RanchSeeker Blog

Introducing Free Rein Guest Ranch

1/17/2014 8:32:38 AM

Are you looking for a small intimate guest ranch to visit that offers hands-on experience with horses and the outdoors? If so, Free Rein Guest Ranch is the ideal guest ranch vacation spot for you. Free Rein Guest Ranch, located in Bridge Lake, B.C., provides you with a home away from home during your Canadian adventure in Super Natural British Columbia. The 285 acre ranch property is found in the South Cariboo region, which is surrounded entirely by a boundless forest range and quite simply the perfect location for days of exploration and adventures in the saddle.

Free Rein Guest Ranch
Stunning views await you at Free Rein Guest Ranch

At Free Rein Ranch you will find hearty home-cooked meals and lakeside log cabins or guest lodge accommodations all with spectacular Cariboo countryside views. With a maximum of just 12 guests you will soon feel like part of the ranch family. Winners of Trip Advisor’s 2012 and 2013 Certificate of Excellence you are sure to enjoy your guest ranch vacation here.

Free Rein Guest Ranch
Campfires at twilight

Activities abound at Free Rein Guest Ranch. You can swim in the lake, kayak and canoe as well as take guided hikes through the surrounding countryside or take a mountain bike out for a spin. Learn how to horse whisper. Your horse will be your buddy for the duration of your stay and you can work with him/her as much as you want to. How about an overnight camp trip? Ride out and end your day in the saddle with a lazy saunter home at sundown. Dine around the campfire and sleep beneath star studded awe-inspiring skies on their weekly overnight camp out at Teepee village.

Free Rein Guest Ranch
Horseback riding at Free Rein Guest Ranch

Be completely involved in the daily running of the ranch or simply kick back and relax. The choice is yours. At the Free Rein Guest Ranch you really do have free rein to decide how to spend your days with them.

Happy Trails! RanchSeeker

Corporate Retreats At A Dude Ranch

1/15/2014 1:56:07 PM

A lot of planning is required for a successful corporate retreat, and this includes choosing the right location. There are many places to have such an event – a beach resort, a new swanky hotel or a nearby outdoor activity center.  But what if you could take your employees to a venue where they can unplug from everything and actually communicate with one another while getting in touch with nature at the same time? You could – by taking them to a dude ranch corporate retreat.

Vacationers Love Dude Ranches

Guest ranches or dude ranches are steadily becoming popular among vacation goers because they cater to a variety of interests and needs. The vast grounds, often surrounded by breathtaking views of wide open fields, tall mountains or bodies of water offer the perfect venue for quiet introspection or an ideal spot to just sit down and read a book. Guests looking for a fun time will find no shortage of activities – such as trail hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing or swimming.  Interaction is also very easy through a myriad of outdoor activities, campfires and dinners at the main hall.

Some Dude Ranches To Consider

There are many vacation ranches all across the country, but not all of them specialize in dude ranch corporate retreats. If you are looking for venues that cater to such, you might want to consider the following: Echo Valley Ranch – located at the heart of British Columbia, Echo Valley Ranch caters to individuals and groups. The ranch has 20 rooms and cabins that can accommodate up to 5 people (on shared occupancy) and has a state of the art corporate events space that can seat up to 150. They offer worry-free corporate packages that include accommodations, meals and drinks and entertainment for a minimum stay of two nights.

Echo Valley Ranch Corporate Facilities
Echo Valley Ranch Corporate Facilities

Bar W Ranch – set in the small mountain town of Whitefish, Montana, the Bar W is an excellent corporate destination whether it be in the summer or winter. The ranch caters to small or large groups ranging from 5 to 300 participants. They offer complete packages and itinerary planning but are also very flexible, so you can create the itinerary or agenda yourself.

The Hideout Guest Ranch and Lodge – This small “little piece of heaven” in Shell, Wyoming provides the perfect venue for a private dude ranch corporate retreat. They can handle groups up to a maximum of thirty guests, and offer equestrian and non-equestrian related activities for everyone to enjoy.

