Travel U.S.

4 Dude Ranches to Visit

dude ranch in Colorado

I’m always on the lookout for unique vacation experiences and you might surprised to know that the farmer in me would even consider spending a week on a dude ranch.  

Here are four of the most luxurious guest ranches in America’s wild and beautiful West according to the Dude Ranchers’ Association:

Red Reflet Guest Ranch, Wyoming

Red Reflet Guest Ranch identifies itself as “a ranch for the senses,” and there’s no question why. The staff has mastered the art of luxury hospitality while showcasing the best recreational activities and most breathtaking scenery in Wyoming. The location of this dude ranch truly is unlike any other – guests wake up in their own luxury cabins surrounded by the Chugwater formation sandstone cliffs and contrasting snow-capped peaks of Bighorn National Forest. Whether you’re looking to relax or go on the Wild West adventure of a lifetime, Red Reflet will far exceed your expectations. Horseback riding lessons with an expert horse trainer are included in your all-inclusive stay, as well as cattle activities, ATV tours, fishing, hiking and more. Of course, no luxury trip is complete without scenic yoga, so you can find your Zen while gazing at a mountain range that looks like it’s straight out of a painting. Oh, and don’t forget the cuisine – Red Reflet’s dining is top-of-the-line, using almost all ranch-grown and raised ingredients. You can even cook your own dinner with the resident chef in a group cooking class!

dude ranch vacation

Mountain Sky Ranch

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Montana

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch opened in 1929 and has since been recognized multiple times as one of the nation’s top upscale guest ranches thanks to its luxurious amenities, exquisite dining and stunning views. For guests seeking an outdoor adventure, the ranch offers all levels of horseback riding on its 10,000 acres of beautiful terrain, in addition to endless outdoor activities like hiking, fly-fishing, and a world-class golf facility that features nine picturesque holes, Callaway golf clubs and electric carts. After these invigorating experiences, guests can take some time to unwind at Mountain Sky’s luxurious spa with a massage treatment, or simply relax in the spa’s heated pool, sauna or outdoor hot tub. The ranch also offers yoga classes led by an expert instructor. The gourmet chefs at Mountain Sky will give you an unforgettable dining experience with buffet breakfasts, multi-course meals and snacks in the saloon. In case this wasn’t enough to make you immediately book a trip, you’ll be sold after learning that Mountain Sky is just a 30-minute scenic drive away from the world-famous Yellowstone National Park. Take a horseback tour of this national park with Mountain Sky, or bring the whole family on the van tour.

dude ranch

Smith Fork Ranch

Smith Fork Ranch, Colorado

Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, Colo., offers rustic luxury at its finest. The ranch’s historic buildings have been restored with an eye for detail, and the rooms have been furnished with carefully curated American primitive antiques and original paintings. The Rocky Mountain ranges circle the luxurious cabins, making guests feel secluded and exclusive. Smith Fork Ranch offers all of the exciting activities you can experience at many dude ranches like horseback riding, fly fishing, biking and hiking, but what separates this ranch from others is the attention to detail on every aspect of the ranch. In the bedrooms, you’ll find fine linens and handmade soaps, and in the dining room you’ll find award-winning wines from the ranch’s private cellar and vintage wines from wineries in France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. The expert chef uses fresh ingredients in all of his cooking and is ready to match the perfect wine with your gourmet meal. While you’re there, make sure to spend some time relaxing in the Smith Fork Ranch Spa. You won’t want to miss out on renewing facials, massages and more, all surrounded by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.


dude ranch

Home Ranch

The Home Ranch, Colorado

The Home Ranch is located in Colorado’s stunning Elk River Valley. Since 1986, it has been affiliated with luxury travel brand Relais & Chateaux, and the ranch has since become a top luxury destination for travelers seeking a charming Western experience. This ranch is renowned for its comfort, exquisite cuisine, charming hospitality and multi-seasonal attractions. The main lodge and distinctive cabins are all beautifully furnished and ready to accommodate anyone from couples to large groups. The Home Ranch serves as a guest ranch in the summer and fall and a cross-country ski resort in the winter and spring, making it a luxurious escape for travelers throughout the year. Guests can enjoy classic dude ranch activities like horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking and more, but there’s always time to unwind with a yoga class or two at The Home Ranch’s rustic yoga studio. This guest ranch is also the perfect place to plan a family vacation. The Home Ranch has incredible all-inclusive children and teen programs that make it easy for parents to relax in luxury knowing that the entire family is having a ball.

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