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

Winter Weddings, Sleigh Rides and Skiing

September 16th, 2014 by Leah Bright

Has that summer lovin’ turned into something more serious? Sundance Trails Ranch specializes in making your winter weddings and elopements both beautiful and memorable. Honeymoons here are complete with Colorado snowy vistas and warm fireplaces in your own private log cabin. Stargazing from the jacuzzi completes the dream stay. Who knows, you one night stay may turn into two or a full week.

Lone Mountain Dude and Guest Ranch Winter Sleigh RidesMeet Larry and Curly. They are 6 year old Percherons at the Lone Mountain Ranch in the famous Big Sky, Montana. After two years in their sleigh ride program Curly is known to be full of energy and mischievous. Apparently it’s not unusual to see him take the hose out of the water tank and spray water around. Larry is also playful and loves to push against things. These guys are a team of the noble steeds, if you will that draws the sleigh rides to the remote North Fork cabin. Here you’ll have a very special dinner cooked on an old fashioned wood-fired cook stove.  A Montana-sized prime rib dinner is served family style in a room illuminated by kerosene lanterns. Cowboy music rounds out an evening reminiscent of times long ago.

Latigo Dude and Guest Ranch Winter skiing

While ranches in more northerly states are generally busiest during the summer, many ranches from Wyoming, Montana and Colorado all the way up to British Columbia, Canada, are open for business during winter. With 60 Kilometers of machine groomed trails Latigo Ranch offers cross country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. As a member of the Cross Country Ski Areas Association they guarantee a winter adventure’s paradise. Check out a map of their cross country ski trails.

 


 

5 Reasons to Visit in the Fall

September 10th, 2014 by Leah Bright

With the kids back in school, Labor Day behind us and the days getting shorter, it can only mean one thing; fall is quickly approaching and will give you 5 good reasons to visit a dude ranch. Whether you’re looking for fall break travel ideas, a long weekend away without the kids or an extended vacation, a dude ranch is an ideal destination to enjoy the fall.

Colorado Trails Dude and Guest RanchSteals and Deals: As with many vacation destinations, summer is peak season for dude ranches. However, as the air cools down travelers can take advantage of less crowds and discounted rates. Budget-friendly offers range from a percentage off standard rates to special packages. Colorado Trails Ranch  has a 25 percent discount during the fall. During Circle Z Ranch’s Lone Star Long Weekend guests receive a discount on a four-day/three-night stay.

Adult-Only Weeks: Many dude ranches offer special adult-only weeks in the fall. This gives couples, groups and solo travelers the chance to make memories that will last a lifetime. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, for example, offers an Adult Horsemanship Week. This is a hands-on approach where guests experience the true pleasure of caring for and learning about these noble animals. Or, guests can enjoy a little pampering here, a little adventure there, and a lot of girl talk (and maybe some wine!) with a girlfriend’s getaway to Red Horse Mountain Ranch.Western Pleasure Dude and Guest Ranch  View Fall

Cattle Drives: For working ranches, fall means cattle drives. Guests are often invited to join in these adventurous and interactive experiences. Hunewill Ranch will embark on its 105th cattle drive this fall. Guests are welcome to take part in the ultimate Old West experience by riding with the Hunewill family for five days. This trek covers 60 miles from Bridgeport, California to Smith Valley, Nevada. Participants herd 600 cows as they are driven to their winter range.

Fall Foliage: Imagine horseback riding under a canopy of Technicolor fall foliage in glorious reds, bright yellows and vivid oranges. Some of the nation’s most spectacular leaf peeping can only be found when you head off the beaten path. Choose from guest ranches in Arizona or Colorado where fall changes the Aspen leaves. Book a getaway to a dude ranch located near a National Park such as Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park or Horseshoe Canyon Ranch which borders Buffalo River National Park.

Triangle X Dude and Guest Ranch Mountains  Tetons ViewEscape the Cold: People who live up north will be pulling out their jackets in no time.  For those looking to bask in the sun one last time, a long weekend getaway in the Southwest will do the trick. With six ranches to choose from in Arizona and two in New Mexico, travelers are sure to find the right ranch for them to ride off into the (still warm) sunset.


 

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


 

 


»