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Testimonial of the Week

Vee Bar Guest Ranch
"This trip was a life changing event for us. It made us think of the rat race we are living and to slow down a bit. We had a great week and loved our horses, the guests and the staff. Thank you Vee Bar. We will return with more of our friends." -Dani & Shane

Live Like a Cowboy at the Historic Vee Bar’s 4th of July Jubilee

Laramie, Wyo.--Nestled in the shadows of the Snowy Range Mountains along the banks of the Little Laramie River, the Vee Bar Guest Ranch has a rich history that stretches back over a hundred years, and travelers who want to celebrate the 4th of July “Old West style” will have the opportunity to visit the ranch for an Independence Day Jubilee. Located just 2 1/2 hours north of Denver, this offers an easy and economical destination for road-trippers who want a change of scenery that’s not too far away.

The fun begins with trail riding, river tubing, fishing, and hiking early in the week. Later in the week, guests will be able to team-pen cattle, move some 400 cows and calves from one pasture to another, campout, and ride in the mountains, just like the cowboys of the Old West. On Friday evening, July 3rd, local musicians perform music to dance to, while the celebration continues. Dance until dark and celebrate the Fourth with an assortment of fireworks right on the ranch. Add a seventh night to the package and enjoy Fire in the Sky in Laramie, compliments of the Vee Bar. Fire in the Sky begins on the Fourth with a concert in the evening and a great fireworks display afterwards. The event kicks off Jubilee Days, Laramie’s hometown rodeo, and a week of festivities.

The highlight of the week for many, however, is the Vee Bar’s legendary horseback riding program. Horseback riding is the quintessential cowboy activity and by far the best way to see new country. What sets the Vee Bar’s horseback riding program apart is that guests are assigned one horse for the week so they have the opportunity to bond with their horse. Their horseback riding program is diverse to suit the needs of everybody in the group, and riders are not asked to ride head to tail in an uninspiring line and loping rides are offered.

All of this is enhanced by the accommodation, which is comfortable and inviting. The cabins and lodge offer antique furnishings from the Vee Bar's rich and colorful past. Perfect for a week-long vacation or a weekend getaway, the cabins are in close proximity to the Snowy Range Mountains. Whether travelers are looking for a romantic mountain getaway or a rough and tumble family vacation, these warm and inviting cabins will be a perfect fit.

Dates: June 28th-July 4th, 2009. For more information about the Vee Bar Guest Ranch, visit the website or contact Kari Kilmer at 307-745-7036. To Read more...

Guest Ranches Are Resilient When Faced With Economic Challenges


Dude ranchers are a savvy breed and know how to adapt to challenging economic conditions. Simply said, they know how to ride the storm out. It is no accident that Paradise Ranch, a western wilderness retreat in the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming, has been around for over a century. The owners know the hospitality business and have a faithful following of visitors. Guest ranch vacationers know that all activities, meals and lodging are included in one flat fee.

Buffalo, WY (March 31, 2009) – Paradise Ranch, near the Old West town of Buffalo, Wyoming, has stood the test of time. “Paradise Ranch has been operating as a guest ranch for over 100 years. Our visitors recognize the fact that this is a cost-effective way to vacation.” says Paradise Ranch owner Clay Miller. Upon arrival, guests can put away their wallet because cash won’t needed for a full seven days. All activities, meals and lodging are included in one flat fee.

On a week-long stay at Paradise Ranch, guests can go horseback riding, perfect fly-fishing skills, hike in the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area, eat authentic cowboy cuisine, and stay in a cozy cabin for one all-inclusive price. To read more about the rates and the guest ranch options Click Here.

Guest Testimonial of the Week

We visited the Red Rock Ranch in Kelly, Wyoming for the week and we would highly recommend it to those who seek thrilling landscapes, a fine management and staff operating the facility, overwhelming kindness and courtesies, superb riding and teaching skills by staff, good food, five star rooms and cabins; we are not strangers to Dude Ranch getaways and have visited 3 of the finest ones out there; we move Red Rock to the top of our list and we plan to return there, without any doubt. R. Gordon, Miami.

Saying Goodbye to Two Dude Ranch Pioneers

The Dude Ranch Industry has lost two of their “pioneers” this last month, DRA Hall of Famers, Leo Hargrave of Hargrave Land and Cattle Guest Ranch and Nancy Ferguson of Eaton’s Ranch. They truly helped make the industry what it is today. Please take a moment to tip your hat to these two great dude ranchers’ I know they will be missed by all.. Nancy Ferguson Nancy Eaton Ferguson, 88, of Wolf, passed away at her residence on July 21, 2009. Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be at Eatons’ Ranch at a later date. Born Feb. 28, 1921, in Sheridan to William and Patty (Alderson) Eaton, she attended Sheridan schools and was a graduate of Sheridan High School. She married Tommy Ferguson at Eatons’ Ranch on Sept. 5, 1942. She was the Sheridan Rodeo Queen in 1939, served on the Wolf Creek School Board, the Hospital Auxiliary Board, and was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Wyoming, the Book Review Club, and was Lady President of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. She was preceded in death by her husband; a brother, Billy Eaton; and a daughter, Judy Ferguson. Survivors include her children, Susan Van Allen, Patty Kaufmann, William Ferguson, and Thomas J. Ferguson, Jr.; 10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Memorials may benefit the Nancy Eaton Ferguson Sheridan WYO Rodeo Scholarship Fund, c/o First Interstate Bank, PO Box 2007, Sheridan, WY 82801. The service  will be held on September 19 at the ranch at 4:00 p.m. and we will have a cocktail reception immediately following. Leo Hargrave: Charles Leo Hargrave, 87, died Saturday, July 11, 2009, at his home in Laclede, Kansas. Leo was a man of many talents honed from a humble upbringing during the Great Depression and WW II. Leo married Ellen White of Laclede, KS, June 10, 1978. He built their Charolais operation and surrounding lease lands to the point that he was recognized as a model of sustainable environmental grazing practices. The couple simultaneously built a dude business on the cattle ranch. Guests from around the world joined them for the next 20 years in Living the Legend of a Montana cowboy. Leo spent 6 years helping to guide the Dude Ranchers’ Association as a board member and was honored with induction to the DRA Hall of Fame in 2007.

