Dude Ranches are Great for Those Who Love the Outdoors

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

1. Ranch Life 

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

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

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

3. Fly Fishing 

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

4. Programs for Children

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

5. Cuisine and Dining Experience

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

Great Dude Ranches to Choose From

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

Dude Ranches R Lazy S Ranch

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

 

Lazy L&B Dude Ranches have great evening activities

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

 

K Diamond K Dude Ranches With Lots of Acres to Explore

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

 

Moose Head Ranch Tetons View

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

 

Blacktail Ranch Dude Ranch Cattle Drive

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

 

Focus Ranch Fly Fishing Dude Ranch Activities

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

 

Triangle C Clinic Dude Ranches for Horsemanship

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

 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch for Weddings and Elopements

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

 

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch Rodeo Activities in Colorado

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

Hunewill Ranch in California Dude Ranches for Trail Riding-1

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

 

View the Complete List of Dude Ranch Vacations in North America

 

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

 

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7 Reasons Why Horseback Riding Is the Best Therapy

Elkhorn Ranch AZ Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Elkhorn Ranch, AZ

There’s no denying that climbing on a horse at the end of an overwhelming day can be quite liberating. But what if we told you this ancient mode of transport is the best therapy? Believable? Not to worry, this article aims at shading light on therapeutic horseback riding and its benefits.

What is Horseback Riding?

Therapeutic horseback riding is a form of equine therapy that focuses on forming a partnership between patients and horses. It combines sport, recreation, and education and is especially proven helpful for people with disabilities with results showing improvement in their cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being.

Sundance Trail Kid Arena

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Colorado

Importance of Horseback Riding

Riding a horse is FUN! Now imagine using it for therapy. Nothing can beat that combination. Still doubtful? Below are 7 reasons that might convince you to get on that horse and commence your galloping adventures.

Why Horseback Riding Is the Best Therapy

 

1. Emotional Strength and Control

Yes, you read it right. Horseback riding keeps your emotions in check. How you ask? There’s no room for anger or fear. This is only possible if the rider stays vigilant and focused on the surroundings, and at the same time monitors the behavior of the animal. It’s as if the horse’s mind and yours are in sync. Lose focus for a second and the horse begins to wander.

The assertion is one way to build your emotional strength. After all, you are in charge of the horse and not the other way around. Instruct it to go faster, and it will do just that. However, we can’t ignore the fact that a horse has a mind of its own and may sometimes refuse to cooperate with its rider.

2. Strengthened Muscles

Therapeutic horseback riding is much more than emotional health. It’s also used as physical therapy for disabled riders. While horse riding, small muscle movements are necessary. They often consist of hand movements when selecting reins or holding them while riding. Large muscle groups also play a huge role. How? Horseback riding stabilizes the trunk by actively engaging the core muscle as the rider rises and sits to the horse’s rhythm.

3. Improved Balance and Confidence

The rider is a continuously thrown-off balance as the horse moves. As a result, the muscles contract and relax in an attempt to regain balance with the exercise reaching the deep muscle tissues considered inaccessible in a typical physical therapy. By stopping or starting the horse or changing direction, the rider’s balance can be further improved.

Children living with disabilities sometimes feel trapped in a body they have little control over either through difficulty in walking or confinement to a wheelchair. Now imagine for the first time these kids, through horseback riding for children, get to command their horses with smiles on their faces. Nothing could beat that. Also, a child’s connection with an animal and the opportunity to master horsemanship skills boost their confidence.

4. Positive Sensory Stimulation

Horseback riding stimulates the senses in different ways that are especially beneficial to people with mental disorders. A good example is a horseback riding therapy for autism spectrum. The rider’s sight, sense of touch, hearing, and smell are all triggered by the sounds, smell and the feel of the horse itself. Introducing horse riding games for kids could help create both sensory enjoyment and appreciation of the act of riding itself. For children with personal horses on the farm, tending to the horse with products for horses is also another exciting way to improve the bond. 

Red Rock Ranch Horseback Riding is the Best Therapy

The Red Rock Ranch, WY

 

5. Demands Focus

What better way to forget about the worries of this world than a horseback riding southwest ranches expedition. Therapeutic horseback riding requires your complete attention. This way the rider has no time to think about a problem or stressful situation.

