6 Extraordinary Family Vacation Ideas for 2019 - Dude Ranches Out West

Are you looking for exciting family vacation ideas? Think outside the box and perhaps consider a dude ranch vacation in the west! For more than 100 years dude ranches and guest ranch vacations have provided limitless fun and engaging things to do for the whole family. Mom and dad will appreciate the all-inclusive rates - and that all the planning is done by the ranch to facilitate outdoor activities for the kids. You won’t have to worry about a thing once you are at the ranch! And kids of all ages will have a full day of activities and evening entertainment to put that sparkle in their eye. Take a look at these destination recommendations and you’ll see that dude ranch vacations are more than just horseback riding! Each ranch is unique in their additional offerings for family vacation ideas that are completely unique.

Sprucedale Guest Ranch, Arizona

Western dancing, trail riding, cow milking and a picnic ride

Sprucedale Guest Ranch is a summer vacation idea that the entire family will love. Here, you can step back in time with cowboys and cowgirls who are living the lifestyle and inviting you to join their family run operation. You’ll arrive as strangers, but leave as friends. Here, families connect to each other and children roam free for a week in the beautiful Arizona countryside. Western dancing, trail riding, cow milking, rodeo activities and a picnic ride are all iconic western events on the ranch that your family will get to experience on this week-long vacation. And there are even more activities offered so everyone in the family will have a blast!

Read more about Sprucedale Guest Ranch

Sprucedale Cows Cattle Drive Family Vacation Ideas-1 Sprucedale Dancing  Family Vacation Ideas

The Red Rock Ranch

Horseback riding activates - vaulting, gymkhana and scavenger hunts for kids

Just down the road from the Grand Teton National Park is the Red Rock Ranch, a family owned authentic western dude ranch with polished amenities. The ranch is known for an incredible kids’ program that is focused on young riders. From ages six and up, kids have fun with a counselor engaging in activities like vaulting to learn gymnastic skills on horseback, an afternoon of team penning and even a scavenger hunt on horseback! The ranch’s professional fly-fishing guide will even host a kid’s fly-fishing clinic and show the little ones the way to catch a fish in a stocked trout pond. Don’t worry, there’s plenty to keep the adults entertained at this fantastic dude ranch. Fine dining, a massage or a quiet retreat to your personal cabin are just a few things to enjoy.

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Red Rock Ranch Family Vacation Ideas

Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch, Montana

Outdoor enthusiasts dream - horseback riding, fishing, hunting and hiking

Appealing to families with older children - 8 & up - the Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch is the place to go for the great outdoors and a great getaway idea for your athletic adventurers. The ranch is an all-inclusive destination with special packages designed for horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, hunting or a mix of everything if you are so inclined. There’s also a special non-riding rate, so each person in the family can have their own itineraries for the week. Friends and family will spend quality time together and make some unforgettable memories. Upper Canyon Outfitters is located in the beautiful Ruby Valley and along the banks of the Ruby River. The setting is exclusive and incredibly beautiful. Everyone is sure to have a great time at Upper Canyon Outfitters!

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Upper Canyon Outfitters Family Vacation Ideas Upper Canyon Fishing Older Couple

Blacktail Ranch, Montana

Cave exploration, fishing and rafting together with the family

The Blacktail Ranch is immersed in the beautiful Montana countryside -surrounded by mountains, fields and forest with a clear river running through the ranch. You’ll really understand a new meaning of “picturesque” when you arrive at the Blacktail Ranch. Located in a unique setting in Wolf Creek, Montana the ranch is home to the Blacktail Cave, a private cave that the ranch has exclusive access to. Your hosts will take you on a kid friendly trip into the mouth of the cave and through a museum tour of artifacts and histories of the area. You’ll be surprised at how much fun everyone in the family will have exploring this gem of Montana! Not to mention all the horseback riding and other outdoor activities you’ll get to do with the ones you love.

