How to Plan Your Trip to a DRA Dude Ranch - Tips on How to Get There

If you’re tired of the same old vacations and getaway plans, it is worth knowing that the Dude Ranchers’ Association offers much more interesting options. This Association is composed of over 100 ranches that provide top-notch services and accommodation conditions so that you will truly experience life on a ranch without compromising anything. In case you are still looking for better vacation options, it is definitely worth checking out what the Dude Ranchers’ Association has to offer. In other words, here is how to get to some great DRA dude ranches and a few ideas on what to do once you get there.

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Take a Trip to a DRA Dude Ranch

 

1. Fly into Reno, NV:

Greenhorn Ranch – Quincy, CA

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Once you reach the airport in Reno, the Greenhorn Ranch is just an hour and a half away from the city, by car.

Things to do:

• Plumas County Museum

Stop by the Plumas County Museum and submerge yourself in a time when the railroad industry was flourishing. This is not an average railroad museum, as many say that the entire place is alive, due to the impressive number of exhibits and interesting collections. It is worth mentioning that you will see much more than just railroad-related items. There are other objects from the area’s history that have been restored and displayed for the public at this museum.

• Keep an eye on the local festivals

The best part about visiting Quincy is that there are events going on here throughout the year. The city is known for the number of celebration and festivals that take place in the area, which manages to attract an impressive number of visitors every year. A good tip would be to visit Quincy during the summer or fall season if you really want to be part of local festivals. If you like music, for instance, the High Sierra Musical Festival that takes place in the summer would be a great choice.

Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch – Bridgeport, CA

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A bit further away, at just two and a half hours away from Reno, you will find the Hunewill Ranch, another great ranch that is worth visiting while in the area.

Things to do:

• Don’t miss a trip to Yosemite National Park

Considering that Yosemite National Park is just an hour away from the Hunewill Guest Ranch, it is a place you definitely need to visit. This park is a wonder of nature that has so much to offer. If you don’t live in the area and you came here just for your vacation at the ranch, make sure to write down a visit to this park on your to-do list. You will definitely not regret making this choice.

• Check out the local hot springs

The area around Bridgeport is simply blessed with numerous natural treasures. The Travertine Hot Springs are among them and they are also the hot springs with very easy access for visitors. So, you don’t have to be a trekking expert or deposit too much effort to see these springs. You have absolutely no reason not to get out there and enjoy both the springs and the stunning views of the surrounding area.

 

2. Fly into Denver, CO:

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch – Parshall, CO

dude ranch

To get to this ranch, you can either choose to drive for about two and a half hours or you can take the train. The trip on the train will take four hours, but it will be quite relaxing and fun experience.

Things to do:

• Take the train through Colorado

One of the best ways to see an area is to take the train if there’s a railroad in the area. Traveling by train is extremely comfortable and relaxing because you don’t have to worry about the traffic. At the same time, you have all the time to enjoy the views and see a lot on your way.

• Experience the Hot Sulfur Springs Wildlife Area

You have probably seen hot springs before, but did you have the chance to check out a sulfur hot spring? If you are in Parshall, Colorado, there is a spring like this in the State Wildlife Area. There is no entrance fee into the area and it is available throughout the year. So, no matter when you get the chance to visit, it is worth seeing. The ranch will also take you for a spectacular horseback ride to the springs for an afternoon of soaking.

Drowsy Water Ranch – Granby, CO

dude ranch

Getting to this particular ranch will also take two and a half hours by car and four hours by train. So, it is up to you what you choose to visit.

Things to do:

• Take the train and enjoy a gorgeous area

Forget about driving, at least during your vacation, and do things differently this time. Taking the train is not just convenient and relaxing, but will also give you the chance to see the beauty of the area comprised between Denver and Granby.

• Go over the stunning Ute Pass

Are you passionate about breathtaking views or have photography as a hobby? Then you must go through the Ute Pass. There are more than enough beautiful scenes as you will pass by, but the real reward is to get to the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Make sure to stop here because the views are simply unforgettable.

Latigo Ranch – Kremmling, CO

dude ranch

If you want to get to this ranch, a trip by car will take three hours, while the train will take you there in four hours.

Things to do:

• Explore the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway

There’s nothing better than a walk in a scenic area. If you choose the Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado, you have the Colorado River nearby. Luckily, there is a scenic byway along its shorelines, so you can enjoy an unforgettable and relaxing walk.

• Take a trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park

A getaway in a national park, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, can do a lot of good. Simply being away from technology and a fast-paced lifestyle, enjoying nature and tranquility can recharge your batteries like no other method. And the Rocky Mountain National Park really has a lot to offer, so don’t miss it while you’re here.

 

3. Fly into Tucson, AZ:

Rancho de la Osa – Sasabe, AZ

dude ranch

It takes just an hour and a half to get from Tucson to Rancho de la Osa, so you will reach your destination in no time.

Things to do:

• Enjoy the beauty provided by the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife refuges can be considered real-life museums. They hold some of the biggest creations and treasures nature has to offer, so if you have the chance to visit such a refuge, do not miss it. Whether you choose to visit the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge or take the time to enjoy a ride through it, you will see beautiful things all around.

• Experience the incredible Sonoran Desert

Did it ever occur to you that a desert can be mesmerizing? Well, the Sonoran Desert is definitely one of those deserts. Home to the Saguaro Cactus, which is incredible when in bloom, this desert attracts many people due to its warm winters and unique terrain.

Elkhorn Ranch – Tucson, AZ

dude ranch

An hour and a half drive will take you down the road to the Elkhorn Ranch outside of Tucson, so this is another ranch that is easy to reach and enjoy if you are willing to try something new.

Things to do:

• Take a trip around the old part of Tucson

The old part of Tucson was used in a large number of films, so don’t be surprised if some areas will appear to be familiar. Whether it is because of the movies or simply because it is charming, you should take the time to check this part of the town out.

• Check out the Pima Air & Space Museum

If you want to get out of the western sphere a little, you can visit this museum dedicated to aircraft and everything else that revolves around them. This museum is one of a kind.

• Relax at the Saguaro National Park

The Saguaro National Park got its name from the fact that it is home to an impressive number of Saguaro Cacti. This type of cactus is representative for the area, but seeing a field of Saguaro cacti in one single place can be an impressive view.

Tombstone Monument Ranch – Tombstone, AZ

dude ranch

Only an hour and a half away from the city of Tucson, you can also find the Tombstone Monument Ranch, a sanctuary of tranquility and peace where you can replenish yourself with positive energy.

