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12 Authentic Dude Ranches in the U.S. for a Cowboy-cation

Cowboy-inspired vacations have been a popular trend for a while now, but this year, they’re really on the rise, with some travel sites reporting significant increases in demand for experiences that involve log cabin stays, activities like horseback riding, sweeping vistas, and roaring campfires to enjoy at the end of the day. There are guest ranches across the United States that offer everything from rustic stays to ultra-luxe accommodations for immersing yourself into the life of a cowboy, some of which come complete with roping and ranch work.

Whether you’re seeking something that gets you back to the basics or a more exclusive experience, these authentic dude ranches are sure to provide an unforgettable stay.

Latigo Ranch - Kremmling, Colorado Latigo Ranch
Credit: Latigo Ranch by Latigo Ranch

Latigo Ranch - Kremmling, Colorado

A popular dude ranch in Colorado, Latigo is an all-inclusive ranch on a beautiful property surrounded by national forest on three sides. It offers an authentic western experience with warm hospitality and experienced staff that are trained in the traditions of dude ranching history, Guests can learn how to rope and crack a bullwhip, ride horses on trails that wind through aspens, pines, sagebrush, and open meadows, go fishing in the stocked trout pond, and enjoy evening square dancing. The Ranch kitchen serves gourmet dinners with healthy and hearty options, while accommodation is in one- or three-bedroom modern log structures with private porches and wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.

C Lazy U Ranch - Granby, Colorado C Lazy U Ranch
Credit: C Lazy U Ranch by C Lazy U Ranch

C Lazy U Ranch - Granby, Colorado

Nestled in the Colorado Rockies west of Rocky Mountain National Park, C Lazy U Ranch offers an upscale stay with a genuine ranch feel. Guests can enjoy traditional activities like horse riding all year round, thanks to the heated indoor area. One of the most luxurious ranch options, it’s renowned for its personalized service, professional horsemanship programs, and first-class amenities, complete with an extensive trail system for scenic rides suitable for beginners to the more advanced, including opportunities to canter and lope. Enjoy tasty ranch fare featuring items like Rocky Mountain trout and aged western beef, with accommodation in rustic-chic cabins that include fridges, complimentary snacks, and hot beverages. Some come with whirlpool tubs and fireplaces too.

Sweet Grass Ranch - Big Timber, Montana Sweet Grass Ranch
Credit: Sweet Grass Ranch by Sweet Grass Ranch

Sweet Grass Ranch - Big Timber, Montana

Nestled at the base of the remote Crazy Mountains in southwestern Montana, Sweet Grass Ranch is part of a sixth-generation, family-owned and -operated working cattle ranch, offering guests the opportunity to experience authentic western life while surrounded by breathtaking scenery. A popular pick with families, the focus is on horseback riding, with many different options that can bring you to explore the lush meadows, mountains, and plains. Guests can also join cattle drives, fish, hike, play indoor and outdoor games and make S’mores around the campfire. Dining includes hearty gourmet meals featuring locally raised beef, pork, poultry, and fresh fish when available, alongside local organic produce and fresh, homemade bread. Accommodation is available in the lodge, in cabins, or a luxury tent.

Rancho de los Caballeros - Wickenburg, Arizona Rancho de los Caballeros
Credit: Rancho de los Caballeros by Rancho de los Caballeros

Rancho de los Caballeros - Wickenburg, Arizona

Rancho de los Caballeros sits on a 20,000-acre property in the Sonoran Desert, providing a luxury Arizona ranch experience with horses matched to your riding ability and level of experience. In addition to horseback riding, there is a wide range of other activities, including golfing on an 18-hole golf course, skeet shooting, Jeep tours, and hot-air balloon rides. There’s an outdoor pool, a spa, and a saloon on-site, and three Southwestern-inspired meals are included daily. Enjoy accommodation with western flair and handmade furnishings, free Wi-Fi, minifridges, and cable TV. Some units include fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, kitchenettes, and patios too.

The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch - Saratoga, Wyoming The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch
Credit: The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch by The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch

The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch - Saratoga, Wyoming

Set on a 30,000-acre working cattle ranch tucked between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Medicine Bow National Forest, The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch offers a luxurious ranch stay for those who want to be immersed in the romance of the Wild West. Western-style accommodations pay homage to the old west design and architecture while providing the comforts of modern luxuries. You’ll have a wealth of activities at your doorstep, including hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding on the property’s 50 miles of trails, opportunities to master the art of fly fishing, and practice yoga in multiple different ways, like goat yoga and yoga hikes. Classes on cheesemaking and caramel making are available too, along with practically an endless list of other possibilities. Enjoy a peaceful meal outdoors along the banks of Brush Creek at Creekside Dinner Camp or walk through the swinging doors of The Saloon for live entertainment, games like shuffleboard and pool, and stunning views of the sunset and rolling hills.