New Release of "The Bar BC Chronicle"


“Conversations in building a real western experience”

An oral history of the Bar BC Ranch Jackson Hole Wyoming

By Renee Howard Smelker

To Purchase a copy please contact Casey Morton  (307) 733-0466 or email
amorton@bresnan.net

Here is the Book's Forward...

Against the stunning backdrop of the Teton Range, the story of dude ranching in Jackson Hole unfolds. Dudes came from outside the West and sought to hire accommodations, horses, and guiding and hunting services from local ranchers. Early visitors were often attracted to this remote country through Hollywood westerns, dime novels, and advertisements by railroads that fostered a sense of romance about this part of America. They visited the West seeking adventure, their notion of the Wild West, and a glimpse of that romantic American hero, the cowboy.

In Jackson Hole, dude ranching began in early years of the twentieth century. One of the most famous and beloved dude ranches was the Bar BC. It was founded in 1912 by Struthers Burt and Dr. Horace Carncross, both easterners and pioneers in the dude business. The location of the Bar BC was ideal. It was near the Snake River which provided water and excellent fishing. It was nestled below a bench beneath the Grand Teton which provided privacy for the ranch but rewarded its dudes with spectacular views of the Teton Range. Untouched lands and wild animals surrounded the ranch.

Burt and Carncross ran a successful and popular dude ranch. The Bar BC offered its guests an informal lifestyle and a family atmosphere. Dress was casual. Dudes favored horseback-riding, pack trips, hunting, and fishing. They enjoyed dances and dude rodeos. By the late 1920s, the heyday of dude ranching, the Bar BC was the best known dude ranch in Jackson Hole.

The later years of the Bar BC were directed by Irving Corse and Bill Howard. In 1937, Burt sold his interest in the Bar BC to then partner Irv Corse in order to devote himself to writing. Corse had come to the ranch as a truck driver in the early 1920s, and eventually became the foreman and then a partner in the ranch. Howard began work as a wrangler at the Bar BC in 1922 and became the foreman seven years later.

Letters between Irving Corse and Bill Howard tell the story of the Bar BC in the years after Burt and Dr. Carncross operated the ranch, spanning the time from 1929, after Carncross’ death, to 1942, when Howard left the ranch. They were compiled by Bill Howard’s daughter, Renee Howard Smelker, who spent most of her youth at the Bar BC Ranch where both of her parents worked for about 20 years. Smelker’s notes, drawn from her memory, supplement the letters and provide local color.

Interestingly the letters provide a glimpse into the operations side of a dude ranch rather than the fun and romance of the dude’s life. Through the years of correspondence chronicled in the book, a picture of the routines and concerns of maintaining a dude ranch, which also ran a cattle operation on the side, becomes clear. A sense of the challenges of work in the isolated and harsh environment of Jackson Hole and in a changing economy emerges, as does a feel for life in the valley and the importance of neighbors and friends. The tale is all the more compelling because it is told by the people who lived it.

The Bar BC Ranch holds a special place in the hearts of many who have lived in or visited Jackson Hole. Because of the work of Struthers Burt, the ranch is one of the most historically significant dude ranches in the valley. Unfortunately it lies in ruins today. Through the correspondence presented in this work, the later history of the ranch is captured in print, providing an engaging story for those wanting a taste of Jackson Hole’s past.

Lokey Lytjen
Executive Director
Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum

Guest Testimonial of the Week

Folks email the DRA office daily looking for their next dude ranch vacation...and occasionally they write back to "thank us" for a great experience.

Thank you very much for your directory and help in assisting me with selecting a great dude ranch for August 2009. We returned this past Sunday from the Vee Bar Guest Ranch near Laramie, WY and had a wonderful time! It was my first dude ranch experience and found Wyoming to be a beautiful state. I have passed along your website to numerous employees and friends letting them know how easy it was to narrow down our search with your directory and how helpful you were. Thank you again and I hope to return to the Vee Bar next year. The Cole family and staff made my sister and I feel very welcomed and comfortable. Elaine from PA!

Guest Testimonial of the Week

My family has been coming to the Flying A since 1997...in all, we've spent at least 14 weeks with Deb and Keith (more than once we've visited two weeks in one year!) They have a fantastic herd of horses and they always pick the perfect horse for every guest. The remote location is part of the charm as we like to get away from the world and enjoy the fresh air and camaraderie that develops as a result of the small number of guests. The wranglers, led by Marcus, are very knowledgeable and safety-conscious and will take you on trails during the week that will take your breath away. You won't see the same trail twice (unless, like us, you have favorite trails and request a repeat visit!) Moose, elk, mule deer, sandhill cranes, antelope, bald eagles and more await you and your camera. Sunsets, rainbows and more stars than you can imagine await you! The weather is perfect for riding...cool at night and pleasant during the day. If you go in June, you'll see the babies as they are born and in September, the changing colors of the leaves on the aspens are amazing. The terrain varies and you can see open vistas, mountains, lakes with the reflection of the clouds and the grazing horses and wooded areas...it just depends on where you go. There are all-day rides with a picnic lunch or half-day rides with amazing luncheons in the lodge. If you don't ride, then the hiking and fly fishing should keep you busy. After dinner, there are activities like horseshoes, poker, darts, movies, games or...since you've had a busy day and tomorrow brings more of the same...a comfortable bed and a good book. Or, you could spend a few minutes and download the photos that you took during the day and share them with your friends and family!! Overall, this is a most relaxing vacation and we can't recommend it more highly...adventure during the day and luxury in the evening....a perfect combination. Montclair, NJ

New DRA Ranch Members

Membership in the Dude Ranchers' Association is not automatic. Dude ranches applying for membership go through a rigorous two year inspection and approval process. It includes an application fee, a detailed written application, references from former guests, an appearance before the board of directors and on-site inspections during operations. These inspections focus on safety, livestock management and hospitality industry standards for all aspects of the ranch. Approximately 70% of the ranches that apply meet the high standards of the association and go on to become members.