Things to do:

• Visit the famous Bisbee, AZ

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that Bisbee is a small city. There are more than enough options when it comes to having fun and staying busy over here. From birdwatching to checking out the local pubs and restaurants, the list is quite versatile and entertaining. Bisbee is also home to one of the largest and most famous turquoise mines as well!

• Have some fun at the Old Tombstone Western Theme Park

This is a place where the entire family can have a lot of fun. Also, it is pet-friendly as well, so don’t leave your four-legged companion behind. The entire park is made to reflect the authentic old western culture, so you can take this adventure as a history lesson as well, not just pure entertainment.

• Check out a real underground mine

If you’re curious to see what a real mine looks like and how people worked in such a place, you need to visit the Goodenough Silver Mine. This was one of the most important and among the first of its kind in the old west, so it is definitely a piece of history you shouldn’t miss.

 

4. Fly into Cody, WY:

Rimrock Ranch – Cody, WY

dude ranch

It takes just 45 minutes on the road to get from Cody to the Rimrock Ranch. So, you will be able to begin your vacation in no time.

Crossed Sabres Ranch – Cody, WY

dude ranch

A bit further away, one hour away to be more specific, you will find the Crossed Sabres Ranch. Once you get there, you will enjoy the beauty of the wilderness in a comfortable and elegant manner.

7D Ranch – Cody, WY

dude ranch

Even if you have to drive for one hour and a half up to the 7D Ranch, it is worth taking the trip if you want to find a tranquil place surrounded by a lot of beauty. Comfort and intimacy are at home at this family-owned ranch.

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch – Shell, WY

dude ranch

It takes just one hour and another 20 to 25 minutes to get from Cody to the Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch. After you will finish this short trip, your most amazing vacation can begin.

Things to do:

• Don’t miss visiting Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the country. So, if you’re in the area, make sure you pay it a visit as well. But, do keep in mind that it is very large, so go there with a plan in mind or with some must-see objectives. Many of the ranches in the area will take you on an all-day tour of the park and the road from Cody, Wyoming to the East Entrance of Yellowstone was deemed the ‘most scenic 52 miles in the world’ by Teddy Roosevelt.

• Visit the historical Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum

A great way to experience the west is to check out the incredible Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum. This paired with your stay at a ranch will definitely give you the western experience you are looking for.

• Experience the Cody Night Rodeo

What’s a trip to the west without a good old-fashioned rodeo night? The rodeo show is available every night, starting the 1st of June and until the 31st of August. Join in and experience an authentic western rodeo.

• Give yourself the chance to see the Wild Mustangs roaming at the McCullough Peaks

There aren’t many places out in the world where wild horses can still be seen. But, at the McCullough Peaks, you can still see Wild Mustangs roaming free and undisturbed by humans. This is one of the things you should not miss in this lifetime for sure. The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch will even take you on a horseback ride amongst the Wild Mustangs if you wish!

This article was written in collaboration with Luxury Travelers Guide

If you’re tired of the same old getaway plans, it is worth knowing that the Dude Ranchers’ Association offers more interesting options. Visit a Dude Ranch!

The 10 Best Dude & Guest Ranches for the Perfect Arizona Ranch Vacation

Without question, Arizona is a beautiful state and a wonderful destination for a dude & guest ranch vacation any time of year. The state is known for some of the most colorful characters in American history. Here, you can walk (or horseback ride) in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and more! With a personal guide for the many outdoor activities an Arizona ranch vacation can offer, you’ll get an in-depth lesson on the particular area of each dude ranch.

With a variety of geographical features, you might ride in the mountains, deserts, grasslands or all three! With 27 National Parks in Arizona the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and the Saguaro National Park will be just the start to exploring the state of Arizona.

Here are the 10 Best Dude & Guest Ranches for the Perfect Arizona Ranch Vacation and the top reasons for going to each one.

 

Experience the Town of Wickenburg, the Team Roping Capital of the World

A vacation at the Kay El Bar Guest Ranch located right outside of Wickenburg, AZ will give you the opportunity to do and see some pretty neat things. Not only will you enjoy the small, intimate feel of the ranch, you will get to experience the town of Wickenburg as well. With several museums, musical performances, historic walking tours and more, your chance to see real cowboys and the true Western lifestyle is guaranteed. Wickenburg was named the team roping capital of the world many years ago because of the daily events that happen here, especially in the winter months. It is not uncommon to see cowboys riding their horses down the washes headed from one roping to the next!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Visit One of the Most Iconic Western Towns

When you visit Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona you will get to walk the streets that Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and outlaw Curly Bill Brocius once walked. It has been said at this ranch the guests feel like they have traveled back in time to the old West. Also, while you are here, you will want to visit the fun tourist town of Bisbee, Arizona, home to one of the largest turquoise mines in the US!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Saguaro National Park with Western Adventure, Solitude and Luxury Amenities

The Tanque Verde Ranch just east of Tucson will make your next stay an unforgettable Arizona ranch vacation experience. With the La Sonora Spa, fine dining, great horseback riding and additional outdoor activities for all ages your whole family will love this dude ranch resort. Look out over the Saguaro National Park from the back of your horse or from the comfort of your room’s patio, regardless of where you are at, it is an incredible sight to see.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Mountains of Arizona provide a Different Atmosphere

Located in the White Mountains of North Eastern Arizona is where you will find the Sprucedale Guest Ranch, home to the Wiltbank Family. Here you will find a very different terrain than most other Arizona dude ranches. The mountains, pine trees and luscious meadows provide a cooler atmosphere and the chance to enjoy the south in the summer months. Sprucedale is able to offer different activities than other Arizona ranches because of its climate and location; fishing and natural water swimming are available here and quite popular for everyone! Horseback riding, hayrides and bonfires are just a few of the other activities you will find at this ranch.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Ride Across the Grasslands in Southern Arizona

At Circle Z Ranch you will get to experience the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands and thousands of acres of scenic horseback riding trails. You’ll get to ride out on the distinct Arizona grasslands, but also experience canyons and mountains rising suddenly and dramatically out of the desert lowlands. You might come for the views, but you’ll come back for the hospitality.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Where the Baboquivari Mountains and the Altar Valley Meet

Whether you travel solo, as a couple or with your whole family, you will find friendship, rest and adventure at the Elkhorn Ranch and the miles and miles of mountain and desert trails. The area is home to an extensive variety of curious Sonoran vegetation and birding. This ranch is near the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, so the chances of seeing some great desert wildlife is in store!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

