Dude Ranch Vacation is the way to enjoy Eco-tourism in the US West

The High Lonesome Ranch Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Having a vacation is great, but it is even better to enjoy a vacation that respects the environment with the help of healthy practices. What does this mean? It means to have a great time and get the most of what nature provides without ruining its balance. We need time to relax and unwind, but it is worth knowing that we can do this without triggering a negative impact on the environment. There are already enough environmental issues these days and it is worth doing anything we can to minimize the impact of these issues on our environment.

If you are looking for eco-friendly vacations, it is worth knowing that dude ranches selected by the Dude Ranchers’ Association have their entire structure based on eco-tourism. They are dedicated to offering outstanding vacations while preserving natural ecosystems and teaching people how to enjoy their time without negatively impacting nature. By simply visiting a dude ranch, you will learn how to have fun while being eco-friendly, what to do to increase your recycling rates, and what practices to adopt for keeping nature intact. These ranches have been around for a while, but ever since they appeared, they have worked in perfect communion with nature. Now that they are accepting guests, things haven’t changed much, as these ranches are determined to teach people about ecologic responsibility and enjoying spare time in a responsible manner.

 

So, would you like to give eco-tourism a chance? Most certainly you will return home not just relaxed and refreshed, but also feeling much better about yourself, knowing you did something responsible to preserve the environment. Here is a list with some of the best dude ranches that promote eco-tourism and help guests enjoy the beauty of natural landscapes without triggering negative impacts.

 

1. Diamond D Ranch, Idaho

Diamond-D-View-Valley Eco-tourism

Diamond-D-Chapel-wedding  Eco-tourism

Still a family owned and operated business, the Diamond D Ranch will make you feel like part of the family, instead of just being a guest. This ranch is famous for the fact that it produces its own electricity, with the help of a hydro-electric generator. So, this self-sufficient farm has what it takes to allow you to enjoy a relaxing vacation while adopting a responsible attitude. You can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, pleasant walks to observe the birds and flora, fishing trips, or simply lounging by their outdoor pool. At mealtime, you will enjoy food just like you do back home. Everything is made by the hosts out of fresh ingredients and cooked like the dinner is made for their family. The atmosphere is very warm and friendly and living off the grid for a while can do wonders when it comes to replenishing your reserves of positive energy.

2. High Lonesome Ranch, Colorado

High-Lonesome-Lake-eco-tourism

High-Lonesome-Garden  Eco-tourism

Back in the days, farms were capable of providing everything that was needed for a family to survive. The same happens at the High Lonesome Ranch in Colorado these days as well. Everything needed is still grown at the farm, so every dish made here contains only fresh ingredients that are grown on the premises. Following a farm-to-table philosophy, the food is slowly cooked, so that it preserves the flavor, savor, and nutritional value. But there are more reasons to visit this farm than the food it provides. This is the best dude ranch to visit if you want to vacation and learn more about environmental responsibility. While enjoying your stay at the ranch, you can acquire a lot of knowledge about the conservation of nature, sustainable development, restoration of streams, and many other valuable pieces of information. Staying at this ranch can literally change your life, once you find out what you can do to make the environment a cleaner and safer place.

3. Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Zapata-Bison-dude-ranches-ecotourism

Zapata-Breakfast-Fire

The Zapata Ranch dedicates its entire activity to two main aspects. One is showing sufficient support to the ranching heritage specific to the West and the other is the conservation of natural landscapes and biodiversity in the area. If you really want to feel like being on a ranch while knowing that you’re doing something significant for the environment, you should visit the Zapata Ranch. Part of Nature Conservancy, this ranch deposits a consistent amount of effort into the preservation of ecosystems. A good example is the efforts deposited to transform a former golf course into what it once was, which means a pasture with native grass species, instead of a field of weeds. All the ecosystems and habitats from around the ranch are closely monitored and rehabilitation is done in a consistent manner. The goal is to give the area its pure beauty and maintain the local landscapes just as they were before mankind appeared in the area.

