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.

Runamuk Ranch in Montana: new ways, short stays

runamuk-exterior-005“We believe more folks will be traveling within their respective states this year,” says Jody Dahl, at her family-run Runamuk Guest Ranch in Montana. “So we’re doing new, in-state promotions and offering stays of any length, which has really helped with our bookings.”

That kind of thinking may be a surprise to  most visitors, who expect a dude ranch to require a full week-long stay; after all, that has long been the tradition and is still the preferred way to go at most guest ranches.

But Dahl believes the shorter stays also really help guests, giving them as an easy, low-comittment introduction to the guest ranch experience, and more options. “They get the flavor of the experience, without having to take the full plunge,” Dahl notes.

“We allow guests to arrive and depart any day of the week, too,” Dahl adds. “We have to be flexible and organized,” she says with a laugh, “but guest really love that added option.” It helps that the ranch is in Roundup, just an hour from Billings, Montana, and its airport.

“A lot of international travelers can’t take a full week to stay at a dude ranch, so allowing the shorter stays let’s them get a taste of the ranch life, as well,” Dahl says.

They take a limited number of guests, to assure that their quality level stays high and each guest has a wonderful experience. When space is available, they also invite travel writers to stay, as one more way to get the word out about the fun and relaxation guests can have on a dude ranch vacation.

Runamuk is about reconnecting,”Dahl contends. “Reconnecting with yourself, your family, friends, your children, reconnecting with nature, with God, reconnecting with balance in one’s life, reconnecting with the importance of life that is so often lost in today’s world.”

Another option Dahl is excited about: “We have offered a separate pricing structure for our in-state Montana guests,” Dahl explains, since she firmly believes more will be taking shorter vacations inside their respective states this year. “This is our attempt to say, ‘hey, we appreciate you! And we realize you may not have to opportunity to travel out-of-state this year and we want you to know there’s something here for your entire family’, ” notes Dahl. “And we wanted something that would say: ‘we know your pocket books are tighter and we’re willing to help out with that by offering a “Thank you Montanans” promotion.”

It’s an exciting set of ideas, and Dahl’s enthusiasm is contagious. “We just want to tell everyone, hey, ‘Let’s Stick Together’ to weather this storm.”

We like your thinking, Jody Dahl!

More ranches: These are just a few that offer stays of less than a week (usually 2-3 nights). But be sure to ask other ranches what their stay length policies are, or do a search on the Ranchweb site.  In Colorado, just west of Gunnison, the scenic Powderhorn Guest Ranch offers 3-night minimum stays throughout the season. Just outside the city limits of Tucson, the classic (and classy) Tanque Verde Ranch offers stays of 3 nights (or fewer, sometimes) as space is available. And in Idaho, adjacent to the wild Snake River, the Indian Creek Guest Ranch offers 5-night minimum stay during peak season and a 3-night stay during off season.

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