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Saddle Up for Adventure: Five Dude Ranches That Welcome Families

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August 7, 2018

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive family vacation destination this summer, saddle up and ride into the sunset to your nearest dude ranch. Dude ranches are the original, all-inclusive destination, making for a headache-free week of unforgettable family fun. Here are five dude ranches that make for the perfect summer family adventure.

In Wyoming:

Lazy L&B Ranch groups kids by age and ability for roping clinics, horseback rides, and hikes. There are a couple of family rides, but otherwise, kids and adults ride separately. One evening children eat with the wranglers and one night at a cookout by the river. A pool, treehouse, and petting zoo are other enticements. The trail-riding program starts at age six. Those younger are well cared for and can also be ponied around the ranch. Family weeks in 2018 are from early June through 19 Aug.

In Colorado:

Elk Mountain Ranch engages two children’s counselors who supervise such activities as panning for gold, greeting animals in a petting zoo, caring for animals, hiking, crafts, fishing, and visiting the hot springs. Along with Indian crafts there are hikes to a tepee and hunts for arrowheads. A visit culminates with a rodeo to showcase what’s been learned from horseback riding lessons in the arena. The Little Buckeroos’ age limit is seven; older children participate in regular ranch activities. The 2018 season begins in late May and continues through Sept. 16.

In Idaho:

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch offers a Youth Horsemanship Program that is the ultimate ranch vacation for kids who love horses. They learn how to be responsible for their own horse and equipment, and about horse husbandry and care. Daily they engage in grooming, saddling, arena lessons, arena games, trail rides, cattle sorting, and rides. A real horse show with ribbons and trophies concludes a visit. Ages eight to 18 may participate in the program that is available in 2018 from June to Aug. 31.

In Montana:

Bar W Guest Ranch hosts its Junior Wrangler Cowpoke Program that includes pony rides and meet-ups with goats, a rabbit, chickens, and a cat. Children may help collect eggs, groom and feed animals, and clean pens. They learn how to groom, saddle and care for a horse, plus some rodeo routines: barrel racing, keyhole and pole bending and working the cattle. Ages seven to 11 are welcome in the program, children three and under can visit free. The program is open in 2018 from June to September.

The Ranch at Rock Creek engages guides trained in safe and natural play to supervise The Little Grizzlies Kids Club as children fly-fish, go on naturalist hikes, horseback ride and more. Twice-weekly there’s a Little Grizzlies Dinner in the Silver llar Saloon available for ages four to 12. The 2018 summer season begins in early June and runs through early September.

Ready to ride off into the dude ranch vacation sunset? With more than 100 DRA-accredited dude ranches in North America, the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) can help you select the perfect ranch for your family.

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