Once accepted, ranches go through a year of probationary membership during which they undergo a second on-site inspection. Only after a satisfactory second inspection are they admitted to full membership. Once a full member, all ranches are accredited every five years.

At the 2009 Fall Board of Directors Meeting, there were seven ranches accepted on probationary status. The following ranches are in the first year of our two year application process. They are:
Hidden Meadow Guest Ranch, Arizona
4UR Ranch, Colorado
Zapata Ranch, Colorado
Lonesome Spur Ranch, Montana
Lazy E-L Ranch, Montana
K Diamond K Ranch, Washington
Red Reflet Guest Ranch, Wyoming

There were also seven new ranches accepted for full membership into the DRA. They are:
Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch, Nebraska
Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Idaho
Bar W Ranch, Montana
Covered Wagon Ranch, Montana
Geronimo Trails Ranch, New Mexico
Crossed Sabres Ranch, Wyoming
Rancho de los Caballeros, Arizona

The Dude Ranchers' Association has been preserving western ranch vacations by establishing and maintaining strict standards, while protecting the land and wildlife for over 80 years - We encourage you to “Ride the West with the Best!”

Song of the Year Nomination...

Bryan Ragsdale, dude ranch entertainer and songwriter, has been recognized by the Independent Singer Songwriters Association for his song "Modern Day Mountain Man." Bryan's song has been nominated for Country Song of the Year by the Independent Singer Songwriters Association. It is a huge honor and he needs you help. You can go to www.issa-music.org to vote for Mountain Man or the song of your choosing. Please pass this on to all your friends, family, folks you don't know....help me put the Rocky Mountains back into mainstream music. Good Luck Bryan!!

ADULTS ONLY WEEK: September 5-11, 2010

The Red Rock Ranch, info@theredrockranch.com www.theredrockranch.com

Book your Adult Only vacation now that the kids are back in school. We have a small ranch setting so these spaces will fill up. Please contact me if I can answer any questions.

A testimonial from a past guest.

Please let your staff know how much we appreciated the top notch service they gave us all week; happily accommodating all sorts of things from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to changes in rides! The most impressive thing to me was that you and your staff seemed genuinely happy to serve us. Not that I would have expected anything else but, I never felt the least bit patronized. Nor did I ever get a hint that all of the work you did for us was ever done begrudgingly. To be frank, this has not been my experience at other places. Certainly not on the whole scale version we received at the ranch! Truly a unique and special pleasure. I'm looking forward to my next visit.

Where the Deer And The Antelope Play...

The following appeared in the article "Where The Deer And The Antelope Play" written by Vera Marie Badertscher, on guest ranches that is in the Rolls Royce Owner's Desk Diary 2010. Just thought I would share it with you... In Wyoming, the Flying A Ranch provides classic dude ranch experiences tucked away in a secluded area 50 miles from Jackson Hole and 75 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Log cabins with names of pioneers were part of the original dude ranch in 1929 and have been restored to today’s comforts, including Wi-Fi. With a maximum of 14 guests in six cabins, wranglers and staff can concentrate on what you most want from your vacation. Whether you want to learn to cast a fly, identify some natural features on a trail ride, or just sit on your porch and watch the deer and antelope roam, you can find it here. Pilates and yoga classes, in-cabin massages or facials, and cooking classes can be arranged at certain times. Gourmet meals on white china and crystal end a day on the range. No pets here because of the wildlife. This ranch is exclusively adult (over 16). All inclusive. Weekly rates (ask for three to four days when they are not full). Open the third week in June through late September, but call by April to assure a space. Flying A Ranch 771 Flying A Ranch Road Pinedale, WY 82941 307.367.2385 www.flyinga.com

7D Ranch Horsemanship Clinic with Spencer Dominick

This exciting opportunity will be at the beautiful 7D Ranch in Sunlight Basin, WY from July 25th through August 1st. Bring your own horse or ride one of the wonderful ranch horses to improve horsemanship techniques, while gaining real mountain experience and meeting new challenges. Spencer will teach group horsemanship clinics and lead scenic trail riding adventures. Picturesque mountains, rivers, and valleys offer the perfect setting to work on a partnering relationship with your horse and to practice practical skills. Participants and their family members will stay in one of eleven comfortable cabins and can enjoy all that the 7D has to offer such as hiking, biking, fishing, wonderful meals and a children’s program. The week is sure to be an exceptional, comprehensive, and fun-filled experience. Spaces are limited, so that everyone receives individual attention. Please contact us to reserve your spot. Spencer Dominick is an accomplished and enthusiastic horseman. He specializes in starting horses and mules as well as helping with problems in older horses. His training techniques are based on kindness, consistency and building trust with each horse. In addition, Spencer enjoys working with people and helping them to achieve a harmonious relationship with their horses through teaching communication, understanding and proper riding. He teaches private lessons as well as several clinics each year in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Georgia. Also, he is a teaching clinician for the
Montana Horse Sanctuary. Spencer and his wife Dale live in Wilsall, MT with their two daughters, Perrin and Nora. For more information Contact the 7D Ranch.

