A Week in the Wide Open Spaces

Those of us living in urban areas... ...are frequently glamorized by the idea of wide open spaces, which explains why I found myself in Sheridan, Wyoming last month. With an itinerary that would have been hard to resist, I booked my airline reservations and pulled out my Western wear. It would be an eclectic trip, including everything from horseback riding to a spin in a 2016 Rolls Royce. Personally I was happy to forgo anything that involved getting on a horse, but I was chomping at the bit, you should pardon the pun, for a ride in a Rolls.  Other enticements included a day of plein air painting, a Native American pow wow, a scenic flight over the area in a small plane and a visit to at least one authentic western dive bar. How could I resist? Never mind that I don’t do horseback riding, I still love dude ranches, and Eaton’s, a family-owned ranch in Wolf, fit the bill perfectly. Much to my delight, I was assigned a stand-alone cabin with a tiny front porch and a .... Read the rest of the story here. by Ellen Clark at Travelscope.net   More Information on the Ranch

Eatons Ranch Wide Open Spaces
Eatons' Ranch

Eatons' Ranch, founded in 1879, is on the old Bozeman Trail along the eastern slopes of the Big Horn Mountains, 18 miles west of Sheridan, Wyoming. This 7,000 acre dude and cattle ranch, operated by the Eaton family, has miles of horseback riding trails & adjoins the million acre Big Horn National Forest. Over 200 horses provide mounts suited for every type of rider. Excellent trout fishing. Overnight pack trips. Heated swimming pool and hot tub. Cabins for individuals and families. Family-style meals. Reservations required. Brochure and rates on request. Save

Hollywood Meets the Wild West

Forget Hollywood: many dude ranches have had Hollywood come to them to film some of the most notable classic Western movies ever to hit the big screen over the years. Take for example, White Stallion Ranch. This family-owned 3,000-acre dude ranch located outside of Tucson, Ariz., has been attracting Hollywood filmmakers to its unspoiled desert and rugged mountain landscape for more than 70 years. Notable Western movies filmed on-site include the 1939 legendary film, “Arizona,” as well as “Winchester 73,” “Apache Ambush” and “Backlash.” And the list doesn’t stop at just Western films. Scenes from “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” starring George Clooney were filmed on the ranch. The 2007 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue even used this desert setting for its hugely popular annual photo shoot!

White Stallion Ranch Wagon Ride Horses

White Stallion Ranch

Another guest ranch known for its movie history is Circle Z Ranch. Also located in Arizona, Circle Z Ranch is the oldest continuously operating guest ranch in the state and has served as the backdrop for movies and TV shows including “Gunsmoke” and John Wayne’s “Red River.” Most recently, the 2006 movie “Flicka” was filmed at Eaton’s Ranch in Wyoming. Upon arriving to the ranch’s 7,000 acres of beautiful open country with rolling hills, grassy meadows and hidden valleys, you too will see why the setting was perfect for the big screen. Whether you’re a movie buff looking to visit the settings of some of your favorite movies or searching for a thrilling adventure in an off-the-beaten-path locale, guest ranches provide you with the full on star treatment. Thanks to their warm Western Hospitality and full lineup of daily activities and programing, you’re guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime…straight out of a Hollywood Western. For more DRA accredited dude ranch options or to plan your next dude ranch vacation, visit the Dude Ranchers’ Association website at www.duderanch.org.

