Find Your Fit: Colorado’s Traditional, Working & Luxury Dude-Ranch Vacations

Whether you're seeking family-friendly activities, gourmet meals and spa treatments or a hands-on experience at a working cattle ranch, there's an authentic Colorado dude-ranch vacation to fit your every desire.

Riding horses in beautiful Colorado
Riding horses in beautiful Colorado
Romantic ranch getaway
Romantic ranch getaway
Donkeys living on a Colorado dude ranch
Donkeys living on a Colorado dude ranch
Wagon ride
Wagon ride
Horseback riding at a Colorado dude ranch
Horseback riding at a Colorado dude ranch
A cowboy at work on a Colorado dude ranch
A cowboy at work on a Colorado dude ranch
Dude ranch happy hour
Dude ranch happy hour
Rounding up cattle on a working dude ranch
Rounding up cattle on a working dude ranch
Outdoor family-style dining
Outdoor family-style dining
Mountain biking on a Colorado dude ranch
Mountain biking on a Colorado dude ranch
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Traditional Dude Ranches

Seeking a getaway that’s fun for the whole group? Explore the spirit of the American West with a traditional dude-ranch stay right here in Colorado. You’ll love this trip type for its Old West authenticity, outdoor adventure and true Western hospitality.

A stay at a one of these ranches isn’t just about daily horseback riding, though of course that’s a given. You can expect activities like hiking, fly-fishing, swimming, kayaking, 4x4 trips, mountain biking, shooting sports, horse-drawn wagon rides and more.

Ranch meals are often served family style and cookouts are part of the fun. Wholesome, chef-prepared feasts include homestyle favorites like fresh-baked breads, local honey, jams and jellies, freshly caught fish, tangy barbecue, melt-off-the-bone ribs and made-from-scratch desserts.

Retire for the night in rustic yet elegant accommodations — like your own log cabin or cozy lodge room. You’ll find all the comforts of home, plus special amenities unique to ranch life like handy boot jacks, helpful hat racks and Western-themed art.

Insider tips: This type of accommodation is perfect for families in summer. Affordable, all-inclusive rates are part of the draw.

Working Dude Ranches

While working dude ranches share many similarities with their traditional counterparts, here’s the biggest difference: You'll have the opportunity to work right alongside the ranch hands every day. You can spend as much or as little time as you’d like learning the ways of a cowhand, but most guests choose this type of ranch for its authentic experiences and learning opportunities.

Horseback-riding revolves around the ranch’s livestock. You’ll participate in daily hands-on activities like herding, feeding and health checks. Plus, you’ll gain valuable ranch wisdom like how to mend fences and tend the land.

Oftentimes, lunch will be packed for the trail to be eaten on the go. Breakfasts and dinners, served family style, are homemade, hearty and comforting. Whenever possible, food and drink options are sourced from local growers and producers, so you know you’re eating off the land.

A day well spent in the saddle means you can totally relax come evening. Experience Western hospitality while sitting around a roaring campfire and listening to cowboy singers and poets as you gaze at silvery stars glimmering above. Then retire to your well-attired lodge room or cabin. You’ll likely have the opportunity to have a campout or two as well if you want to spend a night under the stars.

Insider tips: This type of accommodation is ideal for families with older children and groups of adults. Guests like the affordable, all-inclusive rates. Camping and glamping accommodations are often part of the fun.

Luxury Dude Ranches

Up the ante on your family ranch vacation by booking a luxury ranch resort. You’ll enjoy sumptuous dinners, unique activities and lavish accommodations right alongside the homestyle hospitality and traditional offerings you appreciate with any ranch stay. Here Western-style gourmet meals are prepared by talented, world-class chefs who creatively use local ingredients whenever they can. You’ll order from elevated menus serving delicacies like Colorado-raised Wagyu beef tartare, grilled elk loin and more.

Upscale amenities — like pampering spas and spa services, top-of-the-line mountain bikes, Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing guides, scenic yoga sessions and fully outfitted fitness centers — will add to the luxe vibe.

Your overnight accommodations will be upscale as well. Imagine lodge rooms and cabins decked out in all sorts of plush furnishings and cozy linens, turn-down service, fireplaces, private hot tubs and high-end finishes with Western-themed art to boot.

Insider tips: Luxury dude ranches often operate across multiple seasons. Winter activities can include dog sledding, tubing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. All-inclusive rates are available here, too.

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