Live Out Your On-Screen Dreams at a Colorado Dude Ranch

Colorado’s dude ranches offer vacation experiences that range from upscale resort-style properties to rustic, working ranches where guests can get a taste of ranch life. Whether you’re looking to live out your on-screen dreams of being a cowpoke or simply wanting a taste of life outside of the city, book a vacation at one of over 30 dude ranches across the state for an incredible getaway.

By: Staff Writer
Updated: March 25, 2024

Colorado Dude Ranch Vacations

There's something special about the down-home hospitality of dude ranches — by the end of your stay, you'll really feel like family. These all-inclusive retreats offer all of the excitement of the Wild West, with plenty of opportunities to relax — with some ranches even having spa amenities on site.

Over the course of a week, you’ll connect with a horse and explore the backcountry to your heart’s content, fish in pristine mountain waters, pan for gold in mineral-rich soil and sleep under the stars like the cowpokes of the past. Guests can craft their trip to their liking — a gift for those with a whole family or group to please. Through group activities and outings you’ll bond with your family, friends and fellow ranchers throughout your stay and leave with cherished memories to look back on.

Accessibility tip: When booking your guest home on the range, call ahead to ask about accessible activities and options.

Typical Colorado Dude Ranch Activities

Horseback Riding

No matter how many years pass from the heyday of cowboys a gals, horseback riding will always be a central offering to any Colorado dude ranch. From guided trail rides led by expert wranglers to venturing on your own astride a steed, Colorado’s dude ranches give you the opportunity to experience the state’s remarkable beauty. Each ranch provides instructors for any experience level so you can feel confident riding picturesque trails, often under the shadow of the striking Rocky Mountains. Explore the backcountry as a family and revel in your shared experiences for years to come.


Looking to step away from the action? Spend the day soaking in Colorado’s picturesque surroundings as you drop a line in pristine waters. Find peace among the sights and meditative sounds of the natural world at work around you and feel the thrill of the catch while hooking Colorado’s sought after trout. 

Wild West Fun

From archery, panning for gold and chuckwagon dinners to feeding the animals, throwing horseshoes and learning to rope and trapshoot, dude ranches typically pack activity-rich schedules for kids. Everyone can participate in square dancing, cowboy poetry readings, hayrides, singalongs and — of course — s'mores around the fire.

Amazing Meals

With all the activities and horseback riding, it's easy to work up an appetite. Generous meals are served daily, with menus crafted with families in mind — even those with picky eaters.

Overnight Campouts

Oftentimes, ranches will offer guests the opportunity to camp overnight in the backcountry area near the ranch. A guide will help you pack out all the things you need for a comfortable night's stay — and might even come back to cook you breakfast before you emerge from your tent.

Quiet Times

Rest and relaxation is highly encouraged at Colorado's dude ranches. For quiet indoor play, there's generally plenty of puzzles and board games, books, DVDs and other ways to catch up on quiet after long rides or other activities.

For more ideas and to search for your ideal Colorado dude ranch, visit Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association. And while it's clear Colorado dude ranches are great for families, their adults-only weeks are perfect for those who've left the kids at home and are looking for a little romance — check out Get a Sitter: Colorado Dude Ranches Without the Kids.

See our Colorado dude and guest ranch listings.