Just "Dude" It – The Dude Ranchers' Association Blog
Helping People Find Quality Dude Ranches and Guest Ranch Vacations Since 1926

Hollywood Meets the Wild West

August 15th, 2014 by Leah Bright

Forget Hollywood: many dude ranches have had Hollywood come to them to film some of the most notable classic Western movies ever to hit the big screen over the years.

White Stallion Ranch Wagon Ride Horses

Take for example, White Stallion Ranch. This family-owned 3,000-acre dude ranch located outside of Tucson, Ariz., has been attracting Hollywood filmmakers to its unspoiled desert and rugged mountain landscape for more than 70 years. Notable Western movies filmed on-site include the 1939 legendary film, “Arizona,” as well as “Winchester 73,” “Apache Ambush” and “Backlash.” And the list doesn’t stop at just Western films. Scenes from “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” starring George Clooney were filmed on the ranch. The 2007 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue even used this desert setting for its hugely popular annual photo shoot!

Circle Z Dude Ranch Cat Post Historical

Another guest ranch known for its movie history is Circle Z Ranch. Also located in Arizona, Circle Z Ranch is the oldest continuously operating guest ranch in the state and has served as the backdrop for movies and TV shows including “Gunsmoke” and John Wayne’s “Red River.” Most recently, the 2006 movie “Flicka” was filmed at Eaton’s Ranch in Wyoming. Upon arriving to the ranch’s 7,000 acres of beautiful open country with rolling hills, grassy meadows and hidden valleys, you too will see why the setting was perfect for the big screen.

Eatons Ranch Horses Sunset

Whether you’re a movie buff looking to visit the settings of some of your favorite movies or searching for a thrilling adventure in an off-the-beaten-path locale, guest ranches provide you with the full on star treatment. Thanks to their warm Western Hospitality and full lineup of daily activities and programing, you’re guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime…straight out of a Hollywood Western.


 

5 Ways the DRA Facilitates Your Travel Planning Experience

August 8th, 2014 by Leah Bright

We are often asked how The Dude Ranchers Association can help the potential guest with the planning stages of their dude ranch vacation. Below are 5 real ways that either the DRA web site or the DRA office can help in your search. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or need any help.

Find Ranches AlphabeticallyCustomized Searchability
The DRA’s advanced search capabilities eliminate the stress of having to research and compare hundreds of ranches individually. With the click of a button, you’re able to refine your search by selecting the activities and amenities on your vacation wish list. Or, if you’re looking for a ranch in a specific geographic area, you can narrow your search by state/province, or even proximity to National Parks.

 

Find Ranches by National ParksOne-on-One Guidance
Personalized help is important to the DRA both on and off the ranch. If you’re still stumped as to which ranch the best is fit for you, the DRA wants to hear about it. They have a toll-free number staffed with experts that are knowledgeable about each one of their distinct member ranches. They’re available to talk through any and all questions you may have. Warning: they may even offer an unsolicited tip or two!

 

Find Ranches by Activitiy and AmenityDude Ranch Experts
If it’s your first time (on a dude ranch), you’re sure to have a list of questions and concerns about just how this whole guest ranch vacation is going to play out. What should I wear? Do I need to know how to ride before I get there? What kind of food will there be? Will there be plenty for my kids (and me) to do? From riding and ranch offerings, to travel insurance and what to pack, the DRA is your go-to source for dude ranch insider information.

 

Find Ranches by State or ProvinceGet a Second Opinion
There’s an entire section on the DRA’s website dedicated to what other people have to say about us! This section features accounts from national and regional travel writers and bloggers who have visited a DRA-accredited ranch to see what it’s all about for themselves, providing you with unbiased, second opinions, and answers to many of the same questions you may have.

 

Experience the ‘Best of the West’
The DRA has been preserving, protecting and promoting dude ranches and the Western way of life since it was founded in 1926. All of its member ranches are required to uphold the highest quality and standards within the industry (membership is actually a two-year process!), so you and your family can rest easy knowing that a trip to one of the DRA’s member ranches will be filled with authentic, Western hospitality and the core principles that haven’t changed for nearly a decade: horses, hats, heritage, honesty and heart.

Dude Ranchers Association

Find Your Frontier at a Classic DRA Dude Ranch

July 28th, 2014 by Colleen Hodson

T Cross Ranch Cat PostFind you frontier at this classic Wyoming Dude Ranch, the T Cross Ranch, with a timeless magic. The T Cross Dude Ranch lies inside the Shoshone National Forest at an elevation of 7,800 feet. Surrounded by an untouched country of pine forests and open meadows, trout-rich streams and small lakes, with endless vistas rising well over 11,000 feet – it is scenically magical. Through the T Cross gate you will discover a pristine wilderness. In the backyard, the Washakie Wilderness Area of Wyoming covers 704,274 acres, adjoining the southeastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and the Teton Wilderness in one huge chunk of very wild country. From atop well-trained horses, guests discover rugged mountain trails revealing a myriad of wildlife seen only in the greater Yellowstone area. Most guests, however, remember the T Cross for its familiar atmosphere that blends the color of the West and the relaxing comforts of home.


 

Three Bars RanchLooking for the perfect riding ranch? While Three Bars Guest Ranch offers a variety of activities; their horseback riding program is in a class of its own. Nowhere else will you find this combination of such great horses, beautiful riding terrain, and world-class horsemen with generations of experience.
Three Bars Guest Ranch is home to over 110 head of horses. The horse-to-guest ratio is over 2-to-1, allowing for horses suited to each rider’s individual ability and experience level. Horses range from “bomb proof” kids’ horses all the way through to young horses suitable for experienced riders. So, whether you’re an old hand or someone who needs a helping hand, you can be sure to enjoy your time in the saddle. Your horse will be just that – YOUR horse for the week. He will be ready and waiting for you every morning of your stay, along with the saddle that suits you most.


