7 Reasons to Visit a Dude Ranch for Your Next Vacation

When you see the great pictures, big smiles and memories being made by people on a fantastic horse oriented, dude or guest ranch vacation, have you ever thought, why would they take a trip like that? How did they even find a vacation destination like a dude ranch? What made them decide to go to a dude ranch on vacation? Well, there are a lot of different reasons as to why people visit a dude ranch, but below are the seven main reasons people choose a ranch vacation!

Sprucedale Guest Ranch Visit A Dude Ranch

The Best Reasons to Visit a Dude Ranch

 

1. Horses

Horseback riding is the central theme on ranch vacations and the quality of horses and trail rides available would be a dream to the equestrian in your travel group. From a couple of hours to all day rides the length of the trail ride is always customizable, as well as the speed in which you ride. Do you like to go fast or slow? For a long or short time? There will be a ride that matches what you would like to do. At Sprucedale Ranch their rides are grouped by age, so that the beginning riders, the teenagers and adults will get to ride together as a group. This ranch offers two rides a day, and for the special occasion, once a week you get to ride off into the setting sun. Imagine yourself in the Arizona countryside on horseback and you’ll understand why dude ranch vacations are one of the most picturesque destinations for adventure travel. 

Triangle X Ranch Water Activities Visit a Dude Ranch-1

2. Water 

If you have never seen the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming before, one of the best places to see it is from one of the boats at the Triangle X Ranch. You can experience a fantastic float trip down the Snake River which lies in the shadows of these extraordinary mountains, or you can enjoy a guided fishing trip. The guides will be sure to show you all of the great fishing holes and the scenery along the way. There are a couple of different packages offered by the ranch for their float trips. There is a 10-mile float trip or a dinner float trip, beautiful scenery and a meal? That sounds like a pretty great deal! The guided fishing trips will leave you daydreaming of time in the mountains after you return home. There are streams and rivers to be fished all around the property and you will even have the opportunity to fish in Grand Teton National Park and/or Yellowstone National Park if you would like. At the Triangle X Ranch, you will enjoy some of the finest trout fishing in the West! 

What makes people decide to go to a dude ranch on vacation? Well, there are a lot of different reasons as to why people visit a dude ranch, but below are the seven main reasons people choose a ranch vacation!

 

3. Hikes

While the horses at Colorado Trails Ranch in Durango, Colorado catch most of their guests attention, the hiking around the ranch is something to catch guest’s attention as well. The ranch property borders the two million acre San Juan National Forest, the places to explore are endless here! Colorado Trails Ranch sits in a breathtaking valley with ridges and mountains sweeping up to create an incredible panoramic view. The property around the ranch will give you a great understanding of why people moved out West and claimed this untouched land as their own; the beauty is indescribable. The ranch offers guided hikes or you can hike out on your own, the freedom is yours! Climb to the mountain tops and see the Rocky Mountains from your point of view...literally! 

Absaroka Hunting Pack Trip Visit a dude ranch

4. Camping

The Absaroka Ranch, at the headwaters of Wyoming’s Wind River and at the base of the spectacular Absaroka mountain range is a location you will find solitude and beauty on a scale very few places can match. The pack trips that Absaroka Ranch provides include top-notch amenities in the backcountry of the Shoshone National Forest. Their camp is a place anyone wanting to get away from the “real world” would want to be. It truly is unique and holds a beauty you will not understand until you see it for yourself!  The 4 ½ hour horseback ride begins right from the ranch and offers amazing views and challenging terrain. The scenery is unforgettable and the memories created will be too.  3 to 6-night stays are offered for a pack trip so you get to choose how long you want to escape reality! While on your trip you will get to enjoy crystal clear lakes and small stream fishing, incredible 360-degree views while on horseback rides, delicious camp cooking and even a shower tent with on-demand hot water! How about that for top notch service! Tents, cots, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and wood stoves are all provided on the trip so you do not have to worry about a thing! 

5. Fishing

Cast a line into some of the most spectacular streams, rivers and bodies of water that the West has to offer. With a variety of species of fish to target, most ranches have a serious fishing program that any angler would enjoy. Take for example the Majestic Dude Ranch in Mancos, Colorado. Every week the ranch owner teaches a fly fishing class for the beginners in your group and the next day has a fly fishing trip. The Bear Creek horseback ride is an all-day ride, which includes several hours of fly fishing in an unbeatable setting.

