5 Reasons Why Dude Ranches are the Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

It is no secret that 2020 has turned the travel industry, and the world for that matter, upside down. Any kind of plans, especially for a vacation, more than likely changed more than once! As people are starting to get more and more interested in traveling again, finding the best destination that provides everything they are looking for and is taking the extra recommended precautions can be difficult. One industry that has seemed to “take the bull by the horns”, if you will, has been the dude ranch industry. When COVID-19 became a global pandemic in March, Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude ranches immediately starting working to find ways to still give their guests an authentic Western experience that was safe and inviting for all travelers. If you are wondering why DRA dude ranches are the best destination vacation in 2020, see the top five reasons below!

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Individual Cabins/Accommodations

Each dude ranch is different, but almost all of the DRA member ranches have individual cabins for each group of guests. Whether you have a family of five or are a solo traveler you will find cozy rustic-chic accommodations fit for any size group. In these cabins, you will find comfortable beds, individual bathrooms, beautiful western themed decorations, and more. Your cabin will be your home away from home for your stay; settling in and letting the stresses of the world melt away won’t be a problem. Kick back, relax, and make peace in knowing you do not have to share accommodations with anyone besides your group on your dude ranch vacation. Some ranches do have lodge rooms with their own bathrooms and lounging space if you do not want to share common areas with other folks. 

Budget-Friendly – All-Inclusive

Dude ranch vacations really are perfect for any traveler and that means even the travelers on a budget. Since DRA member ranches are all-inclusive (meals, lodging, and most activities) they are much more affordable, and much easier to plan, than a day-to-day vacation that is five to seven days long. DRA member ranches range in prices and are reasonably priced for everything that is included in the stay. Three meals a day, activities all day long (if you choose to do guided activities that can be an additional fee), and beautiful accommodations to come home to at the end of the day are built into the price. Plus, the memories and friends you make at a dude ranch are lifelong and priceless! 

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Top-Notch, Carefully Prepared Meals 

Great food is a guarantee at a dude ranch! Some ranches even have their own farm-to-table programs and serve some of the cleanest, healthiest, and most delicious food you will ever find at an all-inclusive destination. In addition, top-notch chefs prepare all meals carefully and great precaution, even more so this year. DRA member ranches want their guests to feel safe and comfortable, always, and through all of the uncertainties, one thing that is for certain is that dude ranches are providing their guest meals in the safest and cleanest environment possible. Extra sanitization, taking staff members temperatures before entering any food preparation areas, no buffet lines, families, and groups sitting together at the same table all week, and more precautions have been implemented. If you want to know the details of what extra steps a ranch is taking during these times, visit their websites or give them a call. They are happy to answer any questions folks have. 

Scenery and the Great Outdoors 

Breathtaking scenery and the great outdoors are just outside your cabin door at a dude ranch. Many folks have said that dude ranches were social distancing before it was even a “thing”, which is true! Being outside gives people a large space to spread out, but still enjoy each other’s company and all that nature has to offer. At a dude ranch, almost every activity available is offered outside. Whether you are on a horse or fishing the stunning stream that flows through the ranch, you will find plenty of wide-open spaces and social distancing on your dude ranch vacation. Did you know that if you are on a trail ride, the next closest person either in front or behind you is at least six feet away? While you are on a trail ride you will be surrounded by some of the world’s most incredible landscapes and scenery. Many DRA member ranches are in very close proximity to national parks as well, you can get the beauty of a national park without all of the crowds or lines! Is there anything better than that? No matter what ranch you choose to visit, the views will be amazing and the air crisp and clean. 

Best Destination Vacation in 2020

Rent out the Ranch

Still not sure about embarking on a destination vacation? Grab your best friends and their families and head out on a dude ranch vacation where you can have the ranch to yourselves! Many folks are concerned about coming into contact with people they do not know this year, but if you and your close family friends travel together that issue is eliminated. Several ranches are running specials this year for renting out the entire ranch. Special pricing could be applied and splitting the cost between the families could be the best way to vacation this year. Experience a vacation like never before at a dude ranch that is all yours for the week. Ride horses with your closest friends, watch the kids create even stronger friendships to take home and relax knowing that you are in a safe and clean environment. 

The list of reasons why dude ranches are the perfect vacation destination, especially in 2020, could go on for a while, but for now, we will leave it to these five great reasons! You can see all of the DRA member dude ranches here, and if you need help in finding the best ranch for your 2020 vacation, or any future vacation, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association today! 307-587-2339 | info@duderanch.org 

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10 Luxury Dude Ranches for Your Next Vacation

Luxury Dude Ranches

Are you looking for a fun and entertaining vacation, but also want a relaxing and luxurious getaway at the same time? Luxury dude ranches are the vacation you have been searching for! These ranches offer a great atmosphere of adventure and relaxation all at the same time. Want to bring the kids along? Most luxury dude ranches have a great kid’s programs where the children can interact with other children their age and make memories to last a lifetime while the adults can also have their alone time to relax. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and prefer an adult-only getaway, it’s best to book in the shoulder seasons or during a specialty week. Whatever experience you’re looking for; these DRA approved luxury dude ranches will fit the bill of a fantastic vacation for the whole family. 


Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort - Solvang, California

Located in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country is a 10,000-acre, working cattle ranch and full-service resort: The Alisal Guest Ranch. The rows of sycamores along the ranch driveway welcome you into your warm and inviting cabin. After a satisfying breakfast, go for a trail ride through the stunning rolling hills where you’ll pass cows grazing in the fields or play a round of golf on one of the two 18-hole courses on the property. The spa and pool will be waiting for you once you return to the ranch in the afternoon. Finish your day off by enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail in the bar and one of the best dinners you will ever have!

Luxury Dude Ranches


C Lazy U Ranch - Granby, Colorado

C Lazy Guest Ranch prides itself on its personalized 5-star service, professional horsemanship programs, first-class amenities, enriching children's programs, gourmet dining, and luxury accommodations (as they should!). Nestled in the heart of Colorado’s notorious Rocky Mountains, they offer the picturesque luxury ranch experience that people dream of.  As a year-round ranch, they are the perfect destination for both summer and winter getaways offering limitless activities from cross-country skiing to Orvis endorsed fly-fishing. Whether you’re looking for a family adventure or a romantic getaway, C Lazy U will be sure to impress!

Luxury Dude Ranches


Red Reflet Guest Ranch - Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Red Reflet Guest Ranch is the definition of luxury. Guest’s chalets include a full kitchen, hot tub, and steam showers. Spend your day working cattle, fishing on private streams, and exploring the 25,000-acre property on an ATV. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you will be one of the few people to experience Red Reflet’s gourmet dining -- many of the kitchen’s ingredients come straight from the ranch’s butcher shop, organic greenhouse and gardens! Don’t miss out on the exclusive cooking classes offered by the ranch’s 5-star chef so you can recreate these delectable meals at home!

Luxury Dude Ranches


Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch - Emigrant, Montana

Do you want a working ranch experience with world-class luxuries? Hubbard’s Six Quarter Circle Ranch in Montana may be the place for you. Guests actively participate in ranch work, whether it's pushing cattle to higher greener pastures, throwing salt, or fixing fence. But don’t worry, it’s not all work; many people brag about Hubbard’s famed massages that you won’t want to miss out on! And after a long day of work, every cowboy and cowgirl deserves a good beer in the bar while a juicy filet mignon steak with all the trimmings is prepared in the kitchen.

Luxury Dude Ranches


Rancho de los Caballeros - Wickenburg, Arizona

Want to escape somewhere warm and sunny this year? Let Rancho de los Caballeros spoil you with their upscale amenities and endless activities on your next Arizona getaway. This ranch is the ideal Southwest retreat with 20,000-acres of open range to explore by horseback and a full spa and salon to enjoy after a long morning in the sun. Adventure through the desert by ATV, tee off on the 18-hole championship golf course (while the “mini ranchers” play at the Kids Club), or spend a much-needed day doing nothing by the heated pool, preferably with a margarita in hand! 

Luxury Dude Ranches


The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado Springs, Colorado

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

Luxury Dude Ranches


Lost Creek Ranch - Moose, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole are known for their extravagance. Placed between these two locations and equally as magnificent is Lost Creek Ranch. Offering open-air massages with views of the Tetons, the spa at Lost Creek is one that will surely put your city’s spa to shame. Float the infamous Snake River, hike and horseback ride in the Tetons, or take a tour of Yellowstone -- all once-in-a-lifetime experiences you won’t want to miss out on! At the end of the day, settle down in your own cozy, log cabin where you will drift to sleep in the comforts of home listening to the cool mountain breeze or crackling fireplace.

Luxury Dude Ranches


Lone Mountain Ranch - Big Sky, Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch sits at the base of the mountains in Big Sky, Montana just north of Yellowstone. The ranch welcomes families of all ages to join in on their western way of life. The Lone Mountain dining options will surely impress you with their high-quality Rocky Mountain cuisine including Kobe beef, elk, and vegetarian selections. Experience a long refreshing hike into the surrounding Gallatin Mountains, a horseback ride up to the mountain tops and gaze over the stunning canyons, or take advantage of their guided canoe trips. Whatever your definition of relaxation and rejuvenation may be, the luxury of Lone Mountain Ranch will help you escape reality and help you to truly enjoy your vacation and time away.

Luxury Dude Ranches


4UR Ranch - Creede, Colorado

Can you imagine a place more luxurious than a vacation with a natural hot spring right on site? The 4UR Ranch in Colorado is home to two historical natural hot springs that supply the warm water for their hot tub and other pools. The ranch was constructed around these natural wonders to make sure no damage was made and to preserve history. The healing waters provide serene relaxation and many people believe the waters are a natural healer. The ranch has much more to offer than just their top-notch spa; they have horseback rides, incredible cuisine for all ages, great fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and more! Take a wonderful family vacation this year and have luxury meet you at the door at the 4UR Ranch. 

Luxury Dude Ranches


Mountain Sky Guest Ranch - Emigrant, Montana

Located 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park, is Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, a prime luxury dude ranch destination for both families and couples. There is something for everyone to do here. Whether you are an avid horseback rider, enjoy fly-fishing or archery, want to play a round of golf at the on-site golf course, or spend an incredible day in Yellowstone, you will not run out of activities on this vacation! Their truly impressive kids’ program will ensure that kids of all ages also enjoy the vacation of a lifetime. You won’t worry about a thing while at Mountain Sky; book the trip, pack your bags, and prepare yourself for a vacation filled with excitement, relaxation, and memories no one will soon forget! 

Luxury Dude Ranches

 

Do you know which one you want to visit yet? If not, let us know! Our ranch vacation specialists will help you pick the best ranch to fit your next vacation. 307-587-2339 info@duderanch.org 

Interested in including the Dude Ranchers’ Association in an article? Contact us today! 307-587-2339 info2@duderanch.org

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Where are the Best Dude Ranches?

Best Dude Ranches

     There are hundreds of dude ranches across the globe. How could you possibly filter through them all and narrow the options down to the best dude ranches? Scrap the ones that aren’t all-inclusive -the ones that are going to charge you for every activity and meal separately. Keep the ones that have a genuine, friendly Western welcome with staff, food, accommodations, facilities and activities to authenticate it. You would still need to sort through the, again, HUNDREDS of ranches. So, the Dude Ranchers’ Association did the leg work to make it easy for you! The DRA has 95+ approved member ranches. These ranches go through a rigorous 2-year long application process to ensure that they are of the highest standard in the dude ranching industry. They are all all-inclusive (i.e. meals, lodging, and most activities), have a main focus on horseback riding, and offer a vacation experience like no other destination!

Let’s explore the best dude ranches by state and province!

Arizona

Best Dude Ranches

     Arizona is home to some of the most colorful characters in American history: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Staying at an Arizona ranch puts you right in the middle of that rich history. Explore nearby gold mines, ghost towns, and hideouts, even Skeleton Canyon where Geronimo finally surrendered. Your Arizona ranches provide an authentic ranch experience. Guests may ride over grasslands, through Saguaro studded desert and along mountain trails morning, afternoon, and into the sunset. Sunsets in Arizona are not to be missed – they are the most dramatic and breathtaking in the country. A sunny day in the saddle, a brilliant sunset with a margarita on the patio and a hearty home-cooked dinner will make your Arizona dude ranch day complete!

Arkansas

Best Dude Ranches

     Typical Arkansas vacation ranch activities include horseback riding, caving, and rock climbing. Searching for Native American arrowheads is also popular, as is exploring National Parks and Wilderness Areas. Unlike many states, mechanized vehicles are not allowed in any Arkansas Wilderness Area, and a lovely quiet pervades. Guests of Arkansas Dude Ranches ride horses, canoe, and hike through this wilderness, sometimes feeling as if they were the first to ever do so. Arkansas has a long tradition of welcoming guests to the state. People have traveled to Hot Springs and the surrounding area for over a century to soak themselves in the restorative thermal waters. Try a different type of restorative therapy - lots of fresh air and activity at an Arkansas dude ranch.

British Columbia

Best Dude Ranches

     British Columbia is a remarkable place. It stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, Washington state to the Yukon and Alaska. Some of the wildest, most rugged mountains on the continent are found here; indeed, the Coast Range has been dubbed the Himalayas of the west. Tall, rocky peaks tumble down into valleys that rival the Grand Canyon in depth, width, and magnificence. Those who journey here are richly rewarded. Consider a dude ranch vacation in British Columbia, one of the most striking parts of the world!