 

4. Flat Creek Ranch, Wyoming

Flat-Creek-Ranch-Trail- Eco-tourism

This particular ranch was founded back in 1921. Ever since then, the main purpose of the ranch was to preserve the local landscapes and biodiversity. It functioned in communion with nature and respecting it, still doing the same decades after. It is worth mentioning that the ranch acquired the Business Emerald Sustainability Tier for the achieved sustainability performance level. Only one more business in Jackson Hole managed to acquire the BEST distinction. In order to receive BEST, a business must follow rigorous criteria concerning environmental protection and sustainability at community and economic levels. Flat Creek is a ranch that operates entirely off the grid, so it is easy to see why sustainability is such an important aspect for them. If you want to enjoy the pure natural beauty and daily activities that are done with respect and awareness for nature’s health, this is the best place to be.

 

5. Laramie River Ranch, Colorado

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Laramie-River-Ranch-Family-Kids

Everything about this ranch is about creating a sustainable existence and limiting the impact on the surrounding environment. Electricity comes from green sources, such as wind and solar generated energy, the vehicles used are chosen to be the kind that produces low emissions, and as many materials as possible are recycled. Also, both food and agricultural leftovers are transformed into precious compost, which is later used to fertilize the ranch’s crops. The ranch also does its best to maintain clean air and water around the ranch, by choosing machines that create less pollution and adopting practices meant to maintain the quality of water at high levels. So, if you choose to stay at this ranch, you know that everything is made in a manner meant to reduce negative effects on the environment.

6. Goosewing Ranch, Wyoming

Goosewing-Ranch-Solar-Panels  Eco-tourism

Goosewing-Ranch-Riding-the-River - Eco-tourism

This ranch has a very healthy view of how things should be made to keep the guests and community happy while preserving the environment. The ranch’s team closely monitors the impact their settlement produces on the surrounding environment and devotes constant efforts to increase their level of sustainability. The truth is that only ranches that work hard on reducing their “footprint” on the environment are selected to be part of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. The Goosewing Ranch made it due to the fact that it is indeed environmentally sustainable. The ranch recycles used motor oil by utilizing it for heating purposes and harvests its own timber, by choosing ill or dead trees, leaving the healthy ones to reign the forest. Waste is reduced by using anything that can be re-purposed instead of just throwing it away. Also, every staff member receives proper training in order to embrace the best practices for environmental protection.

7. Rocking Z Ranch, Montana

Rocking-Z-Grounds-View -  Eco-tourism

Rocking-Z-Ranch-Loping -  Eco-tourism

The Rocking Z Ranch is another eco-friendly dude ranch that is worth visiting. Waste management is very important here, by re-utilizing everything that is possible instead of simply throwing it away. Even the horseshoes receive a different purpose once they accomplished their purpose, becoming bridle racks for old barn wood, which are both transformed into beautiful photo frames. Besides this, the team at this ranch does everything it can to keep their daily activities clean for the environment. The irrigation pump runs on pure vegetable oil, the pump engine starts and gets cleaned with bio-diesel, and horses are fed with barley sprouted in a hydroponic system. If you want clean air and a clean environment during your vacation, this ranch has what it takes to provide all these and more.

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Did you know that you have the power to change things? The Dude Ranchers’ Association supports sustainability through the Dude Ranch Foundation, created to protect and maintain land conservation. You can also be part of this plan and get involved too through the available membership program. It is your chance to contribute to a greener and cleaner tomorrow by joining a very dedicated team.

The popularity of eco-tourism has increased in recent times, as people become increasingly sensitive to the existent environmental issues. We cannot sit around and do nothing while the environment degrades every passing year. This translates in people’s desire to enjoy a cleaner vacation, with less impact on nature. Dude ranches have always been in great connection with nature and protected it from the beginning of their activity. These days, these ranches deposit efforts in teaching their guests in leading happier and healthier lives, while offering unforgettable vacations. Time spent at one of these ranches will show you that it is possible to have fun and enjoy all the comfort you can get, without posing a threat to the environment. Yes, technology may be less present over here, but the regained connection with yourself and nature are much more valuable than an Internet connection. Try an eco-friendly vacation at a dude ranch and you will never regret it.

Eco-tourism on Dude Ranch Vacations

If you are looking for eco-friendly vacations, it is worth knowing that dude ranches selected by the Dude Ranchers’ Association have their entire structure based on eco-tourism. They are dedicated to offering outstanding vacations while preserving natural ecosystems and teaching people how to enjoy their time without negatively impacting nature. By simply visiting a dude ranch, you will learn how to have fun while being eco-friendly.