All-Day Riding and Team Penning

At the White Stallion Ranch near Tucson, you can spend up to six hours a day in the saddle and practice your team penning skills three times a week. For your non-riding companions, there’s still plenty to do. A tennis court, sport court, petting zoo, game room, movie theater and hiking program provide fun activities for all ages. This ranch is where luxury meets Western hospitality, relax your worries away and truly enjoy your vacation.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Ride Horses and Tee off at One of Golf Digest’s Top 100 U.S. Courses

Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona offers the perfect getaway to the old southwest. At this ranch, you will feel the charm and intimacy of Western life with all of the amenities of a resort. Horseback riding and golf are just the start of the list of things to do at this Arizona ranch vacation. Relax at the spa or enjoy the Arizona winter sun on the course or back of a horse; the itinerary is completely up to you on your vacation.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Arizona’s Most Historic Ranch

Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe, Arizona is a sportsman’s paradise and is surrounded by the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge near the Mexican Border. You can enjoy a scenic horseback ride on trails frequented by U.S. Presidents and legendary figures like Pancho Villa. You also will be able to enjoy the incredible Arizona sunsets overlooking the desert landscape. You haven’t seen a true sunset until you have seen one in Arizona. The riding and hiking trails are fantastic and the quaintness and charm of this ranch will leave you wanting to return for years to come.  

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Family Atmosphere Welcomes All

The Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch invites guests to stay at the ranch and be a part of the ranch family, even if it is only for a little while. At the feet of the Mohave and Hualapi mountains, you can be assured of breathtaking views, constant sunny days and a fantastic Arizona ranch vacation. Experience Arizona’s vast beauty and enjoy all of the wonderful amenities this ranch has to offer like stagecoach rides, shooting sports, a swimming pool, a hot tub and more. You will leave this ranch feeling like part of the family!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

For more information on an Arizona dude ranch vacation or to learn about other Western ranch vacations, visit www.duderanch.org or contact a ranch vacation expert at the Dude Ranchers’ Association.

307.587.2339, info2@duderanch.org.

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Without question, Arizona is a beautiful state and a wonderful destination for a dude & guest ranch vacation any time of year. The state is known for some of the most colorful characters in American history. Here, you can walk (or horseback ride) in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and more! With a personal guide for the many outdoor activities an Arizona ranch vacation can offer, you’ll get an in-depth lesson on the particular area of each dude ranch.

Dude Ranches Offer the Best Destination for an All-Inclusive Vacation

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a vacation where no detailed planning was involved? What about a vacation where all the activities and meals are scheduled ahead of time? How about a vacation where you choose your itinerary and there is something for everyone in your group to enjoy? If this type of vacation sounds like a dream come true, you will definitely want to consider an all-inclusive vacation destination. Vacations with complete packages can make deciding on a setting that everyone is happy with less challenging and more fun. 

A very unique type of all-inclusive vacation can be found at one of the 100+ dude ranches that the Dude Ranchers’ Association represents.  Meals, lodging and most activities are all included in one price and make scheduling a vacation for any type of traveler a breeze. The hardest part of booking a dude ranch all-inclusive vacation is deciding which ranch to go to! Don’t worry, if you are having a hard time choosing between all of the great options, contact the ranch experts at the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) to make the process of choosing a destination much easier. To help you understand the deals dude ranches have to offer, continue reading to learn about some of the best detinations out there. 

What would it be like to take a vacation where no detailed planning was involved? Find out on a unique, all-inclusive vacation at a DRA dude ranch!

Photo provided by: Rainbow Trout Ranch, CO

What does all-inclusive vacation mean while on a dude ranch? 

The dude ranch industry has been around for over 100 years, and even starting 100 years ago the founders of these ranches thought it would be a great idea for the experiences they offered to be simple to plan and the best package deal available. Dude ranches that are members of the DRA still operate on an all-inclusive type structure. Meals, lodging and most activities are included in one price for each person attending the ranch.

Where and what will we eat? 

The meals are planned and prepared each day by top notch chefs who create dishes that are perfect for any taste pallet or picky eater. Several ranches operate farm-to-table food programs and offer the freshest ingredients around, like the Red Reflet Ranch in Wyoming. With a large farm greenhouse, ranch raised beef and poultry and a top-of-the-line kitchen, you will not be disappointed by the food here.  The designated dining areas are not always in a dining room. An abundance of ranches offer meals in an outdoor area like a campfire location or a chuckwagon type setting at least once a week. If you have never had a meal cooked over an open fire, you don’t know what you are missing!  

all-inclusive vacation

Red Reflet Ranch, WY

Where will we sleep? 

Lodging accommodations differ at each ranch but they all have the same comfy and homey feeling when you walk in the door. Some ranches have a more rustic and western chic decor and some have an adobe design and structure. DRA dude ranches offer lodge rooms or private cabins for their guests, a few ranches even offer glamping tents and wagons. The Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Idaho definitely has a great Western and rustic charm to their lodging accommodations. Relax and rejuvenate with comfortable beds, beautiful bathrooms and great views. This ranch offers both lodge rooms and private cabins for different sized families or group travelers. At Rancho de la Osa in Arizona you will find private cozy rooms with an adobe design and structure. You will feel right at home in the comfort of this ranch and get a good night’s sleep after a day full of adventures!

all-inclusive vacation

all-inclusive vacation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, ID

 

 

 

 



Rancho de la Osa, AZ

What is there to do at a ranch? 

The amount of activities at a dude ranch are endless. Dude ranches are centered around outdoor activities and encourage their guests to unplug from their everyday life and reconnect with nature, the outdoors and the people around them. Contrary to popular belief, to participate in horseback riding at a dude ranch you do not have to have previous experience. Dude and guest ranches are designed in a way that they can accommodate riding for absolute beginners, experienced riders and all levels in between. You will have the chance to see some incredible landscapes and scenery while riding and you will get to enjoy being outdoors with some fantastic people. Horseback riding is obviously the main activity on a dude ranch, but it is far from the only activity! Each ranch has their own unique set of activities available and there is something for everyone to do. 

Here's a list of activities you might find at a dude ranch:

• Fly Fishing                                                                   • ATV/UTV Riding

• Kid’s Programs                                                             • Rock Climbing

• River Rafting                                                                • Cattle Work

• Hiking / Nature Walks                                                   • Golf 

• Zip Lining                                                                    • Mountain Biking

Some ranches only have a few of these activities and others have all of these and more! When you decide what activities, you want to participate in, you are one step closer to choosing the right all-inclusive holiday package for your group. The Greenhorn Ranch in California has a great list of adventures for all ages to embark on. A wonderful fishing pond, mountain biking trails, bull frog catching and races and karaoke await you at this ranch! The bull frog catching and races are definitely a sight to see no doubt!

The Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas has incredible natural rocking climbing walls, swimming and canoeing opportunities and a zip lining course that you will not find anywhere else.

Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch in Montana specializes in water-oriented activities. Located right on the banks of Flathead Lake, paddle boarding, sailing and jet skiing are just a few sports they have for guests to enjoy, the list is quite long! No matter what activities you decide to participate in, you and everyone in your group will create memories that will last a lifetime. 

all-inclusive vacation

all-inclusive vacation

 

 

 

 

 

Greenhorn Ranch, CA                                                            Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, AR

all-inclusive vacation

Averill's Flathead Lake Ranch, MT

There are some amenities at ranches that do cost extra and travel expenses are not included in the all-inclusive getaway prices. Dude ranches do their best to make it very clear as to what is included in the price and what is not, but if you have any questions you can always contact the ranches to ask!

Still not convinced on an all-inclusive package deal for your next vacation? Take into account that if you were to choose a destination vacation that is not all-inclusive you have quite a long list of planning to do. You would need to budget and plan for at least three meals a day, lodging accommodations for each night, activities that are diverse enough to please everyone in your group and the list goes on. Save yourself the headache and time and honestly consider an all-inclusive dude ranch vacation, it may be the best vacation you ever take! 

Find a full list of all-inclusive DRA Ranches here!

 

 

 

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Unplug and Reconnect with Family, Friends and Nature at these dude ranches!

This year’s buzzwords of mindfulness, disconnect and nature / forest therapy are helping raise awareness of the dependence on screen time and social media. However, does that mean anyone is doing anything about it, especially on a vacation? Dude ranch stays have been implementing these beliefs since their inception—obviously ahead of the trend and technology. How do they do it? Easily. With no cell phone reception on trails, or in many ranch buildings, connecting with the outside world can be easily sidetracked when simply not available. Forget cable television or trying to stream a movie off a ranch generator, some places turn that option off at 9 pm. Time to look at the stars (not Hollywood) or possibly, a ranch book. Fear not, there is never a safety risk by being disconnected from phone and iPad. There is always a landline for use and radios throughout all dude ranches, but you won’t need them, only to order up supper or to have the hot tub turned up. Disconnecting without the anxiety of outcome eases the strain of taking technology out of travel. Why do you need this form of nature therapy?  Simply put, it is good for the soul!

Dude Ranchers' Association Dude Ranches

 

Badger Creek Ranch, Colorado 

This is one of the most remote ranches in Colorado. A rental car from Denver or Colorado Springs Airport is the easiest transportation. Located in the Badger Creek Basin with barely a tree on the property is a working cattle ranch that has the DRA’s lowest guest count capacity. Maxing out at eight guests, preferably seven, the ranch provides a slice of the Wild West that is authentic and isolated, yet community-oriented. 

Guests can receive cell service in the main ranch house where meals are served and song commences in the evening. Once you leave the quarters, it’s signal silence. At 9,000 feet, you won’t need your cell phone, just the trusty guidance and leads of the two couples that co-own this rarity. 

After an epic cattle drive in the Colorado sun, sneak off to the secret river a stone’s throw from the ranch, loaded with trout, waterfalls (in average to good run-off years) and incredible stream activity. There is also a buffalo jump where Native Americans chased the herds over the edge to trap, consume and utilize their precious materials. They certainly made it work with no cell phones, so you will have no challenge. 

At night, enjoy the stars, song, hot tub and home cooking. You will be so exhausted you won’t even be able to keep your light on to read a magazine or finish a cookie. Disconnected and exhausted makes for a true night’s sleep.

dude ranches

Badger Creek Ranch - Canyon City, CO.

Rancho de la Osa, Arizona

This place is remote; it’s barely in America. Rancho de la Osa is a 20-minute horseback ride to the border of Arizona and Mexico, the country. Even with all of the talk about “the wall” most people don’t realize that you can’t really talk by the wall, meaning, no cell phone reception. Take a ride out to the border and test it for yourself, you can take great selfies and landscape shots, but don’t bet on any connection to send those photos until you return home.

Upon returning to the ranch after a ride to remoteness you will be comforted in original adobe/southwest buildings, including the main house that in 1916 Pancho Villa raided and attempted to overtake, a cannon ball from the attack is embedded in the adobe wall of the Hacienda, which is on display today. The walls to these buildings are thick, don’t expect noise, or cell phone bands to get through the barricades. 

Well, one exception to this rule. In the office of the main adobe there is continuous WiFi for guests and a landline to use. However, you’ll be too busy exploring the obscurity and rarity of this nearly 600-acre ranch bordering 120,000 acres of the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge that you won’t have much time but to grab a picture and move along. Surely you can rest your feet by the heated outdoor pool, but you’ll be preoccupied on a horse, on guided off-road tours to ruins and other Southwest natural landmarks, cruising through the desert on a fat electric bike, sport shooting, hiking, bird spotting and more. 

Elk Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Located at the highest elevation of any dude ranch in the state is Elk Mountain Ranch in Buena Vista. At 9,600 feet, any sort of play will be more strenuous and tiring, making texting and typing a bit more challenging. Come evening as the generators for the ranch are switched to off, don’t expect anything but stars, silence and sound sleeping as no electricity or cellar range is coming anywhere near your cabin or lodge room.

Elk Mountain Ranch has alternative plans for keeping you occupied. They’ve got the daily horse program and children’s program, but come time to get out of the saddle, there is also a rec room with a pool table, foosball, air hockey, board games, a library and there’s an outdoor volleyball and basketball court. Not enough activities to wear you out, there’s more. Campfires, s’mores, hayrides, hiking, white water rafting, hot springs visits, rodeos and more.

“We have adults that started coming for the September season a decade ago and now come back each year with folks they met during the adults-only week where they unplugged. It gives people the communality of shared experiences and conversing when the day is done that drives the friendships,” explains Tom Murphy, co-owner of the ranch.

dude ranches

Elk Mountain Ranch - Buena Vista, CO.

Allen’s Diamond 4 Ranch, Wyoming 

Most people have never heard of Lander, Wyoming it’s fathomable because it’s located in the least populated state in the nation and the town of Lander has a population of less than 8,000 residents. However, the town has food, entertainment and cell phone coverage. Allen’s Diamond 4 Ranch on the other hand, is far from society and offers different amenities for the traveler. It’s the highest altitude ranch in Wyoming at 9,300 feet and truly the most remote. 