California

Best Dude Ranches

     California conjures images of sun-kissed beaches, foggy San Francisco Bay, and giant redwood forests. The diversity of the state is unmatched by any other in the nation. Luxury dude ranch vacations in the state of California may include fly fishing, river rafting, and panning for gold. Guests may explore the land on bikes, watch birds, or rock climb. In addition, California vacation ranches offer their guests an authentic ranch experience. Guests may ride over grasslands and along mountain trails morning, afternoon, and at sunset. They may even participate in cattle round-ups and cattle drives, just like true cowboys. 

Colorado

Best Dude Ranches

     Colorado is known for its natural beauty. Much of Western Colorado is covered by the Rocky Mountains, where more than 50 mountain peaks reach over 14,000 feet. The eastern third of the state is the start of the high plains. Evergreen and aspen forests, deep canyons, and sand dunes - all are found in the state. Colorado dude ranch vacations are as varied as the ranches. Some focus on horseback riding, with trail riding and rodeo taking center stage. Some are all about luxury - the food, the lodging, the spa. Most offer a variety of activities for all ages: hiking, rafting, biking, skiing, riding, and fishing. All Colorado Dude Ranches specialize in creating unforgettable vacations full of fresh air, activity, and friends.

Idaho

Best Dude Ranches

     Idaho is comprised of rugged and beautiful terrain that stretches from British Columbia to Nevada and Wyoming. The Rocky Mountains cover much of the eastern border of the state, while Hell's Canyon, the deepest canyon in the country, is found along the Oregon and Washington border. Idaho is a lovely spot for a dude ranch vacation, for the wilderness beckons. Ride through grasslands and along forested trails. Head into the mountains, follow a stream bed, and spend a week as a cowboy. Everywhere there is fresh air and a beautiful natural setting, perfect for a luxury ranch vacation.

Montana

Best Dude Ranches

     Variously known as "The Big Sky State" and "The Last Best Place", Montana is truly a state of vast open spaces, incredible wilderness, and stunning scenery. It seems the proper place for a dude ranch vacation; and Montana dude ranches do take advantage of their spectacular surroundings, leading guests into national parks, through the Rocky Mountains, and across the prairie lands. Some dude ranches in Montana offer guests the opportunity to drive cattle like a real cowboy. Others specialize in sharing the wonders of fly fishing on pristine rivers and mountain streams. Some shower guests in luxury, spa packages and gourmet meals; others make you feel like a part of the family, with homestyle meals and marshmallow roasts around fire pits. Whatever your idea of the perfect dude ranch vacation, you will surely find it in Montana!

New Mexico

Best Dude Ranches

     There is much to see in New Mexico, from the wondrous Carlsbad Caverns to the Black Range Mountains and the brilliant gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument. Guests of New Mexico dude ranches have a unique opportunity to explore the land and gain insight into the culture. They offer guests a chance to experience the cowboy life, with a bit more luxury if desired. Become a ranch hand and participate in rugged cattle drives, or ride along miles of fence looking for breaks in need of repair. After a day in the saddle, revel in simple luxuries such as soaking sore muscles in a hot tub or stretching out by a fire under a vast canopy of stars. Now that's a vacation!

Oregon

Best Dude Ranches

     Oregon is breathtaking, plain and simple. Western Oregon is cool and green, while Eastern Oregon is dry and vast. Mountains stand in the middle, running north to Washington state and south to California. A stay at a luxury Oregon dude ranch allows guests time and leisure to explore some of the natural beauty of this state. It stands to reason that vacations at Oregon dude ranches include a wide variety of outdoor recreation. Go horseback riding on forested trails and through grassland. Experience the thrill of fly fishing on a private stretch of water, with mountains tall in the distance. Hike into one of Oregon's many wilderness areas or along a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, or rock climb up a sheer cliff. There is whitewater rafting spring through fall, and skiing in the winter.

Washington

Best Dude Ranches

     The diverse natural beauty of the state encourages outdoor recreation. There are four volcanos in the Cascades which range in elevation from 8,300 feet to over 14,400. The Olympic Peninsula, west of Puget Sound, is home to the Olympic National Park, Hoh Rain Forest, and long stretches of wild, wind-swept Pacific beaches. Eastern Washington boasts sunshine, world-class wineries, and vast open spaces. Time spent at a Washington dude ranch will inevitably include outdoor recreation. Imagine horseback riding through grassland ringed by mountains or deep into evergreen forests. Additional activities may include angling in lakes or rivers, tubing down a river, biking or hiking. A dude ranch vacation in Washington is an ideal way to reconnect with nature, bond with family, and make new friends!

Wyoming

Best Dude Ranches

     The Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains in the state of Wyoming. This is true cowboy country with few people and vast, open spaces. The bulk of Yellowstone National Park is in Northwest Wyoming. Many Wyoming dude ranches include excursions into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Hundreds of trails traverse the parks, providing access to deep backcountry areas, remote lakes, and scenic overlooks. Moose, elk, and bear inhabit this stunning area and are frequently spotted during guided excursions. These ranches may be rustic or luxurious. Guests may ride all day and herd cattle or soak in a hot tub and enjoy a massage. Activities may range from horseback rides through the mountains to fly-fishing to river rafting. Wyoming dude ranches strive to create the perfect vacation for guests.

     Whether your perfect dude ranch is in Arkansas, Washington, or somewhere in between, we’re sure that it will be one of our DRA approved ranches! There is a little cowboy in all of us. Come find yours today! 

Need help narrowing down the options further? Contact one of our dude ranch experts! info@duderanch.org • 308-587-2339

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Canceled Your International Travel Plans? 5 Reasons Why THIS Vacation Is the Best Alternative.

Travel Plans

It’s no surprise that people are canceling their international travel plans and cruises due to fear of sickness. The sheer idea of sitting on a flight with recycled air for 6+ hours is enough to make your head spin. But what are you going to do about your big annual family vacation? Is there somewhere else you can go? Something else you could do? You need somewhere with fresh air, wide-open spaces that are all around good for your physical and mental health! Your family needs a dude ranch vacation and here are 5 reasons why:

#1 Being outdoors can help boost your immune system

Travel Plans

Being close to nature has some diverse and significant health benefits. In addition to getting your good ole’ vitamin D outside, scientists also believe that breathing in natural chemicals put off by plants can increase our white blood cell levels and help us fight off infections and diseases such as obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. These natural scents can also provide aromatherapy that can make you feel calmer and more relaxed! 

#2 Wide Open Spaces

Travel Plans

Nothing beats getting out of the madness of the hazy city and humid, crowded beaches and out into the peace and quiet. Not only will you be away from swarms of people, but you’ll be taking in soul-cleansing, mountain air that will make you feel revived. Let’s not forget that these vast spaces allow for some of the best horseback riding experiences in the world!

#3 Natural Exercise

Travel Plans

Whether you look forward to your daily exercise or not, you’ll inevitably get your workout in on a dude ranch. From holding yourself upright on your horse to casting your fly out into the river to holding your bow up while practicing archery - you’ll more than likely get some exercise. Oh, and we can’t forget the refreshing yoga classes and wild rock climbing that some dude ranches have! These activities are also great ways to turn your exercise time into family time.

#4 Bonding Over New Experiences

Travel Plans

Dude ranches openly welcome families of all types and invite them to come learn and experience the legendary Western way of life. Learn how to rope, experience a real western rodeo, get involved in a real cattle drive, and then hop on the river and go rafting. The adventures are truly endless on a dude ranch and will keep your family reminiscing for years to come (or until your next visit!).

#5 You Can Make a Road Trip Out of It

Travel Plans

We have over 95 ranches west of the Mississippi River, so you are most likely less than a 24 drive from one of our dude ranches! So, if you don’t feel like taking a chance on a short flight, you can always hop in the car and make a road trip out of it! There are plenty of sites to see along the way. From ever-changing landscapes to national parks and monuments, check them all off your family’s bucket list this summer while making your way to your new favorite vacation!

So, since you’re canceling that stuffy 8-hour flight overseas this summer, consider taking a dude ranch vacation this year! We guarantee it’ll be an experience your family will never forget. Let us know if you need help sifting through 95+ DRA approved ranches; our DRA ranch experts are here to help you! Contact us today DudeRanch.org 307-587-2339.

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8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

More and more people are breaking out of the traditional vacation mold and venturing off to more unknown and unexpected travel destinations. Disney World, cruises, and beach vacations are slowly losing their appeal due to stressful crowds and long lines. Vacationers are longing for a vacation that will stand out from their neighbors and friends. Because of this new craving for new, less touristy adventures, dude ranches are thriving! A dude ranch vacation can provide so much peace, adventure and an experience that will leave your friends envious! 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch: Kamloops, British Columbia

Located halfway between Vancouver and Banff, Campbell Hills Guest Ranch is easily accessible, yet still remote enough to provide rest, relaxation and solitude for guests. When you arrive at the ranch, you’ll feel your worries drift away as you settle into perfect harmony with the rhythms of nature. Ride a horse on the alpine meadows, observe unique birds in their natural habitat and discover the many hidden fishing spots in British Columbia. We guarantee it’ll be an experience unlike any other!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Bull Hill Guest Ranch: Kettle Falls, Washington

Bull Hill Guest Ranch sits at the Canadian border in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Travelers looking for a more laid-back horseback riding experience can saddle up for a scenic, guided trail ride. The trail rides combine breathtaking views and a variety of terrain, including open meadows and forests. Riders can even hit the trail to visit the nearby winery to sample selections in the tasting room or enjoy a cold brew in the Crown Creek Saloon. After dinner is time to socialize and enjoy the evening sunset. Why not head up to the trap shooting range and fire off a few rounds and show your shooting prowess? The cowboys will bring up the gear and the clays; all you need to do is have fun!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Diamond D Ranch: Stanley, Idaho

The Diamond D Ranch is nestled in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states, the Frank Church Wilderness, and is surrounded by the beautiful Salmon River mountains. There is an endless amount of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish and mountains in which to hike or horseback ride. To experience true untouristed areas, ask about their pack trips and backpacking trips! Some of their other activities include gold panning, volleyball, archery, target and skeet shooting, barbecues, campfires, swimming in their pool, or relaxing in their hot tub, wildlife viewing, scenic trips, fly fishing, and recently added wilderness photography tours!

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch: Saratoga, Wyoming 

The Medicine Bow Lodge Adventure Guest Ranch sits at approximately 8,500 feet in the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains and is the perfect place for the adventurous traveler to escape and explore. Guests can participate in pottery, enjoy the peaceful surroundings in the pristine mountain air while fly fishing, or visit the nearby town of Saratoga and soak in the natural springs and famous hot pool. Above all, we encourage you to explore the beautiful mountains on the horseback ride of a lifetime at this ranch. 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Focus Ranch: Slater, Wyoming

The Focus Ranch is situated right on the Wyoming/Colorado border so it’s perfect for the traveler trying to check off states on their bucket list! It is a traditional working cattle ranch that invites guests to live out the GENUINE cowboy and cowgirl lifestyle by participating in the real day-to-day operation of the ranch. But don’t worry, you don’t have to spend your entire vacation working cattle if you don’t want to! Spend some time relaxing by fly-fishing in the Little Snake River, hiking, or taking advantage of the Insta-worthy photography opportunities! 

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

JJJ Wilderness Ranch: Augusta, Montana

Escape to the JJJ Wilderness Ranch: the place to discover landscapes so big and open and rugged that it stretches your soul. Tucked just inside Montana's majestic Rocky Mountain Front between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, the ranch offers an adventure for every traveler: horseback riding, fishing, campfires, dancing and so much more! We can’t forget to mention the casual sightings of elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and black bear! A lot has changed in the world, but not here.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Rankin Ranch: Caliente, California

Break out of the hustle and bustle of city life and discover the tranquility that Rankin Ranch has to offer. Horseback riding is a clear favorite at the ranch, but visitors also enjoy bicycling, fishing, hiking, and swimming (in the pool and in the creek!). Nights are filled with fun evening activities…square dancing, pool and foosball tournaments, talent shows, and their exciting “Horse Races” complete with stick horses. Another guest favorite is the weekly evening hayride and barbecue to the meadow complete with a horseshoe tournament. Another favorite activity is a visit to Sarah’s Farm where you can bottle feed calves and toss corn out for the chickens.

8 Unexpected Travel Destinations

Sprucedale Guest Ranch: Eager, Arizona

Nestled high in the pine country of Northeastern Arizona – 7,400 ft. above the sea and miles from civilization - is a little-known secret called, Sprucedale Guest Ranch. This family-owned, working ranch provides all the ingredients for good old-fashioned time. Pull on your boots and mount a horse for a thrilling ride through pine-covered mountains flowing with trout-filled streams. Horseback riding takes center stage at Sprucedale and is a sheer pleasure for beginner and experienced riders alike! Sprucedale Guest Ranch is truly a glimpse of heaven on earth!

