20 Amazing Cowgirl Getaways plus 5 Awesome Guest Ranches
Sorrel River Ranch Resort
Sorrel River Ranch is a rambling retreat amid the majestic Southwestern desert near Moab, Utah. The 160-acre ranch is surrounded by the Colorado River, dramatic landscapes and majestic rock formations, and is a staging point for a life-changing immersion into the larger than life desert atmosphere.
Don’t worry though, you won’t exactly be “roughing it” at the Sorrel River Ranch, a AAA Four Diamond resort that offers a full-service spa, and concierge services, amid awe-inspiring natural vistas. The ranch specializes in group and private horseback rides, and prides itself on healthy and delicious farm-to-plate dining.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Scenery, spa, scenery, fine food, scenery, luxury. Scenery!
WHAT TO DO: Drink in the breathtaking vistas of nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, then enjoy a delicious farm-to-table dinner at the Ranch’s River Grill.
ASK FOR THIS: A Colorado River rafting
www.sorrelriver.com – 877-317-8244
The Inn at Dos Brisas
Charm is the order of the day at The Inn At Dos Brisas, but savoring a meal from the Inn’s artisanal farm-to-table restaurant–the only eatery in Texas awarded a bona fide Forbes Mobile 5-Star ranking–is an event unto itself. Self-described as “French cuisine with Texas ingredients and an infusion of Asian minimalist technique,” many of the menu’s organic elements are lovingly harvested from the Inn’s on site garden and orchard. Horses are another passion at The Inn At Dos Brisas, which offers bucolic trail rides suitable for all skill levels, romantic carriage rides, and an on-site cutting horse program, whose experts will introduce aspiring cowgirls to the fine art of working cattle aboard one of their well-trained cutting horses. Swimming, skeet shooting and in-room massage are just a few of the other delectable amenities. Though leaving the property for any reason is a tough case to make, the Inn’s convenient location near Houston allows for excursions to diverse nearby events such as the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the Round Top Antiques Fair and Texas A & M Football.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Gregarious Texas hospitality, superior all–skill–level equestrian program, gracious, elegant southern charm.
WHAT TO DO: Enjoy an alfresco breakfast and mimosas by the sun–dappled pool with a view of beautiful horses grazing.
ASK FOR THIS: To ride a seasoned cutting horse for the first time.
www.dosbrisas.com – 979-277-7750
Ranch & Spa at Brush Creek
The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch serves as the perfect western retreat, where guests can indulge their adventurous side among 15,000 acres of alluring Old West landscape. Luxe log cabins are appointed with upscale amenities, and finished with polished-plank flooring and native stonework that reflects and honors the area’s rich heritage and natural surroundings. Ride horses, hike or mountain bike on the pristine trails, indulge in riffles and rafting on the river. This is classic and wild Wyoming, with a twist. A twist of lime that is, in your favorite cocktail that the saloon keep has memorized and serves up at the end of the day with a smile and a “howdy.” Take your guy out on the floor for some barn dancing, or borrow a cute cowboy. Tomorrow, find tranquility for the body and mind at the Ranch’s full service spa. Perfect.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Fabulous amenities and high class service in real horse country.
WHAT TO DO: Ride horses, learn to fly fish, relax.
ASK FOR THIS: A scenic river float
www.brushcreekranch.com – 307-327-5284
The Resort at Paws Up
A secluded 37,000-acre working cattle ranch in western Montana, The Resort at Paws Up is where luxury, pleasure and unspoiled wilderness meets. Experience five-star amenities and unparalleled leisure while staying in one of the romantic safari-style tents, which feature a dining pavilion, stone-and-timber fireplace and a camping butler who caters to your every whim. Horseback riding, fly fishing, archery, elegant picnic lunches on the rafting trip, and massages after a bicycle tour are just a few of the outdoor excursions—and the perks that come with them.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Creature comforts in luxurious tents amid a landscape of impeccable rustic elegance.
WHAT TO DO: S’mores around the campfire, rafting, bicycling, horseback riding.
ASK FOR THIS: Everything! Because when will you ever come across a camping butler again?
www.pawsup.com – 406-244-5200
Echo Valley Ranch
Nestled in the Cariboo region of British Columbia, known as Canada’s “cowboy country,” Echo Valley Ranch and Spa is a true getaway. In addition to all the amenities a horsewoman could want—including trail rides through majestic scenery and a 200 x 100 foot equestrian arena—Echo Valley is known for its authentic, Thai style spa, Baan Thai, which offers traditional Thai wellness services including massage, body & beauty treatments, meditation, and a form of Thai yoga. (Western style spa services are offered as well.) The resident Executive Chef prides himself on his local “100 meter” ingredients; organic produce, cattle, chickens and other resources are raised on the ranch and utilized to create the fresh, refined and satisfying cuisine. Meals are taken family style in the dining room, encouraging convivial connection among guests.
