To many people, holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.
– Phillip Adams
As we slide into November, we find the mood has changed along with the weather. The World Series is over and football is king. The year’s biggest holidays are near, when the kids will be out of school and families gather close again.
As snow dusts the mountaintops, wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience the seasons’ change with the family all around, enjoying the great outdoors? To enjoy those ‘rituals of reassurance’.
Of course, that’s not easy at home, with all the parties, visits by friends and neighbors, and all distractions of the wired world. How can you get young people to unplug and spend time with the family? Well, a quick escape to a dude/guest ranch might be one solution. Worried that you’ll miss the bargains at the mall? Well, if you haven’t started shopping by now, it’s probably too late anyway. (As of Thanksgiving Day, there are only 28 shopping days left before Christmas.) Solution: just get the family one BIG gift this year: time together on a ranch for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We have some suggestions. First, decide whether you want snow or sun, then make a list and check it twice.
Looking for some bragging rights at the office water cooler? Just tell them about your adventure vacation in Argentina (we suggest one below). Or consider a guest ranch set in the frosty beauty of snow country. Ranchweb members include dozens of ranches in snow country. Okay, so some folks would rather come back from their winter holidays with a tan instead of ski goggle marks on their cheeks, and for them the many ranches of Arizona, New Mexico, and southern climes beckon.
We offer some to start your ‘White Christmas’ or your “Sunny Holiday’ list with.
At some ranches, the season is nearing its end, at others, winter brings a renewal of spirit and a whole fresh list of activities, from horse-drawn sleigh rides to snowshoeing and skiing. If you’ve visited your favorite guest ranch only in summer, seeing it under a fresh mantle of snow is like seeing your high school sweetheart all dressed up for the prom—breathtaking.
Whether you seek snow or sun, we urge you to seek out Ranchweb.com for the widest choices of ranches open in November and December. Click on the Availability button to find out who has rooms available for your preferred week or weekend. We can’t possibly tell you here on the blog about all the ranches that are open each month, but the powerful search tools on Ranchweb.com can speed your search for the perfect ranch.
This month, we also chatted with Meris Esterly, of the Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in New Mexico, about what it’s like being new to the ownership of a guest ranch (the Esterly Family just celebrated the sixth year as owners of the Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch). For her, seeing the Land of Enchantment through the eyes of her guests is like seeing the state for the first time all over again. It’s both a voyage of discovery and a ritual of reassurance.
Find the snow
Home Ranch sits in the Elk River Valley, just beyond Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with the crest of Hahn’s Peak rising majestically in the distance. You’ll find it’s not unlike going back in time to a more idyllic landscape. No condos. No streetlights. Just Colorado as you hoped it would be, and as it once was. Or, as Home Ranch puts it “Big ranches. Blue skies. Real cowboys.”
You’ll find a host of winter fun here when the snow is generally at it’s deepest. Ski or snowshoe (guides and lessons available) on 30 kilometers of groomed trail around the ranch, enjoy backcountry guided trips. At day’s end, relax in a hot tub edged by snow, enjoy sledding or sleigh riding, sit beside a roaring fire, or dine on their famed Rockies cuisine in their renowned dining room.
Details: The Home Ranch (open December through March).offers five-day Christmas ski vacation packages every year, with gourmet holiday dinners and entertainment to match the holiday season. Vacations are all-inclusive. For more, please click here or call Johnny or Selina at 800.688.2982.
Vista Verde Ranch
Also close to Steamboat Springs, and the Steamboat Ski Resort, is Vista Verde Guest Ranch. A winter stay here layers all the benefits of a Colorado winter resort vacation over the relaxed and intimate atmosphere of a ranch vacation. Your first decision: head for the ski resort for fabulous downhill skiing in their champagne powder snow, or stay on site for a full program of activities (included in your stay): cross country skiing, sledding, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, horseback riding.
At Vista Verde, you’ll find there’s plenty of top notch gear available to make your winter activities all the more enjoyable, plus guides and instructors to tailor each experience to your interest and ability.
Staff members come around at mealtimes and you simply tell them what activities you feel like trying next. All you have to do is choose!
Details: Winter Carnival Package- Stay at the ranch during Steamboat’s Winter Carnival (Feb 5-8) and enjoy the ranch’s winter wonderland. Then they’ll then transport you into Steamboat and set you up with a discounted hotel room for Saturday night so you can watch the street events on Saturday, the night show that evening and then more festivities on Sunday morning in charming Steamboat Springs. Winter Carnival admission button included.
