Wyoming Ranch vacations offer a wide variety of family fun activities and are typically located in beautiful national forest settings. Who doesn’t want to play cowboy for a day or two or at least try riding a horse?
Many terms are used to described a Wyoming ranch vacation: Ranching Vacation, Dude Ranch Vacation, Cowboy experience, and Guest Ranch Vacation are all terms meaning some type of Wyoming ranching vacation.
Since the amount of work vs. leisure time varies from ranch to ranch. Activities and amenities offered also vary from ranch to ranch. You really need to identify what you want out of your vacation and then ask each ranch what is available.
While horseback riding is usually a big part of a ranch vacation you can also choose any of the following activities: boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, cattle drives, cookouts, covered wagon rides, or relaxing close to nature.
Guest ranches are located throughout the state of Wyoming. Horseback riding is the common theme to all the ranches. Some Wyoming ranches also offer Luxury lodging and full range of activities.
Other Wyoming ranch vacations operate as working ranches providing lodging in comfortable rustic cabins and offering the opportunity to participate in roundups, cattle drives, and other ranching activities. Most Wyoming Ranch vacations allow you to participate to a certain extent in ranch life.
Any vacation begins with a dream or idea of what your ideal vacation will be like, so start by understanding what is included in your dream ranch vacation.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Is your dream ranch vacation in the summer, winter, spring or fall? Are you a snow or sun person? Not all ranches are open all year round. Higher elevation ranches in Wyoming will be closed in the winter, some are open all year but change the activities available to match the season.
- Do you have a specific location or terrain in mind? Does the background of your dream have hills and cactus, national forest and rivers or wide open sagebrush?
- Who is included in your vacation? Do you prefer large or small groups? You need to check with ranches especially if you are bringing younger children, most activities are for 6 years and up and it would be helpful if your child has ridden a horse before. Also you may wish to choose a ranch with a kids program and swimming.
- Do you prefer structure to your vacation? Larger ranches are usually able to offer organized activities and entertainment programs, while smaller ranches offer more personalized riding activities, but fewer non-riding programs.
- What type of riding experience are you looking for? All ranches focus on horseback riding as the main activity but the programs can be very different. Some ranches are working cattle ranches that also accept guests. Many of these allow guests to assist with the ranch chores. Others offer actual cattle drives during specific periods. Some ranches offer only walking trail rides while others allow trotting and running through breathtaking country. Most ranches do offer instruction for beginners to expert.
- What other activities besides horseback riding are you looking for? Fishing, Whitewater rafting, children?s programs, swimming pool, hot tub, cook outs?
- In your vacation what kind of accommodations do you see? A rustic cabin, a mountain lodge, an adobe or teepee? Accommodations vary from ranch to ranch, from a room in a ranch house or lodge to an elegant cabin with rock fireplace. Most ranches do offer comfortable beds, private baths and maid service but these are all things you need to ask when you call, especially if you have something specific in mind. Accommodations can really make or break your Wyoming ranch vacation.
- How long has this ranch been accepting guests? How many guests will be there while I am there? Is the ranch a member of the Dude Rancher’s Association? Experience is king in a Wyoming ranch vacation. The most experienced ranches will have true western hospitality. Ranch size and type will often determine what activities are available.
- Length of stay required? Most Wyoming ranches have minimum stay requirements from 3 nights to 7 nights.
How do I Choose a Wyoming Ranch Vacation?
There are many companies on the internet offering ranch vacations. In fact so many we have no specific recommendations; rather we suggest you do your research. When you’re ready to book your vacation call and ask to talk with a knowledgeable resource regarding your vacation plans.
The key thing is do you like the person/company you’re talking with and does their ranch offer what you’re looking for?
After you go on a ranch vacation consider sharing your experience with our readers. You can use this form to submit your vacation experience.
Remember, no cooking, cleaning or chores on a Wyoming ranch vacation (unless you decide to help the cowboys round up the strays or feed the horses) just fun and relaxation in a beautiful, breathtaking outdoor setting.