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Dude Ranches can take on a number of different forms from comfortable resorts with luxurious amenities to small, working ranches where guests literally become one of the ranch hands. From unique properties like the Tanque Verde Ranch in Arizona’s Rincon Mountains, an expansive old time cattle ranch that has evolved into one of the finest resorts in the American Southwest to the Rocking Z Ranch near Yellowstone Park in Montana, a working cattle ranch where accomplished riders can spend their days chasing steers or mending fences, the available adventures are as varied as the guests they attract.
Dude Ranches are found throughout the Western United States and Canada with over 90 properties available to guests yearning for the experience. The options range from ranches that offer services at a very high level with organized adventures for whitewater rafting, skeet shooting, fishing, line dancing, wilderness camping and even participation in rodeos to actual, working cattle ranches where the resident wranglers expose their guests to authentic cowboy ways. Guests with little or no background in a saddle can still enjoy the experience of the Western Cowboy developing or sharpening their riding skills or doing no riding at all; the choice is up to the individual. Some guests prefer to spend their days laying back and relaxing by the pool surrounded by the great Western outdoors while their fellow travelers are running rapids in specially designed rafts. Either option is just fine with the ranch operators. Many of the ranches focus on experiences that appeal to families while others gear their activities to couples.
Outside of the USA, Dude Ranches providing similar experiences operate in Argentina and Uruguay, where guests can ride alongside gauchos in the performance of their duties on working ranches.
If your idea of a dream holiday is to spend your days on the back of a horse, wrestling cattle or covering as much rugged terrain as possible, then your evenings enjoying crackling camp fires, roasting marshmallows under unfettered starlit skies and listening to ranch hands entertain you with their stories and songs, a trip to Stay At A Dude Ranch belongs on your list. Find the ranch that best matches your idea of a great Western adventure and begin planning the best time to visit.
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