Now, there are only 8 ranches on this list, but we have a total of 97 in the Dude Ranchers’ Association! Connect with one of our vacation specialists today to find the perfect unexpected travel destination for you or use our Activities & Amenities page to help narrow down your search. It will be the adventure vacation your family and friends will NEVER forget!

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Family Summer Camp — 5 Reasons Why You Need A Dude Ranch Vacation

Would you like to escape your mundane, urban life and experience the Great Outdoors? The best way to experience America’s beautiful countryside is on a dude ranch vacation. 

Staying on a working ranch is a wonderful experience for anyone who feels stuck in the rat race at home. At a dude ranch, you and your whole family can enjoy horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, white-water rafting, kayaking, swimming, camping, hiking, and any other popular outdoor activity you can imagine. 

Whatever you enjoy doing in the wilderness, you’ll find a dude ranch that caters to your needs.

Dude Ranch Vacation

#1. Horseback riding

If you like horses, you’ll love the feeling of freedom you experience horseback riding along a trail. Horseback riding is the core activity at the DRA dude ranches. Whether you’ve never sat upon a horse before or you’ve competed in the Kentucky Derby, you’ll find a guest ranch that’s perfect for you and your interests.

Check out all the guest ranches affiliated with the Dude Ranchers Association. Many ranches provide special programs to educate kids (and interested adults) in horse care and horse-riding skills. You’ll find patient instructors for beginners and professional coaches for more experienced equestrians. Just select what you’re looking for on the association website. 

Take Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona as an example. Tanque Verde is a multiple award-winning resort that has operated as a dude ranch for over 150 years. It is located adjacent to Coronado National Forest and Saguaro National Park. 

At Tanque Verde, you can experience riding across breathtaking desert landscapes in the shade of the Rincon Mountains. As well as providing horse riding instruction and trail riding, Tanque Verde also makes a great base for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing.  

Dude Ranch Vacation

#2. Campfire sing-a-longs

No childhood is complete without a campfire sing-a-long. A guest ranch is a wonderful place to take your kids so they can get closer to nature and enjoy wonderful cultural experiences like this. 

And if your childhood didn’t include one, it’s time to catch up now. A campfire out in the wilderness near a dude ranch is a great way to experience the quiet of the great outdoors but with the security of knowing civilization isn’t too far away.

Without the light pollution of the big city, the skies are clear, and the stars are bright. With the eeriness of the city a thousand miles away, you can wander off into the night and walk under the open skies.

If you’re an amateur astronomer, don’t forget to take along your telescope. A guest ranch is the perfect location for stargazing. Especially when the ranch is up high on a mountain range, and the stars are a few thousand feet nearer. 

Dude Ranch Vacation

#3. Mountain biking

Mountain biking is a great way to get fit. Biking gives you a great cardio workout and doesn’t put too much strain on your joints. And biking in the countryside provides you with a wonderful change of scenery. 

Many dude ranches are located in mountainous regions and near state or national parks, so they make a fantastic base for mountain biking adventures. The best thing is that the biking trails near many guest ranches aren’t located near cities and crowded. You’ll be out in the wilderness, enjoying amazing scenery, and breathing the fresh mountain air. 

You can hire a mountain bike at some dude ranches, but you’ll probably feel more comfortable using your own. To transport your bike safely to the ranch, consider purchasing a bike travel bag

4UR Ranch is a historic guest ranch located in a stunning valley in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. They have provided accommodation and trail riding to guests for over 120 years. And with the Rocky Mountains on the doorstep, you can enjoy fantastic mountain biking experiences.

Dude Ranch Vacation

#4. Fishing

Not everyone escapes to the countryside to go on long trail rides. Some people want to pursue a more relaxing activity that still gets them out into nature. Fly fishing is a perfect way to spend time beside the water on lakes or rivers. And many dude ranches offer private ponds, lakes, or riverbanks for eager anglers.

For example, Allen’s Diamond 4 Ranch in Wyoming is located right next to the Wind River and within easy reach of hundreds of alpine lakes stocked with wild trout. The fly fishing there is world-class, and with so many fishing spots to choose from and so few people out there in Dickinson Park and Shoshone National Forest, you’re spoiled for choice. 

Dude Ranch Vacation

#5. White water rafting and kayaking

Adrenaline junkies can find lots of activities to enjoy on a dude ranch. With so many guest ranches located near mountains and fast-flowing rivers, lots of guest ranches offer white water rafting or kayaking experiences. 

Some of these Class III and Class IV rapids are undiscovered by the majority of water sports enthusiasts. If you search through the list of dude ranches in America, you’ll find many that make wonderful bases for a thrilling water-borne adventure.

And you’ll often find other unique water-based experiences at dude ranches. Many offer gold panning, and swimming in private ponds is fairly common. Whatever you love to do on the water, you can do it at a guest ranch.

Marble Mountain Ranch in California specializes in rafting and riding vacations. They offer excellent equestrian instruction programs, trail riding, and white-water rafting. These adventures all occur in California’s Klamath National Forest, where the views of granite ridges and deep river valleys are stunning.

Embrace life and live a little!

As you can see, there are many great activities you can enjoy at a dude ranch. It’s a way you can safely enjoy a Wild West experience. On a guest ranch, you’ll definitely have a vacation you never forget. For more information or assistance in selecting the right dude ranch for you, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association at info@duderanch.org! With almost 100 years of experience and over 95 ranches to choose from, we will help find the right ranch for you! 

This article was written in partnership with Outsidepursuits.com.

Dude Ranch Vacation

Top 10 Ranches for "Foodies"

Ranch visitors all have different “non-negotiables” when it comes to finding the perfect dude ranch for them. More and more often we see “amazing food” on this list. So, we decided to put together a list of the DRA ranches that offer mouth-watering gourmet food! Here are our Top 10 Ranches for "Foodies":

 

Red Reflet Guest Ranch | Ten Sleep, WY

Ranches for Foodies

Next to their ATV adventures, mealtime is always memorable at the Red Reflet Ranch. A great deal of effort is taken to make every meal tasty, healthful and unique. Ranch meals include produce from their greenhouse, garden, and orchard. Their beef is ranch-raised, the lamb is locally raised and both are processed in their butcher shop and aged to be savory and tender. Worried about missing the ranch food once you get home? Don’t fret! They offer cooking classes with their excellent Chef Toby Bauer!

 

Latigo Ranch | Kremmling, CO

Ranches for Foodies

The Latigo Ranch kitchen uses the finest ingredients, sustainably and locally sourced whenever possible, their chefs strive to make dishes that are creative, satisfying, wholesome, and elegant. The day begins with an array of breakfast opportunities; everything from fresh fruit, yogurt, and homemade granola, to pancakes, waffles, eggs any style, and their house-smoked bacon (which has been known to receive applause). You’ll then be off to fill your day with archery and shooting sports or maybe some rock climbing! Evening meals may consist of Bison flank steak roulade, a brace of quail with a fine sherry glaze, or ask about their AMAZING vegetarian options. And knowing that kids' tastes are often different, they work to see that they are happy as well.

 

Rancho de los Caballeros | Wickenburg, AZ

Ranches for Foodies

The chef and culinary team at Rancho de los Caballeros create three delicious meals daily. Breakfast is a full buffet with everything from homemade biscuits to made-to-order omelets. After a round of golf help yourself to the lunch buffet with poolside dining available. The gourmet dinner menu, which changes every evening, includes a choice of two soups or salads, five delectable entrees, including, but most definitely not limited to: grilled swordfish, 12-ounce ribeye, and pork chops. Then, after a beautiful desert sunset, swing by their bonfire cookout to grill, sing, and be merry!

 

Flat Creek Ranch | Jackson, WY

Ranches for Foodies

From traditional to decadent, Flat Creek Ranch’s kitchen is supplied by local, organic meat and produce whenever possible, including fresh greens from our garden. The daily menus reflect seasonal bounty at the hand of an experienced and imaginative chef. The day starts with coffee delivered to your cabin followed by a gourmet breakfast with seasonal fruit, homemade granola and yogurt, fresh-squeezed orange juice and something special and piping hot from the kitchen. You’ll be all fueled up and ready for a day of fly-fishing! After you get back to the ranch, duck confit, osso bucco with local beef, and stuffed pork chop are a few of the entrees you may enjoy with your 4-course dinner awaiting you. Beer and wine are always included!

 

High Lonesome Ranch | DeBeque, CO

Ranches for Foodies

The culinary structure at The High Lonesome Ranch is very unique. Their dining program is based on the needs and desires of the guests staying with them at the time. Menus can range from classical preparations to family-style. When you've concluded your daily horseback riding, cattle work, or fly-fishing you'll be very pleased to meet their Executive Chef, and in the morning their Breakfast Chef will become one of your favorite people. Local farm-to-table cuisine, ranch-grown produce, and their own HLR Angus beef raised and aged on the ranch will delight you at every meal.

 

Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort | Solvang, CA

Ranches for Foodies

Alisal Guest Ranch’s menu changes daily because they use the freshest ingredients from local farms and ranches. Their meals are prepared for a hearty appetite. Their breakfasts are cooked just how you like it and gourmet dinners are prepared with farm-fresh ingredients. Join them at the Chuckwagon Grill for some delicious entrees including quinoa and arugula salad, a half-pound fresh Angus burger, and Chuck Wagon Nachos. They specialize in their famous BBQ's held three times a week during the summer. 

 

4UR Ranch | Creede, Co

Ranches for Foodies

We’ll start off by saying, 4UR Ranch knows how to start their guests’ mornings off right: 6:30 am coffee delivered to your porch! After this, most meals at the 4UR take place in the lodge dining room at liberally scheduled times, so you’ll have plenty of time to soak in the hot springs! Dining at the 4UR is an event, not just another meal. They use local organic vegetables and produce. Dinner specials include Colorado Rack of Lamb, Ahi Tuna, Elk Tenderloin, Seared Salmon, Alaskan Halibut, Beef Tenderloin, Buffalo Ribs, and many other wonderful dishes. Important note: They have a bottomless cookie jar in the lodge and at the pool!

 

Hubbard's Six Quarter Circle Ranch | Emigrant, MT

Ranches for Foodies

There is never a shortage of food at Hubbard’s Lodge. Join them for hearty breakfasts with house-made baked goods, fresh fruit, and made to order omelets, eggs, pancakes, waffles, and more. After a long day hiking on the trail (and a nice hot bath), wander on down to the lodge where dinner is prepared and includes dishes such as roasted pork tenderloin or walleye with a lemon caper sauce, and accompaniments such as butternut squash, chipotle pepper soup, or southwestern Caesar salad. Mouthwatering desserts are prepared daily by their pastry chef. You'll always receive personal, friendly service from a great staff.

 

A Bar A Ranch | Encampment, WY

Ranches for Foodies

A day of yoga, fishing, and horseback riding in the mountain air promotes a healthy appetite. Dining at the A Bar A is one of the things that guests say is a favorite part of their ranch experience. Their chef's creative menus are prepared with high-quality ingredients, including organic produce and natural meats. The ranch's wine cellar holds a large selection of fine wines.

 

Tanque Verde Ranch | Tucson, AZ

Ranches for Foodies

By the end of your long day of mountain biking adventures at Tanque Verde Ranch, you’ll be anxiously awaiting over the dinner cuisine which may include seafood cioppino served with three types of fresh, pan-seared seafood or a 6 oz house-cut beef tenderloin. Besides the three gourmet meals served each day in the dining room, several indoor and outdoor specialty dining events are held each week. Consume the mouth-watering cuisine while also taking in the authentic dude ranch atmosphere of Tanque Verde Ranch! Nothing hits the spot better than a savory meal and refreshing drink after an invigorating day on the ranch. 

 

Whether you consider yourself a “foodie” or someone who just likes to enjoy GOOD food (myself) these dude ranches are a must-visit! If you’d like more information on dude ranches or need help selecting the best ranch-fit for you please contact us at info@duderanch.org or at 307-587-2339.

Top 10 Ranches for

A Day on a Dude Ranch

Dude ranch vacations are becoming ever popular for every type of traveler, multigenerational family reunions, couples, solo adventurists and even corporate groups. Dude ranches are a great destination to be as active or relaxing as one pleases; the ability to choose your own schedule and enjoy a way of life you may not be familiar with is relaxing in itself. Depending on the ranch, the list of activities could be quite simple or endless, but what does a day on a dude ranch entail? The folks at the Dude Ranchers’ Association can help you out in answering that question, continue reading to learn more! 

A Day on a Dude Ranch

Trail Ride at a dude ranch

Lone Mountain Ranch - Montana

Your stay at a dude ranch will start off with your arrival, being greeted by friendly faces and checking in. A tour around the ranch and help with your luggage is usually first on the list. After you have some time to settle in, you will probably hear a dinner bell ringing indicating it is time to start vacation off on the right foot, with great food! You will join other guests in the dining room where introductions will be made and the fun begins. Most ranches do not have riding available on the day guests arrive, but there are some that do, so when you are planning your trip, just be sure to ask. 

