Why Moms Choose a Dude Ranch for a Great Family Vacation

Dude ranches make an incredibly memorable and enjoyable family vacation - for moms especially. With a sense of togetherness and shared experiences moms and the whole family are sure to love their time in the great outdoors, horseback riding and participating in a limitless number of outdoor adventures, such as hiking, fishing, white water rafting, cattle work, petting zoos, zip lining and more. Whether you’re an adventure loving mom (busy body) or a relaxation loving mom (spa and hanging out by the pool type), we’ve got you covered.  It is sure to be a blast for kids of all ages and we’re sure dads will have fun too, but here are the top reasons why moms love dude ranches for a family vacation. 

family vacation

Paradise Guest Ranch - Buffalo, WY

3 square meals are prepared daily (even for picky eaters)

Traveling moms understand the task of finding a restaurant everyone will enjoy while on the road. Who wants tacos for dinner? And you hear simultaneously, “I do!” and “No way!” and this process repeats itself until finally you order pizza and take it back to the hotel room. This just isn’t the case at a dude ranch. All the guess work is taken out of the equation and professional trained chefs make wonderful dinners for the whole family - even if someone has a special dietary need. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all planned out for you. And the best part? Moms get to enjoy this with the whole family, not worrying one bit about clean up, grocery shopping, making sure there’s something on the menu the kids will eat. Once you let the kitchen know what you’ll need for the family, the entire week will be “all gravy,” if you will, at the dinner table. 

Chores are non-existent 

A ranch vacation goes far beyond booking a typical hotel or even staying at a vacation rental home. We all know what it would take to replace mom’s job while on vacation, an entire team of folks. And that’s just what we’ve got for you for your week stay. With a two to one guest to staff ratio moms won’t have to worry about cleaning up your cabin - a swat team of house keepers are deployed every morning, that will sweep through every room, tidying up every sock and pj’s from the day before. And what about the dishes? There won’t be any fighting over who’s turn it is. Mom certainly won’t have to do it and neither will the kids. And, not one time during the week will anyone have to vacuum dirt dragged in from the barn. If something breaks, no worries, maintenance crews are on staff with all the right tools. 

The activity planning is already done

Moms won’t have to worry about scouring the internet for things to do at your destination. Stop the hassle of worrying about TripAdvisor reviews of afternoon excursions for outdoor adventures. The ranch will have you and the whole family covered for fun things to do. The best thing about this? You won’t have to plan every step or every activity out for the week before hand. You and the family can decide in the morning what you want to do. There won’t be any need for additional transportation. Fly into the airport and someone from the ranch will be there to pick you up. There won’t be any need for a map or navigation - unless of course you go geocaching while you’re there. 

family vacation

Bar Lazy J Ranch - Parshall, CO

Everyone can be together or free to be with their own age group.  

Sometimes the adults want to have some time together, and kid’s counselors makes this easy and fun for everyone. With a full day of programing, your kids have the option to be with their peers all day playing games and learning about the Western cowboy lifestyle. And mom and dad can make some much needed memories as a couple. 

Cell phones are put away!  

Without cell service in most locations and limited WIFI, everyone in the family will be encouraged to leave their phones alone. When you think about it, if you are spending your days at the barn riding horses or fishing, your hands are full and won’t be able to carry around your cell phone. Minimal opportunities for electronics are definitely something any parent will love about dude ranches. 

Hello Fresh Air and Sunshine 

Moms will have an easy time getting kids outside. Dude ranches are known for their beautiful settings in the mountains. With every horseback ride or afternoon rodeo, kids and parents will get plenty of time in the great outdoors. The only thing to remember is your camera. Although the pictures won’t do justice of the real-life experiences, you’ll enjoy looking back on the pictures of your kids on green grass and mountain views. 

family vacation

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch - McLeod, MT 

Crowds? What crowds? 

Dude ranches are full of wide-open spaces and an intimate number of people. Moms won’t have to worry about anyone getting lost in the crowd, or have to wait in long lines to do anything, really. With an average of 30 guests per week on most dude ranches, everybody will get to meet each other, the staff and other guests alike. By the end of the week everyone in the family is sure to have made a new friend.  Who knows? You might even book the exact same week next year to hang out with the same families.  

Moms will certainly be able to enjoy a much-needed vacation on a dude ranch. As a worry-free destination everyone will get to have fun and get to take a break from the normal day-to-day routines. Here are some great destinations to consider for your next visit. 

 

Family Vacation at a Dude Ranch 

7D Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Cody, Wyoming

Bar Lazy J Ranch Near Rocky Mountain National Park

Majestic Dude Ranch Mancos, Colorado

Tumbling River Ranch In the Rocky Mountains, Grant, Colorado 

Crossed Sabres Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Cody, WY

Elkhorn Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin Gateway, MT

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, McLeod, MT

Paradise Guest Ranch In the Big Horn Mountains, Buffalo, WY

 

Looking for more options? Read about: 

Affordable Ranch Vacations for your Family  
A Family Dude Ranch Vacation - Fun for All Ages  
The Best Multi Generational Dude Ranches 

 

Save this Pin for Later! 

ude ranches make an incredibly memorable and enjoyable family vacation - for moms especially. With a sense of togetherness and shared experiences moms and the whole family are sure to love their time in the great outdoors. Read about all the reasons moms choose dude ranch vacations for a great family vacation.

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

 

Save this pin for later!

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.

The Best Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

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

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

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

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

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

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

#MultiGenerationalRanchVacation


Western Pleasure Multi-Generational Ranch Vacation

Wyoming

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

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

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

California

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

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

Idaho

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

Arizona

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

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

Colorado

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

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

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

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

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

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

Montana

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

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

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

New Mexico

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

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

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Best Things to Do at a Dude Ranch When You Aren't Horseback Riding

Dude Ranches are a super family vacation destination. But what if one of your family members is just not that into horses? Relax. In addition to trail rides, dude ranches offer a wide range of appealing activities. Give archery a try or perhaps take a cooking class. Maybe you just want to curl up with a good book before a nap. Optimism TravelingMom Cathy Bennett Kopf shares some of the activities available at a dude ranch that don't involve a horse.

 

 Flyfishing-Rawah-Ranch

Flyfishing is an activity offered at many dude ranches, such as Rawah Ranch in Colorado. Photo: Allison Bean Taylor/Family Vacations US.com

 

What if my knee flares up?

Booking a dude ranch vacation for my family is something I plan to do. In fact, we schedule biennial reunions for 20 of us and, on our last trip, we all voted for one that involves horseback riding.

I voted “yes’ reluctantly.

For the past few years, my left knee gets swollen, creaky and very painful. Despite my relatively young age - cough, cough - the orthopedist says it’s arthritis. Rest, Aleve and gentle movement usually make it go away. But the bouts occur without warning.

My fear is that we’ll book our dream dude ranch vacation and just as I’m about to mount my steed, my knee will buckle and I’ll be consigned to the bunkhouse for the duration of our trip.

 latigo-guest-ranch-view

Dude ranches are set in some of the prettiest spots in North America. A great alternative to horseback riding is to simply relax and take in the view like this one at Latigo Guest Ranch. Photo: Diana Rowe/TravelinginHeels.com




  

6 Great Dude Ranch Activities Beyond Horseback Riding

 

Not to worry, the experts at the Dude Ranchers’ Association say it’s possible to have a fantastic dude ranch vacation without ever going horseback riding. Say what? For those of you who have allergies, or kids too small to ride or arthritic joints, here are the best things to do at a dude ranch if you don’t ride horses.

 

1. Practice your Photography

 

Dude ranches are set in the prettiest landscapes in North America. I’d really enjoy getting up in the predawn hours, sneaking out of the bunkhouse and shooting sunrise photos of the mountains in Montana or Nebraska’s Great Plains.

And, even if I’m not horseback riding, animals make great subjects for photos. Sweet Grass Ranch in Montana offers 3-day workshops with an award-winning Western photographer to practice your skills and help you capture ranch life for your Instagram feed!

 Zapata-Cattle-Drive

I could spend hours shooting photos during a dude ranch cattle drive like this one at Zapata Ranch. Photo: Dude Ranchers' Association

 

2. Listen to Traditional Music

 

The sights of a dude ranch are the first things that come to my mind: horses, low-slung bunkhouses, cattle pens. But there’s a sound, too. Think of traditional folk music with fiddles, guitars and an upright bass.

The Home Ranch, a luxurious Relais & Chateaux property in Colorado, features nightly entertainment for guests and a weekly barn dance. With a caller telling you how to dosado (or perhaps you prefer do-si-do?) and promenade your partner, it’s great for people like me who don’t have moves like Jagger.