WHY YOU MUST GO: The ultimate escape for profound de-stressing, lots of horsing around and exquisite indoor and outdoor environments.
WHAT TO DO: Take in the region’s natural beauty on horseback, then take a barrel racing lesson!
ASK FOR THIS: The Thai Treat, a 3-½ hour Therapeutic Ritual Spa Package.
www.evranch.com – 604-669-3230
Tanque Verde Ranch offers a world-class Wild West getaway in the shadow of the Rincon Mountains outside Tucson Arizona. Sixty thousand acres of pristine desert landscape tempt even the most novice horse riders into a fantasy of winding trials where outlaws and the Chiricahuas once traversed. Beginners and experienced riders can saddle up on one of the Ranch’s 180 horses and ride out in groups that fit your level of riding.
WHY YOU MUST GO: The pristine surroundings of the Sonoran desert are incomparable.
WHAT TO DO: Take in the wonder of a Sonoran desert sunset on horseback. Sip a margarita in the Doghouse Saloon.
ASK FOR THIS: A Casitas Jr. Suite
www.tanqueverderanch.com – 520-296-6275
Cibolo Creek Ranch
Amidst the beautiful Chinati and Ciénega Mountains of the Big Bend in Texas is Cibolo Creek Ranch, a quintessential retreat for both the young and the young at heart. Take in all the spectacular natural beauty on Humvees tours, horseback ride down Cibolo Creek to the Native American rock art, and even join the local cowboys around a campfire for lively entertainment. Cibolo Creek Ranch is close to many lively towns such as Marfa, Fort Davis, Alpine, Marathon, and Valentine. Spend an afternoon on a rafting trip through the colorful canyons of Big Bend National Park or visit the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, one of the most famous astronomical observatories in the world.
WHAT TO DO: Take a humvee ride to the waterfalls, star gaze at the world-renowned University of Texas McDonald Observatory.
ASK FOR THIS: Quail in Oaxacan black mole at the restaurant.
cibolocreekranch.com – 432.229.3737
Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks created Gateway Canyons, a true destination resort overflowing with adventures, beauty and stimulation for the mind, body and spirit. In addition to luxury accommodations and a full-service spa that will please even the most discriminating of travelers, Gateway Canyons offers the adrenaline-spiked outings that characterize the founder’s joie de vivre. Helicopter rides, river rafting trips, fly fishing, ATV rides and archery are all offered. On-site “Curiosity Experts,” engage guests in workshops and discussions on topics such as geology, dinosaurs, star gazing and Native American history. Last but not least, the Stables at Gateway Canyons is a comprehensive equestrian facility that welcomes all guests, including those with disabilities.
WHAT TO DO: “Paint the Horse,” a fascinating lesson in Native American iconography, after which guests are provided a real live horse “canvas” and non-toxic finger paints to express what they’ve just learned.
ASK FOR THIS: A sunset trail ride to a gourmet dinner (served in a breathtaking a hillside) after which guests ride their horses home in the moonlight.
www.gatewaycanyons.com – 970-931-2458
Rancho de los Caballeros
Rancho de los Caballeros is a historic ranch resort with the soul of a bed and breakfast. The Ranch offers full resort amenities and privacy, yet maintains the charm and intimacy of the old west—it’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name (and your favorite horse) and the friendly staff starts to feel like family.
WHAT TO DO: Ride a horse, indulge in a spa treatment, and bask in the warm desert environment.
ASK FOR THIS: The full American plan.
www.ranchodeloscaballeros.com – 800-684-5030
Triple Creek Ranch
This all-inclusive Relaix & Chateaux property nestled at the base of Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains offers an opportunity to experience authentic cowboy activities delivered with true 5-star service. City slickers from around the globe–some who return year after year–make for a friendly mix of cosmopolitan, privileged guests while an accomplished chef and son-staff sommelier ensure even the most demanding foodies feel satisfied. The cozy upscale cabins with private hot tubs, gourmet coffee & cookies, and stocked bar take the rough out of roughing it. Special Vintners Weekends, Artists Workshops and Photography Weekends offer something for everyone, without disappointing those who want true grit, after their gourmet breakfast. COWGIRL staffers attending the “Spring Round Up Package” gathered and branded cattle, and even learned to rope!