6. Teaches Patience

The art of horseback riding is not acquired overnight. It involves endless trials and an unresponsive horse. However, this is no reason to get discouraged. Sometimes, you have to relax, take a breath, and then give it another shot. This way you’ll acquire patience which is hugely therapeutic and beneficial in other areas too. What’s more, finding a ranch in the U.S should be an easy task, so you don’t have to worried about where to go horseback riding.

7. Develops and Improves Social Skills

Sometimes, people with disabilities may have a hard time interacting with others. Horseback riding offers a way for them to improve their social skills. It starts with the bond naturally formed during the horseback riding lessons between the rider and horse. Once they get used to this, it becomes easier for people with disabilities to build a relationship with the instructors and later on with the community at large. Therapeutic horseback riding also provides an avenue for people to positively channel emotions over their disability which at times hinders social interaction.

Conclusion

Nothing beats a few hours spent with a horse, man’s best therapist. You are assured of experiences worthy of a lifetime. Ever tried therapeutic horseback riding? Feel free to engage us in an email at info@duderanch.org.

 

Author Bio

Betty Wilson having recently finished a masters degree in Biodiversity Conservation. Her passion is horse riding. Together with allpetsexpert.com she actively participates in charity events in support of stray animals.

 

There’s no denying that climbing on a horse at the end of an overwhelming day can be quite liberating. But what if we told you this ancient mode of transport is the best therapy? Believable? Not to worry, this article aims at shading light on therapeutic horseback riding and its benefits.

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The 25 Most Popular Destinations for a Colorado Vacation at a Ranch

An outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland, Colorado is jam packed with breathtaking landscapes, and more than 300 sunny days a year for travelers to come and explore its diverse areas. From the spine of North America, the famous Rocky Mountains, to lush valleys and the easily accessible Denver Airport, Colorado is an obvious choice for all types of travelers - families, couples, solo travelers and business associates - who are looking for adventure. With an unlimited variety of outdoor attractions, scenic destinations and diverse wildlife, Colorado is urging you to explore. From cross country skiing, hiking a National Park or horseback riding through the country, Colorado has a long list of things to do all year. Read on to discover the best places to take a Colorado vacation. 

Take a Colorado Vacation

All of the 25 best ranches in Colorado will give you a wonderful vacation - each unique in its own way. 

Colorado Vacation

Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, CO 

Colorado Trails Ranch

Near Durango, Colorado the Colorado Trails Ranch is an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in the San Juan Mountains. This is definitely a great place to go if you are looking for excitement and relaxation on your vacation. The delicious home cooked meals, delightful cabins and activities for all ages makes this an incredible dude ranch experience. 

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch

Get packed and saddle up for a week at the Bar Lazy J Ranch. Just Southeast of Rocky Mountain National Park, this ranch is famous for recreation and relaxation. There are tons of outdoor activities, including a 1,500-foot zipline - and countless ways to sit back and unwind. 

Laramie River Ranch

Laramie River Ranch is known for horseback riding, but has so many well-developed programs and activities. Expert fly fishing, natural horsemanship demonstrations, team penning, naturalist programs for birdwatching, star gazing and wild flower identification makes the Laramie River Ranch a destination for those interested in an educational and fun outdoor adventure. 

Colorado Vacation

Laramie River Ranch - Jelm, CO 

Badger Creek Ranch

Ride out with the cowboy crew at the Badger Creek Ranch. You’ll get to do all the important tasks that makes a cattle operation run. Ready to fix a fence? Sort cattle? Go on an iconic cattle drive? Then Badger Creek is a great place for you. 

Black Mountain Ranch

Ready for a  Saturday afternoon cattle drive for the Black Mountain Ranch’s herd of long horn cattle? You’ll not be bored during the week while you wait, doing some of the most exhilarating outdoor adventures - loping rides, fly fishing, paddle boarding, skeet shooting, white water rafting and even a cookout in the Colorado sunset. 

The High Lonesome Ranch

If you are looking for your inner cowboy you can find it at the High Lonesome Ranch. Known for the nostalgic combination of the views of the Rocky Mountains, equestrian activities and culinary adventures this ranch has an assortment of things for everyone to enjoy.  

