Dude Ranch Vacation is the way to enjoy Eco-tourism in the US West

The High Lonesome Ranch Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Having a vacation is great, but it is even better to enjoy a vacation that respects the environment with the help of healthy practices. What does this mean? It means to have a great time and get the most of what nature provides without ruining its balance. We need time to relax and unwind, but it is worth knowing that we can do this without triggering a negative impact on the environment. There are already enough environmental issues these days and it is worth doing anything we can to minimize the impact of these issues on our environment.

If you are looking for eco-friendly vacations, it is worth knowing that dude ranches selected by the Dude Ranchers’ Association have their entire structure based on eco-tourism. They are dedicated to offering outstanding vacations while preserving natural ecosystems and teaching people how to enjoy their time without negatively impacting nature. By simply visiting a dude ranch, you will learn how to have fun while being eco-friendly, what to do to increase your recycling rates, and what practices to adopt for keeping nature intact. These ranches have been around for a while, but ever since they appeared, they have worked in perfect communion with nature. Now that they are accepting guests, things haven’t changed much, as these ranches are determined to teach people about ecologic responsibility and enjoying spare time in a responsible manner.

 

So, would you like to give eco-tourism a chance? Most certainly you will return home not just relaxed and refreshed, but also feeling much better about yourself, knowing you did something responsible to preserve the environment. Here is a list with some of the best dude ranches that promote eco-tourism and help guests enjoy the beauty of natural landscapes without triggering negative impacts.

 

1. Diamond D Ranch, Idaho

Diamond-D-View-Valley Eco-tourism

Diamond-D-Chapel-wedding  Eco-tourism

Still a family owned and operated business, the Diamond D Ranch will make you feel like part of the family, instead of just being a guest. This ranch is famous for the fact that it produces its own electricity, with the help of a hydro-electric generator. So, this self-sufficient farm has what it takes to allow you to enjoy a relaxing vacation while adopting a responsible attitude. You can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, pleasant walks to observe the birds and flora, fishing trips, or simply lounging by their outdoor pool. At mealtime, you will enjoy food just like you do back home. Everything is made by the hosts out of fresh ingredients and cooked like the dinner is made for their family. The atmosphere is very warm and friendly and living off the grid for a while can do wonders when it comes to replenishing your reserves of positive energy.

2. High Lonesome Ranch, Colorado

High-Lonesome-Lake-eco-tourism

High-Lonesome-Garden  Eco-tourism

Back in the days, farms were capable of providing everything that was needed for a family to survive. The same happens at the High Lonesome Ranch in Colorado these days as well. Everything needed is still grown at the farm, so every dish made here contains only fresh ingredients that are grown on the premises. Following a farm-to-table philosophy, the food is slowly cooked, so that it preserves the flavor, savor, and nutritional value. But there are more reasons to visit this farm than the food it provides. This is the best dude ranch to visit if you want to vacation and learn more about environmental responsibility. While enjoying your stay at the ranch, you can acquire a lot of knowledge about the conservation of nature, sustainable development, restoration of streams, and many other valuable pieces of information. Staying at this ranch can literally change your life, once you find out what you can do to make the environment a cleaner and safer place.

3. Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Zapata-Bison-dude-ranches-ecotourism

Zapata-Breakfast-Fire

The Zapata Ranch dedicates its entire activity to two main aspects. One is showing sufficient support to the ranching heritage specific to the West and the other is the conservation of natural landscapes and biodiversity in the area. If you really want to feel like being on a ranch while knowing that you’re doing something significant for the environment, you should visit the Zapata Ranch. Part of Nature Conservancy, this ranch deposits a consistent amount of effort into the preservation of ecosystems. A good example is the efforts deposited to transform a former golf course into what it once was, which means a pasture with native grass species, instead of a field of weeds. All the ecosystems and habitats from around the ranch are closely monitored and rehabilitation is done in a consistent manner. The goal is to give the area its pure beauty and maintain the local landscapes just as they were before mankind appeared in the area.