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Blacktail Ranch Family Vacation Ideas

K Diamond K Ranch, Washington

Spring Cattle Drives, Fall Roundups and year-round fun

Start planning now for your next great family adventure at the K Diamond K Ranch in Republic, Washington. The ranch offers a distinctive visit no matter what time of year you are traveling. In the spring and fall you can participate in traditional western cattle drives that many people can only dream of doing. And throughout the year there are various other projects to be involved with - hay harvesting, fencing and calving if you like ranch work and horseback riding, fishing and even a massage for a well rounded time at the ranch. You’re welcome to sign up each day for whatever activities you would like to participate in. Your ranch experience is sure to be a one of a kind visit that you’ll always remember.

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K Diamond K Ranch Family Vacation Ideas K Diamond K Ranch Wagon Ride Family Vacation Ideas

Parade Rest Ranch, Montana

Visit “Old Faithful” on an interpretive van tour of Yellowstone National Park

Parade Rest Ranch is famous for making your travels easier. They provide a vacation for the entire family that will bring everyone together in a very relaxing environment. Sit together in the dining room and enjoy great food and great conversation with the ones you love and perhaps new friends. And with comfortable cabins you’ll get a great night sleep and be ready for the adventures of the next day. Horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and hiking right from your cabin will take you to incredible mountain lakes and unbelievable views. And the best part? Parade Rest Ranch is very close to Yellowstone National Park and offers an interpretive van tour of all the great places in the park, including “Old Faithful” that your family will love!

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Parade Rest Ranch Family Vacation Ideas

 

Family Vacation Ideas - Dude Ranches Out West

 

Are you looking for exciting family vacation ideas? Think outside the box for a dude ranch vacation in the west! For almost 100 years dude ranches and guest ranch vacations have provided limitless fun and engaging activities for the whole family.

 

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Discover Western Dude Ranches as your next Corporate Meeting Site

With dude ranches located in some of the most unique and private locations in the West, it’s no wonder they continue to be ever popular destinations for groups and corporate meetings. Dude ranches are perfect for conference planners who are looking for a location to appreciate the great outdoors via horseback riding, fishing, hiking and other adventures while meeting in high-tech spaces with Wi-Fi and all the technology standard to modern meeting facilities. Some ranches can accommodate large groups of more than 100 people, while others offer a more intimate environment to enjoy with your group. All ranches offer the highest standards of the hospitality industry with lodges and cabins and luxury amenities. And fine dining? These ranches will cook up some of the best meals you've had with professionally trained chefs, fine wine lists and farm to table cuisine. So why not head up into the mountains, forests or wide-open plains for your next meeting? 

 

Here are some great dude ranches for your next corporate meeting site. 

 

Upper Canyon Wine for your Corporate Meeting Site

With a wide selection of fine wines the Upper Canyon Outfitters are great hosts for your next corporate meeting site.  

 

Upper Canyon Outfitters 

Alder, Montana

What could be a more beautiful setting for your next event than nestled at the bank of a river in between three different mountain ranges? The Upper Canyon Outfitters hosts spectacular scenery while you explore these beautiful and wildlife-rich mountains. For corporate team building and leadership retreats the Upper Canyon Outfitters offers an event center with a full kitchen complete with dishes and utensils, as well as tables, chairs and everything you need to make your event something truly special. The ranch offers experts for demonstrations and team building events in outdoor survival skills and Equine Facilitated Learning. Upper Canyon can host up to 18 people and is open June 1 - December 1. 

 

Tombstone Monument Ranch

Tombstone, Arizona

With all the Western history of famous cowboys, Apache Indians and silver mining this ranch is styled as an old West town with 18 uniquely designed rooms. Your group will be able to walk where historical characters of the west walked and ride out on horseback where they rode. The ranch can accommodate 20 people in their unique Mine Shaft room or up to 120 people in the barn with all the modern amenities. A bar and a chuck wagon buffet to cater to your group’s needs will all be set in a western style. Tombstone Monument is open year-round. 