Valentine’s Day Romance Package-Start your Valentine’s Day off with breakfast in bed, followed by a day of as much outside activity as you desire. In the afternoon, they’ll treat you to a private sleigh ride complete with hot toddies to keep you toasty warm. Following that, the chefs will delight your taste buds with their Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac dinner. If evening finds you in the bubbling hot tub under the stars, that’s your call.
Lone Mountain Ranch
“Discover some Montana magic with your family this holiday season,” invites the Lone Mountain Ranch website. The allure is obvious: some 85 kilometers of meticulously groomed Nordic trails and 30km of snowshoe trails; ski and snowshoe rentals; Yoga programs; access to hot tub; entertainment in the ranch saloon and evening programs. Also available: a sleigh ride dinner; on-the-snow gourmet trail lunch (Jan-March); wine and cheese social. Draft beer and house wine is available by the glass. And there’s a Children’s program offered during the holidays.
Lodging is in one of 23 cozy log cabins or a room in Ridgetop Lodge. Western artifacts, log furnishings, vintage cowboy prints and patchwork quilts give each cabin a warmth and charm. Meals and snacks are included in most packages-just call to inquire.
Details: Their Downhill Package includes package includes subsidized downhill passes to The Mountain (Big Sky and Moonlight are now one resort), three incredible meals daily, lodging in a log cabin or a room in Ridgetop Lodge, an old fashioned sleigh ride dinner, entertainment in our saloon and evening programs. Call for full details. Can’t stay for a full week? Lone Mountain Ranch offers shorter stays throughout the winter. Transfers to and from the Bozeman, Montana airport, are available.
…or seek winter sun
Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch
If you can book quickly, you can enjoy one of the best deals around: Stagecoach Trails is offering a 50 percent discount for stays in November. Set within easy access of gateways like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and the Grand Canyon, Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch is Arizona’s newest guest ranch.
As owners Dan and Carrie Rynders note, “We have worked hard to create a special, friendly atmosphere where you can get a glimpse into the old west while enjoying the beautiful northwest Arizona desert and all the peace and quiet one could hope for. We invite you to stay with us and be part of our ranch family, even if it is only for a little while.” Sounds like a perfect, stress-free Thanksgiving holiday to us! Details: Open year round except for June 1- July 15. Winter rates start at $120 per night.
Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
Another small ranch (maximum capacity is 16) in the southwest is Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. This neat ranch is located on the Geronimo Trail, one of New Mexico’s Scenic Byways. Reachable by good roads, the ranch is four hours from either Albuquerque or El Paso airports, via a journey that will take you through high desert, rolling plains, and cool pine forests.
The Esterly family bought the ranch six years ago this month, and we recently talked with Meris Esterly to tell us what she loves most about being in the industry. “Being part of a guest ranch been great,” she says over our morning cups of coffee. “One of the best parts is meeting people from all over America and the world and showing them our beautiful New Mexico. Seeing it through their eyes, I get a fresh perspective on the ranch life,” she notes.
“Fall on the ranch is a really nice time to visit. It’s great riding weather!” The ranch is open March through Nov.27, this year, and you can snap up end of season deals. “We offer a ten percent discount on the week of Nov 21-27 but we only have one cabin left for that week,” Meris says, “but we have some cabins available for earlier in the month.” But you have to act fast.
Even next year is starting to book up. “We already have quite a few reservations, so reserve as soon as possible since we’re so small.”
“Our cabins are nestled in the pines; they’re are large but cozy with fireplaces, queen sized beds (and bunk beds), and covered porches,” says Meris. They also boast full bath/shower, sitting area with table and chairs, magazines and books, coffee maker, snacks and a cookie jar filled with homemade goodies. “They are comfortably furnished in a Native American style or a Cowboy motif, and you will have a cabin to yourself – we don’t mix groups.”
Wildlife abounds here in November. You might catch sight of bald eagles or waterfowl that overwinter here, and several bird species migrating south through ranchlands and nearby forests. They’re near the Gila National Forest , and wildlife includes mule and whitetail deer, black bear, Mexican grey wolf, porcupines, bobcats, ringtails, and coatis.
