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.

Happy New Year from ranch country

Hideout095Happy New Year from Ranchweb! It’s been a productive year for us, with all kinds of innovations and added services to bring to our friends in ranch country. What a privilege it is to serve the guest ranch industry.

Other ranch-oriented websites may come and go, but Ranchweb is backed by Gene Kilgore’s 30 years’ worth of real-world dude ranch industry experience and face-to-face relationships with ranchers and visits to ranches. We’re not sitting at some cubicle imagining what a dude ranch vacation is like–we’ve been there and done that. And we keep doing all we can technologically to spread the word about the wonderful vacation opportunities in the world of dude and guest ranch resorts–Facebook, Twitter, and more help us connect to you and help you connect to other fans.

We’re here to celebrate not just the business of guest ranch resorts, but the genuine traditions and healthy lifestyles and great personalities of ranch country.
This year, we produced an eighth edition of the most widely respected guide to the guest ranch resort industry, Gene Kilgore’s Ranch Vacations. The book, too, is revamped–lighter, easier to handle and take along, and more user-friendly.

We’re getting the word out on the news and new things happening in ranch country: great deals, the new activities from spa treatments to wine seminars to zip lining.

And we’re telling the story of the lasting traditions and amazing family bonding that has always been part of the guest ranch vacation. Honestly, that’s the part we love the most.

Here’s to a bigger, better year across the industry for 2012.


The 10 Best Gifts for A Fly Fisherman

courtesy of:

The Holidays are upon us and you’re frantically searching for the best gift to give that special someone who is a fly fishing enthusiast.   As fellow freshwater fly fishing aficionados (sometimes referred to as fly fishing fanatics!) we offer our top 10 suggestions for either the novice or expert fisherman in your life.

For those who really want to impress, giving the gift of an unforgettable experience tops our list.   Every year for the past ten years for Christmas, my best friend sets up a fishing trip for the two of us in a spot we’ve never fished before.   This gift of sharing my passion for fresh water fishing in amazingly beautiful locations with my best friend is by far the highlight of my entire year.  If this idea appeals to you, check out our website,, to find the very best places to fly fish in the world.

Second on the list- again the inspiration of my best friend/life-time fishing buddy- is to invest in the purchase of an electric bicycle.  What does an electric bike have to do with fishing???  Check out the picture of me, on a day outing to a remote location with the U-Boat and complete fishing gear on my back.  I could never have experienced this day trip without a little electrical help to not only speed me on my way but carry my load.  The U-Boat weighs in at a mere 7 pounds (when empty) and comes with back pack straps, an exceptional float for fly fishing in a lake or gentle waters.  Both the bike and the U-boat help reach places otherwise inaccessible.   A little unusual, and yet an unforgettable gift that lasts a lifetime!

Sticking with the unusual, another unique gift idea is to purchase a “Lure of the Month” from Fishing Enthusiast.   Much like a Wine-of-the-Month club, only instead of wine, each month a premium lure arrives at your doorstep in a beautiful gift box with the history of the lures included.  A gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.

Next up, would be have to be a tried-and-true classic:  a Rod or Reel.  Regardless of how many rods and reels may be in the collection, there can never be too many.  For the experienced, try reels such as the Tibor Everglades, Hardy Perfect, or Wheatley Fly Box.  For the more novice fly fisherman, Redington’s Voyant fly-rod outfits are perfect for those just learning.  The smooth-casting outfit comes ready for fishing right out of the box and is available in various weights for both fresh and saltwater use.

For the technology-savvy fisherman, apps for computers, iPhones, and smartphones can make great gifts.  Favorite fly-fishing apps are FlyBench, FishHead, Orvis Fly-Fishing, and Hatch.   Some of the Apps are free, so your gift would be merely showing how to best fully utilize the apps for fishing.  Other technological gadgets to consider would be a fishfinder, a sonar unit that allows one to explore below the surface, or a handheld GPS unit that shows geographic and topographic data to help anglers navigate to and from fishing spots.

New tackle can always come in handy, yet recommending specific tackle for fresh water fly fishing is almost impossible as there are thousands of types depending on the fish species running in the specific regions during different times of the year.  Having a fly kit with an assortment of flies can be used in a variety of situations.  To see an expansive selection, check out Rene Harrop’s fly collection with over 1300 patterns and sizes to choose from.

