Tag Archives: guest ranches

New Website Spotlights Guest Ranches That Add Wellness, Spa Dimension to Horseback Riding

Many guest ranches today, in addition to offering horseback riding and a cowboy spirit, are base camps for a host of outdoor adventures, and some are going beyond, with new additions to their offerings of spa and wellness facilities and Mind, Body & Spirit programs.

SONOMA, CA – Gene Kilgore, one of the world’s leading authorities on ranch vacations, has launched a new website dedicated to spa and wellness ranches: https://wellnessranches.com/

“This is the perfect moment to highlight the wellness work that some innovative ranches are focusing on,” said Kilgore. His new website shines the spotlight on 11 such ranches in North America that are breaking new ground in the wellness movement, a multi-billion dollar Mind, Body, Spirit phenomenon.

These properties in Arizona, British Columbia, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Montana and Wyoming represent the best of the best in both traditional ranch activities (life in the saddle) plus healthy wellness and spa-focused offerings.
 
He noted that the personal wellness movement is spurred on, in part, by the desire to recover from life under a pandemic and by a new-found appeal of America’s Wild West, its cowboys and ranch life, as evidenced by the popularity of Kevin Costner’s hit TV series Yellowstone.
 
Originally, ranches offered horseback riding activities for adults and families as the main focus of a ranch vacation, while ranches today are base camps for a host of outdoor adventures.  But some are beefing up what they may have offered in the past with new additions to their offerings of spa and wellness facilities and Mind, Body & Spirit programs. Wellnessranches.com is organized into these categories:

In addition to exploring the wellness-related features each ranch offers, the website provides the following services to potential guests:

  • Check for Availability Form  which is sent to ranches that match search parameters (budget, dates of stay, party details and preferred location). To begin the selection process, visitors to the site are invited to fill out the form with as much information as possible for ranch staff who have committed to respond the same or next day.
  • Personalized Concierge Service assists those who wish a little extra help in trying to choose the right ranch for themselves. Although not a booking service, no fees are charged for this assistance. The only goal is to give the user ideas that hopefully will assist them in finding one’s perfect “home on the range”. To use this service, visitors to the site can call 707-217-5205 or complete the online form provided.
  • Travel Advisor Center provides access to the website to professional travel advisors to help them expand their portfolios and business. There’s a simple interface for viewing select ranches, rates and more. Advisors simply log in or sign up via the online form to get started. 

While there are a host of ranches to consider, here are four examples of properties that combine focused wellness programs matched with traditional ranch activities.
 
Bishops Lodge – https://wellnessranches.com/wellness-ranches/bishops-lodge: Near Santa Fe, NM, Bishops Lodge combines nature’s offerings, such as river floating and hiking, with outdoor mindfulness sessions. The Wellness Lodge offers relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, couples massage, EMF learning, aromatherapy massage, meditation, land dance, CBD massage, botanicals remedy, sound healing, sound healing facial, sacred sound massage, intuitive healing and energy medicine
 
Echo Valley Ranch and Spa – https://wellnessranches.com/wellness-ranches/echo-valley-ranch-and-spa: A small, eco-luxury ranch located near Clinton, British Columbia is known for its warm, sincere and anticipatory service. When guests are not on horseback riding the spectacular backcountry you may find them mountain biking, engaged in Yoga, bird watching, hiking, enjoying some archery, marksmanship, canyon tours, and meditation. Although a major draw is the spa offering relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, couples massage, scrubs, manicures, facials, and pedicures.
 
Bitterroot Ranch – https://wellnessranches.com/wellness-ranches/bitterroot-ranch: Near Dubois, Wyoming, Bitterroot Ranch retains its original commitment to making matches between riders, new and old, and their mounts. The ranch’s yoga program focuses on stretching and conditioning muscles that are most engaged when riding. Resident Yoga instructor Hadley Fox is a certified Vinyasa Yoga teacher and on set weeks offers clinics with instructor Marc Holzman, a certified Ayurveda practitioner with over 18 years of experience teaching Hatha Yoga and Meditation.
 
Rock Creek – https://wellnessranches.com/wellness-ranches/the-ranch-at-rock-creek. This ranch near historic Philipsburg, MT, offers yoga and golf along with such treatments at its Granite Spa as relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, rock treatments, couples massage, scrubs, manicures, facials, pedicures and its signature Saddle Sore Soak.
 
Kilgore also offers these other ranch and western lifestyle vacation-related websites to make the journey from research to booking as informed, fun and easy as possible:

Kilgore (https://genekilgore.com/) began his ranch journey some 40 years ago and has spent most of his adult life and professional career taking the ranch message to the world.