Lone Mountain Ranch – Set in the heart of Montana ski country is the Lone Mountain Ranch. This historic guest ranch has facilities that can accommodate up to forty guests. The ranch features two large meeting rooms, a recreation room and six large bedrooms, ideal for small groups. They feature an individualized program that utilizes the beautiful southern Montana setting to inspire creativity and provide motivation for participants

The Resort At Paws Up – Also set in Montana, the Resort at Paws Up is a 37,000 acre working ranch that is unrivaled when it comes to luxury accommodations. The resort offers first class service and amenities, with fifty two accommodation setups ranging from private vacation homes to luxury tents. They also a variety of activity spaces from 10 to 200 people.

Corporate Events at The Resort at Paws Up

Vista Verde Ranch – Vista Verde is a secluded ranch in Colorado that promotes focused social interaction, while offering diverse adventures for your guests. They are also known for their luxury log cabin accommodations, and offer great solutions with their inclusive packages and pricing.

Why Go To A Dude Ranch For A Company Retreat

Dude ranches provide a breath of fresh air from most corporate set-ups. You get people close to nature, take them off the grid and place them in a relaxed atmosphere where they can connect with one another. Guest ranches vary in size, so you can pick one that best matches the size of your group. Although charmingly rustic, modern ranches now offer excellent facilities like meeting rooms with HD screens and high speed internet access where you can conduct your work related sessions and exercises. When all these activities are over, acres of ranch space welcomes everyone, allowing them to go around and have fun at their own leisure. Whether it’s fun, light hearted gossip at the ranches’ main room, songs and some beer in front of a warm fire or a quick horse ride, there is something for everyone to do.

Fun at Crystal Waters Guest Ranch

1/13/2014 8:56:50 AM

Crystal Waters Guest Ranch is located British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin region. Established at the turn of the century, the ranch sits in a scenic valley of lakes meadows, wetlands and forests on 640 acres of prime recreational property surrounded by 'crown lands'. It is home to some of the finest horseback riding and fishing in North America and is a year round horse and cattle ranch. It doesn't matter when you travel to the South Cariboo, every one of the four distinct seasons is great!    

Crystal Waters Guest Ranch
Horseback riding at Crystal Waters Guest Ranch

You‘ll wake to the sound of loons calling across the lake, enjoy a western breakfast buffet, and then set out for a day of adventure. In the evening join the other guests and wranglers in the dining room. Have a glass of wine, share stories about the day’s activities; hear some cowboy country tales, and then sit down to a hearty ranch style buffet. Later, kick back by the campfire, throw some darts, play cards or watch a movie in the lodge with new friends made at Crystal Waters Guest Ranch.    

Crystal Waters Guest Ranch
Crystal Waters Guest Ranch

Crystal Waters Guest Ranch specializes in horseback riding, ranching and fishing holidays but they also offer many other activities too.  With miles and miles of hiking, biking and horse trails, outdoor adventure enthusiasts will never exhaust the possibilities of the surrounding extensive forests, meadows, lakes, and wetlands. Come enjoy the crystal clear waters of Crystal Lake which is just a few steps away from your cabin and go swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

You can also explore the surrounding area and visit a Rodeo, Wells Gray Park, and the Williams Lake Stampede, the Kamloops Heritage events or Sun Peaks Ski Resort in the winter.  Whether you are young or old there are plenty of activities that will keep you busy or you can just kick back and relax in a deck chair overlooking Crystal Lake.

Crystal Waters Guest Ranch
Make new friends at the ranch

So come and experience a few days or a week at Crystal Waters Guest Ranch and live your guest ranch vacation!

Elk Mountain Ranch Steak Rub

1/6/2014 10:30:22 PM

Elk Mountain Guest Ranch is located 2.5 hours away from the Denver airport in Colorado.  Elk Mountain Ranch is unique for it's spectacular location, horseback rides of unmatched beauty, large variety of activities and a superb menu. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to have some grilled steaks with a magical tasty steak rub. The folks at Elk Mountain Ranch have been nice enough to share their recipe with you.

Elk Mountain Ranch Steak Rub

3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder

Mix well together and  rub liberally onto steaks. Grill immediately.    