This article was written in conjunction with Olivier James at Luxurytravelersguide.com

The 25 Most Popular Destinations for a Colorado Vacation at a Ranch

An outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland, Colorado is jam packed with breathtaking landscapes, and more than 300 sunny days a year for travelers to come and explore its diverse areas. From the spine of North America, the famous Rocky Mountains, to lush valleys and the easily accessible Denver Airport, Colorado is an obvious choice for all types of travelers - families, couples, solo travelers and business associates - who are looking for adventure. With an unlimited variety of outdoor attractions, scenic destinations and diverse wildlife, Colorado is urging you to explore. From cross country skiing, hiking a National Park or horseback riding through the country, Colorado has a long list of things to do all year. Read on to discover the best places to take a Colorado vacation. 

Take a Colorado Vacation

All of the 25 best ranches in Colorado will give you a wonderful vacation - each unique in its own way. 

Colorado Vacation

Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, CO 

Colorado Trails Ranch

Near Durango, Colorado the Colorado Trails Ranch is an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in the San Juan Mountains. This is definitely a great place to go if you are looking for excitement and relaxation on your vacation. The delicious home cooked meals, delightful cabins and activities for all ages makes this an incredible dude ranch experience. 

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch

Get packed and saddle up for a week at the Bar Lazy J Ranch. Just Southeast of Rocky Mountain National Park, this ranch is famous for recreation and relaxation. There are tons of outdoor activities, including a 1,500-foot zipline - and countless ways to sit back and unwind. 

Laramie River Ranch

Laramie River Ranch is known for horseback riding, but has so many well-developed programs and activities. Expert fly fishing, natural horsemanship demonstrations, team penning, naturalist programs for birdwatching, star gazing and wild flower identification makes the Laramie River Ranch a destination for those interested in an educational and fun outdoor adventure. 

Colorado Vacation

Laramie River Ranch - Jelm, CO 

Badger Creek Ranch

Ride out with the cowboy crew at the Badger Creek Ranch. You’ll get to do all the important tasks that makes a cattle operation run. Ready to fix a fence? Sort cattle? Go on an iconic cattle drive? Then Badger Creek is a great place for you. 

Black Mountain Ranch

Ready for a  Saturday afternoon cattle drive for the Black Mountain Ranch’s herd of long horn cattle? You’ll not be bored during the week while you wait, doing some of the most exhilarating outdoor adventures - loping rides, fly fishing, paddle boarding, skeet shooting, white water rafting and even a cookout in the Colorado sunset. 

The High Lonesome Ranch

If you are looking for your inner cowboy you can find it at the High Lonesome Ranch. Known for the nostalgic combination of the views of the Rocky Mountains, equestrian activities and culinary adventures this ranch has an assortment of things for everyone to enjoy.  

Colorado Vacation

The High Lonesome Ranch - DeBeque, CO

Zapata Ranch

As a working cattle and bison ranch the Zapata Ranch and Nature Conservancy offers guests the chance to experience what it takes to run a ranch. Have you ever seen a bison up close and personal? Here’s your chance! With a capacity of only 15 you’ll get a tailored vacation. You might even select one of their themed weeks to get more in depth on Western painting, photography workshops and some cattle working special events. 

4UR Ranch

The 4UR Ranch boasts 3,000 acres of adventure and 6 miles of private trout stream on the Rio Grand River. Not only this, but the ranch also has miles and miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding, a natural hot springs and top-notch accommodations. A well-rounded ranch no doubt. 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Everyone is welcome at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, from Grandma and Grandpa and the kids to your pet dog and best trail riding horse. There are a variety of different horseback rides from beginner to advanced as well as plenty of activities to do while not riding. You can even play a round of frisbee golf!

Colorado Vacation

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch - Red Feather Lakes, CO 

Drowsy Water Ranch

From infants to teenagers the Drowsy Water Ranch has a program and counselors in place with plenty of activities to teach your kids about the western cowboy lifestyle in Colorado. And there’s plenty to do here for adults as well!