 

4. Flat Creek Ranch, Wyoming

Flat-Creek-Ranch-Trail- Eco-tourism

This particular ranch was founded back in 1921. Ever since then, the main purpose of the ranch was to preserve the local landscapes and biodiversity. It functioned in communion with nature and respecting it, still doing the same decades after. It is worth mentioning that the ranch acquired the Business Emerald Sustainability Tier for the achieved sustainability performance level. Only one more business in Jackson Hole managed to acquire the BEST distinction. In order to receive BEST, a business must follow rigorous criteria concerning environmental protection and sustainability at community and economic levels. Flat Creek is a ranch that operates entirely off the grid, so it is easy to see why sustainability is such an important aspect for them. If you want to enjoy the pure natural beauty and daily activities that are done with respect and awareness for nature’s health, this is the best place to be.

 

5. Laramie River Ranch, Colorado

Laramie-River-Sunrise-Gather  Eco-tourism

Laramie-River-Ranch-Family-Kids

Everything about this ranch is about creating a sustainable existence and limiting the impact on the surrounding environment. Electricity comes from green sources, such as wind and solar generated energy, the vehicles used are chosen to be the kind that produces low emissions, and as many materials as possible are recycled. Also, both food and agricultural leftovers are transformed into precious compost, which is later used to fertilize the ranch’s crops. The ranch also does its best to maintain clean air and water around the ranch, by choosing machines that create less pollution and adopting practices meant to maintain the quality of water at high levels. So, if you choose to stay at this ranch, you know that everything is made in a manner meant to reduce negative effects on the environment.

6. Goosewing Ranch, Wyoming

Goosewing-Ranch-Solar-Panels  Eco-tourism

Goosewing-Ranch-Riding-the-River - Eco-tourism

This ranch has a very healthy view of how things should be made to keep the guests and community happy while preserving the environment. The ranch’s team closely monitors the impact their settlement produces on the surrounding environment and devotes constant efforts to increase their level of sustainability. The truth is that only ranches that work hard on reducing their “footprint” on the environment are selected to be part of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. The Goosewing Ranch made it due to the fact that it is indeed environmentally sustainable. The ranch recycles used motor oil by utilizing it for heating purposes and harvests its own timber, by choosing ill or dead trees, leaving the healthy ones to reign the forest. Waste is reduced by using anything that can be re-purposed instead of just throwing it away. Also, every staff member receives proper training in order to embrace the best practices for environmental protection.

7. Rocking Z Ranch, Montana

Rocking-Z-Grounds-View -  Eco-tourism

Rocking-Z-Ranch-Loping -  Eco-tourism

The Rocking Z Ranch is another eco-friendly dude ranch that is worth visiting. Waste management is very important here, by re-utilizing everything that is possible instead of simply throwing it away. Even the horseshoes receive a different purpose once they accomplished their purpose, becoming bridle racks for old barn wood, which are both transformed into beautiful photo frames. Besides this, the team at this ranch does everything it can to keep their daily activities clean for the environment. The irrigation pump runs on pure vegetable oil, the pump engine starts and gets cleaned with bio-diesel, and horses are fed with barley sprouted in a hydroponic system. If you want clean air and a clean environment during your vacation, this ranch has what it takes to provide all these and more.

Rocking-Z-View-Edit

Did you know that you have the power to change things? The Dude Ranchers’ Association supports sustainability through the Dude Ranch Foundation, created to protect and maintain land conservation. You can also be part of this plan and get involved too through the available membership program. It is your chance to contribute to a greener and cleaner tomorrow by joining a very dedicated team.

The popularity of eco-tourism has increased in recent times, as people become increasingly sensitive to the existent environmental issues. We cannot sit around and do nothing while the environment degrades every passing year. This translates in people’s desire to enjoy a cleaner vacation, with less impact on nature. Dude ranches have always been in great connection with nature and protected it from the beginning of their activity. These days, these ranches deposit efforts in teaching their guests in leading happier and healthier lives, while offering unforgettable vacations. Time spent at one of these ranches will show you that it is possible to have fun and enjoy all the comfort you can get, without posing a threat to the environment. Yes, technology may be less present over here, but the regained connection with yourself and nature are much more valuable than an Internet connection. Try an eco-friendly vacation at a dude ranch and you will never regret it.

Eco-tourism on Dude Ranch Vacations

If you are looking for eco-friendly vacations, it is worth knowing that dude ranches selected by the Dude Ranchers’ Association have their entire structure based on eco-tourism. They are dedicated to offering outstanding vacations while preserving natural ecosystems and teaching people how to enjoy their time without negatively impacting nature. By simply visiting a dude ranch, you will learn how to have fun while being eco-friendly.

