15 Best Dude Ranches for Escaping the Crowds This Summer

Family at a dude ranch riding horses in Montana


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Family at a dude ranch riding horses in Montana

Pony Up

America's many dude ranches were always about digital detoxing, unplugging, escaping the crowds, and leaving the big, mean world's stress in the dust — dust that is kicked up by horses. Now those ranches have an added benefit from their wide-open spaces: offering anyone still worried about the coronavirus acres of gorgeous scenery for social distancing. This list features a diverse blend of dude ranches and similarly themed resorts, some luxurious and pricey and others low-key and affordable. Some still note COVID-19 safety guidelines for guests, but all offer fresh air, solitude, safety, and serenity.

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Bush Creek Ranch Wyoming

Bush Creek Ranch | Wyoming

Bush Creek Ranch in Wyoming's Platte River Valley is still open for anyone who wants to get away, albeit with a modified schedule and a few new restrictions. In fact, the ranch's COO posted a statement saying that adjusting and adapting during difficult times is the embodiment of the spirit of the West. Spanning more than 30,000 acres, Bush Creek offers as much solitude as you like as well as amenities such as a bakery, distillery, brewery, and creamery.

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Resort at Paws Up Montana
Rocking Horse Ranch New York

Rocking Horse Ranch | New York

Located in Highland, the Rocking Horse Ranch is an all-inclusive family resort with a heavy focus on things to do for children. It's highly rated on TripAdvisor, thanks in part to offerings such as live entertainment and a spa, with plenty for grownups and groups as well as their young ones.

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Goosewing Ranch Wyoming

Goosewing Ranch | Wyoming

Goosewing Ranch in Kelly offers kids' activities, mountain biking, hiking, fly fishing, river and water activities, and, of course, horseback riding. Last spring it said visitors could participate in all activities except its Goosewing rendezvous glamping and pack trips — which it planned to offer this year.  

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C Lazy U Colorado

C Lazy U | Colorado

C Lazy U consistently makes best-of lists in ranch-based travel and vacation write-ups. Located in Granby, it's an upscale, all-inclusive, year-round resort sprawled out across the heart of the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado River's run off the Continental Divide. Right now, the resort is offering special summer packages, particularly for families.

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Devil's Thumb Ranch Colorado

Devil's Thumb Ranch | Colorado

High in the mountains of Tabernash, you'll find Devil's Thumb Ranch. Daily activities include stand-up paddleboarding, fly fishing, archery, air rifle biathlons, zip line tours, hiking, mountain biking, hatchet throwing, and, it should go without saying, horseback riding.

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Kay El Bar Arizona

Kay El Bar | Arizona

Located in Wickenburg, Kay El Bar is a historic ranch in the heart of the Southwest that celebrated its centennial in 2018. Its 100 acres are 2,130 feet above sea level — but those acres are just the ranch itself. Riders also have access to more than 2,000 acres of federal land. The all-inclusive, year-round ranch has a guest capacity of just 28 visitors, making it the ultimate in truly getting away.

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Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort California
White Stallion Ranch Arizona

White Stallion Ranch | Arizona

White Stallion Ranch in Tucson and its rugged, virgin mountain/desert acreage have been the site of many Hollywood movie shoots. The ranch offers several packages based on activity preference, time of year, and more. The Getaway Today package (starting at $159 a night), for example, includes activities such as shooting, archery, and ebiking. The Outdoor Adventure package includes rock climbing and shooting.

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Bull Hill Guest Ranch Washington

Bull Hill Guest Ranch | Washington

Located in the wide-open wilderness of the Great Northwest, Bull Hill Guest Ranch in Kettle Falls is nestled in the foothills of the Rockies in eastern Washington near British Columbia. Fourth-generation family members still run the authentic Western ranch, which has a history of more than 115 years. Untouched wilderness is the backdrop of the destination, which is part of a working ranch spread across 50,000 acres of pristine mountain country.

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Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch Idaho

Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch | Idaho

Located just south of Stanley, Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch offers breathtaking views of the wild and rugged Idaho Rocky Mountains. The ranch stands out for its flexible approach, in which guests move through their vacation at their own pace and on their own schedule. Guests can ride horses for a few hours or all day, with all kinds of other activities to choose from, including river activities, fishing, trail riding, and even mountain climbing.

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Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch New Mexico

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch | New Mexico

A truly authentic New Mexico dude ranch, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in Winston can accommodate only 12 to 16 guests at any given time. Located in the southwestern portion of the state, the property is tucked away in the 3.3 million-acre Gila National Park. Horses trot through sprawling meadows and deep canyons while crossing crystal clear spring-fed streams. Open from March through November, the weather is predictably perfect almost all the time.

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V6 Ranch California
Kim F./Yelp
Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Arkansas

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch | Arkansas

At Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, guests can live an authentic dude ranch experience in the wild and rugged Ozark Mountains. Visitors stay in rustic log cabins and can take their pick from any number of activities, including rock climbing, horseback riding, skeet shooting, barn games, moonlight rides, and water activities. The zip line there is known as one of the best in the country.

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Long Hollow Ranch Oregon

Long Hollow Ranch | Oregon

Located near the city of Sisters, Long Hollow Ranch is one of the most historic guest ranches in the state. Fly fishing and horseback riding are all part of the package, as are bird watching, hiking, lawn games, and morning and evening sunrise and sunset viewing from the sprawling ranch’s spectacular panoramic viewing areas.

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