 

Blacktail Ranch

Wolf Creek, Montana

With unlimited horseback riding, fishing, cave exploring, evening entertainment and much more the Blacktail Ranch offers an intimate setting for your group of 10 - 30 people. An octagonal building with an extraordinary 360-degree view of the Rocky Mountains awaits for your group meetings, dancing, receptions and any other activities. The Blacktail Ranch is open from June 1 - October 1. 

 

Vista Verde Ranch

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

If you are looking for more than just a riding ranch with diverse activities, amazing food, friendly staff and luxury amenities for your next corporate meeting site then Vista Verde Ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado might be the place for you. Open in the summer and winter the ranch offers western team building activities tailored to your skill levels and customized to fit your plans. Ever heard of pasture golf? Vista Verde will make a unique setting and creative activities to make your meeting planner’s job easy. Vista Verde can host up to 52 people and also offers team building and group activities in the winter from December 14 - March 31 and summer June 5 - October 18.  

 

Vista Verde Lodge Corporate Meeting Site

Vista Verde lodge meeting space.

 

Rancho de los Caballeros

Wickenburg, Arizona

How about a 4,500 square-foot conference room in the middle of the Sonoran Desert for your next board meeting, corporate event or celebration? Rancho de los Caballeros has a secluded and relaxing Southwestern ranch environment for your group to hang out, work and bond at the ranch. For that over the top fun activity check out their on property 18-hole golf course and spa. Would you like the ranch all to yourself? You can rent out the ranch exclusively. Rancho de los Caballeros can host up to 140 people and is open October 1 - May 15. 

 

Discover Western Dude Ranches as your next Corporate Meeting Site

 

With dude ranches located in some of the most unique locations, it’s no wonder they continue to be popular destinations for groups and corporate meetings.

 

Read more about dude ranches and corporate meetings on our blog!

 

6 Things to Do in Montana While on a Dude Ranch Vacation

With more mountains and cattle than there are people Montana is a vast and beautiful play ground for outdoor activities, especially on a dude ranch vacation. Less than a million people live in the whole state, so even in the largest of cities there is still wide open spaces and a relaxed small town feel. The people here are among the friendliest in the world and will make your vacation here the most memorable one to date. Take the opportunity to slow down long enough to experience Montana in a unique and authentic way. Here are the top 6 things to do in Montana while at a guest ranch.

 

6 Things to Do in Montana While on a Dude Ranch Vacation 

 

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch Montana Activities

1. Trail Ride

From one hour to an all day ride you'll get to share in the beauty of Montana while on horseback. If there ever was a traditional way to explore, a trail ride would be it. From wide open spaces to forest trails you can go anywhere and enjoy the ride to the sound of the hoof beats along the trail. This interaction with horses will create memories you won't soon forget. They will add a sense of personality to your trip. You'll really like to get to know the horses at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch before taking them into the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park.

 

Upper Canyon Montana Outfitters Activities

2. Fly Fish

You won't have to get your feet wet stepping out into the crystal clear streams of Montana. Specialty fishing gear allow you to walkout to where the fish are. Your very own personal fishing guide will get you fitted into the proper gear and show you the techniques that will land you a really nice catch. The fishing packages at the Upper Canyon Outfitters are famous all over the country. You won't believe how beautiful the sunsets are on the water!

 

Deep Canyon Ranch (10)

3. Hike

There are hundreds and hundreds of miles to explore in Montana and hiking is one of the best ways to explore them. With your feet connected to the earth and stretching your legs to reach the next rise the rewards are great views and the experience of the flora and fauna along the way. I assure you, you've never smelt fresh air like what you'll get at the top of the crest on a Montana ranch vacation trail, and you won't likely have to share it with anyone else. At the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness lies the Deep Canyon Guest Ranch and countless acres of Montana are there for you to explore.

