The Magic of
Dude Ranches

© copyright 2004
by Lin Stone

Successful dude ranches strive to do four important things. .          
1:  Give you an opportunity to pretend you can ride.  
2:  Show you how you should ride.  
3:  Provide entertainment until you are able to ride again.  
4: Fatten you up until you can't possibly ride.

I was privileged to see the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas before it became a dude ranch.  The area is beautiful.  It was so far out in the sticks that just getting there required a good compass and sharp eyes for strange landmarks.  Times have sure changed there.  Not too long ago a visit there was the top prize in a Coca Cola contest.  

The Rancho Cortez is the ideal spot to explore all of the pristine beauty of  Bandera County and the Texas Hill Country region. It has a vacation package geared to giving you a very unique Texas experience.  It provides access to over 40 miles of trail to ride -- with the birds and the brush pretty much like it was 150 years ago.   You will definitely want to bring your camera and camcorder along for your stay here.   

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Man may have to wait a few years to make it to heaven.  
But for horses there is an immediately accessible Horse Heaven

Nine Quarter Circle is a Montana guest ranch & dude ranch located in Gallatin Gateway, Montana. We offer an authentic Montana dude ranch family vacation including horseback riding and fishing. The Nine Quarter Circle Ranch at 7,000 feet is surrounded by National Forests containing a million acres of primitive wilderness. The ranch provides a mixed pattern of riding and select variety of unspoiled trout waters. The ranch is located in the high country of the Montana Rockies alongside a swift mountain stream called the Taylor Fork of the Gallatin River. It is nestled amongst lodge pole pines overlooking the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park on the east slope of the Continental Divide. The ranch history dates back to the 1800's, when it was first homesteaded. The Indians once ran elk herds here, Jim Bridger rode after buffalo, Chief Joseph passed near here on his retreat to Canada. The stage coach lurches no more over the rocky trails; the hunter is gone with his long bowie, but nature's wilderness still remains.

Your source for horseback trail rides, hayrides, pony rides, horsedrawn carriage rides, cookouts, and kid cowboy lessons in the Ft. Gibson, Muskogee and Tulsa, Oklahoma area. Put your kid on a pony and let him/her feel like a real cowboy! Located adjacent to Western Hills Guest Ranch in Sequoyah State Park, we offer horseback riding, carriage rides, hay rides and pony rides for people of all skill levels. During the summer, send your little cowpokes over for our Lil' Wrangler program or our Horse Camp, where kids can learn important horse care and riding skills.  

Our riding stables are located inside Sequoyah State Park, on Highway 51 between Tahlequah and Wagoner. Visit mapquest or google for a map.  Run by the husband-and-wife team of Larry and MaryLynn Lufkin, we've been in the horseback riding and horsedrawn carriage rental business for over 20 years. 
Larry's a journeyman farrier and former rodeo saddle bronc rider who's taken all the kicks and bucks our horses have to offer. MaryLynn's a show-jumping romantic who can't wait to help make your wedding or special event perfect.

It will take you an hour and a half longer to drive out to the La Garita Creek Ranch because it is located further away from Denver, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque, compared to many other ranches. But the scenery of your trip and the many activities and services that we are offering are well worth all your extra investment and you need to drive the few extra miles to escape the metropolitan weekend getaway crowds, the pollution, and the congested roads and trails in the north. 
We specialize in Open Spaces: If you talk riding the true west, you mean the wide open spaces and the unlimited views! That's our country. At La Garita Creek Ranch, we ride the open country with pinion trees, ponderosa pines, alpine meadows and plenty of scenery.

With a capacity limited to a maximum of 15 guests at a time, the Indian Creek Guest Ranch near North Fork, Idaho is small enough to allow each guest to receive personalized service.  It provides guests with personable and knowledgeable guides, throwing in fun and educational outdoor activities, and adding first class lodging and dining, all in a friendly, relaxing, and beautiful environment.

150+ miles of marked equestrian trails are available from the A to Z Guest Ranch 
in the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma, near Smithville. If you don't own a horse, 
rent one of ours! 

