Ranches across North America’s most iconic and scenic landscapes, steeped in legacy and heritage, are now part of an elite ranching network, Best Dude Ranches or BDR. These exceptional family-owned and operated ranches offer a variety of sports dependent on location, from Arizona to British Columbia and differ from other ranches in reputation and brand.
These ten luxury guest ranches have a combined total of 450 years of ranching expertise. This provides for abundance of activity and opportunities for Western culture and adventure. Trends are indicating experiential and nature-based travel packages are important to guests, and dude ranches have long-provided this attainable practice.
Daily activities at the ranches might include horseback riding, wrangling, rodeo, fly- fishing, spa, hiking, cooking classes, horticulture, trap shooting, archery, boating and even snowshoeing, sleigh rides, overnight trips, sunrise campfires and over 100 more options. All food and most activities are included at every ranch, taking the stress out of vacation planning. These eight ranches also accommodate larger needs such as weddings, reunions, corporate and event buyouts and much more.
The host of Bestduderanches.com is Colleen Hodson, has visited all the ranches numerous times and has conducted accreditations for the entirety of the group. This gives her a unique ability to help guests choose the ideal ranch. “I’ve visited over 100 ranches throughout my tenure; I am extremely proud and excited to represent the awesome ranches throughout North America. Activity, hospitality, safety, landscape, food and beverage, accommodations—I have an exceptional love and passion for all aspects of the working and luxury ranch.” Find out more of what makes these ranches so great.
Triangle X Ranch
Location, Location, Location! One of Wyoming’s best dude ranches, the Triangle X Ranch provides an unforgettable Wyoming dude ranch travel package, located north of Jackson Hole in the heart of Grand Teton National Park. Triangle X Ranch offers one of the most complete outdoor recreation packages of any facility in the mountain west. In the shadows of the magnificent Grand Teton Range, Triangle X offers you unparalleled horseback riding, superb mountain scenery, abundant wildlife, and a quiet country pace. Experience a way of life that four generations of the Turner Family have been sharing since 1926. Whatever your outdoor challenge, or your outdoor dream, you’ll find it here!
Lost Valley Ranch
This one-of-a-kind Colorado dude and guest ranch invites you to experience their signature Brand of Western Hospitality. The recipient of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award for 43 consecutive years, they have been providing unforgettable Dude Ranch experiences for adventurers and families alike since 1961. Set against 26,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, you’ll experience the majestic Rocky Mountains like never before. With deluxe Colorado cabins with fireplaces, cooked to order cowboy cuisine and an incredible variety of outdoor activities this is the place to be for your family vacation.
Paradise Guest Ranch
There are so many reasons they call this ranch Paradise. For 100 years now, folks have been enjoying their Wyoming dude ranch vacation for 100 different reasons—for some, it’s the horseback riding across sage meadows, fishing for native cutthroat trout, or hiking among wildflowers and meadowlarks. For others, it’s the family time, the fun, and campfire stories beneath a snowstorm of stars. Maybe it’s realizing just how much all that’s worth that keeps folks coming back to Paradise Guest Ranch year after year. Maybe it’s time you found your own reasons to come experience Paradise in all its glory.
Three Bars Cattle and Guest Ranch
This ranch is known as the Adventure Ranch of the Canadian Rockies. Not only for their amazing horseback riding but for their weekly white-water rafting tours on the St. Mary’s River. Rafting down this unspoiled natural stone stream allows you to explore the river from a unique perspective. For those who would rather slowdown the St. Mary’s River is also known to be one of the finest dry-fly fisheries in North America. You will enjoy Wild West Slope Cutthroats from 14 to 20 inches long, and catch rates of 10 to 50 fish per day. As an added bonus, there is a good chance you will not see another angler during your float.
Once you have honed your horseback riding skills, it’s time to work on your shooting skills. Whether you’re a first-time shooter or an accomplished marksman, you’ll find the trap range to be a fun challenge. Sharpen your skills shooting singles or challenge yourself with doubles. Shooting excursions are included and provide 1 on 1 instruction with a trained instructor. Both 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotguns are available. Rim fire target shooting is also available for all ages.
The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch
They offer a unique blend of upscale pampering and personal attention with 130 horses for their 25 weekly riders. They take pride in offering a fun and safe riding experience and the opportunity for their guests to participate in authentic cattle work on a 100-year-old working cattle ranch. The key staff are year-round employees so they are knowledgeable, genuine, safe, passionate and professional. The wranglers possess excellent natural horsemanship and riding skills and are terrific instructors. The Hideout is foremost a riding and horsemanship ranch and is not a nose to tail ranch.
White Stallion Ranch
The personal touch and hospitality of this traditional dude ranch is carefully blended with the service and amenities of a fine resort. Reconnect with nature, family, friends and serenity. Ride through the unspoiled desert, rugged mountains and cactus that have brought Hollywood filmmakers to the ranch for over 70 years. White Stallion has been recognized nationally for excellence in service and value for many years. An authentic working cattle ranch on 3,000 acres of lush Sonoran Desert adjoining the Saguaro National Park West. Scenic trail rides cross the desert terrain and climb the saguaro studded mountains. You’ll enjoy the exhilaration of a brisk lope along the desert trails, the competition of team cattle penning and the freedom of an all-day ride into Saguaro National Park. Try the extensive rock climbing program, shooting, hiking and fat tire E-biking. Amenities include: heated pool, redwood hot tub, tennis court, sport court, movie theater, game room and spa with exercise room, sauna and massage therapists and gift shop. Evening programs include nature shows, art classes, cowboy singer, country/western dance lessons, and Loop Rawlins, a famous western trick roper.
Flathead Lake Lodge
Over the years, this ranch has been told they are more like a family summer camp than a typical all-inclusive resort. And the fact is, they are very proud of that. Around here, they want their guests to feel like they’re part of the Flathead Lake Lodge family. During your stay, you’ll often see the owners sipping coffee by the fireplace, taking kids on horseback rides around the arena, driving the vintage fire trucks to their weekly steak fry and simply getting to know their guests. Whether this is your first visit or one of many, you’ll quickly become part of the lodge family as you relax, unwind and soak up the freedom, comfort and safety of Montana and Flathead Lake Lodge.
They also boost a unique children’s program where family interaction is key and children have the freedom to safely roam the property and grow as they participate in various activities they like. Activates such as daily kids rides, daily arts & crafts, water activities, kids’ teepee camps, kids rodeo, organized games and a junior wrangler program to name a few. Give your child the gift of freedom this summer at Flathead Lake Lodge.
Rainbow Trout Ranch
From Jesse James, to Wyatt Earp, to the Duke himself, the legends of the American West rode to their fames on the backs of their most trusted allies and friends – their steadfast and often celebrated loyal steeds. The West was indeed won on the backs of the time-honored American Quarter Horse, and pioneers conquered the land thanks to these strong and charismatic contributors to Wild West lore. Creating a special bond and relationship with these beautiful animals can be a uniquely personal experience and change the way we see nature and our role in it, and there’s no better place to enjoy living out that reality than the breathtaking surroundings of Rainbow Trout Ranch. Their trails carry you away from it all and back to the very origins of our nation. Experience the timeless grace of the land, the exhilarating rush of the wind at your back, and the warmth of pure sunshine. Ride in the paths of pioneering trailblazers whose determination and optimism could not be shaken by the enormity of God’s country. This place of legends will become a defining place in your own family’s history, a place to come together, reconnect and build memories for a lifetime!