Dude ranches are intended to preserve the romantic, rugged appeal of the Old West and conjure up ideas of dusty roads, sparse accommodations and chuckwagon dinners. But don’t think you’ll be roughing it at these five spots. Quite the opposite, actually. Expect plush linens, guided adventures and farm-to-table cuisine—all in a breathtaking setting. So saddle up (literally) and prepare for luxury and adventure at these five ranches.
Magee Homestead, Saratoga, Wyoming
Opened in 2016, the Magee Homestead is an adults-only property that sits on the 30,000 acres that makes up Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming. Magee can host a total of 27 guests in nine cabins. (Must be at least 21 to book.)
When it’s time for adventure, Magee offers fly fishing, horseback riding, river floats, guided-ranger tours, ATV experiences and even a private hike to the top of 12,000-foot-high Medicine Bow peak. After you’ve worked up an appetite, try some typical ranch fare made from the fresh produce that’s grown in the property’s greenhouse. Another food highlight? Brush Creek is one of just three locations in the world that’s licensed to raise Akaushi cattle—a type of cow prized for its high-quality beef.
When you’re ready to relax, Magee also focuses on wellness. Quieter activities include group Pilates, meditation, and essential oils classes. Certain yoga classes even overlook the stunning Platte River Valley.
The spa features a grotto soaking pool, a hot tub, a sauna and steam rooms. After a day full of adventure, soothe fatigued muscles with the Wind River Hot Salt Stone Massage—the therapist uses Himalayan salt stones to work out the kinks.
Vista Verde Ranch, Clark, Colorado
Just 25 miles from Steamboat Springs, Vista Verde Ranch in Clark, Colorado is an all-inclusive ranch where food, drinks, meals and activities are part of the package. It’s located within the Routt National Forest and, depending on the season, guests can participate in a plethora of activities including fly fishing, back country skiing, sleigh rides, rafting, rock climbing, hiking and photography.
The Vista Verde Horse Program is notable for its full-size indoor riding arena; they also have a horse breeding program and horsemanship clinics for riders looking to further their skills.
There’s plenty to enjoy indoors, too. Vacationers can take a chef-led wine tasting or cooking class or indulge in a massage. Unwind in one of ten cabins complete with plush furniture and private hot tubs on the decks. Or lounge by the outdoor pool or in the impressive Great Room featuring sweeping views of the natural surroundings, a chandelier and a roaring fire you can cozy up to in the winter months.
Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
Tucson’s Tanque Verde Ranch sits on 60,000 acres in the shadow of the nearby Rincon Mountains, which makes for one scenic backdrop. Sticking to its cowboy roots, the Arizona ranch offers a variety of horseback riding experiences ranging from the walk-ride that’s suited to any experience level to a four-hour adventure ride through the desert terrain on one of the ranch’s more than 150 horses.
Get active with outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking or yoga classes. Soothe tired muscles with a spa appointment at the on-site La Sonora Spa. Post-treatment, you can relax in the outdoor pool or whirlpool.
After a day of exploring, retire to your individual room or casita—each has gorgeous desert views. Many casitas have fireplaces, plush leather couches and private patios. Tanque serves up modern Southwest cuisine in each of its two indoor restaurants and outdoors at the Cowboy Cookout or before morning horseback rides. If you’re looking to indulge, try the six-course, exclusive, chef-created dinner that’s paired with wine.
The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana
Located on an expansive 37,000 acres in Montana, The Resort at Paws Up is a working ranch that has attracted A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio and Gwyneth Paltrow. Guests can enjoy the wilderness as they fly fish, rappel down cliffs, white water raft, and ride ATVs or horses.
This five-star property offers a choice of safari-style tent or indoor accommodations that feature amenities like rain showers, heated bathroom floors, hot tubs, and flat-screens. Guests can receive body treatments and massages in private white tents featuring full baths and showers, complete with meadow views at Spa Town at Paws Up.
When dinner time rolls around, consider reserving a Chuck Wagon dinner. Guests get picked up at their tents, and are transported via wagon to a spot alongside the Blackfoot River where dinner is served. You can feast on all-natural chicken, grilled asparagus, and fruit cobbler warmed in a Dutch oven while listening to a banjo player and cowboy poet. Even s’mores get the luxe treatment here. Curl up next to a campfire as one of Paws Up’s “S’moreologists” teaches you how to make a s’more fit for a gourmand, with options like sea salt caramel squares and even smoked salmon.
photo by AMANDA HOWELL PHOTOGRAPHY
photo by SEAN FITZGERALD
photo by SEAN FITZGERALD
photo by AMANDA HOWELL PHOTOGRAPHY
Vermejo Park Ranch, Raton, New Mexico
At 585,000 acres, CNN Founder Ted Turner-owned Vermejo Park Ranch is by far the largest ranch on our list. Located in both Colorado and New Mexico, Vermejo Park Ranch offers activities that shift as the seasons do. Guests can participate in ice fishing, snow shoeing and Nordic skiing in the winter. During the warmer months, enjoy mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing. Since the ranch is dedicated to conservation and is home to more than 180 species of birds, photography classes and wildlife viewings are available year-‘round.
For a truly extravagant lodging experience, book the entire 25,000-square-foot Casa Grande—Turner’s private seven-bedroom, nine-bath residence. The main floor of the lavishly decorated home features a ballroom and a 1905 Steinway Concert Grand piano.
Outfit yourself for that ranch adventure—and with one of this season’s biggest fashion trends—with these luxe cowboy boots.
Casadei Cow Pattern Cowboy Boots
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Fendi Textured Leather Boots
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Golden Goose Deluxe Brand Embroidered Leather Boots
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