Dating back to the late 19th century, dude ranches offer a vacation experience unlike any other. Guests are invited to escape to the country, discover ranch life – through horseback riding, fishing, cattle pushing and campfires – and bask in the natural scenery around them. Here are the 10 best dude ranches across the United States, as voted by readers.
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Brush Creek Ranch
No. 10: Brush Creek Ranch - Saratoga, Wyoming
Brush Creek Ranch sits on 30,000 private acres of Wyoming's Platte River Valley and blends the allure of the American West with the sophistication and comfort of one of the world's best resorts. Activities include horseback riding, shooting sports, fly-fishing, yoga, lawn games and an indoor arcade.
- Brush Creek Ranch
Photo courtesy of iStock / Stephen Pawlawski
No. 9: Vista Verde Guest Ranch - Clark, Colorado
With its diverse selection of seasonal outdoor activities, the Vista Verde Guest Ranch is a traditional, yet innovative dude ranch situated in Clark, Colorado. It offers “log cabin luxury;" that is, you get the feel of being in the midst of nature in the great outdoors with accommodations that have every modern luxury a visitor might want, such as their own private hot tub, Italian linens, spa robes and complimentary refreshments. Planned experiences in the winter include snowshoeing, skiing, snow tubing and ice fishing, while summer fun centers around activities like hiking, fly-fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding.
- Vista Verde Ranch All-inclusive - Lodge Room
Photo courtesy of C Lazy U Ranch
No. 8: C Lazy U Ranch - Granby, Colorado
The traditions of the American West are alive and well at C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado. This luxury guest ranch offers 38 rooms of varying sizes, including three-bedroom cabins ideal for families. Visitors to this four-seasons property can go horseback riding, practice cattle pushing, hike, mountain bike, cross-country ski or go snowshoeing between hearty, family-style meals.
Photo courtesy of Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
No. 7: 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 guided e-bike rides, mountain biking, hiking, fishing and, of course, evening campfires with s'mores.
- Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
Photo courtesy of iStock / constantgardener
No. 6: Flathead Lake Lodge - Bigfork, Montana
The terms “luxury” and “rustic” may not often be paired, but they're fitting descriptions of Flathead Lake Lodge. This lovely ranch situated in the foothills provides an all-inclusive vacation that’s family-friendly to its core. It spans 2,000 acres, giving guests the advantages of its lakefront location with activities like sailing, canoeing, wakesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding and lakeside campfires. On land, there's horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking on offer.
Photo courtesy of Circle Z Ranch / Facebook
No. 5: Circle Z Ranch - Patagonia, Arizona
Circle Z, Arizona's oldest guest ranch, has been welcoming guests for more than 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, bird-watching and stargazing. Guests have their choice of guest rooms, suites or cottages.
Photo courtesy of Scott T. Baxter
No. 4: Rancho de la Osa - Sasabe, Arizona
The small yet sophisticated Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe, Arizona is right next to the Mexican border. This historic ranch has been the filming location for many well-known western movies, and President Lyndon B. Johnson vacationed here. Visitors often explore nearby Native American ruins and the neighboring Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge that spans 120,000 acres. Planned adventures for guests include their horseback riding program, guided fat tire electric bike tours, bird-watching expeditions and hiking.
- Rancho De La Osa Guest Ranch
Photo courtesy of White Stallion Ranch
No. 3: White Stallion Ranch - Tucson, Arizona
The family-owned White Stallion Ranch in Arizona is a traditional dude ranch. Their spacious ranch-style guest rooms pay special attention to comfort details and include private patios with views of mountains or corrals. Enjoy challenging outdoor adventures such as rock climbing and fat-tire e-biking or luxuriate in other resort amenities like a full-service spa, fitness center, hot tub, heated pool and a movie theater to watch your favorite westerns.
- White Stallion Ranch
Photo courtesy of The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
No. 2: Alisal Ranch - Solvang, California
Guests can experience the Old West’s majesty and romance at California’s Alisal Ranch. This one-of-a-kind resort, located in the renowned Santa Barbara wine country, is set on a 10,000-acre working cattle ranch and offers amenities such as tennis, golf, horseback riding, fishing on a private lake, and fitness center and spa. All guest rooms, suites, and cottages are decorated in authentic Western-style and come with wood-burning fireplaces – but no televisions or telephones. Come back to a simpler time and bring your taste for adventure.
- Alisal Guest Ranch And Resort
Photo courtesy of Caree Prince
No. 1: Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, Colorado
One of Colorado's first guest ranches, Cherokee Park Ranch was once a stagecoach 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.