Dude Ranch Recommendations?

Old Jul 9th, 2001, 08:27 AM
  #1  
susan
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Dude Ranch Recommendations?

We would like to take a summer family vacation to a "dude" ranch, possibly in Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. We have been researching on the web but there are hundreds if not 000's of them and it's hard to differentiate them. We have 2 sons 13 & 15 and an 8yr old daughter. The boys really want to do some riding, they do NOT want to do anymore "head-to-tail" trail rides. I think they would enjoy more of a cattle ranch. We don't need a place with a lot of scheduled "activities", just a place where there is plenty of "exploring" or hiking possibilities. Water (a creek or river) would be nice. We have been unable to find any publication that "rates" ranches so if anyone out there has any personal recommendations, good or bad, it would be appreciated.
 
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 08:30 AM
  #2  
traveller
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The Flathead Lake Lodge/Dude Ranch in Bigfork Montana is right on a most scenic area of Flathead Lake which is beautiful. I have never stayed there but went to school with the sons of the original owner (They now run the ranch). I believe that if you email them, they can tell you if they offer individual as opposed to trail riding and help you out a bit.
 
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 09:30 AM
  #3  
Neil
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You should check out www.gorp.com. Its an outdoors/adventure travel service--their website identifies dude ranches by types of activities, among other factors. (This is not a plug--I have nothing to do with Gorp).
Flathead Lake has a fabulous reputation, but you need to book far, far in advance. We tried to go there last year, but they were all booked up seven months in advance. We ended up at Paradise Guest Ranch in Buffalo, Wy., which we really enjoyed (we spent a week at the ranch and a week in Grand Teton and Yellowstone, which I highly recommend). Your boys could ride there to their heart's content. There is also flyfishing, hiking, and a small swimming pool. I must warn you, however, that it is fairly expensive.
 
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 09:34 AM
  #4  
chris
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I've found the guidebook "Gene Kilgore's Ranch Vacations" to be tremendously helpful - good descriptions of activities and amenities for each ranch. We've been to Nine Quarter Circle Ranch in Montana and enjoyed it very much - beautiful setting. Still head to tail rides, but trails can be challenging-fording rivers and streams, climbing mountains. It's close to Yellowstone National Park, so you can combine with day trips.
 
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 09:42 AM
  #5  
dale
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Hi Susan. I researched this same topic two years ago when my daughter was head over heels for horses. A found a Disney website - www.family.com very helpful. Another I found was hiddentrails.com - I would suggest finding out which ones offer the non-riding activities you are interested in, then calling the ranch to ask pointed questions about what "trail-ride" actually means. We decided for the money to go elsewhere, because as the previous posted said, a dude ranch vacation looks very pricey. Good luck!
 
Old Jul 27th, 2001, 02:34 PM
  #6  
Susan
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Thanks for the responses. After checking into airfares and flight schedules it looks like we're going to have to limit ourselves to ranches in Colorado or Utah because it's very inconvenient (& pricey) to get from Houston to any city in Montana or Wyoming. But to Denver & Salt Lake City there are reasonable NS flights.
 
Old Jul 27th, 2001, 05:24 PM
  #7  
lcuy
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susan- check out a related posting "colorado dude ranches?? I brought it up to the top so it should be close. Eugene kilgores book is the bible on this topic. We really enjoyed both flying U in British Colombia because you can ride alone, and loved Cherokee Park near Fort Collins Colorado as well.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2001, 07:25 AM
  #8  
susan
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Thanks, I'll have to order the book. I really don't want to spend this kind of money without a really good recommendation.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2001, 11:34 AM
  #9  
Karen
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Many years ago, we stayed at Lake Mancos Ranch, close to Cortez. We thought it was just right and might be worth checking it out.
 

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