 

3. Try Something Completely Different - Glamping!

 

When I think dude ranch, I envision bunkhouses with rustic beds, a big ole fireplace and a large kitchen table for card playing at night. Just like the places where cowboys stayed in every Western movie I’ve ever seen.

However, Bull Hill Guest Ranch in Washington State has two glamping tents available for guests. I would book one of these in a heartbeat. Maybe not for a family trip, but if it was just hubby and me or we were dude ranching with friends, a glamping tent would be so much fun to try. They’re decorated in comfy luxury and let you be outside in the great outdoors without the discomfort of sleeping on the rocky ground.

 

4. Relax and Unwind at a Dude Ranch Spa

 

If you choose not to go horseback riding during your dude ranch vacation, spending a day or two indulging in spa treatments might be just the cure to fix what ails you. Or if you do take daily trail rides, you might need a massage to work out the kinks after you dismount.

Arizona’s Rancho de Los Cabelleros features a full-service spa comparable to those you’d find in a luxury hotel. They feature a Bourbon Bubbler Body Scrub because even cowboys like a pampering now and then!

 

5. Dine and Wine

 

If you think you’ll be eating franks and beans during your dude ranch vacation, think again. Cattle wrangling is hard work, even if you’re sitting on the sidelines watching all the action. Many dude ranches feature gourmet meals, prepared with locally sourced meats and produce. Who knew there was such a thing as a cowboy foodie?

And nothing pairs better with great food than wine. The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is located in the heart of wine country in Solvang, California. They’ve arranged complimentary tastings at a number of nearby wineries for ranch guests.

 

6. Tour Area Attractions

 

North American dude ranches stretch from Arkansas to California and north into British Columbia in Canada. You may choose one that’s in an isolated region. Or, your dude ranch may be located in an area worth touring.

 

mt-rushmore-south-dakota

Dude ranches offer tours of area attractions such as Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Photo: Shutterstock/amadeustx

 

For example, the Triple R Ranch in South Dakota is a great base to explore the state’s attractions. During a weeklong stay, guests have the opportunity to hop in a ranch vehicle and see the famous Mount Rushmore lighting ceremony, check out the Dakota badlands and visit the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Of course, you may choose to spend your entire dude ranch vacation horseback riding. It’s an amazing opportunity to experience a way of life that’s completely different than the one most of us city slickers live each day.

But, when you dismount, or, if you’re just not that into horses, there are plenty of activities to keep a cowboy or cowgirl entertained.

 

Author: Cathy Bennet Kopf, TheOpenSuitcase.com

 

Considering a dude ranch vacation but want to do more than just ride horses? Outdoor adventures, activities, excursions, and things to do beyond horseback riding, including a few that might surprise you!

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The Great American Family Holiday – on a Dude Ranch

Sylvan Dale Ranch Great American Family Holiday Clint the donkey gets a hug at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.

Ride ‘em cowboy! Sure there can be plenty of time in the saddle when you take the kids on a dude ranch vacation. But these days, there’s plenty else to do. In fact, ranch goers acknowledge, they often spend less time riding than they expected because of so many other activities and so much land to explore. That’s especially true for multi-generational groups who find guest ranches ideal for family reunions. They are all-inclusive so there is no bickering—and no surprises—with the final bill. No one has to get groceries, cook or clean up. And there are activities for all ages. How about mountain biking? Organized kids’ activities often include everything from riding to soccer, sack races, art projects and talent shows. Programs like at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Colorado, means the adults get some time to catch up and parents don’t have to worry about their children’s whereabouts. The closeness of the cabins, dining room and other facilities makes it easy for parents to keep an eye on them, and means the property is more convenient to navigate for older guests. You might not have realized dude ranches today offer so many options:

A visit to a National Park – Many dude ranches are located near some of the country’s most popular national parks. White Stallion Ranch borders Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, while Rimrock Ranch is only miles outside the East entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Medicine Bow Lodge & Guest Ranch is located in the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming; while many guests at Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana head to Glacier National Park for a day.

Bar W Dude Ranch Vacation

Picnic at the Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana

A hike in the wilderness. Most dude ranches are off the tourist grid on lots of land, ideal for exploring on foot. The Diamond D Ranch, nestled in the Frank Church Wilderness Area of Idaho, offers excursions into the wild and fishing in the Salmon River Mountains, among many other activities.

Diamond D Ranch Fishing

Indulge in a massage Many ranches now offer spa treatments, like White Stallion Ranch  in Tucson, AZ and Vista Verde Ranch just outside of Steamboat, CO.

Take a yoga class. Many ranches that offer spa services also provide yoga classes and training. Before a long day in the saddle, guests can have a relaxing limbering-up session with certified trainers.

Try some new wines. Gourmet cuisine and wine paring are gaining popularity at dude ranches. At Smith Fork Ranch, favorites from their private cellar and wineries they especially like are among the choices, including some Colorado wines.

Go tubing or white water rafting. Three Bars Guest Ranch in the Canadian Rockies offers weekly white water rafting tours on the unspoiled  Mary’s River.  Put in only a 10 minute drive from the ranch.

Give shooting sports a try at Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Idaho, there is instruction in a safely controlled environment. There are 5 stations, each providing their own unique targets.

Ride a Zip Line The Bar Lazy J Ranch has one of Colorado’s longest and fastest zip lines and is the only one that crosses the Colorado River. The zip line starts on a steep bluff overlooking the Colorado River dropping 82 feet in elevation as it crosses the river, through the trees and across a pasture to the landing platform. You will be zipping along at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour. This activity is for guests ages 13 and up.

Go fishing Rainbow Trout Ranch near several historic Spanish land grants in Antonito, Colo.,encourages guests to go trout fishing; Try your hand at fly fishing at 4UR Ranch in Mineral County, Colo.

Do si do with the wranglers or sing your favorite western songs around the campfire at ranches including – Mountain Sky Guest Ranch sits on over 10,000 operational acres of unspoiled wilderness in the heart of Yellowstone Country in Emigrant, Mont Got your cowboy hat?

By Eileen Ogintz at Takingthekids.com Save Save Save

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Stop Working and Start Vacationing at a Dude Ranch

Stop working and start vacationing.

Under many state laws vacation pay accrues as it is earned, and cannot be forfeited.  Why would you want to forfeit your vacation time anyway, or even just let it pile up in your work account. Get out there and use that time and money for memories and experiences. You'll come back to work with stories to tell and refreshed from time away.

We, at the Dude Ranchers' Association, think a ranch vacation in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado are some pretty great states to get going on using your vacation time.

Some options are to fly into Bozeman, MT, Jackson Hole, WY or Steamboat Springs, CO or take some extra vacation time and make a road trip out of it.

Take a look at the ranches below and the information about traveling to them from your airport. Want more information? We have it here in the office at 307.587.2339, info@duderanch.org or message us on social media using #ranchvacationexpert.

 

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN)

 

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch ~ Gallatin Gateway, MontanaNine Quarter Circle Ranch Baby Foal

Distance from Bozeman Airport: 1 hour 17 minutes

Highlights:

  • 100+ years of ranching experience
  • Pack trips into Yellowstone National Park
  • Wide variety of specialty weeks.

 

Horses N Courage ~ Martinsdale, Montana

Distance from Bozeman Airport: 1 hour 45 minutes

Highlights:

  • Working Cattle Ranch with 4 day, 3 night luxury camping tent accommodations
  • 2,000 acres of private riding to work cattle with the Hereim family
  • Specialty Healing Retreats for Women

 

 Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)

 

Spotted Horse Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Distance from Jackson Hole Airport: 39 minutes

Highlights:

  • Guided fly fishing on the Snake River with an Orvis endorsed equipment
  • White water rafting, scenic rafting and local hot springs soak
  • The main lodge includes a dining room overlooking the Hoback River

 

Moose Head Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Distance from Jackson Hole Airport: 21 minutes

Highlights:

  • Completely surrounded by Grand Teton National Park
  • Family vacations to ride, eat and play together with your children
  • Riding is mostly just your family and a wrangler

 

Denver International Airport (DEN)

 

Drowsy Water Ranch ~ Granby, Colorado

Distance from Denver Airport: 2 hours 21 minutes

Highlights:

  • Programs for children from infants to teenagers with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents
  • Zip-line course, mountain biking, fishing, rafting, dancing and gymkhana rodeos
  • Horseback riding instruction along with variety of terrain for fast rides and slow rides

 

Wind River Ranch ~ Estes, Colorado

Distance from Denver Airport: 1 hour 30 minutes

Highlights:

  • A Christian Family Guest Ranch Resort
  • Minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Family vacation weeks with specialty speakers

 

Stop Working and Start Vacationing Use your Vacation Time for a Ranch Vacation

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10 Best Things about a Ranch Vacation

There are many great things about a ranch vacation, so Sue Murphy of the Elk Mountain Ranch has compiled a list of the top 10 best things about a ranch vacation:

1. Enjoying the beauty of your surroundings You have the opportunity to spend time outdoors, enjoying the beauty of Colorado, with breathtaking views of the Collegiate Peaks, whether on a trail ride or hiking in the San Isabel National Forest.