Steak Rub
Elk Mountain Steak Rub

Six Reasons to Choose a Dude Ranch Vacation for the Holiday Season

12/28/2013 12:08:24 PM

Holidays are just around the corner. As the most anticipated time of the year, holidays signify happiness and joy that know no bounds. For those who want to enjoy the holidays and have memories they can talk about for years to come, a dude ranch is the ideal venue

Holiday Dude Ranch

Dude ranches are becoming increasingly popular among avid travelers and vacationers for good reason. Allowing holidaymakers to enjoy amenities that easily rival any all-inclusive hotel or resort, dude ranches promise travelers a memorable, unique experience. Need reasons to plan an unforgettable trip to a dude ranch with your friends or family? The list goes as follows. Dive in!

A Wonderful Vacation at Wallet-Friendly Prices Vacations don’t have to come with a huge price tag. Since some dude ranches are all-inclusive, travelers can know the prices up front and select something within their budget. There are no hidden costs and travelers don’t have to worry about leaving a hole in their pockets. In short, dude ranches are synonymous to fun without any financial fuss.

There’s More to It than Meets the Eye While dude ranches are characterized by horses, visitors get more than what they have bargained for. Individuals can indulge in a plethora of fun-filled activities like skiing, dog sledding, ice skating, downhill skiing and a lot more. In other words, dude ranches are a chance for individuals to get the best bang for their vacation bucks.

An Ideal Choice for All Age-Groups One problem associated with holiday destinations is that they either cater to an adult crowd or kids. However, since dude ranches offer activities to entertain individuals and kids belonging to any age group, they make up the sweet spot where immense enjoyment meets unlimited convenience.

Works Wonders for the Wee Ones With the increasing trend of traveling with families, dude ranches are quickly climbing everyone’s list of favorites. Since dude ranches offer a plethora of activities for kids, they make the most out of their experience by meeting other kids from across the globe. To top it all, activities like building igloos, wildlife learning, skiing and meeting Santa further sweetens the deal for them.

Chance to Enjoy Some Intimate Family Time Make up for all those times you were too busy be there for your family.  Enjoy a cozy holiday and create memories in a natural setting. Dude ranches offer once-in-a-lifetime chance for you to reconnect with your family and enjoy the company of your dear ones in a home away from home.

Connect With Mother Nature Regardless of which part of the country you are coming from, dude ranches are your getaway from the chronic humdrum of city life. From majestic mountains to breathtaking forests, dude ranches offer you an opportunity to enjoy nature like never before.

The otherworldly setting of a dude ranch makes it seem like a scene straight out of some Hollywood movie where individuals get a chance to enjoy natural beauty and wonderful offerings. Bottom-line: if you are in a mood to enjoy some creature comforts in a setting with timeless beauty, a visit to dude ranch is all you need to turn your visions into reality. Don’t wait! Start planning your visit to dude ranch today and experience a holiday that’s everything to rave about.

The Best Ways to Utilize Dude Ranches

12/19/2013 3:13:11 PM

The immediately recognizable smell of horses blowing in the air. The creak of leather saddles, and the dust and dirt associated with ‘blazing the trail’. All true images of a dude ranch vacation. Majestic scenery, fine wine with gourmet food, extraordinary spa treatments - also images of a dude ranch vacation? Surprisingly, yes!

Dude Ranches

Depending on where you choose to go, what your budget is, and what type of a vacation you are looking for - you may experience all of the above mentioned and much more. The best ways to utilize dude ranches depends on your answers to some important questions about what type of experience you are looking to have from your vacation.

Question #1: Do I Want to Rough It, or Relax?

Your honest answer as to whether riding on a horse and sleeping under the stars is your idea of a good time - or if this will only give rise to needing a vacation from your vacation - should help in choosing the right dude ranch for you. A mixed balanced of enjoyable riding, with some of the comforts of a relaxing holiday is appealing to many.

Question #2: What About the Company that you Keep?