Spotted Horse Fishing Visit a Dude Ranch

Catching a trout at the Spotted Horse Ranch

Spotted Horse Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is also known for its fantastic fishing program. It has an Orvis Fly Shop for anglers to gear up and a variety of casting lessons, fishing spots on the ranch and guided fishing trips on three different local rivers. Whether you fish every day or have never cast a line, dude ranches offer fishing as a way to engage the entire group in a beautiful outdoor setting. 

C Lazy U Ranch Food Visit a Dude Ranch

6. Food 

Excellent food is the standard on every ranch experience. Gathering around the table for a well-prepared meal completes every outdoor adventure. After a full day of being outdoors in the mountains, you’ll expect delightful meals. At the C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado, they are serious about exceeding the expectations. With fine wines and an extensive alcohol selection, pairing your meal with your beverage of choice is an easy decision to make. You’ll enjoy your family-style dinner in the lodge for most meals, and then for Friday mornings during the summer you’ll have a "Woodsie Breakfast" outside for a traditional cowboy experience. 

Bar Lazy J Kids Visit a Dude Ranch

 

7. Family

Family time is serious business while you are on vacation. You get to spend an extended period of time with the people in your life that matter the most. From the moment you pack your bags and head to the airport, every moment that is spent together has the potential to make lasting memories that you will cherish forever. When you visit a dude ranch every moment is filled with family activities that all ages will enjoy. For example, at the Bar Lazy J Ranch in Parshall, Colorado each day begins with feeding the animals in the petting zoo and the kid's counselors and wranglers make sure each moment is filled with something for each age group to be actively engaged in the western lifestyle experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bar Lazy J Wagon Cat Post

Evening Wagon Ride at the Bar Lazy J Ranch

 

 

 

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White Water Rafting and Float Trips at Dude Ranches

White Water Rafting

Marble Mountain Ranch - Somes Bar, CA

The best part about being in the outdoors is that there are numerous possibilities to have fun and acquire experiences that will turn into precious memories. When it comes to activities in nature, being close to water has something special and relaxing about it. Just try to imagine how it would be to see the water, hear it and get engaged in activities that have water as the main ingredient. Yes, it is about enjoying water rafting and float trips in some of the best places in the USA and Canada. While white water rafting is for those with a more adventurous and restless spirit, float trips are calmer and more relaxing, giving you the chance to enjoy the wildlife and gorgeous scenery. Of course, no one stops you from enjoying both experiences.

White Water Rafting

Triangle X Ranch - Moose, WY

North America has some of the best places for water rafting in the whole country. Why is it so great to come here for this kind of activity? Not only will you be charmed by the stunning landscape, but you will also find experienced guides and instructors that will make this experience safe from start to end. So, even if you never tried water rafting before, traveling to North America can be a good way to give this a try. It is worth mentioning the rivers are split into classes, depending on their degree of difficulty, based on their structure and water speed. Thus, the easiest rivers belong to class 1, while the most difficult and dangerous are placed in class 6. You can be sure that the person in charge of your experience will select a river adequate to your level of experience and will certainly not leave you alone in the boat.

White Water Rafting

Spotted Horse Ranch - Jackson Hole,WY

What are the best rivers in North America for white water rafting and float trips? The Salmon River in Idaho would be a great option, although it is recommended for those with some experience in white water rafting. The waters of this river are not too fast, but you will need some skills to avoid rocks and other obstacles that may come in your way. The Arkansas River in Colorado is another exceptional choice, especially if you are looking for a more relaxing and enjoyable adventure. For those that want to feel adrenaline pumping in their veins, the Nahatlatch River in British Columbia will have what it takes to deliver.

white water rafting

Majestic Dude Ranch - Mancos, CO

But what about accommodation? What better accommodation option to pair with a water rafting and float trips than a luxurious ranch? Dude ranches are some of the best ranches in North America that give guests the chance of staying at a real ranch, without having to compromise their comfort. Also, it is worth bearing in mind that the previously mentioned rivers are just a few examples. If you’re truly interested in white water rafting and float trips, you can always ask at the ranch where you are staying what your options are when it comes to available activities in the outdoors. Now, let us check out the best dude ranches in the area and what they have to offer.

White Water Rafting and Float Trips at a Dude Ranch

 

Cherokee Park Ranch – Livermore, Colorado

White water Rafting

Even if river rafting is not your favorite activity, this ranch will still have what it takes to keep you busy and entertained. Activities such as river tubing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hikes, square dancing and many more are available. It will be entirely up to you if you want a relaxing experience or something more exciting.

