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Ranch holiday / dude ranch in NA

Travel Forums North America Ranch holiday / dude ranch in NA

1. Posted by LondonLisbonite (Budding Member, 5 posts) 9 Nov '12 15:45

Hi all

Hoping to become something of a regular here. The boyfriend and I are planning a three month trip around the US in 2014 (yes, we're planning in advance!), combining flights with driving to allow us to see everything we want to. We're planning to make it a series of mini holidays whereby we spend at least three days in each place that interests us rather than driving every day and so that we can decide whether or not to extend / shorten visits on the hop. With this in mind, one of the stops we'd really like to do is a dude ranch long weekend (or, to keep costs down, we'd prefer a three or four night mid-week holiday). We both used to ride to competition standard in our teens but neither of us has been on a horse since then (and we're now 29 and 30). The thing is, I'm completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of dude ranches. Anywhere in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado or Texas would suit but we're willing to change our plans to go somewhere else if anyone has a suggestion? Even being able to narrow it down to a state would be brilliant because at the moment there are so many options, we don't know which to choose. Only things to bear in mind in terms of our requirements would be:
1. We prefer small places over large hotels
2. We'd like to ride for a good portion of each day - cattle wrangling would be marvellous but we accept it might not be possible
3. We're a bit surprised at the range of prices - they seem to range from about $400 - $3000 for three to four nights
4. We'd always want our own room and bathroom

So I'm not sure this isn't a bit specialist but if anyone can help us narrow down where to go - even a few ideas on the states to look at, that would be hugely helpful so thank you in advance!

Off now to look at the European forums so that I can ensure I'm contributing as well as asking for advice!

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1934 posts) 9 Nov '12 19:25

I think you're asking a much too specialized ? for this forum. Why not google for "equestrian vacations USA".

Horses are very BIG in my state, Oregon. Every September we have one of the top rodeos, the Pendleton Roundup.

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Nov-2012, at 19:27 by Daawgon ]

3. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator, 1839 posts) 10 Nov '12 17:30

Some of the major dude ranches areas that might fit your needs would be:

(a) Near Jackson Hole in the western portion of Wyoming
(b) near Missoula, Montana in Montana, or
(c) areas west of Austin or San Antonio in Texas.

Texas will be the hottest, but the most likely to give you true "dude ranch, go round up the cattle and drive them to market" experience, where you ride for multiple days and end up traveling long distances. Also, you can go to San Antonio and Austin for a day or two after doing your dude ranch vacation

Montana will be cooler and provide beautiful scenery combined with long rivers great for fishing in the spare hours.

Western Wyoming will give you a combination of wide-open prairie mixed with nearby national parks (Grand Teton and Yellowstone) and a chance to also experience white-water rafting on the nearby Snake River and time at hot tubs and yet also upscale hotels nearby in the wild.

Based upon what you are looking for, I would look for something in Texas

P.S. would only suggest Colorado if you are west of Denver and don't mind lots of super high mountains--as the eastern portion of the state is totally boring. It is a really beautiful state, however--while Texas will be less "scenic", but as I said, a more realistic "cowboy" experience.

4. Posted by LondonLisbonite (Budding Member, 5 posts) 16 Nov '12 04:41

That's brilliant, thank you Calcruzer!