This article was written in conjunction with Olivier James at Luxurytravelersguide.com

Luxury Dude Ranches for your Next Vacation

Are you looking for a fun and entertaining vacation for your family, but also want a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway at the same time? Luxury dude ranches are the vacation you have been searching for! Luxury dude ranches offer a great atmosphere of entertainment and relaxation all at the same time. You can go out for a horseback ride through beautiful landscapes and scenery in the morning, enjoy a wonderful afternoon at the spa or retreat peacefully to your room to read a book. It really is all up to you!

But what will the kids do you may ask? Most luxury dude ranches have a great kid’s program where the kids can interact with other children their age and make memories to last a lifetime. There is no doubt that the kids will talk about this vacation for years to come and that large amounts of fun will be had! Most families that have vacationed at dude ranches agree that kids sleep well while on a ranch vacation, they wear themselves out with all of the excitement, activities and fun!  Whatever activities you are looking to mark off the list, these luxury dude ranches, members of the Dude Ranchers' Association, will fit the bill of a fantastic vacation for the whole family. 

Luxury Dude Ranches

 

Smith Fork Ranch - Colorado

Nestled in the valley of the West Elk Wilderness lies the Smith Fork Ranch, truly a hidden gem of Colorado. Smith Fork is a beautiful private luxury dude ranch that offers traditional western adventures, gracious hospitality, unique farm to table cuisine along with an award-winning wine list! If you are looking for a great family vacation and a highly rated luxurious, relaxing getaway you should definitely consider Smith Fork Ranch. Their farm to table cuisine program is like none other in the area and their spa is really fantastic. This ranch is rated at the top of many luxury dude ranch articles, so do not miss out on a wonderful ranch vacation at Smith Fork! 

luxury dude ranches

Smith Fork Ranch - Crawford, CO

Lost Valley Ranch - Colorado

An authentic Colorado dude ranch vacation with a little luxury mixed in waits for you at the Lost Valley Ranch. With an abundance of activities for the kids to enjoy, beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery on horseback rides and the option of an in-cabin massage after a fun-filled day, what else could you ask for in a dude ranch experience! Lost Valley is a very historic ranch with a special kind of charm, it holds qualities of a high-class resort, but also a family and kid friendly atmosphere. If you are searching for the perfect luxury dude ranch for a large family, take a look at Lost Valley Ranch. 

luxury dude ranches

Lost Valley Ranch - Sedalia, CO

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch - Montana

Located just 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park makes the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana a prime luxury dude ranch destination for families and couples. There is literally something for everyone to do at Mountain Sky. Whether you are an avid horseback rider, enjoy fly-fishing or hiking, want to play a round of golf at the on-site golf course or spend an incredible day in the ranch’s world-renowned spa, you will not be bored on this vacation! The kids will not be bored either, Mountain Sky has a truly unique and impressive kids’ program that is suitable for all ages. There will not be a thing you have to worry about while on this luxury dude ranch vacation; book the trip, pack your bags and prepare yourself for a vacation filled with excitement, relaxation and memories no one will soon forget! 

luxury dude ranches

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch - Emigrant, MT

The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado

You may not get much more luxurious than the Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley. Just a short ride up the mountain from the Broadmoor sits the beautiful Ranch at Emerald Valley, a distinct western experience. This ranch is definitely in the high-end rustic retreat category. So, if you are in search of an extremely highly-rated luxury dude ranch for a romantic getaway or family vacation, don’t overlook this ranch. Here you can experience a variety of high-class activities along with a full-service spa. Your vacation to the Ranch at Emerald Valley will be the perfect mix of western charm and a fine resort. Tons of activities and great memories await you and your chosen travel partners at the Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley.

luxury dude ranches

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado Springs, CO

Lone Mountain Ranch - Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch is big enough for any family reunion and will appeal to all families, traditional or luxury! It is also the perfect romantic getaway for couples too.  With high quality luxurious food options, beautiful western furnished cabins and activities for every guest, big or small, Lone Mountain has it all. Relax in your cabin or on the porch listening to the sounds of nature and the stream that flows right through the ranch. Maybe you would like to go for a long refreshing hike into the incredible surrounding Gallatin Mountains, take a horseback ride to the mountain tops and gaze over the stunning Gallatin canyon, or maybe you would like to sit and watch the kids laugh and play on the big front lawn. Whatever your definition of relaxation and rejuvenation may be, the luxury of Lone Mountain Ranch will help you escape reality and help you to truly enjoy your vacation and time away.

