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Featured image: Riding through the grass, Bar W Guest Ranch, Montana.
It’s not hard to understand why now would be a great time to book a guest or dude ranch experience. With all the pressure exerted on families and friends and your own personal self being, 2020 was a pressure-cooker of do’s and don’ts, uncertainty, restrictions, and limitations. These words are the antithesis of the great American dude and guest ranch. It’s all about freedom…wide open spaces, fresh mountain air, babbling brooks and wildlife. Then there are the horses. Innocent and willing to take you to places that will warm your heart and bring you wonder in the amazing placesetting Mother Nature has designed for you.
A place to soothe your soul
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Montana.
Unlike a resort vacation where hundreds of people come together with sparse itineraries of things to do, like siting around a pool watching others do the very same, a guest ranch experience is the complete opposite. There are not hundreds of other people fighting for the perfect lounge chair or dinner table. No, none of that.
Dude ranches are all about hospitality. It’s like visiting someone’s home and the very nature of what makes them so welcoming is the location.
Mountains, streams, and natural wonders are what make the guest ranch stand out. The food, the staff, and the horses, are there for you and literally everything is taken care of.
Nothing is as good for the soul as breathing in fresh mountain air atop a willing horse overlooking the great natural expanse. No restrictions. No limitations. Just wide open spaces, crackling campfires, and a Western sensibility that will calm your soul.
Klondike Ranch, Wyoming.
COWGIRL wanted to find out what some of the many members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association had to say about their upcoming season and hear first hand what we and many others want to hear, so we asked them. Here is what some of them had to say:
“Dude ranches have always changed lives and will continue to do so. We have been fortunate to provide a safe environment for folks and families to grow together through experiencing safe authentic activities both in and out of their comfort zones. Under the current environment this rings true more than ever. We’ll take good care of you.”
Bar W Guest Ranch
“When we’re restless, lost, or overwhelmed, sometimes all it takes is a moment in the woods, a stroll atop a gentle horse, or a night under the stars to set us right. Cherokee Park Ranch works magic on your spirit and soul.”
Cherokee Park Ranch
“Leave behind your zoom meetings and virtual backdrops, experience the adventure and authenticity a dude ranch provides. Nature, horses, wide-open spaces, and serenity; recreate those meaningful memories with friends and family that have been on hold. Reclaim adventure, rebuild friendships, and renew laughter.”
Circle Z Ranch
“There is no better place to escape than in the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest at our very small guest ranch. Enjoy fresh mountain air, peace and quiet, and spectacular scenery while horseback riding through 500-foot-deep canyons with crystal clear streams.”
Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
Winston, New Mexico
Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, New Mexico
“A special vacation unlike any you will ever experience. It is a real treat to be “off the grid” and remember how peaceful life can be. Find accommodations that are beautifully rustic in their modern comforts and activities that take you to the mountains.”
The Gros Ventre River Ranch
Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado
“Klondike is a great place to recharge your batteries. Open plains and high mountains while camping under the stars. Peaceful streams, fresh air, the quiet so loud that you have to pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming.”
Medicine Bow Lodge, Wyoming
“To our surprise, the 2020 season of Sprucedale Guest Ranch was one of its best. Why? Because people wanted a safe, secluded, quiet, relaxing vacation with home-cooked meals and fun activities for all ages, including horseback rides through picturesque mountains.”
Sprucedale Guest Ranch
“MBL has everything needed to feel safe, disconnect from the chaos, crowds, and rejuvenate while enjoying the fresh mountain air, family, and friends. Delicious, plentiful food, and an array of activities with some adventure with a personal touch from Tim and Debbie Bishop. Keeping it real and authentic…a day in the saddle is a good day.”
Medicine Bow Lodge and Adventure Guest Ranch
Sprucedale Guest Ranch, Alpine, Arizona
“After what has proven to be a trying year for us all, there is no better time than now to take a step back from the rigors of daily life and embark on an extraordinary ranch experience of a lifetime!”
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch
“There is nothing quite like viewing gorgeous country from the back of a nice horse. Throw in good company, blue Colorado skies, and great Western hospitality, and life is quite perfect. That’s a dude ranch!”
Rainbow Trout Ranch
Latigo Ranch, Colorado
“Our mountains speak to the soul with a very specific calm, a calm we want to give to you. Getting away from it all sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You’ll find clean air and no crowds at Latigo Ranch.”
Gros Ventre River Ranch, Jackson, Wyoming
Your dream dude ranch vacation beckons:
Will you heed its call?
Dude Ranchers’ Association:
(307) 587-2339, duderanch.org
Dude Ranch Foundation:
(307) 587-2339, duderanchfoundation.org