From horseback riding and cattle work to rodeos, line dancing, and camping under the stars, ranch holidays appeal to the cowboy or girl in all of us and offer a truly unique vacation. Switch it up this year with one of these adventure-packed ranch holidays in the USA and have the Wild West brought to you.
Outlaws, Indians, and pioneers are the stuff of movies, right? Still, the image of the quintessential American cowboy might not be as far from the truth as you think. Even if the Wild West is no longer overthrown by gunslingers and Billy the Kids, with over two million farms, there’s no shortage of horseback adventures and working cattle ranches just waiting to make you feel like a real wrangler.
There’s a lot to navigate when picking your perfect ranch holiday, such as your state of choice, the best time to go, and all the luxury amenities in between you and your family might need. But we’ve covered it all. Whether it’s a working, guest, or resort escape, you’ll find it all here. Let’s go.
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Triple Creek Ranch, Montana
For award-winning service, nestled in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Triple Creek Ranch offers a bit of everything. Refined cuisine, five-star lodgings, and exclusive forested mountain surroundings, this is the perfect luxury escape for couples after a bit of adventure.
There’s something for every adult, from dog sledding, skiing, snow biking, and horseriding to artist workshops, wine tasting, and world-class spa services. The intimate resort might not be about mucking in with cattle, but the oasis of luxury set within towering pines and snowy scenery is truly unique.
Triple Creek Ranch is located on the southern side of the Bitterroot Mountain Range’s highest mountain, Trapper Peak. Where majestic mountain territory and unspoiled wildlife meet true first-world comforts is where Triple Creek sits in a league of its own.
Visit between October and April to enjoy plentiful snowfall across the 50 acres of the mountain landscape. But the summer months are equally pleasant, with snow-capped peaks visible from the crispy sunny hillside.
Arizona Hacienda Del Sol Ranch, Arizona
This 300-year-old ranch is one of the last authentic haciendas in the country. Established in 1924 as a guest ranch, the romantic vintage style still survives in the lovingly preserved casitas. With a touch of resort luxury rolling in with the pastures of the Sonoran Desert, there’s an adventure at every turn of 39 acres of Catalina foothills.
The ranch also documents an integral part of the region’s history. Today, visitors can still find a cannonball, fired by Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution, embedded in the stucco walls of the main outhouse.
Located just one hour from Tucson, the ranch benefits from more than 320 days of sunshine a year. The hacienda also sits at the base of the sacred Baboquivari mountain range, bordering the tribal land of the Tohono O’odham Nation and the 120,000 acres of Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge.
Ride through grassland and the High Sonoran Desert, try your hand at driving cattle, embark on sightseeing wildlife rides and stay in one of the 18 vibrant guest rooms, from deluxe rooms to premium suites. Every room is furnished with Mexican antiques, complete with wood-burning fireplaces and a mountain view porch. The upscale restaurant offers authentic South American-inspired cuisine with an expansive cellar of hand-paired wines.
Badger Creek Ranch, Colorado
This family-owned working ranch, located high above the Arkansas Valley in Colorado, takes a holistic approach to ranching. Badger Creek is all about connection, community, and maintaining land health off the beaten track. Whether guests want to get down and dirty or recharge in nature, they operate an “open-gate” policy welcoming all manner of visitors, especially the furry kind.
The animals are at the heart of Badger Creek’s focus, from the herd of more than a dozen working horses and sustainably raised livestock to the wild local visitors like birds, bees, and, you guessed it, badgers. The ranches call themselves “stewards of the land,” and visitors are invited to take on the same role. Forget commercialized “dude” ranches. Each experience is tailored to the individual within the intimate environment of Badger Creek.
Horsemanship packages, conservation activities, and simple, off-the-grid relaxation stays are available. Aside from the charming wooden cabin accommodation, Badger Creek has a spectacular remote camping site, enclosed by canyon walls, each with its own fire ring and shared bathroom access. There’s no place better for a genuinely rustic all-American experience. That’s why it’s one of the highest-rated ranch holidays in the USA.
Southern Cross Guest Ranch, Georgia
Set within Central Georgia’s historic heartland, Southern Cross has been named “One of America’s Best Dude Ranches” with its outstanding riding program and delightful setting. Home to more than 150 Point and Quarter Horses, the all-inclusive riding package at Southern Cross is the highlight of the ranch.
Charming accommodation, fine dining, and southern hospitality it’s all up for grabs, along with unguided riding opportunities in the forgiving Georgia climate. Horses outnumber guests more than 7 to 1, and over two dozen foals are born every year on the ranch. It’s no surprise that all the activities on offer at the family-owned and operated Southern Cross are tailored around these gentle giants.