SPECIAL TREAT: Finding complimentary framed photos of every guest taken that same day, displayed and distributed at the evening’s cocktail hour.
“DON’T MISS” MEMORY: Big Sky stargazing from your private outdoor spa with a sommelier-selected vintage or spirits from your room’s private stash.
www.triplecreekranch.com – 406-821-4600
Devils Thumb Ranch
Dedicated to its deep American roots and environmental sustainability, this Colorado ranch is a rare kind of off-the-charts charmer. With 5,000 acres of flowering meadows and lush woodlands, guests can experience a unique, laid-back kind of luxury. From horseback riding along beautiful spacious trails to a gregarious gathering by the cozy fireplace, your days and nights will be filled with the wonders of the West. After a day of adventure, the flavorful home-style cuisine and comfortable beds offer complete satisfaction.
WHAT TO DO: Help with a cattle drive; take a hot air balloon ride.
Stop, and take in the gorgeous scenery.
ASK FOR THIS: Cowgirl’s Bliss package
www.devilsthumbranch.com – 970-726-5632
Post Ranch Inn
Big Sur, California
High above the magnificent cliffs of Big Sur in Northern California, with phenomenal views of the Pacific Ocean swirling thousands of feet below, The Post Ranch Inn offers an unparalleled escape from the ordinary. The expansive beauty of the rugged coastline is enhanced by the Inn’s architectural blend of rustic elegance and western minimalism. Guest rooms feature slate, marble and wood, and each of the 39 suites has its own unique aesthetic and personality. Take part in the private yoga and meditation sessions, be awestruck by the complimentary stargazing class (spectacular!) and treat yourself to a preternaturally scenic massage. The Inn’s Chef John Cox, excels at innovative food creations inspired by Hawaii’s island cuisine and the bold, spicy flavors of the southwest in New Mexico.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Distinctive architecture and a breathtaking, secluded location.
WHAT TO DO: Stargazing, yoga and meditation…or simply take a pool side sunbath overlooking the cliffs and ocean.
ASK FOR THIS: A once-in-lifetime massage with a view of Big Sur’s cliffs and the Pacific below.
www.postranchinn.com – 831-667-2200
St. Regis Princeville
The “Garden Island” of Hawaii is the home of the five-star St. Regis Princeville Resort. From the softest sands on the private beach to the gentle, plumeria-scented breeze, to the lush, exotic flora that seduces the resort with color and tropical romance, this is Hawaii as it was meant to be experienced. Take a private sailboat excursion and you may see dolphins riding your bow wave, then indulge in a traditional massage and afternoon cocktail. Resurrect your curiosity with a tide pool exploration, experience the thrill of deep-sea fishing and, of course, take a horseback ride at the nearby Princeville Ranch!
WHY YOU MUST GO: In a word: Paradise.
WHAT TO DO: Island horseback riding! Watch the sun sink into the shimmering blue waters right from your dinner table.
ASK FOR THIS: A Helicopter tour (Look for dolphins and whales swimming in the sea below!)
www.stregisprinceville.com – 808.826.9644
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The word Amangani means “peaceful home” and its namesake is perched on the edge of the spectacular East Gros Ventre Butte in Jackson Hole. Amangani overlooks meadows and grazing land but is most noted for its stunning vistas of the Snake River and Grand Teton mountain range directly across the valley.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Jackson Hole. It is a cowgirl destination for any season and affords the perfect combination of outdoor beauty with art, culture and the grandeur of high country living.
WHAT TO DO: Relax and take in the beauty of the mountains that surround Jackson Hole. Indulge in a spa treatment and take a dip in the outdoor pool and a hot soak watching the sun go down. Then go to town. Buy a t-shirt after sitting saddle at the coin-encrusted bar of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar on the town square in Jackson.
ASK FOR THIS: The Shoshone Suite
www.amanresorts.com – 307-734-7333
L’Auberge du Soleil
Napa Valley, California
Let yourself breathe among the acres of evocative sun-splashed vineyards and olive groves of L’Auberge du Soleil, the Napa Valley destination that is a mecca for world travelers and local oenophiles alike. Sample a plethora of significant offerings from a variety of vintners, enjoy a memorable water ritual or relaxing massage at the spa, then savor the famous Mediterranean–inspired cuisine (Michelin-starred) that pairs perfectly with this quintessential California retreat. Evenings are perfect for a stroll through the garden filled with remarkable one-of-a-kind sculptures. At least once, venture into town for supper at the French Laundry, a little piece of Paris your taste buds will j’adore.
