Inspired by the hit series Yellowstone or simply by the desire to get outdoors, more travellers than ever are saddling up at dude ranches in national parks, according to the 2023 Expedia travel trend report. Check in at these ranch lodges in Canada and the United States to ride horses into the blue–sky horizon, relax under a starlit sky and reconnect with nature.
Giddy–up to these top ranch retreats in North America for a vacation that’s part scenic tranquility, part Wild West.
Three Bars Ranch
Cranbrook, British Columbia
With over 35,000 acres of land, Three Bars Ranch is a luxury guest ranch resort in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Whether you’re riding one of their more than 120 horses along the pristine riding terrain, fly–fishing in the St. Mary River, or hiking or mountain biking in the surrounding trails, there's no shortage of ways to spend the day outside. Come evening, order a cold beer or glass of wine at The Saloon, or indulge in a sunset soak in the outdoor hot tub.
The Darwin Ranch
Teton County, Wyoming
Down a dirt road in Jackson, Wyoming, lies the most remote dude ranch in the lower 48 states. The Darwin Ranch offers a luxurious and tranquil stay, surrounded by horses and century–old, hand–built cabins that feel like a piece of western history. After a long day of horseback riding through Wyoming’s Bridger–Teton National Forest or fly–fishing in the Gros Ventre River, enjoy a farm–to–table dinner sourced directly from the family farm.
C Lazy U Ranch
Only a two–hour drive from Denver, Colorado, 104–year–old C Lazy U Ranch is an all–inclusive resort where even the youngest adventurers can learn the ropes (there are horseback riding lessons for anyone three and up). Beyond riding through wildflower meadows, older adventurers can practise archery and hatchet throwing on the ranch, or step out of the stirrups for a day of bliss at the Lazy You Spa, which offers treatments like a massage with smooth, heated river rocks and a cowboy copper tub soak. The ranch’s 38 guest ranch accommodations, which include well–appointed log cabins, many of which have stone fireplaces and private fire pits, are all within walking distance of the main lodge.
Nestled amid the scenic beauty of California’s Central Coast, Alisal Ranch is part enchanting resort, part traditional ranch, and all “wow” factor. Wander its sprawling grounds to discover picturesque meadows, serene lakes and towering sycamore and oak trees. You can also tee off for a round of golf, go horseback riding through 80 kilometres of trails, or try fishing in the spring–fed lake. This resort hosts a wide range of retreats all year long – from wellness getaways to the chef–led Barbecue University – so plan your visit accordingly.
Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort
Siwash Lake, British Columbia
Entirely off–the–grid on a private estate, the all–inclusive Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort hosts only 12 to 16 guests at one time, so you’re sure to have a private, intimate and serene stay. Take advantage of unlimited horseback riding on the resort’s 10,000–acres of rangeland, or try your hand at other wilderness activities like cross–country archery and marksmanship. This luxury dude ranch is also world–renowned for being eco–friendly, with a clean energy system and a commitment to preserving biodiversity.
Bar W Guest Ranch
Kid–friendly and all–inclusive, Bar W Guest Ranch offers a six–night package stay with horseback riding at the core of each day, with western–themed entertainment like cattle drives, rodeo games and line dancing. Of course, there’s no shame in just kicking back and relaxing under the blue Montana skies, or mingling with other guests by the campfire each evening. Accommodation options include private rooms in the main lodge, individual cabins or luxury glamping tents.