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

Fall Adult-Only Getaways a Growing Trend at Dude Ranches

August 29th, 2014 by Leah Bright

Dude and guest ranches are ever – popular as family vacation destinations, but members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association recognize that adults also value time to themselves.

When the kids get back on the bus it’s time for parents to get back in the saddle for a classic Western getaway. From the latter part of August through October, dude ranches are a couples’ best bet to rekindle romance and replenish the spirit. And the price is right too!Western Pleasure Dude and Guest Ranch

The height of summer finds most ranches filled to capacity with families. In fall couples have their pick of dude ranches with September being traditionally a time for adults only. No need to break the bank for airfare, car rentals or a dozen tanks of gas, since for many American’s and Canadians, a ranch is found within less than a day’s drive. And with rates including meals, riding, activities, and accommodations, it becomes an even more attractive getaway.

Spectacular dude ranch scenery is at an all-time high in autumn when aspens sport yellow cloaks and icy mountain streams swirl with fat trout. These are the conditions found at Northern California’s Hunewill Ranch. Just East of Yosemite National Park.

The only traffic passing Waunita Hot Springs Ranch is an elk or two. Perched high in the Colorado Rockies, surrounded by Gunnison National Forest, time is measured only by shadows cast by the sun.  Add to the remote location an immense swimming pool, bathhouse and hot tub fed by natural hot springs. Cares and worries melt away.Spotted Horse Dude and Guest Ranch Tr

“An outpost of unpretentious comfort” is how folks describe the Spotted Horse Ranch in NW Wyoming. An Orvis affiliate, and host to a trout fishing school, The Spotted Horse draws riders and angler from all over the world. Sixteen miles from the Western resort town of Jackson Hole, it’s far enough away from the action that guests can enjoy solitude, but get a taste of city amenities like art galleries, fine shopping and sizzling nightlife.

Western Pleasure Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho offers a five-day Adult Horsemanship Week Sept. 7-12, this is their tenth year. Leave the kids at home and enjoy five nights of grown up fun! Allow the beauty of North Idaho to rejuvenate you as you trail ride through open meadows, quiet forests, and slow moving creeks. Cowboy up with team cattle sorting, cattle drives, arena games or, if you wish, private and semi private lessons in the arena. Take a morning to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment or try your hand at skeet shooting. Evening activities may include archery, wagon rides, a scenic boat cruise on Lake Pend Oreille, or old fashioned cowboy music around the campfire. Here adults develop solid, fundamental skills that focus on both the rider and the horse.Lazy L&B Dude and Guest Ranch

Wyoming’s diverse terrain is the focus during the month of September at the Lazy L & B Ranch in Wind River country. The week of Sept 7th is set aside for adults who are looking for a true western experience in the land of Jim Bridger and the mountain men, the Arapahoe and Shoshone Indians, Lewis and Clark, Sacajawea, Chief Washakie, and Buffalo Bill. Guests can ride for miles through some of the most varied terrain imaginable: cottonwood river bottoms, tall rangeland grasses, colorful bad-land country, mountain meadows or alpine country where herds of elk, deer or moose may be seen. Other activities include excellent fishing, hiking, swimming in the solar heated ranch pool, riflery, and more.


 

5 Cattle Drives Not to Miss

August 22nd, 2014 by Leah Bright

‘I should’ve been a Cowboy
I should’ve learned to rope and ride
Wearing my six-shooter riding my pony on a cattle drive
Stealing the young girl’s hearts
Just like Gene and Roy
Singing those campfire songs
I should’ve been a cowboy’

Well, unlike the song says, you still can. Take your next vacation to another level. Be that cowboy on a cattle drive.

McGarry Calf and Mother Working55,000 acres is the amount of land at the McGarry Ranches. That’s more than a few miles of fence line to monitor and maintain for 2,000 head of cattle. Here the cattle are organized in units and usually they visit more than one unit a day. Tracking and gathering strays are usual occurrences. Trailing them back is now a part of your job. 1,500 pounds of cow has to be convinced to go where you and your horse want them to. Don’t worry, that’s why you have a guide and probably his trusty cow dog to help.

 

Colorado Cattle Company Working Lady

Branding calves is a tradition that has lasted as long as the cowboy. Participating in this event is a yearly occurrence for the ranchers and their guests. Nothing says memorable like an afternoon of branding. Get your hands dirty and jeans dusty. I’m sure you’ll have some good stories to tell. Join Colorado Cattle Company next spring for their branding.

Klondike Ranch

 

Or maybe spending all day in the saddle is your thing. Moving cattle from pasture to pasture is just as exciting as it sounds. Can you feel the sense of awe and wonderment in this picture of the Klondike Ranch‘s guests moving 650 cow/calf pairs to the high pastures of the Big Horn Mountains?

 

 

Bonanza Guest and Dude Ranch

Since the 1870′s Bonanza Creek Ranch hands have roamed the range and worked cattle along the banks of Bonanza Creek. A century later, very little has changed…the only difference is now there is a place set at the table for you. Personal attention is the norm with only 8 – 12 guests per week. The demand to conform to a strict routine simply floats away on the Montana breeze. Hospitality, responsive horses, challenging cattle work, tasty home cooking, and comfortable cabins will make you want to come back year after year.

Burnt Well Camping Tent Cattle Drive

 

You might be wondering what it was like for Gus and Captain Call in Lonesome Dove when they took several months to move their herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. The Burntwell Guest Ranch offers a three or four night taste of this life. Five to ten hours a day are spent in the saddle. Hot meals are cooked in a Dutch oven over an open fire. You will camp out under the stars in a bedroll like the ones the cowboys used in the olden days.

 

 

Our Association has many ranches that offers that authentic cowboy experience. Some others are Focus, Rowses 1+1, Zapata, Lonesome Spur, Hubbard’s Six Quarter Circle. For a more detailed description of this type of vacation give Leah or Colleen a call at the Dude Ranchers Association. 307.587.2335. Thanks


 

 

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


»