Guest Testimonials of the Week

Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, Montana


“Our visit to the Bar W was two-fold. Firstly it has been a lifelong dream to visit Montana after years of writing to a pen pal here as child. Secondly it was to overcome a fear of horse riding as a result of a near fatal accident n the UK. Our visit here has met all our expectations, dreams and more! The careful management of the ranch by Ted is evident in all his people show have a “can do” attitude at all times (with safely and fun built in at all times). A special mention must go to Dave whom without I don’t believe I would have trusted myself to overcome my fears and enjoy the rest of the week. Thank you Dave! We would like to give special mention to Mandy who is not only a talented rider but a beautiful photographer and talented girl. Justin we thank for his manner and caring smile. James we thank for his fun and taking us on trails that needed to be ridden. Steve we thank for his kindness and genuine interest in people. Leah we thank for showing us some of the most stunning scenery in the world and her caring nature. Above all I must thank Blue Duck for taking care of me and restoring my faith in horses, they are God’s special creatures. If I could pack him in my suitcase I would take that gentleman home! Thank you all for a super holiday. We will be back.” I wrote this in 2007 and indeed did return to the Bar W in 2009 to experience the Cowgirl Up for the first time. In life we are taught never to go back as it may not live up to our memories, however, coming back here has broken that myth! The 2009 holiday afforded me time with friends, old (met at the Bar W in 2007) and new, fabulous riding thanks to Buster and as expected professional and knowledgeable staff whom have truly been a pleasure to interact with especially as they predict our needs before we even know we have any! I will be back!!! Thank you to everyone at Bar W! The Bar W in Montana is a little piece of heaven and I thoroughly recommend you visit soon. Pauline, Scotland, UK



Kay El Bar Ranch, Wickenburg, Arizona

The Most relaxing place on Earth, Kay El Bar we'll be back - My Wife and I had our second visit to the KL last year. It was like coming home. Everyone is so friendly, Guests and Staff. It is like one big family. The rides are amazing and tailored to your ability and what you would like. Fast paced loping ride or a long scenic mountain hike. All day ride with lunch overlooking fabulous canyons. Nothing is too much trouble the wranglers are great fun but professional too. The food is amazing, simple home cooking with family style seating discussing the rides and views and enjoying being relaxed. You don't need to think for the week you can just … be….and at the end of the day the sumptuous bed just floats you off to dreams of being a cowboy. Ready and refreshed more of the same. Not once did I want to see a TV, Phone or Newspaper, nor did I ever want to again. I could seriously live that life. Our second visit will NOT be our last. I seriously cannot stress how stress free a visit here is. It is well worth the 11hour flight in fact it is a positive bargain when you feel that stress just pour away into laughter. Thank you Kay El Bar. Daniel, West Sussex, England.



Spotted Horse Ranch, Jackson, Wyoming

Well I just returned from our trip out west with my daughter, son-in-law and my husband, I'm thankful we ended our final day of our vacation at the Spotted Horse Ranch. If we would have started our vacation at the ranch we would have not left to our other locations. The personal treated you like family, we where there only for a few days and felt we knew these people forever. The was a little of something for all of us. I am not a horse person but did go out riding a few times and was amazed at the view and how well the horses responded. We went whitewater rafting, hot springs swim, fly fishing which is more my thing, ate wonderful food and enjoyed entertainment in the evening at their private Saloon. I have been telling everyone about it and can't wait to return, but this time for the full week. If you haven't tried a dude ranch, this is the place, you will not be disappointed. Sincerely, Kathy Rader, Kenosha, WI.



Drowsy Water Ranch, Granby, Colorado

I have been to Drowsy Water Ranch five times and can't wait to get back this spring. I have taken several different friends with me, including my 82 year old aunt, and they all loved it. The valley is beautiful, the owners are so nice, and the staff goes out of their way to help you. Not only do you get to ride great horses, but you can go white water rafting, eat breakfast on the mountain top, square dance, hike in some of the most beautiful areas, kids can catch trout (and then eat them if they want to), wade in a mountain stream, see all kinds of wildlife, eat great meals (I gain 5 or 6 pounds every year), and so many more great things that I would have to write a whole page. They make you feel at home the whole time you are there plus they have so many activities you never miss the television or telephone. I especially would recommend Drowsy Water for folks with children. They have a wonderful children’s program with activities for all ages. I have seen so many happy first time riders, young and old. It is amazing what they can do for beginners in just a week. This is a great place for a vacation and I will be going back every chance I get. Paulette, Kentucky.

Wyoming Dude Ranch Vacations

This article was published on the USA Today Travel Tips by by Jennn Fusion, Demand Media.  Its worth reading....
Wyoming dude ranch vacations date back to the 1880s when people visited city slicker friends who had retreated to wilderness horse and cattle ranches. The railroads brought weary travelers through Wyoming, prompting entrepreneurs to charge room and board. Dude ranch vacations offer "get away from it all" relaxation in a unique setting. At first glance, they appear expensive, but prices include meals, accommodations, horse riding and entertainment -- making it easier for families to budget. Click here to  read the rest of the article and see the top picks...

Dude Ranch Vacations for Singles

Although a dude ranch is not typically associated with singles activities, a healthy, invigorating outing somewhere in the big-sky country of the American west can bring people together just like any other shared interest. Dude ranches also foster social activity with amenities such as trail rides, a hot tub, sauna or community-style meals. Although most dude ranches cater to families, there are a number that reserve special weeks for adults only or singles.

Heart Six in Wyoming

Heart Six Ranch, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, features adults-only weeks in June and August that attract singles, according to reservations specialist Joy Miller. A typical group includes 12 to 15 singles, says Miller. Heart Six offers views of the spectacular Grand Tetons. Its reputation has been built on “comfortable lodging, hearty meals and plenty of western hospitality,” its website says. Activities include horseback riding, guided tours of Yellowstone National Park, white-water rafting and fishing. Amenities include a hot tub, sauna and massage.

