Dude Ranch Vacation | USA Dude Ranches

dude ranch vacation

Dude ranch vacation.

Since the beginning of time animals have played a pivotal role in the life of human beings. The act of sustainable hunting for food and clothing for one’s family has been an aged-old practice. Later, bartering (the exchange of goods and services) followed suit. But then we had a situation where more than what was needed was being gathered with the intent of trading it off for something else. Eventually, animals were used as human transportation and haulage of goods. Before the invention of vehicles, it was figured out that certain animals with hooves (such as horse, camel, donkey, and elephant) provide a feasible mode of conveyance for people to get from point A to point B. From ancient writings and illustrations, we know that many of these animals were domesticated and their custodians took great care of them just as one would a valuable and cherished possession today.

In the United States, some of the first group of settlers were cowboys and cattle ranchers. Prior, the American Indians lived for thousands of years on these lands, surviving off of the products of the animals that inhabit and meandered the Great Plains. The animals had thousands of acres of un-fenced land to roam but by the 1890’s, the ‘open range‘ had come to an end with more and more ranchers occupying and fencing off lands, which limit the movements of the animals and effectively placing them in captivity.

Around the 19th century, dude ranch (otherwise known as guest ranch) became popular in the American West and Mountain States. Today, dude ranch vacation offers a glimpse into a bygone era of the region. Eco friendly dude ranches are not only directed at preserving the land and the culture but serve to provide an environment where guests can come and still feel close to nature and connected to a lifestyle that goes back centuries – this is the dude ranch vacation. Here, wildlife co-exist with cattle. The accommodations include rustic, yet sophisticated abodes. Guests are served farm-to-table cuisine and engage in spa treatments and authentic mountain adventures such as fly-fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and skiing.


Below, I have listed three USA dude ranches in Montana, Colorado and Wyoming, respectively.

[Click on the images to view more details.]


Colorado Vacation Ranch “Smith Fork”.

Smith Fork Ranch, Colorado 9

Bedroom(s): 2 log houses, 3 cabins Locale: River. Mountain

Smith Fork Ranch is not just another Colorado ranch. Yes, we have a stable full of beautifully trained horses, miles of trails, and some of the best private fly fishing in the west. But Smith Fork Ranch really is the quintessential western wilderness experience – and we have deep roots in the history of this beautiful land. And are big on conserving and preserving the natural environment.


Montana Dude Ranch “Rock Creek”

The Ranch At Rock Creek, Montana 3

Bedroom(s): 29 accommodations (1-room suites to 5-bedroom log homes) Locale: Rolling hill. Mountain. River.

The ranch’s structures are built using reclaimed timber. Its décor and furnishing reflect the spirit of old charm Montana. Preserving and conserving the local wildlife (which roams freely) and rugged landscape are paramount.
The operators of the ranch make it a point to use in its hotel and restaurant locally (or regionally) sourced products such as organic foods by American growers and producers and eco-friendly cleaning supplies: soaps and shampoos.


Wyoming Dude Ranch (Lodge & Spa) “Brush Creek”.

The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming

“Educate, Enhance, and Enjoy” is the driving mantra behind sustainability efforts at Brush Creek Ranch. By working with Ecos Ecosystem Services, we have developed a comprehensive stewardship plan that links ecological and conservation goals with the overall vision of the ranch.

Through programs designed to promote responsible ranch management and educate guests about the land, we have been able to improve the ecological health of Brush Creek Ranch and the surrounding area while allowing guests to fully enjoy all that the ranch has to offer.

While on their Dude ranch vacation, every guest of Brush Creek Ranch can learn more about our stewardship efforts by visiting the display in the great room of our main lodge. From small changes in our daily hospitality operations to major efforts to revitalize the land, Brush Creek Ranch is committed to improving the health of our environment while also promoting enjoyment of it.



Article by: Tiffany Huggins


Also see, Siwash Lake (Dude) Ranch in British Columbia, Canada.