The dude, or guest ranch has preserved the spirit and adventure of the Western frontier for nearly a century. Here vacationing “City Slickers” can trade their urban gear for cowboy hats and boots, saddle up their horses and channel their inner Buffalo Bill while riding the range—escorted by actual ranch hands, of course.
Traditionally centered on horseback-riding vacations that replicate life on the ranch and embrace the wilderness experience, today’s dude ranch industry has evolved with changing tastes. Roughing it is no longer de rigueur as a growing luxury segment provides all of the traditional ranch activities with an array of five-star amenities: Tennis, spas, posh suites, fine dining. The Wild West was never like this.
Luxury dude ranch vacations focus on connecting to nature, top-tier services and the “wow factor” of breathtaking scenery experienced on the trail or outside one’s well-appointed cabin window. The spirit of the West is infused in hospitality, sumptuous décor and daily activities, but for those not quite comfortable in the saddle, many horse ranch vacations offer relaxing alternatives. The all-inclusive format is standard for most venues giving guests free reign to indulge. Choosing isn’t easy.
There’s a lodge in Wyoming that sits on 15,000 pristine acres. In addition to trail riding, cowboy campfires and fly fishing, it offers a full wellness program at its spa. Cabins at an elegant ranch nestled in the Montana Rockies come with a hot tub, fireplace and fully stocked bar. Off-ranch activities include cattle drives, golfing and white water rafting. In Arizona, ranch properties are tucked into majestic desert landscapes while a dude ranch vacation in British Columbia, Canada, features a tented safari camp with land and sea attractions.
When a few days or a few weeks of the luxury dude ranch lifestyle aren’t enough, ranch ownership is the answer. Cowboys may be a vanishing breed, but properties with lush pastures, historic cabins, riverfront acreage and riding arenas are available to re-create the Old West experience in what some call the “last best places.” If this sounds like your dream, there are many luxury ranches for sale to make that dream a reality.
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from Sotheby's International Realty
Content Producer Iyna Bort Caruso