Tumbling River Ranch Singles

Tumbling River in Colorado

Although its offers no singles week, Tumbling River Ranch, 62 miles southwest of Denver in Grant, Colorado, features an adults-only week that attract singles, according to co-owner Megan Dugan. Adults-only week is either the last week in August or one of the first two weeks of September. Opened in 1940 and owned by the Dugan family since 1975, Tumbling River features accommodations with fireplaces, private bathrooms and outdoor balconies. Activities include horseback riding, pack trips and white-water rafting. Amenities include a hot tub and sauna.

The Dude Ranchers’ Association

The Dude Ranchers’ Association provides free services to anyone looking for a ranch that matches their tastes and preferences. “Quite a few dude ranches do singles weeks, but it varies from year to year,” says Dude Ranchers’ Association spokesperson Katie Krasselt. “By our estimate, there are about 80 ranches that host adults-only weeks, which attract a lot of singles. My guess is that there are about 18 to 20 that are currently doing real singles weeks.” If you’re interested in their help, contact them via their website.
Read more: Dude Ranch Vacations for Singles Dude Ranch Vacations for Singles eHow.com  
 

Top 10 Dude Ranch Vacations

Janna Graber wrote this great piece for AOL Travel and was kind enough to allow us to share it with you. Horseback riding, gorgeous scenery, downtime and tasty meals are all part of a dude ranch vacation. There are no TVs, phones or other distractions at most ranches, but ah heck, you won't miss them anyway. You'll be too busy having fun. Ranches vary in style, size and amenities, but generally fall into one of three categories: dude ranches, which focus on riding; working cattle ranches, where guests work alongside ranch hands; and resort dude ranches, which offer an array of upscale amenities in addition to riding. Dude ranches can be found all over the U.S. and Canada; most are in the west. The Dude Ranchers Association lists more than 100 member ranches, but here are some of our favorites:  Read More...

A Memorable Place to Book a Family Reunion

Wyoming Office of Tourism LeisureGroupTravel.com April 2011 by: Heather Lee Look no further than Wyoming’s dude ranches for a memorable family reunion. The opportunities are endless. Featuring abundant grasslands, spectacular mountains, canyons and deserts, Wyoming’s natural beauty is picture-perfect and world-renowned. The state is home to two national parks and two national monuments that draw tourists by the millions. Yellowstone National Park is known around the world for its hot springs, geyser activity and glacial ice forms. Grand Teton National Park boasts the jagged Teton Range Mountains with some peaks soaring over a mile and a half. Devils Tower National Monument is a stump-shaped rock formation that rises 1,280 feet. Fossil Butte National Monument features brightly colored fossil beds at the base of a bluff that rises more than 7,500 feet above sea level. Along with these noted landmarks are countless national forests and rivers that provide settings for the dude ranches in Wyoming. “It’s all about history, hats, horses and Hospitality. Experience the West in true cowboy country.” That’s the slogan for the Wyoming Dude Ranchers Association, founded in 1926. Dude ranches, also known as guest ranches, are typically family-owned and -operated. They provide tourists the opportunity to experience life in the West. Horseback riding, fishing, hiking and cattle driving... see more at Wyoming Dude Ranch Getaways

Cowboy Yoga with Richard Odom at the 7D Ranch

Come join us August 21 - 25 for 4 days and 4 nights at the 7D Ranch in the beautiful Sunlight Basin. Experience horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing, and yoga with Richard Odom. Richard has been teaching his own, unique brand of yoga in Sun Valley, Idaho for over 30 years. His vast experience is evident in his teachings which are creative, imaginative and humorous. For those who have never done yoga or those who consider themselves experts, Richard has a way to reach everyone.  www.richardodomyoga.com Please contact for information please contact: Meade & Andrea Dominick ranch7d@wyoming.com PO Box 100 Cody, WY 82414 Reservations/Fax:  307-587-9885 Toll Free:  888-587-9885

Homegrown Hospitality

Guests and employees of 85-year-old Triangle X Ranch keep coming back.
By Findley Merritt, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 29, 2011
This is the 35th year Jim Luebbers and Agnes Bourne have come to Triangle X Ranch. They nestle together on a log bench surrounding a campfire, awaiting the clang of the wrought-iron triangle that signals dinner is ready. As a sliver of dimming light illuminates their faces, Bourne’s eyes shift from the wranglers to her granddaughter playing with an insect on a blade of grass nearby, towering Tetons behind her. “This is what it’s about,” she says, pointing. “The magic of a place like this.” For 85 years, folks like Luebbers and Bourne have come to Triangle X to get a taste of that magic, feeling nature’s uninhibited pulse flowing through them. While other ranches have shuddered at the first wisp of a hard economic wind, Triangle X has remained steadfast, cultivating a devoted staff and guest community where second and third generations return to work or vacation. The Turner family has always been the face of the ranch, beginning when John S. Turner, wife Maytie Turner and sons John C. and Bert bought the property in 1926 after a series of summer visits sparked a love affair with the area. The property was never intended to be a guest ranch. John S. Turner wanted to show the surrounding homesteaders how to raise potatoes, but the frost killed his plans for a budding industry. Luckily, the ranch’s strategic and desirable location served as a perfect resting place for weary travelers and hunters, fully morphing into a guest ranch when Turner began renting the cabins in 1926. In the late 1920s, the Turners sold the Triangle X land to Rockefeller’s Snake River Land Company. The ranch became part of Grand Teton National Park in 1950. All through those years, the Turners have continued operating the dude ranch, for the past 61 years as an authorized national park concession. Turner hospitality is legendary.  (read more)

