What It’s Like to Be a Teen on a Colorado Dude Ranch

Your teens may have unyielding relationships with their iPhones, and a week at a dude ranch without them might be a terrifying prospect, but the promise of horseback riding, whitewater rafting, trapshooting, rock climbing and other Colorado activities are sure to entice them to power down.

Teens make strong connections with their horses on a dude ranch vacation
Horseback riding is part of everyday life on a Colorado dude ranch vacation
Ziplining and other fun activities are part of a Colorado dude ranch vacation
Square dancing and other fun activities happen every day on a Colorado dude ranch
Your teen won't notice they haven't looked at their phone all week

Here’s a sampling of what they might experience on a Colorado dude ranch vacation. Read more about the dude-ranch experience here >>

They’ll arrive at the ranch with their parents Sunday afternoon. Free time gives everyone a chance to familiarize themselves with the ranch and the breathtaking beauty all around it. They could hang by the pool for a while, soaking up the peace and quiet beneath dazzling blue skies, soaring mountains and warm sunshine.

A tour will give them a solid introduction to dude-ranch life. Some ranches even have a rodeo on Sunday, where wranglers’ horseback stunts and roping feats will get their imagination going for the days to come.

See our ranches >>

The first full day allows for opportunities to connect with the horse they’ll be working with for the week, as well as general orientation and training. You will likely be surprised to see your teen clicks with their four-legged friend right away and then head out for an easy ride.

The afternoon might bring time for ranch activities like shooting clay pigeons, swimming, archery, volleyball or fishing.

The morning will likely to begin with a trail ride and more time for everyone to deepen the kinship with their horse. Afternoons are whiled away with relaxation or a hike or mountain-bike adventure.

In the evening, they can undertake Western first: the square dance, described by one teen we know as “not like your typical school dance where everyone’s awkward and not sure who to dance with.” Everyone’s there to have fun and learn a few new steps — no one cares if you mess up!

The middle of the week brings options for a couple-hour, half-day or full-day horseback ride — or some off-horse adventures. Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular. Colorado rivers bring rapids for all levels of excitement, from family-friendly floats to heart-thumping rapids. One minute the water’s smooth and everyone’s relaxed, and the next minute they’re paddling and furiously and bouncing around in their seats.

By Thursday, everyone will be in lock step with their horse for more riding. Those ready for something new can often find a group making a trip to a zipline and aerial course or rock-climbing area, with all instruction and equipment provided.

With saddlebags filled with sandwiches, Friday can be an occasion to head out on horseback for a longer ride. The group might stop for a refreshing plunge into a nearby river where the brave among them can show off a bit, leaping into the cool waters from tall rocks on the shore.

The week typically culminates in a rodeo, giving your teens — no matter their skill level — the chance to do some ropin’ and barrel racing. You’ll be cheering from the stands to see the horsemanship skills your family has acquired over the past week.

Whispering goodbye to their new horse best friend can be the toughest part of the week for many. As you herd your family back to the car, you’re sure to hear them ask, “Can we come back next year?”

Want More?
Each ranch and the activities they offer will be different, but there’s no chance your teen will be bored during their stay. 

Learn about other Colorado ranch experiences, see a dude ranch video and 5 Things Your Kids Will Never Say on a Colorado Dude Ranch.

Learn more at coloradoranch.com.

Request a Brochure