Colorado Dude Ranch Vacations

BY Jody Dahl | Wed 13 Oct, 2010

Nicknamed the Centennial State, Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, plains, mesas and canyons – but it’s perhaps best known for its traditional western cowboy culture and agricultural ranching lifestyle. The US state spans most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains – and such a diverse and beautiful landscape is seen no better way than from the back of a horse on a western ranch vacation. As well as a huge variety of destinations for guest ranch, dude ranch and working ranch experiences, Colorado boasts four National Parks: Mesa Verde National Park, the Rocky Mountain National park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National park and the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.


Venture outside of state capital Denver and you’ll find no end of things to see and do in Colorado. Ranching and horseback riding aside, Colorado offers unbeatable skiing in the world-famous Rocky Mountains against a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty. With 300 days of annual sunshine, Colorado pretty much guarantees great horseback riding on your western dude or working ranch vacation. Whichever of its four distinct seasons you choose to holiday in, Colorado will not disappoint.


Saddle up cowboy style at your chosen western ranch holiday destination and see for yourself what Colorado has to offer: ride your Quarter Horse mount over Colorado’s vast prairie grasslands, head to the state’s majestic mountains, cross its rushing rivers and explore its desert landscapes. The highest-altitude state in America offers an unbelievable selection of wildlife and natural wonders, so there’s always something to see on your horseback trail ride or cattle drive. When you’re not taking to the trail or rounding up cattle on the ranch homestead, learn about Colorado’s rich cultural heritage – visit frontier forts, narrow-gauge railways, mining museums and ancient cliff dwellings.


If all you’re looking to do is saddle up and experience the spirit of the Old West, Colorado is one of the best places in America to do it. Whether you choose a horseback vacation at a dude ranch, get a more authentic experience at a guest ranch or get the real deal on an all-American working cattle ranch, you’ll get the chance to ride the range, herd cattle and live out your dreams of being a cowboy or cowgirl! Colorado really is top dog when it comes to western horseback riding vacations, offering everything from working cattle outfits to the most luxurious resorts the state has to offer.


Kids in tow? No problem – Colorado welcomes families with open arms when it comes to western ranch experiences! A dude ranch vacation is perfect for a family holiday with a western twist, and Colorado has plenty to choose from. Dude ranches offer a wide variety of programmes for all the family – kids’ programmes for very young children, beginner western horseback riding lessons for older children, and exciting horseback activities for even the biggest ‘kids’!


If it’s a more relaxing vacation you’re looking for, Colorado can provide it. Visit one of its many guest ranches and let a well-trained horse take you into the Colorado high country. Whether you saddle up western style to go trail riding and enjoy Colorado’s beautiful scenery, or turn your hand to additional horseback activities and services offered by the guest ranch – such as cattle roundups, cattle roping, overnight pack trips, rodeos and even yoga and spa treatments – you’re sure to find the perfect western ranch riding vacation to suit you. Even non-horseback riders will find their path in Colorado thanks to off-ranch trips and activities offered by many of the ranches – think mountain biking, hiking, hot-air ballooning, rock climbing, swimming and fishing. Or if skiing is more your thing, jet off for your western vacation in the winter and take advantage of Colorado’s legendary winter snow. If you prefer a warmer horseback riding vacation, then visit Colorado in its colourful springs, mild summers or vibrant autumns. It’s always the perfect time to go on a western horseback trip to Colorado, USA!

TAGS: colorado ranches, dude ranch

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