 

 

Hawley Mountain Dude Ranch Activities 2

4. Jeep Tour

Back road jeep tours are another great way to explore many miles into remote locations of Montana. At Hawley Mountain Ranch they have an all day jeep adventure planned for you starting with the ghost town and mining remnants of Independence, a picnic lunch around an alpine lake and a short climb to the summit of Monument Peak. During the trip you reach as high as 11,000 ft! That's a lot to action for just one day.

 

5. National Park Trip

Montana is home to Glacier National Park and two entrances to Yellowstone National Park. You might as well stop while you are in town. A solid day in each park is the minimum recommended time, but you might "get lost" and stay for a summer.

 

Blacktail Ranch Divide Ride Montana Activities

6. Pack Trip

How about two nights out under the starts to experience the mountains? Head out on horseback with Blacktail Ranch for a two night trip to the top of the Continental Divide. The base camp has running water and power, so roughing it is optional. You can choose to sleep on a comfortable bed in the cabin or under the stars with or without a tent. The next day you'll be at the top!

 

Here is the complete list of all the best dude and guest ranches in Montana for you to explore.

 

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6 Things to do in Montana while at a dude ranch

With more mountains and cattle than there are people Montana is a vast and beautiful play ground for outdoor activities, especially on a dude ranch vacation. Take the opportunity to slow down long enough to experience Montana in a unique and authentic way. Here are the top 6 things to do in Montana while at a guest ranch.

 

7 Ranches for your 2016 Hunting Trip

It is time to start planning for your 2016 hunting trip. The Dude Ranchers' Association is here to help you find the personalized hunting trip for you and your family this fall. Below we have gathered some of the most exciting places available. Don't forget to book early, as ranches only have a limited number of trips available. For more information on planning your trips please contact the Dude Ranchers' Association office at 307.587.2339.

Hunting Trips

JJJ WIlderness Hunting & PackTrip

JJJ WIlderness Hunting & PackTrip

Bob Marshall Wilderness, MT

JJJ Wilderness Ranch Join us for the hunt of a lifetime in Montana's 1.5 million acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Home to North America's foremost big game animals, this unspoiled wilderness provides unsurpassed beauty and trophy opportunities. To hunt the "Bob" is to experience one of America's national treasures.

Seven Devils Mountain Range, ID

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch and Guide Service Seven Devil's hunts are guided on 18,000 acres of private land, no fences.  We pride ourselves on providing a hunt that is more than just tagging a great animal.   Because we are so passionate about the entire hunting experience we look forward to glassing in the morning and being out at first light just as much as the hunter.   We treat each hunt as if it were our own.  A true sportsman experience is what we’re about.  Give us a call and learn more about what we have to offer in services even after you fill your tag.

Dunoir Valley, WY

Absaroka Ranch The hunting area is the magnificent Dunoir Valley located northwest of Dubois, Wyoming. The Dunoir remains one of the last truly abundant wildlife and virtually hunter - free areas in the state, if not the entire West. The ranch provides nearly everything for your hunt such as saddles, rifle scabbards and saddle bags, and you will enjoy a comfortable, modern cabin and excellent, hearty meals. All you provide is license, rifle, ammunition, and other personal hunting gear.

Upper Ruby Valley, MT

Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch UCO offers guided and unguided archery hunting packages that are 5 day/6 nights or longer.  Guided packages including all meals, accommodations in cabins or lodge, Bozeman pick-up & return.  Guests can stay in the lodge or cabins during their stay. Free WiFi throughout the ranch.  In addition, we can arrange to accommodate non-hunting guests & youth hunters.

Triangle X Hunting Trip Sunset

Triangle X Sunset View

Teton Wilderness Range, WY

Triangle X Ranch The Triangle X Ranch operates three hunting camps in the Teton Wilderness region of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming directly south of Yellowstone National Park. The camps offer some of the finest big game hunting in America. Our region has unsurpassed opportunities for trophy elk. The hunting camps are located so that they give us a near monopoly on one of the finest and largest hunting areas in the state of Wyoming.

