What is the number 1 Dude Ranch in the USA?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on an all-inclusive Dude Ranch vacation? Do you wonder what the number 1 Dude ranch in the USA is? Keep reading, you won’t believe what some of these resorts offer!
“No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.”-
Why take an all-inclusive dude ranch vacation?
With the hustle and bustle of daily life and the overload of technology, most of us face every day is it really any wonder that Dude Ranches have become so popular? Escaping to the great outdoors and enjoying nature brings back a sense of peace and wonder to our otherwise hectic lives. Combining the ease of an all-inclusive package to these ranches makes the experience even more enjoyable.
Fun Fact: The word “dude” in dude ranch was coined in the late 1800’s and was used to refer to non-westerners or anyone from the “Big Cities”.
Below is a list of our top 8 all-inclusive Dude Ranches in the USA. Please remember to share this article if you find it interesting and leave a comment below if you have ever been to a Dude ranch. I would love to hear from you. I have provided a link to each resort, simply click on the name of the resort to be directed to their site.
The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana
Located approximately half-way between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Nearest cities to the Ranch are Missoula, Butte, and Helena. The Ranch sits at an elevation of 5200 feet. Unlike many guest ranches, The Ranch at Rock Creek believes their guests should not be bothered by a la carte pricing, so they offer all-inclusive packages instead. Their all-inclusive packages include everything. Accommodations, dining, activities, gear, transportation. Some packages also include spa services.
Glamping, Luxury homes, historic barn, or a suite in the loge.
The historic barn has 3 separate suites. Each suite comes with a mountain bike or personal cruiser for getting around the ranch.
Glamping cabins are canvas tents with rustic front porch and locking door. The ranch offers 4 “glamping” tents. Each tent comes with a private bathroom located a short walk away on a lighted path.
Granite Lodge offers 9 rooms. Each room has a private bath and comes with a personal cruiser or mountain bike for getting around the ranch.
Luxury homes- 7 homes are available ranging from 1 – 4 bedrooms. Homes include extra amenities such as a sauna, hot tub, or large soaking tubs. Homes also include the use of bikes or cruisers for transportation around the ranch.
4 different dining venues are available all offering real farm to table meals. If you decide to book the all-inclusive package all meals and alcohol is included with your nightly rate.
Spa- This ranch ranks as a luxury resort complete with its own spa. Choose from treatments such as Clearing Sagebrush Scrub, Saddle Soar Bath, Hikers Refresh, or choose from one of the more traditional services like a Swedish Massage.
Fitness center, pool, fly fishing, lake, yoga classes, and of course HORSES! Evening activities include a western-themed saloon, billiards, poker tables, shuffleboard, karaoke, table tennis, movie theatre, board games, bowling, zip lines, and even roasting smores over a bonfire. Yumm!
Why it made the list:
Where to begin?! This is the only winner of the Forbes Travel Guide 5 star rating. It is a true all-inclusive resort catering to your every need, plus they have horses!! 75 horses are on the property and all of the gear you need is included in your price. The place has a spa, zip lines, world-class fly-fishing. It literally has something for everyone. Click here to view some sample itineraries.
Smith Fork Ranch, Crawford, Colorado
Approximately 2.5 hours from Telluride and Aspen and only 7.5 miles east of the town of Crawford at an elevation of 7,200 feet sits Smith Fork Ranch. Although rustic in feel, luxurious touches and amenities abound such as plush robes, homemade soaps, organic lotions, feather beds, and down comforters. Offering miles of trails to ride on, and some of the best fly-fishing in the west this ranch has a lot to offer. All-inclusive rates include accommodations, dining and activities.
2 houses and 4 cabins ranging from 1 – 4 bedrooms.
Serving farm to table dining options from organic produce grown locally and grass-fed meat. Meals are guaranteed to be fresh, innovative and (most importantly) delicious.
Spa, fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, archery, and of course horseback riding. Smith Fork Ranch has a heard consisting of mostly Quarter horses and Paints. Guided tours and lessons are offered, as well as independent trail rides.
Why it made the list:
With all the little extras this ranch goes above and beyond to make you feel like you are both “roughing” it in a gorgeous scenic location with authentic western touches everywhere and also gives you the feeling of being truly pampered with all of the luxury amenities they offer. Cowboys and city girls should both feel at home in this resort.
