Glamping
Overview

The Wild, Wild West was once the domain of lonely settlers, shady outlaws, and cocky cowboys with questionable sartorial taste (spurs, chaps and bolo ties? Just no). Flash forward and an old American fantasy is playing out across today’s five star luxury dude ranches, tucked away in the mountains of Montana, Wyoming (where GIRLS star, Allison Williams, recently got married - in Oscar de la Renta, no less), Colorado (location of Ralph Lauren’s Double RL Ranch) and even the deserts of Arizona, where you can become at home on the range without forgoing a drop of decadence.

At any of these thoroughly authentic encampments, you can channel your inner cowgirl while learning the ropes from a handy (and often handsome) dude - damsels in distress need not apply. Horseback riding takes center stage at the ranches, but these magnificent destinations also offer outdoor explorations reticent of childhood summer camp memories, albeit souped-up and sumptuous (glamping, anyone?), as well as glamorous spas and golf, and some of the top gastronomical experiences West of the Rockies. Modern day dude ranches attract equally modern guests, seeking to disconnect from a hectic life at home, aiming to soak up the fresh air and dramatic vistas of the All-American frontier instead. So what are you waiting for? Get packing and mount up –now the West is the best.

Stay

Where to stay

Indulge

Indulge

Most of the ranches have excellent onsite chefs whipping up Western specialties for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a communal dining room. Dinners tend to be nicer, complete with wine pairings, so that’s your chance to show off a chic top or casual dress, not to mention shoes that aren’t sneakers or your scuffed adventure boots. The best part? Dude ranch meals are all-inclusive with your package, including the drinks. Cheers x 1000 to that. Still, many of the ranches offer their own unique touch.

At The Ranch at Rock Creek, if you don’t want to leave the open air for breakfast or lunch, indulge in the epitome of ranch-style dining at The Blue Canteen, a mix of cabin and canvas tent turned cozy, casual eatery by its wood-burning stove. Think hearty dishes like a grilled chicken and kale pesto sandwich for lunch, or coffee and granola for breakfast before hitting the trails.  

Paws Up has a couple onsite eateries in addition to their main dining hall, like the slightly more upscale Pomp, where you’ll savor innovative culinary creations from a menu that changes with the seasons. Or, for an old school ranch experience, go for Paws Up Chuck Wagon dinner, which takes you on a scenic horse-drawn ride to the Blackfoot River for a truly natural meal prepared over the fire and in a dutch oven. 

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Three Forks’ dining revolves around their on-site chef, yet we hear him and his team make a famous, dangerously luscious chocolate-chip cookie that’s worth noting. That and they have a special Wine room, so you can really tap into all your vices.

While your kids will eat most lunches and dinners with their kids program peers at C Lazy U, if when you start to miss them, you’ll all reconvene for the weekly favorite family cookout, a ranch favorite on Sunday nights, complete with fireside entertainment. The cuisine at Rancho de los Caballeros is also focused on their onsite chef, but they get a shout-out for the added bonus of the cowboy serenade at their fireside barbeques. Swoon

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Explore

Explore

Obviously, horseback riding takes center stage at all dude ranches, but those seeking additional activities can find all sorts of cool things like  trapshooting, fly fishing with an expert guide, hiking and biking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, or even channel your inner J-Law in the Hunger Games with some archery.

THE HIDEOUT LODGE & GUEST RANCH, WY

At The Hideout, experienced riders have the opportunity to ride previously wild mustangs (of course, all horses are expertly trained by the top-notch staff). For something more mellow, consider taking a photography class onsite, or bringing your personal camera along on a wildlife tour. Venture offsite to visit the Cody Rodeo Show in the rodeo capital of the world (Cody, Wyoming), where rodeos are held each day from June 1st- August 31st. For another offsite excursion, the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park is just one hour away from the ranch.

THE RANCH AT ROCK CREEK, MT

Special to Rock Creek is their Summer Friday Morning Breakfast Ride, where you hop in a horse-drawn carriage first thing in the morning over scenic trails up to Piney Pond for a fireside breakfast and cowboy coffee amid a landscape stunning enough to get any diva out of bed by 8am.

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Other outdoor activities include fly-fishing, a ropes course, rifle range, and geocaching. This isn’t just a summer spot though; in the winter, bundle up like a chic Eskimo for a romantic sleigh ride, glide across the ice rink (or at least try to stay upright), or even hit the ski trails at the surrounding mountains.

THE RESORT AT PAWS UP, MT

Paws Up has many outdoor activities, such as fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, rappelling, a grizzlyman obsticle course, and even hot air ballooning (seriously, try this out, no matter how afraid of heights). Come in the winter and you have plenty to do as well – skiing, dogsledding, sleigh rides, and a winter Biathlon which combines the precision of target shooting with the thrill of cross-country skiing

C LAZY U RANCH, CO

Upon arrival you’ll be introduced to a herd of 180 horses - one will be especially selected for you based on your ability. They even have a special little pony named Katy for kids, ages 3-5, so they can slip their tiny cowboy boots into the stirrups and start learning young. Challenge a fear of heights on the ropes course and zip line or don’t… and go to the Lazy You Spa instead (never has there been a more appropriate spa name).

THE HOME RANCH, CO

Fly-fishing is another favorite here, on top of hiking, rock climbing, and white water rafting. When you’re all thrilled out, chill out at a yoga session instead. Or, if you head to Home Ranch in the winter, show off your chic snow gear on the ski slopes, a romantic sleigh ride, or tubing with the whole family. If all that wasnt enough to lasso you in remember that great movie City Slickers from the early '90s? Now, you have the chance to cast yourself as city slicker Mitch Robbins, or one of his friends, and experience that week with a Relais & Chateaux twist!

RANCHO DE LOS CABALLEROS, AZ 

While golf may be a big draw at this ranch, there are still plenty of activities for those looking to expose that inner-cowboy. From hay rides to campfire cookouts, trap & skeet, jeep tours, horseback riding and more – there is no shortage of dude ranch adventure here. 

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SHOP

Where to Shop

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While some of these fab properties might have some charming hotel shops to get some last min necessities we suggest doing most of your shopping beforehand. If you really get that itch, the Hideout offers complementary trips to Cody once a week for interested guests; leaving in time so you can peruse the Western shops in town while you’re there for the real deal cowboy gear.

Paws Up has hands down the best hotel store conveniently nicknamed PUGS and its filled with Montana-made items plus western wear, fishing gear, exquisite jewelry, and many of the wonderful home decor items found on property.

Just a short walk from Rancho de Los Caballeros is the small town of Wickenburg where you can grab some cowboy boots at Trader J's Southwest Gifts or nostalgic sweets at the Candy Wagon.

Shop the Destination

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