemanship clinics during the summer months.

 

For the complete list of Wyoming Ranch Vacations visit us here.

Northwest Wyoming Dude Ranch Vacations

When you find yourself planning your next trip to the greater Yellowstone area or Jackson Hole in Northwest Wyoming here are some truly special hidden dude ranch vacations that are worth the trip alone. Whether you are looking for a family adventure vacation, a family reunion location, a corporate retreat getaway, or a unique wedding destination, these ranches are what you have been looking for.

Family Travel and Dude Ranches

One of the most meaningful comments we’ve read about family travel and dude ranches is this: Dude ranches reconnect adults to a simple and innocent part of their childhood and introduce their children to these same experiences.

Western Pleasure Ranch Family Travel Destination

At dude ranches, everyone can discover magic. Photo courtesy of Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

There’s something uplifting and joyful about that. Like when parents momentarily forget themselves and regress with their kids – revisiting beloved animated cartoons from their youth, or unabashedly belting out favorite ballads from bygone (to their kids) times. Now picture horses and corrals, Stetson hats and western boots, cookouts and wide open landscapes straight out of cowboy movies and novels. Your heart goes pitter-patter, just a little bit. Or a lot. Because in today’s era of quick-paced modernization, invasive technology and growing detachment from nature (and one another), the ranch appeal is arguably more potent — for all generations — than ever before. “Perhaps it is the allure of the Western lifestyle that people long to experience. Perhaps it is the adventure that draws guests to a ranch in the first place. Most likely, it’s a combination,” believes Kari Kilmer, Manager of Vee Bar Guest Ranch. Perhaps. Whatever the case, when on a dude ranch, “The feelings that awaken inside of you are something that most people never imagine. It’s the magic!” agrees Tammy Yurich, Activities Director of Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch.

Latigo Ranch Family Travel Destination

Living in a dream. Photo courtesy of Latigo Ranch

Exploring the Magic “Dude ranches are a perfect fit for family travel simply because the dynamic shifts,” suggests Ashley Ducharme, Marketing Coordinator of Bar W Guest Ranch. “Everyone within the family is on an authentic adventure because everyone is trying new things (archery, horseback riding, square dancing, skeet shooting and more). This equalizes the parents and the children and fosters open communication. The kids say ‘Do you know what we did today?’ and the parents respond ‘Well do you know what we did today?’” That level playing field wasn’t created by accident. It has taken a lot of work and requires diligent vigilance to maintain. All the more so as it’s increasingly difficult to find other family-focused vacation experiences that so consistently “bring families together naturally,” as Kerstin Auer, Marketing & Sales of Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, sees it, all by placing careful and balanced emphasis on providing “unique adventures and educational experiences that the whole family will enjoy,” says Janice Schoonover, Owner of Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. Over the years, plenty of visitors have predictably compared their dude ranch adventures with the famous magic of other standard-bearing activity providers like Disney. How do dude ranches stand up? Incredibly well! “When you come to a dude ranch, the only lines you’ll find are the strings of horses and riders on the mountain trails. Every moment with your family will be spent finding real adventures, not being herded through fabricated ones. Without crowds of people to fight against, the buzz of this modern world will fade into serenity and wildness,” says Spencer George, son of the owners of Latigo Ranch.

Geronimo Trail Ranch Family Travel Destination

A Chance to slow down and get in touch with natures. Photo courtesy of Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