Details: open March through November, so they’re nearing the end of their season this month. Rates: adults $274/night for 3 or 4 night stay, 5-7 nights: $255/night, Children 4-11: $222/night, Non-Riders: $209/night, 7 or more guests: Call, click or email for special group pricing discounts.
Way down South America way, this intimate, 10-guest ranch offers all the best in adventure rides, good horses, and good organic home-cooked meals.
The main building is a Spanish style school house from 1870, now converted into a guest house. Owners say that “Our horses are friendly and responsive, and our tack is good quality. Rides vary; we sometimes ride into town for drinks, or visit a Serrano family or have a picnic next to a mountain stream. Or you may prefer hiking to observe local fauna and flora, or simply rest, read, sunbathe and enjoy life!”
Details: Open from July to April, this vacation is a plan-ahead experience, so start your research now.
SMART RANCH TRAVELER
Admit it—you love winter. The real thing: crisp, clean air, clouds scudding over snow-dusted mountains; inside, a hot drink beside a crackling fire awaits. Or not. Maybe at your home winter is all traffic jams and rain-slicked highways, with a cooling cup of bad coffee at your desk.
So get the heck out of that faux-season and go where real winter lives— out in clean, snow-covered ranch country. And while you’re at it, find some bargains out there!
C Lazy U Ranch
At Colorado’s C Lazy U, shown above, January means that all your fave winter activities are going full blast. The pond is frozen, kids are sledding down the driveway luge run and the snowcat is fired up and ready to take you out for some private skiing. Sleigh rides, snow tubing, snowmobiling and even horseback riding are on the menu.
Ice hockey, ice skating (on a pond kept smooth by Zamboni grooming), as well as snow tubing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing round out the winter sports program at C Lazy U. Don’t worry about gear—they’ll provide just about everything you will need.
Don’t worry about anything, for that matter. Personal service is a big deal here—the kind of friendly, dedicated service that can only be provided by people who love their jobs and strive to make guests feel welcome and pampered. “At the C Lazy U Luxury Guest Ranch & Resort, we go that extra mile to welcome you and make sure you have a great time: we call it 5-Spur Service and it is what makes our Colorado dude ranch “Miles Above Ordinary.”
Open year round, this may be the ultimate Colorado winter resort, with cozy fireplaces and a world-class spa with a hot tub. Ahhh…
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
Another Year round ranch, Western Pleasure guest ranch offers four seasons of fun, but winter has a legion of fans. I saw this on TripAdvisor recently, posted by guests who’d taken a cross-country ski visit to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.
“We had the most incredible day of cross country skiing at Western Pleasure Ranch. It was a glorious, sunny day when we arrived at this beautiful setting in the wilderness. We met friendly “grandma” Janice who was babysitting her two grandchildren in the spectacular lodge. She answered all of our questions and allowed us to check out one of the empty cabins. Wow! If anyone wants a very reasonable getaway, this is the place to go!! The start of cross-country trails are just a hop, skip, and jump from the lodge. The scenery along the 2-mile trail loop is incredible with views of Schweitzer, creeks, mountains and open fields of untouched snow (except for moose tracks?). When you finish cross-country skiing, drop by the lodge for coffee and popcorn. We will definitely return! G. and M., Cranbrook, BC”
Check out their “Log Cabin Getaway Ski Packages” and ski down remote hills and perfectly groomed runs in the secluded wilderness. Then, return to a cozy cabin and a crackling fire. Or try the ‘Schweitzer Ski Vacation package’, do all of that starting with a hearty country gourmet breakfast in the Grand Lodge and then travel a few miles to Schweitzer Ski Resort, North Idaho, and Sandpoint’s premier ski hill. This all inclusive ski package includes two nights lodging for two in a log cabin, one day of skiing at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, a romantic horse drawn sleigh ride for two, and a hearty ranch breakfast served in the main lodge two mornings. $430.00/Couple (taxes does included).
Crystal Ranch Lodge and Resort
This intimate, year-round lodge is best known as a fly fishing resort, but since Utah is known around the world for winter sports (Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics), they really know how to play in the snow here.
Snowmobile ‘junkies’ know its hard to find a good balance of mixed terrain and untouched snow, but the folks at Crystal Ranch can help you find it. They know the Uinta Mountains well and can help you find the best. And while the ranch is in a remote area, the road is maintained in good condition year-round so you can drive your car or truck right to the lodge.
DETAILS: For more winter trip-planning help, including finding deals, go to Ranchweb.com.