Cherokee Park Ranch ~ Livermore, Colorado

Phone: +1 970-493-6522

Majestic Dude Ranch – Mancos, Colorado

white water rafting

For those that are actually interested in enjoying water rafting on their vacation, the Majestic Dude Ranch is very close to the Animas River. In fact, you will have the price of this particular activity included in your accommodation, so you won’t have to worry about anything. It is an activity for people with all levels of experience in this sector, as everything is entirely safe.

Majestic Dude Ranch ~ Mancos, Colorado

Phone: +1 970-533-7900

Spotted Horse Ranch – Jackson Hole, Wyoming

White Water Rafting

This particular ranch is ideal for those that simply want to lie back and relax. The scenery around the ranch is amazing and you can even enjoy the nearby river from its terrace. This place is also a great option if you want to enjoy float trips on the river, taking things down a notch and just getting the most nature has to offer. Of course, there are many more activities to experience here, so don’t hesitate to check out what this ranch has to offer.

Spotted Horse Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Phone: +1 307-733-2097

Triangle X Ranch – Moose, Wyoming

white water rafting

How about floating gently in a boat while gazing at majestic mountainous peaks? This is what you can enjoy if you choose to visit this ranch and spend your vacation in this area. The nearby Snake River has large portions of calm waters that make leisure activities extremely pleasant. The trips will be accompanied by a guide and your safety will be guarded at all times, so there’s no need to worry.

Triangle X Ranch ~ Moose, Wyoming

Phone: +1 307-733-2183

Marble Mountain Ranch – Somes Bar, California

white water rafting

If you want to go river rafting with the entire family and make sure it is safe and fun for everyone, you should take a look at what this ranch has to offer. The Klamath River flowing in the area has, for most of its length, calm waters, but it will also offer a few waves to increase the level of excitement. You don’t even have to be experienced in water rafting, as you will have an experienced person with you at all times.

Marble Mountain Ranch ~ Somes Bar, California

Phone: +1 530-469-3322

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch and Guide Service – Council, Idaho

white water rafting

From calm and relaxing trips to water-splashing adventures, there’s something for everybody to enjoy in this part of Idaho. If you choose this particular ranch, you will discover the river in ways you’ve never imagined. Of course, everything will be according to your desires, although you should not miss the opportunity to try something different. The safety of guests is the most important part of this ranch, so you will never face anything dangerous.

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch and Guide Service ~ Council, Idaho

Phone: +1 208-253-3014

Three Bars Guest Ranch – Cranbrook, British Columbia

white water rafting

Whether you are looking for activities on water or on land, you will not be disappointed if you choose to spend your vacation at this ranch. It is a family-friendly ranch where guests of all ages will find something enjoyable to do. At the same time, luxury and comfort will wait for you at the ranch, after a day filled with fun activities and outdoor exploration.

Three Bars Guest Ranch ~ Cranbrook, British Columbia

Phone: +1 250-426-5230

Hopefully, the previous lines opened doors toward an unforgettable and enjoyable vacation in North America, with the help of dude ranches. These ranches are members of The Dude Ranchers’ Association that guarantees a long tradition in everything that means ranching and communion with nature; these ranches have what it takes to offer you the chance of enjoying some of the best vacations you will ever experience.

 

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While white water rafting is for those with a more adventurous spirit, float trips are calmer, giving you the chance to enjoy the scenery surrounding you!But what about accommodation? What better accommodation option to pair with a water rafting and float trips than a luxurious ranch? Dude ranches are some of the best ranches in North America that give guests the chance of staying at a real ranch, without having to compromise their comfort.

Blog written by: Olivier Templar-James

http://www.luxurytravelersguide.com/

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

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

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations 

 

Gros Ventre River Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

R Lazy S Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Flat Creek Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Spotted Horse Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

The Red Rock Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Moose Head Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Lost Creek Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Triangle X Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Goosewing Ranch

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

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

 

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

6 Horseback Pack Trips You Don't Want to Miss

Do you want to explore the back country mountains, lakes, streams and wildlife but do not necessarily want to do it all by hiking? Do you want to enjoy some peace and quiet, a break from all the noises of the world and day to day life? How about create memories with a great group of people and horses alike? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a horseback pack trip might be exactly what type of vacation you are looking for! The Dude Ranchers’ Association has several member ranches throughout the Western United States and Canada that offer horseback pack trips for any level rider or adventure enthusiast. Soak in the serenity and tranquility of the mountains in some of the most beautiful locations only accessible by foot or horse. You will experience a sense of peace that is not easily found in everyday life, and you will leave refreshed and ready to plan your next trip back! 