Colorado Vacation

The High Lonesome Ranch - DeBeque, CO

Zapata Ranch

As a working cattle and bison ranch the Zapata Ranch and Nature Conservancy offers guests the chance to experience what it takes to run a ranch. Have you ever seen a bison up close and personal? Here’s your chance! With a capacity of only 15 you’ll get a tailored vacation. You might even select one of their themed weeks to get more in depth on Western painting, photography workshops and some cattle working special events. 

4UR Ranch

The 4UR Ranch boasts 3,000 acres of adventure and 6 miles of private trout stream on the Rio Grand River. Not only this, but the ranch also has miles and miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding, a natural hot springs and top-notch accommodations. A well-rounded ranch no doubt. 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Everyone is welcome at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, from Grandma and Grandpa and the kids to your pet dog and best trail riding horse. There are a variety of different horseback rides from beginner to advanced as well as plenty of activities to do while not riding. You can even play a round of frisbee golf!

Colorado Vacation

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch - Red Feather Lakes, CO 

Drowsy Water Ranch

From infants to teenagers the Drowsy Water Ranch has a program and counselors in place with plenty of activities to teach your kids about the western cowboy lifestyle in Colorado. And there’s plenty to do here for adults as well!

Tumbling River Ranch

Shine up your cowboy boots for the evening entertainment at the Tumbling River Ranch. With live music and square dancing after a day in the saddle you’re sure to love this western ranch experience. 

Vista Verde Ranch

The vastness of the views at the Vista Verde Ranch makes you feel like your vacation experience is in high definition. You’ll have an unforgettable luxury experience that will bring you back year after year. 

Colorado Vacation

Vista Verde Ranch - Steamboat Springs, CO 

Cherokee Park Ranch

Have you always wanted to learn how to rope? Cherokee Park Ranch offers roping lessons for all age groups to learn one of the longest art forms of the cowboy. With hay rides, tubing the river and even art classes everyone will have something they really want to do when they aren’t horseback riding. 

The Majestic Dude Ranch 

The Majestic Dude Ranch is known as the ultimate adventure ranch. Along with spectacular horseback riding, the ranch offers paintball and laser tag, mountain biking, white water rafting, baseball, hiking and more. 

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch

You’ll never forget the Wind River Christian Dude Ranch. With a ministry component to the ranch you’ll fill your soul while in some of the most beautiful places in Colorado. 

Colorado Vacation

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch - Estes Park, CO

Elk Mountain Ranch

Elk Mountain Ranch offers an intimate Colorado dude ranch setting for your family. When you arrive, your hosts will tailor the experience to meet each guest’s needs for their vacation. And then you’ll get to settle in to cozy and comfortable cabins. 

Smith Fork Ranch

Fine dining at the private luxury destination of the Smith Fork Ranch is definitely worth writing home about. Farm to table cuisine, an incredible wine list and a view like non-other sets this ranch apart from all the rest. 

Lost Valley Ranch

Reconnect with the spirit of the old west at the Lost Valley Ranch. Set against 26,000 acres of public land in the Pike National Forest fresh mountain air has never been more pristine. And with a history that begins in the late 1800’s the Lost Valley Ranch invites guests to become a part of the story of the ranch. 

Colorado Vacation

Lost Valley Ranch - Sedalia, CO 

C Lazy U Ranch 

Located in Granby, Colorado, the C Lazy U Ranch is a top-notch resort ranch with the finest offerings for accommodations, food and of course outdoor adventure activities. With a capacity of 95 this location can host large groups of multi-generational families and offer tons of things to do for solo travelers and couples. 

The Home Ranch

Ready for a summer or winter adventure? The Home Ranch offers a fine dude ranch stay through out the summer and from December through March. You can ride out into green mountains or cross-country ski across snow covered hills. 

Latigo Ranch

Majestic scenery reaching all the way to the Continental Divide, the Latigo Ranch has an experience for you like no other ranch. Gourmet contemporary cuisine will delight the senses in the evenings and phenomenal horseback riding and fishing will engage your family during the day. 

Colorado Vacation

Latigo Ranch - Kremmling, CO 

Rainbow Trout Ranch

The Rainbow Trout Ranch is all about the family adventure. Your kids and teens will rave about the whole new world of fun and activities they can do on a ranch. You’ll find old fashioned hospitality and the Colorado backcountry a very charming vacation. 