Men’s Journal really seems to like dude and guest ranch adventures—they’ve just launched the third video in their video series, ‘Remote and Refined.’ This short armchair sojourn takes viewers to the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming—a giant playground for anyone who loves the outdoors—and to one of our Ranchweb member ranches.
The setting is the luxurious Red Reflet Ranch, which caters to visitors who want to work the cattle ranch and explore the outdoors. At The Red Reflet Ranch, host Ryan Van Duzer explores some of what Wyoming has to offer, skeet shooting and wrangling cattle. (See our story on Van Duzer by clicking here.) And the best part: the Wyoming ranch featured in this episode, The Red Reflet Ranch, is offering a 10% discount for anyone booking a trip that mentions “Men’s Journal” or “Remote and Refined.” So saddle up, pardner—even if its just from the comfort of your desk chair!
Details: To see the video, go to Men’s Journal. For more trip planning help, go to Ranchweb.com.
SMART RANCH TRAVELER
With high gas prices and a still-sluggish economy, families these days have to plan ahead to work a vacation in without stressing the budget. Turns out that staying in one place—a place that offers a variety of activities in one location—means big savings and less stress. And there’s no better time to plan a vacation than during the holidays, when the kids are home on school vacations and you’re all gathered together for the holidays.
A dude ranch vacation can be the perfect value vacation, for five great reasons. First, many dude ranches offer an all-inclusive deal where the meals, lodging, activities are all included. That makes it easy to plan accurately—unlike most cruises, where everything from soda pop to port fees and land excursions cost extra.
Secondly, on a dude ranch trip, you know where the kids are at all times (they’re having a blast—and they’re still being supervised), and you generally aren’t spending extra on babysitting.
Next, considering all the facilities and activities open to your use, a dude ranch gives you more bang for your buck.
Fourth, you can get some great deals if you plan ahead, go during the shoulder season (often June and October at mountain ranches) or low season (summer at the desert ranches) when you can find discounted rates.
Finally, when you consider all the memories you’ll make as a family: its a trip that is priceless.
At White Stallion Ranch in Arizona, shown above, they believe that an all-inclusive dude ranch vacation requires no intricate planning, keeps every member of the family happy with a wide variety of activities, and lets people experience a real slice of the American West – all in line with a budget, with no extras or hidden surprises.
To find a value ranch, click on Ranchweb.com.
Tired of the constant barrage of election news and political commercials? Maybe what you need is a quick getaway to a place that seems timeless–filled with autumn leaves, brisk air, peace and quiet. If you plan a trip now, you can find some great low-season deals in northern Arizona. Low season in Arizona’s northern region is generally November through April, when the bargains start to pop up in the high deserts.
For anyone on a budget, you’ll find great deals located around hubs like Flagstaff and summer-crowded parks like Grand Canyon. Bring a hat and warm jacket and load up the iPod with some grand tunes to match a grand landscape–you’ll appreciate them all here.
Hotel lodging rates dip by at least 10 percent in fall, more during winter in the region. Worried that there won’t be enough to do? Then you don’t know northern Arizona. Explore the mysteries of the Native American site of Canyon de Chelly, picnic with views of fall color in the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, or take pictures with nobody else in them at the edge of a peaceful Grand Canyon. Plan a fall or winter escape to the state’s northern region and you’ll feel like you have Arizona all to yourself.
Then, after you’ve seen the gorgeous fall color or taken in a few snowy landscapes, perhaps you’ll want to warm up again by swinging back down to the state’s southern half. Good thing you’ve saved some dough on the northern half of your trip, because fall and winter are high season here. But its worth it, because this is where most of Arizona’s working and luxury dude ranches are. And they boast some of the most amazing scenery in America. Bring sunscreen, a camera, and your sense of wonder–you’ll need them all here.
Take Rancho de los Caballeros, in Wickenburg, for example. Trial rides and jeep tours take you over rugged, saguaro-edged trails to views of purple mountains, then back to the spa to relax. And if you want the kids to learn a little bit of history while they’re sunning themselves, you won’t have far to look: Arizona has well preserved settlements from prehistoric Native Americans, Spanish vaqueros, and the Old West.
Details: For a list of Arizona ranches and a host of travel bargains, go to Ranchweb.com.