From grooming and tacking to cantering through lush forest trails and playing with foals, the ranch is a haven for adventurous kids, experienced wranglers, and animal lovers alike. The popular all-inclusive experience comes with three buffet-style meals, unlimited beverages, and king rooms decorated to a rustic western standard with free Wifi.
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, Idaho
This 75-year old family-run ranch is set within 1,100 acres for you to explore, whether that’s on horseback, bike, or foot. But Western Pleasure is also all about the wildlife, with a host of Red Angus Cattle and basic handle-raised horses calling the farm home.
Cattle sorting, drives and beginner to experienced riding are all on offer, as well as the chance to take in the other mountain wildlife like the deer, bears, and Red-Tailed Hawks, who also inhabit Sandpoint. But an adventure-packed trip to Western Pleasure isn’t just about tending to the animals. Clay pigeon shooting, archery, mountain biking, and hiking can all be done on sight. There is also a hot tub and pool table for guests to enjoy in their downtime.
All rooms have private bathrooms and at least one queen bed. Guests can choose between the Grand Lodge boarding house of private cabin lodgings. Three buffet meals are included with the inclusive package, but Western Pleasure also hosts regular cookouts throughout the week with home-reared steaks, and there’s even a riverboat dinner cruise each week.
White Stallion Ranch, Arizona
Arizona has a lot to offer in the way of ranch escapes, and if it’s an authentic western working ranch experience you’re after, look no further. Based at the foot of the wild Tucson Mountains, White Stallion encompasses five square miles of rugged desert, adjacent to the Saguaro National Park and with scores of picturesque trails.
There’s a program to suit every visitor, whether you’re a newbie to horses or an experienced rider. Guests also have the chance to work cattle in the on-site area and partake in team penning. White Stallion Ranch has been family-operated for more than fifty years, and this seeps into everything they do. The ranch is also very kid-friendly, with many activities on offer tailored toward the true cowboy or girl experience.
The on-site restaurant is renowned for its hearty home-cooked meals, and steak barbeques, cookouts, and Indian oven dinners are among the add-on dining experiences. The ranch also offers guests the option for a taste of luxury, with exclusive lodgings that you won’t usually find on a humble “dude” ranch.
Each room is complete with its own patio, air conditioning, and minibars, with premium suites even coming with Jacuzzi hot tubs and wood-burning fireplaces. Decorated with Southwestern art, vintage furniture, and Mexican accents, the interiors reflect the regional style to complement the undisturbed mountain views.
Bitterroot Ranch, Wyoming
It’s not just Montana that benefits from the snow-capped Bitterroot Mountain Range. This family-run ranch is nestled in a remote Wyoming value, bordering the Shoshone National Forest and offering 50 square miles of unspoiled wilderness.
Just a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park, but with the snowy peaks of Bitterroot in view, the diverse landscape and strategic location give this ranch its unique edge. The family ambiance reverberates throughout the rustic cabins, but quality riding is the ranch’s focus, and only the best instructors work with the guests and animals.
From herding cows, cattle drives, roundups to riding lessons, pack trips, and trail rides, Bitterroot is all about making the most of the landscape and the animal residents. Most meals at the ranch are also centered around the land, and you’ll find plenty of garden-grown greens, freshly baked bread, and home-bred meat on the menu.
The lodgings on offer vary from the traditional cabins, modernized over Bitterroot’s 40-year lifespan, some with wood-burning stoves and bathtubs. But the main lodge is also home to more premium guest rooms, with a large stone fireplace and broad porch in the common area for guests to socialize.
Can you stay on a ranch?
While some ranches are exclusively for working the land and the cattle, the majority of American farms provide some sort of tailored experience for visitors who can stay, explore and muck into ranch life. Most ranch vacations offer diverse activities beyond horseriding and cattle driving, like mountain biking, archery, wildlife spotting, and even spa facilities. But a ranch wouldn’t be complete without horses and cows grazing in the vast grounds, and quintessential ranch holidays in the USA are focused around the local animals and landscape.
What is a ranch in America?
A ranch is a giant subtype of a farm, typically an expansive land area designated for ranching or raising livestock like cattle and sheep. In America, horses are often raised on ranches, too. Most ranch holidays in the USA put a heavy focus on interacting with them and offer all-inclusive horse riding packages, rodeo shows, and general tending experiences.
What is a “dude” ranch?
“Dude” ranches cater exclusively to tourists, rather than primarily focusing on working the land or cattle. In effect, the ranch wouldn’t operate without guests and exists purely for the benefit of visitors. While the animals naturally still need tending to and holiday experiences are focused around cattle, the cattle are there for tourist entertainment rather than the rancher’s primary livelihood. A “dude” ranch is essentially a holiday center rather than a working farm.