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley

The Ranch at Emerald Valley is just a short ride up the mountain from the famous Broadmoor Hotel. You’ll be set for an incomparable luxury vacation here in one of 10 beautifully appointed cabins with modern amenities and all set to ride horses in some really incredible country. 

Rawah Ranch

Ready for a romantic escape with someone special? The Rawah Ranch knows how important it is to cultivate your relationships and fosters a wonderful experience with champagne and roses upon arrival, your own private trail ride and private massages. 

Colorado Vacation

Rawah Ranch - Glendevey, CO

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Take time to play on your next business trip to the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. You’ll get a variety of outdoor activities and team building opportunities and even a challenge course. A wagon ride followed by a campfire in the evening will complete your western experience for a company meeting, training or retreat. 

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An outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland, Colorado is jam packed with breathtaking landscapes, and more than 300 sunny days a year for travelers to come and explore its diverse areas. Colorado is urging you to explore. From cross country skiing, hiking a National Park or horseback riding through the country, Colorado has a long list of things to do all year. Read on to discover the best places to take a Colorado vacation.

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.

5 Great Reasons to Have a Dude Ranch Wedding

Anyone who has been involved in planning a traditional weeding knows that it can be a really demanding undertaking for one of the most important milestones in a couples future. There seems to be countless decisions to make: from booking the venue, selecting the theme, narrowing the guest list, creating and sending invitations, gift registrations, florists and the music playlist. All to make your day look as "Pinterest Perfect" as your wedding board has created.

 

Red Relfet Dude Ranch Wedding Wyoming

"You may now kiss the bride" - Red Reflet Guest Ranch, Ten Sleep, Wyoming

For some, this may sound like fun, I mean you're basically throwing a big party for all your closest friends and relatives, right? Not exactly. The reality is most brides are in a environment of stress from engagement until their wedding night. Why else are there so many relaity TV shows on weddings? Let's just say there's a good reason why dude ranch weddings are becoming more popular and that reason is, less stress.

Why not throw out all the stress of planning a big, traditional wedding and instead book a dude ranch wedding where you and your soon to be spouse can kick back, relax, and let someone else do all the work? Here are the top 5 reasons to have a dude ranch wedding.

 

5 Reasons to Have a Dude Ranch Wedding

 

1. Less Planning


Everyone pulls their weight and works together to make your wedding a wonderful, personal experience. Ranch folks will welcome you and treat you like one of the family. Don’t be surprised if, before you leave, the staff know all your names, what you like to eat and which horse you prefer to ride!

 

CM Ranch Dude Ranch Wedding in Wyoming

 Your photographer won't have to go far to find the scenic spots at the CM Ranch.

 

2. The Scenic Setting

Picturesque surroundings such as the majestic Rocky Mountains or wide open spaces like the Arizona desert are frequently home to guest ranches. Some have rivers or lakes on their property; others have large pastures or dramatic ridges. A couple who said their outdoor wedding photographs at a ranch were so beautiful that folks asked if they were shot in a studio with a scenic backdrop!


3. One-Stop Destination


Come for a Friday night rehearsal dinner, get married outdoors Saturday morning, have an elegant reception Saturday afternoon, then stay for a honeymoon after the wedding! Dude and guest ranches have comfortable accommodations to provide lodging for overnight guests after they’ve enjoyed the wedding and reception. That way, there’s more time for guests to have fun and it eliminates driving home in the dark! Also, since ranches are generally on large plots of land, the noise factor isn’t a problem for the neighbors.

 

Bull Hill Ranch Washington Dude Ranch Wedding

Stay another week just for your honeymoon at the Bull Hill Ranch in Kettle Falls, Washington

4. Outdoor Activities


Most ranches offer good clean fun in the great outdoors - horseback riding, nature hikes, hay rides, swimming pools, tennis and game courts fantastic trophy trout fly fishing and rock-climbing Many now have hot tubs and offer massages for relaxing after an active day. Some even offer spa services.

Lost Creek Dude Ranch Wedding

At the Lost Creek Ranch in Moose, Wyoming you can have the Grand Tetons for the backdrop of your ceremony.