You’ve heard about ‘glamping’ by now—which lets you combine the fun and adventure of camping with a touch of glamour and comfort. A canvas cabin with a real bed inside. A BATHROOM. And a floor. If its not exactly a bargain, it is one way to get a whole lotta luxury at the best price possible–especially if you go during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall.
But at ranches like Montana’s Paws Up (shown above) and Ranch at Rock Creek, they’ve taken the concept to whole different level. It’s as if someone took good old comfort food and gave it a gourmet twist. Put another way—if Ralph Lauren camped out, this is where he’d stay. Navajo-style rugs on the floor, hand-crafted furniture, twice daily maid service. Yeah, you can bet the drovers on the Chisholm Trail never camped out like this!
The Ranch at Rock Creek
The minute you arrive at Montana’s The Ranch at Rock Creek, you’ve got some 50 miles of mountains, meadows, lakes and streams to help you shake off the bonds of civilization.
That’s just for starters. Where you decide to lay your head at night is the rest of the story. If you’re looking for the perfect cross between comfort and a sense of being in the wilderness,The Ranch at Rock Creek offers three different options.
For example, you might want to try their canvas-topped cabins, with luxury bedding and a private bathroom. Choose ‘Glamping for Two’ and you get one of Rock Creek’s four Classic Canvas Cabins (each a generous 630 square feet), which give you a spacious main room for your bedroom with enough living area to include a comfortable sitting area.
Or consider the ‘Family Glamping’ option; each of the four Family Canvas Cabins (at 810 square feet) has two rooms separated by a curtain with space for a reading nook. And finally for two guests, there’s ‘Trapper’ for the most secluded glamping of all—‘the ultimate accommodation for those wanting to experience nature and luxury with maximum privacy’.
Details: Open year-round with amenities that include a full spa. Some 15 miles from Philipsburg, Montana, and 1 hour 20 minutes from Missoula. Glamping rates start at $950 per night and include ranch activities from archery to riding and fly fishing. All rates include full board with breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Granite Lodge and the Blue Canteen.
The Resort at Paws Up
Here, they call glamping ‘the original American Safari’, and that’s a pretty good description. Settle into one of 24 luxury tents featuring a rustic elegance that’s hard to find. Whether you’re looking for a romantic honeymoon destination or a way to ease the kids into camping (without having to listen to ANY whining), glamping at Paws Up is something else.
Beyond the tent, which looks like it was furnished out of a designer catalogue, there’s electricity, a deck, first-class service, luxurious amenities, and world-class dining. And can you say Personal Camping Butler? Yep, he’s the guy that makes sure your every whim is satisfied (as far as legally possible).
Details: Missoula International Airport is only 35 minutes away. Nightly rates start at $1555 (at the River Camp) and include meals and a mind-boggling list of activities, including guided activites, fun stuff for kids, winter sports, and wilderness workshops.
For more detail and photos, check out both ranches on Ranchweb.com.
Tips from the rancher
Here’s news from one of Wyoming’s newest ranches: Bring family and friends together for a July 4th vacation celebration of a lifetime at Wyoming’s The Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, an ultra-private guest ranch, set on a 15,000 acre working cattle ranch in south Central Wyoming. Authentic western fun includes something for everyone including the 3rd annual Brush Creek Ranch professional rodeo, a barn dance in the loft of a historic barn, July 4th fireworks, a ropes course tournament, a complimentary scenic float trip, nightly live entertainment and much more. (NOTE: Book by 5 p.m. MST June 15th to receive 20% off your 4th of July Package! Mention Website Special when booking.)
This 4th of July Dude Ranch Vacation Package includes all of these additional July 4th activites & adventures:
• July 4th Fireworks display
• Third annual Brush Creek Ranch Rodeo with professional bull riders
• Nightly Live Entertainment
• Boot Scootin’ Barn Dance
• Complimentary family scenic float trip for up to 6ppl per trip
• Outdoor Movie Night
• BCR Ropes Course ‘Tournament of Champions’
Plus, the ranch’s standard “All Inclusive” rate inclusions:
• Unlimited ‘on ranch’ ranch activities including horseback riding, fly fishing, Brush Creek Ranch Gun club shooting, mountain biking, roping & bull riding lessons, falcon peak yoga, hiking, paintball and more, including all gear, guides/wranglers & instruction; and Daily Lil’ Wranglers Kid’s program for children ages 4-11
• All meals and beverages, including premium beers, wine and spirits program.
