The Best Guest Ranches to Book in the US

Saddle up and take a horse hike through the Wild West of Americas most rural landscapes
Saddle up and take a horse hike through the Wild West of America's most rural landscapes | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Nick Dauk

From the cactus-filled hills of Arizona to the high desert of Oregon, the US has Old West experiences that range from classic dude ranches to all-inclusive ranch resorts – bookable on Culture Trip.

Are your usual vacations filling you with cabin fever? Get away to the wide-open pastures, long hiking trails and endless star-lit skies of an all-American ranch. You’ll find your home on the range at these amazing guest ranches, roping you into the wild yet relaxing frontier culture engrained throughout the United States.

1. The Alisal Guest Ranch

Hotel, Resort

The Alisal Guest Ranch
© The Alisal Guest Ranch

Giddy up to the Alisal Guest Ranch and feel life immediately ease up on the reins. Riding through California’s shady hills and alongside babbling brooks will keep you as calm, cool and collected as the cows grazing in the pastures. The seasoned rider can amp it up with an Alial rodeo – but those who aren’t at home in the stirrups will savor the Sip and Saddle morning ride that flows right into a Santa Ynez Valley wine tasting session.

2. Tanque Verde Ranch

Resort, Hotel

Tanque Verde Ranch
Courtesy of Tanque Verde Ranch /

Tell the boss that your next team-building exercise is already queued up at Tanque Verde Ranch. Leave the trust falls and scavenger hunts back in the city and work with your colleagues to pen cattle while on horseback. Stretch your legs without stretching the corporate budget with private yoga, hiking and mountain biking outings. Need a fun activity that you can write off as a training exercise? The ranch will host a salsa and margarita challenge where participants will be judged on taste, technique and marketing skills.

3. Vista Verde

Resort, Hotel

Vista Verde Ranch
© Vista Verde Ranch

Vista Verde puts the ‘I’ in me-time with refreshing solo ranch experiences. No one will hog the covers in your one-bedroom cabin and only the occasional bird will squawk at you when you’re resting in the outdoor hot tub. Hike, mountain bike, or ski on your schedule – stopping only to dive into ranchy yet fancy meals paired with house wines that rival the private cellar collection. Whenever you need conversation, stimulation, or just someone to challenge your aim on the archery range, other like-minded travelers are always nearby.

4. Red Horse Mountain Ranch

Hotel, Resort

Red Horse Mountain Ranch
© Red Horse Mountain Ranch

Ladies, you deserve an all-inclusive girls getaway at Red Horse Mountain Ranch. Close to Lake Coeur d’Alene, you’ll be left alone with your favorite females and zero responsibilities. Let a chef prepare a lovely meal and take care of the dishes while you wind down with wine in the barn. Tee up a quiet day on the golf course, fish for a little serenity on stocked ponds and scale a 63ft climbing wall – all without worrying about bedtimes, bad attitudes, or the 9-to-5 grind.

5. The Ranch at Rock Creek

Hotel, Resort

© The Ranch at Rock Creek

Feel at home with the frontier lifestyle at the Ranch at Rock Creek. Wake up with the sun in your 19th-century barn – free of hay bales and cow pies – and get the day’s chores done before supper. Sapphire mining, horse roping, moose tracking and outdoor survival classes will have you earn that finger of whisky at the Silver Dollar Saloon. Feel like your ranch hands could use a little big city love? An Alpine Refresh manicure, pedicure, massage and soak will do the body good.

6. Brasada Ranch

Hotel, Resort

Brasada Ranch
Courtesy of Brasada Ranch /

Brasada’s high desert hangout takes family vacations to new heights. Daily summer camps like golf clinics and fireside s’mores bookend a day filled with fishing, hiking, crafting and stargazing. Dog-friendly cabins give your whole clan a place to sit, stay and play when not sniffing out fun in the great outdoors. And for the bigger kids who need to stretch their independence – or parents who are overdue for a break – the kids-only Hideout clubhouse is packed with video games, an outdoor playground and plenty of adult-free fun.

7. Brush Creek Ranch

Hotel, Resort

Brush Creek Ranch
© Brush Creek Ranch

Whether you favor the snow or the sun, a few nights at Brush Creek Ranch is where you’ll want to embrace the season. ATV adventures through Medicine Bow National Forest and ice fishing for brown trout are all up for grabs, but the foodies hungry for an epicurean experience should settle into the farm. From bread baking and cheese-making classes to greenhouse and distillery tours, you’ll get an in-depth view of how your every delicious meal is grown, raised, brewed and baked here.

8. Vermejo Ted Turner Reserve

Hotel, Cabin

Ted Turner Reserve
© Ted Turner Reserve

Your ol’ Uncle Teddy has a cabin or two in the hills of New Mexico where you can spend a few quiet nights. This Ted Turner Reserve will spoil you with a historic cottage, mountaintop lodge, or full-blown mansion – depending on your tastes. You’ll find us at the Turner House, though, because we can’t resist a little old-world grandeur and direct access to the Vermejo Spa. Relax by the living room fireplace, peering at the elk and mule deer – presumably making their way to a pop-up picnic along the river.

This is a rewrite of an article originally by Alexia Wulff.

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