The maximum guest capacity remains at eight, and for good reason, this place is still a bit secretive after many decades, and it’s not from lack of beloved guests. It’s the extra journey to get to the disconnect. The ranch is nestled into Dickinson Park. Riders and visitors have range of 100,000 acres to roam, and so do cell phones. They roam once they leave ranch property. 

Specialty weeks such as Wyoming hunting, youth camp adventure and guided pack trips will take you even further into the rugged Popo Agie Wilderness area that borders the ranch where guests are unplugged from technology and completely in awe of the mountain lakes formed from glacier and pristine forests that follow visitors to their log cabin porches nightly. 

The ranch only has four guest cabins, well-kept and stocked for a Wild West adventure. This is a family owned and operated ranch, meals are served family style, so no cell phone coverage bodes well with this format as it would be rude to text under the table. The Allen family is not disconnected from traveler needs, rather trendsetting for sublime solitude.  

It’s this uniqueness and unplugged nature that has guests from England, Texas, California and more returning to the respite and reprieve of modern technology. Forget television, you’ve got catching up to do with old friends. 

Creek Ranch, New Mexico

There’s something about a boutique ranch that truly invites disconnection. Creek Ranch in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, has a maximum guest capacity of 12, and feels and operates much more like a working ranch than a Club Med on horseback. The 8,200 acres of desert arroyos, canyons, tumbleweeds, flora and fauna are stunning, but it’s the authentic location and purpose of the operation that put you out of touch with instant satisfaction of technology and enjoyment of journey and teamwork. 

The most popular activity is obviously horseback, not spa, theatre or video games. Actually, there is no television! You can watch items on your own devices in the main house if need be where you can receive WiFi, but forget accessing anything else once you leave the main gathering spot, that includes your email, text message and other modern-era communication methods; it’s all about the disconnect.

Instead, you’ll be roping steers, cattle sorting and traversing desert terrain on your trusty steed. When not riding you can, fish the nearby Pecos River or relax at the ranch located on the Carrizo Creek bed. The hot tub is always warm and the New Mexico stars come nightfall are some of the most impressive in the nation, you won’t need to check in on the Hollywood ones. 

Accommodations are authentic southwestern with comfy beds, remodeled bathrooms, serious attention to detail in each guest room and air conditioning, critical in the desert. All food is provided, you won’t go hungry wandering through the desert, but you will go unplugged. 

dude ranches

Creek Ranch - Santa Rosa, NM.

Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado

Cherokee Park Ranch is located in Livermore, Colorado, not too far from major towns such as Fort Collins or even Denver. Don’t worry, it gets visitors off the grid quickly with loss of cell phone reception once you drive the dirt road to a late 1880’s stagecoach stop between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Laramie, Wyoming. Now, it’s one of the most family-friendly and awarded ranches in Colorado. However, don’t plan on using your cell phone. There is no reception within two miles of the ranch, unless you mount up on horseback and go for a ride with vista spots that also provide cell phone access. But, no need. Be mindful if you need to make a phone call. There’s an old-fashioned hand-held telephone to be used by anyone on the ranch. Selfies from modern day phones seem to capture this moment quite often! 

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You may feel like you need to be connected to your electronic devices, but you don't! See why dude ranches are the perfect

The Best Holiday Gift - A Dude Ranch Experience!

The best holiday gift does not often sport a designer logo, nor does it come from a big box store.  Some of the most celebrated gifts are experiences that provide long-lasting, meaningful memories. This season, gather your loved ones and retreat to the tranquil surroundings of a Western dude ranch. Skip the long shopping lines and enjoy the gift of family time with an all-inclusive vacation at an accredited Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) member ranch.

Whether your dream getaway is a warm-weather paradise that lets you escape from the cold or a snowy wonderland that helps you embrace the magic of the season, DRA ranches have you covered. With over 100-member ranches, found in the deserts and mountains of the American West and Canada, your family can spend the holidays at a ranch best suited to your interests and lifestyle.  

What’s more, many of the DRA’s all-inclusive ranches offer special holiday packages, making them a smart holiday choice. 

But best of all, a DRA dude ranch offers your family something not found in a shopping mall: precious time spent together making memories that will last a lifetime. Give the gift of family-fun and adventures with these DRA ranches this holiday season! 

The Best Holiday Gift! 

 

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch – Wickenburg, AZ

Have the winter blues got you down? Kay El Bar Guest Ranch is a great winter getaway rich with history and character. Soak up the sun and loads of fun at this wonderful Arizona ranch! This ranch dates back to the early 1900’s and to the times of the Maricopa Indians who helped construct some of the buildings on the ranch. Open from mid-November until the end of April offers guests the opportunity to experience winter vacation or spring break in a whole new way! Ride through the desert on horseback, hike to beautiful destinations, head to town to see the great things Wickenburg has to offer or kick back and relax by the pool. Tailor this vacation to every person in your group and create memories to last a lifetime. 

best holiday gift

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch - Wickenburg, AZ

Circle Z Ranch – Patagonia, AZ

Circle Z Ranch is open from late October through early May. Located in the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands, this desert oasis treats guests to vistas dotted with grasslands, canyons and mountain ranges and more than 100 miles of trails spanning landscapes of Sonoran prickly pear and ocotillo, to oak and pine forests. In addition to horseback riding, activities include nature education programs, hiking and bird watching, as well as several great of photo ops and fine dining. Circle Z offers several packages tailored for winter travelers.

best holiday gift

Circle Z Ranch - Patagonia, AZ

Elkhorn Ranch - AZ – Tucson, AZ

Fifty miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona, the Elkhorn Ranch is nestled in secluded Sabino Canyon. At an elevation of 3,700 feet, the ranch is surrounded by the picturesque Baboquivari Mountains and the open Sonoran Desert country of the Altar Valley. From November through April, guests can enjoy a traditional winter season guest or dude ranch vacation experience, made complete with horseback riding suitable for riders of all ages and experience levels. Whether you travel solo, as a couple or with your family, you will find friendship, rest and adventure amidst miles of mountain and desert trails.

best holiday gift

Elkhorn Ranch - AZ - Tucson, AZ

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, ID

The first hint of snow means it is time for sleigh rides, skiing and snowmobiles at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Northern Idaho. Spend time with loved ones while enjoying a dinner and sleigh ride. Explore the ranch via snowshoes or cross-country skis. Or you can enjoy a bed and breakfast stay. Western Pleasure is located on 1,100 acres and adjacent to thousands of acres of land with breathtaking views of the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains. Winter specials include several ski packages, a snowmobile package and spa package.