luxury dude ranches

Lone Mountain Ranch - Big Sky, MT

The High Lonesome Ranch - Colorado

A high-class dude ranch that offers many activities including working cattle; luxury mixed with a true western cowboy experience can be found at the High Lonesome Ranch in Colorado. With an upscale rustic charm, the High Lonesome provides a unique atmosphere perfect for both families and couples with their accommodations, exquisite food provided by a local farm-to-table program and many different activities, including cattle drives. Spa services are available on the ranch for those who are looking to reach full relaxation. Yoga and a swimming pool are also available so you can get a workout too! High in the mountains of Colorado lies this little slice of serenity. No matter the type of vacation you are looking for, you will not want to miss out on the High Lonesome Ranch. 

luxury dude ranches

The High Lonesome Ranch - DeBeque, CO

A Bar A Ranch - Wyoming

Experience a piece of history and luxury at the A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming! This ranch has been in operation since 1926 and is nearly 100,000 acres in size, all of these acres are available for you to explore and enjoy! With incredible cuisine, beautiful cabins and guest houses and so many activities for you to experience, you may have a hard time picking which ones to participate in. A Bar A is the perfect family vacation, the kids will have several ways to burn off that stored up energy, and mom and dad can kick back and relax. Play a round of golf, check out what the spa has to offer or lounge by the pool and hot tub. The amount of ways to relish in your vacation are endless at A Bar A. This Wyoming luxury dude ranch may just check all of the boxes on your wish list for the perfect vacation! 

luxury dude ranches

A Bar A Ranch - Encampment, WY

4UR Ranch - Colorado

Can you imagine a place more luxurious than a vacation with a natural hot spring right on location? The 4UR Ranch in Colorado is home to two historical natural hot springs that supply the warm water for their hot tub  and other pools. These natural wonders were first discovered by Ute tribe and the ranch was constructed around them to make sure no damage was made and to preserve history. The healing waters provide serene relaxation and many people believe they are a natural healer. The 4UR has much more to offer than just their top-notch spa, they have horseback rides, incredible cuisine for all ages, great fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking and much more! So, while mom and dad relax by the water, the kids will be entertained all day! Make it a wonderful family vacation and have luxury meet you at the door at the 4UR Ranch. 

luxury dude ranches

4UR Ranch - Creede, CO

The Home Ranch - Colorado 

Colorado’s only Relais & Chateaux affiliated luxury dude ranch awaits you! The Home Ranch is nestled at the end of the valley where the Elk River flows from the Sawtooth Mountain Range. This is the perfect destination for your family to enjoy time together and to unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Relax by the ranch’s outdoor heated pool, read a book, work on your tan or take in the clean mountain air. The kids will have plenty to keep them busy while being involved in the children’s program and making new friends around the ranch. Of course, there will be time for you to connect as a family, but when you want to truly relax there is an activity for everyone. Do not worry about the food either, the chefs at the Home Ranch are phenomenal and will provide great meals for everyone. Experience a high-class luxury dude ranch vacation and a trip the kids will always remember at the Home Ranch! 

luxury dude ranches

The Home Ranch - Clark, CO

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Looking for a fun and entertaining vacation for your family, but want a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway too? Luxury dude ranches are the vacation you have been searching for!

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.

10 of the Most Beautiful Dude Ranches in Colorado

 

Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the nation with the Rocky Mountains and vast plains. Your inner photographer will be brought out with so many phenomenal vistas. From the Northern border shared with Wyoming to the Southern border shared with New Mexico, picturesque ranches abound in the "Centennial State" and we look at ten of the most beautiful Colorado dude ranch vacations. 

 

10 of the Most Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacations

 

Lost Valley Ranch

Set against 26,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, you'll experience the majestic Rocky Mountains like never before at the Lost Valley Ranch. Here you can breathe the fresh mountain air, hike through flowering meadows or simply relax with a fishing pole on Goose Creek. It's all here to enjoy at your own pace. 

