6 Dude Ranch Vacations to Take this Summer

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


6 Dude Ranch Vacations to Take this Summer


Wind River Ranch Summer Vacation Flag Rodeo


Airport: Denver

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


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

Read more about all Colorado Dude Ranches 


A Bar A Dude Ranch Vacations for this Summer


Airport: Laramie

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


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

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches


Colorado Trails Summer Vacation Dude Ranch


Airport: Durango

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


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

Read more about all Colorado Dude Ranches 


R Lazy S Ranch Summer Vacation at a Dude Ranch


Airport: Jackson Hole

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


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

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches


Red Horse Camp Fire Summer Vacation Dude Ranch



Airport: Spokane

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


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

Read more about all Idaho Dude Ranches


Spotted Horse View Trail Family


Airport: Jackson Hole

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


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

Read more about all Wyoming Dude Ranches



Pin this for later - 6 Summer Dude Ranch Vacations


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

Stop Working and Start Vacationing at a Dude Ranch

Stop working and start vacationing.

Under many state laws vacation pay accrues as it is earned, and cannot be forfeited.  Why would you want to forfeit your vacation time anyway, or even just let it pile up in your work account. Get out there and use that time and money for memories and experiences. You'll come back to work with stories to tell and refreshed from time away.

We, at the Dude Ranchers' Association, think a ranch vacation in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado are some pretty great states to get going on using your vacation time.

Some options are to fly into Bozeman, MT, Jackson Hole, WY or Steamboat Springs, CO or take some extra vacation time and make a road trip out of it.

Take a look at the ranches below and the information about traveling to them from your airport. Want more information? We have it here in the office at 307.587.2339, info@duderanch.org or message us on social media using #ranchvacationexpert.


Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN)


Nine Quarter Circle Ranch ~ Gallatin Gateway, MontanaNine Quarter Circle Ranch Baby Foal

Distance from Bozeman Airport: 1 hour 17 minutes


  • 100+ years of ranching experience
  • Pack trips into Yellowstone National Park
  • Wide variety of specialty weeks.


Horses N Courage ~ Martinsdale, Montana

Distance from Bozeman Airport: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • Working Cattle Ranch with 4 day, 3 night luxury camping tent accommodations
  • 2,000 acres of private riding to work cattle with the Hereim family
  • Specialty Healing Retreats for Women


 Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)


Spotted Horse Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Distance from Jackson Hole Airport: 39 minutes


  • Guided fly fishing on the Snake River with an Orvis endorsed equipment
  • White water rafting, scenic rafting and local hot springs soak
  • The main lodge includes a dining room overlooking the Hoback River


Moose Head Ranch ~ Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Distance from Jackson Hole Airport: 21 minutes


  • Completely surrounded by Grand Teton National Park
  • Family vacations to ride, eat and play together with your children
  • Riding is mostly just your family and a wrangler


Denver International Airport (DEN)


Drowsy Water Ranch ~ Granby, Colorado

Distance from Denver Airport: 2 hours 21 minutes


  • Programs for children from infants to teenagers with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents
  • Zip-line course, mountain biking, fishing, rafting, dancing and gymkhana rodeos
  • Horseback riding instruction along with variety of terrain for fast rides and slow rides


Wind River Ranch ~ Estes, Colorado

Distance from Denver Airport: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • A Christian Family Guest Ranch Resort
  • Minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Family vacation weeks with specialty speakers


Stop Working and Start Vacationing Use your Vacation Time for a Ranch Vacation







From Babies to Teens - Bring Your Children to the Ranch

Traveling is one of many wonderful things a parent can do for a child's education and early experiences. Many families may be come dismayed while searching for a destination to take their young ones. That being said, here is a great solution for families with babies as new as one month can find suitable - or rather an amazing - ranch vacation. The Wind River and Tumbling River Ranches are just those type of spots. Although you may be looking for a baby friendly place the fun doesn't stop there. Nope, it continues on to great times for small children through the teenage years and settles in with activities for parents and grand parents alike. These are adventure ranch destinations with amazing experiences for all ages.

Bring your children of all ages

Wind River Ranch Baby Riding a Pony

Wind River Ranch, takes care of your entire family’s needs and desires seriously. They know that kids and teens need the time and space to play and explore with kids of their own ages and interests, that infants need to be coddled and swooned, and that everyone in the family needs a chance to experience rejuvenation and unplugged happy downtime in Nature.