best holiday gift

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch - Sandpoint, ID

Latigo Ranch – Kremmling, CO

Located approximately 130 miles west of Denver, Colorado, Latigo Ranch is situated in one of the most beautiful places on earth and offers a panoramic view of the Continental Divide. Guests can drink in the views, inhale the crisp mountain air and gaze in awe at some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery from the front porch of the ranch’s historic log lodge. Guests will experience warm hospitality and winter activities, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing that keep Latigo Ranch guests coming back year after year. Latigo was just voted into the Top 10 Best Cross-Country Ski Resorts by 10Best Choice Travel Awards.  The outdoor activities are as invigorating as the inside comforts are cozy. Winter rates and packages start just before Christmas and run through late March. 

best holiday gift

Latigo Ranch - Kremmling, CO

Lone Mountain Ranch – Big Sky, MT

For the ultimate Rocky Mountain winter adventure, visit Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. The ranch is perfectly situated just six miles from some of the best skiing in the country and was voted as the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine. Winter activities include skiing (Nordic, downhill and backcountry), snowshoeing and sleigh ride dinners. Guests can even take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or the Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes. 

best holiday gift

Lone Mountain Ranch - Big Sky, MT

Rancho de la Osa – Sasabe, AZ

Experience the desert like never before at the quaint and peaceful Rancho de la Osa located in Sasabe, Arizona. While on vacation here you will have the chance to see some of Arizona’s most beautiful sunsets, ride or hike on trails that have been forged by legendary figures like Pancho Villa, relax by the stunning pool, participate in electric bike tours, shooting sports or go on a guided off-road tour in a UTV! The activities at Rancho de la Osa will appeal to all ages and interests. Escape the cold and head to Arizona for a wonderful vacation. Your family will be excited to open a present that includes a warm getaway! 

best holiday gift

Rancho de la Osa - Sasabe, AZ

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The best holiday gift does not often sport a designer logo, nor does it come from a big box store.  Some of the most celebrated gifts are experiences that provide long-lasting, meaningful memories. This season, gather your loved ones and retreat to the tranquil surroundings of a Western dude ranch.

Unique Fitness Adventures on a Dude Ranch Anytime of Year

When planning a dude ranch vacation, you might think about horseback riding through picturesque mountain panoramas, testing out fly fishing on mirror like rivers or relaxing by a crackling campfire; it usually does not cross your mind about staying on track with your workout routine. You don’t want to lose a whole week of workouts, but what are you going to do to stay in shape at a dude ranch? There is an array of unique dude ranch fitness adventures to participate in during your vacation. 

Horseback riding offers physical activity, but you may be eager for more challenging tasks. You may need to actually “feel the burn” while participating in an activity to get a sense of a good workout. No matter what type of weather conditions, there are outside adventures to keep you active any time of year. Here are 9 unique dude ranch adventures to keep you in shape during your vacation. 

Unique Dude Ranch Fitness Adventures

 

Mountain Biking – Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, Arizona

With all of the activities available on a dude ranch it is hard to pick just a few to participate in. Plus, you want to get the most out of your week-long vacation, but it is tough to do all the activities you want in such a short amount of time. If you are looking to explore the desert terrain of Arizona in a different way there are options! For a more fitness tailored adventure you could try mountain biking. Stagecoach Trails has fat tire mountain bikes available for you to use for a quieter exploration of the cactus filled trails. Ride through the desert and get a good workout by peddling through sandy trails, you might even get to see some wildlife, like a roadrunner being chased by a coyote! 

fitness adventures

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch - Yucca, AZ 

Snowshoeing – Campbell Hills Guest Ranch, British Columbia 

If you have never walked through deep, wet snow you may not know how much of a workout it can really be. Sometimes vacations have snowy days, and you will still want to get outside to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. At Campbell Hills Guest Ranch there are many winter activities available, but snowshoeing may be the best physical workout of them all. You can snowshoe many different trails at the ranch and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. It is very peaceful to get outside, enjoy the cool fresh air and take in all of the stunning landscapes and mountains around you. 

fitness adventures

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch - Kamloops, BC

Paddle Boarding – Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana 

Trying to balance on a board, paddle and enjoy everything around you can sometimes be a true challenge. Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Montana has many water activities to offer that are fun and refreshing. The ranch is located directly on the shores of Flathead Lake which is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. This lake is also one of the cleanest freshwater lakes in the world and stretches almost 30 miles in length! Paddle boarding on Flathead Lake is one of the tougher physical activities for your body. It requires many muscles to all be used at the same time which can be difficult, if your body is not up for that challenge, no worries you can just go for a swim! It is a great fitness activity for those vacation-goers who are looking for a fun adventure on the water all while getting a good workout, and maybe even a tan! 

fitness adventures

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge - Bigfork, MT

Hiking – Rancho de la Osa, Arizona

Hiking is one of the best fitness activities one can do to stay in shape while on vacation. Many of the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s member ranches have miles of trails for you to hike either with a guide or on your own. Rancho de la Osa in Arizona is a perfect place for hikers, by walking a few yards from your room you will find some of the same trails forged by legendary figures like Pancho Villa. You can walk on red clay trails towards the famous Baboquivari Mountain or you can tour the Buenos Aires wildlife refuge. While out on these hikes you may experience giant jackrabbits or hike along old western ghost towns that still feature intact buildings. No matter where your hiking adventure takes you, a good workout and a great time is sure to be had!   

fitness adventures

Rancho de la Osa - Sasabe, AZ 

Cross Country Skiing – Triangle X Ranch, Wyoming

Whatever your outdoor challenge or your outdoor dream, you will find it at the Triangle X Ranch in Wyoming. This ranch has many fitness activities to offer year-round, but in the winter time one of the best workouts is cross country skiing. A challenging tour through the flats of the Snake River Valley is like no other winter wonderland. The chances of running into wildlife are very high, and seeing the Grand Teton Mountains the with snow on the peaks is a memory you will never forget. Triangle X also extends other winter and snow activities that allow for a great workout for any level. 

fitness adventures

Triangle X Ranch - Moose, WY

Rock Climbing – Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Colorado 

It is always exciting to try new things, and new workouts are wonderful. Rock climbing at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Colorado is a great way to mix things up while on vacation. Like many other non-typical adventures, rock climbing may not seem like much of a workout when participating, it is usually the day after the adventure that you feel all those muscles you used become sore. The rock climbing program at Sundance Trail is described as an introduction to climbing. Through this program you will learn how to tie knots, conduct proper belay and movement techniques, communicate, understand the terminology used during rock climbing, participate in a bouldering introduction as well as learn about outdoor safety. The ranch provides special shoes, ropes, helmets and all other technical gear. If you want to try a new fitness adventure rock climbing might just be your niche! 