Lost Valley Ranch, Colorado

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Lost Valley Lake (10)

Lost Valley Ranch 

 

Tumbling River Ranch

Tumbling River Ranch feels as far away from the hustle and bustle of life as anywhere on Earth, yet it's only a few hours from the major metropolitan area of Denver and the Denver International Airport. Here, horseback riding is special. You can ride up to where only the mountain goats go, to 12,200 feet above sea level! Imagine the views from up there. 

Tumbling River Ranch, Colorado

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Tumbling River Colorado Dude Ranch Activities

Tumbling River Ranch

 

Rainbow Trout Ranch

In Southwestern Colorado lies the Rainbow Trout Ranch, combining the splendor of the Rocky Mountains and the enchantment of the New Mexico Southwest. It's no wonder Wild West legends like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid whiled away the hours in the magnificent backcountry paradise this ranch calls home. 

Rainbow Trout Ranch, Colorado

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Rainbow Trout Ranch Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Rainbow Trout Ranch

 

Smith Fork Ranch

Located on 300 gorgeous acres of Colorado's Western Slope, East of the town of Crawford, Smith Fork Ranch is secluded and intimate. This luxury ranch is nestled within the beautiful Gunison National Forest and adjoins the wild, West Elk Wilderness Area. Smith Fork Ranch boasts luxurious comfort, thoughtful hospitality and five star cuisine blended with Rocky Mountain Adventures. 

Smith Fork Ranch, Colorado

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Smith Fork Ranch Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Smith Fork Ranch

 

The High Lonesome Ranch

With mountain forests, grasslands, spring creeks and alpine mesas at elevations ranging from 4,000 to 9,000 feet, the High Lonesome Ranch is home to diverse wildlife and provides a vast playground for sports and wilderness activities. The ranch is centered around conservation, restoration and the American West.  

The High Lonesome Ranch, Colorado

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The High Lonesome Colorado dude ranch

The Home Ranch

 

Majestic Dude Ranch

Adjacent to the pristine La Plata Mountain Range between Durango and Cortez, Colorado the Majestic Dude Ranch is the ultimate adventure guest ranch for your Colorado dude ranch vacation. Ride amoung the shimmering aspens, follow the gold panning streams to old mining towns and settle in and watch the sunset over Sleeping Ute Mountain. 

Majestic Dude Ranch, Colorado

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Majestic Dude Ranch Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Majestic Dude Ranch

 

Cherokee Park Ranch

The Cherokee Park Ranch is tucked into a peaceful mountain setting and radiates cozy western comfort. This little slice of cowboy heaven is surrounded by mountains, mossy rocks, colorful wildflowers, twinkling streams, a flashy river and a bright blue sky. 

Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado

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Cherokee Park Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Cherokee Park Ranch

 

Vista Verde Ranch

Just North of Steamboat Springs lies the Vista Verde Guest Ranch in the National Forest. With permitted access to the wild and stunning Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area there's not a condo insight! Winter at Vista Verde is breathtaking with the beauty of over 400 inches of snow annually. Back country and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, sledding and more will get you out in the snow at this Colorado dude ranch vacation. 

Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado

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Vista Verde Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Vista Verde Ranch

 

The Home Ranch

Tucked away at the far end of the valley, where the Elk River flows from the Sawtooth Mountain Ranch, you'll find the Home Ranch. This is Colorado's only Relais & Chateaux affiliated guest ranch. If you are looking for an extraordinary vacation in wide open spaces and a place to reconnect with nature, you will find it at the Home Ranch. 

The Home Ranch, Colorado

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Home Ranch Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

The Home Ranch

 

4UR Ranch

Known as "one of Colorado's last perfect places" the 4UR Ranch is tucked away into the slender Goose Creek Valley of the San Juan Mountains. Within its 3,000 acres wind 6 miles of trout stream, the Rio Grand River, miles of mountain trails for hiking and horseback riding and natural hot springs. The 4UR is one of the finest fly fishing resorts in Colorado. 

4UR Ranch, Colorado

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4UR Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

4UR Ranch 

 

Vist here for the complete list of Colorado Ranches

 

Pin this for Later: 10 of the Most Beautiful Colorado Dude Ranch Vacations

 

Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the nation with the Rocky Mountains and vast plains. Your inner photographer will be brought out with so many phenomenal vistas. From the Northern border shared with Wyoming to the Southern border shared with New Mexico, picturesque ranches abound in the in the

Ranch Activities - So Much to Do, So Little Time

A Western ranch vacation is your one stop shop for a vacation where you and your travel companions (young or old) can safely scatter into the mountains on your adventure of choice.