Go West, Young (or Old) Man

I enjoyed this article so much that I wanted to share it.  by Ron Loretti of The Skinnie Magazine   A little change of pace this time: I took a break from profiling active and former military men and women and headed west. I drove my car across the country and back, stopping to play cowboy a bit along the way. My two favorite western states are Oregon and Wyoming, for different reasons. Oregon: My daughter, Leslie, lives there, and 28 months ago she and her husband, Eddie, became the proud parents of little Rudy, our only grandson. What makes this exceptional is the fact that Leslie was slightly on the long side of 40 and never thought she would become a momma. But she did, and Rudy is now a new joy added to our family tree. Understandably, we now visit Oregon as often as possible, in spite of the fact that the only states farther away from Georgia are Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Delta Airlines is happy about Rudy, too. Then there’s Wyoming. I used to hunt there almost every year, trekking over the southeastern mountains and prairies of the Cowboy State in quest of antelope, deer and elk. I became permanently captivated by the relaxed-yet-pioneering spirit of the people and the wide-open spaces. I loved the contrast to the hustle and bustle of my industrial and commercial world east of the Mississippi. As I got older, the hunting took a backseat to family, business and other pursuits. But I always knew I’d head back to Wyoming someday. With another visit to Rudy as motivation and the wilds of Wyoming still beckoning, I tossed a suitcase into my convertible and headed northwest on I-16. I would make the cross-country trip by car – age (mine) and distance (long) be damned. Six days later, I pulled up in front of Leslie’s house in Portland. My daughter and her young son were sitting on the porch waiting for me. Rudy did not seem shy around a grandpa he sees only every so often. It was a great visit – the zoo, parks, restaurants, playtime, sightseeing. The sun even shone occasionally, in spite of the Pacific Northwest’s well-earned reputation for rain. A few days later, I put the car on I-84 and headed toward Wyoming, the second part of my journey. A thousand miles later, I arrived in Saratoga, Wyo., an authentic western ranching, hunting, fishing and cowboy town, little changed from my visits there a few (or more) decades ago. It still has a saloon with swinging doors, wooden floors, a long antique bar and hitching posts outside (although instead of horses, there were a couple of long-haul motorcycles waiting for their riders). One thing was noticeably different from the old days: The National Guard was in town sandbagging the low spots along the swollen North Platte River. Because of heavy rains and melting deep-mountain snowpacks, most rivers and creeks west of the Mississippi were at or near flood levels as I made my trip through the western states. The next morning I left for my final destination in Wyoming, the Medicine Bow Lodge, which is 22 miles west of Saratoga on a very scenic mountain highway. It is located in a secluded valley in the Snowy Range at the foot of the majestic Medicine Bow Mountains of southeastern Wyoming. The lodge’s sea-level elevation is 8,500 feet, with surrounding peaks, some still covered by deep snow in late June, clocking in higher than 10,000 feet. Medicine Bow Lodge is an activity-driven guest dude ranch that began 94 years ago as a basic hunting and fishing lodge. Today’s guests enjoy horseback riding (at all levels), fishing (in multiple lakes and streams), hiking, cookouts, overnight pack trips, skeet shooting, birding and various kids’ programs. Or nothing at all for those who just want to lie back and take it easy in one of the most beautiful areas of the West.  (read more)    

Work Like a Cowboy–and Help Open the Wilderness for the Summer

People visit dude ranches for different reasons, but many are seeking to taste the life of a cowboy and participate in wilderness adventures. During the first two weeks of the T Cross Ranch season, guests can help the cowboys break trail for the first rides of the season. Sitting at nearly 8,000 feet and bordering the Washakie Wilderness area, the T Cross Ranch closes its doors during the winter. As spring breaks in the high country, trails must be cleared (sometimes using a two-man crosscut saw). Join the cowboys as they hitch up a pack string and head out into miles of raw, untouched forests. This is a rare chance to view wildlife; many animals are still at lower elevations. Elk, bear, moose, mountain sheep, and wolves rule this land and we are merely lucky visitors. As the majestic, snow-packed Teton peaks, grassy, golden meadows, and splashing cobalt streams of Wyoming pass by, you won't be able to resist rolling down your windows. The climb through Togwotee Pass affords you and your family a glimpse of the famous Continental Divide at 9,658 feet elevation. Then, as the pine forests phase into red rock cliffs, you descend into Dubois. The paved US 26 highway eventually gives way to the winding and rocky Horse Creek Road, which slowly folds into the most beautiful country you have ever seen. The T Cross Ranch isn't far. Your car finally jostles under the overhanging arch indicating the entrance to the great T Cross. Ten cabins nestle cozily in the pine trees. And the jagged peaks of the Absaroka Range, named for the area's Native American heritage, tower over 13,000 feet. The horse corral sets down to the south, and you catch a glimpse of your new best friend. Atop the hand-picked and well-trained horses, the rugged mountain trails of the T Cross will reveal over the next week a myriad of wildlife, seen only in the greater Yellowstone area. The T Cross Ranch has a timeless magic that you and your family feel from the moment you open your car doors and step back to the Old West. The first sound you'll hear is a spritely bird song; the second is a warm "Howdy" from your hosts Mark and Gretchen Cardall. Welcome to the T Cross, the passport to your own personal frontier. For more information or to make a reservation please call 307-455-2206 or visit www.tcross.com

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.

The Country's Top Dude Ranches

Two of the DRA's dude ranches were recently showcased in an article in Parade.com and in the Sunday paper.  What an honor it is to have two of the 100+ ranches in our association chosen to represent the quality and authenticity that is so important in a ranch stay. Following is a little of what what said: Most Luxurious Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, Jesmond, B.C.  “Luxury” may not be the first thing that comes to mind with a dude ranch, but then again, neither does Thailand—yet Echo Valley offers both. The ranch exhibits clear Thai influences, from the spa treatments to the Thai silk accents in the rooms. Even the restaurant offers “Traditional Thai Night” every Thursday, spotlighting—what else?--authentic Thai cuisine. Most Authentic  The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch, Shell, Wyoming  While the Hideout offers activities like fly-fishing and trapshooting, it readily admits that most of it's guests come for the cattle work. That means branding, gathering and wrangling the thousands of cows, calves and yearlings on the ranch. You will not, however, have to cook your own franks and beans in a pot over a fire. The Hideout's fine dining from its Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef has earned rave reviews from its guests.   To read the full article please go to http://www.parade.com/news/2012/07/22-national-day-of-the-cowboy.html For more information about dude ranches please visit www.duderanch.org or call 866-399-2339

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). Triangle 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

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/

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. http://sundancetrail.com/summer-dude-ranch/dude-ranch-summer-rates/dude-ranch-summer-rates/   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. http://www.smithforkranch.com/lodging-amenities/rates-packages/   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! http://www.greenhornranch.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=47   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. http://goosewingranch.com/specials/   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. http://www.paradiseranch.com/rates/specials   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. http://www.hawleymountain.com/rates.htm     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. http://www.threebarsranch.com/rates_specials.php   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. http://www.evranch.com/cms.asp?wpID=482

Dude Ranches and National Parks

In 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 Bar-W-Sunrise-HDR-Mlargest 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.
  • White Stallion All InclusiveMany 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.