2. Slowing down and relaxing Time moves differently here. You can take the time for some R&R, read a good book, enjoy the hot tub, play a board game or spend the day at the hot springs. There are simple pleasures in activities that we may have forgotten about in our busy day to day lives. Take a moment for yourself, breathe and take it all in.

3. Disconnecting and having great conversations The remote nature of a ranch vacation gives you an excuse to disconnect from the world, leaving email and the internet behind (there is connectivity but it is limited). This gives you an opportunity to focus on those around you and engage in great conversations at dinner, around the campfire, or out on the trail. Elk Mountain Ranch writes the 10 Best things about a Ranch Vacation

4. Creating new bonds There is something special that happens over a week – many different bonds are created. You find a connection with your horse, learning their personality and how you can work together. The intimate nature of the ranch allows you to get to know your fellow guests and you learn more about the staff. It is like one big family that extends beyond the ranch.

5. Reconnecting with others The atmosphere at the ranch allows you to reconnect with your family members and friends. It also gives you time to have moments to yourself and take in your surroundings. Conversations can start during happy hour and continue all the way through a campfire after dessert. Seeing your family in a new setting also shakes things up a bit and gives you new ways to connect.

6. Adventures! If trail rides are not adventurous enough, you also have the opportunity to go whitewater rafting. It is great fun as you make your way through Browns Canyon – be sure to keep an eye out for local wildlife as you paddle by!

7. Trying something new Maybe you have always wanted to ride a horse, or try your hand at shooting a .22 or take aim at clay pigeons? Are you an adventurous eater and want to try some Rocky Mountain Oysters? This is your opportunity to try something new, or even check off an item on your bucket list. You are in the Wild West – challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.

8. Great food You will never go hungry – I promise. Between the hearty breakfasts, on the trail lunches, happy hour appetizers and filling dinners, there is something for everyone’s palate. We take food as seriously as we do our horses, and make accommodations for those with special dietary needs. We also want to help you celebrate any major occasion, whether a milestone birthday, anniversary or a big family reunion. Our surroundings may be more rustic, but the menu is nothing but top notch – and always save room for dessert!

9. Amazing horses The passion that the ranch owners have for their horses and for the ranch is clear from the first moment you interact with them. Each rider is matched with the right horse based on their personality, experience, comfort level and the type of riding they would like to do during the week. Also, each horse has a great story, so take a moment to talk with one of the wranglers to learn more about your horse’s biography.

10. Making memories All of these factors help make for an amazing week and give you your next great adventure. It could be quiet time spent with your spouse while your kids are busy panning for gold or hunting for arrow heads. It could be the wonder of watching a herd of antelope go by while you are on horseback. Maybe you’ll have a laugh while square dancing, or are touched by the western music. By the end of the week, you will have new memories that will last long after the dirt is off of your cowboy boots.

This blog was originally posted on Elk Mountain’s website here. For more great ranches in Colorado take a look at the Cherokee Park Ranch, Elk River Ranch and the Majestic Ranch.

10 Best Things about a Ranch Vacation

   There are many great things about a ranch vacation. Here is the list of the top 10 best things you will enjoy about a ranch vacation.Save Save

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Straight from the Horse's Mouth about Ranch Vacations

Enjoy a taste of the authentic American West where horses, hats, history, honesty, hospitality and heart 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 the heavens. See what the excitement is all about for a dude ranch vacations "straight from the horse’s mouth” so to speak.

“The place is magical. It is difficult to put this down to any one thing - it is a combination of beautiful surroundings, comfy lodgings, delicious home cooked food eaten family style in the lodge dining room (or around the campfire out on the trail), amazing trail riding which is different every day. The horses are individually matched to the riders and the rides are planned each day to give everyone the best experience possible. Whether you arrive alone, as a couple or in a group you will soon feel part of the Elk Mountain Ranch family and you won't want to leave.” - Trip Advisor Review

"My first trip to the Triangle X Ranch was in 1973 and I went on a Hunting trip in the Teton Wilderness Area and I went there many times since! My Wife and I got Married at the Ranch in 1983 and we've gone on Hunting trips together and pack trips! I did some work on the Ranch when remodeling the kitchen etc. was done! We met some friends there a couple of yrs. ago that we had met previously on a pack trip and had a short visit with them before they left to go on another pack trip!! My experiences at the Ranch has been a wonderful experience, one I think of often!!!" - Google Review

Lonesome Spur Cattle Drive Straight from the horse's mouth Dude Ranch Vacations "Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch is Montana accommodations at their finest. From the friendly staff to the gourmet meals to the first class rooms, this lodge has it all. In addition to the top-notch accommodations, the location is spectacular for all kinds of activities. Horseback riding, fishing on the Yellowstone river, a shooting range, hiking and day trips into Yellowstone National Park are all nearby. This family owned and operated lodge will make you feel at home in one of the most beautiful settings on earth. Montana is a must see state and there is no better place to have as your home base. Hubbard's Yellowstone Lodge checks all the boxes." - Trip Advisor Review

"As frequent visitor's to Moose Head Ranch, the Experience only gets better with time. Upon your first visit you will feel welcomed and at home as you had been there your whole life. It is also the memoires that will be established to be cherished for many years to come. Return visits will build on those memories and you will always find a yearning to comeback. Solitude, Serenity, Beauty and QUALITY TIME is what you will experience. Great Hosts and Staff, where manners and values are the norm. The Food, just experience it, Chef Dennis and his Team will satisfy all of your cravings. Many other options to take in while in the Greater Yellowstone and Jackson Hole area, so make sure you stay long enough to just Chill and take in all the amentities at the Ranch. Especially if Fly Fishing and Horse are your passion. Once there, you will understand Paradise!!!!!" - Trip Advisor Review

"This was my 3rd trip to the Lonesome Spur Ranch and each time was better than the last. The last thing I wanted in a ranch was a "dude ranch", I wanted to gather, saddle and bridle my own horse. I wanted to ride in areas that are not much different than they were a hundred or so years ago. I wanted to work with real cowboys, ranchers and ranch families for a true ranch experience. I wanted meals and accommodations that a cowboy would have, no worry about wearing my boots or working clothes anywhere. The participation in round ups, separating bulls, branding calves were the real deal and we were able to participate as much or as little as we wanted. The trips to the different ranges (pastures) and mountain ranges were breathtaking and being on the Crow reservation land made me feel like I was a hundred years back in time. Elaine and Lonnie were great hosts, the wranglers did a great job with all the guests no matter on ability or riding expertise. I got great tips on my riding, caring for my horse, and Lonnie taught me to throw a rope, still practicing..." - Trip Advisor Review

For more information on all of The DRA ranches go to www.duderanch.org or give us a call at 866-399-2339. Save Save Save Save Save Save

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5 Reasons a Ranch Vacation Is Better Than Disney

There’s no denying that a Disney vacation is at the top of most children’s list of travel wishes. Unfortunately for parents, a Disney vacation often means long lines, overcrowded parks and high expenses, all without much time for genuine family bonding. While amusement and theme parks are an easy, go-to solution for family vacations, there are other magical travel options that can offer exposure to new activities, interaction with nature, and discovery of culture and history outside of most families’ normal comfort zones. As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a dude or guest ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Dude ranches give families the opportunity to challenge and revive their bodies, minds and spirits in some of the most breathtaking areas in the U.S., with a myriad of outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, cattle roping, horseback riding, zip lines, ATV riding and whitewater rafting. Here are 5 reasons a dude ranch vacation is better than Disney:

Explore, play and more – Located along the banks of the North Platte River in the heart of southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains, A Bar A Guest Ranch is one of the oldest and largest dude ranches in the country, with nearly 100,000 acres for guests to explore. The ranch is a paradise for children, with activities including horseback riding, fishing, soccer, arts and crafts, music and drama, swimming, tennis, and educational games, such as cork boat and sack races. Teenagers can enjoy inner tubing down the river and golf before settling down with their family to enjoy dinner cooked outside over an open fire.

