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Guide to Great American Ranches

Attention all you city slickers, outdoors enthusiasts, and wild west wanderers! Get ready to saddle up on your very own ranch holiday. Which sort of rancher are you? Do you see yourself on a working dude ranch or a luxury ranch? Dude ranches are more horse-oriented and rustic, and luxury ranches feature native and local activities and unique accommodations including cabins and glamping. At a luxury ranch you can go horseback riding and also enjoy shooting, fishing, archery, cooking classes, and relaxing at the spa.

So we can find just the right ranch for you, let's consider these points as we plan your trip. 

Season: Open all year vs. seasonal

Minimum night stays: In peak season, sometimes a 5-7 night minimum stay is required. 

All-inclusive: Would you prefer all activities and food & beverage to be included?

Experiences: Book on site, or I specialize in booking private activities in advance!

Cowboy focus: Lots of horses and cowboy hats vs. global adventure (not just cowboys)

Age restrictions: Some have adult-only sections or are adults-only. Some allow ages 16+.

Geography: Fly to a regional airport (great for private jets), or rent a car and drive further?

Price point: This varies! Some charge per person per day, and some will charge per room. 

Peace of mind: Cancellation policies and health and safety measures shared in advance.

Now that you have a better idea of what kind of rancher you are, below is a curated list of highly recommended ranches across America. I work with a top tour operator who vets and inspects all of these properties, so you can be assured of their quality and consistency of service. Keep in mind that ranches pair perfectly with many national parks, and lots have swimming pools too. At which of these ranches would you love to ride your horse through gorgeous landscapes before falling asleep under wide open, starry skies?

New Mexico & Colorado

Vermejo - Raton, New Mexico: This private, 590,823 acre residence of Ted Turner made him the second biggest private landowner in the U.S. A stay here is truly unique, and touring can all be customized to your liking, instead of scheduled back to back activities.

Duntan Hot Springs - Duntan, Colorado: This luxury, all-inclusive property outside Telluride doesn't tout as much of the cowboy experience but you'll enjoy the fly fishing and horseback riding here.

Rawah Ranch - Jelm, Colorado: Located in north central Colorado 4-5 hours from Denver (or under two hours from the regional airport), this intimate dude ranch has a good price point and great food.

Zapata Ranch - Mosca, Colorado: This working ranch is on thousands of acres of preserved bison lands and is located right at the otherworldly Great Sand Dunes National Park. This ranch is geared toward adults who are experienced horseback riders, for following those bison all day.

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado Springs, Colorado:  This is The Broadmoor's only ranch property, and this inclusive pairs very well with the sights of New Mexico.  

Gateway Canyons - Gateway, Colorado: This 4-star property is an easy drive to Moab and Arches National Park in Utah. It makes a great stay for breaking up long drives as you visit the parks!

Montana and Wyoming

Ranch at Rock Creek - Philipsburg, Montana: This is a truly all-inclusive resort for those seeking the ultimate luxury experience. There's a three-night minimum stay, but you'll want to stay longer!

Resort at Paws Up - Greenough, Montana: Just 45 minutes from Missoula, you'll feel a sense of wide open space on their 37,000 acres of land. Choose from a variety of accommodation like tents, homes, and cabins which are especially wonderful for mult-generational families. 

Triple Creek Ranch - Darby, Montana: Distinctively quieter with a more elegant ambiance, this adults-only (16+) ranch, 90 minutes south of Missoula has a higher price tag and exceptional dining. 

Lone Mountain Ranch - Big Sky, Montana: This ranch pairs perfectly with Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Jackson. Stay 5-7 nights and a full day in Yellowstone is included. 1-2 bedroom cabins are recently renovated, and there are larger cabins for multi-generational families and groups. 

Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek + Magee Homestead - Saratoga, Wyoming: There are so many activities scheduled daily at these sister properties, you'll never get bored. For an additional fee, private experiences can be arranged too. Magee Homestead is an all-inclusive, five star spa resort.

320 Guest Ranch - Galletin Gateway, Montana: Easier on the wallet, this ranch isn't super fancy. It offers horseback riding adventure and close access to Yellowstone.

Other Destinations

Sorrel River Ranch - Moab, Utah: 40 minutes south of Moab with amazing landscapes, real ranch feel, and a horseback riding program, we can book private touring here too for a bespoke experience.

The Lodge at Blue Sky - Wanship, Utah: Ultra modern with plentiful activities like fishing, hiking, and biking, this Virtuoso property comes with extra perks and amenities for my clients, in a unique area.  

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch - Tuscon, Arizona: This breathtaking refuge in the heart of Sonoran Desert is the perfect place to stay for checking out the country's largest cacti at Saguaro National Park.

Carmel Valley Ranch - Carmel-By-The-Sea, California: This ranch is more resort style and a large property with lots of activities like horseback riding, but we'll book private experiences just for you.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa + Siwash Lake Wildnerness Resort - British Columbia: About 6 hours north of Vancouver, discover the Canadian Rockies through horses, adventure, nature, and ecology.

Contact me when you're ready to ride off into the sunset!


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