For those that enjoy a drink or two along the river or in the afterglow of a good catch, there are several gift ideas.  Dry Fly Distilling, created by and for fly fishers, produces the finest vodka, gin and whiskey, presented in thematically designed bottles at affordable prices.  In addition, one of the nicest selections of fly fish themed flasks, glasses, tumblers and other containers are available at The Rogue Angler.

The last three of the ten top gift ideas for the avid angler are:

  • Tools– such as fishing pliers, multi-tools, fishing nets, scissors, tackle boxes, etc.  I ordered five of the Micro-Tool – a great hand-sized tool that covers almost every need.
  • Clothing and Accessories– wading boots, waders, rain gear, sunglasses, backpacks and the like.  My two favorite for this season are the new Guide Wading Boots that have an interchangeable sole system and the Orvis Angler’s Day Pack, customized specifically for fly fishers.
  • Books and Videos– instructional as well as guide and recreational books and videos make great gifts.  Subscriptions to fishing magazines included in this category as well.

These are just a few of the many gifts sure to be enjoyed by anyone who loves to fly fish.  We wish you a happy and safe holiday season and many happy days throughout the year on the water!


Holiday gifts from ranch country


A perfect stocking stuffer for ranch vacation planning

Everybody’s doing more vacation plan-ahead work these days. It’s one way to save time, money, and hassle. And now is a good time to begin the planning process for your big summer getaway. Sure, you could surf the web (that’s what Ranchweb is for), but sometimes there’s nothing better than a real, honest-to-God book, with color photos to pour over, and tactile pages to flip through as you dream about the perfect ranch vacation with your loved ones.

There’s nothing better, more accurate, or up-to-date than Gene Kilgore’s Ranch Vacations 2011; ($22.95), now available on and on Amazon. On the cover: Wyoming’s newest, The Ranch at Rock Creek. Its a great way to find dude ranch deals, value vacations, backcountry getaways, and the best dude ranch food and wine. Inside, a total access guide to more than 100 great ranches across the West, the USA, and the world. It’s got details on pricing, dining, kids’ programs, plus loads of color pix, all in a handy glovebox size–a great stocking stuffer (just try stuffing a web page into that stocking).


Gifts right from the ranch

Sometimes, you want a memento from that long-ago ranch vacation. Where to find ranch-y things? Well, some ranches let you shop for their own branded, logo-ed duds and goodies online.


Alisal Guest Ranch

Alisal Ranch’s online store offers hats and gear, gourmet products, jewelry, spa products, branded apparel and gift cards. Here’s how they put it: “From a variety of Alisal-branded apparel, to our signature spa products, to Chef Pascal’s renowned barbecue blends, you will surely find the perfect gift for a family member, a friend or yourself. If you have any questions about a product that is offered in our General Store, please contact Guest Services at 805/686-7700.” At the site, you can choose from four of Chef Pascal’s custom spice blends. Also available are the Ranch’s Old Adobe Pancake Mix and its very popular granola blend. New from their sterling silver jewelry collection is the ranch’s popular charm bracelet with an Alisal brand charm (natch!). Every year a new charm will be introduced. Spa Products feature their signature Woodland Sage scent.
The Resort at Paws Up

Seeks out treasures of the West, some molded by hand, others by the hand of nature, but always “crafted with a spirit of adventure,” says the resort. Don’t look for typical western wear here. The hand-selected items are split into categories: Clothing and Apparel, House and Home, Montana food and snacks, and accessories and jewelry, it’s all unique. Want to bring a little of the flavor of the Rockies into your home? The Montana huckleberry honey, huckleberry jam or syrup will remind you of those high mountain berries every time you pop it into your mouth (for $8 and up). For more expensive tastes, order up a Silver Paw Belt Buckle (a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind belt buckle made by a local Montana silversmith) for some $1,200. And there’s a lot in between.

How about a really BIG present?

How about buying a piece of a real dude ranch? You can at Colorado’s C Lazy U Ranch. As they put it, “Our guests only get to spend a week here, but owners can experience it as often as they wish for generation after generation and in every season. Inquire about our Colorado land for sale or our mountain homes for sale. Become a member of our happy vacation real estate community…become one of the family.”