Wind River Rock Climbling Kids Program

All of the children's counselors at Wind River have gone through a tough screening process and rigorous training and they excel at creating a wide variety of fun and exciting activities~ from morning to night. So whether they choose to hang out at the kids club or go horseback riding with amazing wranglers, your kids will find both the elbow room and latitude they need to explore freely, combined with the supervision and security you need to ensure they have a wonderful and safe experience in the great outdoors.

Tumbling River Ranch Kids Program

Tumbling River Ranch is well-known as a premier kids ranch in Colorado, for good reason: not only do they focus on the interests of the children, but relish the opportunity to introduce them to the Western lifestyle and Western ideas. It is a flexible program, built both to allow families ample time together and kids to have plenty of their own adventures. Some of the teen group highlights: rock climbing (not on a wall), the teen loping brunch ride, white-water rafting, the overnight pack trip to a ghost town in the mountains, fly-fishing clinics, teen cookout, yoga, capture the flag, private arena clinics and horseback games.


Tumbling River Ranch offers a nanny program, loves babies and has lots of gear. In fact, Scott and Megan added the program once they started a family of their own. They want the program to work for your family, so you have a few options. The full nanny program (8 hours a day to use as you’d like; this is a one-on-one program with college-age nannys) is one option. Another option would be once you get to the ranch and find yourself enjoying the activities and wanting to get out on your own, there are babysitting services for an additional charge. The counselor team at Tumbling River is top-notch: each was chosen based on their experience with and desire to work with children. Most have an extensive background working with kids, and many return each summer–testament both to their love of the west and the quality of their programs every year.

Tumbling River Ranch  

To find out more about these family destinations (and their adult activities) visit them on the web or use the contact information below. To make a reservation contact the ranch directly. If you have general questions about ranch vacation you can call the Dude Ranchers Association at 307.587.2339

Wind River Guest Ranch

Estes Park, Colorado



Open May through September  

Tumbling River Ranch

Grant, Colorado



Open May through October    

From babies to teenagers there are plenty of guest ranch options that cater to families. Many offer kids clubs or nanny services so everyone can have fun. Ranches help kids connect to nature with supervised activities like horseback riding, bike riding, hiking, fishing, zip lining, rock climbing, and rafting.


Bring your Kids to the RanchSave Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save





Colorado Ranch Vacation - Horses & Much More

Colorado is famous for being the center of the Rocky Mountains. It is also a central destination of Western travelers with the ease of access and number of flights to and from the Denver International Airport and connections to the Aspen, Durango and Colorado Springs airports. While you are making your travel plans you might also consider slipping into any corner of the state on highways and byways. Once you arrive you will soon feel the warm invitation of a vacation oasis. There are things to do year round here that can be found at the most convenient of destinations - a dude ranch. Not only a destination for horse enthusiast, but also for the most specific of recreational fun.

  • Fisherman can enjoy the North Fork of the South Platte River when they are not rafting, back-country hiking or trapshooting at the North Fork Ranch.
  • Rock Climbers can take a break from the rock wall to have a round of frisbee golf, volley ball and a turn on the zip line at the Wind River Ranch.
  • Mountain bikers can take a break from the world class trails of the Majestic Dude Ranch to play a round of paint ball or laser tag.
  • Environmental Enthusiasts can learn about Laramie River's sustainable ranching, natural horsemanship and cattle work.
  • Bride and Grooms can be assured that there is something to do for destination wedding guests of all ages, from the youngest to the oldest of the extended family at the Tumbling River Ranch.

A Colorado Vacation at the Ranch

North Fork Fly Fishing in Colorado

North Fork Ranch, Shawnee, Colorado

The North Fork River is alive with trout. One cast might produce a fourteen inch brown trout, the next might be a three pound rainbow. This water is known for BIG fish.

Tumbling River Colorado Vacation Ranch

Tumbling River Ranch, Grant, Colorado

What about teenagers? At Tumbling River, teens have the best situation of anyone. Teens at the ranch can participate in all activities, with or without parents.

Wind River Colorado Vacation Ranch

Wind River Ranch, Estes Park, Colorado

 Wind River Ranch is outfitted with a one-of-a-kind challenging par 3 Frisbee golf course. Designed by the legendary Kyle Ford in 1997, the current course record is 13 under.  The ranch also has a wonderful kids program to involve your little ones.

