Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saddle Up with a Fitbit for a Dude Ranch Getaway

From rock climbing to wrangling, yoga to stoking campfires, dude ranches provide a lot more workout options that just mounting a saddle.  In what the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) calls “the original all-inclusive vacation destination,” ranches in America’s West now feature hiking, rock climbing, fitness centers, watersports and more to appeal to all ages and all fitness levels.

Kids Club out for a hike at the D7 Ranch in Wyoming.

Staying active is the path to relaxation for so many stressed out families that one of these dude ranch options may fit the bill. If not, the DRA, which began with 26 ranch members in 1926 and has grown to more than 100, showcases a variety of ranches that range from authentic working dude ranches to traditional dude ranches and even resort-style ranches. Additionally, Family Travel Forum’s roundup of the best summer vacation ideas has other options you may prefer.

Here are some fitness and family buff picks from Out West.

Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork, Montana offers a comprehensive lineup of outdoor excursions, ranging from guided fly-fishing to whitewater rafting. If you’re looking for something a little different, check out Northern Lights Laser Tag, the world’s most advanced laser tag with ranges of up to 20,000 feet (that’s three football fields in length). Now there’s an opportunity to run, jump, climb and hide.

The Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado is a good choice to get zen with horses in the beautiful Elk River Valley. Cowgirls of all ages can participate in a luxurious Girlfriends Getaway with an all-inclusive week of health, wellness and relaxation centered on horseback riding, yoga and deep relaxation. Previous yoga and riding experience are not required to enjoy this retreat.

Cattle wrangling can be a great workout! photo: courtesy Dude Ranchers Association

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas is known in the climbing community as a top destination for experienced climbers and novices alike. With more than 300 routes on the property, on-site climbing guides will help you lace up your shoes for the first time or take your climbing to the next level.

Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona offer the space and scenic location for your favorite sports activities – whether it’s tennis, swimming or perfecting your shooting skills. When you want to cover a lot of territory, hop in a Jeep, all-terrain vehicle or hot air balloon to experience the property in a completely new way.

Cowboys of all ages test horseback riding skills at a dude ranch. photo: courtesy Dude Ranchers Association

Bonanza Creek Country Ranch in Martinsdale, Montana is another option for a more wellness centric getaway. Days begin with a hearty breakfast, followed by a morning with the horses and an afternoon ride through the Montana countryside. Guests are encouraged to wind down with a massage or continue exploring on a hike or fishing excursion.

The region between Cody, Wyoming (home to the DRA) and Yellowstone National Park has a high concentration of guest and dude ranches, including:

7D Ranch offers riding, fishing, hiking and children’s programs in the Sunlight Basin an hour from Yellowstone. We like the 10 rustic cabins that sleep the whole family.

Some dude ranches are more resort style, with luxurious suites. photo: courtesy Dude Ranchers Association

Bill Cody Ranch was once operated by Buffalo Bill’s grandson and is a full-service horseback riding resort with 17 cabins, so a good choice for those who want to improve their Western style riding skills. It is located halfway between Cody and Yellowstone.

Hunter Peak Ranch is based around an early-1900s lodge, about 30 minutes from Yellowstone. This ranch offers Western style split log accommodations, riding, hiking, photography sessions, as well as swimming and tubing for watersports lovers.

1 comment:

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