fitness adventures

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch - Red Feather Lakes, CO 

Kayaking – Wind River Christian Guest Ranch, Colorado 

Located just 10 minutes from the Wind River Christian Guest Ranch in Colorado lies Lake Estes, a body of water that provides some of the best views of Rocky Mountain National Park. What better way to take in the beauty of the mountains and all the surrounding scenery than by a kayak? Not only will the adventure be beautiful, but you can also make it either an easy or hard fitness activity while on your vacation. The kayaking adventure is included in the weekly rate stay at the ranch so there is no extra cost to participate, a great activity for the whole family. The staff from the ranch will provide transportation down to the marina where you will prepare for the adventure by picking out which type of kayak they prefer, one person or two, grabbing life jackets and going through a brief training session so you can have the best time possible on the lake. Kayaking is a great fitness activity that will have your arms and core limp by the time you get back to shore, good news is there is a nice hot tub waiting for you back at the ranch! 

fitness adventures

Wind River Christian Guest Ranch - Estes Park, CO 

Yoga – 7D Ranch, Wyoming

If you are looking to relax your mind and body while on a dude ranch vacation, finding a ranch with a yoga class is a great idea. The 7D Ranch in Wyoming offers yoga classes multiple times a week and by request. The classes are for any level and are a great way to stretch out those muscles after a long day in the saddle. Yoga presents many benefits for the body and mind; one class may just help bring that sense of relaxation you have been looking for. You do not even have to worry about bringing your own equipment, the ranch has mats and other necessary equipment available. The classes can be tailored to many different levels as well; so, whether you are an avid yogi with much experience or just a beginner who has never set foot on a yoga mat, there is a class for you. 

fitness adventures

7D Ranch - Cody, WY

Snowmobiling – Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch, Idaho

Riding a big snowmobile through the powdery snow and trees does not seem all that hard right? Why would snowmobiling be considered a fitness activity you may ask? Until you try snowmobiling for the first time you will never quite understand how many muscles and how much effort it takes to maneuver a machine like that through the snow. Snowmobiling is another fitness activity that offers great adventure and each person can go at their own level. At Seven Devils Lodge and Guest Ranch in Idaho guided snowmobiling tours are offered for any level rider. D.R. Bledsoe is a great instructor/coach and will teach riders how to safely ride the machines all while having a great time. Snowmobiling is much like riding a horse in the dude ranch world, the folks at the ranch will ask you your experience level and how comfortable you are with the machine and then adjust the program accordingly. They walk though the process of riding the machine and will ride with you until you feel comfortable on your own. If you are looking for a fun adventure and an out of the ordinary fitness activity, look no further than the Seven Devils Ranch. 

fitness adventures

Seven Devils Lodge and Guest Ranch - Council, ID

 

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No matter the weather conditions, there are outside adventures to keep you active. Here are 9 dude ranch fitness adventures to consider during vacation.

Why Arizona Winters are Great for Ranch Vacations

Arizona is a wonderful place to vacation, especially to beat the winter blues. With a consistently warm and predictable climate, it’s no wonder people flock to Arizona during the winter months to enjoy the outdoors. On a ranch vacation you’ll enjoy horseback riding, fine western dining, perfectly appointed accommodations and many other western lifestyle activities. Here are four reasons Arizona winters are great for ranch vacations. 

1. Beautiful Weather 

Obviously, the weather is one of the most popular reasons you might want to go to Arizona during the winter. The sun shines most every day (300+ days a year) and temperatures average about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though you can find snow-covered mountains, the central to southern parts of the state often enjoy mild weather in shorts or t-shirts. At the Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, you’ll get to enjoy spectacular sunsets late into the evening comfortably around a camp fire. 

Arizona Winters

Sunset at the Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch in Yucca, Arizona. 

 

2. Culture of the Southwest 

With a combination of historical native American and Hispanic cultures, the atmosphere in Arizona is unique to the rest of the country. These cultures blend in with the history of the cowboy at some of the most famous locations. At Tombstone Monument Ranch you can relive what it was like to live in an old Southwestern Town like famous western characters did. Rancho de la Osa is off the beaten path near the border of Mexico and immerses guests into a different world. Want to learn about the local flora and fauna? Then you will want to be at the Circle Z Ranch, where local Naturalist, Ethnobotanist, and Survival Expert Vincent Pinto leads their guests on a 1-hour Nature walk. His expertise is inspiring, as he discusses birds, a variety of rich habitats, edible plants, and Arizona’s famed Sky Islands.  Arizona Winters

Southwestern town of the Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona. 

 

3. Outdoor Activities

With the beauty of the outdoors you’ll want to spend as much time outside as you can. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching and cattle drives are some activities you can do to enjoy the mountains or deserts in Arizona. The Flying E Ranch offers all of these adventures and more in an area that’s just minutes from Wickenburg, Arizona on 20,000 acres to ride and roam. Tee up your western vacation at Rancho de los Caballeros. The golf course located on the ranch was designed by Greg Nash and Jeff Hardin, the Los Caballeros course is a Golf Digest top-five rated course and a top 100 course nationally. Featuring rolling terrain, two beautiful lakes, bunkers and five sets of tees, this challenging course can be set up for a variety of playing styles and levels. What about rock climbing, have you ever tried it?  If you’ve never tried climbing before, here’s your chance to experience it in an incredible setting. If you’re an experienced climber, you will be wowed by the climbs at White Stallion Ranch.  Their AMGA, PCGI Certified Climbing Instructor will guide you climbing boulders and faces on the East end of the ranch. He has designed beginner, intermediate and advanced climbs.

Arizona Winters

Guests participating in team penning at the Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. 

 

4. Family Time

You’ll want to take the whole family with you on vacation. From babies to grandma and grandpa everybody will enjoy a wonderful winter getaway. You’ll be looking for a nice swimming pool, an ample supply of board games, tennis, basketball and kid’s counselors for the youngest ones. Elkhorn Ranch provides everything you need for a successful and unforgettable multi-generational vacation. Another great option with an excellent kid’s program is the Tanque Verde Ranch their activities will engage, educate, and entertain, in addition to teach kids the importance of working together. Their caring and knowledgeable team will ensure a safe and fun experience for your child.

Arizona Winters

Kids learning how to care for horses at the Elkhorn Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. 