Circle Z Dude Ranch Cat Post Historical

Circle Z Ranch

Eatons Ranch Horses Sunset

Eatons Ranch                                                      


Save

The One and Only Wyoming

When you think about traveling in mountains, on rivers or wide open spaces think about Wyoming. Out here the air is fresh, the scenery spectacular and the people have a western hospitality about them you won’t find anywhere else. There are ranches, dude ranches, cattle operations and cowboys of all sorts... professional rodeo cowboys, ranch hands on hundreds of thousands of acres and cowboys that pack horses into places like the Thorofare, the most remote location in the lower 48, located in the greater area Yellowstone National Park. This wonderful state is home to recreation of all kinds, not just ones on horseback.  Yellowstone National Park anyone? Yes, that is here in Wyoming and the state is very proud of it. Let your compass take you in all the cardinal directions and you will find vast amounts of beautiful lonely highways leading to historical places and clear, crisp streams packed with trout waiting to take your fly. You could be on your way to the Big Horn Mountains, Devil’s Tower, Cheyenne Frontier Days, the high and mighty Tetons or the next small western town with a population of 200 or less. Winter is a great time to be here as well. Trust me. It truly is. The quiet snow is ready to be disturbed by snowshoeing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, and snowmobiling. There are ice climbing festivals, ice fishing derbies or your winter recreation of choice. If you’re not yet convinced that Wyoming is the place to be, consider this; whether you are an avid participant in one type of recreation or a general adventurer a dude ranch just might be the right fit. Each ranch listed below has a general list of activities that will accommodate your wants for a week long break. With a closer look each individual ranch has its own flair of personality and specialty. Find the one that matches you and your travel companions. If it is not on the list below, don't fret. There are more Wyoming Ranches than these. Pick up the phone and call the Dude Ranchers' Association to inquire about the extent of ranches in the state.  

R Lazy S Wyoming Vacation Trail Ride Family

R Lazy S Ranch, Teton Village, Wyoming

R Lazy S Ranch specializes in the real meaning of vacation: You can be as active or inactive as you please.

 


Red Rock Ranch Vacation Wyoming

The Red Rock Ranch, Kelly, Wyoming

The Red Rock Ranch takes great pride in serving excellent food, whether on a cook-out BBQ, lunch ride or in our main dining room. The food is a fabulous mix of ranch cuisine with a gourmet flare.


Triangle C Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Triangle C Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

The Triangle C Ranch takes pride in being a true Wyoming Ranch- where their handshake is our bond and the coffee pot is always on!

 


Vee Bar Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Vee Bar Ranch, Laramie, Wyoming

The Vee Bar Guest and Dude Ranch specializes in small Wyoming conferences and retreats, with space for up to 40 guests for day conferences and 25-30 guests for overnight retreats.

 


Lazy L&B Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Lazy L & B Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

The Lazy L & B Ranch offers a great kids program. Aside from the riding program kids love the petting zoo, the tree house and the freedom to go wherever they want, whenever they want.

 


Rimrock Ranch Wyoming

Rimrock Ranch, Cody Wyoming

Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, 24 miles west of Cody and 27 miles east of the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.


More Ranches Here Save Save

Live your Western Vacation Dream in Wyoming

Think all inclusive holidays are an invention of the big tour operators? Then think again. The Dude Ranch Association (DRA) has been leading the way for years. There is a broad spectrum of DRA-accredited guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you can find DRA-accredited ranches throughout the Western US, as well as in California, Arkansas and Canada. If ever a state lends itself to this type of vacation, it's Wyoming.

This is where the Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains, true cowboy country, with few people and vast, open spaces. It is a land that inspires dreams of riding horseback across the plains and Wyoming luxury Dude Ranch vacations help guests realize that dream.

Yellowstone National Park

The bulk of Yellowstone National Park is in Northwest Wyoming and the Grand Loop Road provides a wonderful overview of the area, from the steaming geysers to majestic waterfalls and deep canyons. Hundreds of trails traverse the park, providing access to deep back-country areas, remote lakes, and scenic overlooks.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is also in Northwest Wyoming. The first glimpse of the jagged mountains that explode out of the Jackson Hole Valley have been known to take the breath away. Pristine lakes and grassland dot the valley floor and glaciers slide down steep rocky peaks from elevations of more than 12,000 feet.

Jump to eastern Wyoming and find Devil's Tower, a massive, monolithic volcanic neck that rises out of the Black Hills. Visitors circumnavigate the tower and try to spot some of the many climbers,  or play hide and seek with the prairie dogs that reside within the park boundaries.

Wyoming Dude Ranch vacations can be anything from rustic to luxurious, with guests spending all day in the saddle herding cattle, or soaking in a hot tub and enjoying a massage. Activities may range from angling to river rafting and hiking, or lounging on a porch with a book. ‘The Dude Ranchers’ Association takes great pride in all of our ranches and we are particularly fond of the adventures and warmth that guests can enjoy during the winter months at our Southwest ranches, says Colleen Hodson, executive director of the DRA. ‘These ranches offer a scenic escape from the bleak winter conditions many people are experiencing at this time of year and guarantee a vacation that is anything but ordinary.’

