The Best Dude Ranches for a Perfect Country Escape

Have you ever dreamed of donning some cowboy boots and galloping off into the sunset of the Rocky Mountains? There’s no doubt that the laidback country life on a cattle ranch has a certain romance to it – especially when you’re stuck in hour three of that Monday morning meeting or lecture.
Of course, the reality of life on a working farm might not be quite as romantic as your daydreams suggest – think dawn wake-up calls and non-cooperative cattle.

Luckily, there’s a good alternative that lets you live out all your country fantasies, without sacrificing the wi-fi connection or the comfortable bed. Enter the dude ranch.

Not only are the little luxuries on offer amongst the country landscapes, but many dude ranches also offer highlights such as yoga classes and jacuzzis as well. So, whether you want to be pampered or experience real life on a farm, there’s bound to be a dude ranch that will have you reaching for your cowboy hat. To help you find the perfect place to ride into that Wild West experience, here are our favorite dude ranches.

Rancho de la Osa, Arizona


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For those times when you just want to disconnect your cell phone and escape the daily grind, there’s Rancho de la Osa. Located, frankly, in the middle of nowhere and offering authentically rustic digs (the author of Gone with the Wind stayed here), this is the kind of retreat that makes you forget all about bustling city life. It’s not just the peaceful vibes we love, but also the fact that this borders the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some loveable animals on the trails.

McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch, Montana

If you really want to get some dirt under your fingernails and become a real cattle rancher, you’ll love McGinnis Meadows in rural Montana. Luxurious poolside vacation, it ain’t – here, you’ll ride alongside real cowboys, helping to muster cattle on the 75,000-acre property. Don’t worry, you won’t be worked to the bone – there will be downtime to relax as well, but the emphasis is on authenticity, horses and giving you the true cattle ranch experience.

Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, California


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Who says a cattle ranch can’t be glamorous? For those seeking a ranch experience that’s more Club Med than Billy the Kid, you can’t look past Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. Firstly, it’s nestled in the heart of Californian wine country (win), it’s got a fine dining restaurant to enjoy after your afternoon rides (double win), and over 10,000 acres of trails to enjoy. Yep, we’re sold – and we haven’t even mentioned the golf course, tennis courts and high and low ropes course.

Running R Guest Ranch, Texas


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Do you consider yourself a bit of a horse whisperer and want an equestrian-focused stay? If so, then Running R Guest Ranch certainly fits the bill. Not only do guests have the opportunity to ride through the stunning surrounds of Hill Country, but the emphasis is on “natural horsemanship” which promotes respect between rider and their horse. It will be all your Saddle Club dreams come to life (albeit with less teenage drama).

Black Mountain Ranch, Colorado

If you’re the kind of person who lives to keep busy on vacation, then Colorado’s Black Mountain Ranch may well be perfect. Sure, they have horses (it wouldn’t be a dude ranch without some trusty steeds!) but there’s so much more to fill your days with. Think white water rafting, fishing, archery and trap shooting – phew, it’s a good thing there’s also a luxurious spa and well-equipped saloon (plus meals with complimentary wine) to unwind after such fun-filled days on the ranch!