“Our Ranch Vacations websites reconnect travelers with unparalleled natural beauty, hospitality and a goodness that weary city folks are craving,” Kilgore says. “The pandemic has only heightened this demand and for years to come ranches will offer this magnificent way of life for all to enjoy.”

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8 Fall Vacations for Foliage, Fewer Crowds & Stunning Scenery

Ziplining at the Red Reflet Ranch, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, just one of the activities at the all-inclusive guest ranch (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Cool weather, brightly colored foliage, and destinations largely free from crowds make fall the perfect time to travel. Here are eight vacation ideas for the months ahead, ranging from the mountains of Montana to the Natchez Trace and even the Galapagos Islands

1. Pacific Coast Cycling: The Pacific Coast Route is one of America’s premier cycling routes and autumn is an optimal time to avoid heavy tourist traffic. Pedal south through the lush forests of western Washington before following the Columbia River to the Oregon coast, then enter California and encounter massive redwoods coastal headlands and sandy beaches with bike paths. Ride the route on your own with maps from Adventure Cycling Association, or join other on a tour.
 
2. Fall Under the Big Sky: A visit to Big Sky, Montana, and stay at The Wilson Hotel offers the opportunity for fall adventures in Yellowstone country, as elk bugle and pockets of aspen trees turn golden against the backdrop of the green forest. Hike and mountain bike trails surrounding town, fish the famed Gallatin River or take one last tour of Yellowstone National Park’s natural wonders and wildlife before roads close for the season.
 
3. Traffic-Free Natchez Trace: The Natchez Trace is a historic travel corridor through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi used by American Indians, settlers, soldiers and future presidents. And with no commercial traffic, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a cyclist’s dream come true. Join Cycle of Life Adventures for a fall tour to enjoy the changing colors of maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees, milder temperatures and overnight accommodations in small towns along the parkway.
 
4. National Parks RV Trip: National parks saw record crowds over the summer, but now that fall is here it’s a great time to visit for fewer crowds, less traffic and pleasant temperatures. Blacksford rents fully stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, kitchen and bath supplies, free Wi-Fi, a free annual pass to the national parks and 24-hour roadside assistance.
 
5. Arizona + Black Canyon Mountain Biking: Explore all the Sonoran Desert has to offer with the Best of Phoenix and Black Canyon Trail Mountain Biking Tour from Escape Adventures. This trip is ideal for close groups of biking friends looking for a warm fall or winter excursion. Highlights include exploring the 21,099-acre McDowell Mountain regional park, riding conservancy lands and ripping more than 40-miles of fast and flowy singletrack.
 
6. Jackson Hole Glamping: Wyoming’s Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-sized, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. The resort is located a short distance from Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole ski slopes, making it the perfect place to post up for a fall getaway or winter ski trip.
 
7. Play Cowboy at a Dude Ranch: Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, just three hours from Yellowstone National Park. Guests stay in private chalets and enjoy family-friendly activities like horseback riding, ATVing, ziplining, swimming, hiking, fishing, shooting and feasting on farm-to-table cuisine.
 
8. Autumn Galapagos Adventure: Fall is one of the best times of year to visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, particularly when it comes to wildlife and weather. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has joined forces with Scalesia Galapagos Lodge to offer a new weeklong program that includes day trips aboard Yacht Sea Lion, glamping in luxury tents on Isabela Island and visits to remote and mysterious places that illustrate the incredible diversity of the archipelago.

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Gene Kilgore Guides Guests to Ranches Ideal for Winter Escapes

The quest for travel experiences that maximize outdoor activities way off a beaten track as the antidote to COVID-19 are bringing many newcomers to ranch vacations and to Gene Kilgore, a leading expert on ranch vacations.

SONOMA, CA – The quest for travel experiences that maximize outdoor activities way off a beaten track as the antidote to COVID-19 are bringing many newcomers to ranch vacations.

“In lieu of traveling outside the country for a winter vacation this year, guests who embrace the relaxing routine of life on a ranch may well wonder why they waited so long to discover the joys of ranch vacations,” says Gene Kilgore, a leading authority on vacations ranging from cattle wrangling to fly fishing to spa.

His ranch-driven websites thoughtfully assist travelers by offering free concierge services.  These are RanchWeb.com concierge service and Top50Ranches.com concierge service.

Here are his recommendations for sourcing ranch vacations ideal for winter.
 
In Arizona are three ranches to make a snowbird’s dream come true. 