Majestic Dude Ranch

Majestic Dude Ranch, Mancos, Colorado

With the ranch open in the winter and summer, you're not just booking a room at the Majestic Dude Ranch, you're planning an outdoor adventure.

Laramie River Colorado Vacation Ranch

Laramie River Ranch, Jelm, Colorado

Try your hand at team penning at the Laramie River Ranch. The object is to separate (or "cut") one or more steers from the larger group and move them across the corral and in to a holding pen. Sounds easy, doesn't it?

Click on the map below to interact with the Colorado Dude Ranch Map or call the Dude Ranchers' Association for more information at 307.587.2339.

Colorado State Map     Save Save Save

Staycation in Colorado This Summer at Your Local Dude Ranch

Have you already explored many local Colorado locations by hiking, mountain climbing, bouldering or cycling? What about by horseback riding? Journey into the old west, to a time before chacos and mountain bikes. A time when wagon wheels and horses were your means of transportation. A dude ranch vacation is themed in Western tradition. Don't worry, they won't make you wear a dress to ride, and suspenders are optional. The only requirements are cowboy boots and a desire to explore a new piece of country by a living means of transportation (horses).

The below ranches are all located within driving distance from your downtown or suburban life in Colorado, and offer a spectacular new perspective on the state you call home. Trail riding in the National Parks and National Forests of the Rocky Mountains will be just the start of your historical dude ranch adventure. Your stay will also include fine dining, nightly Western 'cowboy' activities and cozy high-end cabins. Bring the whole family (even the ones not too keen on horses). There are plenty of additional outdoorsy activities for them to be included, not to mention kids programs that will rival any day care or summer camp. Look over  the below ranches and imagine your family summer staycation. Any questions you can't find on our website will be easily answered by Colleen and Leah at the Dude Ranchers' Association. Give us a call or shoot us an email. 307.587.2339 or info@duderanch.org. Wind River Ranch

Wind River Ranch Staycation

Wind River Ranch is located seven miles south of Estes Park, Colorado, between mile-marker 7 and 8 on Highway 7 at 9,200 feet of elevation. The ranch has one of only 15 Concessionaire's permit with the Rocky Mountain National Park and also does have permits to ride in the Roosevelt National Forest on certain trails. You will get to ride up to Eugena Mine, Aspen Brook, Twin Sisters, Lily Lake, and many other beautiful spots. Let the horses carry you up to the top during summer staycation. Call 800.523.4212 for more details.   Lost Valley Ranch

Lost Valley Ranch Colorado Staycation

While Lost Valley Ranch is just 90 minutes from Colorado Springs and two hours from Denver, it's the trip's last nine miles you will remember forever. That's where the pavement ends and your adventure begins. You may be eager to arrive...but take your time. Half the fun in getting here is changing your pace; leaving the concrete world behind and learning to watch for wildlife, smelling the fresh mountain air and reveling in the splendor of the majestic Rocky Mountains.  The ranch is located in the middle of tons of adventure. Call the Lost Valley Ranch for more information at 303.647.2311.   Waunita Hot Springs Ranch

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch Colorado Staycation

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch, located high in the Colorado Rockies at an elevation of 8,946 ft., is 10 miles west of the Continental Divide. The ranch is surrounded by Gunnison National Forest land and summer pasture. U.S. Forest permits and private leases enable us to ride on, pasture and otherwise enjoy use of hundreds of thousands of acres in eastern Gunnison County. The ranch is also the site of Colorado's hottest springs, allowing us not only water for our 35x90 ft. swimming pool, but also heat and domestic hot water for all buildings. Here you can ride all day and soak in the hot springs at night. Call them to schedule your stay at 970.641.1266.   Tarryall River Ranch

Tarryall River Ranch Staycation Colorado

The Tarryall River Ranch is located in the Pike National Forest and is abundant with great trails to ride horses or hike. They range from easy to challenging. On the ranch's Box Canyon ride you will get to both ride and hike to some really incredible geological sites.  After riding over rolling hills on a secluded trail you are able to tie up your horses to experience some extremely large boulders and rock formations. Take a look at the picture to the left and give Tarryall River Ranch a call.  800.408.8407  


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