5. Location, Location, Location


Many ranches give you the feeling that you’re far away from the big city but they are actually close to airports and major highways. Often, shuttle buses from the local airport will drop folks off at the ranch property or at a nearby central location in town. Folks are usually amazed at what a beautiful ranch lies nestled in the valley just down the hill from the highway!

Sundance Trail Wedding Dude Ranch

Intimate, flexible and rustic weddings are the specialty at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch.


There are ranches all over the west that make perfect wedding destinations and there’s sure to be one just right for the two of you.

 

For the complete list of dude ranch weddings visit us online - https://duderanch.org/blog/category/weddings

 

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Let's just say there's a good reason why dude ranch weddings are becoming more popular and that reason is, less stress.  Why not throw out all the stress of planning a big, traditional wedding and instead book a dude ranch wedding where you and your soon to be spouse can kick back, relax, and let someone else do all the work? Here are the top 5 reasons to have a dude ranch wedding.

 

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10 Great Dude Ranch Vacations for Families

From the littlest to the biggest kid, everyone will get a chance to play. The Dude Ranchers’ Association has only the best of ranch experiences offering phenomenal kids programs, healthy food, horseback riding and more outdoor adventures than you can imagine. Here are 10 of North America’s best family ranch vacations on dude and guest ranches. Each has its own unique style and offerings allowing you to pick the right ranch for your family vacation. All are family friendly ranches and have a full schedule of activities for your family.

 


Wyoming Family Ranch Vacations


The Red Rock Ranch, Kelly, Wyoming

Dates Open: June through September

The Red Rock Ranch is a family owned authentic western dude ranch with polished amenities. Children will love the freedom of just being kids in the wide open spaces of Wyoming. There is no TV or video games, but they will be busy with horseback riding, caring for their own specially chosen horses, volleyball, pickleball, horseshoes and the kid’s recreation room. There is something special about swimming in a heated pool surrounded by the beautiful red cliffs, playing tag with new friends or simply enjoying a game of foosball or ping pong.

Vee Bar Guest Ranch, Laramie, Wyoming

Dates Open: Year-round

At just 2 ½ hours from Denver, Colorado the Vee Bar Ranch is very easily accessible, but still a remote dude ranch family destination. Children of all ages are welcomed with open arms.  While the outdoors provides a great deal of education and entertainment, there are other activities in which kids can partake.  On campout night, everybody is welcome to participate in campfire games, listen to live music, roast s’mores, and enjoy the Vee Bar’s version of a branding—don’t forget your boots, belts, wallets, and hats! Your kids will never forget their experience on this kid friendly dude ranch!

7D Ranch, Cody, Wyoming

Dates Open: mid June through mid September

Offering weekly trips into Yellowstone National Park, the 7D Ranch has a kids program geared for kids 3 - 12 years old, but kids of all ages enjoy participating in the activities. Their children’s program allows young people to experience ranch life and come to understand the connections to the natural world. Ecological relationships are taught by example on daily hikes and rides. Children are introduced to the world of livestock and horses by patient wranglers who take great care to build kids’ confidence.

Vee Bar Wyoming Family Ranch Vacations

Imagine your teenager connecting with her own personal horse for the week. Photo Credit: Vee Bar Guest Ranch


Arizona Family Ranch Vacations


Circle Z Ranch, Patagonia, Arizona

Dates Open: Mid October through April

How often do we long for the days of giving our children the gift of nature, in a safe and healthy environment, where the electronics are shelved and our kids are happy and laughing, making new friends? The Circle Z cherishes the adventures that families will experience, either together or separately. Here, the kids are allowed the freedom to be kids without pressures, and given adventures that will expand their confidence and fill their hearts. A dude ranch vacation will not just entertain your children, it will change their lives.


Elkhorn Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Dates Open: Mid November through April

Just 50 miles southwest of Tucson the Elkhorn Ranch is a sunny winter destination for your family. Children of all ages are welcome. Guest ranch life provides an ideal setting for family vacations and reunions. Families ride together or separately as rides are set up daily to suit individual interests. Children enjoy the freedom to play outdoors and an ample supply of board games and puzzles available in the dining room. Ping-pong, shuffleboard, tennis and basketball and a heated swimming pool add to the fun.

