Herding cattle. Trail rides. Fresh mountain air. If you’re looking for an authentic Wild West adventure, The Dude Ranchers’ Association’s got you covered. Whether you’re riding solo, planning a getaway with the girls, or looking for an all-inclusive vacation for the family, there’s no better way to feel like a cowboy (or cowgirl) than at a DRA member dude ranch.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get off the couch and into the saddle. The American West is waiting!
What is The Dude Ranchers’ Association?
Formed in 1926, The Dude Ranchers’ Association aims to preserve the dude-ranching way of life and the environment in which it takes place. When you vacation at a DRA member ranch, you can expect a quality vacation. More than 90 member ranches across the Western United States and Canada have undergone a meticulous inspection and approval process. Why? To ensure all guests are treated to genuine Western hospitality and the highest standards in the lodging industry. In fact, all DRA member ranches must meet the core principles, aka the 6 H’s – Horses, Hats, Hospitality, Heritage, Honesty, and Heart.
Beyond vetting and maintaining the quality of the dude ranch experience, The Dude Ranchers’ Association is the perfect resource for anyone seeking more information on dude ranches or planning a vacation. Even better? This service is free, so you can choose the right dude ranch to meet your needs.
A dude ranch vacation with the DRA is one of the most authentic Western adventures west of the Mississippi River. From cooking under the stars on an open fire to horseback riding on backcountry trails, prepare to be fully immersed in the cowboy way of life. One of the perks of staying at a DRA member dude ranch is it’s all-inclusive. That means your meals, lodging, and most activities are included in one price. Planning a vacation shouldn’t feel like work, and you can expect an unforgettable (stress-free) experience when staying at a dude ranch!
It’s also the perfect destination for all types of travelers and ages. Whether you’re hosting a family reunion or planning a romantic escape with your loved one, there’s a dude ranch for any occasion. Get down and dirty herding cattle on a working ranch. Stay at a luxury resort-style ranch and be pampered at the spa after a long day riding the trails. Feel the thrill of whitewater rafting. Or, spend a lazy day fishing on the river. Traveling with kids? Imagine spending an afternoon getting up close and personal with pigs, goats, and chickens at a petting zoo or panning for gold in a bubbling stream. Some DRA member dude ranches even have children’s programs to keep the kiddos busy.
And when it comes to food? Let’s say you won’t go hungry. Chow down on homestyle cooking by a campfire, enjoy some barbecue poolside, or experience a taste of fine dining! Yes, some dude ranches provide chef-prepared meals you’d expect to find at a five-star hotel.
Ultimately, The Dude Ranchers’ Association and its member ranches are ready to cater to your wildest Western desires and comfort level, from rustic to cowboy chic.
1. Horseback Riding for All
With trails perfect for beginners and more challenging routes, no one is left out when horseback riding at one of the DRA member dude ranches. Live the life of a cowboy as you ride along ridges and valleys or ascend snow-capped mountains. Choose from half-day rides, full-day rides, private lessons, or hang out at the barn and groom your steed!
2. 100% Immersion
One of the benefits of staying at a dude ranch is escaping the hustle and bustle of life and connecting with nature. Enjoy a solo ride on a forested trail, spend an afternoon fishing in a river, or reconnect with family and friends around a crackling campfire.
3. Diverse Scenery
From meadows filled with wildflowers to deserts dotted with cacti, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a postcard when staying at a dude ranch. Traverse stunning landscapes only accessible by horseback, and keep your camera ready for local wildlife sightings like bald eagles, foxes, and prairie dogs!
4. Activities for All Seasons
No matter the time of year, there’s fun to be had at the DRA member dude ranches. Enjoy a snowshoeing excursion or sleigh ride in the winter. Or, spend a day fishing and swimming during the summer. Regardless of the season, you’ll find a variety of exciting activities to enjoy, like ATV outings, rock climbing, and even golf!
5. Choose Your Own Adventures
The beauty of staying at a dude ranch is it’s all about options, not requirements. While daily activities are offered, you can choose how you spend your day. Feeling active? Go on a hike or try some sunrise yoga. Rather relax? Hang out in the lodge or your cabin. Remember, it’s your perfect vacation.