The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana
Located 35 minutes from Missoula, Montana, in Greenough. Paws Up is located on 37,000 acres in the heart of the Blackfoot Valley. Ten miles of the Blackfoot River flows through the property. This resort offers truly breath-taking views. The all-inclusive package includes accommodations, food, and beverage (beer and wine only for alcohol), daily activities, round-trip transportation from the Missoula airport, a compact car is included with guest house reservations, all transportation around the ranch is included with the luxury tents. Spa services are not included.
Larger than many of the other resorts on this list Paws Up can host up to 275 guests. They offer camping sites, 36 luxury tents, and 28 homes for rent.
Luxury Tents- Each tent has hardwood floors, air conditioning or heat, a private bath with heated floors, and large showers.
Homes- 2 – 4-bedroom luxury homes are available for rent.
3 restaurants and a chuck wagon are available for dining. Campfires and S’moreologists (yes, they have certified chefs for s’more making!!) also available.
Cattle drives, horse camps, expert level rides, are just a few of the horse-related activities offered. In the summer you can also do an ATV tour, boating, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, paintball, rappelling, swimming, fly-fishing, and more. In the winter months, they offer skiing and snowshoeing too. A fitness center, yoga studio, and spa are also on the grounds. Additional fees for spa and some activities. For a full list of activities click here.
Why it made the list:
New for 2018 Paws Up now has a private island with a beautiful lodge that is the center of most summer activities. Between that and the S’moreologists how could we NOT include this awesome ranch?
Wolf Lake Ranch Resort, Baldwin, Michigan
Located within the beautiful Manistee National Forest, just north of Baldwin, MI. This rustic resort offers you a step back from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The ranch houses 50 horses and your all-inclusive price includes accommodations, meals, and activities.
6 duplex cabins, 3 suites in the “long house”, and 3 individual cabins are available for rent. Each unit is individually air-conditioned and heated. Bed linens are supplied but you must bring your own bath and beach towels. Laundry services are available.
3 home cooked meals are available each day. Campfires are also offered.
Besides the awesome horseback riding options, they offer you can also enjoy tennis, basketball, archery, swimming in the lake, kayaking, canoeing, an adults-only hot tub, hay rides, dancing, casino night, campfires, and games.
Why it made our list:
The simple answer, the riding. This ranch offers riding for beginners to advanced. They offer guided rides for every level from never been on a horse to expert riders. Walk, trot, and canter rides are offered twice daily on soft trails. In the summer months, you can ride your horse in the lake! Or take a morning ride to a special pancake breakfast in the woods. For the little ones, they also offer pony rides, that way nobody feels left out. Click here for a link to some of the beautiful rides they offer.
Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Montana
Located only 50 miles from Bozeman Yellowstone International airport in beautiful Big Sky, Montana. This all-inclusive ranch is only 18 miles from the Yellowstone National Park border. Included in your price are accommodations, airport transfers, 3 meals a day in the onsite restaurant, and activities.
This ranch offers 20 different cabins, duplex cabins, or houses to choose from. Ranging from 1 – 4 bedrooms, all include a private bath and temperature control. Some include hot tubs or saunas.
Horn and Cattle Restaurant, The Saloon, and specialty campfire nights.
Yellowstone tours, horseback riding, fly-fishing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, painting and photography, massage, yoga, skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding, to name a few.
Why it made our list:
This ranch works its all-inclusive policy a little different than any other ranch on the list. They create a specific customized experience for each guest, or you can choose from some of their popular packages. You can choose to include tours of Yellowstone, photography tours, or go straight cowboy and spend all your time with a horse that is handpicked just for you. On arrival at the ranch, you get a session with one of the horse wranglers and they assess your riding level and personality and then hand pick your perfect match.
Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
Located in Tucson Arizona and nestled on 60,000 acres amongst the Rincon Mountains this resort has received numerous awards including one of the top 30 all-inclusive resorts by Travel and Leisure and one of the top 10 resorts in the United States by Conde Nast. This ranch is also adjacent to The Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest. Included in your all-inclusive package of 4 nights or more are round trip transfers from the Tucson airport. All all-inclusive packages include accommodations, 3 meals a day, and select activities. Alcohol is not included, but the ranch does have a saloon serving all your favorite cocktails after 4 pm. This ranch has both an indoor and outdoor pool, spa, and hot tub.
This ranch offers a large variety of lodging options. Choose between private cabins to single rooms. All rooms are tastefully decorated in a southwest style and have free WIFI but no TV.