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The Lazy K Bar Guest Ranch, once a homestead, is now the perfect adventure travel destination for those who long to experience a Dude Ranch adventure vacation. We offer lodging for families and function as a corporate retreat. Use our facilities for team building activities, enjoy an original rodeo on our ranch or participate in family recreation events. 
Travel to this oasis to feel the peace, the excitement and the passion of the desert. The Wild West romance of Tucson, Arizona in the vast Santa Cruz Valley has captivated the hearts and minds of thousands during their vacation. 
Live a day as a cowboy and feel the power of your horse beneath you as you weave your way through glorious forests of cacti.  An unforgettable outdoor recreation, the Lazy K Bar Ranch is Located just 16 miles northwest of Tucson at an elevation of 2,300' the ranch is nestled against the Tucson Mountains overlooking the vast natural gardens of the Santa Cruz Valley. This area was the movie set for the shows Flashpoint, How the West was Won, Maverick, Stagecoach, High Chaparral and Geronimo.

Comfortable and friendly as family, the Kay El Bar Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona, is an authentic western dude ranch in the foothills of Arizona's Bradshaw Mountains. Located an hour from Phoenix, four hours from the Grand Canyon and four hours from Las Vegas, the Kay El Bar has welcomed guests since 1926. 
"Our endless horseback riding trails through the Sonoran Desert could take you cantering up a desert wash, climbing rocky ridges for mountain views, or ambling along gentle foothill trails. Our extraordinary rides through the timeless Arizona desert can accommodate equestrians (and cowboys) of all skill levels."
Located on the banks of the usually dry Hassayampa River (I've seen it flooding from bank to bank too.) under towering salt cedar and eucalyptus trees, the Kay El Bar is on the National and Arizona Registers of Historic Places. "Our dude ranch surrounds guests with thick-walled adobe dwellings where each room is a cowboy postcard of charm, character and comfort. Our informal, relaxed atmosphere and small size (maximum capacity 24) create a warm, intimate environment where western vacationing guests are quickly part of the family." 

ECHO VALLEY RANCH & SPA combines the love of outdoors with the comforts of home. It  is a unique wilderness resort in the center of four distinct geographic zones.  The first homestead here dates back to 1908. All of the old structures remain including a log house, a root cellar, two log animal shelters and a log shed. Right up to this day, Echo Valley is a working ranch and provides our guests with an insight into the life of a cowboy and rancher. 
Calves are born in March / April and branded in May. Throughout the year the cattle and other animals need to be tended to. Our guests are invited to help the ranch hand each morning load the hay, feed and water the animals, and collect the eggs. Competent riders will also have the opportunity to "be a cowboy" and move the cattle on the open range. 

Explore the extraordinary Hawaii and visit the historical Captain Cook Monument on horseback. Also~ swim, snorkle, and have a picnic lunch fit for a King! 

85 miles from the nearest stoplight, evidence of the intrusion of modern man is virtually absent, yet the mountains and canyons evoke the heritage of the American cowboy, and abound with relics of Native American societies who have gone before us. Here on Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, beneath the tall Ponderosa pines, in the cool higher elevations of the Black Range Mountains of southwest New Mexico, the quiet is such that you can hear the approach of an eagle from the beat of the air beneath his wings. Large herds of elk frequent the meadows, streams and lakes nearby. 

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Relive, Refresh and Rejoice, that's the theme at the Bellota Ranch (that's pronounced Bay-oh-tah). The ranch is nestled in a secluded valley at 4800 foot elevation found in the hills between the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains. That's on the far east side of Tucson, Arizona. This historic ranch dates back to 1890 when Lem and Henry Redfield settled in an area where Indian attacks for many years had made life impossible. The original small adobe house still stands at the Bellota Ranch Headquarters. A larger, more luxurious ranch house, built in 1931, has been completely renovated and offers remarkably elegant accommodations! 
The main ranch house and the beautiful hacienda style courtyards make you feel right at home! The spacious great room with it's huge copper fireplace and shelves of books look into the game room with it's pool table and charming nature nook. The ranch offers 8 lovely guest rooms, each with it's own private bathroom, some with fireplaces. After a day in the saddle out on the range, just swim in the unique outdoor pool or relax in the luxurious hot tub with magnificent views of the mountains all around. The chapel is available for private moments of reflection or enchanting wedding ceremonies! Our attentive staff is there to ensure your comfort and enjoyment.
This area, which bridges the Catalina and Rincon mountain ranges, is a significant wildlife corridor and includes a lovely forest of cottonwood and willow trees that attracts almost 400 species of migratory birds. 

