10 Legendary Dude Ranch Vacations for All Ages

Whether you’re looking for a rustic and authentic dude ranching experience or modern luxuries mixed with old Western charm, there’s a dude ranch vacation for you.
Last updated May 9, 2022 | By Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore | Edited By Michele Zipp
Log cabin surrounded by the forest at lake santeetlah north caro

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Few vacation spots offer travelers the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors quite like the dude ranch. These properties are located in some of the most naturally beautiful places in the country and give visitors the opportunity to take in the land while also enjoying comforts like cozy cabins, fine dining, and a bevy of fun ranching activities.

There are many different types to choose from depending on what kind of vacation you’re looking for — from ranches that cater to families with kids to those that function more like luxury resorts with an old Western feel (and some cost more than others, of course). Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of the top dude ranches across the U.S.

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C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado

Ric Ergenbright/Danita Delimont/Adobe USA Colorado Ridgway

For those looking for the luxury dude ranch experience, C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado, is a popular spot with many different types of cabins to fit an individual’s or family’s needs. The ranch offers all inclusive packages and charges a per person rate, which will vary based on which cabin you go with.

Guests may enjoy typical ranching activities like hiking, horseback riding, and simply taking in the natural wonders on C Lazy U’s massive grounds. Or indulge in one of the spot’s many other relaxing offerings like yoga classes, their full-service spa, or one of their top-of-the-line dining options.

Darwin Ranch in Wyoming

aceshot/Adobe vintage barn in Mormon Row

Darwin Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, touts itself as the “most remote guest ranch in the lower 48 states.” To get there, guests need to travel 25 miles down a dirt road to arrive at their tranquil, 100-year-old cabins among the beautiful Green River Valley.

In addition to the soothing atmosphere, guests can also enjoy delicious food, horseback riding, fishing, and hanging out in the hot tub or sauna.

Wildcatter Ranch in Texas

James Eddy/Adobe Hay bales on the east Texas Landscape

Just 90 minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Graham, Texas, Wildcatter Ranch offers a rustic experience — that’s not too far from the city — for all travelers, even those who may be budgeting.

The ranch offers both cabin suites and hotel rooms, all of which boast beautiful views and access to a slew of activities across 1,500 acres, including horseback riding, sunset rides, archery, and more.

Pro tip: Some of the activities at Wildcatter cost an extra fee, so it may be worth using one of the best travel credit cards for booking both your stay and your activities so you can potentially earn while you spend.

White Stallion Ranch in Arizona

Heather/Adobe an Arabian horse in a pen with mountains on the background

The White Stallion Ranch in Tucson gives guests access to one of the largest private herds of horses in Arizona for the authentic ranching experience. There are many other activities offered like archery, a petting zoo, spa services, or soaks in the hot tub.

Vacation packages include lodging and breakfast as well as one ranching activity per person per night booked, making it a great deal. For guests willing to dip a little deeper into their savings accounts, there is also an all-inclusive option.

Sweet Grass Ranch in Montana

outdoorsman/Adobe Cowboys on the range on a Montana horse ranch

Sweet Grass Ranch in Big Timber, Montana, is a family-operated gem located in the remote Crazy Mountain area and offers guests the opportunity to ride horses, hike, explore diverse terrain, join cattle drives, or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery by day and the cozy campfires by night.

When guests book cabins for the week, the rate includes seven nights of lodging, six days of riding, three meals per day, and hiking, fishing, and other ranch activities on the property.

Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Idaho

gbbrowning/Adobe disabled women fishing at a pretty lake in Northern Idaho

Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Harrison, Idaho, is a great option for the family. Their packages are all-inclusive and guests are invited to participate in all sorts of ranch activities including horseback riding, fly fishing lessons, swimming, and zipline rides.

If you’re traveling solo or simply want to steer clear of family-oriented vacation spots, the ranch also offers adults only and even women only weeks at certain points throughout the season.

Latigo Ranch in Colorado

Nelson Sirlin/Adobe Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

Located in the western part of Rocky Mountain National Park in Kremmling, Latigo Ranch offers visitors sweeping views all the way to the Continental Divide, 200 miles of horseback riding trails, and the opportunity to take in the beauty of 40,000 acres of national forest.

Aside from the breathtaking scenery, guests can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and the incredible dining experience the ranch has to offer. Latigo offers all-inclusive packages for its summer season — June through September — and winter day rates as well so guests can enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, and more in the colder months.

Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming

Peter Adams/Danita Delimont/Adobe horse riding Grand Teton National Park Wyoming USA

Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming, offers no shortage of activities for visitors to indulge in — guests love horseback riding, hiking and trail running, golfing, and luxurious visits to the spa. This option truly has it all.

The property, located between the Sierra Madre mountains and the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, offers guests an all-inclusive experience of old world Western charm mixed with modern luxuries.

Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona

Ray Redstone/Adobe Mountain Bikers On Desert Trail In Scottsdale, Arizona

Established in 1868, the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, is one of the oldest dude ranches the country has to offer. Guests can enjoy true Old West accommodations mixed with a delightful addition of modern luxuries.

Travelers can enjoy horseback riding lessons and take part in special riding tips. After mountain biking and hiking, guests may enjoy a communal ranch style meal. This is a great option for families traveling with children as they offer full-day kids activities for various age groups, which will allow parents to enjoy some of the more luxurious aspects like the spa.

Silver Spur Guest Ranch in Texas

yanlev/Adobe little kids swimming in pool underwater

In Bandera, Texas, located near the Hill Country State Natural Area, is the Silver Spur Guest Ranch. Here, visitors can partake in guided horseback rides, hike beautiful trails, dig for fossils, go for a swim in the Olympic-sized pool, and even enjoy some live entertainment and dancing.

Meals and horseback riding excursions will be included as part of your rate, and the ranch also welcomes guests who just want to stay for the day as well (they charge hourly rates for that). Those who want to stay awhile will have their choice of 15 Western-style rooms and cabins.

Bottom line

haveseen/Adobe tourist near Bear Lake in Colorado

The dude ranch vacation is an exciting way to enjoy the great outdoors and really get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life for a while. Whether you are looking for an old world, rustic experience, or a spot with more modern amenities, there’s likely a ranch that will fit your budget as well as your ranching expectations.

In case you’re wondering, dude ranches get their name because when they were established, a “dude” was considered to be a city slicker, so these spots often have all the amenities one would need right on the grounds.

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.