The next day will be a full day of activities! Most guests will probably choose to head on down to the corral to see the horses and get fitted for stirrups so you are comfortable in the saddle. You will then get the opportunity to hear an orientation speech about safety precautions around the corral and some basic riding instruction for the beginners in the group. Even if you have riding experience, it is necessary and important to listen to the horse safety orientation speech because each horse is different and so is each ranch. These orientations cover much more than basic instruction of riding, each ranch has specific guidelines for riders and they want to ensure every one is as safe as possible and can enjoy their vacation! Once you have heard the speech, you will be on your way, riding through the beautiful landscapes and fresh mountain air these dude ranches lie in. You may be thinking, "what about the kids?" Don’t you worry, many ranches have fantastic kids’ programs and counselors to keep them busy while the adults are away. Obviously, if they are old enough to ride, that is probably where they will spend much of their time, but for the younger kiddos or maybe the ones not so interested in riding, there will be something to keep them busy and making memories! 

kids high fiving at a dude ranch

CM Ranch - Wyoming

After your morning ride, you will head into lunch where, again, there will be great food awaiting you! After a satisfying lunch, you may be ready for a nap, to go lay by the pool, try your hand at fishing or head back out on the trails. This is where the autonomy of a dude ranch shines through, the choice is completely up to you on how you spend your vacation! Each ranch has its own list of activities for guests to participate in, so when you are starting your search for a ranch, be sure the activities you want to enjoy are available. If you do not know where to start on making a list of activities you want to try, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association and they will be able to help! 

outdoor picnic at a dude ranch

Black Mountain Ranch - Colorado

By afternoon, everyone is off on their next adventure of the day! Horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, swimming, kids’ club or reading a good book might be the adventure. Once that adventure comes to an end for the day, it will be time for, you guessed it, another fantastic meal! Some ranches do host cocktail hours before dinner so guests can mingle and share stories of the day. This is a great time for the kids to get together and play while the adults have some time to decompress. Other ranches do not have the ability to host these cocktail hours, but guests are welcome to bring beverages of their choice and enjoy them before and during dinner. 

wine at a dude ranch

Triangle C Ranch - Wyoming

After dinner, many ranches have events scheduled for guests to enjoy. These events may include dancing, campfire sing-a-longs and s’ mores, a rodeo, hay rides, games and more! These events make the best of memories, especially if you have never participated before. Usually, the staff members of the ranch get involved too and make it even more fun! If you choose to visit a dude ranch for five to seven days, you may find that there is a scheduled event most nights; if this is something that interests you, be sure to ask before booking your stay. 

square dancing at a dude ranch

Wind River Ranch - Colorado

Evening festivities will wrap up and you will be ready to head to your comfortable lodge room, cabin or maybe even a glamping tent. A good night’s sleep will be no problem after all of the excitement from the day. Before you know it, you will wake up and it will start all over again with meals, activities, great company and memories to last a lifetime. 

cabin at a dude ranch

Marble Mountain Ranch - California

The Dude Ranchers’ Association currently has almost 100 member ranches spread throughout the Western United States and Canada that ensure you will receive a genuine Western experience combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards of hospitality.  Finding a ranch where you can check all of the activities off of your bucket list can be very easy. Contact the folks at the DRA and they will help you find the perfect ranch for your destination vacation! 

307-587-2339 ~ info@duderanch.org

 

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ude ranch vacations are becoming ever popular for every type of traveler, multigenerational family reunions, couples, solo adventurists and even corporate groups. Dude ranches are a great destination to be as active or relaxing as one pleases; the ability to choose your own schedule and enjoy a way of life you may not be familiar with is relaxing in itself. Depending on the ranch, the list of activities could be quite simple or endless, but what does a day on a dude ranch entail?

Reviving your Mind, Body and Spirit at a Dude Ranch

While the term dude ranch usually brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, dude ranches are actually all this and much more – especially when it comes to wellness experiences. In keeping with the belief that wellness starts from within, many DRA-accredited ranches offer a variety of rejuvenating activities and services in a lush oasis environment to give you “whole body” relief from the stress of modern life. Imagine enjoying a spa escape or time in the great outdoors with a small group, giving you the opportunity to decompress and to actually contemplate all the things that you just do not have time to on a day to day basis. How freeing will it be to breathe the fresh mountain air, hike to the top of a bluff to view a morning sunset, to actually have time to read a book or to just sit a listen to Mother Nature?  We at the Dude Ranchers’ Association think spending time alone with your thoughts is just as important as any exercise program. Below you will see that there are some real opportunities to revive your mind, body, and spirit while experiencing some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest.

As the original all-inclusive vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary, and no additional costs once you arrive at your destination. There are more than 95 DRA-accredited dude ranches in North America (two in Canada), all of which uphold the highest quality of services within the industry. No matter what type of getaway you’re in search of, there is the perfect dude ranch out there for you. Please see below for a sampling of DRA-accredited ranches that feature unique wellness experiences.

Greenhorn Ranch

Greenhorn Ranch in California believes lost is the time when we gathered for a shared purpose when we communed under the stars and truly connected. Interruptions are far too easy in a normal setting. Escape to a place beneath the stars where cell phone service is shoddy, WiFi works when you need it, and the campfire is always warm and crackling under the starlit sky. Relax, enjoy the stay and relish the much-anticipated time together.  Their 3-day wellness retreat starts September 26th – 29th. There will be seminars on relieving stress through your camera with David Herman, learn how to cook delicious meals in just 90 minutes with Pamela Salzman. Learn to manage your stress with healthy food and herbs. Tina Quinn reminds you that “The most important things in life are the ones you can’t see”.  

You will also get the opportunity to learn why Winston Churchill often said: “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man”. 

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A Bar A Ranch

Sometimes all a person needs to revive your mind, body, and spirit is to get outside in the woods.  At A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming, they offer what they call an “Expedition” which are custom Western adventures. Up to six guests stay in luxurious cabins or tents, taking full advantage of their 100,000-acre property. Days are spent riding, fishing, hiking, and exploring.  The A Bar A Ranch sits along the banks of the North Platte River in the heart of the beautiful Medicine Bow Mountains. 

The A Bar A Classic Expedition is perfect for families or friends seeking a private experience on a classic guest and cattle ranch. Ride to your luxurious cabin on horseback taking in the amazing Wyoming scenery. Your Expedition Guide will take care of everything for you, they will also be your gourmet cooks. A Bar A expeditions give you the chance to design the vacation that is just perfect for you. 

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Rancho de los Caballeros

If you are looking for a more traditional wellness experience look no further than the Spa at Los Caballeros at Rancho de los Caballeros Ranch in Arizona. The resort spa offers classic services and signature treatments you won’t find anywhere else, such as their desert baths, scrubs, and wraps. Whether you’re looking to enrich your skin or touch up your pedicure, Spa Caballeros has a wonderful treatment for you. End an action-filled day by unwinding with an enriching facial, hot stone massage, or aromatic bath in our claw-foot tubs. Parents can share a spa day with their daughters by booking nail treatments together. 

The ranch is surrounded by the Sonoran Desert’s hiking trails and beautiful blooming cacti, their 20,000-acre ranch resort does not waste any space. You will not only get to enjoy the amazing horseback riding but can also experience their acclaimed 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and heated pool.

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Majestic Dude Ranch

Majestic Dude Ranch in Colorado sets aside a week in May and the month of September specifically for adults. They realize that the non-stop programming their summer session offers isn’t for everyone. Learn to relax, take a deep breath and heal from the inside out.  Enjoy cooking classes, wine and cheese tastings or just sitting on your porch taking in the peace and quiet the ranch has to offer. There is nothing better for the soul and mind than a little quiet time alone.

The amenities at this ranch are pretty nice. They offer Tempur-Pedic mattresses in every room so you’ll rest easy after a long day of activities. Diffusers stocked with soothing oils in each room make coming back to your cabin an even more relaxing experience. No one ever goes hungry at Majestic – that’s their commitment. Their mission is to provide hearty, yet healthy meals for all guests. Their chefs cater to all dietary restrictions, allergies, and tastes. If you still feel the need to work out they offer, for their especially active guests, unlimited gym access. With a treadmill, free weights, an assisted pull-up bar, and several machines, there’s plenty to keep you fit and on your gym schedule.

dude ranch

We know it can be hard in this stress-filled busy world we live in to take time for yourself, but we feel it is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy mind, body, and spirit!

www.duderanch.org ~ info2@duderanch.org ~ 307-587-2339 

While the term dude ranch usually brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, dude ranches are actually all this and much more!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

If you have never had the chance to experience the beauty and serenity of Grand Teton National Park, you should probably add it to your bucket list. Comprising one side of the Snake River Valley is the Teton Mountain Range, the hasty vertical rise of the peaks and the jagged edges of the mountains stand out greatly against Wyoming’s big blue skies. Explore the sage-covered valley, glacial lakes and see many different types of wildlife either by vehicle or by foot. There is always another option of how to enjoy Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding area as well, from the back of a horse! Grand Teton National Park vacations allow for great family or solo traveler fun! 

There are 9 different dude ranches all within an hour drive of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and they are all members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. Many of these ranches have the ability to take horseback rides in close neighboring areas of the park.  Some of these ranches are even allowed to take guests into the actual park boundaries on rides.  Continue reading to find out more about these dude ranches located in close proximity to Grand Teton National Park and how they might just be the next perfect vacation destination.

Grand Teton National Park Vacations 

 

Gros Ventre River Ranch

Located only 12 miles from the entrance into Grand Teton National Park is the Gros Ventre River Ranch, an adventure ranch waiting for you and your family! Enjoy all of the activities that the ranch has to offer as well as the surrounding area of Jackson Hole. You may want to take a few days before or after your ranch stay to explore the national parks. Yellowstone National Park is just to the north of Grand Teton and is easy to access if you are already going through Grand Teton. At Gros Ventre River Ranch you can embark on a rejuvenating vacation while connecting with nature and family in so many aspects. There is wildlife all around the ranch and you can even head into Jackson Hole for some touristy fun if you are up for it. No matter what you want your Grand Teton National Park vacations to entail, complete relaxation or total adventure, Gros Ventre is a great ranch to consider.

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

R Lazy S Ranch

Located at the base of the Teton mountains and at the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park lies the R Lazy S Ranch. With spectacular views of the entire mountain range and Snake River Valley, you will not be disappointed with the scenery. The majority of the horseback rides and fly-fishing trips available at the ranch are taken into the park boundaries; you will ride along canyons, lakes, streams and open meadows; the fishing in the park is quite impressive as well. There are high chances of seeing numerous types of wildlife such as large elk herds, deer, bison and moose if you are lucky!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Flat Creek Ranch

Less than 30 miles from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park is the pristine and petite Flat Creek Ranch. With only 5 cabins and a maximum capacity of 14 people, you are sure to feel relaxed and unplugged from the real world, all while having a chance to reconnect with nature. The ranch offers several outdoor activities but they are known for their fly-fishing expertise and challenging waters of Flat Creek and Flat Creek Lake.  While out fishing, hiking or horseback riding, there is a good chance you will see some sort of wildlife wandering around. If you are a fly-fishing or outdoor enthusiast with an itch to see a few national parks, Flat Creek is a great vacation destination for you!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Spotted Horse Ranch

Located on the banks of the Hoback River and just over a 30-minute drive from Grand Teton National Park is the Spotted Horse Ranch. The Spotted Horse is unique to the Jackson Hole area dude ranches because it sits in the Hoback Canyon rather than the Snake River Valley. They offer fantastic fly-fishing opportunities and have a stocked Orvis retail fly-shop on the ranch. They have resident fly-fishing instructors/guides that will teach you the ins and outs of the trade and provide a great experience on and off the water. They also have great horseback rides and pack trips, climbing out of the canyon to mountain peaks with 360-degree views happens every day. The ranch is the perfect distance from Jackson Hole and from Grand Teton National Park, a day trip is a great way to experience the park while at Spotted Horse. If you are a fly-fishing enthusiast or are looking for a relaxing ranch with close proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, Spotted Horse Ranch just may be the vacation destination for you!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

The Red Rock Ranch

A short drive of about 30 minutes from The Red Rock Ranch will take you into Grand Teton National Park and gives you the option to venture into Yellowstone National Park if you please. There is a great amount of adventures to be had in the parks. You can hike to beautiful glacier fed lakes through meadows of wildflowers and see wildlife everywhere you turn. You can also rent bikes to travel through the park a little quicker, a great bike trail system is in place and takes you to the highlighted areas. You may want to participate in some water activities, paddle boards and canoes are available to rent in a couple different places in close proximity to the park as well. The Red Rock Ranch is a great vacation destination that allows you to enjoy ranch life and two different national park experiences without having to travel very far!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Moose Head Ranch

With breath-taking scenery in every direction, friendly and hospitable staff, two national parks right out the back door and an abundance of activities to enjoy, Moose Head Ranch will check every box on your list. Moose Head is the last privately-owned guest ranch completely within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park. So even if you do not get the time to go and enjoy all of the beauty and fun the park has to offer while on your vacation, you can still say you have spent a week in Grand Teton National Park! While at Moose Head it is almost guaranteed you will see elk, mule deer, bison and several other types of wildlife.  You will have the opportunity to explore via horseback and fish in the streams and lakes running through and around the property. Moose Head is a wonderful destination vacation for a family or any kind of traveler!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Lost Creek Ranch

A luxury resort awaits your company at the Lost Creek Ranch located right outside of Grand Teton National Park. Living in the ecosystem of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park insinuates that adventures are bound to be had while at the ranch. From horseback riding with beautiful mountain and valley views to relaxing in their highly rated spa, there is something for everyone at Lost Creek. The folks at the ranch are equipped and prepared to help you coordinate all types of activities so your vacation is everything you hoped for, and possibly more!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Triangle X Ranch

The Triangle X Ranch has been in the Teton Mountain Range and the Grand Teton National Park area before national parks were even established! Rich with history and charm is one of the best ways to describe the Triangle X. The Turner family, who owns Triangle X, have been in the Jackson Hole area since the early 1900’s. Five generations of Turners have called the ranch home and to this day the Turner family still owns and runs the ranch in a traditional way. The ranch and Turner family truly grew with the times of history and Grand Teton National Park. They have watched it develop and change over the years, yet still they understand and respect the preservation of the park as well as the history of the valley. There is something for everyone to do at the Triangle X Ranch. Horseback rides, pack trips, float trips and day to day activities take place within the park’s boundaries and offer stunning views and unforgettable memories. If you are looking for a historic and charming dude ranch close to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, look no further than the Triangle X Ranch!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

Goosewing Ranch

Ride through spectacular fields of wildflowers with the Teton Mountains acting as an astounding backdrop. At the Goosewing Ranch you will travel by horses to see some of the best views the Snake River Valley and Wyoming has to offer. You could also experience these views while fly fishing or just simply relaxing around the ranch. However you want to spend your days on vacation, you can be certain to find beautiful views and a sense of peace. While on your vacation you can venture into Grand Teton National Park, and even Yellowstone National Park if you choose, on a day trip. See all different types of wildlife and amazing views you will not find anywhere else. Goosewing is a mere 17 miles to the park, approximately a 20-minute drive, that is if the bison do not cause a traffic jam! You will not want to miss the opportunity to see two of the most beautiful national parks the country has to offer!