Reconnect with nature on horseback – If your family is in need of reconnecting, then you’ve found the right place. Rustic yet replete with all the modern amenities you’ll ever need, Rainbow Trout Ranch caters to children of all ages. Located near several historic Spanish land grants in Antonito, Colo., Rainbow Trout is surrounded by the spectacular San Juan Mountains. Ride horses, catch some trout, hike to an overlook with your kids, relax and more. Kids ages six and older – fondly known on the ranch as “Cowpokes” – are given their own horse for the week, and “Buckaroos” – children age’s three to five – are led on short rides by ranch counselors.

Drowsy Water Ranch Vacation Better than Disney

Learn to work as a teamDrowsy Water Ranch, situated 90 miles west of Denver, Colo., has programs for children of all ages, from infants to teenagers, along with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents. Capture the fun and your children’s hearts when you help them lasso a steer-head. Ditch technology for outside activities like obstacle courses, zip lining, swimming, hiking, archery and rafting. Afterward, head to the main lodge to enjoy playing cards, browsing the library or just visiting with new friends while drinking lemonade.

Relax, rejuvenate and reconnect in styleMountain Sky Guest Ranch sits on over 10,000 operational acres of unspoiled wilderness in the heart of Yellowstone Country in Emigrant, Mont. The ranch combines outdoor adventure for the entire family and the comforts of an upscale resort in the region’s most spectacular location. There’s no doubt your family will enjoy the breathtaking views, fine dining and luxury environment. From a crisp morning hike, to rafting down the Yellowstone River, to horseback rides through acres of meadows, there’s something for every member of the family. End the day with a mealtime horseback ride, where you’ll be treated to tasty barbecue, learn to dance with the wranglers and sing your favorite western songs around the campfire.

One-of-a-kind fishing adventures4UR Ranch provides an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in Mineral County, Colo. Try your hand at fly fishing with access to some of the finest waters around, including one of the only entirely private tail-water trout streams in the American West, trophy ponds, and both sides of the legendary Rio Grande River. Grab one of the ranch’s guides for a personal introduction to the area’s waters and trout. Whether you’re a family of anglers or not, no one will be bored on this vacation. Here, kids and adults can enjoy their own level of adventure. The ranch’s staff sees to the kids’ needs while the parents are off hiking, horseback riding or fishing. From nature explorations, to soaking in the hot springs, to a round of golf at the nearby Rio Grande Club – there’s plenty of adventure to suit everyone’s tastes.

5 Reasons Ranch Vacations are Better Than Disney

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Dude Ranchers’ Association Welcomes Four New Accredited Ranches

Newest members all receive seal of approval for upholding the highest standards in the Dude Ranch industry. We added four new ranches to our impressive list of accredited ranches: The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in California, Creek Ranch in New Mexico, Badger Creek Cattle and Guest Ranch in Colorado, and Rancho De La Osa in Arizona. All four ranches went through a rigorous inspection and approval process and were found to meet the highest standards in the dude ranch industry. We represent a broad spectrum of guest ranches across North America, ranging from luxury ranches with five-star cuisine and spas to no-frills working ranches and are proud to have the below ranches as part of our membership.  These ranches combine the highest hospitality standards with the charm and unparalleled spirit of the Wild West.

 

Newest Dude Ranchers' Association Members

 

Alisal Guest Ranch newest Dude Ranchers' Association Member

The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort  – Santa Barbara, Calif. The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is a secluded property located in California’s famed wine country, Santa Ynez Valley, just 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara. Alisal features 50 miles of riding trails, a 100-acre spring-fed lake, two 18-hole championship golf courses, tennis courts, a pool, a spa and much more. The Western-themed accommodations and activities ensure guests will enjoy a true dude ranch experience, but Alisal prides itself on being “far more” than your traditional ranch. With its year-round temperate climate, Santa Ynez Valley is the perfect place to visit all year. 

Creek

 

Creek Ranch – Creek Ranch, N.M. Creek Ranch, located 30 minutes from Santa Rosa, N.M., is a bare-boned Wild West experience. At this carefree and relaxed ranch, guests can horseback ride as much as they desire and end each day sitting around a campfire telling stories. Creek Ranch boasts 8,200 acres of unspoiled land with stunning sunsets as the backdrop. Consider these spectacular views all the frills you’ll need in order to experience the ultimate dude ranch vacation. This ranch only accommodates up to eight people at a time, keeping it as personal and customized as possible for each and every guest. With roping and shooting lessons on the agenda in addition to riding, Creek Ranch is perfect for those who have dreamed about a true Wild West experience.

 

Badger Creek Ranch

Badger Creek Cattle and Guest Ranch – Badger Creek Basin, Colo. Whether you’re looking for a lighthearted riding experience or a serious lesson in cattle sorting, your Western vacation at Badger Creek Cattle and Guest Ranch is sure to be unforgettable. Your horse for the week will be your new “best friend,” making the riding experience even more fulfilling. Located on the border of the San Isabel National Forest and Pike National Forest, this ranch is a photographer’s dream, with breathtaking views of the Collegiate Peaks and Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Outside of horseback riding and taking in the incredible views, guests can experience spectacular fly fishing near the ranch, as well as hiking and mountain biking. Of course, relaxation is an option, too. The front porch beckons guests to sit, relax and gaze at the endless stars in the Colorado Rocky Mountain skies.

 

Rancho de la Osa Accredited Ranch

Rancho De La Osa – Sasabe, Ariz. Rancho De La Osa is one of the most historically significant ranch properties in the West. The trails here were once frequented by U.S. presidents and legends like Pancho Villa. Guests can even relax in the room where the Marshall Plan was drafted and Margaret Mitchell wrote the American classic “Gone With the Wind.” Aside from being a historical treasure, Rancho De La Osa is a sportsman’s paradise, situated on 509 acres and surrounded by 120,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge. The food and wine are exceptional, the hospitality top-notch, and the views mystifying. This is the ultimate dude ranch for riding, biking and hiking all while soaking in some of the most important moments in Southwestern history. Save Save

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Available Ranch Vacations for the Great American Eclipse

Flat Creek Ranch to view the Great American EclipseThe 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 over Northwestern Wyoming and Central Idaho. The most dramatic scenery for the eclipse can be found here. 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? 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 & Idaho in August. Here are some ranches who may have spots available:

Flat Creek Ranch Flat Creek Ranch in the Gros Ventre Wilderness is, without a doubt, a great place to be for this special event. The ranch offering as spectacular 7 night all inclusive getaway for up to 10 people in one party. You will start with 3 nights at a traditional back country camp located in the heart if the Wilderness where you will be guided around the mountains by expert staff. On Monday, the large alpine meadow will be the perfect setting to witness the full solar eclipse.

Absaroka Ranch The Absaroka Ranch is located 16 miles northwest of Dubois, Wyoming, on the slopes of the Absaroka mountain range. The Absaroka is offering a 4 night Eclipse package. The valley is surrounded by National Forest and Wilderness, offering the peace and solitude that is rare to find in the West today. This area is unspoiled and unchanged. At an elevation of 8,000 feet, the ranch enjoys one of the most delightful spring, summer, and fall climates to be found anywhere.

Heart Six Ranch Heart Six Guest Ranch is located in Beautiful Jackson Hole Wyoming. With great views of the Grand Teton Mountains the scenery makes a great location to view the eclipse. The main activity is horseback riding, but there is lots of things for guests of all ages - from very young to very young at heart! You'll be able to ride horses every day, as well as other scheduled activities such as paintball, fly fishing, spin fishing, scenic floats, junior wrangler program, weekly entertainment, Yellowstone Tour, and Jackson Hole Rodeo.

Spotted Horse Located south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Spotted Horse Ranch offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages and a great eclipse destination. Endless trails take you through majestic mountains, valleys of wildflowers, and along river banks by horseback.  During your week stay there are two evening cookouts with live entertainment from local talent.  Nothing smells better than steaks grilling followed by roasting marshmallows over an open fire.  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.

Seven Devils Lodge Located in central Idaho, just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, the Seven Devils Lodge lies in a unique area, neighboring jutting canyons, high desert, and soaring mountains. The Lodge is just nine miles from Hells Canyon, known as the deepest canyon in North America for your eclipse viewing pleasure. Seven Devils is one of the few guest ranches in the state operating on an actual working cattle ranch founded in the early 1900's, the historic OX Ranch. The Seven Devils Lodge is a 5500 sq ft facility with 6 spacious bedroom suites: The Boss, The Angler, The Hunter, The Trapper, The Cowboy and The Gardener. Each room has been uniquely decorated, using themes from the surrounding great outdoors.