Horseback riding, hiking, fishing, etc.


And by "etc." we mean there are so many ranch activities you will be hard pressed to get all the exploring and experiencing done in just one week. While you’re there you'll get into the rhythm of the western way of life specific to each family operation.  You’ll certainly get to "get Local” at these ranches. But, it's not roughing it like you might imagine. It's living it. It's an experience that is high class, polished and refined. There is so much to do in a week that every minute will seem important to get the most of the experience. Time flows from one adventure to the next, with only as much, or as little free time as you like.

 

 

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Eatons' Ranch offers a family game of softball on the ranch lawns for an afternoon actvity.

 

So Much to Do


There is so much to do and so little time it makes one week seem so short. It’s like trying to jam pack a whole summer into a week. The cabins are well appointed with your own private bathrooms, or the lodge has your own personal room with shared living spaces to meet and really connect with other travelers looking to experience the same thing as you. For some, this might be the bucket list trip, for others it’s going to be your next great adventure.

 

 The High Lonesome Wild Horses

The High Lonesome Ranch offers a half day trip with a picnic lunch to go visit the wild horses, decendants of Native American and Spanish horses.

 

Ranch Safari


You might think of it as a ranch safari - because you’re riding out into the wilderness, into the mountains, or into the plains. This is where the wildlife lives. But this is also where the ranchers live. Where the summer cowboys and girls live. Where you’ll live for a week. It’s not kind of immersive, it’s fully immersive. You’ll be squeezing and jamming so many memories into one week you’ll leave feeling like a week was just the start. This is one of the reasons our ranches have so much repeat buisness.

 

Western Pleasure Cattle Team Penning

With Western Pleasure Ranch's summer dude ranch package you'll get an opportunity to do some cattle sorting.


Trust me, you can stay still in one location and experience a wide variety of things on the ranch. You'll have a home base to launch into the wild, to explore trails, learn about horses, about each other and find away to turn off your phone for a little while. You won't miss it. Each day you’ll see something different for the first time. You might see a bald eagle, or hear an elk bugle for the first time, or i don't know, get on top of the continental divide.

 

Get Going


So what am I saying? Get going! Go do something that has a week full of activities. Something you can sit around in the evening and swap sorties, so many stories, with other guests, with the employees, with your family. Where you will eat great food and drink great wine with great company. I am not even kidding, on a ranch vacation there are so many things to do and so little time.

 

Triangle C Ranch Gather

 After your trail ride at the Triangle C Ranch you can stick around for horsemanship demonstrations to learn to better connect with your horse.

 

Ever wonder if there are enough ranch activities to entertain on a ranch vacation? Yes! Actually there are too many activities for just one week.

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Corporate Meeting Trends for 2017

With winter in full swing, it’s now every event organizer’s "most wonderful time of the year" scheduling conferences!  If you are in charge of planning a conference or corporate meeting for your company, consider the 2017 trends shaping today’s corporate events. In regards to these trends, consider an accredited dude ranch to fit the bill. With capacities varying from ranch to ranch you might find one intimate enough for your board of directors or large enough to take the entire enterprise.

Strong WiFi Connection Even when you are planning an event in the mountains access to highly effective WiFi can be a selected option. Business travelers want to stay connected now more than ever, and many attend conferences with multiple wireless devices. A meeting space that can provide sufficient bandwidth and free, fast and reliable WiFi capabilities is one you don’t want to overlook.

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Red Reflet Guest Ranch Offers WiFi in each Chalet 

Dining choices Food and beverages served throughout a meeting is instrumental to its success.  The diverse culinary offerings of a meeting space are very important. Now a days it starts with having a variety of meal options and continues with selections for those with dietary restrictions for meals and refreshment breaks.

 

Refreshing Breaks Yes, dining is important, but attendees also want to get moving.  Meeting trends are heading towards replacing traditional coffee/snack breaks with energy boosting sessions.  You might consider offering a 30 minuet yoga session or fly-fishing casting class within your day’s conference schedule. Planners and attendees want breaks that keep them energized for the day’s remaining sessions.

 

Team building activities Team building is a classic meeting trend and includes activities with unique ways to spark partnerships with colleagues. Choosing a location with a variety of scheduled team building exercises will enhance the satisfaction of attendees, especially if they have never done the activity before.

