Ever thought about strapping on some boots and hitting a dusty trail? At these three resorts, you can get a taste of the cowboy (or girl) experience while taking in some of the country's most beautiful surroundings.
Cowboy for a Day at Blue Sky Ranch, Utah
Blue Sky Ranch covers 3,300 acres of mountains, rolling hills, and deep canyons, and offers a wide range of outdoor adventures. Their new "Cowboy for a Day" adventure provides a hands-on cowboy experience. Instructors spend the day teaching you the basics of grooming and tracking the horse properly for a full work day. You'll work on controlling and getting to know the horse before you even get up on him for the first ride.
Confirmed dates for the experience are June 7 and 12; August 23; September 27; October 18; and November 18. Prices start at $375 per person for a full day and $250 per person for a half day, including a hearty "cowboy breakfast" and a pack lunch. Private tours on different dates are available by contacting the ranch directly.
Visitors can also experience a variety of mountain and horseback adventures year-round, such as yurt excursions, snowshoe or ski adventures, alpine touring, fly-fishing, kayaking, and hiking. Overnight accommodation in the ranch's "glamping"-style yurt costs $135 for one or two people; $165 for three or four, or $195 for five or six.
Westgate River Ranch, Florida
In Central Florida, one hour from Orlando, the River Ranch is a real dude ranch that sits on 1,700 acres and offers western-themed accommodations, horseback riding, and other activities, all on an á la carte basis. As well as opportunities for riding, hayrides, and nature hikes, there’s also a petting farm, trap and skeet shooting, golf, boating, fishing, airboat, and swamp buggy rides. You can also catch the ranch's own Saturday night rodeo at their 1,200-seat arena ($15.50 for adults, $8 for children).
Horseback riding lessons are available for beginners, as well as extended two-hour trail rides for more experienced riders ($90 per person). Nightly rates at the Westgate Ranch start at $168 for a Lodge Suite.
Women's Rocky Mountain Rendezvous at Triple Creek Ranch, Montana
At the other end of the scale, Triple Creek Ranch, located in the Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies, is offering a cowgirl-themed package with a more luxe angle. Triple Creek is a Relais & Châteaux all-inclusive luxury resort, and, in addition to the Ranch’s usual activities – including fly-fishing, horseback riding, birding, photography outings, and hiking – the resort is hosting the "Women's Rocky Mountain Rendezvous" from May 1-6. Women can experience cowgirl culture and explore Montana’s Rocky Mountains with activities such as a spring cattle round-up, archery, trap shooting, casting lessons, a mounted shooting demonstration, and more. There will also be plenty of time for relaxing with wine tastings, mimosa brunches, and picnic lunches. The experience is for women only, but male guests are welcome to tag along to stay at the hotel with their partners.
All-inclusive cabin rates begin at $950 per couple, per night, and include accommodation, snacks, breakfast, lunch, gourmet dinner, house wines and spirits, and all featured on-ranch activities.