The Charms of Ranch Life

the_charms_of_ranch_life_coulter-lake-guest-ranch

Here are 21 guest ranches we recommend that promise to offer what Theodore Roosevelt first extolled in his 1885 Hunting Trips of a Ranchman: “The charm of ranch life comes in its freedom, and the vigorous open-air existence it forces a man to lead.

Diamond D Ranch

Stanley, ID
Historical Roots:
1960
Open:
June through October
Activities:
Trail rides, big game hunting camps, gold panning and fly-fishing in a private lake
Old West Lore:
Another Frank Church Wilderness ranch near the Salmon River Mountains was that of China Polly and Charlie Bemis; after they married in 1894, the pioneers staked a mining claim in the area. China Polly lived here until her death in 1933, and today the Polly Bemis Ranch is a national historic site off of Big Salmon Road by way of Riggins, Idaho.

800-222-1269
DiamondDRanch-Idaho.com

 

Ranger Creek Guest Ranch
Shell, WY
Historical Roots:
1918
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Wilderness pack trips, trail rides, fly-fishing and six-gun target shooting
Old West Lore:
You can see historical Shell ranch structures at Old Trail Town in nearby Cody, such as the buffalo hunter’s cabin built on Shell Creek by Jim White and Oliver Hanna in 1880, and the first store in Shell, built in 1892.

307-765-4636
RangerCreekRanch.net

 

Three Bars Guest Ranch
Cranbrook, BC
Historical Roots:
1991
Open:
June through September
Activities:
Tours of 1864 Fort Steele, trail rides, fly-fishing, river rafting and kid’s program
Old West Lore:
Cranbrook got its name from Cranbrook Farm, an 1886 ranch built at Joseph’s Prairie that was named by Col. James Baker for family property in England. Baker’s 1888 home is preserved at Baker Park in Cranbrook.

877-426-5230
ThreeBarsRanch.com

 

K Diamond K Guest Ranch
Republic, WA
Historical Roots:
1961
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Trail rides, fishing on the San Poil River and cattle drives
Old West Lore:
An 1896 gold strike earned this north central Washington town of Republic its first name, Eureka Gulch; panning for gold is a popular ranch activity among K Diamond K guests.

888-345-5355
KDiamondK.com

 

Rankin Ranch
Caliente, CA
Historical Roots:
1863
Open:
April through September
Activities:
Trail rides, trout fishing, hay rides and kid’s program

Old West Lore: Pittsburgh-born Walker Rankin founded his cattle ranch, the Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch, in 1863. The ranch still has the barn where horses were tended when it was a stage stop for the overland mail during the 1870s.

661-867-2511
RankinRanch.com

 

71 Ranch
Deeth, NV
Historical Roots:
1877
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Cattle ranchhand activities, cattle drive weeks and trail rides
Old West Lore:
Two years after Joseph Scott established this ranch in the Halleck Valley, Caleb Hank partnered up with him and eventually formed the Halleck Cattle Company; a great afternoon excursion is wandering around the tombstones of the original Halleck cemetery.

866-717-7171
71-Ranch.com

 

Wit’s End Guest Ranch
Bayfield, CO
Historical Roots:
1859
Open:
May through October
Activities:
Trail rides, cattle sorting, fly-fishing, hay rides and kid’s program
Old West Lore:
After John Patrick came to this region, he and his brother Washington decided to enlarge the trout ponds in the 1880s and open a private hunting and fishing lodge. When you throw your line into these “Chain O’Lakes,” you might land a 10-pound German Brown trout.

800-236-9483
WitsEndRanch.com

 

Express UU Bar Ranch
Cimarron, NM
Historical Roots:
1849
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Big game hunts, trout fishing, sporting clay shoots and trail rides
Old West Lore:
The UU Bar was once part of the largest land grant in U.S. history, owned by Lucien B. Maxwell, who, along with his friend Kit Carson, established the ranch settlement of Rayado.

575-376-2035
ExpressUUBar.com

 

French Broad Outpost Ranch
Del Rio, TN
Historical Roots:
1993
Open:
March through November
Activities:
Trail rides, team penning, cattle drive, river rafting and kid’s program
Old West Lore:
Back when this region was Big Creek Station, most 19th-century settlers raised cattle that they drove across the Smoky Mountains to sell in North Carolina.

800-995-7678

FrenchBroadRiver.com

 

Colorado Cattle Co. & Guest Ranch
New Raymer, CO
Historical Roots:
1868
Open:
May through October
Activities:
Cattle drives, cow doctoring and branding
Old West Lore:
John Iliff set up his base camp for his cattle drives here in 1868, but the winter of 1886-1887 froze and starved his cattle, and he went broke. The 1880s sod house and barn of one homesteader who made the ranch a success, Leonard Biggs, is still used by the ranch to this day.