Read on to learn about 6 horseback pack trips you don't want to miss! 

Horseback Pack Trips 

 

Absaroka Ranch

In the West, very few places remain that offer both solitude and beauty on a grand scale. The Absaroka Ranch, is such a place, located at the headwaters of Wyoming’s Wind River and at the base of the spectacular Absaroka mountain range. If you are looking for top notch amenities in the woods, Absaroka’s pack trips are for you. Located in the Shoshone National Forest, their camp is a unique and beautiful place to spend a few days. The 4 ½ hour horseback ride begins right from the ranch and offers amazing views and challenging terrain. The scenery is unforgettable and the memories created will be too.  You can enjoy anywhere from 3 to 6-night stays while on a pack trip, it is all up to you on how long you want to be in the back country. Plus, lodging and meals are offered the night before you leave and the night you get back for a small charge, that way you are not rushing to get accommodations figured out for when you get back! While in the mountains on your trip you will get to enjoy crystal clear lakes and small stream fishing, incredible 360-degree views while on horseback rides, delicious camp cooking and even a shower tent with on demand hot water! Tents, cots, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and wood stoves are all provided on the trip, all you have to worry about is warm clothes and an adventurous attitude. 

horseback pack trips

Absaroka Ranch - Dubois, WY

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters  

On your horseback pack trip with the Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters in Montana you will venture through beautifully forested mountain ranges with wildflower blanketed meadows all while breathing in amazing mountain fresh air, seeing elk, deer, moose, antelope and other wildlife and experiencing what it is like to sleep under the stars, or in a wall tent whichever you prefer. On your trip you will get to see the Rocky Mountains as only a few do, hike across wildlife-made trails, fish in calm mirror-like streams and lakes and make unforgettable memories with your favorite four legged friends. At Broken Arrow you can tailor your pack trip whatever way you like; if you choose to fish the whole time, explore the mountains by foot or spend quality time on your horse the choice is entirely up to you. The friendly, entertaining and experienced guides will make your trip fun and comfortable, even though this trip may be light years out of your comfort zone. You will also enjoy delicious and hearty home cooked meals, you will truly appreciate a Dutch oven after being in the mountains. You will have the opportunity to encounter first hand exactly why Montana is referred to as the Big Sky State. 

horseback pack trips

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters - Alder, MT 

CM Ranch

Horseback pack trips have been a part of the CM Ranch’s rich history for decades. The CM Ranch in Wyoming was started back in 1927 when Charlie Moore started the Yellowstone Camp for Boys in the Dubois, WY area. For several years, teenage boys from the East Coast would come West to endure month long pack trips into Yellowstone National Park. Upon returning home to their families explaining in exquisite detail the ruggedness and great adventures they endured on their trip, the families soon wanted their own introduction to the Western lifestyle and Yellowstone National Park. Charlie Moore turned his focus to dude ranching and creating a western experience for family vacations. The ranch has done guest horseback pack trips for many years and continues to carry on the tradition still today. The pack trips are a little less rugged and much shorter than when Charlie Moore first started. On these trips you will ride horseback into the ranch’s base camp located in the Wind River mountain range. During your trip you can enjoy day rides to beautiful lakes and some of the best fishing Wyoming has to offer. Your pack trip can be planned in conjunction with your traditional week-long dude ranch vacation or it can be added onto the beginning or end of your vacation. You will sleep in wall tents and admire the techniques of cooking in the mountains. For years guests of all ages have experienced the tremendous beauty and solitude of the Fitzpatrick Wilderness always returning to the ranch with big smiles and so many stories to tell. Not many will want to miss out on a horseback pack trip with the CM Ranch!