 

 

Take a look at the other great ranches in Arizona below and read more from our blog about Arizona dude ranches.

Arizona Winters

Kids develop lifelong friends at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

 

Arizona Winters

The unique cabins, or casitas of the Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe, Arizona. 

 

Arizona Winters

Ride or hike through beautiful desert plants at the Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia, Arizona. 

 

Arizona Winters

Play 18 holes at Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona

 

Arizona Winters

Experirnce rock climbing at the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.

 

 

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Arizona is a wonderful place to vacation, especially to beat the winter blues. With a consistently warm and predictable climate, it’s no wonder people flock to Arizona during the winter months to enjoy the outdoors. On a ranch vacation you’ll enjoy horseback riding, fine western dining, perfectly appointed accommodations and many other western lifestyle activities. Here are four reasons Arizona winters are great for ranch vacations.

The Wildest Trail Rides of 2018

The National Dude Ranch Association (DRA) has over 10,000 trail rides throughout the Western United States and Canada. Travel across National Forest, BLM, private acreage and hundreds of miles of waterways that traverse high and low altitude, valley and mountain, desert and coast, with the wranglers of the DRA. However, of all these options, which is truly the wildest in 2018?

Border Ride—THE WILDEST TRAIL RIDE

Rancho de la Osa, Sasbe, Arizona

It’s both scenery and the current political state of the country that makes this trail ride at the remarkable ranch, quite possibly, the wildest ride in the West! Rancho de la Osa houses Arizona’s oldest continually used building, constructed in an Indian village around 1720 by Jesuit missionaries.

In 1812, the ranch was part of the Ortiz Brothers Spanish land grant and with Mexican independence from Spain, the ranch became part of Mexico. In 1916, Pancho Villa raided and attempted to take Rancho de la Osa and a cannon ball from the attack was found embedded in the adobe wall of the Hacienda, which is on display today.

Once you’ve taken in the enormous breadth of Rancho de la Osa’s history, saddle up and choose the Ranch’s U.S.—Mexico Border ride. Yes, you read that correctly, guests of all riding abilities can see and even touch The Wall.

Start on horseback through wooded mesquite trails and low sandy washes. Next, the wranglers will take you past the Ranch’s cemetery, dating from the early 1800s. From here, the horses leave the ranch, cross into La Mirador Ranch and continue to the border with Mexico, about a 20-minute ride. You travel directly to the fence separating the countries. There, wranglers can describe the scenery that unfolds. They can explain the reason for the black jugs piled feet high in some places, the blankets, clothes and more.

After all questions are answered, and there are many, wranglers will continue on with the ride reemerging at the ranch. For those who are curious, the wall ends abruptly in the desert. Draw your own conclusions, but history and reality is present, evident and relevant!

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trail rides

 

The Other Border Ride

Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, Montana

For the second wildest ride, the DRA is going to take you to our northern border with Canada. At Bar W Ranch, there is a full-day horseback trail ride that will take guests to an extremely wild site. Throughout the day the terrain changes, and riders can walk, trot, or lope through open meadows and lush forests before exploring Lake Koocanusa. Riders think they’ve entered a postcard with a majestic mountain backdrop and long sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. Lake Koocanusa signifies the cooperation between two friendly neighbors, “Koocanusa” is an abbreviation of KOOtenai River and the first three letters of CANada and USA.

The “wildest” part of this ride is traveling along the three-wire fence separating the two neighbors, USA and Canada. The fence can be seen for miles stretching in a straight line across rolling hills before disappearing into the distance. A small stone obelisk distinguishes the border and makes for a prime photo opportunity for guests who dare to put a leg on each side and claim being in two countries at once. 

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trail rides

 

Get Lost in the Lower 48’s Largest Protected Wilderness

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, Winston, New Mexico

The Gila National Forest expands over 3.3 million acres, is the largest federally protected landmass in the lower 48, and is also the first wilderness area designated in the United States.  

The terrain is wild, and the history won’t disappoint either. In one canyon alone, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch takes riders through 1,000 years of history from Mimbres to Apaches to Basque and tin miners. Aptly named Dwelling Canyon, this location has been a geologically unique stopping place for years marked with pictographs, cliff dwellings, Basque structures, and mining equipment. Sitting in a cave that demonstrates humanity for thousands of years, now that’s wild. 

The ranch will also take you on trail rides through Taylor Creek Canyon, Beaver Canyon, Whitewater Canyon, Hoyt Canyon, just some of the spectacular canyons that are truly awe-inspiring and jaw dropping. Gaze up at canyon walls as you ride through creeks fed by warm spring waters.

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trail rides

 

Private Elk Pastures

Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, Flathead Lake, Montana

Horseback ride through a 500-acre Montana elk preserve. Guests are led into the ranch’s private elk preserve where they will be able to view mature bull and cow elk in their natural habitat. Depending on time of year riders view the Lodge’s heard in full velvet or mature growth. In the fall guests can watch from a distance as the bull elk spar with each other testing their strength for the rut. 

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trail rides

 

Moose in Moose, WY

Gros Ventre River Ranch, Moose, Wyoming

Grab a cup of cowboy coffee and a glance at one of America’s largest mammals along this wild breakfast ride. Gros Ventre River Ranch in Moose, WY, has riders leave by 7 am from the barn to get the best in at dawn when wildlife are active before bedding down for the day. Exciting sightings include moose, elk and eagles. The Jackson Hole area is notorious for iconic wildlife and this particular ride allows guests to see the ranch’s valley during a serene time when most are still sleeping.

The final destination is a picnic spot by the Gros Ventre River. There, breakfast is prepared in cast iron pots over the fire. The menu includes biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, fruit tea, juice, hot chocolate, and, of course, more cowboy coffee. 

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trail rides

 

Wild Horses

Lazy L&B Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

There are few spots left in America where you can view wild horses. Luckily, the horses on staff at Lazy L & B Ranch know where to find them. The ranch offers a three-hour round trip ride where wranglers will bring you atop a mesa behind the ranch. The view is spectacular, and more often than not, guests will have the opportunity to see at least one of the herds of wild horses that inhabit the area. It’s remarkable to be on horse and take in the noises and sights of their wild cousins.

trail rides

 

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The National Dude Ranch Association (DRA) has over 10,000 trail rides throughout the Western United States and Canada. Travel across National Forest, BLM, private acreage and hundreds of miles of waterways that traverse high and low altitude, valley and mountain, desert and coast, with the wranglers of the DRA. However, of all these options, which is truly the wildest in 2018?

 

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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