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10 Luxury Dude Ranches Worth Ditching Your Beach Vacation For
Enjoy horseback riding and evenings around a campfire without compromising on comfort.
These upscale retreats couple laid-back luxury with epic outdoor experiences.
The Ranch at Rock Creek
The only Forbes Travel Guide five-star ranch in the world and member of the elite National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, the Ranch at Rock Creek offers the chance to ride through gorgeous landscapes, fly fish in the natural streams and skeet shoot with a knowledgeable guide. After soaking up the great outdoors, slip away from your serene family cabin or converted barn loft and head to dinner and cocktails at the lodge to enjoy local Montana brews and cocktails before you eat your Relais & Châteaux-approved meal by the fire. And don't skip hitting the Silver Dollar Saloon to bowl a few rounds in their custom bowling alley.
Triple Creek Ranch
Another Relais & Châteaux property, this luxury ranch offers delectable food and striking surroundings. Triple Creek Ranch's location in the incredible Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies is hard to match. If you're dreaming of log cabins and passing horses, you're in the right place. Activities span from riding and fishing to even trying a helicopter tour of Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. The location is an outdoor enthusiast's wonderland, with access to 26,000 private acres and four million National Forest acres. Spend time hiking and wildlife watching before turning in and curling up by a crackling fire.
Vermejo Park Ranch
At Vermejo Park Ranch you can explore 600,000 acres of Ted Turner's private estate in northern New Mexico and Colorado. The ranch gives guests an opportunity to enjoy hunting and sport shooting, along with customized outdoor activities tailored to your interests. Inside, you'll find opulent and classic touches, from the epic stone Casa Grande lodge to the classically designed rooms of the Costilla Lodge. Plus, you can feel good about your stay here thanks to the ranch's comprehensive conservation efforts. For example, the resort boasts the Turner Endangered Species Fund and grows its own produce at Casa Grande through the property's greenhouse.
The Resort at Paws Up
This resort not only provides one of the best dude ranch experiences in Montana for adults, but Paws Up is also a great choice for families. Here, you'll have access to a variety of different options for any age group. Instead of experiencing your entire trip in one luxury cabin, why not try four nights indoors and three nights outside in a glamorous tent? No matter what option you choose, you'll have access to top-notch amenities and vast, untouched landscapes. Circle around fire pits with friends and family, while you cook s'mores after an archery lesson or pony ride. Or, go even further and join their Cowboy Experience and become a rodeo expert.
Devil's Thumb Ranch
Though Montana is a popular spot for dude ranches, you shouldn't overlook Colorado. Devil's Thumb Ranch proves that Colorado is meant for outdoorsy types with impeccable taste. Located just about 70 miles outside of Denver, Devil's Thumb Ranch captivates guests with frozen lakes to skate on in the winter and zip line tours in the summer. Plus, the ranch boasts a rich history. One of the ranch's most unique features, a series of towering rocky fixtures, was said to be named the "Devil's Thumb" by the Native Americans who, after settling a bloody war, buried the devil with an exposed thumb as a reminder of the tragedies of battle.
The Home Ranch
There's something about The Home Ranch that makes a self-sustainable lifestyle appealing. It could be the Relais & Châteaux stamp of approval or the way in which the culinary team makes organic farm-to-table eating seemingly effortless. The organic gardens, greenhouse and ranch-raised livestock is the biggest draw for guests. It's about getting back to basics while still devouring items such as ceviche of Nantucket bay scallops with tortilla chips and homemade pork sausage links. Plus, this ranch provides all the necessities of the dude ranch experience with a special focus on food. Spend the summer horseback riding and your winters cross-country skiing at this adventure-loving retreat.
Brush Creek Ranch
Brush Creek Ranch is the epitome of Western style. It has a touch of historical glamour from its founding in the 1800s with the benefits of modern-day amenities. This Wyoming ranch lets visitors go big-game hunting and enjoy private fly fishing. Plus, the landscapes sprawl for days, beckoning guests to admire awe-inspiring Wyoming skylines before enjoying outdoor pursuits and catching up on rest and relaxation. The Trailhead Spa is consistently rated among the best in the U.S. and is another main draw. Join the diverse yoga program and meditate on mountaintops before climbing down to a traditional outdoor teepee for a Western-style spa treatment that uses local ingredients.
Dunton Hot Springs
Dunton Hot Springs is a ranch like no other. Not only do visitors get the dude ranch experience, but the location is built on natural hot springs and is the only retreat on this list that used to be a 1800s ghost town. Located near Telluride, Colorado, this Relais & Châteaux outpost offers mouthwatering meals that rival those at top urban restaurants. Make sure to enjoy authentic dude ranch activities such as horseback riding and river rafting, before soaking in natural hot springs and admiring the sprawling surrounding mountains. Take it all in and enjoy the view.
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
Alisal Guest Ranch is California's take on a Wild West adventure. Though situated near Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley, Alisal feels light-years away. Alisai has all the trappings of a dude ranch with commercial luxuries built in. Two 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts and a pool round out the 50 miles of riding trails and nearby lake. And though you'll have access to the best golf in the area, you won't find a TV or a phone in your guest room. Plus, Alisal also uniquely offers an elegant atmosphere. While most ranches encourage a casual dress code, Alisal does not allow jeans at dinner and men must wear jackets.
Tanque Verde Ranch
Authentic and immersive experiences is just one of Tanque Verde Ranch's top draws for visitors. The desert backdrop is reminiscent of a John Wayne movie, and the ranch's surroundings, encompassing a whopping 60,000 acres, make guests feel like they're truly off the grid. On the property grounds there are no TVs, only fishing, horseback riding, hiking and a variety of other out-of-this world adventure activities. Plus, guests can enjoy handcrafted cocktails at the Dog House Saloon, gently smoked barbecue fare by the outdoor fire or homemade chocolate truffles for dessert.
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