Grand Teton National Park Vacations

 

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 Grand Teton National Park vacations are wonderful for every traveler! If you have never experienced this park, you should add it to your bucket list!

Unique Fitness Adventures on a Dude Ranch Anytime of Year

When planning a dude ranch vacation, you might think about horseback riding through picturesque mountain panoramas, testing out fly fishing on mirror like rivers or relaxing by a crackling campfire; it usually does not cross your mind about staying on track with your workout routine. You don’t want to lose a whole week of workouts, but what are you going to do to stay in shape at a dude ranch? There is an array of unique dude ranch fitness adventures to participate in during your vacation. 

Horseback riding offers physical activity, but you may be eager for more challenging tasks. You may need to actually “feel the burn” while participating in an activity to get a sense of a good workout. No matter what type of weather conditions, there are outside adventures to keep you active any time of year. Here are 9 unique dude ranch adventures to keep you in shape during your vacation. 

Unique Dude Ranch Fitness Adventures

 

Mountain Biking – Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, Arizona

With all of the activities available on a dude ranch it is hard to pick just a few to participate in. Plus, you want to get the most out of your week-long vacation, but it is tough to do all the activities you want in such a short amount of time. If you are looking to explore the desert terrain of Arizona in a different way there are options! For a more fitness tailored adventure you could try mountain biking. Stagecoach Trails has fat tire mountain bikes available for you to use for a quieter exploration of the cactus filled trails. Ride through the desert and get a good workout by peddling through sandy trails, you might even get to see some wildlife, like a roadrunner being chased by a coyote! 

fitness adventures

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch - Yucca, AZ 

Snowshoeing – Campbell Hills Guest Ranch, British Columbia 

If you have never walked through deep, wet snow you may not know how much of a workout it can really be. Sometimes vacations have snowy days, and you will still want to get outside to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. At Campbell Hills Guest Ranch there are many winter activities available, but snowshoeing may be the best physical workout of them all. You can snowshoe many different trails at the ranch and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. It is very peaceful to get outside, enjoy the cool fresh air and take in all of the stunning landscapes and mountains around you. 

fitness adventures

Campbell Hills Guest Ranch - Kamloops, BC

Paddle Boarding – Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana 

Trying to balance on a board, paddle and enjoy everything around you can sometimes be a true challenge. Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Montana has many water activities to offer that are fun and refreshing. The ranch is located directly on the shores of Flathead Lake which is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. This lake is also one of the cleanest freshwater lakes in the world and stretches almost 30 miles in length! Paddle boarding on Flathead Lake is one of the tougher physical activities for your body. It requires many muscles to all be used at the same time which can be difficult, if your body is not up for that challenge, no worries you can just go for a swim! It is a great fitness activity for those vacation-goers who are looking for a fun adventure on the water all while getting a good workout, and maybe even a tan! 

fitness adventures

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge - Bigfork, MT

Hiking – Rancho de la Osa, Arizona

Hiking is one of the best fitness activities one can do to stay in shape while on vacation. Many of the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s member ranches have miles of trails for you to hike either with a guide or on your own. Rancho de la Osa in Arizona is a perfect place for hikers, by walking a few yards from your room you will find some of the same trails forged by legendary figures like Pancho Villa. You can walk on red clay trails towards the famous Baboquivari Mountain or you can tour the Buenos Aires wildlife refuge. While out on these hikes you may experience giant jackrabbits or hike along old western ghost towns that still feature intact buildings. No matter where your hiking adventure takes you, a good workout and a great time is sure to be had!   

fitness adventures

Rancho de la Osa - Sasabe, AZ 

Cross Country Skiing – Triangle X Ranch, Wyoming

Whatever your outdoor challenge or your outdoor dream, you will find it at the Triangle X Ranch in Wyoming. This ranch has many fitness activities to offer year-round, but in the winter time one of the best workouts is cross country skiing. A challenging tour through the flats of the Snake River Valley is like no other winter wonderland. The chances of running into wildlife are very high, and seeing the Grand Teton Mountains the with snow on the peaks is a memory you will never forget. Triangle X also extends other winter and snow activities that allow for a great workout for any level. 

fitness adventures

Triangle X Ranch - Moose, WY

Rock Climbing – Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Colorado 

It is always exciting to try new things, and new workouts are wonderful. Rock climbing at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Colorado is a great way to mix things up while on vacation. Like many other non-typical adventures, rock climbing may not seem like much of a workout when participating, it is usually the day after the adventure that you feel all those muscles you used become sore. The rock climbing program at Sundance Trail is described as an introduction to climbing. Through this program you will learn how to tie knots, conduct proper belay and movement techniques, communicate, understand the terminology used during rock climbing, participate in a bouldering introduction as well as learn about outdoor safety. The ranch provides special shoes, ropes, helmets and all other technical gear. If you want to try a new fitness adventure rock climbing might just be your niche! 

fitness adventures

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch - Red Feather Lakes, CO 

Kayaking – Wind River Christian Guest Ranch, Colorado 

Located just 10 minutes from the Wind River Christian Guest Ranch in Colorado lies Lake Estes, a body of water that provides some of the best views of Rocky Mountain National Park. What better way to take in the beauty of the mountains and all the surrounding scenery than by a kayak? Not only will the adventure be beautiful, but you can also make it either an easy or hard fitness activity while on your vacation. The kayaking adventure is included in the weekly rate stay at the ranch so there is no extra cost to participate, a great activity for the whole family. The staff from the ranch will provide transportation down to the marina where you will prepare for the adventure by picking out which type of kayak they prefer, one person or two, grabbing life jackets and going through a brief training session so you can have the best time possible on the lake. Kayaking is a great fitness activity that will have your arms and core limp by the time you get back to shore, good news is there is a nice hot tub waiting for you back at the ranch! 

fitness adventures

Wind River Christian Guest Ranch - Estes Park, CO 

Yoga – 7D Ranch, Wyoming

If you are looking to relax your mind and body while on a dude ranch vacation, finding a ranch with a yoga class is a great idea. The 7D Ranch in Wyoming offers yoga classes multiple times a week and by request. The classes are for any level and are a great way to stretch out those muscles after a long day in the saddle. Yoga presents many benefits for the body and mind; one class may just help bring that sense of relaxation you have been looking for. You do not even have to worry about bringing your own equipment, the ranch has mats and other necessary equipment available. The classes can be tailored to many different levels as well; so, whether you are an avid yogi with much experience or just a beginner who has never set foot on a yoga mat, there is a class for you. 

fitness adventures

7D Ranch - Cody, WY

Snowmobiling – Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch, Idaho

Riding a big snowmobile through the powdery snow and trees does not seem all that hard right? Why would snowmobiling be considered a fitness activity you may ask? Until you try snowmobiling for the first time you will never quite understand how many muscles and how much effort it takes to maneuver a machine like that through the snow. Snowmobiling is another fitness activity that offers great adventure and each person can go at their own level. At Seven Devils Lodge and Guest Ranch in Idaho guided snowmobiling tours are offered for any level rider. D.R. Bledsoe is a great instructor/coach and will teach riders how to safely ride the machines all while having a great time. Snowmobiling is much like riding a horse in the dude ranch world, the folks at the ranch will ask you your experience level and how comfortable you are with the machine and then adjust the program accordingly. They walk though the process of riding the machine and will ride with you until you feel comfortable on your own. If you are looking for a fun adventure and an out of the ordinary fitness activity, look no further than the Seven Devils Ranch. 

fitness adventures

Seven Devils Lodge and Guest Ranch - Council, ID

 

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No matter the weather conditions, there are outside adventures to keep you active. Here are 9 dude ranch fitness adventures to consider during vacation.

Golf Lovers Guide to Ranch Holidays

For the 24 million golf enthusiasts in the US, a holiday without golf could be likened to a golf ball without dimples – seriously below par. Dude Ranch vacations are a great way to combine a unique and unforgettable holiday with a spot of your favorite sport and with many properties boasting premium standard courses on site, there’s no need to worry about traveling to hit the fairways either. Our top tips will ensure your golfing ranch holiday is guaranteed to hit the ‘sweet spot’.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Why travel to an off-site course when you can have a full 18-hole course within putting distance of your ranch.  Pick a ranch with a golf course on property to ensure you pack as much golf into your stay as possible. Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona, is a great example, where you can tee off at one of Golf Digest’s top 100 US courses. If you’re travelling with family there’s a wealth of other activities to keep them occupied while you’re on the golf course.  A full kids program will keep the young ones entertained, and other family members can choose from shooting sports, or a spot of relaxation in the spa and of course horseback riding comes as standard. Similar facilities can be found at Mountain Sky Ranch in Montana and A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming.

Golf vacations

18 holes of golf with a beautiful view at Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona

Be Game Ready

To those who don’t play golf, it may seem like one of the more relaxed sports but the average 18-hole course is over 4.03 miles and most golfers walk much further than the course length during a game.  Add to that long hike the strength, power and agility needed to repeatedly swing the clubs (up to 300 times in a game) and hit the ball up to 300 meters– not to mention carrying the kit (unless you’ve brought your caddy along); it’s clear that a round of golf equals a demanding workout. Regular moderate cardio at least three times a week in the lead up to your stay will ensure you have the stamina to tackle the course as many times as you desire throughout your vacation.  There are also exercises that can significantly improve your performance on the course.  Warming up for instance can improve scores as well as limiting the chance of injury. Similarly, stretching will give you a much better swing.

Golf vacations

Play a round of golf in on one of the most unqiue golf courses in the west at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana.

Be an early ‘Birdie’

Whilst on vacation you may be tempted to hit the snooze button and idle in bed until lunchtime but when it comes to an early tee time, the early ‘birdie’ really does catch the worm.  Not only will you be fresher, more alert and less fatigued from other activities. Get to the course early and you’ll enjoy fresh greens and fairways – spike mark and divot free – and most likely you’ll have the course to yourself to play at your own pace (no waiting for the next tee or rushing to alleviate the queue behind you). It’ll also leave the rest of the day to enjoy the wealth of activities along with the history, heritage and hospitality of your ranch stay.

Dude Ranch stays are always memorable and offer the opportunity to take part in a wide range of outdoor activities (not just horseback riding), so why not combine your favorite pastime with an outdoor adventure like nothing else.

Save this pin for golf lovers! 

Dude Ranch vacations are a great way to combine a unique and unforgettable holiday with a golf excursion, no need to travel far to hit the fairways!

Shoulder Season Offers Discount Ranch Vacations with Added Value

When it comes to deciding when to go on a dude ranch vacation, it pays to find the discount pricing and added value of going during the shoulder season. For these ranches in Wyoming and Montana the next shoulder season will be this fall, starting in September. There are typically less people on the ranch, more flexibility in your schedule and a relaxed environment when prices drop. What more could you ask for when planning your trip? Well, take a look at the “extras” you can add to your trip this fall. 

 

Customize Your Experience

Do you have a special group of like-minded people to travel with? The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch in Shell, Wyoming has the resources to customize your own experience while you are at the ranch. Whether it’s a group of friends, countrymen who speak the same language, colleagues, photographers or any other group the Hideout staff will design a week around your itinerary. And, on a 300,000-acre cattle, riding and fly-fishing ranch you’ll get to experience a luxury dude ranch in your very own way. 

 

 The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch offers shoulder season discounts

The Hideout Lodge is located at the base of the Big Horn Mountains and offers a high-end experience on a real working cattle ranch.