 

Sweet Grass RanchThe opportunity to work with the cattle at Sweet Grass Dude Ranch is what brings many guests back year after year. Since the cattle graze on Sweet Grass Ranch lands for most of the summer, guests have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the challenges and joys of caring for a herd of grass-fed range cattle, monitoring their health and moving them to new grazing grounds as water and grass vitality dictates. You may do some cattle work on any given week, and are often checking fences, grass conditions, and putting out salt and minerals. On these working rides guests are always invited to get a true taste of the cowboy life.
For those looking for that working ranch experience of a cattle drive, there are certain weeks to move cattle. Here’s a chance to drive cattle from one ranch to another or over to different grazing lands. These dates may change slightly from year-to-year, so it’s best to check with the ranch when planning your trip.

 


 

Spotted Horse Ranch Fly FishinWith many of our ranches located on private pristine waters fly fishing is one of the activities that is sure to make any angler happy. Spotted Horse Ranch in Jackson Wyoming is no exception. There is a one acre spring-fed pond holding Snake River Cutthroats – a unique strain of cutthroat and the only native trout to Jackson Hole. A resident since the last ice age, this gem of a fish sports a golden bronze body speckled with black spots, accented by a scarlet slash under each gill plate. In the spirit of preservation please be gentle with these fish, should you be fortunate enough to make their acquaintance. Land them quickly and send them on their way.  Spotted Horse Ranch has some of the best streams and rivers for spawning and growing trout. Vigorous and hungry, Snake River Fine-Spotted Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Brown Trout thrive in the cool waters in their backyard. The ranch offers virtually every level of fly caster a satisfying experience. Free casting lessons are offered on Monday afternoons.

Put on your boots and cowboy hat and travel to a classic DRA ranch. Where time passes slowly and life remains consistent. Find your frontier amongst ranchers and crew who have made the West a historical way of life.


 

Dude Ranch – The Cure for Nature Deficit Disorder

July 16th, 2014 by Leah Bright

Richard Louv, child advocate and writer of the bestselling books The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods, has coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder. He explains a growing body of research indicating the lack of nature in today’s online generation. This term parallels the lack of nature to the growing trends of childhood obesity, attention disorders and depression. He explains, “Direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults”(richardlouv.com).

At a dude ranch your are guaranteed to get your nature fix and spend the majority of your vacation outdoors in some of the most beautiful locations West of the Mississippi. With three square meals a day planned out carefully by a professional chef, you won’t have to worry about feeding your children fast food on the road. Once you know your kids are eating right, what kind of outdoor activities will they be doing all week?

ThA Bar A Ranch Kids Children Horse Ridingere is something for all ages at a guest ranch, balancing quality time together and apart. For the little tikes there is a children’s program, equipped with a weeks worth of activities including pony rides, field days, crafts and all sorts of toddler friendly activities. Look at this little girl (pictured left) riding for the first time at the A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming.

 

Tumbling River Ranch Kids Children Barrels

For the kids old enough to go out on trial ride, I’m sure they will team up with the other children and tackle every hill and trail with their new favorite wrangler. Pictured Right is a young cowgirl racing around the barrels in the arena activities at the Tumbling River Ranch in Colorado.

The older teens might end up fishing or going on an all day hike, hanging out with the crew and other guests their age. They won’t even realize how much time they’ll spend in nature, except for the repeated application of sunscreen.

A vacation this summer will inspire them to go outdoors and explore. Who knows- when they become of age they might end up working a summer or two for a ranch. No matter how much time you spend at a dude ranch physically and emotionally you and your whole family will leave refreshed and full of memories. If you’re seeking a healthy, active outdoor vacation to combat Nature-Deficit Disorder take a look at the following ranches with activities designed with the whole family in mind.

R Lazy S Kids ProgramR Lazy S

Pictured left is the Kid’s Wrangler, Will, jamming to Musical Chairs during Gymkhana. Along with Musical Chairs, they had fun riding horses while balancing an egg on a spoon, a 3-Legged race, and the famous M&M’s hidden in whip cream race. This, followed by a hamburger/hot dog barbecue, makes for a perfect day.

 

Cherokee Park Rafting Family Cherokee Park

The Cherokee Park Ranch is a family owned dude ranch nestled in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. We cater to families with kids of all ages, horse back riding, river rafting, rodeos, fishing, music, dancing, cow wrangling, swimming, ropes/challenge course, skeet shooting and mountain biking.

 

 

4th of July Kids Children Greenhorn CreekGreenhorn Creek

A truly all inclusive guest dude ranch vacation, we provide the perfect location for family vacations, reunions, weddings, corporate and business retreats, meetings, special events, equine guided education and so much more. Still serving up the best hospitality in the west!

 

 

Three Bars Kids ChildrenThree Bars

Three Bars Guest Ranch The adventure ranch of the Canadian Rockies invites you to experience the ultimate horseback riding vacation. Located just south of Banff National Park, Three Bars Ranch offers the most diverse vacation activities available anywhere. Voted Canada’s #1 Dude Ranch in 2012.

 

 

Drowsy Water Kids LakeDrowsy Water

Winner Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards #1 All Inclusive Vacation. For over 90 years Drowsy Water Ranch has been providing folks from around the world with Western vacations. Under the same owner/management for 35 years, we promise nothing less than real down home hospitality and memories.

 

 

Lone Mountain Ranch FamilyLone Mountain

Endless recreational possibilities at this historic ranch offering horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, fly fishing and Outdoor Youth Adventures just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Cozy, comfortable log cabins with western furnishings.

 


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