Best dude ranch vacations for non-riders

BY Jody Dahl | Fri 09 Mar, 2012

The best dude ranch vacations might be great for keen horseback riders, but drag your other half along with you to your chosen dude ranch, guest ranch or working ranch and you might not have the same level of enthusiasm when it comes to western horseback riding. But even if your travel buddy has never gotten on a horse and has no intention of doing so, these dude ranch vacations offer an incredible non-riding activities that might even tempt you out of the saddle…

hot air ballooning ranch at paws up

From hot-air ballooning to white-water rafting, The Resort at Paws Up offers activities like no other ranch. This luxury Montana dude ranch caters for chilled-out guests (think yoga, campouts, hot tub and fishing) and adventurers alike (think climbing, water sports, ATV tours, zorbing and backcountry camping). A dude ranch vacation where you might choose not to ride!

If your non-riding partner loves water sports, they’ll be in heaven at Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge. The Montana dude ranch’s lakeside location allows it to offer a multitude of water sports, as well as river floating, swimming in the outdoor pool and more.

Colorado dude ranch C Lazy U is the place to go if your partner’s a golfer. With an 18-hole golf course on-site, they’ll be happily entertained while you ride off into the sunset. When all 18 holes have been sunk, there’s a whole host of non-riding activities including sporting clays, tennis and fishing.

Those looking to reconnect with nature will love Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in BC, Canada, a tented safari camp on Vancouver Island. Guided wildlife safari tours will lead you to black bears, birdlife, wolves, cougars, elk and deer, and take whale-watching trips where you’ll also spot sea lions, harbour seals and sea otters in the ocean. The Canada dude ranch’s seafront location also makes it ideal for water sports enthusiasts.

Adventurers listen up! Rancho Los Banos in Sonora, Mexico, offers as much for the non-rider as it does the keen horseman. While you’re backcountry horse riding in Mexico’s pristine and unspoilt lands, your partner will be having just as much fun climbing, mountain biking, canyoneering, bouldering, jeeping, river floating and kayaking. After an action-packed day of adventure, you can relax together in the hot springs or take a mesmerizing night-time wildlife safari!

For keen mountain bikers, it has to be Majestic Dude Ranch in Colorado. Located in the Mesa Verde National Park, this Colorado dude ranch has access to Phil’s World – named one the top 10 mountain biking trails in the USA. Accompanied by Majestic’s cycle guide, take your pro-standard mountain bike and get ready for a rollercoaster of a rider down the twists and turns of this thrilling mountain trail! Warning – you might just want to take one of these mountain bikes home with you…

If your partner’s idea of a dude ranch vacation is being pampered from head to toe, Echo Valley Ranch and Spa will tick all the boxes. While you head out on horseback, your partner can indulge in Baan Thai massages, spa treatments, dips in the hot tub, and use of the indoor pool. And if they do fancy braving the saddle, you can rest safe in the knowledge that Echo Valley was selected by the BBC’s ‘Holiday’ programme as the ‘Best Place to Learn to Ride’.

For fishing aficionados, head to North Fork Ranch in Colorado. This Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge offers world-class fishing in two miles of private water, all guided to ensure quality and safety. Or fish unguided on the public water just below the ranch, where you'll find plenty of fish.

Looking ahead to a winter dude ranch vacation? If skiing if your thing, think The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana. This multi-activity Montana dude ranch is renowned for its hidden gems of ski trails, which rival any 5-star ski resort. The ranch continues to run horseback riding throughout the winter season too, so you can get your western horseback riding fix and USA ski holiday in one!

For more non-riding activities offered by all of Top50’s ranch vacations, visit Top50Ranches.com

TAGS: top50 ranches, non-riding ranch vacations, non-riders at ranches, dude ranch vacations non-riders, guest ranch vacations, activities at dude ranches, usa ranch vacations, mexico horse riding, canada dude ranches, best dude ranches

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