Take Things a Little Slower There really is a lot to be said for excitement without overstimulation, and activation without commercialization. “Dude ranches give families… a place to slow down from the fast pace of daily life and reconnect with each other,” observes Meris Stout, Owner of Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. There are two important elements to this. First, “Free of television, phone calls, texts and push notifications, family members can discover the magic that has captivated ranch guests for a hundred years,” enthuses RC Townsend, Assistant General Manager of Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. Second, “Learning together through nature and animals is a powerful thing for families to share,” says Tyler Beckley, Owner of Three Bars Guest Ranch. Of course, a readiness to make family time together just that much more engaging is stoked by freedom from one another during part of each day. This is aided by the safe environment dude ranches work to create, allowing parents to relax while their kids do their own things. “Kids have freedoms on a dude ranch that most cannot experience in today’s world,” says Jeanne Ross, General Manager of Colorado Trails Guest Ranch. Doug Cole, Owner of Marble Mountain Guest Ranch concurs: “Once you arrive at a dude ranch, you are by default in a more secure environment that has a known and fixed population during the time of your stay. Kids are more enabled to ‘free range.’”

R Lazy S Ranch Family Travel

Photo courtesy of R Lazy S Ranch

Step into the Dude Ranch Mindset Predictably, “A dude ranch offers so much… by providing very unique opportunities,” says Kelly Stirn, Owner of R Lazy S Ranch. So let’s explore some them. Keep in mind, however, that “The hardest vacation to describe is one based on an experience. For those of us that live this wonderful, rewarding, down-to-earth lifestyle, it is hard to tell a family on the phone what a wonderful time they will have,” advises Kilmer of Vee Bar Guest Ranch. “They simply have to take our word for it, then try it for themselves.” Let’s do that. Let’s put ourselves briefly in dude ranchers’ shoes by reading their words and imagining how amazing a dude ranch holiday can be. Then let’s all go try it out ourselves, remembering that, as Doug Van Berkum, Owner of Rainbow Trout Ranch likes to point out, “There truly is something for EVERYONE!” To read the extended quotes from the ranchers visit the blog post here. This blog was originally written by the Family Travel Association. Visit them on the web here. Save Save Save Save Save Save

2017 Eclipse - View from a Dude Ranch

The first total eclipse to span the United States in nearly four decades – The Great American Eclipse – will take place on August 21, 2017. The center of the eclipse path – where the moon completely blocks out the sun, creating a few minutes of night in the middle of the day – will pass slightly south of Dubois, WY. 

Moose Head Tetons to View the Eclipse

Moosehead Ranch's View of the Tetons

The most dramatic scenery for the eclipse can be found in Wyoming. Grand Teton National Park is squarely centered in the eclipse path. Countless visitors will no doubt flock to the area to try and find a prime viewing spot. The BEST destination for eclipse viewers is one of the area’s dude ranches. Why? Wyoming’s dude ranches are located in some of the most tranquil, untouched areas of the country. Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, you’re that much closer to nature. And there is a very good chance for clear skies in Wyoming in August. All five of the below Dude Ranchers’ Association ranches are located in or near Grand Teton National Park:

  • Moose Head Ranch is the last privately owned guest ranch located completely within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park.
  • R Lazy S Ranch is located on the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park, walking distance from your cabin. Most of the views of the ranch look directly upon the Teton Mountain range.
  • Heart Six Guest Ranch is located just three miles from Grand Teton National Park. You will actually travel through Grand Teton National Park on your way to and from the ranch.
  • Lazy L&B Ranch is nestled in a valley that is less populated now than when it was homesteaded over 100 years ago and surrounded by 80,000 acres of wildlife habitat.
  • CM Ranch, one of the oldest dude ranches in the country, dates back to 1927 and is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains in the state of Wyoming. This is true cowboy country, with few people and vast, open spaces. It is a land that inspires dreams of riding horseback across the plains. Wyoming luxury Dude Ranch vacations help guests realize that dream.