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

Experience the Outdoors on a Pack Trip!

4351Have 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      

All- Inclusive Dude and Guest Ranch Vacations are the Perfect Locations for Solo Travelers

3998While traveling alone may sound like a scary proposition, I’d like to share with you an all-inclusive destination perfect for solo travel: dude ranches. Dude ranches are the ideal vacation for those looking for much needed time alone, a new and exciting adventure, or even for those in search of making new friends. Guest ranches offer numerous advantages over other vacation options for those going solo, including:

 Intimate and Friendly Environment

When at a dude ranch, you instantly feel like a part of the family as there is great camaraderie amongst guests and staff. It instantly becomes your home away from home. Many guest ranches only accommodate up to 40 or 50 guests per week, which not only allows the staff to know your name but also results in you getting to know most of the other guests. Meals are often served family style so there are always guests to chat with throughout the day, making sure you never feel like you are on the “outskirts” if traveling alone.

 Group Activities

There is never a dull moment at a dude ranch. There are activities to keep you busy from sunup to sundown such as horseback riding, fly fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV-riding and much more. Plus, these activities are usually done in groups so you won’t encounter any “couples only” activities or events if you don’t want to.

 Adult-Only Weeks

Many guest ranches report fewer “couples” visiting now than in the past. As a result, many of these ranches host adult-only weeks in September. Activities during these weeks range from wine and cheese tastings, guided hikes, cooking classes, country dance instruction, cookouts, themed cocktail receptions and much more.

 Connect with Yourself

Dude ranches are a great place to spend time alone to revive your body, spirit and mind in some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. Whether it’s a rejuvenating day at the spa, an adventurous hike or a relaxing day reading a book under the sun, you are sure have plenty of quality alone time.

 Dude Ranchers’ Association

The Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA) is like your own personal travel agent, minus the fees, and can help you plan the perfect solo vacation. Whether you are looking for an authentic cowboy experience or a luxury resort, the DRA can customize the trip of your dreams. There are more than 100 DRA-accredited guest ranches in North America (two in Canada), all of which uphold the highest quality of services within the industry.

Triangle C Ranch

Dubois, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-661-4928 The Triangle C Dude Ranch is located on the Wind River, nestled between Jackson Hole and Dubois, Wyoming. We pride ourselves in being a true Wyoming Ranch - where our handshake is our bond and the coffee pot is always on!     Colorado Cattle Company & Guest Ranch New Raymer, Colorado Phone: 1-970-437-5345 Colorado Cattle Co. and Guest Ranch is located on 10,000 acres of grassland for cattle, rolling hills, canyons, streams and bluffs in Northeastern CO. This is not your typical Dude Ranch. This is a real working cattle ranch where the guests actually work cattle just as a real cowboy would.     Western Pleasure Guest Ranch Sandpoint, Idaho Phone: +1 888-863-9066 With ranch adventures for families, couples or singles, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, rich in history and family heritage, is Idaho's most northern ranch. Activities include horseback riding, skeet shooting, cattle sorting, mountain biking, hiking, children's programs, adult only weeks and more.     Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch Alder, Montana Phone: +1 800-735-3973 Upper Canyon Outfitters is nestled on the banks of the Ruby River, between three mountain ranges. Our family has been exploring these beautiful and wildlife-rich mountains since 1910. We are proud to offer a truly unforgettable Western Montana experience.     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.     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.  

Live a Movie Moment through Real-Life Working Cattle Drives

4544For 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 more 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.

Elevated Dude Ranch Cuisine at the Gros Ventre River Ranch

  Here at the Gros Ventre River Ranch, we offer a diverse menu with an emphasis on elevated and fresh dude ranch cuisine. Our Head Chef Becky Wetzel, along with Sous Chef Andrew Conn and Pastry Chef Joel Smith, have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen this season: read on to see what we’ve been up to in the GVRR kitchen! Pancakes and EggsIs your mouth watering yet? Give us a call at (307) 733-4138 to reserve your spot at the Gros Ventre River Ranch, where we continually serve up elevated dude ranch cuisine!Our breakfasts consist of a made to order Special of the Day, ranging from eggs benedict to GV pancakes, eggs to order, and a breakfast buffet consisting of fresh berries and fruits, yogurt, granola, a variety of artisan breads, bacon, eggs and a selection of juices.     IMG_0634Lunches range from classic roast beef sandwiches with horseradish mayo, homemade soups, and delicious taco salad buffets to our delicious traditional Lucy Hill cookout, complete with bison burgers, homemade chili, and more!         IMG_0662One evening for dinner we will be eating ribs, BBQ chicken, fresh grilled veggies and cornbread by the campfire, followed by s’mores and brownies ; the next night we are serving seared scallops or rack of lamb over risotto cakes with fresh asparagus, with a delectable homemade tiramisu for dessert.         Is your mouth watering yet? Give us a call at (307) 733-4138 to reserve your spot at the Gros Ventre River Ranch, where we continually serve up elevated dude ranch cuisine! 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...

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

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.

All Inclusive Cowgirl-HunewillSpectacular 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. 