Check out these genuinely lovely Dude Ranch Locations of the Cowboy State...

7D Couple Trail

7D Ranch

The 7D Ranch is Wyoming's premier family guest ranch since 1958. Extensive trail riding in a pristine mountain setting. Fly-fishing with instruction. Supervised children's program. Western cuisine. Hiking from the ranch as well as in the Beartooth Mountains. A weekly trip into Yellowstone is offered.  

Heart Six Guest Ranch

Heart 6 Wedding Horseback

Heart Six Guest Ranch is located in Beautiful Jackson Hole Wyoming. With great views of the Grand Teton Mountains the scenery is second to none. Our main activity is horseback riding, but we have lots to offer guests of all ages - from very young to very young at heart!    

Lazy L&B Ranch

Lazy L&B Kid Moment

The Lazy L & B Ranch has a quality horse program for all ages and abilities with extensive riding through wildlife habitat, forest, river gorges and high desert in small groups. There's also great fishing, hiking, swimming (pool or river) and just hanging out.    

Vee Bar Guest Ranch

Vee Bar Cattle

The Vee Bar Ranch, located near Laramie Wyoming, is a family-friendly vacation destination that is sure to please the horse loving cowboy or cowgirl in you. A variety of activities, ranging from horseback riding to river tubing, will suit each member of your group. Experience true western hospitality here!  


 

The White Grass Ranch Lives On

This week in the Dude Ranch History Museum I had the privilege of meeting Mike Jackoboice and reminiscing with him over his dude ranch years. Mike worked at the White Grass Ranch in Moose, Wyoming in 1979. After his time there the land rights returned to Grand Teton National Park and the dude ranch facilities shut down and were left in stillness for many years. Recently Mike went back for a visit, and as he says 'My how things have changed.' Where the main driveway once was there are now 15 year old pine trees. As his story goes, Mike was hired on at the ranch to manage the irrigation systems. He fondly remembers asking the owner what hours he would be working, an 8 to 5?  His manager replied, 'You are finished when the work is done.'

White Grass Ranch

White Grass Ranch 1950s

Walking through the fields Mike could barely see where the irrigation ditches used to be. They are now filled almost completely with soil; however, the rock piles he had to move three times a day to hold down the irrigation tarps hadn't moved. They were a clear reminder of the good, honest work he put into the ranch.  And, like the manager said, Mike never left work until the job was finished. Sometimes that would be 7 or 8 o'clock at night. Nonetheless the White Grass Ranch wasn't just a place to work, Mike raved about the food. The morning biscuits and gravy gave him a full belly for the day and helped add on an extra few pounds in spite of all the hard work. Even after so many years of being away he still remembers working on the ranch as one of his fondest Western memories.

Mike was also pleasantly surprised to discover the ranch was rustled out of its stillness around 2006 to become the Western Center for Historic Preservation. It is now an education and resource center dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of cultural resources in the Western national parks. The center invites people from around the country to learn how to restore cabins and historical locations. The White Grass Ranch was lucky to become a place that encourages the preservation of western history and the history of dude ranching. Mike was able to see cabin #15 completely and sustainably restored and left the new White Grass Ranch with nostalgia and even a little hope. Do you have a story from your history with dude ranching? Please share it with me at: info@duderanch.org. Happy Trails! Leah Bright Moose, Wyoming Ranches Are you looking for active dude ranches in Moose, WY? Take a look at the Gros Ventre River Ranch, Moose Head Ranch, Lost Creek Ranch and the Triangle X Ranch.


         

4 Types of Dude Ranch Vacations

Whether you’re a staunch horseman who loves being in the saddle, or a rider that prefers activities to choose from in addition to riding, one of the members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association will fit the bill. All of the member ranches uphold the highest standards in the industry and are committed to preserving the Western way of life. The below sampling of ranches is sure to appeal to a variety of travelers:

Klondike Guest Ranch

Working Ranches Located at the base of Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains, Klondike Ranch can accommodate six to 10 guests at a time. Guests are encouraged to work cattle with the ranch hands. Other activities include camping, fishing and hiking.      