Tumbling River Ranch

Shine up your cowboy boots for the evening entertainment at the Tumbling River Ranch. With live music and square dancing after a day in the saddle you’re sure to love this western ranch experience. 

Vista Verde Ranch

The vastness of the views at the Vista Verde Ranch makes you feel like your vacation experience is in high definition. You’ll have an unforgettable luxury experience that will bring you back year after year. 

Colorado Vacation

Vista Verde Ranch - Steamboat Springs, CO 

Cherokee Park Ranch

Have you always wanted to learn how to rope? Cherokee Park Ranch offers roping lessons for all age groups to learn one of the longest art forms of the cowboy. With hay rides, tubing the river and even art classes everyone will have something they really want to do when they aren’t horseback riding. 

The Majestic Dude Ranch 

The Majestic Dude Ranch is known as the ultimate adventure ranch. Along with spectacular horseback riding, the ranch offers paintball and laser tag, mountain biking, white water rafting, baseball, hiking and more. 

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch

You’ll never forget the Wind River Christian Dude Ranch. With a ministry component to the ranch you’ll fill your soul while in some of the most beautiful places in Colorado. 

Colorado Vacation

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch - Estes Park, CO

Elk Mountain Ranch

Elk Mountain Ranch offers an intimate Colorado dude ranch setting for your family. When you arrive, your hosts will tailor the experience to meet each guest’s needs for their vacation. And then you’ll get to settle in to cozy and comfortable cabins. 

Smith Fork Ranch

Fine dining at the private luxury destination of the Smith Fork Ranch is definitely worth writing home about. Farm to table cuisine, an incredible wine list and a view like non-other sets this ranch apart from all the rest. 

Lost Valley Ranch

Reconnect with the spirit of the old west at the Lost Valley Ranch. Set against 26,000 acres of public land in the Pike National Forest fresh mountain air has never been more pristine. And with a history that begins in the late 1800’s the Lost Valley Ranch invites guests to become a part of the story of the ranch. 

Colorado Vacation

Lost Valley Ranch - Sedalia, CO 

C Lazy U Ranch 

Located in Granby, Colorado, the C Lazy U Ranch is a top-notch resort ranch with the finest offerings for accommodations, food and of course outdoor adventure activities. With a capacity of 95 this location can host large groups of multi-generational families and offer tons of things to do for solo travelers and couples. 

The Home Ranch

Ready for a summer or winter adventure? The Home Ranch offers a fine dude ranch stay through out the summer and from December through March. You can ride out into green mountains or cross-country ski across snow covered hills. 

Latigo Ranch

Majestic scenery reaching all the way to the Continental Divide, the Latigo Ranch has an experience for you like no other ranch. Gourmet contemporary cuisine will delight the senses in the evenings and phenomenal horseback riding and fishing will engage your family during the day. 

Colorado Vacation

Latigo Ranch - Kremmling, CO 

Rainbow Trout Ranch

The Rainbow Trout Ranch is all about the family adventure. Your kids and teens will rave about the whole new world of fun and activities they can do on a ranch. You’ll find old fashioned hospitality and the Colorado backcountry a very charming vacation. 

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley

The Ranch at Emerald Valley is just a short ride up the mountain from the famous Broadmoor Hotel. You’ll be set for an incomparable luxury vacation here in one of 10 beautifully appointed cabins with modern amenities and all set to ride horses in some really incredible country. 

Rawah Ranch

Ready for a romantic escape with someone special? The Rawah Ranch knows how important it is to cultivate your relationships and fosters a wonderful experience with champagne and roses upon arrival, your own private trail ride and private massages. 

Colorado Vacation

Rawah Ranch - Glendevey, CO

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Take time to play on your next business trip to the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. You’ll get a variety of outdoor activities and team building opportunities and even a challenge course. A wagon ride followed by a campfire in the evening will complete your western experience for a company meeting, training or retreat. 

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An outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland, Colorado is jam packed with breathtaking landscapes, and more than 300 sunny days a year for travelers to come and explore its diverse areas. Colorado is urging you to explore. From cross country skiing, hiking a National Park or horseback riding through the country, Colorado has a long list of things to do all year. Read on to discover the best places to take a Colorado vacation.

