Winter Vacations – Take a Magical Sleigh Ride at a Dude Ranch

Winter is quickly approaching in the Western U.S. and we are trying to stay positive about the snow and cold that we know is coming very quickly! We have been thinking about some of our favorite parts of wintertime, like snuggling up and watching Christmas movies! We have all seen the Hallmark Christmas movies where the people take the magical horse-drawn sleigh ride through the beautiful white snow with cozy blankets, hot chocolate, and breath-taking scenery all around. Every romantic has dreamt of this scenario happening to them at one time or another, who wouldn’t want to go dashing through the snow with the one they love!? This scenario may be just a dream for many hopeless romantics because of one big obstacle, where do you go to take a sleigh ride like you see in the movies? We have the answer! A sleigh ride at a Dude Ranchers’ Association dude ranch in the mountains of the Western U.S. can provide you with that magical movie scene you have always dreamed of and can double as a great romantic getaway destination! 

The Dude Ranchers’ Association has some fantastic ranches that offer sleigh rides in the wintertime for their guests, and this activity pairs nicely with the other activities and amenities these ranches have to offer. These ranches are great destinations for a romantic getaway, but they are also wonderful for families in the wintertime as well! If you and your kids have never been sledding, you definitely need to go…it truly is an experience like no other! Take a look at a few of the DRA’s dude ranches below that offer sleigh rides in the wintertime to their guests and get ready embark on that magical sleigh ride! 

Bar W Guest Ranch – Whitefish, MT

Winter Sleigh Ride

Head to the mountains of Montana for a fantastic winter (or summer) getaway at the Bar W Guest Ranch. Every season provides magical opportunities for guests, like sleigh rides in the wintertime or wonderful trail rides in the summertime. If you choose the winter getaway, on these sleigh rides you will glide across Montana’s snow-blanketed landscape while cozied up under a plush blanket enjoying the company of other guests. Each sleigh ride winds through open fields and woodlands giving you the chance to take in the beauty of Montana in the wintertime. The sleigh rides last approximately 45 minutes and after your ride, you can warm up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and homemade cookies! Alcoholic beverages are not provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you choose! Don’t forget to make your reservations, these popular sleigh rides fill up fast and you don’t want to miss out! At the Bar W in the wintertime, you will experience snow, horses, divine hospitality, delicious food, and cozy cabins or lodge rooms if you choose to stay a few days! Come back in the summertime for a longer stay and enjoy all of the summer activities the ranch has to offer! 

C Lazy U Ranch – Granby, CO

Winter Sleigh Ride

Experience one of Colorado’s most luxurious dude ranches this winter and take a sleigh ride while you are there! The C Lazy U Ranch is the perfect getaway for any couple or family looking for some winter and snowy fun! Their sleigh rides offer the opportunity to ride through the ranch’s 200 horses and see them up close. You might even see Petey, they miniature donkey who is mighty handsome! The sleighs can only hold up to 12 guests, so it is the perfect group of people to go dashing through the snow. Sleigh rides are not the only snow-related activities offered at C Lazy U, take the opportunity to go horseback riding through the snow, go ice skating or play ice hockey, go snowmobiling or even snow tubing/sledding. There are several other snow activities as well! If you would rather stay inside and stay warm, you can head on over to the ranch’s hot tub or take advantage of their award-winning spa. This is also a great option after your snow activities too because even though the snow is beautiful, it can be a little chilly. Along with all of these activities, you will experience beautiful lodging accommodations and gourmet meals prepared by the ranch’s chefs. Escape to Colorado for a romantic couple’s getaway or a family vacation that will create memories to last a lifetime! 

Lone Mountain Ranch – Big Sky, MT

Winter Sleigh Ride

The Lone Mountain Ranch in the famous ski town of Big Sky, Montana is calling your name! Experience their winter Discovery Package and all it has to offer. This ranch nestled in the mountains right above Big Sky is the perfect destination for your next winter getaway! The Discovery Package offers some great options, including a sleigh ride to the legendary North Fork Cabin where dinner will be waiting for you. You will also get the chance to do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, yoga, and listen to live Western music while at Lone Mountain Ranch. This package includes three gourmet meals a day, luxurious Western-chic lodging accommodations, all of the previously mentioned activities, airport transfers to and from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and more. Grab your significant other, family or group and head to Montana for a fantastic winter adventure vacation. The memories and experiences will be unforgettable! 

