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Temperatures are dropping, frosty mornings are setting in and you’re feeling very wintry. And what better place to embrace the wonders of winter – apart from snuggled up on the sofa next to a roaring fire – than a winter dude ranch vacation? Top50 has found the best winter dude ranches where you can embrace the big chill and all that the snowy season has to offer...

A winter vaca at Lone Mountain Guest Ranch in Montana, USA, makes for a truly special dude ranch vacation – not to mention action-packed! With access to 85km of groomed cross-country ski trails and 20km of snowshoe trails, there’s no excuse for not hitting the snow – even beginners, who can get to grips with the snow with Nordic ski lessons. Lone Mountain is ideal for family dude ranch vacations in winter, with sleigh rides, dog sledding and evening programs on offer.

Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana, USA, is transformed into a dude ranch winter wonderland in the colder months. With a plethora of winter sports on offer including winter ice fishing and snowshoeing, as well as more relaxing winter activities like sleigh rides, Bar W offers dude ranch vacations perfect for winter family holidays. Ski packages are flexible at Bar W, so whether you can to ski all day, or split your ski time with days spent horseback riding in the snow-capped mountains or in the arena, there’s an option for every taste. Dude ranch vacations at Lone Mountain in winter are as packed as their summer season options, with opportunities for everyone to enjoy evening programs including square dances and waltzes, and campfire stories.

Triple Creek Ranch is another of the USA’s Montana dude ranches, offering all-inclusive winter ranch vacation packages that are hard to beat. Winter holidays include meals and lodging, fitness center facilities and all on-ranch activities – including horseback riding, fly fishing and ice fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, Alpine and Nordic Skiing, nature tours, plus any special weekend activities and holiday celebrations that might be going on during your dude ranch vacation. Not forgetting additional opportunities for snowmobiling, ATV tours and off-ranch horsebacking riding to explore the vast wintry surroundings.

Another Montana dude ranch is The Ranch at Rock Creek, where the ranch’s terrain is perfect for both novice and experienced skiers. Skiing at Rock Creek is not like skiing anywhere else – it’s something of a hidden gem in the ski world, rather like having your own private mountainside, and the peaceful environment is ideal for couples or those wishing to ‘get away from it all’. For those coming to the ranch for a horseback riding holiday, there’s plenty of opportunity for winter horse riding as well as horse-drawn carriage rides. This is a great one for family dude ranch vacations, thanks to sledding hills, hockey and ice skating on the frozen ponds, plus indoor activities like bowling and movies.

Head further south to Colorado and you’ll find Vista Verde Ranch, where you’ll find dude ranch vacations that’ll have you loving the cold weather. Try your hand at cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, tubing and sledding, or saddle up and hit the snowy trails with horseback riding over 50,000 acres of Routt National Forest land. Back at the ranch, take off the chill with a soak in the hot tub or a relaxing spa treatment.

Another of Colorado dude ranches perfect for winter horseback riding vacations is C Lazy U Ranch. Offering winter ice fishing, backcountry snowmobile and horseback riding tours, snowshoeing, private snowcat skiing, ice skating, tubing and the famous ‘C Lazy U Luge’ this children-friendly dude ranch is the ideal choice for family dude ranch vacations in Colorado. With outdoor hot tubs and heated pools to boot, this is one luxury dude ranch vacation for your winter diary.

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