A Restaurant on property offers multiple choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to that, you can choose to take part in several indoor or outdoor dining events throughout the week, The Ranch also has a Saloon that opens at 4 pm each day.
Horseback rides and lessons, mountain biking, fishing, guided hikes, nature center, yoga, tennis, arts and crafts, special kid’s programs, indoor and outdoor pools.
Why it made our list:
As the winner of so many awards this resort sits high on most dude ranch lists. We like it for the many activities they offer, see sample itinerary here, the many options you have for horseback rides and the fact that they offer daily kids programs so mom and dad can go enjoy the gorgeous views, or get a relaxing couple massage in the spa.
Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, Wyoming
Located just 20 miles southeast of the historic town of Saratoga, and nestled on over 45 square miles of expansive, rolling wilderness in South Central Wyoming’s North Platte River Valley is where you will find Brush Creek Ranch. A 30,000-acre destination, striking a perfect balance between active outdoor recreation, shared experiences, personal renewal, economic sustainability, and preservation of the Western way of life. Your all-inclusive package will include accommodations, 3 meals per day, and activities. This resort has a spa.
Cabins suites, Cabin homes, or lodge rooms are offered.
Lodge rooms: 13 luxurious rooms with captivating ranch views and refined Western décor
Cabin Suites: 9 Cabin suites are available. Cabin suites offer sweeping views and rustic luxury in every uniquely designed cabin suite. Heated bathroom floors and plush robes in every suite.
Cabin homes: 11 homes are available. From king beds with sumptuous bedding to fully-equipped kitchens and dining rooms, the cabin residences contain everything needed for a comfortable stay. Furnished decks or porches included to enjoy the magnificent views. Grocery stocking service available in home rentals.
Indulge in a multi-course meal in the opulent setting of the Trailhead Lodge, or come together with family and friends in the convivial atmosphere of the Chuckwagon. Rustic and refined, dining at the Lodge & Spa will be one of the most memorable parts of your stay. The ranch boasts it’s own greenhouse and grows a large amount of the food served on property.
Activities: More than just the standard activities like horseback riding, lessons, yoga, hiking, mountain bike rides, Brush Creek also has rock climbing, a ropes course, paintball, zip lines, and quick jumps. The spa has a hot tub and there is a pool on the property. A full gym, basketball course, and kids programs are also offered. For more info on activities click here.
Why it made our list:
This ranch offers more than just trail rides. Brush Creek Ranch offers a variety of other riding experiences for guests, from individual and group basic riding instruction to advanced skills like barrel racing and pole bending. It’s your perfect chance to try something completely new. They also offer trail rides by experience level so if you are a seasoned rider you can choose a trot and lope ride. For an additional cost Yurt rental with a private chef are available for the night.
Cherokee Park Ranch, Livermore, Colorado
The winner of USA Todays 2017 “Best Dude Ranch” award, Cherokee Park ranch is located in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Livermore, Colorado. In addition to the traditional dude ranch activities, this ranch offers a pool, hot tub, a fire pit, a guest laundry facility, an indoor riding arena, and a petting zoo. The all-inclusive package includes accommodations, 3 meals per day, and all activities.
Choose between lodge suites or private cabins.
Lodge suites: 4 private suites. Each suite is spacious and comfy.
Cabins: 8 cabins with private bathrooms and porch swings. Some cabins offer fireplaces and multiple bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.
The dining room serves family style dining. A saloon is open that serves beer and wine and you are also allowed to bring your own alcohol. They offer one night of romantic adult only dining while the little ones enjoy a supervised campfire meal night.
As you can guess, there’s a lot of horseback riding, but you also have plenty of non-riding activities to satisfy every taste in your party. Fly fishing, skeet shooting, cattle team penning, art classes, hayrides, square dancing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, tubing the river, roping lessons are part of your all-inclusive rate. River rafting, ski boat trip, and massages are offered at an additional fee.
Why it made our list:
For families with young children, this ranch is perfect because it offers a supervised daily kids program (kids 2 – 12). This allows the parents free time to enjoy trail rides for experienced riders, romantic hikes, or a ton of other activities. They also offer a romantic dinner night for adults while they supervise the little ones. For parents with children under two, they allow you to bring your own babysitter or nanny FREE of charge.
If you have ever visited one of the ranches above or have suggestions of other ranches that should make the list please leave a comment below.