Add Special Trips

At the Triangle X Ranch in Moose, Wyoming you’ll be able to add on special trips to your package. Are you interested in a river float trip? Guided fishing trip? Wilderness pack trip? Or even a hunting trip? You’ll get the most complete outdoor recreational packages of any facility in the West at the Triangle X Ranch. With the ranch located in the heart of Grand Teton National Park, you’ll get to experience this national treasure in an intimate way the general public passing through could only dream about. 

 

 Triangle X Ranch offers shoulder season discounts

With over 90 years of experience, the Triangle X Ranch offers just the right balance of western lifestyle adventures and relaxation. There’s plenty of time for everything during your week at the ranch with your friends.

Book the Entire Ranch

For a group of up to 20 people the Covered Wagon Ranch in Gallatin Gateway, Montana can offer the entire ranch during the shoulder season. You can enjoy all the activities, meals and accommodations the ranch has to offer exclusively during your stay. 

 

 Covered Wagon Ranch offers shoulder season discounts

There’s nothing like letting your guard down with the people you know on an exclusive trip into the wilds of Montana. Covered Wagon Ranch can’t help but offer some of the most pristine views of the west. 

Have an Adult Only Vacation

With school starting back, the shoulder season is a perfect time to travel with your adult friends. The Lost Creek Ranch just north of Jackson, Wyoming offers world-class luxuries, gourmet meals and a state of the art spa facility for your kid-free week vacation during the weeks of September 2-15, 2018. 

 

 Lost Creek Ranch offers shoulder season discounts

Some places offer exceptional service and amenities, but not all places can offer such a spectacular view to go with it like the Lost Creek Ranch. You’ll be blown away when you experience this ranch in person. 

 

 

Click here for more information on affordable dude ranch vacations!

 

 

Shoulder Season Discounts - Pin this for later!

When it comes to deciding when to go on a dude ranch vacation, it pays to find the discount pricing and added value of going during the shoulder season. There are typically less people on the ranch, more flexibility in your schedule and a relaxed environment when prices drop. These ranches also offer “extras” you can add to your trip.

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.


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Cody, Wyoming Dude Ranches

Crossed-Sabres-with-Logo-600x387Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting out of the office to visit Crossed Sabres, a Cody, Wyoming Dude Ranch. We took a drive down the North Fork Highway that leads right to the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. We passed the famous Buffalo Bill Damn and the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. There are some good pictures to be taken at these scenic outlooks! At just 10 miles from the East gate we pulled into the Cross Sabres Ranch. This ranch has been there for many, many years, but recently ranch ownership has changed hands. The cabins and facilities enjoyed a fresh coat of paint and care from the new owner Kenny Long. He purchased the ranch a couple of years ago and has done an amazing job restoring much of the ranch. We heartily give him a welcome into the Dude Ranchers Association and wish him and his family the best of luck. Kenny gave us the grand tour of the lodge, cabins and riding facilities, but not before feeding us a home cooked lunch of soup and sandwiches.  I have to say it was delightful and the oatmeal raisin cookies were one of the best ranch cookies I have had. Their lodge is centrally located within the ranch. There is a beautiful great room with a high ceiling and an intimate feel next to the fire place. This room leads up to a game room upstairs. There is a large dining hall and a Western style saloon that opens to the front porch. You can imagine yourself having a drink and watching the kids play off of the porch, learning to rope a calf dummy. You might also sneak away to stroll though the cabins strategically placed around Libby Creek, which meanders through the ranch. Picking out a secluded spot to read a book and letting the sounds of the creek fill your soul would be one the moments guest ranching is famous for. While horseback riding is the main focus for all DRA member dude ranches they do have a fishing guide that is happy to get you all suited up with their on- property Orvis gear and take you out to find that perfect fishing hole.  There is a small archery and BB gun shooting area.  Hiking is endless in the Shoshone National Forest so, as you can see there is something for everyone. On our visit we had the pleasure of hanging out with this guy. He was lying just outside one of the cabins, relaxing in the sunshine.  He is just an example of the diversity of wildlife you can see on your adventures in Yellowstone. After saying good bye to the buffalo and our friends at Cross Sabres we headed back towards town.  On our way we stopped at The Historic UXU Dude Ranch.  The ranch welcomed new managers Ally and Jim and we wanted to introduce ourselves.  They certainly added their personal touches and everything looked great. They are excited to welcome their first guests of the season. The cabins are decorated with beautiful western furniture done in the Moles Worth Style. The wranglers were cutting trails and getting the horses and tack ready for the season. This made for breath taking scenery with cowboys, green pasture and the warm Wyoming sun reflecting off of the North Fork of the Shoshone River. Heading back to town I was filled with thoughts of adventure not only for what these 2 ranches have to offer, but also the trails and sights along the way in the foothills of the Absaroka Mountain Range. I can’t wait to explore the other DRA dude ranches around Cody, Wyoming. Check out the list of the nearby ranches below and imagine the memories to be made at these vacation destinations.  

7D Ranch The 7D Ranch is Cody, 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. Weekly trips into Yellowstone NP.       

Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch in Shell, Wyoming, is 300,000-acre working cattle, riding & fly-fishing ranch. This upscale all-inclusive quality ranch is located 60 miles East of Cody, Wyoming & Yellowstone National Park. Limited to around 25 guests per week. Quarter, Paints, Gaited & Mustang horses. 4 languages.       

Rimrock Ranch Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, halfway between Cody, Wyoming and the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. This dude ranch is family owned and operated since 1955. The week is filled with riding, rafting, rodeo, and an all day tour of Yellowstone. Heated pool, hot tub and fishing pond.    

   

Ecotourism and Sustainable Practices Happen Year Round at Dude Ranches

 

Did you know that the UN World Tourism Organization predicts that there will be a whopping 1.6 billion eco-inspired trips taken by 2020? While ecotourism is an up-and-coming trend, DRA-accredited guest ranches have been the pioneers of green living and sustainable vacations for decades. From growing organic food and using energy-efficient appliances to making their own biodegradable fuel, dude ranches offer guests the ability to enjoy travel while reducing their “footprint.”

 Besides offering green living, a dude ranch vacation provides you with the ability to reconnect with nature in some of the most tranquil and pristine areas of the country. You’ll learn to “live off the land” with fishing trips, bird watching, hikes, wildlife viewing and much more.

 Below please find a sample of some of the DRA’s accredited ranches that are particularly well suited for those in search of a more sustainable vacation.

Smith Fork Ranch - Crawford, ColoradoSmithfork-Gardening

Celebrating farm-to-table cuisine is an important part of Smith Fork Ranch. Their own farmstead garden cultivates over 80 varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemicals.  Additionally, with the ranch’s access to 1.3 million acres of the Gunnison National Forest and West Elk Wilderness, the ranch has a nearly unlimited and untouched outdoor kingdom.

Wilderness Trails Ranch – Durango, Colorado

This Colorado guest ranch collects bottles, cans, plastic and paper from approximately 45 guests and 35 staff members that stay at the ranch each week and loads a larger trailer to take into town 30 miles away. While staying at the ranch, guests can enjoy an exceptional horseback riding program, unsurpassed wilderness and lake access, phenomenal fishing, an award-winning Never Bored Kids Program, mountain biking opportunities, overland tours, indulgent spa treatments, taste-bud tantalizing cuisine, specialty events and more.

Rocking Z Ranch – Wolf Creek, Montana

Utilizing recycled vegetable oil, this guest ranch first started powering a stationary diesel motor to pump water for irrigation. It worked so well, the ranch now uses vegetable oil to make biodiesel after taking out the fatty acids. They use this to run the tractors, loaders, an excavator, dozer and diesel pickup during the summer months.

Diamond D Ranch - Stanley, Idaho

Situated in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states and family owned, Diamond D Ranch is completely cut off from the power grid as electricity is provided by the ranch’s very own hydro-electric generator. At the ranch, there is an endless amount of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish and mountains in which to hike or horseback ride.

Eaton’s Ranch – Wolf, Wyoming

This Wyoming dude ranch and working cattle ranch is located on the magnificent, pine covered eastern slopes of the Bighorn Mountains. Just eighteen miles west of Sheridan, the ranch consists of 7,000 acres of beautiful open country with rolling hills, grassy meadows and hidden valleys.  A historic Wyoming dude ranch for 135 years, it offers guests a true western experience and way of life. Many new ranches have embraced and implemented modern elements into their ranches. Conversely, Eaton’s Ranch has managed to preserve its authenticity, with cozy cabins, many of which date back to the early 1900s.

Black Tail Ranch – Wolf Creek, Montana

Come discover the beauty and partake in new adventures on a historic guest ranch near the continental divide. Explore majestic mountain trails on horseback or by hiking accompanied by our experienced guides. Try your hand at fly fishing on one of Montana's premiere rivers, enjoy bird watching, cave exploring, incredible wildlife viewing, go for a swim in the creek or spend the afternoon in the shade of the big Cottonwood trees. This well-appointed working guest ranch on 8000 acres of spectacular Big Sky country is perfect for individuals, family vacations and gatherings of all kinds.

 

 

Vacation of a Lifetime at a Dude Ranch

A Dude Ranch Vacation is all about YOU, the guest. All member ranches of The Dude Ranchers’ Association are committed to making sure you have the vacation of a life time.  With our warm Western Hospitality, outstanding horses, great food,  inviting accommodations and our spectacular locations, we guarantee a vacation you and your loved ones will not soon forget. Dude ranches are ideal places for kids, families and couples to re-discover each other, without the typical distractions of this fast paced world we live in. Families spend time together enjoying horseback riding, hiking, fishing, river rafting, working cattle, children’s programs, evening programs and much more.              Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest while horseback riding at White Stallion Ranch or golfing at the world class golf course at Rancho de los Caballeros.                Whether you are a seasoned angler or simply want to give it a try,  stake out some private shoreline for amazing fly-fishing in Wyoming at Red Rock Ranch or Paradise Ranch.                In Montana, Glamping or “Glamorous Camping” has come of age at the Bar W Ranch and there isn’t a more fitting place to explore the wilderness of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem than at Lone Mountain Ranch.                Looking for a little more adventure while learning how the “real cowboys” made a living?  Check out The Hideout Ranch and the Red Reflet Ranch during their cattle weeks.                For some spectacular views of Teton National Park, you can’t beat Moose Head Ranch located at the base of the Tetons. Ride the high meadows of Goosewing Ranch and The Gros Ventre River Ranch while gazing at the spectacular views of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.                At Eatons’ Ranch in Wyoming and the Latigo Ranch in Colorado, they honor their heritage by providing a traditional dude ranch experience. Both ranches are family owned and operated offering great food, amazing horseback riding and, of course, true Western Hospitality. So what are you waiting for, come experience the Original all-inclusive Western Vacation at its Best!!

This year, give the gift of shared adventure to your other half

The season of love is fast approaching and couples will begin to ask themselves two questions: Is it time to get engaged? And what am I going to get my other half for the holidays or Valentine’s Day? While the traditional gift ideas of jewelry, roses and candy may make for a touching token of love, we challenge you to think outside the box and consider some stats.

According to The Knot, 39 percent of couples get engaged during the “season of love,” the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. Regardless of whether you’re ready to propose – or to be proposed to – statistics like this put pressure on men and women to find the perfect gift to stand out from the crowd. According to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association, the gift of travel may be the perfect solution as 63 percent of couples think a getaway is more likely to spark romance than gifts of any size, and 7 percent think simply traveling inspires romance.

 This year, give the gift of shared adventure to your other half. Imagine a rustic romantic getaway, complete with horseback riding, outdoor adventure and bonding – the perfect backdrop for an epic proposal. Or a passionate weekend for foodies filled with delectable gourmet dishes and carefully selected wine pairings that the two of you can indulge to your heart's content. When it comes to love, a vacation at a dude ranch resort has all the ingredients necessary to make your love swoon with delight.

 Vista-Verde-Drive-Cattle

Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado - Winter Romance- Whisk away your sweetheart to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a romantic winter wonderland.  Ask for the Valentine’s Day romance package, and we’ll start your Valentine’s Day off with breakfast in bed, followed by a day of as much outside activity as you desire.  In the afternoon, we’ll treat you to a private sleigh ride complete with hot toddies to keep you toasty warm.  Following that, the chefs will delight your taste buds with their Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac dinner.   The rest is up to you to enjoy the serene setting, the cozy cabin and the bubbling hot tub with views of snow covered meadows and mountains.

Red Reflet Ranch, Wyoming - Back by popular demand - Valentine’s Dining at the Red Reflet Ranch, Ten Sleep, Wyoming.  Dine in the Main Lodge and relax by the crackling fire while you enjoy spectacular views overlooking the Chugwater Formation of the Canyon.  Extraordinary dining experience and six-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Matthew Cariveau.  Overnight accommodations available in our luxuriously appointed chalets.  Offering Valentine’s Dining on two nights: Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15.  Now taking reservations.  $40 per person.  Make plans early – this will sell out!  Click here for online reservations.

Vee Bar Ranch, Wyoming - Winter Getaway Package - This package could be called the Deluxe Escape Package.  The package is designed for winter enthusiasts!  This is the perfect package for guests who want to experience everything.  The Vee Bar staff will make sure that you get the most out of your vacation while exploring the Vee Bar, the Snowy Range Mountains, and local attractions.  Guests will need their own transportation to and from the activities off property.  A three-night minimum stay is required to purchase this package.  See our Winter Getaway Package Sample Schedule for activity and meal details.