Dude Ranch Vacations offer Affordable Discounts for June

If you are looking for a dude ranch vacation with affordable discounts for this June look at these specials from the member ranches of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. With all inclusive rates that include lodging, horseback riding, fishing, kids programs and three meals a day you’re getting a deal on an adventure vacation. On top of being a budget and cost effective vacation, the dude ranches listed here are offering special discounts for June. Don’t forget to ask about additional savings for large groups and military families. And tell them the Dude Ranchers' Association sent ya!

 

Red Rock Ranch Discounts for June 2018

 

 

10% off a Saddle and Paddle Vacation the week of June 18, 2018 

MARBLE MOUNTAIN RANCH Somes Bar, CA

guestranch@marblemountainranch.com

The Marble Mountain Ranch in Northwestern California offers an exclusive dude ranch program called the "Saddle and Paddle" theme. They combine horseback mountain trail riding vacations and thrilling white water rafting and kayaking with other outdoor activities. Give Doug a call at 800.552.3284 to try out this special program at 10% off during the week of June 18, 2018.

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10% off Opening Weeks starting June 17, 2018 and June 24, 2018 

NINE QUARTER CIRCLE RANCH Gallatin Gateway, Montana

info@ninequartercircle.com

At the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch just to the North of Yellowstone National Park there are so many things to do, and so much those things will do for you. There’s no spa here, but the ranch offers an approach to relaxation that’s been working for 100 years. It starts with a stunning setting that starts to clear the mind, and outdoor activities that could turn your focus to simple enjoyment. Talk to Kameron for 10% off your adventure by calling 406.995.4276.

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12% off Opening Week starting June 10, 2018  

THE RED ROCK RANCH Kelly, Wyoming

info@theredrockranch.com

The Red Rock Ranch is a family owned dude ranch located outside of the Grand Teton National Park. Offering an authentic western dude ranch vacation with polished amenities. They have a flexible riding program, kids program, over 2 miles of private fly fishing, fantastic dining, hiking, a heated pool and that "it" factor that your family will love. Give Doug a call for their 12% off discount for the week of June 10, 2018 at 307.733.6288. 

View all dude ranches in Wyoming

 

 

15% off Branding Week June 10 - 17, 2018 

ZAPATA RANCH Mosca, Colorado

cowboy@zranch.org

Take part in ranching’s oldest tradition and learn to wrestle a calf, vaccinate, ear tag and gather at Zapata Ranch. This is a hands-on, team-oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action. Through the week explore the ranch and the Great Sand Dunes National Park on horseback, help check fence, water and herd health while moving and gathering cattle ending the week in a full day of branding. Also available are interpretive hikes with a naturalist, fly fishing, rafting, roping and leather working sessions as well as massage to assist with those activity filled days. Talk to Kate at 888.592.7282 about their 15% discount for the week of June 10, 2018.

View all dude ranches in Colorado

 

 

About 25% off Summer Discount Weeks starting June 15, 2018 through August 31, 2018 

CREEK RANCH Santa Rosa, New Mexico

creekranchnm@gmail.com

The Creek Ranch is a small guest ranch offering an intimate working cattle ranch experience for 10 people or less each week. The terrain here is like none other. You'll experience the wild and natural views of Northeastern New Mexico from horseback just like Billy the Kid did during his heydays. Read more about their discounts for the summer time here

View all dude ranches in New Mexico

 

 

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If you are looking for a dude ranch vacation with affordable discounts for this June look at these specials from the member ranches of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. On top of being a budget and cost effective type of vacation, the dude ranches listed at the link below are offering special discounts for June.

The fun doesn't stop here! You can read more stories on Affordable Ranch Vacations

 

Affordable Ranch Vacations for your Family

Ranches of the DRA offer unmatched value in dude ranch vacations for families on a budget and for those who want to save money by getting all the adventure of twice daily riding, fishing, kids programs, 3 meals a day and lodging all for one price. Here are some of the DRA picks for the best budget and cost effective ranch holidays. 

 

Dude Ranches Offer Best Value For Travel Dollar

With the current economic situation  a vacation to any destination may seem like a “pipe dream.” But don’t rule out a summer getaway completely until you’ve considered a stay at a Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude ranch. These quintessential Western getaways have always offered exceptional value for the money.

 

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. 

