Spring is an exciting time of year on the ranch, with some truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be had by the wannabe cowboy or girl. Here, Top50 Ranches’ CEO, Gene Kilgore reveals his best Spring ranch vacations
Burnt Well Guest Ranch
Some people live their dreams. For four decades, Top50’s CEO Gene Kilgore has visited, explored and written about dude ranch vacations, emerging as possibly the most knowledgeable person in the world with regards to the ultimate in ranch getaways.
Kilgore recently released Gene Kilgore Ranch Vacations 2018, the 11th edition of his popular guide that describes over 100 ranches offering ranch vacations in the U.S. and abroad. When asked for inspired ideas for springtime ranch getaways, he willingly thumbed through his guide, drew from his personal experiences and came up with the following suggestions for an awesome spring ranch vacation. Which will you pick?
Roswell, New Mexico, U.S.
Four generations of the Chesser family have owned and run working cattle and sheep ranch, Burnt Well Guest Ranch. Kim and Patricia Chesser are at today’s helm, overseeing some 350 head of cattle on 15,000 acres.
Spring is the busiest time for the ranch. With calving beginning mid-March, the team rides through the heifers daily to be sure they stay trouble-free. “Guests can be part of this daily ride”, assured Kim, who was born on the ranch. Another spring ranch job is branding the calves when they’re old enough. Throughout the year there’s plenty of time spent on horseback with around 50 miles of fencing and over 10 miles of pipeline to survey.
“In a normal week we probably ride up to six hours a day; but if guests want to ride eight to 10 hours a day, they can do that with either me, or my son, Tye.” It’s one of the best ranches for advanced riders.
Two guest rooms are available for three-night minimum stays and the nightly per person rate is $320. The ranch also hosts two specialty campout weeks, one a six-day cattle drive, a five-day campout week in the Lincoln/Billy the Kid country, plus an Art of Marriage Ranch Week.
Check out Burnt Well Guest Ranch for more details on their Spring ranch vacations
Canyon City, Colorado, U.S.
Badger Creek Guest Ranch is part-run by Brian and Natalie Allio and can accommodate up to eight people looking for a working ranch vacation in the Spring. “This is not just a simple riding vacation,” says Allio. “We give guests the chance to experience a true stay on a working cattle ranch. We do what we do, day in and day out – regardless of guests. They can do all the things we do – or not – checking fences and sorting cattle.”
Guests can also fish, mountain bike, explore teepee rings, or enjoy the spring evening gatherings at a fire pit at the foundation of the original 1800 homestead. The ranch runs 120 head of cattle on more than 5,000 acres of rolling hills with the Sawatch Range in the distance. “We practice regenerative agriculture, which means we keep a close eye on the grass and move the cattle frequently,” Allio said. The guest season begins May 27 with minimum four-night stays starting from $1,240.
Check out Badger Creek Ranch for more details on their spring ranch vacations
Shell, Wyoming, U.S.
Marijn and Peter De Cabooter are proprietors of The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch, that accesses over 650,000 acres for riding (including 1,000 head of cattle to work) and guided fly-fishing near Yellowstone National Park. Other activities include off-road and scenic 4x4 tours, trap-shooting, archery and hiking.
Approximately 25 guests can be accommodated in cabins, casitas and in a custom, luxury home. Their season begins in the Spring; April 1 through early November, and from April 1-7 and April 15-21, the lodge waives the single supplement, and offers its six-night program at $2,595 (reduced from $3,261) that includes service charges, taxes and a round-trip transfer from Cody.
Check out The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch for more on their Spring guest ranch vacations
In addition to his books, Kilgore is the authority behind two dedicated websites, Top50 Ranches and Ranchweb, that focus on what truly is one of America’s most iconic homegrown experiences – the dude ranch vacation.