Beaverhead National Forest, MT

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters Nearly half of the entire elk harvested in the state of Montana come from region of the Ranch. With a local herd in this area we are not dependent on a migration. All hunting is done within a 15-20 mile radius of the lodge. Depending on your ability and the method that is best suited for you, whether it be by foot, 4-wheel drive, or horseback.

C Lazy u Mom and Dad Hunting Trip Glamping

C Lazy U Glamping on your Hunting Trip

Granby Mesa Mountain, CO

C Lazy U Ranch Ladies! Your husband has booked a 6 day luxury hunt in the mountains of Colorado and you’re wondering what to do with yourself, aren’t you? Go with him! It sounds crazy, especially if you’re familiar with what hunting trips can be like; but your husband hasn’t booked a trip to your typical male elk camp, where “ruffing it” means cold showers and subpar meals. No, he’s booked a trip to the C Lazy U Ranch. What does this mean for you and your kids? We thought you’d never ask!  Situated in a private valley with 8,500 acres, the C Lazy U Ranch offers you everything from amenities that pamper (like our world class “Lazy You” spa, where you can indulge yourself in treatments that allow the pressures and stresses of life melt away), to adventure of your own (like loping across a beautiful mesa at the base of the Rockies on horseback, or fly fishing with your very own guide). You and your kids will be sure to beg your husband to go hunting every year!    

Romance & Horses, Your Dude Ranch Vacation


'A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.' - definition of romance Riding horses with your partner is, surely, full of excitement and mystery. Consider a ranch stay to put some extra special romance into your relationship. It is as easy as picking out your geographic setting(mountain range of choice) and paring your personalities with a ranch. Then, hop on a plane and arrive at your secluded cabin for an 'all-inclusive' destination experience. Don't worry, there are plenty of activities to inspire other than saddling up and riding into the sunset at a dude ranch; morning fishing trips, spa afternoons, hot tub evenings and nights full of fine dining pared with excellent wine. Valentine's day is a great motivator to book you and your partner a vacation full of romance and connection - away from the monotonous crowd of chocolates and teddy bears. Experiences turn into memories, and those memories turn into a lifetime of togetherness.

Ranches for Romance

The ranches below are just a few options for your choosing. If you don't find one that you connect with, give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call. We can help. 307.587.2339.  


The Heart of the Rockies, Colorado

Elk Mountain Couple Hill Side Romance

Elk Mountain Ranch Fall is for adults only - Enjoy the mountains during the peak of the fall colors in the Colorado Rockies. The already spectacular scenery at the Ranch unveils more glory in the Autumn. Aspens crown the mountainside in golden grandeur. Fall is exclusively for adults at this Colorado dude ranch. The tranquility and stillness are uninterrupted, whether you’re riding through the aspen forests…or curling up with a favorite book by an crackling fireplace.


The Ruby River, Montana

Upper Canyon Fishing Couple Romance

Upper Canyon Outfitters One of the best uncrowned waters in Montana - "My wife and I ventured to Upper Canyon this summer to enjoy the ranch, fishing, horseback riding and hiking and preview where I had booked an elk and mule deer hunt this fall. After returning from the fall hunt all that I can do is reinforce the previous comments complimenting the complete operation of Upper Canyon Outfitters, from the facilities to the staff. It seems like they are all extended family." - Roland


7,000 Acres in the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Eatons Gather Sunset Romance

Eaton's Ranch Freedom to ride into the sunset - Eatons’ offers our guests the unique opportunity to ride one of our 220 horses unescorted with the permission of the Ranch. This allows guests the remarkable freedom to fully explore this beautiful 7,000 acres of country. Guests can ride out from this Wyoming Dude Ranch twice a day Monday through Friday, choosing among morning, afternoon and evening rides. Also, there all-day rides into the Bighorn National Forest as well as breakfast and dinner rides.