Vista Verde Ranch – Steamboat Springs, CO

Winter Sleigh Ride

Enjoy the scenes of a winter wonderland and so much more at the luxurious Vista Verde Ranch located in Steamboat Springs. The Rocky Mountains provide the perfect blanket of snow for winter activities at Vista Verde, one of those activities being sleigh rides. There is an option for the sleigh rides at this ranch to be a little more unique if you choose. Of course, you still get the joys of gliding through the snow on a horse-drawn sleigh, taking in the beautiful snow-covered landscape and scenery if would like. Or, you can take a more adventurous sleigh ride with some of the crew by helping them feed the ranch’s herd of horses on a horse-drawn sleigh! Each day the ranch hitches up their draft horse team to haul a very large load of hay out to the horse pasture to feed the horses. Guests are invited to jump on the sleigh and toss out hay or just enjoy the ride; it is quite the experience! Before tractors and machines, this is how ranchers used to feel their livestock in the old days, so this is a true Western tradition. Enjoy the sleigh rides, snow, other winter activities, fantastic food and beautiful accommodations at this ranch. It is a great romantic getaway or a vacation destination for the whole family. No matter what type of winter vacation you are looking for, Vista Verde Ranch might just be what you are looking for. 

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, ID 

Winter Sleigh Ride

The options for a magical, snowy sleigh ride at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Idaho are abundant. For a group sleigh ride, one of the ranch’s five teams of draft horses will gracefully take you and your loved ones dashing through the snow…literally! If you are looking for a more romantic, snow-filled adventure you can choose to take the sleigh pulled by one horse and enjoy the beauty of North Idaho with your significant other. This will make your Hallmark movie dream moment come true! After the sleigh ride, you can head over to the ranch’s lodge to warm up by the fire and enjoy warm beverages and freshly popped popcorn! If you are wanting more than just snacks, the ranch offers a sleigh ride and dinner package as well! The ranch also has a special offer that includes getting a Christmas tree while out on your sleigh ride. There is an additional cost for this, but what better way to go get a Christmas tree than on a horse-drawn sleigh, now that sounds like a winter dream! Western Pleasure Guest Ranch has lodging and meal accommodations available for guests who choose to live out the winter dream at the ranch for a few days. There are other activities available and it is a great getaway, especially for couples! No matter which sleigh ride adventure you choose to take, the folks at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch will be sure to take care of you and help you create memories to last a lifetime! 

Now that you have learned a little more about magical winter vacations that could include horse-drawn sleigh rides, skiing adventures, snow tubing/sledding and more, you can start planning your getaway! If you think a winter dude ranch vacation may be a bit too cold for your liking, look into a summer dude ranch vacation! If you need help in finding information about dude ranch vacations or need help on where to start planning this type of vacation, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association, info@duderanch.org or 307-587-2339. 

Winter Sleigh Ride

It is Never to Early to Book a Dude Ranch Holiday Vacation the Entire Family Will be Amazed By!

It may seem too early to start thinking about holiday gifts and it probably is if you are just going to give “stuff” again this year. Here at the Dude Ranchers’ Association, we think the best holiday gifts don’t support designer logos nor do they come from big box stores. We feel one of the true meanings of the holidays is families spending time together, away from the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded shopping malls and there is no better place to spend time with your family than on a dude ranch holiday vacation.

This year we challenge you all to think outside the pretty wrapped boxes and consider giving you and your loved ones the gift of time spent together. The members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association have long believed that family time is the most important time and what better time of year for that then the holiday season.

DRA-member ranches in Arizona offer trail rides under the warm desert sun, as well as hiking, mountain biking, tennis and swimming. Northern ranches from Colorado to Canada entertain families with guided snowmobile tours, horse-drawn sleigh rides, access to superb downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice-skating and maybe even a little ski jorning. There is something to make everyone happy.

Below are several dude and guest ranch options to consider for your dude ranch holiday vacation!