  • At Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenberg, AZ, in the Sonoran Desert guests can divvy up their days between playing golf on an 18-hole course and horseback riding. Other activities include tennis, nature hikes, bird watching and skeet shooting.  https://ranchweb.com/ranches/rancho-de-los-caballeros
  • Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia, AZ, is all about riding horses on 100 miles of riding trails nestled in southern Arizona’s Sky Islands, an area renowned for vast grasslands and vaulting mountain ranges. Other activities include tennis and guided tours with naturalists. https://ranchweb.com/ranches/circle-z-ranch
  • In Tucson guests can hype their adrenalin on the shooting range at White Stallion Ranch or pursuing rock climbing based on top rope bouldering and top rope, single pitch climbing. Fat tire E-biking, hiking and always horseback riding make the days fly here on the Sonoran desert bordering Saguaro National Park. https://ranchweb.com/ranches/white-stallion-ranch 

Powder hounds, on the other hand, will enjoy the pleasures winter affords on guest ranches in Colorado and in Montana. 

  • In Kremming, CO, the snow at Latigo Ranch averages over 200 inches a year, making this a winter paradise for cross-country skiers and snowshoers who embrace 50 miles of cross-country trails and 200 square miles of backcountry powder. Tubing, sledding and fat bikes add to the fun. https://www.top50ranches.com/ranch-vacations/latigo-ranch
  • Vista Verde in Steamboat Springs, CO, enjoys proximity to Steamboat Ski Resort’s alpine ski slopes. Guests can also stick close to home and cross-country ski and snowshoe or hop on snowmobiles, fat bikes or snow tubes.  Sleigh rides, dog sledding, ice fishing and winter horseback riding also shine. An indoor heated arena offers a comfortable space for winter riding, lessons and clinics. https://ranchweb.com/ranches/vista-verde
  • In Big Sky, Montana, guests of Lone Mountain Ranch enjoy proximity to Yellowstone National Park plus benefits of plenty of powder that falls on the Rockies. Think cross-country on 85 kilometers of carefully maintained woodland trails over mountain terrain, plus alpine skiing at Big Sky Resort, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and winter fly fishing.  https://ranchweb.com/ranches/lone-mountain-ranch 

www.ranchweb.com, founded in 1995 and regularly updated, offers an array of dude ranches in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. Arranged alphabetically by destination, these ranches also organize themselves along the lines of the number of guests accommodated at one time, the activities, and if they are meeting friendly. A multitude of activities range from horseback riding and instruction, fishing, hiking, swimming, archery, shooting, rodeos, games, cattle drives, mountain biking … and more. Potential guests of properties listed on this site may also contact a Ranchweb Concierge Service for additional assistance in sorting through the myriad of options now being listed into 2017.
 
Founded in 2011, www.top50ranches.com focuses on where to locate and then what to expect when it comes to the world’s top dude, guest, working and luxury ranch vacations in the United States and Canada as well as Argentina, Mexico and New Zealand. The site outlines special ranch offers, events and opportunities and makes available Top50’s Concierge Service, a no-fee advice service by phone for valued Top50 Travelers who seek extra help while choosing the right ranch for their family or business group.

Follow RanchWeb and Top50 Ranches on Social Media:
RanchWeb Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ranchweb
RanchWeb Twitter:      https://twitter.com/ranchweb
RanchWeb Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ranchweb/
Top50 Facebook:         https://www.facebook.com/DudeRanchVacations/
Top 50 Twitter:             https://twitter.com/top50ranches
Top50 Pinterest:          https://www.pinterest.com/RanchVacations/

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Guest Ranches Gallop through Winter with Activity Options from Horseback Riding to Skiing

Guest ranches offer an array of activities in winter.
Guest ranches offer an array of activities in winter.

While we often think of a ranch vacation that’s shoehorned into the warm summer months, guest ranches from Arizona to Montana offer an array of activities in winter from horseback riding to skiing. In Arizona, ranches specialize in creating equestrian experiences for their guests in a snow-free winter setting, while spreads in the Rockies take to Nordic skiing, sleigh rides and other cold weather pursuits.

Here are some examples:

A region known as the “Sky Islands of Southern Arizona” is home to the Nash family’s Circle Z Ranch, receiving guests November through April. Guests are treated to horseback riding on thousands of acres sweeping across lush riparian land, deep canyons and high grass valleys between Tucson and the Mexico border.
Depending on room type, Circle Z rates are from $1,264 per person for a four-night stay inclusive of three meals each day, accommodation, horseback riding, tennis, swimming in a heated outdoor pool, bird-watching, nature walks, star gazing, hiking and more. Guests can ride for a full or half day, and the ranch also offers cookout rides and gymkhana games.

