Best American dude ranch? Cherokee Park Ranch!

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, Flat Creek Ranch, Elkhorn Ranch and Circle Z Ranch in top five

A stay on a dude ranch offers a family vacation experience like no other. Family ranches across the country open their doors each year, inviting guests to learn about ranching life and experience some of America's natural beauty only accessible on horseback.

  • Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch
    McLeod, Mont.

    This all-inclusive Montana guest ranch, situated just north of Yellowstone National Park, accommodates a maximum of 20 guests within a clifftop lodge and three outlying cabins. Activities range from trail riding, hiking and fly fishing to jeep rides, campfire cookouts and river floats.
    Photo courtesy of Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch / Facebook

  • Triple J Ranch
    Augusta, Mont.

    Located in the Rocky Mountains between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, Triple J Ranch invites guests to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, where adventure might take the form of riding, hiking, fishing, archery, roping and wildlife watching. Singing, dancing and storytelling around a campfire dominate the evening itinerary before guests retire to their cabins, complete with covered porches and wood-burning fireplaces.
    Photo courtesy of Triple J Ranch

  • Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
    Jasper, Ark.

    For a Wild West experience in the South, guests can book a stay at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas. This family dude ranch in the Ozark Mountains features rustic log cabins with rocking chairs on the front porches, as well as an outdoor pool and hot tub. Outdoor activities include trail riding, rock climbing, canoeing and the highest, fastest and longest zip line in Arkansas.
    Photo courtesy of Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

  • Long Hollow Ranch
    Sisters, Ore.

    Situated in a peaceful valley near the town of Bend, Long Hollow Ranch welcomes guests into is collection of restored buildings, many dating back to the early 1900s. As a working cattle ranch, Long Hollow gives visitors the chance to participate in real cattle drives three times per year, in addition to regular trail rides, hikes and fishing clinics. A collection of board, card and lawn games keep guests entertained between outdoor adventures.
    Photo courtesy of Long Hollow Ranch

  • Rowse's 1+1 Ranch
    Burwell, Neb.

    You won't find a yoga, golf course or spa at Rowse's 1+1 Ranch, but what you will find is a working cattle ranch where guests are invited to become a cowboy and participate in riding, roping, driving and branding from atop a real quarter horse. Guests stay in a log bunkhouse with private bathrooms and enjoy three hearty meals per day, with plenty of the best cuts of Nebraska beef.
    Photo courtesy of Rowse's 1+1 Ranch

  • Circle Z Ranch
    Patagonia, Ariz.

    Circle Z, Arizona's oldest guest ranch, has been welcoming guests for 90 years. A ranch program customized for families and led by expert wranglers includes classic activities like horseback riding and campfire cookouts, as well as hiking, tennis, birdwatching and stargazing. Guests stay in one of seven Southwestern-style adobe cottages.
    Photo courtesy of Circle Z Ranch / Facebook

  • Elkhorn Ranch
    Tucson

    Situated in the Baboquivari Mountains 50 miles south of Tucson, Elkhorn Ranch offers a winter season dude ranch experience, complete with horseback riding, birdwatching, meals cooked over an open fire and comfortable cabins equipped with outdoor chairs.
    Photo courtesy of Elkhorn Ranch

  • Flat Creek Ranch
    Jackson, Wyo.

    Guests at Flat Creek Ranch in Jackson stay in one of five rustic log cabins equipped with antique clawfoot tubs, wood burning stoves and private porches, perfect for taking in the views of the lake or creek. In addition to horseback riding, Flat Creek offers plentiful hiking in Bridger-Teton National Forest, fly fishing on Flat Creek or Flat Creek Lake and a host of water activities from a floating dock.
    Photo courtesy of Flat Creek Ranch

  • Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
    Sandpoint, Idaho

    All-inclusive dude ranch vacations at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Idaho include gourmet meals, horseback rides and ranch amenities like a hot tub, recreation room and great room with a large stone fireplace. Other outdoor adventure options include mountain biking, hiking, fishing and, of course, evening campfires with s'mores.
    Photo courtesy of Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

  • Cherokee Park Ranch
    Livermore, Colo.

    One of Colorado's first guest ranches, Cherokee Park Ranch was once a stage coach stop between Fort Collins, Colorado and Laramie, Wyoming. Today, guests enjoy a range of all-inclusive activities, from horseback riding and fishing to art classes and square dancing. Accommodations include suites in a 120-year-old lodge and six outlying cabins, each equipped with porch swings.
    Photo courtesy of Cherokee Park Ranch

These 10 U.S. dude ranches were voted the best in the country by USA TODAY and 10Best readers:

  1. Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, Colo.
  2. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch - Sandpoint, Idaho
  3. Flat Creek Ranch - Jackson, Wyo.
  4. Elkhorn Ranch - Tucson
  5. Circle Z Ranch - Patagonia, Ariz.
  6. Rowse's 1+1 Ranch - Burwell, Neb.
  7. Long Hollow Ranch - Sisters, Ore.
  8. Horseshoe Canyon Ranch - Jasper, Ark.
  9. Triple J Ranch - Augusta, Mont.
  10. Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch - McLeod, Mont.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jacqui Boland (Red Tricycle) and Colleen Hodson (Dude Ranchers’ Association) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of family travel and dude ranches in the U.S.

Congratulations to all these winning dude and guest ranches!

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Colleen Hodson

Colleen Hodson

Jacqui Boland

Jacqui Boland

10Best Editors

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