Yellowstone Country, Montana

Mountain Sky Romance

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch A rare treat - After a day filled with ranch activities, dinner is always a highly anticipated event. Kick things off with hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the saloon, where friends share stories of the day's adventure next to a crackling fire. What follows is an unforgettable three- to five-course dinner featuring carefully crafted and regionally-inspired dishes prepared by Chef Brian Bielen and his talented team. Complement your dinner with a bottle of wine from a fine selection, and do try to leave room for that slice of chocolate decadence or Basque cake.


     

A New Twist on an Old Trend Seen By Dude Ranch Owners

“Same time, same place next year,” is a promise often heard on the trail and around the campfire of a dude ranch.   The remote, peaceful setting lends itself to easy camaraderie, so it’s not uncommon for lifetime friendships to develop during a ranch vacation.   Statistics bear out this phenomenon with dude ranch owners reporting more than a third of all reservations each season made by repeat visitors. Colleen Hodson reports a similar yet different pattern among the daily inquiries she receives at the headquarters of the Dude Rancher’s Association in Cody, Wyoming. Hodson, Executive Director of the DRA, as it’s known, says she’s starting to hear from folks she refers to, (tongue in cheek,) as “ranch junkies.”   These are travelers loyal to the Western ranch destination but preferring to explore a different DRA ranch each trip.

The traditional pleasures of Western living - riding, hiking, camping and fishing are still the major draw of a ranch escape.  And guests can always count on any DRA member ranch meeting the highest industry standards as well as being authentic and accurately portrayed in all of its’ advertising. But that’s where the commonality ends. Travelers considering a dude ranch destination only need to glance at the DRA website or member brochure to get a sense of the many types of ranches and menu of activities offered. One finds special ranch getaways for cowgirls or adults only, while many are a virtual “Disney World” for kids of all ages. Some ranches focus on the culinary experience serving the finest wine and food pairings along with cooking instructions by noted chefs. Others attract devotees to fitness by offering yoga, meatless menus and spa treatments.  Still more are known for birding, astronomy, and special eco-tours. And, photography classes, tennis clinics, and painting workshops are just a few options for guests looking for a Western styled learning adventure.

Hodson says, "the great thing about the diversity of DRA member ranches is no matter what ranch people choose they’ll experience the same wonderful western hospitality we’ve been promoting for 90 years.” See the ranches below for a warm, welcoming hospitality and a sense of belonging with your dude ranch owners.

Blacktail Ranch

Blacktail Ranch

The Blacktail Ranch is a Historic 8,000 acre jewel, located  where the prairie meets the Rockies in Wolf Creek Montana.  Our Grandfather first came this valley back in the late 1800's and our family has lived and worked here ever since.  We have been operating as a guest ranch since the 1950's.


Hawley Mountain Ranch

Hawley Mountain Ranch

Enjoy a Montana ranch vacation in a remote pristine wilderness north of Yellowstone. Small guest capacity and unique activities. Horseback riding; Fly fishing on private frontage along the Boulder River; Jeep ride to ghost town and historic gold mines; Hiking; Scenic raft float; Campfires/cookouts.


McGarry Ranches

McGarry Ranches

A working cattle ranch with cattle managed on approx. 55,000 acres in the Rocky Mountains. We only accept 10 guests per week, a chance to get to know everyone. If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the American Cowboy while riding daily in scenic mountains we invite you to come ride with us.


Nine Quarter Circle

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

Adjacent to Yellowstone Park, the Nine Quarter Circle is "magical" thanks to our remote location which provides incredible scenery and excellent riding opportunities. Our family-oriented vacations feature riding for all ages and levels of horsemanship while awesome blue-ribbon fly-fishing can be found on-site and in nearby rivers. Traditional activities such as campfires, cookouts, hayrides and more are a big hit, as are our dedicated kids' programs. And this all comes served with the West's BEST hospitality!


Upper Canyon Outfitters

Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch

Upper Canyon Outfitters is nestled on the banks of the Ruby River, between three mountain ranges. Our family has been exploring these beautiful and wildlife-rich mountains since 1910. We are proud to offer a truly unforgettable Western Montana experience.


 

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