While cowboy steaks and campfires may be your dream come true, what about your co-travelers? If their distaste for the experience is what you hear about frequently (perhaps unendingly) during the experience - you may want to rethink the options of who you take along, or where you decide to go and the options for appealing to varying tastes.

Question #3: Is it a practical place to hold your wedding or corporate group gathering?

As romantic a place as it may seem as you picture yourself riding off into the sunset with your new spouse, or as enthused as you may be about ‘rounding up’ your employees into team building activities - there is still a need for practicality. Advance planning, budget analysis and a good talk with the ranch staff where you are considering making your arrangements can go a long way in ensuring a successful event.

Question #4: Can a campfire rekindle your love?

Spending quality time with the person you care about free from the distractions of hectic schedules and technology driven communication can be exactly what is needed to reconnect and relight those fires of appreciation for one another. However, as previously mentioned - consider the preferences for both persons, and arrange a holiday at a dude ranch that will appeal to the desires of both individuals to make it an enjoyable experience all around.

Whether you utilize a dude ranch to sooth your soul, strengthen yourself for challenges in your life, share a positive experience with someone you care about or host a fabulous wedding or corporate event - in any case, it will be something not soon forgotten. A little research and planning will help you best utilize a dude ranch vacation to meet your needs and budget and provide a positive experience.

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch

12/11/2013 4:55:21 PM

Looking for the quintessential American frontier experience?

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch
Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch

Look no further than the Hawley Mountain Ranch based in Montana. It is made of the same reality-tinged myths that have had Americans obsessed with cowboys for ages! Situated in the middle of thousands of acres of untouched, pristine wilderness, just north of the Yellowstone Park, the Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch is where you can enjoy a lovely vacation. This ladies and gentlemen, is as good as it can get when it comes to dude ranches!

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch
Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch

Plan a vacation for two, fun time with the family or a serene holiday for one and take part in the following activities:

  • Horseback Riding: Ride with wranglers on fine horses taking in the scenic beauty.
  • Hiking: Go guided and unguided to explore the unique, fresh natural environment. Your trail will take you through mountains, lakes, caves and much more.
  • Fly Fishing: Catch some trout on the one mile private river frontage of the ranch.
  • Explore Ghost Towns: Take a jeep trip to Independence, famous for its gold mines and ghost town.
  • Campfires and cookouts: Enjoy some hearty western meals while sharing the campfire and some spooky stories with other guests.
  • Explore an Archeological site: This one date’s way back 11,500 years. See our history, well-preserved!
  • See some Wildlife: Elk, moose, coyotes and even bears walk free through these parts. Can you spot some?
There’s plenty to do here for every member of the family. The Hawley Mountain Ranch offers comfortable beds, warm showers and clean accommodations to take the edge of a hectic day!

Hawley Mountain Cabins
Hawley Mountain Cabins

So if you are looking for a great all-American vacation, you can’t go wrong with Hawley Mountain Ranch.

10 Facts About Dude Ranches that will Impress Your Friends

11/28/2013 4:48:39 PM

When planning for your dude ranch vacation, your prep list should include making sure you pack appropriate, comfortable clothing along with the other essentials you’ll need to have an enjoyable stay, making arrangement for time off work…oh, and don’t forget this handy list of ‘come backs’ for the friends that might mock your zest for adventure. The following are 10 facts about dude ranches that will without fail impress your friends, and have them blazing the trail to www.ranchseeker.com to search out dude ranches for themselves!

1. A shower and comfortable bed are optional.

Yes, dude ranch vacations come in all different styles for all types of travelers. Some prefer an expedition style, multi-day trip with nights spent sleeping under the stars - while others want to feel the enjoyment of trail riding, with a rewarding spa treatment and comfortable bed to close out the day.

2. There is a dude ranch vacation to fit everyone!

Seniors, families, people traveling alone, corporate groups, couples reconnecting, weddings - and the list goes on! Dude ranches accommodate all types of travelers, and with a little research anyone can find the perfect ranch for their needs and interests.

