9 Wild West Dude Ranches Around America

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AJ Templeton, The Hideout

In this digital modern age, John Wayne's dusty Wild West seems like a novel, old fashioned place. And while the Gold Rush may be over, it's comforting to note that this gun-slinging, iPhone-less cowboy lifestyle is still alive and well on dude ranches across the U.S.

In this digital modern age, John Wayne's dusty Wild West seems like a novel, old fashioned place. And while the Gold Rush may be over, it's comforting to note that this gun-slinging, iPhone-less cowboy lifestyle is still alive and well on dude ranches across the U.S.

More than just tumbleweeds and cowboy hats, these ranches have amenities that would spoil even the toughest ranch hand. Swimming pools, live country music, wine cellars, and river rafting trips are all becoming dude ranch standard with fine dining, lavish spa treatments, and tennis courts rounding out some of the more luxurious offerings. Central California's Alisal Ranch, for example, asks guests to "dress" for dinner and boasts a wine club with three levels of membership.

Whether you're a seasoned horseback rider or got inspired by watching Rio Grande, the activities and itineraries available at each dude ranch can be tailor-made to fit every whim. Wyoming's storied A Bar A Ranch offers everything from fly fishing to skeet shooting and from horseback riding to golfing. And nothing goes with saddling up better than a fresh, epicurean meal.

Montana's Triple Creek Ranch offers mahi-mahi ceviche, braised Guinea fowl, and organic chicken with seasonal vegetables in their main dining room while Colorado's Vista Verde Ranch has scheduled seasonal wine tastings and cooking classes throughout the year.

Harking back to the old West, these ranches let you get a taste of life out West without actually making you wake up to do farm work at 5 a.m. Here are nine great dude ranches worth visiting all across the U.S.; go for the horses, stay for the food.

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Set atop Bitterroot Mountain in Montana, Triple Creek Ranch offers activities like white-water rafting, horseback riding, hiking, helicopter tours, cross-country skiing, and tennis, and even comes equipped with luxuriously-outfitted cabins.


The food at Triple Creek emphasizes the “Western elegance” of the resort-like ranch with dishes like pan seared foie gras, homemade pappardelle pasta, and the Triple Creek Ranch burger. Don’t forget to take a trip into the award-winning wine cellar.


Triple Creek Ranch


An historic ranch founded in the 1926, A Bar A Ranch boasts 100,000 acres of land with vast hills, valleys, and pastures. The ranch owns 130 horses that have been trained to ride with beginners and expert riders while the property also offers tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool, and a shooting range.


Healthful, “Western” cuisine awaits guests in the ranch’s lauded restaurant and their wine cellar holds an impressive collection. There is even a cookbook of recipes from the ranch’s kitchen.


Will and Deni McIntyre


The family-oriented Latigo Ranch is a serene and communal place where guests mingle with each other from the first night. Once cell service is gone, succumb to offered activities like guided hikes after breakfast, horseback riding before lunch, and storytelling by the campfire after dinner.


Latigo’s food is part of its rustic charm, offering fresh buffets for breakfast and lunch eaten outside with other guests. Dishes like fresh halibut, prime rib, and a mocha tart are served for dinner inside.

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Central California’s most famous guest ranch, Alisal is stuck in a bygone era — in the best possible way. They still ask guests (adults and children alike) to dress for dinner. Built in 1946, the working cattle ranch sits on 10,000 acres and offers over 100 horses to ride, archery lessons, golf, and a kid’s barn yard. With no TVs or telephones in guest rooms, visitors really escape at Alisal, which seems particularly fine when ordering another glass of Tuscan red from their cellar to go with Portobello mushroom ravioli or bacon-wrapped filet mignon.

Alisal Ranch


Colorado’s Vista Verde Ranch seems like it was made for the food-loving rancher. With cooking classes and wine tasting events, the ranch’s other activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and rock climbing are an added bonus.


Depending on the season, the ranch’s culinary adventures take place all throughout the property from hearty breakfasts (think honey wheat pancakes with caramelized apples on top) to outdoor grilling and from a quick lunch between activities to tasting the ranch’s inspiring wine collection.

Vista Verde Ranch


As soon as on Mayan Dude Ranch’s nearly 400 acres, visitors practically want to start talking with a drawl. Mornings bring the Cowboy Breakfast cook-out where guests can find likely the biggest buffet around. It is Texas, after all. Eggs, sausage, and fresh-baked biscuits are the perfect start to a day filled with horseback riding, swimming, or tubing down the Medina River. Order lunch poolside before getting ready for the evening’s festivities, which range from a country dance to magic tricks and from fireworks to Western bingo.

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Montana’s Ranch at Rock Creek is a quintessentially modern ranch. Sleek, clean lines throughout the idyllic property encourage an untroubled mind — as does their full-service spa. A “red flower nature facial” and a soaking tub should set visitors straight after a long day of playing golf, exploring the nearest town, wildlife watching, trout fishing, or horseback riding.


Rock Creek’s healthful meals are served in the Granite Lodge, where guests can choose between elk, bison, and free-range chicken for dinner with fresh fruit and organic eggs for breakfast.

Ranch at Rock Creek

The law of the land at The Hideout is detailed in a picture book called Cowboy Ethics: or What Wall Street can learn from the Code of The West. With a copy in each superbly outfitted room, the ranch encourages guests to “live each day with courage” and “ride for the brand,” amongst other mantras.


It is a working cattle ranch that offers horseback riding adventures on hidden trails, cattle drives, fly fishing, and fine dining. Guests eat communally most nights in the ranch’s restaurant, but on warm nights they host an outdoor cook-out where chefs will grill Angus beef with seasonal accoutrements. 


AJ Templeton, The Hideout

Red Horse Ranch nails the elusive balance of “rustic elegance.” They host all kinds of getaways from wine tasting weeks to family ranch vacations that offer horseback riding, guided adventures like river rafting and kayaking, and fine dining.


Simple, satisfying breakfasts of pancakes or biscuits and gravy are followed by a buffet lunch of freshly made sandwiches and a dinner filled with barbecue and fresh fish. After dinner, guests are invited to sit by the campfire or grab a stool at the Old West Saloon.


Red Horse Ranch

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