Goosewing Ranch Goosewing Ranch combines the lifestyle of ranching in the Wyoming wilderness with many of the modern refinements that make your visit especially enjoyable. Remote with spectacular scenery overlooking and close proximity to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  For the eclipse, Goosewing is offering a 7 night pack trip & ranch stay package. You would start the package with a 3  night/4 day pack trip.  Spending the time of the solar eclipse directly under the path in a remote back country location.  Then return to to ranch for four nights.  Goosewing also has glamping wagons for your 7 night stay.   Save Save Save

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Ranch Vacation for your Rodeo loving, Barrel Racing Children

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

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

Tumbling River Kids Barrells

Arena Activities at the Tumbling River Ranch, Colorado

 

Barrel Racing Ranch Vacations

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

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

Cherokee Park Barrel Racing

Barrel Racing at the Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado

 

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

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

 

 Barrel Racing Ranch Vacation For Your Kids

 

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

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Bob Marshall Wilderness Adventures

The Bob Marshall Wilderness, named after Bob Marshall himself, is located in western Montana as the fifth-largest wilderness in the lower 48 states. It extends for 60 miles along the Continental Divide and consists of over 1 million acres and remains road-less, with the only permanent structures being some old ranger stations and horse bridges. You might see some of these structures while riding out with the JJJ Wilderness Ranch or the Rich's Montana Guest Ranch. Sounds like a great location for your next horseback riding vacation, right? Wait, there's more. You'll have a chance to ride to a long escarpment famously known as the Chinese Wall, averaging 1,000 feet high from its base and extends for 22 miles.  Take a look at these two unique pack trip experience to immerse yourself in Bob Marshall Wilderness Adventures.

JJJ Wilderness Ranch offers Bob Marshall Wilderness Adventures

JJJ Wilderness Ranch in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

Each pack trip is unique ranging from base camp oriented to trips that traverse the wilderness over the Continental Divide. You’ll travel across wilderness trails on sure-footed saddle horses that are mountain savvy and a joy to ride. A trusty string of pack-mules carries all the gear so you can rough it in comfort. The Triple J crew, wrangler, packer, guide and camp cook, will provide a comfortable, complete camp. These limited trips average 8 guests to ensure a high level of personal service.

Trips can be tailored for individual groups and interests. During your Montana riding vacation the rugged landscape unfolds before you, revealing elk, mule deer and whitetail, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, eagles, moose and black bear. You'll have plenty of opportunities to fly fish the natural streams and lakes for native Cutthroats and Rainbow trout... it's a fisherman's paradise. Book a trip into the awesome beauty of remote wilderness. Layover days offer options of riding, hiking, fishing or relaxing around the campfire.

RIch Ranch offers Bob Marshall Wilderness Adventures

Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

Rich Ranch offers progressive pack trips through this mountainous area that vary in length from 5 to 10 days. You ride horseback and all camp gear is packed on mules. Generally, camp moves every other day and lay over on the days in between to ride, fish, explore, relax, and enjoy camp life. You will stay in teepee tents with covered floors and screened doors. Hearty meals are prepared and served under the kitchen fly fisher's paradise.

Enjoy world-class fishing for native cutthroat on the South Fork Flathead River and it’s tributaries! Alpine lakes, glacial streams, and the main rivers offer a wide opportunity for novice and expert alike. With an abundance of trout lying in wait in the cold, clear waters, you can book a trip to a fly fisherman’s paradise.


 

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Specials near the Border for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de MayoArrrrribaa!! Cinco de Mayo is less than a month away! If Taco Tuesdays are a weekly celebration at your house than heading south for Cinco de Mayo may be something of interest. Did you know, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces back in 1862? Nowadays the date has become a celebration of Mexican-American culture. This year celebrate big by going to a South Western dude ranch vacation close to the Mexican border. At these ranches decorations are up year round, but it's called interior design. Horses (and possibly donkeys) are ready for you to saddle up ride off into the sunset. Cheers to Mexican-American culture and food. Book now and ask when they will serve the queso dip! Yum!

Giddy-Up Gals Package

Rancho de los Caballeros Giddy-up Gals for Cinco de Mayo

Giddy-Up Gals package is tailored for women who wish to have a fabulous Southwestern escapade in Wickenburg, Arizona! Rancho de los Caballeros is the resort with the soul of a bed and breakfast offering full resort amenities and privacy, yet with the charm and intimacy of yesteryear. It's the kind of place where everyone knows your name. Click for Reservations or Call 800-684-5030

 

Discounts for Veterans, Active Service Members and Law Enforcement Officers

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch Discounted Rates for Service Men & Women for Cinco de Mayo

Located in the heart of cowboy country in Yucca, Arizona Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch is dedicated to providing you with the best dude ranch vacation you can find. A special, friendly atmosphere let's you glimpse into the old west while enjoying the beautiful northwest Arizona desert. Click for Reservations or Call 866-444-4471

 

 3 for 1! Visit Three Ranches in One Week

Tombstone Monument Ranch for Cinco de Mayo

Get ready for a vacation full of adventure and new experiences Sunday April 30 - Sunday May 7, 2017. You’ll visit three ranches and three eco-systems. Begin your stay at White Stallion Ranch, Tucson, then on to Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe, and finish at Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona. Each ranch is unique, and they cater to every level of riding skills. Meals are included except Saturday, May 6th when you will be in downtown Tombstone. All transfers are included.

 

 The Art of Marriage Ranch Experience

Burnt Well Ranch the Art of Marriage for Cinco de Mayo

Kim & Patricia Chesser of the Burnt Well Guest Ranch in Roswell, New Mexico have always had a heart for strengthening homes by strengthening marriages. Now you can combine a fun week in the New Mexico ranch country with a series of videos from The Art of Marriage by Family Life. Just the Burnt Well setting alone has been known to have a therapeutic effect on people, couples and families! Click for Reservations or Call 866-729-0974  

 

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Experience Luxury the Wild West Way!

When most people envision a dude ranch, they picture hard work, cattle and rustic cabins. But many dude ranches actually offer plush amenities, top-of-the-line spas, world-class golf courses, five-star cuisine and more. If you’re seeking to experience a luxury dude ranch in a breathtaking setting, check out these four member ranches where you can have it all.

Red Reflet Guest Ranch, Wyoming Red Reflet Guest Ranch identifies itself as “a ranch for the senses,” and there’s no question why. The staff has mastered the art of luxury hospitality while showcasing the best recreational activities and most breathtaking scenery in Wyoming. The location of this dude ranch truly is unlike any other – guests wake up in their own luxury cabins surrounded by the Chugwater formation sandstone cliffs and contrasting snow-capped peaks of Bighorn National Forest. Whether you’re looking to relax or go on the Wild West adventure of a lifetime, Red Reflet will far exceed your expectations. Horseback riding lessons with an expert horse trainer are included in your all-inclusive stay, as well as cattle activities, ATV tours, fishing, hiking and more. Of course, no luxury trip is complete without scenic yoga, so you can find your Zen while gazing at a mountain range that looks like it’s straight out of a painting. Oh, and don’t forget the cuisine – Red Reflet’s dining is top-of-the-line, using almost all ranch-grown and raised ingredients. You can even cook your own dinner with the resident chef in a group cooking class!

 

Experience Luxury Dude Ranch at Mountain Sky Ranch

Experience Luxury & Romance at Mountain Sky Ranch

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Montana Mountain Sky Guest Ranch opened in 1929 and has since been recognized multiple times as one of the nation’s top upscale guest ranches thanks to its luxurious amenities, exquisite dining and stunning views. For guests seeking an outdoor adventure, the ranch offers all levels of horseback riding on its 10,000 acres of beautiful terrain, in addition to endless outdoor activities like hiking, fly-fishing, and a world-class golf facility that features nine picturesque holes, Callaway golf clubs and electric carts. After these invigorating experiences, guests can take some time to unwind at Mountain Sky’s luxurious spa with a massage or treatment, or simply relax in the spa’s heated pool, sauna or outdoor hot tub. The ranch also offers yoga classes led by an expert instructor. The gourmet chefs at Mountain Sky will give you an unforgettable dining experience with buffet breakfasts, multi-course meals and snacks in the saloon. In case this wasn’t enough to make you immediately book a trip, you’ll be sold after learning that Mountain Sky is just a 30-minute scenic drive away from the world-famous Yellowstone National Park. Take a horseback tour of this national park with Mountain Sky, or bring the whole family on the van tour.

