Horseback Riding in a winter wonderlandIf you thought ranching holidays were only a summer vacation think again, for winter is a magical time to visit a ranch.Whatever the weather, there’s always plenty to do at a ranch 365 days of the year. You can enjoy a whole range of winter activities, enjoy some of the finest cuisine and snuggle up by the fire after an action packed day of outdoor expeditions. Even if you don’t want to ride, ranches offer plenty of other things to do, making a ranching vacation the perfect escape for the whole family this winter time. Here are some great ideas on places to go.Brush Creek Ranch, WyomingThe winter season which runs from February 1- March 24 promises endless adventure, tranquil relaxation and the finest accommodation at this luxury dude ranch. Take in the beautiful scenery of South Central Wyoming’s Rocky Mountain country on horseback or in a snow mobile, or enjoy a private riding lesson in the Centre’s heated indoor arena. At the end of a long day, take advantage of the luxury lodge and spa at Brush Creek Ranch before dinner, when you can enjoy outstanding food and have open access to the wine cellar! That’s a sure way to warm up after a long day in the saddle.
In fact there is so much to do at Brush Creek you’ll never be short of entertainment. The Ranch’s winter activities also include snow shoeing, cross country skiing, an indoor sports center, ice fishing, pistol and rifle shooting and the chance to play a round of poker or pool.
Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, pampering, solitude, diverse scenery, people of all ages.
McGinnis Meadows Ranch, MontanaFrom January 6-April 20, why not improve your horsemanship skills by booking onto a Winter Horsemanship Week at McGinnis Meadows Guest and Working Ranch in Montana? Experience a deeper understanding of Buck Brannaman’s training methods, where you will learn to build up a relationship with horses that’s based on trust and respect. These fascinating weeks include one-to-one instruction from the ground up and all sessions take place in a heated indoor school. Suitable for beginners and experienced riders, guests will leave inspired and full of new training ideas to try at home. So why not escape the winter blues, try something a little different this year and strengthen your horsemanship skills for years to come?Great for: adults who want action and adventure.Rancho Las Cascadas, MexicoWinter needn’t mean cold, wet weather. This luxury dude and guest ranch, which is set on a plateau at an altitude of 7,500 feet among beautiful mountains, boasts 333 days of sunshine a year, making it the ideal all-year-round riding location. The winter season, which runs from November to April, sees the leaves turn a rich, golden color to provide a truly picturesque location for your winter trip. Whether you want to ride out in the open countryside in a gentle stroll or go for a good, long gallop, Rancho Las Cascadas can offer it all.
At the end of the day, enjoy some of fabulous Mexican and international cuisine at this small luxury ranch, which prides itself on putting its guests first. What’s more, if you confirm your 2013 vacation before December 15th, 2012, Rancho Las Cascadas is offering its valued friends and guests a holiday at the 2012 price!Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, pampering, solitude, diverse scenery, people of all ages. Triple Creek Ranch, Montana
Triple Creek, a luxury dude, guest, working and safari ranch all in one, is set high in the Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies and offers all-year-round activities. Take advantage of a whole range of things to do, such as horseback riding, archery, skijoring, fly fishing or ice-fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, Alpine and Nordic Skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, birding and nature tours, photo safaris and much more.
Or why not book onto one of the very exciting winter weekends next year? Real cowboys and cowgirls ford icy streams; ride up steep slopes and through shaded draws in search of the wayward maverick, and you, too, can learn what it takes to do that work. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced rider, you’ll find the whole experience absolutely thrilling. The winter weekends will take place in January (3-6 and 24-27) and February (21-24).Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, pampering, solitude, diverse scenery, children over 16.
Chico Basin Ranch, ColoradoThis wonderful working cattle ranch is open all year round, with the winter season being November through to February. The ranch operates in the high prairie with a pristine, unobstructed view of the Rocky Mountains and 14,000ft Pikes Peak. Indulge yourself in the day-to-day activities of a working cowboy at this family friendly ranch, or take advantage of all the other activities on offer, such as hiking, fishing or biking.
With a casual dining policy and the chance to really indulge yourself in a working cattle ranch, you will be sure to receive a warm welcome at Chico Basin Ranch.
Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, solitude, diverse scenery, people of all ages.Texas Ranch Life, Texas
Since winters are usually mild in the rolling hills of Austin Country, Texas Working Ranch offers a whole range of riding and non-riding activities all year round. Enjoy a scenic ride out on the open ranges, where guests will be given a horse to match their riding experience. In fact you can even take your own horse with you if you wish!
If you prefer something a bit more adventurous, why not hone your cowboy skills in the covered arena or go on a guided, Kawasaki mule tour to see American bison, Texas longhorns, deer, turkey and other ranch wildlife?
For non-riders, there’s mountain biking, fishing, skeet shooting, hunting, Tomahawk throwing and much more, and kids are very welcome, too.
Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, people of all ages.Resort at Paws Up, MontanaFrom spectacular views of the legendary Blackfoot River to the endless conifer forests, winter horseback adventures at this luxury dude and guest ranch offer a wide-eyed gulp of the winter wonderland. Go on a horseback journey through beautiful winter vistas and take in the unforgettable Old West history.
Allow your wrangler will pair you up with a Paws Up four-legged friend who knows his way around a trail, whether it is snow covered or not. You’ll enjoy the history, the views and the conversation that are provoked by this exclusively unique trail ride.Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, pampering, solitude, diverse scenery, people of all ages.High Lonesome Ranch
Described as a vacation that’s ‘exactly as wild as you want it’, this dude and guest ranch welcomes the whole family and promises you activities on an a la carte basis. Whether there’s snow or not, enjoy hiking, trail rides, wagon rides, wing shooting, sporting clays, eco tours, cooking classes, yoga and much more.
With Christmas and New Year packages available, The High Lonesome Ranch is a great escape this winter time. Situated on the Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies, the Ranch’s near 300 square miles of lands stretch far and away from civilization. From the mountain forests, grasslands, spring creeks, and alpine mesas, the Ranch is a mecca for wildlife.
Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, pampering, solitude, diverse scenery, people of all ages.The Ranch at Rock Creek
Winter is a time of beauty and stunning snowscapes, and what better way to experience it than a trip to The Ranch at Rock Creek, a luxury guest ranch that offers comfort, a whole range of winter activities and gourmet meals. For some, winter is a time for lively activities, in which case get involved in the winter-sports biathlon or participate in the fitness program and try cross-country skiing, rifle shooting and ice skating to name a few.
For riders, there are numerous options, such as carriage rides, horseback riding, roping and lessons, so why not leave your kids behind for the day to do some snowman building or go on a snowmobile tour while you head off for a ride?At the end of a long day, enjoy a trip to the Center’s spa and sauna to rejuvenate your senses. What better way to warm up and feel ready for the next day?
Great for: romance, action and adventure, peace and quiet, pampering, solitude, diverse scenery, people of all ages.For details of all the ranch vacations mentioned here and much more, visit www.top50ranches.com