Experience the Wild West by Staying at a Dude Ranch
The Best Dude Ranch Vacations in the American West
If you are looking to escape the pace of everyday life and get away to the great outdoors to make lasting memories with that special someone, or enjoy quality time with the whole family, dude ranch vacations may be a good choice for your next vacation. We’ve rounded up some of the country’s best dude ranches to help inspire your next trip.
The American West is full of opportunities to stay at a dude ranch. If you don’t mind getting a little dirty and enjoying time outdoors, then staying at a dude ranch may be a good choice. Many of the properties offer the chance to really experience what it’s like to work on a real working ranch. However, even if you’d rather play than work on your vacation, you shouldn’t stop reading just yet. We’ve included several ranches that offer more luxury resort-style experiences as well.
You’ll find many types of ranches on our list: working ranches, luxury guest ranches, and both higher end and budget options. Many of the options on our list are kid-friendly, so you can book family dude ranch vacations as well. Each and every ranch offers a range of unforgettable activities set to make your vacation an experience you won’t soon forget.
If you’re looking for more traditional dude ranch vacations, take a look at one of the many working dude ranches on our list. Here, you’ll really get a chance to participate in daily life on a ranch and get your hands dirty. You’ll be caring for cattle, working on the property and feeding the animals that live on the ranch.
For those who want to experience the wild west but are still looking for a more upscale vacation, there are many resort dude ranches. These properties (which are often quite a bit larger) will usually offer full-service lodge accommodations and extras like swimming pools, fitness classes, and bonus activities like fly fishing and nordic skiing. You’ll find ranches on our list from both the higher end and lower end, and everywhere else in between.
Located just outside of Jackson Hole, WY, Red Rock Ranch is a family-owned guest ranch that offers the opportunity to work on the ranch a bit and experience a traditional dude ranch vacation, as well as a selection of polished amenities that create a unique guest ranch experience. There are numerous activities for families, kids and young people, such as horseback riding, tractor rides, fly fishing on more than 2.5 miles of private river, and numerous hiking opportunities.
This is a great dude ranch to choose for a family with kids as there is a dedicated kids program that offers fantastic fun for little ones, and a horseback riding program with classes for kids. You’ll go home talking about the delicious food you enjoyed from gourmet dinners to scrumptious barbecue meals and fresh homemade baked goods.
Another bonus of booking a dude ranch vacation at Red Rock Ranch is that this is one of the only ranches on our list that offers adult-only weeks. So, if you prefer to vacation without the pitter-patter of little feet then you may appreciate taking part in one of these special kid-free weeks.
Either way, you can experience all of this, set against the backdrop of the Grand Tetons. It’s also within a short drive of Yellowstone National Park, which makes Red Rock Ranch a good option for dude ranch vacations.
Photo Credit: Crossed Sabres Ranch
Crossed Sabres Ranch is a family-owned, all-inclusive dude ranch located in the middle of the Shoshone National Forest, just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park. There are a variety of ranch activities available with suitable options for everyone, from the littlest of guests all the way up to grandma and grandpa. You can choose for your vacation to be as active (or relaxed) as you want with options such as trail riding, fly fishing on the Shoshone River, touring Yellowstone National Park, shooting clay pigeons, whitewater rafting, archery, hiking and a trip to the Cody Nite Rodeo.
If you’d like to enjoy some time away from the kids, you can do so guilt-free with the ranch’s dedicated kids program designed to keep them active and engaged. Little cow-pokes will learn the ins and outs of horseback riding, archery and roping, and will have opportunities to take a break inside with pool tables, foosball and board games. Babysitting services are also available for very young guests so mom and dad can truly have a vacation.
Photo Credit: Tanque Verde Ranch
Tanque Verde Ranch has been giving guests the opportunity to make amazing memories for more than 150 years. Nestled right at the base of the Rincon Mountains near Saguaro National Park, you’ll find Southwest-style lodging and a range of activities for guests of all ages. There are resort-quality amenities including a swimming pool, a full-service spa, and more as well as plenty of traditional dude ranch activities. This ranch is rated as one of the area’s best destinations for horseback riding.
Other activities include hiking, biking, dancing and fishing, as well as enjoying the resort’s sports facilities. Several off-site activities are also available for booking including mountain climbing, downhill skiing, golfing and spelunking in area caves. The ranch allows you to reserve some of your activities in advance so you can guarantee a spot for activities you don’t want to miss out on.