If you're looking for the best horseback riding vacation available in northwest Montana visit Laughing Water Guest Ranch. Our setting in the Rocky Mountains of Northwest Montana, near Glacier National Park provides the perfect backdrop for a superb and affordable vacation. "Your" National Forest land surrounds our ranch. Come let us help you discover the unique beauty and secrets of this mountain country.

Wyoming's Kedesh Ranch started back in 1923. First, corrals and a ranch house were built at the entrance to Shell Canyon. After careful expansion, the property evolved into the Kedesh Ranch. Thanks to an abundance of open country, there is plenty of riding terrain, while modern cabins with screened porches provide privacy and comfort. Explore Big Horn Canyon and the mysteries of early Indian heritage, or schedule a trip to Cody for whitewater rafting, a visit to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the rodeo. Other highlights include dinosaur digs, fossil hunting, fishing, dancing, hayrides, hot tub and nature talks.

At Hidden Creek Ranch Guests enjoy horseback excursions in the Rocky Mountains.  It is set in a private mountain valley surrounded by 350 square miles of National Forrest.  Guests also discover mountain biking, hayrides, hiking, boating, fishing, trap and archery. An extensive riding program helps visitors discover the joy of a balanced, skilled and harmonious partnership with one's horse. Other activities include hayrides, a barrel racing rodeo, mountain biking, pond fishing and boat tours through the Coeur d’Alene River into Blue Lake. The closing night's award and boot branding ceremonies are always a favorite. For children, there is a creative, active and fun program. With luxurious log cabins, gourmet meals and a lively evening program, Hidden Creek promises a vacation that celebrates nature and life.

If you want to ride a horse, go a courtin' in a carriage, or add a hayride and cookout to your corporate, group or family gathering, the Circle L Ranch has what you need.

Located just north of Sallisaw, OK, we offer horseback riding, carriage rides, hayrides, pony rides, cookouts and more, all within a 100-mile radius of Ft. Smith, AR.

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Paso Fino Horses are exciting to ride.

Arizona's Tanque Verde Ranch By blending traditions of the past with contemporary luxury, guests are treated to a first-class resort vacation in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Although there are plenty of other diversions, most folks come here to ride. From slow and scenic to advanced loping, there are miles of trails to explore surrounded by 1.3 million acres of national forest. Back at the ranch, enjoy a cool beverage by the pool, visit the spa, join a game of tennis, take a guided nature hike then sit down for a cookouts followed by some lively dancing. And with a fully supervised children's program, young buckaroos are always welcome.

Badger Creek Ranch is a working guest ranch located in the Colorado Rockies, at an altitude of about 9,000 feet. Our guests stay in a large bunkhouse with all the amenities, including electricity, hot showers, and a kitchen, and can participate in day-to-day operations, including horseback riding, cattle branding, cattle drives, etc.

You can enjoy some of the best and most diverse horseback riding in North America at the Bitterroot Ranch in Wyoming.  Located in a remote valley bordering the Shoshone National Forest, 50 miles of unspoiled wilderness separate us from Yellowstone Park.  The varied terrain includes sagebrush plains, grassy meadows and rocky gorges which give way to pine forested mountains and alpine meadows.  Perpetually snow-capped mountains are always in view.   As our guest, you will experience this spectacular, wild country in the best possible way, riding a willing horse.   We have a broad range of horses for all skill and confidence levels and you will ride in small groups with people of similar riding ability.  The Bitterroot is a perfect choice for those who wish to improve their horseback riding skills because we have certified riding instructors available to give lessons at the ranch.  We also offer riding clinics with top clinicians throughout the summer.  Few dude ranches share our philosophies and passion for riding and if you desire the horseback riding vacation of a lifetime, the Bitterroot is the perfect match.