The bulk of Yellowstone National Park is in Northwest Wyoming. Grand Loop Road provides a wonderful overview of the park, from the steaming geysers to majestic waterfalls and deep canyons. Hundreds of trails traverse the park, providing access to deep backcountry areas, remote lakes, and scenic overlooks. Many Wyoming Dude Ranch vacations include excursions into Yellowstone. Grand Teton National Park is also in Northwest Wyoming. The first glimpse of the jagged mountains that explode out of the Jackson Hole Valley may take away the breath. Pristine lakes and grassland dot the valley floor. Glaciers slide down steep rocky peaks from elevations of more than 12,000 feet. Moose, elk, and bear inhabit this stunning area, and are frequently spotted during guided dude ranch excursions. Jump to eastern Wyoming and find Devil's Tower, a massive, monolithic volcanic neck that rises out of the Black Hills. Visitors circumnavigate the tower and try to spot climbers - of which there are many - or play hide and seek with the prairie dogs that reside within the park boundaries.

Wyoming Dude Ranch vacations may be rustic or luxurious. Guests may ride all day and herd cattle, or soak in a hot tub and enjoy a massage. Activities may range from angling to river rafting and hiking, or lounging on a porch with a book. Wyoming Dude Ranches strive to create the perfect vacation for guests, whether that means non-stop activity or sleeping late.   Save Save

The One and Only Wyoming

When you think about traveling in mountains, on rivers or wide open spaces think about Wyoming. Out here the air is fresh, the scenery spectacular and the people have a western hospitality about them you won’t find anywhere else. There are ranches, dude ranches, cattle operations and cowboys of all sorts... professional rodeo cowboys, ranch hands on hundreds of thousands of acres and cowboys that pack horses into places like the Thorofare, the most remote location in the lower 48, located in the greater area Yellowstone National Park. This wonderful state is home to recreation of all kinds, not just ones on horseback.  Yellowstone National Park anyone? Yes, that is here in Wyoming and the state is very proud of it. Let your compass take you in all the cardinal directions and you will find vast amounts of beautiful lonely highways leading to historical places and clear, crisp streams packed with trout waiting to take your fly. You could be on your way to the Big Horn Mountains, Devil’s Tower, Cheyenne Frontier Days, the high and mighty Tetons or the next small western town with a population of 200 or less. Winter is a great time to be here as well. Trust me. It truly is. The quiet snow is ready to be disturbed by snowshoeing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, and snowmobiling. There are ice climbing festivals, ice fishing derbies or your winter recreation of choice. If you’re not yet convinced that Wyoming is the place to be, consider this; whether you are an avid participant in one type of recreation or a general adventurer a dude ranch just might be the right fit. Each ranch listed below has a general list of activities that will accommodate your wants for a week long break. With a closer look each individual ranch has its own flair of personality and specialty. Find the one that matches you and your travel companions. If it is not on the list below, don't fret. There are more Wyoming Ranches than these. Pick up the phone and call the Dude Ranchers' Association to inquire about the extent of ranches in the state.  

R Lazy S Wyoming Vacation Trail Ride Family

R Lazy S Ranch, Teton Village, Wyoming

R Lazy S Ranch specializes in the real meaning of vacation: You can be as active or inactive as you please.

 


Red Rock Ranch Vacation Wyoming

The Red Rock Ranch, Kelly, Wyoming

The Red Rock Ranch takes great pride in serving excellent food, whether on a cook-out BBQ, lunch ride or in our main dining room. The food is a fabulous mix of ranch cuisine with a gourmet flare.


Triangle C Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Triangle C Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

The Triangle C Ranch takes pride in being a true Wyoming Ranch- where their handshake is our bond and the coffee pot is always on!

 


Vee Bar Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Vee Bar Ranch, Laramie, Wyoming

The Vee Bar Guest and Dude Ranch specializes in small Wyoming conferences and retreats, with space for up to 40 guests for day conferences and 25-30 guests for overnight retreats.

 


Lazy L&B Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Lazy L & B Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

The Lazy L & B Ranch offers a great kids program. Aside from the riding program kids love the petting zoo, the tree house and the freedom to go wherever they want, whenever they want.

 


Rimrock Ranch Wyoming

Rimrock Ranch, Cody Wyoming

Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, 24 miles west of Cody and 27 miles east of the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.


More Ranches Here Save Save

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