Many people around the globe are interested in the Wild West history and persona of America. Dude ranches are a chance to experience what it is like to be a cowboy and live in rough terrain away from most comforts and some technology. Horseback riding, campfires, stories, rounding up cattle, climbing the mountains, fishing and hiking are just a few of the things you can do to this type of getaway. Also known as “guest ranches,” they have become increasingly popular vacation spots to get away from it all and be a cowboy for a week. Are you ready to saddle up?
A Bar A Ranch
Wyoming is the epitome of a Wild West state and along the banks of the Platte River lays the A Bar A Guest Ranch. It was created in 1926 and is one of the oldest guest ranches in the U.S. It has thousands of acres to explore and is surrounded by wilderness and a national forest. This place focuses on family time and outdoor recreational activities. There are no phones or TVs in the guest houses or cabins that you would stay in. Expect lots of wood finishes and creations in the buildings and also western décor. Wireless internet is available, so you’re not entirely off the grid. Activities are the highlight of the stay where you can participate in a cattle drive, go horseback riding, or attend a fishing camp.
Clear Creek Guest Ranch
Head to this North Carolina ranch with the Blue Ridge Mountains at your fingertips. The farm opens guests from April until November. Over 50 horses are ready and waiting for you to come and ride and enjoy the beautiful scenery. There is an all-inclusive package available that has three meals a day, two horseback rides and other activities such as swimming, volleyball, and accommodations all included in one price. The housing consists of family units or single units to accommodate large groups or a couple or solo traveler. Horseback activities are the ranches main attraction, and here they will pair you with the right horse to blaze that trail through the beautiful North Carolina trees and surrounding scenery.
Hideout at Flitner Ranch
The Hideout at Flitner Ranch excels in equestrian activities as well as non-equestrian. Surrounded by the Big Horn Mountains, the Big Horn National Forest, and the Cloud Peak Wilderness, guest will have a hard time believing what they are seeing. Eh, rolling grassy hills that end with the towering and beautiful mountain scenery is fantastic. The ranch offers excellent dining and cabins, casitas, or even a few homes to stay in while you enjoy yourself. The equestrian activities include trail riding, lessons for both advanced and beginners, horsemanship clinics, and cattle work and drive.
Other activities that can be participated in are canoeing, trapshooting, archery, hiking, biking and dinosaur tracks and dig site viewing. The dinosaur digs are in a world-renowned area for this type of activity. Tracks and bones can be seen as well as dug up as the lodge will allow certain times for digging to occur. The summer months are rodeo season in the nearby city or Cody, and between June 1st and August 31st, 90 different rodeos are held. A dedicated driver can shuttle you to the events if you so desire. See where rodeo and the wild west still live on to this day!
Rainbow Trout Ranch
Rainbow Trout is well known in the guest ranch world and for a good reason. Located in beautiful Colorado, the mountains and pine trees offer stunning views and clean, crisp mountain air. The family that owns and runs the ranch has proudly bred and trained their beautiful stock of Quarter horses for years, and you get to ride one! Experience nature as one should; by horseback. Individual horseback rides take you up into the wilderness as you gaze at the valley below, or to a lake, through flower-filled meadows and even by a running creek. When you’re done with horse time, try whitewater rafting or take a dip in the heated swimming pool. The staff and owners are fully involved at Rainbow Trout Ranch, and it is a favorite among guests.
Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
This smaller ranch only has four cabins, but the serenity and the experience are well worth the trip. New Mexico State is home to the Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, named after Geronimo as he hiked some of the same trails you could walk at the ranch! Archeological sites can be found right near the farm, and some are over 1,000 years old. Pictographs painted on rocks, cliff dwellings, and ancient pottery is some of the things you can see. Meals offered are a tasty variety of tacos, enchiladas, barbecue ribs, grilled trout, garden vegetables, and soups. Hit the trails on horseback and ride through creeks and see fantastic scenery, or hike instead, the choice is yours. There are millions of acres to explore, as a 3.3-million-acre national forest is at the ranches back door. Come slow down and enjoy life at this peaceful place.
The Ranch at Rock Creek
Are you looking for luxury and ranch life? The Ranch at Rock Creek has what you are looking for! This is the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Ranch, and it is well deserved. The state of Montana offers bright green grass with tree-covered mountains, lakes, and a stream for you to explore. Gourmet meals, charming accommodations with beautiful décor, an outdoor activities program, fly fishing adventures and discovering the 6,000 acres on horseback are just a few of the perks. The ranch is all-inclusive, meaning the price covers your accommodations, all meals, unlimited alcoholic beverages, daily activities, access to the fitness center and pool, evening entertainment, laundry facilities and on-ranch transportation. Combine luxury with a wild west experience at the Ranch at Rock Creek.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Ranches are beautiful places to reconnect with family, friends and even yourself. Removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you can experience nature, horses, outdoor recreation, and connections with people in some of the best landscapes in the country. Keep in mind that most dude ranches are only operating during the spring and summer months. Due to their mountainous locations, harsh winters and heavy snowfall make the winter months their downtime. Hop on a horse and help round up cattle or dip your feet in a cold mountain stream while gazing at the incredible mountains and trees around you. Experience what it was like to live in the Wild West and try out a dude ranch for an experience you’ll never forget.