Best Things to Do at a Dude Ranch When You Aren't Horseback Riding

Dude Ranches are a super family vacation destination. But what if one of your family members is just not that into horses? Relax. In addition to trail rides, dude ranches offer a wide range of appealing activities. Give archery a try or perhaps take a cooking class. Maybe you just want to curl up with a good book before a nap. Optimism TravelingMom Cathy Bennett Kopf shares some of the activities available at a dude ranch that don't involve a horse.

 

 Flyfishing-Rawah-Ranch

Flyfishing is an activity offered at many dude ranches, such as Rawah Ranch in Colorado. Photo: Allison Bean Taylor/Family Vacations US.com

 

What if my knee flares up?

Booking a dude ranch vacation for my family is something I plan to do. In fact, we schedule biennial reunions for 20 of us and, on our last trip, we all voted for one that involves horseback riding.

I voted “yes’ reluctantly.

For the past few years, my left knee gets swollen, creaky and very painful. Despite my relatively young age - cough, cough - the orthopedist says it’s arthritis. Rest, Aleve and gentle movement usually make it go away. But the bouts occur without warning.

My fear is that we’ll book our dream dude ranch vacation and just as I’m about to mount my steed, my knee will buckle and I’ll be consigned to the bunkhouse for the duration of our trip.

 latigo-guest-ranch-view

Dude ranches are set in some of the prettiest spots in North America. A great alternative to horseback riding is to simply relax and take in the view like this one at Latigo Guest Ranch. Photo: Diana Rowe/TravelinginHeels.com




  

6 Great Dude Ranch Activities Beyond Horseback Riding

 

Not to worry, the experts at the Dude Ranchers’ Association say it’s possible to have a fantastic dude ranch vacation without ever going horseback riding. Say what? For those of you who have allergies, or kids too small to ride or arthritic joints, here are the best things to do at a dude ranch if you don’t ride horses.

 

1. Practice your Photography

 

Dude ranches are set in the prettiest landscapes in North America. I’d really enjoy getting up in the predawn hours, sneaking out of the bunkhouse and shooting sunrise photos of the mountains in Montana or Nebraska’s Great Plains.

And, even if I’m not horseback riding, animals make great subjects for photos. Sweet Grass Ranch in Montana offers 3-day workshops with an award-winning Western photographer to practice your skills and help you capture ranch life for your Instagram feed!

 Zapata-Cattle-Drive

I could spend hours shooting photos during a dude ranch cattle drive like this one at Zapata Ranch. Photo: Dude Ranchers' Association

 

2. Listen to Traditional Music

 

The sights of a dude ranch are the first things that come to my mind: horses, low-slung bunkhouses, cattle pens. But there’s a sound, too. Think of traditional folk music with fiddles, guitars and an upright bass.

The Home Ranch, a luxurious Relais & Chateaux property in Colorado, features nightly entertainment for guests and a weekly barn dance. With a caller telling you how to dosado (or perhaps you prefer do-si-do?) and promenade your partner, it’s great for people like me who don’t have moves like Jagger.

 

3. Try Something Completely Different - Glamping!

 

When I think dude ranch, I envision bunkhouses with rustic beds, a big ole fireplace and a large kitchen table for card playing at night. Just like the places where cowboys stayed in every Western movie I’ve ever seen.

However, Bull Hill Guest Ranch in Washington State has two glamping tents available for guests. I would book one of these in a heartbeat. Maybe not for a family trip, but if it was just hubby and me or we were dude ranching with friends, a glamping tent would be so much fun to try. They’re decorated in comfy luxury and let you be outside in the great outdoors without the discomfort of sleeping on the rocky ground.

 

4. Relax and Unwind at a Dude Ranch Spa

 

If you choose not to go horseback riding during your dude ranch vacation, spending a day or two indulging in spa treatments might be just the cure to fix what ails you. Or if you do take daily trail rides, you might need a massage to work out the kinks after you dismount.

Arizona’s Rancho de Los Cabelleros features a full-service spa comparable to those you’d find in a luxury hotel. They feature a Bourbon Bubbler Body Scrub because even cowboys like a pampering now and then!