 

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Western Dude Ranches Appeal to Worldwide Travelers

There are some folks that drive across their home state or province to visit a dude ranch.  Others make a trans-Atlantic journey and don’t speak the same language as their hosts. Colleen Hodson, Executive Director of the Dude Ranchers’ Association says Western dude ranches (found throughout the plains, deserts and mountains of the US and Canada,) have mass appeal. 

DRA Brown Tag -1In fact, it seems they cross cultural barriers.  “I would say about 10 to 20 percent of our dude ranch guests are European, with folks from The UK and Germany representing the largest share,” notes Hodson. What is the tremendous lure of the Western dude ranch?  For starters, there’s the call to adventure, exhilarating freedom instilled by the wilderness, definite experience of place, sociability and camaraderie. 

 For more than a century, these are a few of the elements that have enticed visitors from around the globe and keep them coming back year after year. The opening of dude ranches in the American and Canadian West to paying guests has a long and illustrious history.  Media reports on the Western adventures of Teddy Roosevelt followed by the “Western” movie and prime time television shows like “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza” fueled the public’s fascination in the US and abroad with ranching and cowboys. 

In 1926 the Dude Ranchers’ Association was formed to represent the interests of the rapidly growing industry. Today the organization remains strong.  More than 100 ranches in the Western US and Canada are members of the DRA, as it’s often called. Each DRA member ranch has its own distinct character and charm. Before selecting a ranch visitors are encouraged to contact the DRA for suggestions of ranches matched best with their own style and preferences.  

There are several factors to consider including the classification of the ranch into one of three broad and sometimes overlapping categories.

Types of Western Ranches

First is the traditional Dude Ranch, centered on the horse and horse related activities.  Guests can ride to their hearts content and try their hand at wrangling, barrel-racing and may even perform in the weekly ranch rodeo. People who prefer this category of ranch tend to love horses and other rugged outdoor activities. 

 

The Resort Dude ranch includes riding as an activity along with many other pursuits and a variety of onsite facilities in addition to the stables.  These ranches are generally larger, able to accommodate more guests at one time and often appeal to the traveler who opts for a vacation with more luxuries. 

Finally, there’s the Working Dude Ranch.  These ranches are working cattle or sheep operations, with the riding adventure dictated by the work schedule surrounding the livestock.  Visitors of these ranches are immersed in the life of a working cowboy. The decision upon which ranch to visit is a personal one.  But it’s highly recommended the ranch selected is a DRA member.  This guarantees visitors from near and far that it  meets the highest industry standards in quality, safety, and authenticity.  (Not all ranches that apply for DRA membership qualify.  In fact 30% do not meet the strict standards!)   

Ranches accepted for membership are on probation for two years.  Every DRA ranch is inspected on a regular basis to ensure high DRA standards are maintained. No matter how far folks travel to reach their DRA ranch vacation destination and no matter what language they speak they can be reassured knowing a quality vacation experience awaits them.

 

 

Experience the Beauty of Fall at a Dude Ranch

Don’t just walk through the leaves, ride through the leaves as dude ranches are the original all-inclusive destination for fall travel, and it’s never too early to start planning your getaway. Imagine horseback riding under a canopy of technicolor fall foliage ranging from glorious reds, bright yellows, and vivid oranges.  Some of the nation’s best leaves can only be seen when you get off the major highways and head out to the winding country roads. Choose from guest ranches in Arizona or Colorado where fall changes the Aspen leaves or book a getaway to a dude ranch located near or within a National Park such as Triangle X Ranch located in Grand Teton National Park or Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which borders Buffalo River National Park in the Ozark region of Arkansas.

As the air cools down and the days get shorter on a dude ranch, fall fishing, hiking, and of course, horseback riding  are popular outdoor activities among guests to enjoy and take in the beautiful colors of fall. Many ranches also offer fall photography workshops to help guests capture the natural beauty of the autumn season. For those dude ranches that are actual working ranches, fall means cattle drives, and guests are often invited to join these memorable and one-of-a-kind drives.

Triangle X Ranch Sunset Creek fall

 While many people tout the benefits of “all-inclusive vacations,” few realize the variety of choices out there and that not all are created equal. Guest ranch getaways offer numerous advantages such as no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary and no hidden fees. In addition, dude ranches are the ideal all-inclusive destination for families of all types and sizes, especially multi-generational families with a wide variety of interests and abilities.

 The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) can help travelers and travel agents choose the perfect guest ranch for their fall getaway from its more than 100 DRA-accredited guest ranches in North American (two in Canada). Ranging from luxury resort-style ranches to working ranches, all of these dude ranches uphold the highest quality of services within the industry.

 

Fall is a Great Time for Couples to Visit a Dude Ranch

Flat-Creek-Fall-Tetons

 

When the kids get back on the bus it’s time for parents to get back in the saddle for a classic Western getaway.  From the latter part of August through October, dude ranches are a couples’ best bet to rekindle romance and replenish spirit.  And the price is right too!  

The height of summer finds most ranches filled to capacity with families.  In fall couples have their pick of dude ranches with September traditionally a time for adults only.  No need to break the bank for airfare, car rentals or a dozen tanks of gas, since for many American’s and Canadians, a ranch is found within less than a day’s drive.  And with rates including meals, riding, other activities, and accommodations, it becomes an even more attractive getaway.

To narrow the search and ensure high quality standards, consider only ranches belonging to The Dude Ranchers’ Association.  There are more than 100 DRA, as it’s known, ranches in the Western US and Canada.  Since 1926, the DRA has kept the bar raised high for the industry.   Travelers can be assured of an authentic Western experience and high standards of quality at any DRA ranch.

Spectacular dude ranch scenery is at an all time high in autumn when aspens sport yellow cloaks and icy mountain streams swirl with fat trout.  These are the conditions found at Northern California’s Hunewill Ranch.  Just East of Yosemite National Park, couples have their pick of packages this fall.  There’s the “Escape to the Ranch” weekend package in early September, or in the latter part of the month an “Autumn Getaway.”  For those with a little more time the “Fall Color Ride,” September 27 - October 1 is a dramatic adventure. 

 The only traffic passing Waunita Hot Springs Ranch  is an elk or two.  Perched high in the Colorado Rockies, surrounded by Gunnison National Forest land, time is measured only by shadows cast by the sun.  Add to the remote location an immense swimming pool, bathhouse and hot tub fed by natural hot springs and any cares or worries melt away.  The remote retreat caters to adults only August 25 - September 28. 

“An outpost of unpretentious comfort” is how folks describe the Spotted Horse Ranch in NW Wyoming.    An Orvis affiliate, and host to a trout fishing school, The Spotted Horse draws riders and angler from all over the world.  Sixteen miles from the Western resort town of Jackson Hole, it’s far enough away from the action that guests can enjoy solitude, but get a taste of city amenities like art galleries, fine shopping and sizzling nightlife.  In September and October this Wyoming paradise is reserved for adults only.  

The Dude Ranchers' Association was formed in 1926 to preserve this special way of life and the wonderful environment in which dude ranching takes place. When you vacation at a Dude Ranchers' Association Dude Ranch, you can be sure of a quality vacation. Membership in the Association is a rigorous two year inspection and approval process, to assure that guests are treated to genuine western hospitality combined with the lodging industry’s highest standards. Our Dude Ranches offer all-inclusive vacations that are perfect for everyone, from the littlest rancher to Grandpa and Grandma.  Horseback riding, hiking, petting zoos, swimming holes, rodeos, fishing, games, skeet shooting, archery, art classes, cooking classes and more await your discovery on your next Dude Ranch Vacation.  Horses, Hats, History and Hospitality - they're the foundation of every ranch. There is a little cowboy in all of us... come find yours...

Live a Movie Moment through Real-Life Working Cattle Drives

For a truly memorable vacation, nothing beats a Western cattle drive. Straight from the big screen, these working cattle drives, offered through various members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, transform a movie moment into a real-life vacation experience unlike any other.

The cattle drive experience varies from ranch to ranch, with some ranches providing only two drives (one in the spring and one in the fall) while others offer cattle drives almost every day. The purpose of the drives, however, is universal—move cattle from one location to another without losing any animals along the way. Guided by expert wranglers, cattle drive participants shoulder important responsibilities as they keep the herd together, chase down stragglers, and stay on the move.

For just a taste of the cowpoke life, dude ranch visitors can participate in cattle drives that last only a few hours. When cattle need fresh water, new grass, or simply a change of pace, a cattle drive is the answer, and on working dude ranches, guests saddle up with the hired hands to make things happen.

Days-long cattle drives fill the urge for the morFocus Ranch-Riders on the Mesae adventurous to taste the true Western experience. These drives often include river crossings, mountain riding, and range roaming as the herd travels miles from one location to another. Of course, long days of riding are rewarded with evenings of fly fishing, card playing, and other rest and relaxation—just like in the cays of the real cowboy.

Cattle drives appeal to riders of all levels, although some riding experience is obviously beneficial. However, there’s no better way to improve riding skills and abilities than to spend a day in the saddle riding with a purpose. The exhilaration of combining real work with real pleasure is impossible to ignore, and nothing beats riding herd in the board expanse of the Wild West.

 Of course, no cattle drive is complete without plenty of good grub, and every DRA member provides outstanding cowboy cooking. After a day on the range, ranch guests love the hearty meals, down home entertainment, and cozy lodging that are the hallmarks of every dude ranch experience. 

Since 1926 The Dude Ranchers' Association has been helping folks find quality ranch vacations by establishing and enforcing high standards for its members. The association’s original membership of 35 ranches from the Yellowstone area has now grown to 100-plus member ranches in 12 western states and 2 Canadian provinces. In spite of this growth, the Association today remains dedicated to preserving the beauty, natural resources, and the original western ranch experiences that attracted the first visitors.

For more information about a real working cattle drive or any of the other unique features of a dude ranch vacation, or to request a brochure, call 1-307-587-2339 or visit www.duderanch.org.

Hunewill Circle H Guest Ranch

Bridgeport, California Phone: +1 760-932-7710 Hunewill Ranch is a family owned and operated cattle and guest ranch located near Yosemite National Park in the beautiful Bridgeport Valley. Horseback riding and cattle work are our featured attractions for a vacation experience suited to families, singles, or couples.    

McGarry Ranches Rexburg, Idaho Phone: +1 866-593-4455 A working ranch with a herd of approx 2,000 head, managed on approx 55,000 acres in the Big Hole Range of the Rocky Mountains. If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the working cowboy while riding daily in scenic mountains we invite you to cowboy up with the ranch crew. Major Credits Accepted    

Klondike Ranch Buffalo, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-362-2982 Klondike Ranch is a working cattle ranch with accommodations for 6 to 10 adult guest 14 years and older. We trail the cows and calves to the mountains the end of June and back home the end of September. Throughout the summer we move them from pasture to pasture. Our guests are welcome to join.    

Rowses 1+1 Ranch Burwell, Nebraska Phone: +1 308-346-5530 The 1+1 Ranch invites you to experience the old west & life as a Cowboy on a Real Working Ranch. Guests can participate in all ranch activities & can expect up to 6 hours a day in the saddle. New log cabins, delicious meals, great horses & tack await you. Dont Just Dream the Cowboy Dream... Live It!    

G Bar M Ranch Clyde Park, Montana Phone: +1 406-686-4423 An Authentic Ranch Experience -AGRITOURISM G Bar M is a Working Ranch, which means we are an operating horse and cattle ranch that encourages guests to share in our lifestyle.    

Focus Ranch Slater, Wyoming Phone: (970)583-2410 A traditional ranch, guests contribute to the successful yearling cattle operation. Ride for a purpose in beautiful landscapes. Fly fish in the Little Snake. All ages enjoy participating and experiencing the cultural heritage. Since 1938, generations have embraced the authenticity of Focus Ranch.

Experience the Outdoors on a Pack Trip!

Have you ever dreamt of horseback riding for miles in wide open spaces? Then a pack trip might be the perfect adventure for you!  Pack trips allow you to experience amazing landscapes, wildlife and pristine fishing waters that you can only get to from the back of a horse.  Most dude ranch pack trips can be customized and tend to include guides and staff that take care of all of the details for you including camp set up and cooking.  The trips tend to range from 3 days to 10 or more and can be designed around novice riders as well as those with more experience.  Please check out The Dude Ranchers’ Association ranches below for more information  or call us here at the office at 866-399-2339.

 

 7D Ranch

Cody, Wyoming Phone: +1 888-587-9885        

Absaroka Ranch

Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-455-2275    

Broken Arrow Lodge and Outfitters Alder, Montana Phone: +1 406-842-5437        

CM Ranch Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-455-0721      

Covered Wagon Ranch Gallatin Gateway, Montana Phone: +1 800-995-4237                

Diamond D Ranch Stanley, Idaho Phone: 800-222-1269        

JJJ Wilderness Ranch Augusta, Montana Phone: +1 406-562-3653        

Paradise Guest Ranch Buffalo, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-684-7876      

Seven Lazy P Guest Ranch Choteau, Montana Phone: +1 406-466-2044      

T Cross Ranch Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-455-2206        

Triangle X Ranch Moose, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-733-2183      

Cowgirl Getaway Weeks!