 

Entertaining Entertainment Make each event unique, so attendees will eagerly anticipate in the next one. Live entertainment not only helps you instigate conversation before your conference, but it can also help you retain attendance for future events. Recent trends in entertainment at conferences and corporate functions include added entertainment from the host and engaging themed activities with your group.

 

Increasing Demand According to the Dude Ranchers' Association annual survey of ranches reservations for ranch vacations are consistently on the rise. Though short-term bookings are still common, booking opportunities stretch into the next couple of years. For last minute events, choices can be very limited by availability, but you can contact the office for help finding a last minute location.  307.587.2339


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Dude Ranch Gardens ~ From Farm to Table

This year's growing season has nearly drawn to a close for many locations for many while others are just getting started. As we at the National Dude Ranchers' Association reminisce about the warmer, growing days of summer we would like to share a few ranches who spend their long, summer days planting and harvesting. The importance and fulfillment gained by growing your own produce is understood. At these accredited dude ranches they garden not only for themselves, but also to share what they reap with you.  So, after a day of enjoying horseback riding, hiking, fishing and every other adventure imaginable, you can sit down and enjoy a family dinner, straight from farm to table. We hope before the winter blues sets in you will book a promising vacation to get your hands dirty in one of these dude ranch gardens.

 

Farm to Table Culinary Experiences

 

Honey Bee's and Sweet Garden Produce

Diana Nash, Circle Z Ranch, Patagonia, Arizona

Circle Z Bee Hive Farm to Table

One of the stand-out traditions here at the Circle Z Ranch is our commitment to the highest standards for the food we serve our guests, and we guarantee you will be satisfied. Using only the freshest of ingredients, all of our mouthwatering buffets are created in our kitchens from scratch. In our gardens, we grow many of the vegetables served at mealtime, and our honey bees are always busy making the sweetest honeys for our use. We select the finest cuts of meats, and freshest fillets of fish we can find. Fresh baked breads, mouth-watering pastries, and a variety of cookies, all made from scratch, will greet you each day of your stay. Creative alternatives are available for those guests on strict gluten-free, vegetarian, lactose-free and vegan diets.  Open October 26th - May 3rd.

 

 

Heirloom Seeds and Organic Composting

Marley & Linda Hodgson, Smith Fork Ranch, Crawford, Colorado

Smith Fork Gardening Farm to Table

 

At Smith Fork Ranch we never lose the thrill and exhilaration that comes with each new season here in our beautiful valley in the Rocky Mountains. Several years ago, we started an organic farmstead garden, nestled in the meadow below the old Dance Barn. This garden is a living breathing reflection of our continued passion for the land and it’s seasons. As we harvest each season’s crops, we feel a stronger bond to this special place. The SFR organic garden focuses on the preservation and production of heirloom varietals that have been planted for generations in Holland, France and elsewhere in America. However, it all starts with the soil. And the soil’s need for being fed provides the perfect use for the organic waste from around our guest ranch; kitchen scraps, grass and leaf trimmings, a bit of hay from the horse barns, and of course manure rich in nitrogen. We are able to cultivate dozens of varieties of vegetables and flowers without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemicals, even in the Rocky Mountain soil of our luxury guest ranch! Open May 22nd - November 1st.

 

Fresh Eggs Farm Raised Meats & Orchards

Scott Stewart, The High Lonesome Ranch, DeBeque, Colorado

The High Lonesome Ranch Farm to Table Garden

Living the life of a cowboy all day can work up a powerful hunger for your family. Back at headquarters, our Chef and his crew are cooking up fresh family-style delights with a lot of culinary flare added in for a fine rustic dining experience.  Your meals include high quality local meat and produce. In many instances the meat is raised on the ranch. Our eggs are fresh from our chickens and The High Lonesome’s signature Black Angus beef graces our menu when the timing and aging process is complete. Lambs and hogs are raised and delivered by neighboring 4H and FFA kids. The High Lonesome Ranch’s gardens and orchards enjoy ideal conditions for growing apricots, apples, peaches, pears and plums. We also grow an abundance of vegetables like corn, peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, carrots, radishes, pumpkins and onions.  Open year round.  

 


  As you can see the above dude ranches take meal time very seriously during your stay, so if your foodie there is no better place to get back to freshly grown organic food than a dude ranch. Click here to request more information


   

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