horseback pack trips

CM Ranch - Dubois, WY

 JJJ Wilderness Ranch 

There's still a place where time slows down and the only signpost is a hoof print.  The Bob Marshall Wilderness is considered the “crown jewel” of America’s wilderness system. The JJJ Wilderness Ranch’s fully-guided horse pack-trips are designed to accommodate all levels of riders through this magnificent, unspoiled country where the only travel is by foot or horse. Each pack trip at the JJJ Wilderness Ranch in Montana is unique ranging from base camp oriented to trips that traverse the wilderness over the Continental Divide. On your horseback pack trip, you will travel across wilderness trails on sure-footed saddle horses that are mountain savvy and a joy to ride. The ranch’s trusty string of pack-mules carries all the gear so you can rough it in comfort. The ranch’s crew, wrangler, packer, guide and camp cook, will provide a comfortable, complete camp. To ensure a high level of personal service and to make sure camp is not too crowded, the trips average around eight guests. Trips with bigger groups can be arranged, but they do have to be discussed in detail with the ranch. 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. This is truly a fisherman's paradise, all wrapped up in the awesome beauty of remote wilderness. Layover days on the trip offer options of riding, hiking, fishing or relaxing around the campfire. The Bob Marshall Wilderness is hard to describe with words, it is a place you have to experience for yourself to understand the beauty it holds. By booking a horseback pack trip with JJJ Wilderness Ranch you will discover this natural wonder for yourself and endure the magic the mountains seem to capture. 

horseback pack trips

JJJ Wilderness Ranch - Augusta, MT 

Spotted Horse Ranch

Go deep into the mountains of Wyoming to enjoy a horseback pack trip like no other. With the folks at Spotted Horse Ranch you will ride through the forest to their base camp which provides great customer service, food, horseback riding, fishing and amazing scenery. The main objective of your pack trip will be to enjoy and take in all that the mountains and landscape around you have to offer. You will find a sense of relaxation and true enjoyment that you probably would not expect to find being in a camp without running water or electricity. Pack trips are a great way to really unplug from the real world and find your true self. The Spotted Horse Ranch offers a great setting for large or small groups to experience the rugged outdoors and wilderness. Prior riding experience is not required to go on the trips, just a willing and “ready to have fun” vibe! All of the necessary gear, horses, tack and guides are provided by the ranch. Saddle up and take in all the wilderness surrounding the ranch has to offer! 

horseback pack trips

Spotted Horse Ranch - Jackson Hole, WY

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is an incredible landscape with a diversity of wildlife and geographical features that extend beyond the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. In this area lies the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch in Montana. The ranch offers pack trips within the boundary of the park and also in the surrounding wilderness areas. Trips within the Park’s boundary do require early planning. Scheduling your trip in January will give the folks at the ranch enough time to create an itinerary to meet your needs and plan accordingly. If you are looking to take a horseback pack trip outside the Park’s boundaries you can experience one of the ten back country camp locations that Nine Quarter Circle Ranch has to offer. Experienced outfitters will guide you on these multi-day trips into some of the wildest and most beautiful areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Taking a pack trip into this area is something few people get to enjoy in their lifetime. Whichever destination you choose, the trip will offer wildlife sightings, stunning views and once-in-a-lifetime memories that won’t soon be forgotten. Experiencing this wild country via horseback is an adventure you won’t quite understand until you embark on the adventure yourself! 

horseback pack trips

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch - Gallatin Gateway, MT

 

Click here to find out more about horseback pack trips and dude ranch vacations! 

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Throughout the Western United States and Canada there are horseback pack trips for any level rider or adventure enthusiast. Soak in the serenity and tranquility of the mountains in some of the most beautiful locations only accessible by foot or horse. You will experience a sense of peace that is not easily found in everyday life, and you will leave refreshed and ready to plan your next trip back!

6 Dude Ranch Vacations to Take this Summer

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

 

6 Dude Ranch Vacations to Take this Summer

 

Wind River Ranch Summer Vacation Flag Rodeo

WIND RIVER RANCH

Airport: Denver

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

WHAT TO DO: 

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

Read more about all Colorado Dude Ranches 

 

A Bar A Dude Ranch Vacations for this Summer

A BAR A RANCH

Airport: Laramie

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

WHAT TO DO: 

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

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches

 

Colorado Trails Summer Vacation Dude Ranch

COLORADO TRAILS RANCH

Airport: Durango

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

WHAT TO DO: 

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

Read more about all Colorado Dude Ranches 

 

R Lazy S Ranch Summer Vacation at a Dude Ranch

R LAZY S RANCH

Airport: Jackson Hole

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

WHAT TO DO: 

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

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches

 

Red Horse Camp Fire Summer Vacation Dude Ranch

 

RED HORSE MOUNTAIN RANCH

Airport: Spokane

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

WHAT TO DO: 

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

Read more about all Idaho Dude Ranches

 

Spotted Horse View Trail Family

SPOTTED HORSE RANCH

Airport: Jackson Hole

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

WHAT TO DO: 

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

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches

 

 

Pin this for later - 6 Summer Dude Ranch Vacations

 

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

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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Pet & Dog Friendly Ranch Vacations

Dog Friendly Ranch VacationsA ranch is your next adventure vacation and there is no way your "best friend" can stay with your neighbor or at a boarding facility for a week or more. So, take your dog with you to dog friendly ranch vacations! If your dog is fit for long distance mountain traveling, doesn't chase anything but toys and stays off the furniture, he or she may be a great fit on a dude ranch. Even if you have an older dog whose running days are drifting away, he or she can relax at the ranch while you're trail riding and join you later for an afternoon of fishing or a stroll around the ranch property.

