When you envisage the Wild West, what image comes to mind? Most commonly it is a picture of cowboys crowded around a campfire, sharing stories and home cooked food while their horses graze in the near distance. But not everyone is cut out to ride wilderness trails on horseback for days at a time, with no bed or shower. That’s where luxury dude ranches come in. You won’t have to herd cattle, sleep rough or even ride if you don’t want to. Here are our picks for the best luxury dude ranch experiences.
Located in Montana’s Big Sky Country, The Ranch at Rock Creek welcomes all the family. Its fine dining, sporting pursuits, and exquisite accommodation are all wrapped up into one unforgettable and oh so luxurious ranch package. Ride horseback along trails which hug sagebrush hillsides or go fly-fishing at Rock Creek to try to land a Westslope cutthroat. Too outdoorsy? Indulge in a spa treatment – or several – in the award-winning Granite Spa. After an action-packed day, gather up the kids and head over to the Flagstone Eatery. Toast some s’mores, a popular campfire treat in the US. Later, boogie on down with some good old fashioned barn dancing in the Buckle Barn. When it’s time to hit the hay, choose from a beautifully converted hay barn with decor that would be just as appropriate in a Ritz-Carlton. Alternatively, opt for their equally special glamping experience.
C Lazy U Ranch
A stone’s throw from the delightful Colorado Mountains National Park, the C Lazy U Ranch is one of the Mile High State’s most historic and sought after luxury dude ranch experiences. We’d recommend you include a Friday morning at the ranch, because that’s when they have their famous Woodsie Cookout Breakfast. A veritable feast in the great outdoors, you’ll enjoy homemade doughnuts and campfire griddle pancakes against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the nearby Indian Peaks mountain range. It’s especially family-friendly, with a Saturday Shodeo all summer. Kids show their parents what skills they’ve learned during their stay, while Mum and Dad can compete in pole bending, barrel racing and keyhole trials. But whether you choose to visit in the spring, summer, autumn, or winter – there are always copious amounts of activities to choose from and you won’t go home disappointed.
The Resort at Paws Up
Set in a staggering 37,000 acres of prime Montana real estate, the Resort at Paws Up truly gives you the feeling of being in the Wild West. Yet, it’s conveniently located only forty minutes drive from the Missoula International Airport. They certainly don’t do things by halves at this ranch. Rather, they follow that age-old adage of “Everything’s bigger in America”. There’s not only a big ranch, but big fun and a big activity schedule to boot! The Resort at Paws Up is one of only a few luxury ranches to offer both chuck wagon experiences and cattle drives. Can you really say that you had a true ranching experience without participating in at least one of these? Providing more than just traditional ranching activities, you can also try your hand at white water rafting, dog sledding and canoeing before you head back to the city.
Dunton Hot Springs Resort and Ghost Town
Have you ever visited a bonafide 1800’s ghost town? The Dunton Hot Springs Resort, as you may have guessed from the name, not only boasts many spooky stories to entertain your kids but is home to a natural hot spring too. Ideal for soaking those aching muscles after a tiring day on the ranch, chill out in a hammock strung across our restored 19th century bathhouse. One of the cabins at this luxury dude ranch even benefits from its own private hot spring and cold plunge pool; ask for Well House Cabin. By day, try rock climbing, river rafting, fly fishing and perhaps most intriguing of all, archaeological excursions in the nearby countryside. Learn a little about the Ute Indians that made this part of the USA their home and the changes wrought when prospectors came in search of the gold, silver and lead hidden in the rock.
They say that experiences last a lifetime, and that’s undoubtedly true. So why not ask Mundana to help arrange the best experience that your family could ask for and head off on an unforgettable luxury ranching holiday?