King Mountain Ranch is located high in the Colorado Rockies completely surrounded by the Arapaho National Forest. Select from many great activities including horseback riding, fly fishing, sport shooting, an exceptional children's program, indoor heated pool, cookouts and evening entertainment. All activities are offered in a casual western setting which allows your family, group, or corporate retreat to set the pace of your own vacation and allows us to help you relax.

We at Grapevine Canyon Guest Ranch, an Arizona dude and working cattle ranch, offer the best horseback riding vacations, pack trips and adventure horse treks, in the prettiest part of Arizona. The Dragoon Mountains, rich in western history as well as Indian history, were once the home of Apache chief Cochise, and the infamous Geronimo -- feuding cowboys and Indians, miners seeking riches in the towns of Pearce, Tombstone and Bisbee, all notorious names in the history of the Old West.
As well as the best of trail rides and advanced rides, we also offer unparalleled rest and relaxation, in the most healthy and tranquil getaway vacation possible. 
You can enjoy unforgettable star gazing under spectacular night skies, birding, camping, and hiking. Trail ride well trained, willing and responsive horses, enjoy our secluded cabins and soul satisfying home cooked meals, come for a group retreat, a family reunion, anniversary, or special occasion.

Rancho de los Caballeros is Arizona's most diverse guest ranch. This marvelous Guest Ranch is also a Golf Club where you can play at your own pace. 20,000 acres makes this just the region to catch up on life and enjoy it thoroughly.

Picture yourself in the majestic Rocky Mountains fishing for wild brown trout, helping our wranglers push cows between pastures, or just kicking back on the porch with a hefty glass of iced tea and a homemade cookie. You may catch a glimpse of the antelope which roam our sage hillsides, the elk which range among the aspen, or moose which occasionally wander down the valley. You may even see beaver hard at work in our streams and irrigation ditches.  The Laramie River Dude Ranch offers genuine western hospitality far from the tension of city life. Horseback riding is our specialty but we also have exceptional fly fishing, a unique naturalist program, very comfortable accommodations, and excellent food. Visit during the summer rodeo season or for our annual cattle drive to bring out the cowboy or cowgirl in you!

the end

About the author:  Lin Stone maintains a National Directory of the best health insurance companies on the web and a National Directory of the best car insurance companies on the web. Hundreds of his other articles (and 33 books) are available for free reading on the Internet. Just Click HERE to see an index to his works.

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Please note:  Many of these links are full-sized information sources and are formatted as Acrobat books.  Please pause your cursor over each link and see if the destination url ends in .pdf  If it does, RIGHT CLICK on the link and both of us will be much happier.  How To Pick Your Horse  *  Feeding Your Horse  *  Grooming Your horse  *  Horse Back Tours  *  Dude Ranches  *  Horse Heaven   *  The Horses of Proud Spirit  *  FREE Horse Videos  *  Rancho Cortez  *  First Aid For Horses  *  Caring For Your Horse  *  Taking Care of Hooves  *  Treating Horse Ailments  *  Treating Colic  *  Horses In The Field  *  Loading Horses Up  *  Diets For Horses  *  Safety Around Horses  *  Be Safe On Horses  *  Keeping Your Horse Safe  *  Stabling Your Horse  *  Tack For Your Horse  *  Horse Lover Faqs  * Transporting Your Horse  *  Detecting Worms  *  Worming Your Horse  *  A To Z Dude Ranch  *  Putting Down A Horse  *  Rodeos   *  Legend of the Kinsky Horses  *  Jesse James and Gangs  *  Your Common Donkey  *  For Love of a MuleFree Help with reading, writing, and research  *  Adventure  *  Travel  *  Free Adventure Kits from each state

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