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.

5 reasons Americans need a dude ranch vacation NOW: getting back to nature

You hear a lot of talk these days about special, eco-friendly trips, but that’s nothing new at a guest ranch. They’ve been ‘eco-friendly’ since before ‘eco’ was cool. Many ranchers have been wise stewards of their land for many generations, and so they have become experts on being environmentally conscious.

This year, the idea of getting ‘back to nature’ holds more appeal than ever. Who doesn’t want to flee the noise, traffic, and (dare we say) germs of the crowded cityscape and escape back to nature? Someplace clean, quite, healthful and restorative…like a guest ranch.

You can practically pick your own favorite slice of nature and find a ranch that goes with it. Want the Cariboo region of Canada’s British Columbia? Then Echo Valley Ranch and Spa is one to consider.
Perhaps you’re dreaming of a Southwest landscape where you can soak up the warm desert days and cool nights, tucked in a grove of Arizona oak trees in the Chiricahua Mountains; then Grapevine Canyon Ranch (near Pearce, AZ) is your spot.

Or maybe the mighty Rockies call to you, beckoning with their pristine air, sunny days, and pine-scented forests; then your choices range widely, from spots like the Teton Ridge Ranch (in Tetonia, Idaho), to Averill’s Ranch/Flathead Lake Lodge (Bigfork, Montana; shown above), to the historic Eaton’s Ranch in Wyoming.

At all of these ranches, you’re guaranteed to get in touch with the land, as the wranglers do on a daily basis. Many guest ranches have staff naturalists on hand to guide you on nature walks, where you (and the kids) will more on a short walk than they could all day in a classroom. Wildlife watching (or learning about animal tracks) can be a daily activity on a ranch vacation, along with hiking, fishing wild streams and rivers, and even nature photography.

Ranches in the Southwest and Southeast have different weather, landscapes, and animals than those in the Far West and Northwest; and that goes double for ranches in Canada and South America. So, depending on where you’re from, there’s probably going to be many different aspects of nature to explore at a ranch versus what you’d find in your backyard. But one thing remains constant at every guest ranch: the caring for and knowledge about nature the ranch owners and their staff want to share with you.

Editor’s note: this is part of a continuing series, Americans need a dude ranch vacation NOW.

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1 comment to 5 reasons Americans need a dude ranch vacation NOW: getting back to nature

  • Thank you so much for this article/series. I could not agree more about the value of ranches. In addition to the two I’m familiar with and linking to, I remember the radio talk show host “Imus” has or had a real working ranch that also had the major purpose of having children with cancer visit for a couple weeks. As he explained it, he put them to work! It was not a petting zoo. When he said it made a huge difference for the kids I do not doubt him at all. I do not listen to Imus on the radio but as far as I know the ranch is still in operation.
    –friend of Frank VanderSloot

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