Ranch vacations are famous for their hospitality and the ranches listed below would love to treat you and your pet like family. However, ranches consider pets on a case by case basis and would like the opportunity to discuss your specific animal(s) you are traveling with and if it would be a good fit for the ranch. The ranchers have to ensure a safe environment for you, the dog and other guests with allergies and therefore have a variable pet policy. Please contact the ranches individually to find out more about their dog friendly policies and requirements.

Dog Friendly Ranch Vacations

Arizona ~ Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

California ~ Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch

Colorado ~ Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch

Idaho ~ Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Montana ~ The Bar W Guest RanchSweet Grass Ranch, Broken Arrow Lodge, Rocking Z Ranch, Covered Wagon Ranch

Washington ~ Bull Hill Guest Ranch

Wyoming ~ Klondike Ranch, Spotted Horse Ranch

 

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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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Fishing + Dude Ranches = A Great Family Getaway

Casting a line through a baby-blue sky scattered with cotton-puff clouds, then watching it settle into the crisp-cold babble of a mountain stream somehow symbolizes an ideal vacation for almost anyone—especially when Dad knows that his family is relishing the trip as well. Members of The Dude Ranchers’ Association offer a wonderful combination of plenty of pristine fishing moments for avid fishermen along with captivating activities for every other family member as well. 

Since DRA dude ranches are far from big crowds, located in gorgeous natural settings, and mostly on private land, the rivers, lakes and streams on these properties provide some of the finest fishing available in the country. Relatively untouched, each fishing hole offers a prime chance to experience fishing at its best.

The High Lonesome Ranch Fishing View

 

Many DRA member properties border national parks, such as the Spotted Horse Ranch next to the Grand Teton National Park. This makes for a setting for each fishing moment is spectacular. And with bountiful numbers of trout, browns, cutthroat, and rainbows around, fishermen can choose their favorite bait, pick a spot, and count on some of the best fishing of their career.

 

Many of The Dude Ranchers’ Association members feature Orvis-endorsed lodges, which means their operations and guides are continually reviewed by the Orvis staff and offer the latest in fishing techniques and client services. The C Lazy U Ranch is such a ranch. The fish you catch here you will remember for a lifetime. Whether you are here for the day, multiple days, or the entire week, you will always want “one more day.”

4UR Ranch Fly Fishing Boat

Many ranches carefully manage their fishing locales, run catch-and-release programs, and even have stocked ponds, ensuring that every fisherman meets success—from the beginner to the most expert. In fact, a vacation at a DRA dude ranch is ideal for first-time fisherman or children just learning the sport. The Bar Lazy J Ranch offers a free fly fishing clinic at the beginning of your vacation. If you are looking for the most expertise in fly fishing guides look no further that the Diamond D Ranch's Dave Tucker and his guides from Dreams on the Fly. This, affordable lessons and ample stock make those first fishing attempts rewarding and exciting.

But this vacation doesn’t have to just make Dad happy. While fishermen are experiencing the best fishing available, other family members are creating their own treasured vacation memories. Whether they are hiking, biking, horseback riding, or participating in one of the many carefully planned kids’ programs at the 4UR Ranch, everyone is having the best family vacation ever.  And don't forget about the evening activities for the family to gather together at the High Lonesome Ranch. This is the time to share the day’s activities, and create even more memories—only this time getting to know each other better and spending quality time strengthening family ties.

 

Fishing + Dude Ranches = A Great Family Getaway

 

Casting a line through a baby-blue sky scattered with cotton-puff clouds, then watching it settle into the crisp-cold babble of a mountain stream somehow symbolizes an ideal vacation for almost anyone—especially when Dad knows that his family is relishing the trip as well. Members of The Dude Ranchers’ Association offer a wonderful combination of plenty of pristine fishing moments for avid fishermen along with captivating activities for every other family member as well.

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