 

Elkhorn Ranch Family Ranch Vacations

From the littlest to the biggest kid, everyone will get a chance to play. Photo: Elkhorn Ranch Arizona


Colorado Family Ranch Vacations


Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Dates Open: Year-round

At Sundance Trail Guest Ranch families are encouraged to play together and to make memories together. At different times during the week, kids may opt to participate in Colorado dude ranch activities with their families or join in with counselor-wranglers for their own special activities: “kids only” horseback riding in the arena or small group trail rides, gathering eggs from the hen house, playing with the ever-present kittens and goats, group hikes & rock climbing, fishing, picnics & campfire sing-alongs, outdoor games, & treasure hunts, movies & crafts.


Black Mountain Ranch, McCoy, Colorado

Dates Open: June through mid September

You won’t forget a family ranch vacation at the Black Mountain Ranch. Unlimited horseback riding, over night pack trips, a Longhorn cattle drive, white water rafting, fishing, kids' program, rifle and trap shooting, archery and trip to the local rodeo is just the start. Whether you are looking for some easy trails to ride with your kids or advanced riding for the entire family, there are great options for everyone in the family.


Tumbling River Ranch, Grant, Colorado

Dates Open: Mid May through mid November

At Tumbling River Ranch, the summer kids program is a major focus.  They not only focus on the interests of the children, but relish the opportunity to introduce them to the Western lifestyle and Western ideas–offering the rare opportunity to “unplug” and spend some quality time. The kids will have a flexible program, built both to allow families ample time together and kids to have plenty of their own adventures.


Cherokee Park Ranch, Livermore, Colorado

Dates Open: June through August

The Cherokee Park Ranch is a family owned dude ranch nestled in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. They cater to families with kids of all ages, horseback riding, river rafting, rodeos, fishing, music, dancing, cow wrangling, swimming, ropes/challenge course, skeet shooting and mountain biking. Your kids will have a full day’s worth of counseled activities should parents desire “time off!” For young ones under two, this family ranch offers a unique opportunity: bring your own full-time baby-sitter, free of charge.

 

Tumbling River Creek Crossing Family Ranch Vacations

Ride out into the mountains with the whole family. Photo Credit: Tumbling River Ranch


Montana Family Ranch Vacations


JJJ Wilderness Ranch, Augusta, Montana

Dates Open: Mid June through September


The Triple J Ranch offers an extensive Children and Teen Program. Each child will have their own horse for the week to learn horsemanship skills with dedicated kids wranglers. Children are not required to engage in any activity, but activities are available should parents desire a little freedom to participate in more scenic and challenging rides. This family ranch can keep even the most restless little cowboy or cowgirl busy. They’ll have loads of fun and they’ll talk about it ... seemingly forever!


 JJJ Wilderness Family Ranch Vacations

 The ranch wranglers will even teach your kids rodeo events! Photo Credit: JJJ Wilderness Ranch

Other great vacations for toddlers

 

Are you planning your next family ranch vacation? Offering phenomenal kids programs, healthy food and outdoor adventures including horseback riding here are 10 of North America’s best family ranch vacations on dude and guest ranches

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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

 

A ranch is your next adventure vacation and there is no way your Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

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Riding Lessons Before My Ranch Stay?

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

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

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

Should I Take Riding Lessons Before My Ranch Stay?

  • Introduction to Equus Caballus, the modern day horse

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

  • Physical Fitness

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

  • Coordination, Balance and Stability

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

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

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

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

Read more about the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

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

Read more about the Rocking Z Ranch

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

Read more about the McGinnis Meadows Cattle Ranch

 

Do I Need Riding Lessons Before a Dude Ranch Vacation?

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

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Dude Ranches During the Winter: Here's Where and Why

Freshly-fallen snow, sleigh rides and skiing make these dude ranches a magical winter getaway By Lyn Mettler Travel Expert December 7, 2015 Originally Posted on 10Best.com Set in some of the most beautiful scenery in the American West and covered in blankets of snow for months, these dude ranches offer a secluded yet active winter getaway for all ages. Whether for skiing or enjoying seasonal activities like sleigh rides and snowmobiling, these ranches have it all when the weather turns cold.

