Time spent on a Dude Ranch is a great way to get away from it all, enjoy plenty of time outdoors, and meet wonderful new people often from many other parts of the world. With the abundance of beautiful scenery, delicious food and the most incredible sleep you’ll ever have in the peace and quiet of the countryside, it’s simply the perfect way to unwind.
What is a Dude Ranch?
Contrary to how we use the term today, the “dude” in dude ranch dates back to the late 19th century, when the term was often used by ranchers to refer to an ostentatious and ignorant man unable to survive without his creature comforts of his big city, most likely East Coast, existence.
It’s also attributed to late US president, Theodore Roosevelt, who enjoyed a fascination as well as many an adventure in the Western United States. He had a romantic vision of the West, and when the Harvard-educated Roosevelt eventually headed to the frontier, he took advantage of an opportunity to operate a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. Hence, the “dude” – a well-born, cultured, Easterner not accustomed to the rough life of the West.
As guest ranches became more popular in the Old West, they quickly earned the nickname dude ranch to refer to the patrons they attracted: like Roosevelt, typically wealthy Eastern men who came to the West to play cowboy without having to endure the genuine risks that real cowboys faced and managed every day.
A truly unique and memorable vacation for people of all ages!
With the taming of the American West, dude ranches too, became more tame and “dude” was no longer used as a derogatory term. Today, dude ranches, like any of the incredible Spur Alliance ranches, offer some of the best, most unique all inclusive vacations in the world.
While dude ranches are most associated with horseback riding, there’s often a whole lot more to the experience. Yes, you can head out on an authentic cattle drive, but you can also enjoy flyfishing, whitewater rafting and so much more.
Flathead Lake Lodge, for example, located in the wilds of Northwest Montana on the shores of Flathead Lake, is the ultimate in family adventure with unlimited horse & water activities. Located only 35 miles from Glacier National Park, the opportunities for outdoor recreation are really quite endless.
Likewise, Rainbow Trout Ranch in Colorado, offers not only exceptional Colorado horseback riding, but incredible Colorado fly fishing and whitewater rafting. There’s also programs for kids and teens, trapshooting, swimming, day trips to Taos, and, for rail enthusiasts, the chance to ride America’s highest and longest narrow-gauge steam train.
Three Bars, a working cattle ranch in southeastern British Columbia, offers horseback riding, of course, but offers many other adventures as well. Rafting, hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, skeet shooting and the ever-popular cook-outs. There’s always activities planned at Three Bars, but if that’s not enough, be sure to bring your golf clubs! There are 5 eighteen-hole golf courses within 20 minutes of the Ranch.
Still providing guests of any age with a taste of the Wild West, dude ranches are the perfect opportunity for a unique and active outdoors experience that is truly timeless.
Really, there’s just something special about a dude ranch vacation. Exploring the landscape on horseback by day, dining under a sky full of stars at chuck wagon dinners by night. There’s a reason a dude ranch vacation is on many a bucket list. If it’s on yours, why not make this the summer for horseback riding, cattle drives, campfire stories and many other adventures in one vacation?
Take a look at the incredible range of dude ranch vacations! So much to see and do, and something for everyone!