 

5. Dine and Wine

 

If you think you’ll be eating franks and beans during your dude ranch vacation, think again. Cattle wrangling is hard work, even if you’re sitting on the sidelines watching all the action. Many dude ranches feature gourmet meals, prepared with locally sourced meats and produce. Who knew there was such a thing as a cowboy foodie?

And nothing pairs better with great food than wine. The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is located in the heart of wine country in Solvang, California. They’ve arranged complimentary tastings at a number of nearby wineries for ranch guests.

 

6. Tour Area Attractions

 

North American dude ranches stretch from Arkansas to California and north into British Columbia in Canada. You may choose one that’s in an isolated region. Or, your dude ranch may be located in an area worth touring.

 

mt-rushmore-south-dakota

Dude ranches offer tours of area attractions such as Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. Photo: Shutterstock/amadeustx

 

For example, the Triple R Ranch in South Dakota is a great base to explore the state’s attractions. During a weeklong stay, guests have the opportunity to hop in a ranch vehicle and see the famous Mount Rushmore lighting ceremony, check out the Dakota badlands and visit the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Of course, you may choose to spend your entire dude ranch vacation horseback riding. It’s an amazing opportunity to experience a way of life that’s completely different than the one most of us city slickers live each day.

But, when you dismount, or, if you’re just not that into horses, there are plenty of activities to keep a cowboy or cowgirl entertained.

 

Author: Cathy Bennet Kopf, TheOpenSuitcase.com

 

Considering a dude ranch vacation but want to do more than just ride horses? Outdoor adventures, activities, excursions, and things to do beyond horseback riding, including a few that might surprise you!

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Namaste on the Ranch

Whereas it used to be a time to simply kick back and relax, many of today’s travelers are using vacations as a time to continue their normal health and fitness routines, or perhaps even try something new. Yoga, in particular, has never been more popular: since 2012, the number of practitioners in the U.S. has increased by 50 percent to over 36 million. More and more people are realizing the benefits of yoga, which range from stress relief to flexibility to overall well-being. Whether you are one of the 80 Americans that say they are likely to try yoga for the first time in the coming months, or if you have been getting your ‘ namaste ’ on for quite some time, you may want to consider planning a vacation to a dude or guest ranch offering innovative and unique yoga-based programs. Below please find a sampling of five ranches accredited by the Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA) that provide guests with a special haven to discover new yoga traditions and find their Zen.

Revive and Ride. Find the inner Zen you have been craving at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Mont. Re-energize your mind, body and soul with the ranch’s Yoga Program, offered to all ages and levels of experience. Morning sessions encourage the awakening and energizing of the body and mind in preparation for a full day of activities, while afternoon sessions are restorative and focus on stretching and relaxation. In addition to the variety of outdoor activities available at the ranch, guests can relax in a heated pool, outdoor hot tub and sauna and can also take full advantage of a variety of massage services. Each therapist offers a specific approach, from hot river rocks and salt scrubs to stretching sessions and therapeutic massages.

Stretch, Relax, Ride, Repeat. Zapata Ranch is inviting guests to experience the ranch like never before during its first ever yoga retreat. Connect with the diverse surroundings of the ranch – which include high desert grasslands, alpine forests, wetlands, sand dunes, creeks and lush meadows – through daily yoga sessions and exploratory hikes and horseback rides. Zapata Ranch is located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley in Mosca, Colo., and borders the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. It is owned by The Nature Conservancy and has one of the most scenic and ecologically diverse landscapes in the country. The Yoga and Ranch Retreat takes place in April.

Hope, Courage and Healing. Horses N Courage, located in “Big Sky Country” in Sawmill Canyon of Lennep, Mont., has created a Hope, Courage and Healing Retreat, exclusively targeted to women of all ages. The retreat aims to bring together like-minded women who are eager to rediscover themselves through horseback riding, trailing cattle, exploring wildlife and bonding with one another. It includes wall-tent accommodations, ranch-style cooked meals, beautiful scenery, horseback riding, plenty of chances to see wildlife, and even a natural hot spring spa. Hope, Courage and Healing takes place for four days and three nights in July.