WHY YOU MUST GO: The ultimate wine country destination outside France.
WHAT TO DO: Wine tasting; take advantage of the world-class spa overlooking hillside greenery; make cosmopolitan new friends.
ASK FOR THIS: The wildflower honey–gazed apricots; a recommendation from the Sommelier.
www.aubergedusoleil.com – 707-963-1211
Inn of the Five Graces
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Inn of the Five Graces provides a unique experience in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the U.S.: Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Inn is located in the heart of Santa Fe’s historic downtown, nestled on a quiet side street near the Santa Fe River. Earthy, traditional adobe and stone exteriors belie the extraordinary sensual experience awaiting visitors inside, a sophisticated synthesis of Far East and West.
Why you must go: Because Santa Fe is an ultimate cowgirl getaway any season of the year.
What to do: Make reservations for dinner at the Pink Adobe (right next door), browse the plaza, stroll iconic Canyon Road and buy an original work of art. In the evening, sip a glass of wine in front of the fireplace in your lavish room.
Ask for this: Breakfast in your room. You won’t want to leave!
www.fivegraces.com – 866-992-0957
Perched on Camelback Mountain is an extraordinary Scottsdale resort with luxurious mountain and spa casitas enhanced by spectacular Sonoran desert views. In a location like no other, guests savor the tranquility of an Asian-inspired spa with a relaxing meditation garden and watsu pool. Highlights include hiking Camelback Mountain, relaxing by the infinity pool, and partaking of Scottsdale’s famous shopping and cultural temptations nearby.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Inspired spa treatments, award winning cuisine, and unparalleled luxury.
WHAT TO DO: Take full advantage of the resort amenities, then visit Old Town Scottsdale and hit a few of the city’s hottest nightspots.
ASK FOR THIS: The Casa Nine private home rental (or a tour of it!).
www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com – 480.948.2100
This iconic destination in Carefree, Arizona was inspired by an extraordinary landscape of ancient boulders, and made famous by its offerings of outdoor recreation and renowned spa treatments set amongst the unsurpassed beauty of the Sonoran Desert. At the Boulders, it’s all about the rocks.
WHY YOU MUST GO: For the serene beauty, supreme luxury, and pampering treatments from the Waldorf Astoria Spa.
WHAT TO DO: After indulging in the pure luxury of this desert oasis, visit the nearby town of Cave Creek, a charming western enclave with incredible shopping, dancing and horse activities.
ASK FOR THIS: LaStone Therapy massage to uplift and restore your mind and body.
www.theboulders.com – 480-488-9009
L’Auberge de Sedona
L’Auberge de Sedona has the privilege of being one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. Surrounded by the towering red rocks of Sedona, the property has an extraordinary and unique location on the banks of Oak Creek, where the scenery is even more beautiful and the atmosphere so tranquil that even the most seasoned traveler is awestruck.
WHY YOU MUST GO: For the peace and serenity of a luxury excursion among the natural beauty that pervades the unique location.
WHAT TO DO: Relax on your private outdoor deck, take an outside shower in the middle of the day, have exquisite meals on the creekside patio and take in the grandeur of the towering red rocks of Sedona.
ASK FOR THIS: A room with an outdoor shower.
www.lauberge.com – 928-282-1661
Set on 70 acres of panoramic natural terrain, Enchantment Resort stands at the doorway of secluded Boynton Canyon…surrounded by red rock formations known for inspiring the mind, body and spirit. Its Mii Amo spa is world renowned and is inspired by the rich wisdom and traditions of Native American people, complemented by the beauty and energy of Sedona
WHY YOU MUST GO: This five-star resort is set against one of America’s most scenic western locations and ideal for a cowgirl getaway where nature and luxury come together.
WHAT TO DO: Take a Pink Jeep tour of the red rocks, set up a treatment at Mii Amo spa, sip a prickly pear margarita in Tii Gavo overlooking the red rocks, and have the buffalo tenderloin entrée at Che-Ah-Chi, the resort signature restaurant.
ASK FOR THIS: Katchina Woman spa treatment at Mii Amo
www.enchantmentresort.com – 800-826-4180
This working cattle ranch an hour east of Cody Wyoming is a “Riding Guest Ranch” where the focus is on horses and all levels of would-be wranglers, from the first timers to seasoned horse owners, are welcome. Ride out into the untamed rangelands and jagged red-rock canyons of the real West, where wild mustangs watch you from distant buttes. Or assist in finding, sorting and driving cattle through high mountain meadows. Back at the ranch, instruction in Authentic Horsemanship helps guests bond with their assigned horses. After a day in the saddle, meals are taken in the grand dining room, an homage to the great camps of nearby Yellowstone National Park. Serene, well-appointed cabins and casitas are sprinkled throughout the spacious manicured lawn with alfresco hot tub and old-fashioned swimming hole.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Sitting in the saddle, watching an eagle fly against the sun-saturated walls of Shell Canyon.
