Gene Kilgore’s Ranch Vacations

Ranch Vacations
The Leading Guide to Guest and Resort, Fly-Fishing, and Cross-Country Skiing Ranches in the United States and Canada, 6th Edition.

Secret season at the Home Ranch

Snowshoeing at The Home Ranch

Stephanie at The Home Ranch, just outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, just emailed me that they’re extending their 2009 winter season. Guests can now book their trip through April 8, taking advantage of the abundant snow and many fun winter activities The Home Ranch offers.

Winter guests enjoy everything from cross country and downhill skiing to snowshoeing (pictured), tubing, horseback riding and sleigh rides, and fly fishing and kids’ games.

The Home Ranch also boasts some of the best food and wine around, with gourmet meals prepared by Chef Clyde Nelson. Accommodations include six rooms in the main lodge and eight private cabins ranging from one to three bedrooms; each of the cabins has its own hot tub on the porch. All activities and meals are included in the cost of the stay, and kids stay free at the Home Ranch.

“We’ve had such a great winter, and we’re excited to be able to share that with more people this year,” says Selina Heintz, Front Desk Manager of the Home Ranch. “Staying open later just makes sense when the conditions will still be great for all the winter fun at the ranch.”

For more Colorado winter fun, check out Vista Verde Ranch; choose from a wide menu of many winter activities- backcountry skiing, cross country skiing,  horseback riding, sleigh ride, sledding, snowshoeing, and more.

And don’t miss the C Lazy U Ranch; new this year: a groomed tubing hill!  Enjoy snowmobile-drawn tubing where you ride behind a snowmobile on an inflatable tube (daily for children and adults). Or take a shuttle up to the top of the C Lazy U driveway and sled all the way down the C Lazy U Luge to the ranch.  Organized sledding begins daily from 3:00-4:00 (conditions permitting).  It’s a fun-filled, snowy adventure!


Ranch-style fun at Cowboy Days

If a hearty breakfast is the best way to start the day, then the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s 10th annual Cowboy Days festival should get off to a good start. Held in Las Cruces, New Mexico at one of the West’s premier museums celebrating farming and ranching, Cowboy Days is set for March 14-15.

For many, however, the fun begins at 8 A.M. each day with the cowboy breakfast. A chuck wagon cook will create an authentic cowboy breakfast featuring Dutch oven favorites such as biscuits and gravy, and eggs and bacon (tickets $9 in advance, $10 on the day). Cowboy Days admission is included in the price of the breakfast tickets.

The festival includes live western music, living history fun, and arts and crafts show and a Charreada (Mexican style rodeo), horsemanship demonstrations, rides, and more.Cowboy Days also marks the opening of an extensive new exhibit at the museum. “A Most Terrible Wonder: Firearms from 1600 to 1900” features dozens of guns from the museum’s collections.

For more information, please call 575/ 522-4100 or click here.

And why not visit a New Mexico ranch while you’re there? The Geronimo Trails Guest Ranch , open year-round, offers a real Old West adventure set in southwest New Mexico’s Gila National Forest. Or check out The Lodge at Chama. It’s a world-class outdoor sporting destination and outstanding corporate retreat on 36,000 acres with supurb lake trophy trout fishing and one of the worlds largest private elk herds.


Blue skies for dude ranches


Our recent conversation with Arizona’s Russell True, new President of the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) and co-owner of White Stallion Ranch, included some good thoughts about the challenges facing dude ranches and their visitors in a tough economy. “We have to remind people that when you buy a ranch package, there are few to no add-ons,” says True. “If you compare a dude ranch to another resort, it’s apple to oranges: we’re all-inclusive and a very good value.”

But besides value, there’s another good reason to choose a dude ranch now, he continues. “Families need ranches because we create opportunities for real family time and some of our best family memories,” he contends. “You’re getting real experiences—not manufactured amusement park stuff,” True adds. “And we love what we do: it’s not just a job for any of us,” he notes.

The dude ranch is a uniquely American-born institution, and the first introduction to the West for some. Some ranches got their start at the turn of the century, so there’s history, culture, and tradition here, too.

“The Chinese word for crisis also means ‘dangerous opportunity’,” says True. “As ranchers, we’re must be more open minded, versatile, and adjust and adapt while protecting and expanding our future.” No problem, says True. “Ranchers are flexible-we’ll get better at our jobs. And there’ll be more of us standing at the end of all this.” And blue skies will return.

When you’re ready for an Arizona ranch visit, consider the Bar 10 Ranch, near the magnificent Grand Canyon; you’ll find western ranch activities, delicious country-style meals; and genuine western hospitality. And the Grapevine Canyon Ranch is famous for its riding program and friendly, highly personal service.


Arizona spring: White Stallion Ranch

162Springtime in Arizona is, well, right about now. I just talked to Russell True, of Tucson’s White Stallion Ranch, and the way he describes the view from his window makes me want to jump on a flight south.

“It’s pretty well perfect today,” says True, “about 85° outside.” He’s sitting in the same office his parents used. “We’ve been ranching here 44 years,” says True, and he and his brother have continued the dude ranch tradition started by their parents in the 1940s. Gazing out his glass south wall, True notes, he looks at Panther and Safford Peaks, part of the Tucson Mountains, and it’s classic rugged Arizona—a lush and green desert in this season.

“People forget how green this desert can be in spring,” True says with a laugh, “but it really is.”

Across a couple miles of the 3,000-acre ranch, True can see Saguaro National Park, with the Catalina Mountains to the east. “We’re on five square miles of undisturbed desert, part of which is right up against the park,” he explains. It’s an authentic cattle ranch, but with lots of amenities that guests love. “My parents sacrificed to grow the ranch and create a strong foundation,” True notes, “and my brother and I have had the good fortune to add to and upgrade the ranch.”

The ranch offers comfortable accommodations, from single rooms to suites with whirlpool bath and fireplaces, all done in a Southwestern motif. Amenities include a fitness center, heated pool, hot tub, movie theater, sauna, sports court with full court basketball, volleyball, badminton and paddle tennis, tennis court, shuffleboard, and a recreation room. In addition to horseback riding, they offer several guided hikes each week and evening programs.

All that they offer is part of what sets them apart. “We believe we’re the best value in the business,” claims True, “with our diversity of offerings, quality of rooms, and prices, we’re a super value.”

And there’s no better time to check out White Stallion Ranch than now.