Details: All-inclusive rates start at: $750-875 per adult per night, based on double occupancy and lodging unit selected. Plus receive 20% off this rate when booking by June 15th.
Minimum stay: 3 nights
Valid: 7/1/12-7/8/12. Excludes: 10% ranch fee, taxes, spa experiences and off-ranch activities. For more, click here.
The other day, my friend C was telling me about how her six-year-old daughter has learned how to really push C’s buttons, and that on those occasions, a long soak in a bubble bath just wasn’t enough of a getaway. It’s true. No matter how much we love the little ones, sometimes you just need to leave them with the grandparents and sneak away for a little ‘grownups time’.
Maybe you work with other people’s kids and need a getaway with no rugrats for a change of pace (teachers, we hear you!). Or maybe you just enjoy a big slice of peace and quiet with a side of adult conversation. Whatever the reason, specialty weeks like Adults-Only weeks at a dude or guest ranch resort can be a real lifesaver.
They’re easy to locate when you use the right tools. Check out the Ranch Categories on Ranchweb.com and look for Adults Only section. You’ll find some 30 ranches listed with such weeks, from Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Montana to the Sweetgrass Ranch in Wyoming. It’s just another way Ranchweb.com helps you find your perfect guest ranch vacation. Here’s a sampling of what as few of those ranches offer:
Best known for its children’s programs, Rankin Ranch is a cattle and guest dude ranch that offers horseback riding, haywagon rides, barbeques, fishing, square dancing and evening activities for all. It has since branched out to included adults-only periods built around special activities. Its set in Central California in the beautiful secluded mountain valley of Walker’s Basin at the southern tip of the Sierras, about a 1 hour drive northeast of Bakersfield.
Details: Art Week: May 20-25 (special rates/ adults only; Off Season Rates Apply). Scrapbooking Weekends: Oct. 18-21; Oct. 25 to 28; Nov. 8 to 11 (special rates/ adults only); $379 for Fri. & Sat. Nights Additional $100 for Thursday Arrival.
Black Mountain Ranch
Call it a guest and dude ranch, or a working ranch, Black Mountain offers everything from horseback riding to cattle drives, fly fishing, trap shooting, and over night pack trips. Choose among four private cabins and eight cozy suites each featuring a private bath, fireplace, sitting area and custom log furniture built right on the ranch. What’s included: Unlimited horseback riding and instruction, genuine longhorn cattle drives EVERY WEEK, overnight pack trips, whitewater rafting, skeet shooting, riflery, archery, children’s program, trip to the rodeo in Beaver Creek. They pride themselves on the quality of their herd. Details: ADULT ONLY WEEKS: May 27 – June 3, June 3 – 10, June 10 – 17. All options of accommodations available.
Flathead Lake Lodge
Join the crew at the Flathead Lake Lodge for their annual Adults Only Fall Getaway set for September 2-6. What’s included: lots of horseback adventures (breakfast rides, arena lessons, an extended luncheon ride, guide horseback rides), plus lake cruises, sailing excursions and an evening of music around the campfire. Guests can relax at the pool or explore the shores of Flathead Lake, and all the lodge’s outfitters will be on hand for fly fishing, lake fishing, whitewater rafting, massage and so much more.
Details: per-person, 4 night package rate of $1,500.00 is all inclusive of ranch recreation, lodging, meals, tax and service charge. Contact 406/837-4391 or click here.
A sixth generation, family-owned working ranch and guest ranch on about 10,000 acres, Sweetgrass is set in the Crazy Mountains of Montana. You’ll find unparalleled riding opportunities, including cattle drives, lessons, swimming horses and wonderful adventures for families and singles. Hiking, packtrips, fishing in the Sweet Grass Creek, numerous alpine lakes and local ponds, horsemanship clinics, photography are also possible. Details: Adult-only weeks: September 2-16.
Set in the remote and pristine valley called Sunlight Basin, the 7D has been giving families great vacations for over fifty years. You can’t buy experience like that. Details: Adults Only Weeks are offered: August 26- September 2, September 2 – 9, September 9-16.
Whether your idea of a family getaway is outdoor adventures under a warm sun, or cozy digs in a snowy landscape, guest ranches from Arizona to Colorado are inviting families to pack up and head for the corral this spring break. Gene Kilgore, the legendary expert on guest ranches, has compiled a list of spring break vacations that cater to every taste. From horse-drawn sleigh rides in the Rocky Mountains, to cow penning contests in the desert, families can select their desired adventure and climate.