WHAT TO DO: Learn to ride, or introduce your friends to your horse habit in a safe, fun and spectacular environment.
SAVE ROOM FOR: Hearty, western-gourmet meals prepared by the Hideout’s European-trained Cordon Blue chef.
www.thehideout.com – 307-765-2080
The real deal when it comes to traditional-style dude ranch vacations, North Fork is a premier family-friendly, all-inclusive destination that your family will be talking about for years! Just an hour outside of Denver, Colorado, North Fork is a world away from the ordinary. Trail rides, “lunch on the trail,” (a wilderness picnic complete with gingham cloths, hot chicken and biscuits, homemade brownies and raspberry lemonade) and daily pony rides for the wee ones round out the equestrian activities. Or enjoy Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, river rafting, mountain biking, and the on-site zip line!
WHY YOU MUST GO: A shared family adventure. To show your kids some non-electronic entertainment.
WHAT TO DO: Ride, eat and sleep. Repeat.
ASK FOR THIS: Champagne Brunch Ride at 9,000 feet.
www.northforkranch.com – 800-843-7895
C Lazy U Ranch
A working cattle ranch for over 90 years, the C Lazy U reminds us of a luxury African safari camp: Absolutely authentic (and for city slickers, definitely exotic) but designed to spoil guests with luxurious accommodations and amenities, without ever compromising its Wild West feel. In addition to the requisite ranch activities: horseback riding, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, and the like, the ranch prides itself on its “Five Spur Service,” and seasoned travelers will appreciate the attentive staff as well as the indulgent in-room amenities. A riverside spa with fabulous treatment and massage tents elevates the experience and ensures adventure is balanced by an equal amount of relaxation.
“Legendary cuisine” completes the list of world–class reasons for visiting the C Lazy U.
WHY YOU MUST GO: To experience your own natural Colorado Rocky Mountain high.
WHAT YOU MUST DO: Book a massage in one of the riverside spa treatment tents overlooking the river.
AS FOR THIS: The Crest Cabin
www.clazyu.com – 970-887-3344
Red Reflet Ranch
A year-round horse program (the ranch has approximately 50 horses at any given time), extensive cattle working opportunities for aspiring wranglers and a private airport that offers professional instruction and pilot education programs makes Red Reflet one of the most unique guest ranches in the West. Rates are “super inclusive” and include accommodations, unlimited activities, Chef prepared meals and beverages including over 100 wines selected from around the world, over 20 brands of beer, and a premium spirits bar. Use of the ranch facilities is also included: a heated pool, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, complete gym, 12 seat HD theater, lighted tennis court, basketball court, rifle range, adult and youth climbing walls, beach volleyball, skeet and pistol shooting, zip line and climbing wall. ATVs, dirt bikes, and mountain bikes are also included. For those who simply can’t leave, a limited number of private airport homesteads of 50-160 acres are available that include horse, sports and private airstrip privileges.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Big sky vibe meets country club amenities in this active new west destination.
WHAT TO DO: Fly your own aircraft into the ranch’s private airport, or charter a flight from most nearby hubs.
ASK FOR: The Panorama Chalet (or the Couple’s Chalet for a romantic aerie for two).
www.red-reflet-ranch.net – 866-766-2340
Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch
Nestled away in the majestic Sawtooth Mountains, where snow capped peaks collect crystalline snowflake kisses and the meandering Salmon River flows, high-alpine adventure and deep relaxation await. Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch provides a mélange of historic charm and modern comforts amid the natural splendor of Idaho. The ranch features refined, comfort-food cuisine made of local, organic and sustainable ingredients only. Here, you’ll live day-to-day, adventure-to-adventure in a wilderness sanctuary where wildlife still roams free and real cowboys still ride. Fill the days hiking, white water rafting and horseback riding, steal away for a scenic ride to gaze at the extraordinary views or soak away your cares (and any lingering aches) in the exquisite natural hot springs.
WHY YOU MUST GO: Handsome pine cabins (and handsome cowboys) amid peaceful and gorgeous views.
WHAT YOU MUST DO: Tour the scenic, unspoiled surroundings; slip into the natural hot springs.
ASK FOR THIS: The Mineral pool.
www.idahorocky.com – 208-774-3544