Bar W Trail Ride Credit Danny Nestor

Traditional Ranches In addition to the riding program, guests of all ages at C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado can enjoy fly fishing, trap shooting, a ropes course, and an outdoor heated pool and hot tub. At Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana, 30 guests per week can ride on a million acres of varied terrain, as well as skeet shooting, archery and roping. The riding program at Greenhorn Ranch in the High Sierra Mountains of California accommodates all levels of experience and even encourages trotting and loping.   Luxury Ranches

Tanque Verde Recipe Pork Chop

Established in 1868, Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona is recognized as the last luxurious outpost of the Old West. It provides guests with plush accommodations, unparalleled amenities and an array of things to do including horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and hiking.      

Hideout Horses Running

Working + Luxury Ranches Guests are treated like family at Red Reflet Guest Ranch in Wyoming, exploring the 25,000-acre ranch via horseback, working cattle, riding mountain bikes, and enjoying abundant wildlife. Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is a unique combination of an upscale working cattle, riding and fly fishing ranch. Located nearby Yellowstone National Park, it’s one of the biggest operational ranches in Wyoming. For a complete listing of all-inclusive Dude Ranchers’ Association member ranches, visit DudeRanch.org.


 

Love is in the Air

Love is in the air! Well, maybe not quite yet, but Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. Make this year truly special by surprising your significant other with a planned romantic getaway and giving the gift of shared memories that he or she will treasure for years to come. The below ranchers, offer effortless planning with all-inclusive vacations located in some of the most awe-inspiring areas of the Western U.S. and Canada.

Savor an Adults-Only Romantic Retreat. Fall in love all over again at Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado. Couples can enjoy a mix of relaxing time in the hot tub or private cabin with shared adventures out on the trail. Amenities at this luxury resort ranch include fine dining, plush accommodations and personal service. With a secluded setting 25 miles outside of Steamboat Springs, the ranch’s intimate setting will rekindle the romance in your relationship in no time. Winter adult only times are Jan. 3 through Feb. 12, 2015.

Vista Verde Dude Ranch Snow Trail Ride

Play a Round (or Two) of Award-Winning Golf. Located in Wickenburg, Arizona (just 75 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport), Rancho de los Caballeros is a historic dude ranch that offers the ultimate dude ranch resort experience. Think peaceful horseback rides through the desert, soothing hot stone massages, lounging by the pool and laidback games of golf. Couples that like to bond on the greens will appreciate that the course is a Golf Digest top-five rated course and a top 100 course nationally.

Go Off the Grid to the Ultimate Winter Playground. Active couples can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding and skiing in Wyoming at Triangle X Ranch and Triangle C Ranch. Centrally located in Grand Teton National Park, Triangle X offers secluded, quiet and comfortable lodging in cozy cabins highlighted with four-star dining. After a full day, return to the comfortable lodge and relax Western-style with a warm fire and a large outdoor jacuzzi. Triangle C is nestled in the Rocky Mountains between Jackson Hole and Dubois. Explore 600 miles of groomed trails in Wyoming’s abundant fresh powder, or opt for a luxurious snow-coach tour of Yellowstone.

Rancho de los Caballeros Golf Course

Get Up Close and Personal with Nature. Nestled on the banks of Wyoming’s Buffalo Fork River, Turpin Meadow Ranch offers endless views of the Teton Range. Completely restored in 2013, the ranch’s 80-year old cabins now have luxurious bathrooms, gas-lit fireplaces and locally crafted furniture. This winter, stay three nights in a refined Cabin, Chalet or Lodge Room with breakfast each morning and incredible wildlife watching from your front porch, and Jackson Hole Wildlife Eco Tour Adventures into Grand Teton National Park.

Elope to a Quiet B&B. Bed and Breakfast season at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Colorado runs from late September until mid-May. Enjoy home cooked, Western-style meals, lodging (with all the amenities you expect but without the big resort atmosphere) and horseback riding on the trails of Roosevelt National Forest in a gracious, quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Many couples have found this to be the perfect destination for a low key, simple elopement wedding – the ranch will even help you plan it! The winter season is also pet-friendly at Sundance Trail, just in case your special day wouldn’t be complete without your four-legged family member.