Om on the Range. Focus Ranch, located in the Rocky Mountains of Slater, Colo., invites guests to partake in a tranquil combination of riding their horse and riding their breath while riding the range with Yogi Martha McPherson. Martha guides participants in the pleasure of uniting breath and body in the art of yoga. Guests can also participate in some of the ranch’s other offerings like hiking, birding and fly-fishing. Focus Ranch is a traditional working cattle ranch known for its horseback riding, cattle and pristine setting. Om on the Range takes place each August, giving guests the opportunity to experience the changing of the seasons, which comes early at the 7000 ft. elevation.

Discover Your Zen. Grab your girlfriends and head to Clark, Colo., to disconnect from reality and reconnect with each other. The Home Ranch will be offering their popular Experience Yoga and Horses Retreat for the twelfth season. All ages are welcome for an all-inclusive week of health, wellness and relaxation centered on horseback. Cowgirl Yoginis Tammy Pate and Janice Baxter will help guests experience horsemanship instruction, gentle yoga, healthy gourmet dining and massage, all set amidst the spectacular fall season in the Elk River Valley in October.

The Home Ranch Namaste Yoga

Photo Courtesy of The Home Ranch

May your travels be safe, happy and healthy. Namaste Save Save

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The Comfort of Luxury at the Finest of Dude Ranches

The Dude Ranchers' Association offers you and yours luxury vacation opportunities fit for a king. I mean, our Past President Teddy Roosevelt loved his dude ranches and we would like to connect you to the finest of them all. The alluring nature of these vacation destinations couples very nicely with the culture and hospitality of the American West. You will ride horses, see the beautiful countryside and fill your soul with the warmth and kindness of your cowboy hosts.  These ranches are spick-and-span. So take out your white gloves for a quality inspection. You won't be disappointed.

 

Stay in Hand Built Cabins from the 1920's

 

Cm Ranch Cabin Luxury Dude Ranch

Welcome to the CM Ranch, Hunter and Mollie Sullivan's gorgeous home and historic dude ranch, specializing in summer vacations since 1927. The logs for the ranch buildings were cut in the upper Jakey’s Fork canyon in the 1920’s, and hauled to the ranch by teams of horses and wagons. Several of the old wagons are still on the ranch property. The charming old buildings are spaced along the stream.  The ranch’s proximity to Yellowstone Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming make it an ideal destination to hang your hat and get acquainted with the beautiful, wild West.

 

 

Experience Recreation at Its Finest

 

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge Luxury Dude Ranch

The Averill family has been hosting guests from around the world for over 65 years at the Flathead Lake Lodge. They invite you to come vacation at this historic guest ranch home and experience the all-inclusive Montana dude ranch vacation of a lifetime! Located only 35 miles from Glacier National Park, the Lodge offers the ultimate family vacation with unlimited horse & water recreation. Why not go sailing, fly fishing, golfing, white water rafting, and then settle down for a message? Enjoy unmatched Western hospitality and a truly priceless family experience…Montana style!

 

 

Escape to Luxury in the Clouds

 

Emerald Valley Ranch Luxury Dude Ranch

The Ranch at Emerald Valley combines a unique retreat offering refined luxury with the rustic charm and inspiration of a wilderness enclave. It is surrounded by over 100,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, where you can indulge in your own private escape. While you may be 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor at the Cloud Camp, you are still connected to every amenity at the resort. Dining, golf, spa and meeting space are all accessible via shuttle with a single phone call. Cue the classical music and see for yourself about the Broadmoor’s luxury experience.    

 

 

Engage in a Themed Vacation

 

Zapata Painting Workshop Luxury Dude Ranch

The Zapata Ranch is a 103,000-acre bison and guest ranch in Southern Colorado.  Are you not sure what you are going to do at this ‘working’ ranch vacation? Attend one of Zapata’s specialty weeks for a solid calendar of events. You can either learn about the real cowboy work of calving and branding or ‘work’ at your photography, painting, and poetry skills on the different themed weeks throughout the summer. These cowboys truly understand the finer things in life. 

 

 

Luxury Ranch Vacations

 

The alluring nature of these luxury ranch vacation destinations couples very nicely with the culture and hospitality of the American West. You will ride horses, see the beautiful countryside and fill your soul with the warmth and kindness of your cowboy hosts.  These ranches are spick-and-span. So take out your white gloves for a quality inspection. You won't be disappointed.

 

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