WaunitaThe 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 n65016326556_2086743_5974096galleries, 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...

Western Dude Ranches Earn Four Star Rating as Corporate Meeting Sites

C Lazy U Corporate smallCODY, Wyoming—With the participants sequestered in remote locations, wrapped in spectacular scenery, and free from distractions, Western dude ranches are becoming an increasingly attractive venue for corporate meetings and conferences. Not just any ranch, but a member of The Dude Ranchers’ Association. 

For anyone assigned the task of finding a place to hold a company event, be assured a DRA membership guarantees the ranch is a superior ranch, maintaining the highest standards of quality in the industry.  There are more than 100 DRA Ranches in the Western US and Canada. They are only granted membership after a rigorous inspection and trial period.  In business since 1926, the DRA keeps the bar held high for the entire industry.

Many DRA ranches have conference facilities comparable to or better  thanthose found at local hotels.  What one won’t contend with at a ranch are numerous add-on charges for equipment, tacked on service fees, exorbitant taxes and a harried staff.  Although most DRA ranches are best suited for meetings of 50 people or less (we do have a few ranches that can host up to 200), chances are good it will be the only meeting “in-house.” 

 Ranches come with high-tech boardrooms, wi-fi, and high-speed Internet connection.  Microphones, podiums, multi-media equipment are available for use. Some DRA ranches have meeting planners on staff.  Others facilitate award-winning programs designed to teach managers and CEO’s new skills.  Add to this gourmet food, luxurious accommodations, fitness facilities, and in most cases exclusive use of the property and it’s difficult to find a more appealing site for corporate retreats, training seminars, incentive trips, and strategy sessions. 

 Package at an all-inclusive rate making meeting the budget a breeze.  And, the “exclusive use” policy guarantees every corporate event held at the ranch receives the full attention of the conference service staff.

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.     Averill's Flathead Lake Ranch Big Fork, Montana Phone: +1 406-837-4391 Flathead Lake Lodge is a family run Dude Ranch located directly on the shores of Flathead Lake. The Lodge offers the ultimate family vacation with unlimited horse & water recreation. Enjoy unmatched hospitality by the Averill family and staff and a truly priceless family experience...Montana style.     Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch Loveland, Colorado Phone: +1 877-667-3999 Much more than an historic working ranch, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch provides exceptional services for business & private meetings, holiday parties, picnics, reunions, family vacations, bed & breakfast, weddings, trophy fishing, horse riding, Heart-J natural beef & a variety of exciting outdoor advent     Tanque Verde Ranch Tucson, Arizona Phone: +1 800-234-3833 Located just east of Tucson, Tanque Verde Ranch Resort is one of the premier, all-inclusive dude ranch resorts in the country. You will find the perfect blend of western adventure, solitude and luxury amenities to make your next getaway unforgettable.     Eatons' Ranch Wolf, Wyoming Phone: +1 800-210-1049 Eatons' offers our guests the unique opportunity to ride one of our 220 horses unescorted with the permission of the Ranch. This allows guests the remarkable freedom to fully explore this beautiful 7,000 acres of country.    

Wyo. dude ranches sell 'horses, hats, history and hospitality'

T Cross Ranch  IMG_0984Joshua Berman, Special for USA TODAY Slowing down, cowboy style I'm visiting T Cross Ranch, a small, rustic guest operation in northwest Wyoming, with my wife and three daughters. As a schoolteacher about to start another busy year, I wanted to bring my family somewhere special before hectic schedules take over our lives — somewhere quiet, where we would be forced to turn off our toys and actually listen to each other. Holing up in a simpT Cross Ranch  IMG_0871le log cabin at the end of a remote mountain road seemed like just the ticket, and the old-fashioned family fun of a guest ranch seemed like the perfect level of excitement. T Cross's eight creaky lodgepole-pine cabins have wood stoves, basic plumbing, a few lightbulbs, and porches with grand views of the pasture and sky. The cabins are built around a main lodge and kitchen, and the ranch can accommodate no more than 24 guests at a time,who pay $1,690 for an all-inclusive six-night stay ($1,550 for ages 6-12). The biggest amenity, however, is the remote location, north of the town of Dubois in the Shoshone National Forest, surrounded on all sides by one of the most remote, rugged regions in the Lower 48. (Read More)

Experience the Beauty of Fall at a Dude Ranch

[caption id="attachment_2269" align="alignright" width="300"]horses smalll Paradise Guest Ranch - Buffalo, Wy[/caption]

 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.

 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.

 

Western Dude Ranches Appeal to Worldwide Travelers

Western Paradise Ranch 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.  In 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.

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

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 RefletRed 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 3Vee 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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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. White Stallion All Inclusive Golf Vacation Rancho de los Caballeros             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. Fly fishing red rock ranchFly Fishing Paradise Guest Ranch               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. Gamping Bar W Guest RanchHorse Lone Mountain 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. Afternoon Ride Hideout RanchRed Reflet Roping               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. Kids Moose Head RanchGoosewing Ranch, Riding the Ridge               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. Eatons RanchLatigo Ranch cattle drive               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!!

Ecotourism and Sustainable Practices Happen Year Round at Dude Ranches

09_TRIANGLEX_01_269Did 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.

Blog - smith forkSmith Fork Ranch - Crawford, Colorado

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.

4204Rocking 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.

4818Eaton’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.

family_campfireBlack 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.

 

 

Cody, Wyoming Dude Ranches

Yesterday 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 Buffalo At Cross Sabres Dude Ranch 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. Lodges UXU Dude Ranch 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.   Cowboys and Horses 7 D Ranch 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.       Cowboy Kids Hideout lodge and guest ranch 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.       Cowboys and Guitars Rimrock Ranch Wyoming 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.    

The One and Only Wyoming

Wyoming Bucking Horse Logo

The Iconic Bucking Horse Logo of 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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