 

C Lazy U Winter

C Lazy U Ranch | Granby, Colorado While the ground might be covered in white, count on plentiful sunshine and clear blue skies at C Lazy U Ranch. Take advantage of private skiing with no lift lines where the Snowcat delivers guests back up the hill or pop the kids on a tube or sled for a wild downhill ride. Other winter options include back country snowmobiling, horseback riding or snowshoeing, and there’s even ice hockey on the ranch's pond. C Lazy U also provides fine dining and luxury accommodations to refuel and recharge for the next day's adventure.

Latigo Winter

Latigo Dude Ranch | Kremmling, Colorado Located along the Continental Divide in Colorado, Latigo Dude Ranch caters to skiers during the winter months with some of the state's best snow conditions (about 18 feet every winter) and nearly 40 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing. Other winter activities at the ranch, which is approaching 100 years old, include snowshoeing, tubing, biking on snow or simply taking in the quiet and seclusion from the front porch of the historic log lodge with panoramic mountain vistas.

Bar W Winter Sleigh

Bar W Guest Ranch | Whitefish, Montana The Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, Montana gets up to 300 inches of snow every year. The ranch offers terrain for every level of skier, including cross-country, downhill and backcountry skiing. Kids love dog sledding, taking a sleigh ride with ranch horses Duke and Dutch, and ice skating or hockey on the ice rink. You can even try ice fishing for trout, perch and more in area lakes or joining in a square dance. End the day with down-home cooking Montana style.

Western Pleasure Winter

Western Pleasure Ranch | Sandpoint, Idaho A favorite activity of visitors to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in North Idaho is a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride by one of the ranch’s draft teams. A two-mile loop trail takes passengers through a forest and offers snow-covered views of the nearby Selkirk Mountains. There's also snowmobiling and plenty of scenic skiing for all levels. When the day is done, cozy up by the lodge fire and then head back to one of the ranch's log cabins or lodge rooms.

Home Ranch Winter

Home Ranch | Clark, Colorado Nestled in Colorado's Elk River Valley, just north of Steamboat Springs, the Home Ranch becomes a winter wonderland when its legendary snowfalls begin each season. Considered one of the most beautiful cross-country skiing resorts in Colorado, the ranch has top-notch Nordic skiing, a world-class chef and rustic accommodations. Guests can even help feed the ranch’s herd of more than 100 horses while visiting.

Lone Mountain Winter

Lone Mountain Ranch | Big Sky, Montana Voted the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine, and located just six miles from some of the country's best skiing, Lone Mountain Ranch is a skier's paradise. Guests can also take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes. If you're feeling daring, try out winter fly fishing too. Cap it all off with a sleigh ride under starlit skies to the North Fork cabin for a family-style prime rib dinner, lit by oil lanterns and warmed by a hundred-year-old cookstove.

Seven Devils Winter

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch | Council, Idaho  Just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch sits on 18,000 acres among canyons, high desert and mountains. A working ranch since the early 1900s, it is one of the most sought after destinations for backcountry snowmobiling ("boondocking") because of its widely varied terrain, which begins right out the front door. The lodge has six individually-themed bedroom suites and serves family-style ranch meals in the dining room.

Vista Verde Winter

Vista Verde | Steamboat Springs, Colorado Vista Verde offers guests an upscale, all-inclusive winter experience with plenty of activities for all interests. Spend days frolicking in the snow on skies, snowshoes, by sled or tube or even by fat tire bike. Enjoy a sleigh ride led by ranch horses or take a horseback ride through softly packed snow. There are even yoga classes and private hot tubs in guest cabins to soothe aching muscles after the day's snowy adventures.

Sundance Winter

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch | Red Feather Lakes, Colorado Head out on horseback into winter's crisp morning air for a ride through Roosevelt National Forest at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. A small horse ranch with a lodge and cabin suites for accommodations, Sundance Trail even welcomes dogs to join owners during winter months. An outdoor Jacuzzi lets guests stay warm as the snow softly falls.

What can you expect at a dude ranch in winter? When the weather turns cold, dude ranch fun is just getting started. Snow sledding, skiing, sleigh rides, and other winter activities. Plus tips for winter vacation planning.


   

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