It may seem too early to start thinking about holiday gifts but if you plan on giving more than just

Western Pleasure Ranch - Idaho

As a blanket of white transforms, the Western Pleasure Ranch into a winter wonderland, you and your family can enjoy scenic horse-drawn sleigh rides powered by one of their many draft teams. You will feel like a child again as they jingle through a 2-mile loop trail of dense forests in the foothills of the Cabinet Mountains with amazing views of the Selkirk Mountain Ranch. With a wide variety of horse-drawn sleighs, including a five-passenger, three twelve passengers and a two-passenger, they have the right size sleigh to accommodate your family, friends and even that special someone for the romantic two passenger sleigh. 

dude ranch holiday vacation

Circle Z Ranch - Arizona

At Circle Z Ranch their Thanksgiving festivities are legendary! They have been hosting families with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for more than 50 years. With amazing fall weather as a backdrop, your horseback rides will be a Thanksgiving memory your family will not soon forget. During the Christmas holiday season, it has been said that you will get to meet Santa Clause as he has been known to show up at the ranch in a horse-drawn sleigh, something the kiddos will talk about for years to come. 

dude ranch holiday vacation

The Home Ranch – Colorado 

The beautiful Elk River Valley is known for its legendary snowfalls of powdery magnificent snow. When you stay at this ranch you can ski it all Backcountry, Classic, Skate, Steamboat, Telemark and never get behind the wheel of a car. With some of the best Nordic skiing in the world at your doorstep, deluxe cowboy chic accommodations, and exceptional cuisine this is one of the best winter getaways the beautiful state of Colorado has to offer. On top of all that during your Christmas holiday, a live Christmas tree will be provided in your room for you and your family to decorate and just think no un-decorating when you get back home.

dude ranch holiday vacation

Lone Mountain Ranch – Montana 

Spending the Holidays at Lone Mountain Ranch near Big Sky ski resort in Montana sounds like heaven to us. What’s so great about this ranch…Nordic skiing over 85Km of trails, snowboarding, candlelit dinners in their historic North Fork Cabin, moonlight skiing just to mention a few. Add in gingerbread house making and a quick ski with Santa and you and your family will have had the very merriest of holidays.

dude ranch holiday vacation

C Lazy U Ranch – Colorado 

If going away for the Thanksgiving holiday seems a little odd since it is such a family-focused holiday know that taking a memorable family trip to C Lazy U Ranch during the holidays doesn’t have to mean forsaking traditions. The ranch hosts a Thanksgiving getaway that will quickly become the “new” family tradition. This ranch allows families to “power down” while still having fun in a family-friendly setting that harkens back to simpler days. With unique activities like daily horseback riding, winter sports, games and bonding time between your family and other guests this Thanksgiving at C Lazy U will be one for the books.

dude ranch holiday vacation

Rich Ranch – Montana 

Snowmobile the Rocky Mountains and discover the scenic backwoods that this great state has to offer. This is an all service vacation spot that includes meals, lodging and use of ranch amenities and guide service to 1500+ miles of groomed mountain snowmobile trails right out your cabin door. You will enjoy awesome scenery abundant wildlife and no crowds. You will stay in cedar/log cabins with private baths, propane fireplaces and all the amenities you could want. This is such a great place to unwind and reconnect after a full day of play in the fresh Montana air.

dude ranch holiday vacation

As you can, see best of all, a DRA dude ranch offers families something one can’t find in a shopping mall; precious time spent together making memories to last a lifetime! Book now before they all fill up. For more information contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association at info2@duderanch.org or 307-587-2339.

 

 

Bonus Boise! Dude Ranch Vacation and a Visit to the Fastest Growing City in America!

Whether you’re a millennial and can’t stay put for more than three days or are curious about the buzz on Boise, here are some ideas for a day trip off the saddle from Idaho Dude Ranches — McGarry Ranches, Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Diamond D Ranch or Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

Hip FactorRed Horse Creek-1

Boise is the fastest growing city in America! The airport is easily accessible to downtown Boise via a ten-minute ride. It’s a small, ‘bigger’ city with a mixture of hipster shopping and eateries and old town charm. 

Beddin’ Down

If you choose an overnight, Inn at 500 should be your first pick. (innat500.com) It’s the newest and most luxurious hotel in the capital city and has whimsically-themed rooms such as Boise Art Museum (curated by museum staffers), The Flicks (for the art-house movie theater next to the hotel), and Idaho Wine (note that all guests get complimentary glasses at check in), and wins for location. Grab a drink or dish at Richard’s in the hotel aptly named for Chef Richard Langston, a James Beard 2014 semifinalist for Best Chef Northwest, and storied Boise resident and restaurateur.