Smith Fork Ranch, Colorado Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, Colo., offers rustic luxury at its finest. The ranch’s historic buildings have been restored with an eye for detail, and the rooms have been furnished with carefully curated American primitive antiques and original paintings. The Rocky Mountain ranges circle the luxurious cabins, making guests feel secluded and exclusive. Smith Fork Ranch offers all of the exciting activities you can experience at many dude ranches like horseback riding, fly fishing, biking and hiking, but what separates this ranch from others is the attention to detail on every aspect of the ranch. In the bedrooms, you’ll find fine linens and handmade soaps, and in the dining room you’ll find award-winning wines from the ranch’s private cellar and vintage wines from wineries in France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. The expert chef uses fresh ingredients in all of his cooking and is ready to match the perfect wine with your gourmet meal. While you’re there, make sure to spend some time relaxing in the Smith Fork Ranch Spa. You won’t want to miss out on renewing facials, massages and more, all surrounded by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.

The Home Ranch, Colorado The Home Ranch is located in Colorado’s stunning Elk River Valley. Since 1986, it has been affiliated with luxury travel brand Relais & Chateaux, and the ranch has since become a top luxury destination for travelers seeking a charming Western experience. This ranch is renowned for its comfort, exquisite cuisine, charming hospitality and multi-seasonal attractions. The main lodge and distinctive cabins are all beautifully furnished and ready to accommodate anyone from couples to large groups. The Home Ranch serves as a guest ranch in the summer and fall and a cross-country ski resort in the winter and spring, making it a luxurious escape for travelers throughout the year. Guests can enjoy classic dude ranch activities like horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking and more, but there’s always time to unwind with a yoga class or two at The Home Ranch’s rustic yoga studio. This guest ranch is also the perfect place to plan a family vacation. The Home Ranch has incredible all-inclusive children and teen programs that make it easy for parents to relax in luxury knowing that the entire family is having a ball.

 

When most people envision a dude ranch, they picture hard work, cattle and rustic cabins. But many dude ranches actually offer plush amenities, top-of-the-line spas, world-class golf courses, five-star cuisine and more. If you’re seeking to experience a luxury dude ranch in a breathtaking setting, check out these four member ranches where you can have it all. Save

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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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Down at the Ranch

In an age of digital overload, polarized politics, and the overwhelming rush of modern life, there are dude ranch vacations to recharge, rejuvenate, reconnect and embrace a more simple time. There’s a dude ranch waiting for you out there, and more than likely it’s close to a national park if you want the best of both worlds (ranch and park worlds, that is). Whether it’s the high mountain range or vast desert valleys, grab your boots and hat and spend the morning in the saddle, the afternoon with a drink by the pool, and a quiet evening of reflection in front of a raging fire. You’ll be tired, but it’s a good tired, by the time the sun sets behind the wild hills.

These are all-inclusive vacations, from small outfits to large spreads, with plenty to do: hiking, fishing, swimming, white-water rafting, rodeos, western dances, and even campfire sing-a-longs. And of course, there’s boots and saddles, riding the range and lariats. And for the kids, it’s a chance to become a cowpoke, explore the ranches, play games, and make new friends. It’s the perfect cure for the modern world. While finding the right ranch might sound onerous, it doesn’t have to be if you rely on the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s members. Formed in 1926, the DRA ensures that guests are treated right, with lodging and service at the highest standards. The DRA’s six foundations for members are, “Horses, Hats, Hospitality - Heritage, Honesty and Heart.” It’s the perfect getaway, and as comfortable as a well-worn pair of pointy boots.

 

Geronimo Trail Ranch

New Mexico at the Geronimo Trail Ranch

You could head south to the Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in Winston, New Mexico, in the Black Range Mountains. The sun provides the electricity and cell service is an hour’s drive away. It’s untouched country with high meadows, archaeological sites, and you’ll see it all from the backs of gentle horses. You’ll eat well after a day in the saddle with ranch-style cooking and outdoor barbecues, and the skies are not cloudy all day. With only four guest cabins, it’s intimate and you’ll become part of the family and ranch-life.

Tanque Verde Ranch

Arizona's Tanque Verde Ranch

One state to the west, in Arizona, spend time at one of America’s oldest ranches, the Tanque Verde Ranch near Tucson.  Located in the Rincon Mountains, it has a rich history of Native American and Spanish civilizations. Settled in 1868, the ranch has been offering an oasis for families since 1957. There are more than 150 horses to choose from, but it’s not all work in the saddle, as guests can enjoy the tennis courts and a swimming pool after a relaxing ride. And Saguaro National Park is right next door. At day’s end, dust off your chaps, kick back and watch an Arizona sunset stretch across the sky.

California's Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch

California's Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch

Out in Quincy, California, the Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch will treat you right. Just an hour from the Reno airport, it’s a Western paradise, with the nearby Feather River and high peaks are yours to explore. Along with the requisite horseback riding, you can swim, hike, mountain bike, and just take a break in this tranquil setting. It’s pure magic.

Colorado's Rainbow Trout Ranch

Colorado's Rainbow Trout Ranch

In southern Colorado, the Rainbow Trout Ranch has trophy fly-fishing, legendary trail riding, and down-home hospitality. Spend the day in the saddle, land a lunker, or just take in the beauty. Nestled at 9,000 feet along the Conejos River, guests can ride the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad as well.

Lazy L&B Ranch

Wyoming's Lazy L&B Ranch

As the weather warms to the north, check out the Lazy L&B Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Known for its cowboy culture and snowy peaks, relax in these well-furnished log cabins with their Western flair, and private baths. There’s an outdoor sitting area to just gaze at the Wind River and Absaroka mountain ranges, and you can swim in the heated pool after a trail ride, or just dive into the river. You’ll work up a thirst and hunger for the hearty meals. This is a family operation, and you’ll feel so welcome, it’ll be difficult to head back to the “real world.”

Wyoming's Crossed Sabres Ranch

Over the mountains to the north, the Crossed Sabres Ranch in Cody has been hosting visitors since 1898. Just eight miles from Yellowstone National Park’s east entrance, Crossed Sabres is smack dab in the middle of some of the wildest, most pristine mountains in the world. Along the North Fork of the Shoshone River the fishing is superb for the wily Yellowstone cutthroat trout. And you’ll have the chance to watch moose, elk, and deer graze the creeks and hillsides, and even see an occasional bear along the ridges. There’s a large, comfortable lodge, 19 cabins, and even a saloon where you can practice your best John Wayne imitation. It’s a great place for families, as the kids hold reins instead of electronic devices. Head to Cody for the nightly rodeo after a day of white water rafting, or a long trail ride, and you may just fantasize about riding a bucking bronc.

Wyoming's The Hideout Lodge Dude Ranch Vacations

Wyoming's The Hideout Lodge

Across the Bighorn Mountains, in Shell, Wyoming, the Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is an upscale, working cattle ranch, where adventure is on the schedule. It’s a 650,000-acre adventure paradise. Learn horsemanship from the experts, and become the rider you’ve always wanted to be. Bond with your mount as you head up the trail to the high country for a view from the top of the peaks. You can take a turn working the stock, and then take a turn with trapshooting, archery, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, and even 4x4 tours. Limited to just 25 guests per week, there are visitors from around the world looking for just such an authentic experience. Its high-end culinary offerings will entice and astound you.

Bar W Ranch

Montana's Bar W Ranch

In Montana take a trip to the Bar W Ranch in Whitefish. Snow-capped peaks surround you, and you’ll gallop across lush, green meadows. You’ll have 3,000 acres to ride and hike, not far from Glacier National Park. Stay in these comfortable lodges with all of the modern amenities, and an elegant western flair. It’ll take you back to this country’s roots and the beauty of nature is all around you. So bring your boots (smooth-soled, of course, to get in and out of stirrups), and let loose your inner cowboy or cowgirl at one of America’s premiere dude ranches. It’ll change your perspective, and maybe even your life.


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Kids and Cattle Drives on a Family Vacation

Take your family this summer to experience a ranch vacation and maybe a cattle drive (or 2).  On this vacation you will develop a deeper appreciation for cattle and cowboys.  Your question might be "Can I take my children on a cattle drive too?" The answer to that question is a very big yes, yes you can. Adults are not the only ones able to go on such adventures, your kids can too. The DRA accredited ranches below will get your kids and cattle drives together for a unique ranch vacation. Take a look at the different ages, riding abilities and type of activities to pick out the one that's right for your family's next vacation.