970-437-5345
ColoradoCattleCompany.com

 

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch
Tucson, AZ
Historical Roots:
1868
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Horseback rides into Saguaro park and guided walks through the Sonoran Desert
Old West Lore:
The land surrounding the seasonal river frequented by Pima Indians was cultivated as a cattle ranch by Mexican hacendado Emilio Carrillo.

866-413-3833
TanqueVerdeRanch.com

 

Bonanza Creek Country Ranch
Martinsdale, MT
Historical Roots:
1877
Open:
June through September
Activities:
Trail rides, cow herding, fishing and dips in nearby White Sulphur hot springs
Old West Lore:
The successful sheep enterprise run south of White Sulphur Springs by Norwegian Martin T. Grande inspired distant relative Nels Voldseth to move to the region. The Voldseths still work the ranch to this day.

800-476-6045
BonanzaCreekCountry.com

 

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch
Wickenburg, AZ
Historical Roots:
1909
Open:
October through May
Activities:
Trail rides and cattle sorts
Old West Lore:
At 21, Romaine Lowdermilk staked his claim to this homestead and named the cattle ranch after his mother Katherine. Lowdermilk later earned fame singing cowboy tunes, including “Billy the Kid” and “Blood on the Saddle;” such cowboy ballads are popularly sung at many guest ranches to this day.

800-684-7583
KayElBar.com

 

320 Guest Ranch
Big Sky, MT
Historical Roots:
1898
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Trail rides, fly-fishing, hay rides and wildlife tours
Old West Lore:
The Gallatin River likely attracted Sam Wilson to this homestead in 1898, but many of Montana’s ranching antiques were saved by a later inhabitant, the state’s first female doctor, Caroline McGill; view them at the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University.

800-243-0320
320Ranch.com

 

Prude Ranch
Fort Davis, TX
Historical Roots:
1896
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Trail rides in Davis Mountains, bird watching and a kid’s summer camp
Old West Lore:
The working cattle ranch traces its roots back to Andrew G. Prude. The Prude family continues to run the ranch.

800-458-6232
Prude-Ranch.com

 

Colorado Trails Ranch
Durango, CO
Historical Roots:
1960
Open:
June through September
Activities:
Trail rides, fly-fishing, trap shooting, rafting on the Animas River and kid’s program
Old West Lore:
Stop by Mesa Verde National Park and its Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, which were first discovered by two cowboys searching for stray cattle in 1888.

877-711-7843
ColoradoTrails.com

 

Triangle C Ranch
Dubois, WY
Historical Roots:
1906
Open:
May through October; December through March
Activities:
Wind River trail rides and trips to Yellowstone National Park
Old West Lore:
Since this historical site of Tie Hack Camp evolved into the headquarters for the Wyoming Tie & Timber Company, the ranch is located next to a memorial to those storied tie hackers who floated hand-hewn ties 100 miles down the Wind River to Riverton.

800-661-4928
TriangleC.com

 

Long Hollow Ranch
Sisters, OR
Historical Roots:
1905
Open:
May through October
Activities:
Trail rides, cattle drives, arena riding lessons, breakfast and dinner rides,
and movie night
Old West Lore:
The 1905 headquarters house of the Black Butte Land & Livestock Company has been redesigned to accommodate guests; you’ll reach the ranch on Holmes Road, named after company superintendent A.S. Holmes, who stayed on at the Long Hollow Ranch after the livestock company dissolved in 1918.

877-923-1901
LHRanch.com

 

Coulter Lake Guest Ranch
Rifle, CO
Historical Roots:
1897
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Trail rides, trout fishing, camp cook school and elk and deer hunts
Old West Lore:
After Oscar V. Coulter came to Rifle in 1897, the private recreation area he built for his family’s enjoyment grew into a ranch frequented by the Adolph Coors family.

800-858-3046
CoulterLake.com

 

Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Pearce, AZ
Historical Roots:
1982
Open:
All Year
Activities:
Trail rides, seasonal cattle work and cowboy cookouts
Old West Lore:
Cattle have been run near the Apache stronghold of Grapevine Canyon since after the Civil War; one recorded battle took place in June 1885 at Sulphur Springs Ranch, during which cattle rancher Mike Noonan was killed in an Apache horse raid.

800-245-9202
GCRanch.com

 

Laughing Water Ranch
Fortine, MT
Historical Roots:
1988
Open:
May through October
Activities:
Trail rides through Montana Rockies, trout fishing and whitewater rafting
Old West Lore:
The ranch, located only 20 miles from Canada, pays tribute to the region’s heritage as a corridor between Montana ranchers and their Canadian traders.

800-847-5095
LWRanch.com

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