With over 30 years’ experience, Gene Kilgore knows that ranch vacations go hand in hand with family values: “Ranches are the quintessential family vacation: a safe and welcoming environment, plenty for every family member to do, healthy activities, great food and an enhanced appreciation of nature.”
Ranchweb is an easy to navigate travel guide (also available in print) that helps families to choose the ranch that’s right for them. Choose by location, activity, and type – there are working ranches, cattle ranches or ranch resorts. Scour the guide for handy tips on what to bring, what to wear and other essential lists and, whether your preference is sun or snow, be sure to arrive prepared. HERE’S A SAMPLING:
Elkhorn Ranch. Desert and mountain riding at a southern Arizona guest ranch. Ride on Elkhorn Ranch-raised horses in Sonoran desert country rich in unique and abundant birds and wildlife. Enjoy hiking, heated swimming pool, tennis court, rifle range, ping ping, horse shoes, and well stocked library. Nutritious home cooked food. Accommodates 32 – 40 people, 20 cabins. Comfortable for singles, couples and families. Family owned and operated.
• White Stallion Ranch, Tuscon, AZ : Kids five years old and over can join a trail ride without an accompanying parent, before hitting the swimming pool, sports courts or petting zoo – the freedom goes on and on. Families return to White Stallion generation after generation as everyone find something they love – even teens can be found socializing at the recreation centre or shooting baskets on the sport court. Spring rates from $211 US per person per night, inclusive of all activities and meals.
• Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tuscon, AZ: The full-day camp, designed for children aged 4-12, has kids trail riding, mountain biking, and fishing, while Mom and Dad can saddle up for a trail ride, play tennis, or visit the spa. Come dinnertime, families come together for fireside cookouts to recount their adventures. And best of all, with the ranch’s all-inclusive program, from $225 US per person per night, these activities are all included.
• The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, Solvang, CA: Round’em up, move ‘em out! The Round Up Vacation package wraps a horseback ride, golf, fishing and tennis into the daily room rate of $515 US and up. Valid September to May.
• Vista Verde Guest Ranch, Steamboat Springs, CO: As they say on the ranch, the fun doesn’t stop when the aspens lose their leaves. Indeed, trail riding through the snow, riding on a one-horse sleigh, as well as back-country skiing, are why families keep coming back to the ranch. From mid-December to mid-March, parents and children ages six and up stay for $1,005 US per person (for three nights).
• Coulter Lake Guest Ranch, Rifle, CO: At 8,100’ above sea level, Coulter Lake is a winter playground – a shuttle gets you to this rustic ranch by snowmobile, so arriving is part of the adventure. Other off-piste activities include sledding, snowshoeing, ice-skating, and cross-country skiing. With no cell-phone or email contact, Coulter Ranch enables guests to disconnect for $50 US per person per night.
• 320 Guest Ranch, Gallatin Gateway, MT: At this year-round guest ranch, a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park, families will love the sleigh ride under the stars pulled by Percheron draft horses, and authentic western dining at the 320 Steakhouse and Saloon. The Sleigh & Stay Package runs throughout the winter season for $220 US per night for two people, $90 US for each child 12 and under.
To find the perfect ranch for your family visit ranchweb.com or lasso a copy of Ranch Vacations Travel Guide.
Running-R Guest Ranch
DUDE RANCH DEALS
Established on an old cattle ranch in Bandera, Texas , the Running-R Guest Ranch
is small–by design. The idea: you come as a guest and leave as a friend. “If you come here with your family, look forward to watching your children enjoy real freedom, to run and play and truly use their imaginations.”
You’re sure to find the setting soothing, because the Running R is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. You can’t see the roads or hear any traffic, just the sounds of nature combined with views so amazing and changeable they’ll take your breath away. And one more plus: all the homestyle cooked meals are made from scratch.
Here, the focus is on horseback riding, with daily rides into the adjacent 5,500-acre‘Hill Country State Natural Area’. Now a state park, this Natural Area boasts more than 40 miles of trails to ride and views that stretch for miles. All of which makes this the perfect place to get in touch with your inner cowboy.
Details: Open year-round; right now is low season, so this is the time to save. High season runs from March-September. Located 56 miles northwest of San Antonio and 10 miles west of Bandera, Texas.