 

Ages 8 & Up

 

Intermediate Riders ages 8 & up are invited to the Bonanza Creek Ranch to hone in on their western horseback riding skills at this working cattle ranch. With the ability to canter outside an arena your kids can have a great time experiencing remote Montana ranching, team penning and a weekly cattle drive along with putting miles and miles of trail riding in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Bonanza Creek Ranch Kids and Cattle Drives

Bonanza Creek Ranch, Martinsdale, Montana

 

Ages 7 & Up

 

Twice weekly cattle working days for ages 7 & up are offered to the guests of Laramie River Ranch. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the designated cattle drive in the morning at this Colorado ranch followed by team penning in the afternoon and then pushing the steers back out to pasture. This will be a gentle way to introduce kids to riding and moving cattle. A separate kids program is also available for toddlers to teenagers with swimming, fishing and a naturalist program to explore the area ecosystem.

 

Laramie River Ranch Cattle Drive with Kids

Laramie River Ranch, Jelm Colorado

 

Ages 6 & Up

 

Longhorn Cattle Drives for ages 6 & up are offered on Saturdays at the Black Mountain Ranch as the highlight of the entire week. All are welcome on this walk ride adventure.  You family rides out into the Medicine Bow National Forest of Colorado in the morning to gather the cows in the high country and them bring them back to the ranch in time for lunch.  After lunch you all learn to rope and brand, then drive the cows back into a different high pasture in the afternoon. Throughout the week your family will also enjoy a full week of activities: skeet shooting, white water rafting, and an overnight pack trip into the mountains.

 

Black Mountain Cattle Drive with Kids

Black Mountain Ranch McCoy, Colorado

 

A Job for Everyone ages 6 & up at the Bull Hill Ranch in northeastern Washington. Here you and your family can enjoy a laid back atmosphere with few rules or hard schedules. Cattle drives are based off the cattle and time of year. In the spring, cattle drives are more frequent (4+ times a week), as you help push the cattle from the ranch, out to pasture on the Canadian border. Throughout the summer months, cattle drives happen about 3 times a week to keep the cattle on green pasture. Then, in September and October, you can participate in the fall round-up where they ride for cattle almost daily to get them home for the winter.  Here, there is a job for everyone, regardless of riding ability.  

 

Bull Hill Cattle Drive Kids

Bull Hill Guest Ranch, Kettle Falls, Washington    

 

 

 

 Can I take my children on a cattle drive?  Yes you can! Adults are not the only ones able to go on such adventures, your kids (ages 6 & up) can too.

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Namaste on the Ranch

Whereas it used to be a time to simply kick back and relax, many of today’s travelers are using vacations as a time to continue their normal health and fitness routines, or perhaps even try something new. Yoga, in particular, has never been more popular: since 2012, the number of practitioners in the U.S. has increased by 50 percent to over 36 million. More and more people are realizing the benefits of yoga, which range from stress relief to flexibility to overall well-being. Whether you are one of the 80 Americans that say they are likely to try yoga for the first time in the coming months, or if you have been getting your ‘ namaste ’ on for quite some time, you may want to consider planning a vacation to a dude or guest ranch offering innovative and unique yoga-based programs. Below please find a sampling of five ranches accredited by the Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA) that provide guests with a special haven to discover new yoga traditions and find their Zen.

Revive and Ride. Find the inner Zen you have been craving at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Mont. Re-energize your mind, body and soul with the ranch’s Yoga Program, offered to all ages and levels of experience. Morning sessions encourage the awakening and energizing of the body and mind in preparation for a full day of activities, while afternoon sessions are restorative and focus on stretching and relaxation. In addition to the variety of outdoor activities available at the ranch, guests can relax in a heated pool, outdoor hot tub and sauna and can also take full advantage of a variety of massage services. Each therapist offers a specific approach, from hot river rocks and salt scrubs to stretching sessions and therapeutic massages.

Stretch, Relax, Ride, Repeat. Zapata Ranch is inviting guests to experience the ranch like never before during its first ever yoga retreat. Connect with the diverse surroundings of the ranch – which include high desert grasslands, alpine forests, wetlands, sand dunes, creeks and lush meadows – through daily yoga sessions and exploratory hikes and horseback rides. Zapata Ranch is located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley in Mosca, Colo., and borders the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. It is owned by The Nature Conservancy and has one of the most scenic and ecologically diverse landscapes in the country. The Yoga and Ranch Retreat takes place in April.

Hope, Courage and Healing. Horses N Courage, located in “Big Sky Country” in Sawmill Canyon of Lennep, Mont., has created a Hope, Courage and Healing Retreat, exclusively targeted to women of all ages. The retreat aims to bring together like-minded women who are eager to rediscover themselves through horseback riding, trailing cattle, exploring wildlife and bonding with one another. It includes wall-tent accommodations, ranch-style cooked meals, beautiful scenery, horseback riding, plenty of chances to see wildlife, and even a natural hot spring spa. Hope, Courage and Healing takes place for four days and three nights in July.

Om on the Range. Focus Ranch, located in the Rocky Mountains of Slater, Colo., invites guests to partake in a tranquil combination of riding their horse and riding their breath while riding the range with Yogi Martha McPherson. Martha guides participants in the pleasure of uniting breath and body in the art of yoga. Guests can also participate in some of the ranch’s other offerings like hiking, birding and fly-fishing. Focus Ranch is a traditional working cattle ranch known for its horseback riding, cattle and pristine setting. Om on the Range takes place each August, giving guests the opportunity to experience the changing of the seasons, which comes early at the 7000 ft. elevation.

Discover Your Zen. Grab your girlfriends and head to Clark, Colo., to disconnect from reality and reconnect with each other. The Home Ranch will be offering their popular Experience Yoga and Horses Retreat for the twelfth season. All ages are welcome for an all-inclusive week of health, wellness and relaxation centered on horseback. Cowgirl Yoginis Tammy Pate and Janice Baxter will help guests experience horsemanship instruction, gentle yoga, healthy gourmet dining and massage, all set amidst the spectacular fall season in the Elk River Valley in October.

The Home Ranch Namaste Yoga

Photo Courtesy of The Home Ranch

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Working Cattle Ranches Are Great For Young Adults

As your kids grow into adulthood (17 to early 20s) their individual interests begin to branch off into new and different directions.  As parents you long to plan trips that will fully engage them and create long-lasting memories.  But how?  How do parents get their burgeoning young adults to fully abandon their pocket technology and other distractions and simply hang out as a family…and love it? These questions popped up regularly in our house as my husband and I considered where to spend our family vacations.  Colorado Cattle Company Adult

We wondered if a dude ranch might hold some answers but, as a family of four from Ohio with mixed horse experience and knowledge, we had some reservations.  Our family: Brian (20), Emily (18), Bill, and Kristin. We were concerned that our 20-yr-old son, and complete non-horseman, would not enjoy it. We didn’t worry about our daughter (18); she is our resident equestrian, riding English since third grade. 

My husband grew up in rural Ohio with a “pet” horse but no formal training and no continued riding experience as an adult, while I had what I termed horse familiarity as a “barn mom” – but no actual riding experience. Well, after a number of years of cautious consideration we finally pulled the trigger and booked at Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch, owned and operated by Tom & Darcy Carr in New Raymer, CO.  Looking toward the main ranch gate–nothing but pastures, rolling hills, and bluffs for miles and miles and miles, in all directions. What can we share?  First and foremost, we shouldn’t have waited so long!  If you’re on the fence about booking a similar trip with your “emerging adult children,” Go For It!  And Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch would be an excellent option

... Read the rest of Kristin Shawd's experiences here.  Kristin is a wife, mother-of-two and soon-to-be-empty-nester who has just launched TuesdayPause.com - a travel blog with a go-often, go-local twist.

 

For more information about working cattle ranches throughout the west, look to these additional states to offer a similar experience to Kristin's. Wyoming

The Klondike Ranch is nestled in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains of north central Wyoming, and has been in their family since the 1920's. You are invited to take part in their way of life, and experience the thrill of a real Western ranch in the beautiful atmosphere of the Old West. You will  become a part of the family and they take great lengths to ensure you are comfortable, well fed, taken care of and get as much riding in as you can handle. At Klondike, they enjoy making your stay there as memorable and enjoyable as it should be.

Nebraska

Step back into the Old West and satisfy the cowboy in you as you come alongside the cowboys of the 1+1 Ranch. This 7,000 acre ranch, set in the beautiful sand hills of Nebraska is the perfect setting for your getaway & some of the most spectacular horseback riding ever. Get involved as much or as little as you want in daily ranch activities such as cattle drives, branding, working cattle, gathering & sorting, roping, checking cattle & windmills in the wide open pastures. Arena activities are also available as time allows - riding lessons, team penning, tracking & roping lessons. You will be matched up with one of the ranch raised quarter horses that you can call your own during your entire stay.