Bitterroot Ranch - Dubois, Wyoming Bitterroot Ranch
Credit: Bitterroot Ranch by Bitterroot Ranch

Bitterroot Ranch - Dubois, Wyoming

A remote working ranch on 1,300 acres surrounded by the Shoshone National Forest with terrain that varies from forested mountains and grassy meadows to sagebrush plains, Bitterroot Ranch is a top-rated dude ranch in Wyoming that offers an excellent horseback riding program, cattle work, and small riding groups that are sorted according to ability and experience. Guests can enjoy pack trips, fly fishing on a private stream, and healthy upscale fare, often using local ingredients right from the garden alongside ranch-raised beef and lamb. Accommodation is in rustic log cabins with options designed for families. All have electric heat, and some include wood-burning stoves.

Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, Colorado Cherokee Park Ranch
Credit: Cherokee Park Ranch by cherokeeparkranch.com

Cherokee Park Ranch - Livermore, Colorado

Cherokee Park Ranch is a historic ranch that dates back to 1886. Just over 100 miles from Denver’s airport, it offers a gorgeous location along the North Fork of the Cache La Poudre River west of Fort Collins. An all-inclusive property, there are a wealth of activities, including roping lessons, horseback riding, cattle team penning, rodeo, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, and much more. Enjoy freshly prepared meals, including family-style breakfasts and lunches, plus gourmet dinners and cookouts. Adults can even enjoy one candlelight dinner one evening while the kids have fun at their own cookout. A variety of accommodations options are available, including cabins, all of which overlook the river.

Granite Creek Guest Ranch - Ririe, Idaho Granite Creek Ranch
Credit: Granite Creek Ranch by Granite Creek Ranch

Granite Creek Guest Ranch - Ririe, Idaho

A former working cattle ranch that dates back more than a century, Granite Creek Guest Ranch sits on a property with a pond for canoeing and fishing (gear included) with a stream flowing through too. At this popular Idaho guest ranch, there are horses for every rider’s abilities, providing opportunities to ride through forests, sagebrush hills, and mountainous pastures. Accommodation is provided in historic cabins and a self-serve continental breakfast is included. For lunch and dinner, you can bring your own food to cook on the campfire or in the kitchenette or dine in one of the restaurants nearby.

Sprucedale Guest Ranch - Alpine, Arizona Sprucedale Guest Ranch
Credit: Sprucedale Guest Ranch by sprucedaleranch.com

Sprucedale Guest Ranch - Alpine, Arizona

Located in northeast Arizona, Sprucedale Guest Ranch is a family-owned working ranch that’s all about getting back to nature. It sits on a property where all sorts of wildlife roam by, including bighorn sheep and elk. Bring your boots and get ready for scenic rides through the pine-covered mountains and alongside trout-filled streams. Activities like rodeos and Western dancing are included, and there are bonfires to gather around and roast marshmallows while swapping stories. Home-cooked, country-style meals are served, and accommodation is provided in cabins with porches where you can gaze up at a brilliant canopy of stars.

Bonanza Creek - Martinsdale Colony, Montana Bonanza Creek Ranch
Credit: Bonanza Creek Ranch by Bonanza Creek Ranch

Bonanza Creek - Martinsdale Colony, Montana

If you’re looking for a Montana ranch where you can feel like part of the family for an intimate, authentic experience, Bonanza Creek is ideal. Just 8 to 12 guests can be accommodated at a time, ensuring personal attention. The focus is on quality riding with quality horses, along with cattle work that allows guests to become immersed in daily ranch life. Horse rides are tailored to each guest’s ability and experience, and there are options for various special weeks, such as adults-only, weeks focused on the intermediate or advanced rider, weeks for families, and even Cowgirl Retreats. Enjoy hearty homemade ranch meals, spa services, and accommodation in comfy western-themed cabins.

Deep Canyon Guest Ranch - Choteau, Montana Working at Deep Canyon Guest Ranch, Montana
Credit: Working at Deep Canyon Guest Ranch, Montana by Deep Canyon Guest Ranch

Deep Canyon Guest Ranch - Choteau, Montana

Located at the edge of over a million acres of Bob Marshall Wilderness two hours south of Glacier National Park, Deep Canyon Ranch is a historic dude ranch surrounded by magnificent scenery. It’s an ideal setting for trail rides and hiking, with many routes throughout the immediate area. The Teton River runs through providing opportunities for world-class cutthroat trout fly fishing, swimming, and tubing too. Back in the lodge, built in 1928, you’ll enjoy warm hospitality and delicious home-style meals while sharing the stories of the day. Accommodation is in cozy cabins or a large guest house that can sleep up to eight.

A Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch - Dunlap, Tennessee A Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch
Credit: A Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch by A Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch

A Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch - Dunlap, Tennessee

Ideal for beginners and experienced alike, at this top Tennessee ranch you can take advantage of horse riding lessons to ensure confident rides. Tucked into the hills of the Sequatchie Valley, just outside of Chattanooga, A Tennessee Dude & Guest Ranch is a horse lovers’ paradise where you’ll spend three to six days learning about horses the “cowboy way.” You’ll be provided with your own personal horse throughout your stay, and the experts will teach you all the ropes. You can take part in ranch work like cow milking, collecting chicken eggs, and may even bottle feeding the cows too. At the end of the day, enjoy a chuckwagon dinner around the campfire or inside the main stable, followed by a barn dance.

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