Enjoy a taste of the West and learn the language of the Cowboy…
Picture yourself on a horseback ride through a sun-drenched forest after a fresh early morning rain or under the stars listening to the crickets singing their special lullabies as the crackle of the campfire plays in the background.
Imagine the smell of morning coffee a brew on the campfire or hearing your canoe paddle break the silence of glassy waters as you glide across a wilderness lake.
Envision stopping and standing still in the mystical splendor of pure silence as you’re hiking or riding through a lush, deep green forest.
There is no reason to simply “imagine” scenes like these. You can experience the outdoors in a truly memorable way with a vacation of a lifetime! Think dude ranches, horseback adventures, fly-fishing, covered wagons, and cattle drives. Yes, you too can be a City Slicker…
From Rustic to Resort…
The richness, romance, and experience of the Old West are still available with the offerings of some of the most spectacular settings to be found…
Experience the life and regimen of the American Cowboy as you ride your way back in time to a place where life was basic and the basics were a way of life. Add a touch of today’s modern pleasures that will change you forever. Dude and guest ranches are an extension of nature catering to your overall experience, enjoyment and comfort.
The first dude ranches were on the plain side – you rode hard and slept harder, unrolling a bedroll in a bunkhouse that offered more cowboy authenticity than creature comfort.
Today’s lodging varies from rustic log cabins with hot tubs under the stars to luxurious resorts and lodges with full-service spas such as the one below - Mountain Sky Guest Ranch ¹ in Emigrant, Montana.
No two are alike…
I don’t want to give the impression that all dude ranches (also called guest ranches) offer the same kind of experience. While there are a few commonalities you can count on – an emphasis on horseback riding for one – the experiences you will find can vary dramatically depending on the ranch, and even the week you decide to stay. Finding the perfect match takes a bit of careful research…Mmm – right up my alley…I love to research!
Dude and guest ranches each have their own special flavor. Some are family-friendly with a full children’s program, others offer adults-only, singles-only, and ladies-only programs, and some have theme weeks.
Each ranch has a variety of mounts, from gentle ponies to spirited horses that are well trained and dependable.
While dude ranches offer the cowboy in you an array of horseback oriented activities, there are plenty of other adventures “out of the saddle” the likes of:
- fly-fishing and instruction
- wildlife and nature viewing
- national park tours
- skeet shooting
- rock climbing
- whitewater rafting
- special ranch events
- country swing and line dancing
- and much, much more…
Can’t make it in the summer? Many ranches run winter programs that include:
- cross-country skiing
- horse-drawn sleigh rides
- and, snowshoeing
all in the midst of majestic winter surroundings. Truly romantic! (See what I mean about careful research?)
Dude Rancher’s Association
Since 1926, the Dude Rancher’s Association ² has acted as the governing body for the western ranch vacation industry, working its member ranches to ensure quality of services and with Federal and State agencies to protect the lands they thrive on. In order to become DRA members, dude ranches must go through a rigorous application process and a battery of site inspections to ensure that safety and quality standards are met for guests as well as livestock.
Location, Location, Location…
In choosing a ranch, location is an important factor not just for proximity and accessibility, but also for the type of riding environment you are looking for.
DRA member ranches are located in 12 US western states and 2 Canadian provinces:
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
- British Columbia
Convenience aside, riding comes first and foremost at any dude ranch, so you will want to weigh in on the terrain you’re looking for, whether it be prairie or trail, mountain or desert.
Looking for a new way to experience an American classic this summer?
Today’s dude ranches have expanded to offer a range of specialty weeks which may be centered on improving an artistic skill or an excuse to enjoy a girlfriend getaway. Here are a few special weeks available this summer as mentioned on “Just Dude It” – the Dude Rancher’s Association blog:
Luxury Inn & Lodge Riding Vacation…first class riding with the comforts of home…
Want to experience the backcountry or countryside on horseback, but don’t like the idea of sleeping under the stars or going days without a good, hot shower? Here’s an adventure for you…Progressive riding tours with overnights in cozy B&Bs, country manor houses, luxury inns, or five star accommodations where most breakfasts and dinners will be served.
You can expect excellent cuisine with a cozy, rich ambiance.
To take advantage of breathtaking vistas, lunches are typically served trailside via a support vehicle or packed along in your saddlebags.
At the end of the day, soak away saddle sores in the hot tub, or better yet, enjoy a relaxing massage. These treks are for horse lovers, but most outfitters accommodate non-riders with a host of activities and amenities.
The Wagon Train Adventure…
Step back in time and retrace the trails of early pioneers who expanded our nation’s frontiers. The creak of the wagons…the smell of leather, sagebrush, and wood smoke…a new mountain panorama around every bend of the train…grandeur beyond belief!
Wagon train adventures offer an authentic western experience on open range and historic regions. Guests may opt to travel on horseback each day, while the pint-sized passengers (and saddle-sore adults) can opt for cushioned perches atop wagons.
Wagon train adventures are a good choice for families with small children or non-riding adults.
Along the trail, you’ll see antelope, deer, rabbits, eagles, and maybe even a buffalo herd or two.
Share in delicious meals cooked over open fires. Enjoy the evening wagon circle and campfire while relaxing to a singing cowboy.
The Authentic Old West…
These fun, educational and unusual vacations are designed for all…Bring your sense of adventure, expand your comfort zone and leave your worries behind. Travel back in time and enjoy the West and all it has to offer. You’ll see country that lots of folks only dream about…
As usual, I’m here as “your personal travel planner” to help make that adventure dream vacation come true…
There’s a little bit of cowboy in all of us…let me help you find yours…
Please call me at 931-484-8228 or Email Me
I’ll get back to you pronto!
Thanks for your time…happy trails to you!
¹Mountain Sky Ranch, Emigrant, Montana
²Dude Rancher’s Association