Grub

Downtown Boise is extremely walkable and worthy of a few hours of shopping, touring the capital, and eating in this growing culinary hotspot. Boise boasts the largest Basque population outside of Spain, and much homage is paid to this culture throughout the city. Stop by The Basque Market for paella lunches and a trendy meat, cheese and tapas market. Head to Bardenay for a bloody Mary (with house-made vodka made from Idaho potatoes) or Red Feather Lounge. Don’t miss Boise Fry Company for the best spuds (get a burger on the side). 

 

Drink

Boise Idaho - Dude Ranch Day Trip

As with most towns across the West, the craft beer is strong. Payette Brewing, Bittercreek Alehouse, Cloud 9 Brewery, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse and Boise Brewing are all standouts. But note it might be the craft women winemakers of the Snake Valley River AVA that are garnering the most awards and attention. Cinder, Coiled Wines, Split Rail Winery, Syringa Winery and Telaya Wine Co. are a handful of the most popular and offer tastings and comfortable sitting areas.

Activity

Chances are you will be visiting in summer when the majority of ranches run their seasons. Rent a bike and cruise along the Boise River Greenbelt with numerous parks, eateries, and wineries along the way. Stop and grab a SUP from Idaho River Sports and hop on Quinn's Pond to paddle around for a couple of hours.

If you’re looking to grab some authentic items to remember or commemorate your dude ranch week, visit Mixed Greens for hundreds of boutique items, Idaho Made for Idaho-made gifts and crafts, or pick up a culinary treat at City Peanut Shop and The Chocolat Bar. The Capital City Public Market and The Boise Farmers Market in season are excellent options for finding local vendors and wares. 

Spring through late summer the Idaho Shakespeare Festival runs in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater. Come early to explore the grounds and bring/purchase a picnic to enjoy with the show. Wednesdays throughout summer, Alive After Five fires up in Grove Plaza with music, beer and wine vendors, food trucks and restaurants, fountains for the children to splash and cool off, and a great downtown experience.

Don’t Miss

Check out the Oregon Trail—you can even see ruts from wagon wheels and "advertising" rock art still carved in stone near Boise. Connect to the trail easily at the Oregon Trail Reserve, but if you want more Idaho history, visit the newly-opened Idaho State Museum, just steps from the Inn at 500. 

 

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Whether you’re a millennial and can’t stay put for more than three days or are curious about the buzz on Boise, here are some ideas for a day trip off the saddle from Idaho Dude Ranches

The Best Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

Family Reunions at Dude Ranches Offer Fun for Everyone. There is something for everyone to enjoy at a dude ranch and the best part is DRA dude ranches are all-inclusive. Meals, lodging, horseback riding and much more are included in one rate, making it simple to plan and budget for your next family reunion. Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each multi-generational family.

Private family time. If your family is just looking to spend time with each other where you can totally reconnect a small intimate ranch where you are the only guests might be just the ticket. Where you ride together as a family, have meals together as a family and just get to know each other again.

Dude Ranches Are Fun for Kids. Most ranches have daily activities offered for kiddos 3+ and many ranches can accommodate infants as well.

Teens Enjoy Dude Ranch Adventures. The teens in the family will have the time of their lives as they zip down a mountain zip line, tube down a rushing creek, or enjoy a ‘teens only’ ride up to a cookout lunch or an overnight camp out.

Adults Have Fun, Too. Adults will find they can do as much or as little as they would like. Unlimited horseback riding, river rafting, superb fishing, fine dining the list goes on and on.

So what are you waiting for? Book you next great multi-generational adventure today!

#MultiGenerationalRanchVacation


Western Pleasure Multi-Generational Ranch Vacation

Wyoming

Eatons' Ranch - For over 137 years, our Wyoming dude ranch has offered guests a western experience and shared with them a way of life.

Lazy L&B Ranch - At the Lazy L&B Ranch there’s nothing we like better than seeing grandparents hanging with grandkids, siblings catching up with each other and cousins exploring that special relationship that friends just can't compete with.

Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch - The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is an all-inclusive upscale working cattle, riding, fly-fishing and adventure guest ranch in Shell, WY (east of Cody and Yellowstone National Park).

California

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch - Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch is a rustic western resort located in the High Sierra of northern California on 600-acres of pine forest and pasture land, creeks and ponds.

Marble Mountain Ranch - Our goal is to provide a battery of exciting interactive experiences that are based in western traditions, and in outdoor adventure sports.

