A ranch stay is often the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate. Whether referred to as a “dude ranch”, a “cattle ranch vacation” or a “ranch stay”, (our preferred term), here is the opportunity to get back to nature and to interact with animals and physical activity in a very special way. There are ranch stays of every variety, from family vacations to singles, from those that focus on actual ranch work to those that are primarily about relaxation in a western setting. Whatever your preferences, there is a ranch vacation waiting on you.
A ranch stay is for you if:
- You enjoy active vacations;
- You want to work with animals, especially horses;
- You want to spend your vacation time out of doors;
- You enjoy rustic settings;
- You want to experience a very different type of vacation.
What to pack:
Pack clothing that is suitable for outdoor activity. A typical day will have cool mornings and evenings with warm mid-days. Boots are typically a very good idea to protect your feet. Loose, comfortable clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must. Yes, a bandana is a good idea!
Most gear will be supplied by your ranch. However, check to see if binoculars are provided or if you should bring your own, especially if wildlife is abundant. Because of the beautiful natural settings of most ranches, make sure that your camera makes the cut! Your ranch operator and host will often provide a list of recommended clothing and gear to bring with you on your trip.
What type of ranch suits you the best?
Your own preferences will dictate the location of the best possible ranch stay. Want wide-open scenery and wildlife? Want to be at altitude with the Rocky Mountains as your backdrop? Is fishing a part of your dream ranch vacation? Ranches in western North America have a peak season during the summer, typically June through August. In particularly warm settings, like Arizona, late fall and early spring are often better choices to avoid the heat of mid-summer. In the final analysis, however, the best time to go is when the ranch’s season matches the one in which you want to travel! Remember, too, that because of the limited season and guest capacity of many ranches, opportunities can sell out quickly. Book in advance!
Here are a few options we like:
The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana has plenty of activities available for guests. Mountain Biking, Archery, Horseback Riding, Fly Fishing, Yoga and Meditation are just a few to name. They balance Western adventure with lavish all-inclusive amenities. They offer anything from one-bedroom suites to five-bedroom homes with many distinct styles of lodging. Also new for this summer is Ride-Along with a Rancher. For guests interested in a behind-the-scenes experience, they can join the resort’s Ranch Manager for a few hours as he tends to his daily tasks across the 6,600 acres.
The Resort at Paws Up in Montana is a luxury Montana mountain resort situated on a 37,000-acre authentic working cattle ranch in western Montana. Whether you choose an expansive private home or a sophisticated, safari-style luxury tent they have something for you. Some of their exciting activity options include ATV Tours, Electric Bike Tours, Archery, Paintball, Canoeing, Hot Air Ballooning among many others.
Buch Creek Ranch is an exclusive destination abundant with authentic ranch culture and limitless panoramic landscapes. Their luxury dude ranch accommodations combine legacy, tradition, and heritage with modern extravagance. The vast array of activities include Fly Fishing, Archery, ATV Adventures, Rock Climbing, Yoga, Golf, Aerial Adventures, and so on.
Few tips for your stay:
Here are a few tips that can help you ensure that you enjoy your ranch stay with the maximum value and minimum risk:
- Prepare for the trip by making sure that you can physically participate in the activities the ranch offers.
- Listen to your host! They are very much concerned about your safety and will offer you a great deal of advice about being around livestock and ranch equipment. If you are a novice, ask for assistance. Even if you are experienced, be willing to accept instruction and to learn new skills.
- Livestock – respect them, love them, never, ever, ever abuse them or lose your temper with them. The same goes for humans.
- As with any active vacation, travel insurance covering trip cancellation, trip interruption and medical emergencies is a good idea.