“Guests are at the corrals and out on the trails, or enjoying our great food. That’s a typical day,” said Diana Nash. The ranch accommodates up to 34 (more when children are included).

However other properties in northern states interpret winter ranch vacations differently. They forego summer routines focused on hours of horseback riding to focus instead on snow-related fun. For example, Lone Mountain Ranch, an Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge, specializes in family ranch and ski adventure vacations that include cross country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing, back country skiing and sleigh rides.

“We think we are the innovator of the modern winter guest ranch experience,” said Paul Robertson, manager. While ranch culture doesn’t vary much by season, activities here do, with opportunities to ski backcountry into Yellowstone and to ski and snowshoe on the same trails where summer guests ride horses. There are 85 km of professional groomed Nordic ski trails and 30 km of snowshoe trails and access to over one million acres of public lands. Skiing and sleigh riding begin in the first week of December and continue typically until mid April. The ranch hosts 70 guests at any given time, including the 1,500 outdoor enthusiasts who flock there in winter. Weekly fully-inclusive winter rates are from $2,300 per person, double occupancy.

At an elevation of 6,500 feet, “we try to do everything we can with snow. Socializing and dining are a big part of winter here as well,” Robertson added. The resort is 48 miles south of Bozeman, MT, in Big Sky country.

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch east of Cody and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming opens in January and February for several weeks annually for photographers who are led by specialists, and again every other year for a week over New Years. Then guests are welcomed again in April.

“But if we have a group of eight or more wanting to take over the ranch for several days, then we open up!” said Peter De Cabooter, proprietor. Snowmobiling, horseback riding and trout and fly fishing are popular pursuits with snow on the ground. Because the days are shorter and activities must be packed into fewer hours, guests are limited to 14, whereas in summer the ranch can host 25 per week.

“If it’s not too cold to hold the gun, trap shooting is popular,” he said. The ranch also invites guest speakers from museums in Cody to share a meal with guests. On the menu? In winter, soups, and bison meat and Chilean sea bass are favorites after riding by elevations of up to 13,200 feet and through micro climates and biodiversity. Then there are fresh baked goods created daily by a pastry chef from Lyon, France. Information on winter rates is available by contacting the ranch.

Randy George is owner of Latigo Ranch, set on a peninsula of private land that juts into National Forest at the north, west and south. People bring their snowmobiles and can ski literally thousands of acres between Winter Park and Steamboat Springs. At 9,000 feet in elevation, the views of the Continental Divide are stunning. This establishment that specializes in horseback riding in summer turns its hand to Nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Such frozen pursuits became a favorite for Randy when this engineer-turned-rancher learned to ski on a Vermont hill served by a rope tow.

“It’s so beautiful for cross-country skiing,” George said. “We’re very quiet, secluded and scenic.” His staff grooms 50 km of trails. Some people bring “fat” bikes, mountain bikes equipped with extra-fat tires that ride in the snow. Others go sledding and tubing. “There’s still a strong ranch feel minus the horse component this time of year. There are lots of fun times sitting around the table telling stories. It’s a wonderful, relaxing time without the rush and hubbub found at so many mountain resort settings.”

The ranch hosts up to 35 in the summer and 20 in the winter. Regardless of the season guests will ask which night the short ribs, cooked for 24 hours, will be served. A per person daily rate including accommodation, meals and use of facilities is from $195 from mid December to mid March.

For additional information, rates, availability and reservations, travelers can contact the ranch directly or access two leading online resources for details and assistance in selecting the ranch that is right for them.

Founded in 2011, www.top50ranches.com focuses on where to locate and then what to expect when it comes to the world’s top dude, guest, working and luxury ranch vacations in the United States and Canada as well as Argentina, Mexico and New Zealand. The site outlines special ranch offers, events and opportunities and makes available Top50’s Concierge Service, a no-fee advice service by phone for valued Top50 Travelers who seek extra help while choosing the right ranch for their family or business group.

Another leading online resource, www.ranchweb.com, founded in 1995 and regularly updated, offers an array of dude ranches in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. Arranged alphabetically by destination, these ranches also organize themselves along the lines of the number of guests accommodated at one time, the activities, and if they are meeting friendly. A multitude of activities range from horseback riding and instruction, fishing, hiking, swimming, archery, shooting, rodeos, games, cattle drives, mountain biking, winter sports and more. Potential guests of properties listed on this site have the convenience of contacting the Ranchweb Concierge Service for additional assistance in sorting through the myriad of options now being listed into 2017 and beyond.

 

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