 Whether it’s mother-daughter time, a sisters’ get-together, or just friends catching up, Cowgirl Getaway Weeks are one of the best ways to escape while grabbing that much needed "girlfriend" time.  Kick your boots off and let your daily worries and stress fade away in the comfort of good company, generous hospitality, great horseback riding and much, much more. Listed below are just a few of the great ranches that offer weeks where you can focus on "girl time".   Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Emigrant, Montana Phone: +1 800-548-3392 Just 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park, we have spent over 80 years perfecting our rustic elegance on nearly 9,000 acres of beautiful rugged countryside in the heart of Montana's Paradise Valley. We invite you to explore the vacation of a lifetime here at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.   Bar W Guest Ranch Whitefish, Montana Phone: +1 866-828-2900 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. Beautiful vistas and rolling ridges adorn the Montana countryside of this cozy dude ranch. Located on Spencer Lake between two pine covered ridges, families, adults, singles and groups alike, have 3,000 acres to explore and 3.5 miles down the road from this serene wilderness is the vibrant resort town of Whitefish, offering up the finest in shopping, dining, theater, and nightlife. Friendly staff, scrumptious food, great riding and wonderful accommodations await you at the Bar W   Red Horse Mountain Ranch Harrison, Idaho Phone: +1 888-689-9680 Located on 300,000 acres, the ranch is 1.5 hour drive from the Spokane International Airport, near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Full service, all-inclusive vacation is available from June through October. Booking now for 2013 Summer. 15% off All rates until January 1st, 2013!     White Stallion Ranch Tucson, Arizona Phone: +1 888-977-2624 Immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere of the Southwest. You will experience the aura of a real Western ranch combined with present-day comforts and conveniences. Varied riding program, guided hikes, full bar & excellent food. 41 rooms, heated pool, fitness center, gift shop & meeting room.     Smith Fork Ranch Crawford, Colorado Phone: +1 855-539-1492 Smith Fork Ranch is a private luxury destination nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains amidst thousands of acres of the West Elk Wilderness and the Gunnison National Forest. SFR offers unique western adventures, gracious hospitality, superb farm to table cuisine and an award winning wine list.     Wilderness Trails Ranch Durango, Colorado Phone: +1 800-527-2624 Reconnect, Relax, Recharge! Experience the Best of the West with an exclusive vacation with Wilderness Trails, the Durango-Silverton Train, & famous Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado -a "Top 10 Town of the West"! World-class riding, hiking, fishing, dining, kids programs, adults-only weeks, & more

Dude Ranches and National Parks

Moosehead-Kids-Lake-Swimming_edited-1In honor of National Parks Week, I wanted to share with you a great summer vacation idea located nearby some of most visited national parks in America, according to a recent study released by the National Park Service: a dude ranch vacation. As ecotourism is becoming more popular than ever, the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s dude and guest ranches have been the pioneers of green living and green vacations for decades. At a guest ranch you can reconnect with nature in some of the most tranquil, pristine areas of the country and learn to “live off the land” with fishing trips, bird watching, hikes, wildlife viewing and more. Below, please find a sample of DRA-accredited ranches located right in the heart of or near some of the country’s top national parks.

  • Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the 20 largest national parks in the United States. There are two DRA ranches located within an easy drive of the park, which is known for its abundance of wildlife and more than 700 miles of hiking trails. A day trip to Glacier National Park from Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch and Bar W Guest Ranch is highly recommended.
  • Several DRA-accredited guest ranches are either located in or bordered by national parks. Both Moose Head Ranch and Triangle X Ranch are located completely within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park, a location that attracts nearly four million visitors per year to northwestern Wyoming. White Stallion Ranch borders Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, while Tanque Verde Ranch – the largest DRA-accredited ranch in terms of acreage – is less than a 10-mile drive. The Buffalo National River – America’s First National River – runs through Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, which borders Buffalo River National Park in the Ozark region of Arkansas.
  • Many dude and guest ranches are located within an easy day trip from national parks. Located in the north-central region of Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is a short, scenic drive away from not one but four DRA-accredited ranches: Drowsy Water Ranch, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch and C Lazy U Ranch. Pikes Peak – a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains – is within an hour drive of Tarryall River Ranch. Dude ranch guests can drive to the top, take the Pikes Peak Cog Rail (the world’s highest cog railroad), or enjoy a panoramic view of Pikes Peak from one of Tarryall’s trail rides.

Many Dude and Guest Ranches are Offering Spectacular Savings During their Shoulder Guest Seasons

Shoulder seasons are the weeks before and after the main season begins and ends.  A ranch will sometimes offer added values like a massage, private riding lessons or a fine bottle of wine upon check-in etc. They may offer a repeat guest discount, a group of more than 20 people discount or an early bird booking discount.  Some ranches will  offer special packages during these times as well like fishing packages, riding only packages, horse clinic packages, shorter stay packages,  pack trips packages,  overnight camping and much more. We know finding the perfect ranch match for your family can sometimes be hard so The Dude Ranchers Association wants to help, give us a call at 866-399-2339 or shoot us an e-mail and we will do all we can to help you find that perfect ranch for your family. Any time is a great time to make memories with your family so what are you waiting for let us help you make memories that will last a lifetime!!!

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch Red Feather Lakes, Colorado Phone: +1 (800) 357-4930 Family dude ranch vacation in the Colorado Mountains; Smallest smallest of the CO member ranches. Western Horseback Riding; NOT nose-to-tail; we love teaching beginners! A relaxed, stress-free, hassle free, easy going atmosphere that only a very small family dude ranch can enjoy. Sundance-Trail-Arena-Rodeo

Smith Fork Ranch Crawford, Colorado Phone: +1 855-539-1492 Smith Fork Ranch is a private luxury destination nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains amidst thousands of acres of the West Elk Wilderness and the Gunnison National Forest. SFR offers unique western adventures, gracious hospitality, superb farm to table cuisine and an award winning wine list.

Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch Quincy, California Phone: +1 (800) 334-6939 A truly all inclusive guest dude ranch vacation, we provide the perfect location for family vacations, reunions, weddings, corporate and business retreats, meetings, special events, equine guided education and so much more. Still serving up the best hospitality in the west!

Goosewing Ranch Jackson, Wyoming Phone: +1 888-733-5251 Here at Goosewing Ranch, we combine the lifestyle of ranching in the Wyoming wilderness with many of the modern refinements that make your visit with us especially enjoyable. Remote with spectacular scenery overlooking and close proximity to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Excellent horseback riding, fly fishing, newly remodeled outdoor heated pool and hot tub, and kids activities.

Paradise Guest Ranch Buffalo, Wyoming Phone: +1 307-684-7876 Celebrating 100 years of FUN in 2007. Tucked away in the scenic Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Luxury log cabins with fireplaces, outdoor decks & spacious living rooms.

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch McLeod, Montana Phone: +1 877-496-7848 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.  

THREE BARS CATTLE & GUEST RANCH Cranbrook, British Columbia Phone: +1 877-426-5230 Three Bars GuestRanch, The Adventure Ranch of the Canadian Rockies, invites you to experience the ultimate horseback riding vacation. Located just south of Banff National Park, Three Bars Ranch offers the most diverse activities program available anywhere. Voted Canada's #1 Dude Ranch 2011.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa Jesmond Clinton, British Columbia Phone: 1.800.253.8831 Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is located in the pristine Cariboo region of British Columbia. Surrounded by wide open spaces and tranquil wilderness, Echo Valley offers horseback riding, hiking, fly-fishing, gold panning, bird watching, rafting, golf and a world class spa.

Three Ranches - Book Review

Life on a ranch can be lonely, hard, breathtakingly beautiful, often ironic, and sometimes downright hilarious. Welcome to one family’s three ranches. From the Jacket Cover: "How, in this day and age in the United States, do you run a successful guest ranch, manage thousands of acres of land for livestock and wildlife, and raise top quality beef cattle? This is the story of three Western ranches, two in southern Wyoming and in northern Colorado. They have been owned since the 1960s by the extended family of Charles C. Gates Sr. One is a guest ranch; the other two are working cattle operations. All three confront a daily challenge to survive and thrive." By Will and Deni McIntyre, with an introduction by ranch managers Lissa Howe, Justin Howe, and Mark Dunning. Will and Deni McIntyre have photographed at the A Bar A guest ranch almost every year since 2002. For this project they brought in their scope to include the Big Creek and State Line Ranches as well, recording a year in the life of all three spreads. “For the text, we had access to wonderful archives both private and public,” Deni McIntyre says. “They held documents going back to when these ranches were homesteaded. I selected excerpts that helped tell the story, and they became the background of the book.”

Book Reviews The Western ranch is an American icon that few people experience first-hand. In Three Ranches, Will and Deni McIntyre present an intimate, well-researched, visual story that includes historic photographs and excerpts from the personal memoirs of people who have called these ranches home. The McIntyres bring their sense of humor, friendship, and personal appreciation of these ranches to this wonderful book. If you only buy one photo book about ranching in the West, this should be it. For more information please visit: www.abararanch.com/three-ranches/

A Bar A Creek Fishing Boat

Great Leaf Peeping in the National Parks

USA Today Travel recently wrote an article discussing how national parks are a great place to experience the beautiful colors of fall.  The article mentions of The Dude Ranchers' Association's very own Triangle X Ranch located in Grand Teton National Park.  Following is an excerpt.

by David and Kay Scott, NationalParksTraveler.com

As the days grow cooler and darkness lingers a little longer, it's time to savor the brilliant colors of fall. The glorious reds, bright yellows, and vivid oranges produced by oaks, maples, cottonwoods, sumac, and other broad-leaved trees and shrubs become a visual treat in much of the country. What better place to view this grand spectacle than a national park? What's more, children are back in school and crowds are down. Some national park lodges even offer discounts during this shoulder season. Here's a sampling of parks with lodging facilities.

The Western Parks  For foliage colors farther west consider America's first national park, Yellowstone, and itssouthern neighbor, Grand Teton National Park. A fall visit to either of these Wyoming parks avoids the summer crowds and is likely to result in more wildlife sightings. Peak time for the leaves is generally from mid-to-late September and early October. Yellowstone has nine lodging facilities spread throughout the park. All are managed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts. Closing dates are frommid-September to mid-October (travelyellowstone.com; 888-297-2757). Grand Teton National Park has five lodging facilities, three of which are managed by Grand Teton Lodge Company (gtlc.com; 800-628-9988):

Colter Bay Village  closes in late September;

Jackson Lake Lodge  and Jenny Lake Lodge  each close in early October.

Signal Mountain Lodge  with 79 cabin units, including a few with kitchens, closes in mid-October (signalmountainlodge.com; 307-543-2831).

09_TRIANGLEX_07_001-001Triangle X Ranch  is a dude ranch that requires a four-night minimum stay from September to the first week in November when it closes for the season (triangleX.com; 307-733-2183). According to Triangle X employee Megan Johnson, the park has been through a relatively dry year and the aspen and cottonwoods have already started to change colors, a process that is likely to last through early October. For more information or to make reservations please visit www.trianglex.com or call 307-733-2183

A Week On An Authentic Wyoming Ranch - Reading, Writing and Riding

By:  Janet Rodgers, Contributor to Forbes Magazine April 9, 2012 Hankerin’ for a creative, outdoor adventure this summer right here in the U.S.? The historic landmark Vee Bar Guest Ranch in Wyoming (2 ½ hours from Denver) beckons.  Authentic ranch is framed by the Snowy Range Mountains, pasturelands with real cattle, and cabins dotting the shore along the Little Laramie River. The Vee Bar, 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! Open to those at any level of writing and riding skills, Page Lambert, award-winning author and writing coach, and Sheri Griffith, legendary sportswoman/adventurer, invite you for one unique week, June 2 – June 7, 2012.  “Through the Eyes of the Horse – Literature & Landscape of the Horse Retreat” will surely rekindle even the most dormant of creative fires. Learn what horsemanship can teach us about our own natural instincts instead of relying only on the intellect. Basic requirements for the retreat: you’ve got to be interested in equine culture, be happy to ride, and you should be able to read and write. The retreat is tailored to fit each individual – so let them know your creative goals (writing, painting, photography, journaling) and your horse-related/nature-related interests…

  • The Riding Part: Sheri teaches herd dynamics, communicating with horses, horses as working animals, horses (and us) as sensate beings in a sensate world, horse heartbeats, grooming and tacking up. Rides will be out in the open (abreast of one another) in 3 different groups – leisurely walking, trotting, and fast track. Each group has two wrangler guides, and the groups are fluid – ride with one group one day, then switch to a different one.
  • The Reading and Writing: Page leads literature discussions about horses and animals as characters, reads aloud appropriate excerpts, and shares the wisdom of ‘horse whisperers.’  She encourages immersion in the natural world, keeping journals, and dispenses fun, short writing prompts.

$300 will hold your horse.  Oprah loves these two gals and this retreat!  Cost: only $1490. Click: http://www.pagelambert.com/horse_literature.html Or write directly to page@pagelambert.com. You can also contact the ranch at 800-483-3227 or visit www.veebar.com for more information and to make reservations.

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