Latigo Dude Ranch Skiing

Ski to Your Hearts Content. Drink in the views, inhale the crisp mountain air and revel in some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery during a dreamy Nordic ranch winter getaway to Latigo Ranch. Activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing, along with tempting amenities like a hot tub, historic log lodge (which offers a panoramic view of 100 miles of the Continental Divide) and complete food service. Rental equipment is available on-site, and you can also ski just for the day. You can also find great on-snow Fat Biking fun on the ranch’s groomed mountain trails.


 

Never Too Late To Be a Cowgirl

Goosewing-Ranch-Sittin-in-the-LodgeBy Jay Wright

I have spent my adult years raising children and working a full-time rewarding office job. The kids were very active and participated in rodeo events; everything from barrel racing to bull riding. Life was full of driving across the state, spending time with my kids, feeding horses and of course those occasional trips to the emergency room. Such a bonding experience to spend time together getting stitches or a cast!

My tribe grew up, went off to college and became very responsible adults. My job was still good but I was just tired of the same ol’ thing. Fortunately, I had reached the age to retire and had been with the company long enough to be eligible to do so. But after being so busy for many years, what would be rewarding and fun enough to fill my time. I KNOW! Ever since I was a child, I wanted to work at a dude ranch. Now I have reached the point in my life that nothing was going to stop me. Well, except for my age and aching muscles. Who would hire someone my age? Turns out, I actually had a couple of offers. I made a decision and it was definitely the right one. Did I mention most of my friends felt I was in the early stages of dementia.

Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole seemed to be the right fit. Two years later, I haven’t regretted the decision to finally be a cowgirl. So I loaded my horse and traveled half way across the United States. It was the beginning of an amazing journey. The road to the ranch provided the most incredible views. Scenery that had only been observed in pictures was now surrounding me. The road was rough so I had to drive slowly, but why would I want to go fast, I might miss something.

Arriving at the ranch, I was greeted by outgoing managers and a friendly group of staff members. I was shown to my room (home away from home) and given the opportunity to settle in to my new surroundings. Every few days more employees would arrive. Such an interesting mix of young people; with a variety of reasons and stories for wanting to work on a ranch in Wyoming. It was like having my kids and family around again. They even picked up on what friends of my children called me, Mama Jay. The employees were from all over the world. Language seemed to be the only barrier between them, which was quickly worked out or overlooked. Communication became easier each day. We all worked together for several weeks to open the ranch and prepare for guest. What would that be like? You form such bonds, with your ranch family, how would it be when strangers arrive! Well, it was great.

Guests were as excited as we were to be in this majestic area. Like the employees, the guests were from all over the world. It was our own United Nations. We shared with them what we had learned about the area, they shared their hopes and expectations from their mountain adventure. Employees brought different skills and were hired for their unique areas of expertise. It was an amazing experience for all of us.

However, let me say my horse Sassy was not quite as enthusiastic about the whole experience as the rest of us. Sassy has never been in a pasture of more than about 10 head of horses. Now she was one of sixty. She was not a happy girl. She was born and raised in the flatlands of the Midwest, climbing some of these mountains was just not as gratifying to her as it was for me. There would be times she would just stop and turn her head as if to say, “are you kidding, you expect me to climb that, WHY”. In her defense, she would do whatever I asked.

In the evenings you could see the excitement in the faces of the guest, as they told you about their day of adventure. The wildlife they had seen, water crossings, climbs to scenic ridges overlooking the Gros Ventre valley. That time was also filled with the eager anticipation of tomorrow. Going on rides, I learned so much from the wranglers. The area is full of history and amazing stories of mountain men, trappers and homesteaders. How their courage and toughness settled this wilderness. For me, as I have gotten older, there is an enthusiasm to learn about this beautiful country and the strong people who forged the trail for me. Meeting new people and listening to their stories, enriches our own lives. This has been an amazing experience, one I’m glad I pushed myself to try. There are no regrets for following my dreams or perhaps marking off items on my bucket list. What an amazing experience, what wonderful forever friends. And when I’m sitting around the old folk’s home, in my jeans and cowboy boots, swapping stories, who will be able to top this one.

# # #

--The Dude Ranchers Association represents over 100 ranches with anywhere from 15 to over 100 of mostly seasonal employees. When a guest stays a full week at a ranch they are able to get to know the crew. This is an insider view of the personalities and experiences they have. There's more where this came from! Stay tuned.--


 

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our privacy policy for more information.