4 U.S. Dude Ranches to Saddle Up this Year



There will be even more reasons to ranch this year, properties across the U.S. West catering to the wannabe cowhand and the luxury city slicker.




Tony Daly, managing director of London-based dude ranch clearinghouse Ranch Rider, observes, “With WestJet announcing direct flights from London Gatwick to various Canadian destinations and America’s National Park Service celebrating its centenary, there will be even more reason to hit the trail this year. Canada is currently great value for British travellers and several of our US ranches are close to the country’s national parks. Montana’s Lone Mountain offers riding and hiking within Yellowstone’s boundaries and departing on 06 March, Colorado’s Zapata Ranch will host a photography holiday focused on the spring migration of the Sandhill Cranes - the property lying adjacent to the Great Sand Dunes National Park." 

He continues, "An exciting addition to our 2016 round up, Montana’s Bar W Guest Ranch is a mere 23 miles from the Glacier National Park and the Double R Guest Ranch at Grapevine Canyon runs a weekly ride to the Chiricahua National Monument, this hidden treasure under the management of the National Park Service.”

Another positive, Travelzoo's annual Travel Trends survey, which examines the travel intentions of British holidaymakers, placed the US at the top of their list with almost a third of respondents (32%) nominating it as the destination they most want to visit in 2016. Canada also made the top ten with Brits favouring long haul destinations.




After years of indulging in riding holidays, David Leishman made a life-changing decision to escape from the rat race, his final goal to set up Montana’s Bar W Guest Ranch. Situated beside Spencer Lake, the 3,000-acre property is a mere three and a half miles from Whitefish, its mix of folksiness and style landing the location a place on Budget Travel's "Top Ten Cool Towns” list. In addition to trail rides, guests can watch the horse trainers in action, help with ranch chores, fish for big pike or try their hand at archery and clay pigeon shooting. More challenging escapes, the ranch also offers “Cowboying on the Great Divide,” the cattle drives covering 50,000 acres from the Blackfeet Reservation Basecamp (seven nights departing 04 June & 17 September). Popular weeks, in May and September the ranch goes Cowgirl Up; team penning, barrel racing, a cocktail reception and a honey and hot cream rock foot massage included in the six night stay (departing 22 May and 25 September). Lodge, cabin and glamping accommodation is available, the two luxurious canvas tents nestling in a pasture filled with wild flowers and horses. Six nights from £1,369pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes transfers of £60 (group of four) from Glacier Park International Airport and return flight from £859pp. Departing 15 April to 31 October.





Whether beginner or expert, at Arizona's Double R at Grapevine Canyon guests have the run of the 64,000-acre ranch. All day rides are offered six days a week, two of the most popular horseback adventures including the Chiricahua National Monument’s “Wonderland of Rocks” trail and the ruins of Old Fort Bowie ride: the fort built in the 1860s to protect wagons travelling along the infamous Apache Pass. Lessons are available for greenhorns and experienced equestrians, and out of the saddle, historic Tombstone and artsy Bisbee are nearby attractions. The accommodation is based in individually furnished, ensuite cabins or casitas.  Seven nights from £1,095 pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranchactivities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes transfers of £260 (per vehicle) from Tucson and return flight from £839pp. Departing year round.




Colorado’s Latigo Deluxe Guest Ranch is set high in the Rockies. Its 550 acres are surrounded by pine and spruce forest, glorious aspen groves, sage hillsides, and inviting alpine meadows laced with crystalline streams and beaver ponds. Family fun all the way, the three separate kid’s programmes cater to children from three to 13 years - even a night spent sleeping in a tipi on offer to tots. Adults have the option of slumbering under the stars on the High Meadow overnight pack trip; target shooting, team penning and beginner’s cattle round ups giving guests a taster of the cowboy lifestyle.  For those with more experience a six night autumn cattle round up will depart on 18 September. The rustic accommodation consists of six suites with three bedrooms and four with one bedroom. Six nights from £1,895 pp (no single supplement) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities (including riding), use of ranch facilities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes car hire from £235 and return flight from £839pp. Departing 05 June to 24 September.




At Oklahoma’s A Bar Working Ranch, wannabe wranglers will have a chance to earn their spurs. A commercial cattle operation, the owners market over 10,000 cattle a year while also raising performance horses and a herd of over 100 broodmares. Situated on original deeded Cherokee lands, the lush grassland, known as the Badlands is genuine Native American territory and was once home to the Wichita and Osage tribes. Homesteaded in the late 1800’s, original wagon and cattle trails line the landscape and western all the way, the ranch has links to the cowboy philosopher, Will Rogers. Fishing and Oklahoma history talks are alll part of the holiday, the daily activities including shipping, processing and health management on horseback. Seasonal branding and cattle drive weeks are available and guests can watch the experts train the ranch’s quarter horses. Based in the main lodge, the accommodation is furnished with king or twin beds and either private or shared facilities. Seven nights from £1,285 pp (no single supplement) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities and taxes. Excludes transfers of £40pp from Tulsa, gratuities left to discretion and return flight from £839 pp. Departing 01 April to 30 November.


Ranch Rider also offers add on seven night self-drives in the US and Canada from £545 pp (two sharing) including car hire and accommodation.  

For further information please contact Ranch Rider on 01509 618 811, email info@ranchrider.com or visit the website at www.ranchrider.com. ATOL PROTECTED No 4660 ABTA 96395/V9150.



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