Idaho

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch - Escape, explore and experience the beauty and wonder of the outdoors with your family at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

Arizona

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch - Our guest ranch is dedicated to providing you with the best family reunion experience you can imagine.

White Stallion Ranch - Family Vacations have become rare opportunities to leave the demands of your everyday life behind, relax, regroup and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.

Colorado

High Lonesome Ranch - High Lonesome Dude Ranch Generations Experience – Exactly as wild as you. To help keep sporting traditions alive within family generations, we invite grandparents to come FREE while passing the torch to their next generation.

C Lazy U Ranch - Located in the heart of Colorado’s stunning Rocky Mountains, C Lazy U is the premier luxury guest ranch getaway.

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch - Named "Best Family Vacation" by Frommer's Colorado guidebook and rated among the "Top Ten Colorado Dude Ranches" by True West Magazine, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch offers year-round outdoor adventure.

Colorado Trails Ranch - At Colorado Trails Ranch, the vacation experience is all-inclusive from the accommodations, to the meals, to virtually all the activities and the gratuity.

Elk Mountain Ranch - Located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies with off-the-beaten path charm.  Colorado’s Highest Guest Ranch at 9,600 feet.

Latigo Ranch - The best way to enjoy your family vacation is care-free, and that’s what Latigo is offering this season. Forget worrying about finding something for everyone to do or meals which suit every dietary restriction, Latigo has it all

Montana

Elkhorn Ranch - Located at the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park in the upper Gallatin Canyon, the Elkhorn has been a family oriented ranch since 1922.

Lone Mountain Ranch - Lone Mountain Ranch has set the standard for luxury ranch destinations in the West for over a century. Located a mere 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, our ranch offers authentic accommodations in newly renovated private cabins featuring the finest modern amenities (and a few curated decor moments inspired by the old West).

 Bar W Guest Ranch - The Bar W is open year round and treats you with true Western hospitality - from the moment you arrive until long after you have left.

New Mexico

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch - Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is a small family run ranch. We have just 4 cabins and take a maximum of 12-16 guests.

Surrounded by spectacular beauty on a ranch vacation, far from the noise  of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each multi-generational family.

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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.

 

 

eatons-kids-activities-softball

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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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 Guest Ranch

Colorado ~ Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch

Idaho ~ Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

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

Washington ~ Bull Hill Guest Ranch

Wyoming ~ Klondike Ranch, Spotted Horse Ranch

 

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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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Don't Squat with Your Spurs On

By Danielle Ottis Some of our guests ask, and many more wonder in anxious silence, "How do I answer the call of nature while on a trail ride?" Here are a few tips from a seasoned trail guide and trail rider.

#1 Go before you leave. Remember that time when you were a kid, headed out on a road trip with the family, only minutes after departing and you declare "I gotta go!" Likely Dad's response was, "Why didn't you go before we left?" This is a good scenario to learn from when preparing to head out on a long trail ride.

#2 When nature calls, don't answer it. Put nature on hold until the ride is over.

#3 Sometimes you just can't put nature on hold. Believe me I know. I spent one summer guiding trail rides while pregnant and the call of nature was just NOT going to wait. In this situation, choose a nice secluded spot with lots of brushy coverage. You don't want your fellow riders to see more of nature than they were expecting. For those of you riding in those un-natural places without trees, good luck to you!

#4 Choose a spot carefully. Don't make the rookie mistake of leaving the trail you're on only to find that you are relieving yourself in another trail...with other riders coming up the trail behind you. Becoming the butt of wrangler jokes for years to come, and inadvertently christening said trail with its new name, Full Moon Trail, probably isn't on your vacation bucket list. True story.

#5 Leave your horse with your guide or tied to a tree. You don't need your mighty steed getting ...well...nosy.

#6 Bury it. This might be getting just a little too personal, but learn from the boy scouts and bury it.

#7 "How do I bury it? It’s not like I have a boy scout along with his little collapsible shovel and all." Well I don't know, get creative!

#8 Don't use the "toilet paper" you think nature has provided for you. It's just not going to end well. That leafy green may look as soft as Charmin but likely it will leave you wishin' you weren't a itchin'.

#9 And last but not least, don't squat with yer spurs on. Saddling up and heading out on horseback, whether it is for an hour or for a week, is something I look forward to rain or shine. Sharing that experience with someone else makes it even better. Now you can join me on the trail just a little more prepared for your next horseback adventure into the woods.

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch


 

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