You can read more stories about cattle work on our blog and contact the Dude Ranchers' Association with any questions.

Book your Western Adventure Vacation Today


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Riding Lessons Before My Ranch Stay?

The Dude Ranchers' Association often receives inquiries about riding lessons before going on a dude ranch vacation. Recently, Philip W asked,

"Should I attend a Western riding school here in England before? Or, would it be better to wait till I am at the ranch in case the teaching here is not as good as (or would conflict with) that which I would receive on the ranch?"

In short, I responded "I think it would be a great idea to take riding lessons before you go." The long explanation below has a little more information. English and Western riding styles vary but the essential muscles used are the same. Taking lessons from a quality location will teach you about basic interactions with horses and help get you in shape for a weeks worth of riding. However, please understand that horse training and styles of riding can be related to intense perspectives. The more flexible you are at learning different viewpoints the more you are apt to benefit from the dude ranch experience and independent riding lessons. Each dude ranch in this association has policies and guidelines in place to keep riders safe. Adaptation to each location will be essential. Most riding lessons will occur in an enclosed arena and most dude ranches ride over hills, mountains and National Parks. If you can imagine these differences of locations you can imagine why the instructions might be different.

Should I Take Riding Lessons Before My Ranch Stay?

  • Introduction to Equus Caballus, the modern day horse

A horse weighs anywhere from 840 - 2,300 pounds, 4.7 - 6 feet at the shoulders and has as many different breeds as dogs. There are lots of different things you can learn about this animal and the equipment used in your lessons. The physical characteristics, proper etiquette and basic grooming techniques. Each horse you meet is different from the next; the more interactions you have with them the more you can discover.

  • Physical Fitness

Horseback riding does not require extreme athleticism, but like learning any new sport or exercise, new muscles can be "discovered" by soreness. Taking lessons would be an accurate, if not the most accurate, way to identify these muscles. Preventing soreness would definitely make your ranch stay more enjoyable.

  • Coordination, Balance and Stability

First time riders may soon realize that riding a horse is tougher than it looks. It requires coordination, balance and stability. There are a lot of parts and pieces to keep up with. A lot needs to happen simultaneously to get a horse to pick up speed or even walk in a circle without wandering off. Riding lessons will begin this learning journey, that even the most experienced of riders continue to improve upon.

Riding is definitely not as hard as walking a tight rope at the circus, but it does require you to straddle the horse and stay in the middle. Balancing and stabilizing your weight in your seat and in the stirrups gets easier with practice. And the better you are at this the easier it will be on the horse.

All this being said, dude ranches are accustomed to and enjoy sharing their love of horses and horseback riding with novice riders and can accommodate all experience levels. You can ride for as long as you like each day and your down time is flexible. Did you know that most dude ranches offer riding lessons as well? All in all I would say riding lessons are a good idea before, during and even after your dude ranch stay. Make sure the location is a quality one and learn all you can. Call the office at 307.587.2339 if you have any questions. Be inspired by this quote from Denis Diderot

"There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge... observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination."
Sundance Trail Arena Rodeo Barrel Race Riding Lesson
Sundance Trail Ranch in Colorado Offers Riding Lessons and Rodeo Activities

Read more about the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Rocking Z Arena Round Pen Riding Lessons
The Rocking Z Ranch Teaches Lessons from Pat Parelli

Read more about the Rocking Z Ranch

McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch Riding Lessons
 
Learn about cattle work at the McGinnis Meadows Cattle Ranch

Read more about the McGinnis Meadows Cattle Ranch

 

Do I Need Riding Lessons Before a Dude Ranch Vacation?

The Dude Ranchers' Association often receives inquiries about riding lessons before going on a dude ranch vacation. Recently, Philip W asked, "Should I attend a Western riding school here in England before? Or, would it be better to wait till I am at the ranch in case the teaching here is not as good as (or would conflict with) that which I would receive on the ranch?" Read more about why we think it may be a good idea to take riding lessons before your stay.

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Specialty Retreats - Montana Cowgirl Quilt Retreat

Nine Quarter Circle Quilt Retreat

Piecing together inspiration and friendship

at the Montana Cowgirl Quilt Retreat

Quilting was both an essential skill and form of art on the frontier. That’s why, starting more than 20 years ago, the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch  celebrates with the annual Montana Cowgirl Quilt Retreat.  For a week each fall, the ranch is open to quilters to join international artists who teach techniques while sharing new patterns and ideas. Each year the instructors design a pattern associated with the ranch and its surrounding beauty.You can quilt to your heart’s content, drawing inspiration from the retreat classes as well as from the magnificent mountain surroundings. Wednesdays are reserved for a field trip into Bozeman for a “quilt crawl,” the fiber-fabric-antique equivalent of a pub crawl. The “cowgirl” element of this retreat is that you’ll have plenty of time to ride horses, hike, fish, explore, relax on the porch or whatever you wish. If you bring your non-quilting partner, never fear. They’ll have more things to do than you’ve got fabric scraps. Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

Ranch Vacation

Can you imagine a vacation a combination of quilting, horseback riding, fishing hiking and just plain relaxing?  Classes are taught in the morning, leaving afternoons free for your choice of activity. And most evenings find us back quilting in the lodge. In addition to the onsite activities, Wednesdays you will venture to Bozeman.  Here, you will visit local quilt shops and all the wonderful, unique stores in the historic downtown. Camaraderie, sharing of tips and ideas, and making new friends are wonderful experiences shared by many quilters, a good many returning every year.

International Known Quilt Instructors

The adult-only retreat features international quilt teachers Charlotte Warr Andersen and Georgia Bonesteel.  Come join us for a wonderful week of quilting, riding, friendships and wonderful scenery. Bring your husband or friends. They can enjoy the riding and fishing while you are left to your sewing machine and fabric! Please e-mail the ranch directly for further information on this retreat.
Nine Quarter Circle Quilt Retreat Nine Quarter Circle Quilt Retreat Instructor

Instructors from left to right Georgia Bonesteel and Charlotte Warr Andersen

Team Work Makes the Dream Work - Ranch Team Building

Staying on a dude ranch will offer tons and tons of activities in addition to horseback riding. At an Idaho ranch you can take your family and/or your coworkers for a week long, adventure filled vacation with activities designed for team building. For starters, there are challenge courses, zip lines, climbing walls, cattle work and river rafting. Then, once the team work is completed you can enjoy some solitude in the mountains.  Take a look at the different specialties offered.  

Challenge Course

At the Red Horse Mountain Ranch the challenge course is unlike any other experience you will have. Elements range from the ground to high elements like the 300 foot zip line. The course is designed to challenge you and your group mentally and physically with each element progressing in difficulty. The challenge course is a fantastic way for all ages to build confidence, work as a team and achieve new heights. Your challenge course facilitators will accompany you at the course; each is well trained and professionally certified to provide a fun and safe climbing environment.  Once you complete this course you have many, many other fun things to do before you leave the ranch.  

Working Cattle Ranch

If you are looking for a less traditional approach to team building, consider a working cattle ranch.  There's real teamwork in the ancient cowboy tradition of tending a herd of cattle. Wait, what? Yeah, at the McGarry Ranches your group becomes a part of the cowboys.  You might venture into a thousand acre pasture to find, gather and move 150 mama and calf pairs. Or, you might be sent off to rustle up some in the trees below. Doing authentic cattle work will be a wonderful change to any other type of group meetings.  Not only will you grow in confidence in yourself, your confidence in your companions' abilities will grow as well.  

White Water Rafting

White water rafting with the Seven Devils Lodge is, most definitely, a team building exercise. This rafting trip will take you down the world famous Hells Canyon, one of the most famous rafting destinations.  Be sure to go during high water for the most intensity. If you have ever been on a rafting trip you know that everyone has to paddle to ensure safety. Everyone works together to make the adventure fun and safe. It takes a team. And, team work makes the dream work on the river, in the office, at home, and everywhere else you are a part of a team.  Do yourself a favor - build your team somewhere fun, memorable and full of adventure - at a ranch.

Contact the Dude Ranch Team

Call the Dude Ranchers' Association for more information on planning your team building event or family vacation.

Red Horse Ropes Course Team

Challenge Course at Red Horse Mountain

McGarry Ranches Cowboy Team

Cowboys and Friends at the McGarry Ranches

Seven Devils Lodge River Rafting

Hells Canyon View by the Seven Devils Lodge



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