Dude Ranches
Dude ranches at any age

3. Dude ranches offer more than horseback riding

The common connection that dude ranches have is a love of nature and riding horses out on the trail and it is a great way to enjoy the surrounding beauty of the land. However, most dude ranches offer other activities as well such as observing wildlife, outdoor bbq’s and campfire nights, swimming, tennis, spa treatments and much more.

Echo Valley Ranch Spa
Spa at Echo Valley Ranch

4. Wine and gourmet food is also available

Most think ‘cowboy food’ is synonymous with dude ranches. A very mistaken belief as we now see five star dining and extensive wine lists available at some of the dude ranches in North America.

Dining at Vista Verde Ranch

5.  Dude ranch vacations are not just for warm climate / summer holidays

Another myth, as more and more ranches are inviting travelers during off season to enjoy cross-country skiing, tobogganing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling and other wintertime activities

Winter at Lone Mountain Ranch

6. Dude ranches are in Texas – and a lot of other places too!

From Texas to Montana, across North America - and even as far as South Africa you’ll find dude ranches accommodating people with a love of horseback riding, and connecting with the natural environment.

7. Dude ranches host weddings and team building events

More than just a holiday destination, many couples have celebrated their wedding in the romantic setting of a dude ranch. It can also be a great place to host corporate functions and plan activities that strengthen team communication and employee relationships.

Ranch weddings

8. Kids are welcome

Most dude ranches have plenty of activities to offer kids. It’s a great place to spend time together as a family, and reconnect with each other.

Dude ranches are for kids

9. A dude ranch is a great place for beginners to learn to horseback ride.

Experience at horseback riding is not a prerequisite for all dude ranches. There are often beginner programs that safely introduce horses to riders, and give them the confidence to give longer rides a try.

Learn Horseback Riding

10. Dude ranch vacations can fit into any budget

While some dude ranches are designed to appeal to travelers seeking luxurious accommodations, which means you need a bigger budget – other ranches rely on the simplicity of their surroundings, and offer affordable vacations that fit into any well planned budget.

When you announce your holiday plans to your friends and co-workers, keep in mind that there are a lot of preconceived ideas about dude ranches. Have a few of these details mentioned in mind before you drive off into the sunset on your way to your fabulous dude ranch vacation.

Top 5 Dude Ranches for Winter Getaways

11/19/2013 7:58:22 PM

As snow begins to fall, the Old West transforms into an altogether different landscape. Winter is a wonderful time to experience and really take pleasure in the beauty of the Old West. Just because its colder now, doesn’t mean that your favorite ranch activities need to be surrendered. In fact, you can now enjoy a whole new set of adventures to go along with the new season. From snowmobiling, to sleigh rides to cross country skiing, there are tons of new things to do when the winter comes, alone or with a group of family and friends. Of course, horseback rides and bonfires are still an option. After all, what dude ranch vacation would be complete without those! Just make sure that you are nicely bundled up! Here are our top 5 most favorite dude ranches in the winter season:

1.Vista Verde Guest Ranch

Situated near the Steamboat Springs, Colorado, this is a luxury dude ranch that is open during the winters as well.  Winter activities include dog-sledding, ice-climbing and powder cat skiing. The Vista Verde Guest Ranch is situated in the scenic surroundings of the National Forest, completely secluded from others. The winter ranch experience provided by Vista Verde is absolutely fabulous as the ranch provides all that’s needed for memorably classic holiday celebrations for families, friends and corporate get-togethers. They also offer couple’s getaways as well as a fun place for singles and friends to enjoy the plentiful Colorado snow.

Vista Verde Winter
Winter at Vista Verde Ranch

2. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

Lots and lots of snow and beautiful landscape can be viewed. The Echo Valley Ranch in British Columbia, Canada, is the perfect place for a winter getaway situated about 4 hours away from Vancouver. The ranch opens for business in winter around December 13, 2013th. Book your tickets early to celebrate Christmas and New Year because Echo Valley is an amazing place to bring family and friends together. They also accommodate company Christmas retreats.

Echo Valley Ranch
Winter at Echo Valley Ranch

3.  Tod Mountain Ranch

Concealed away in the Louis Creek Valley, amidst the mountains in British Columbia, Canada, Tod Mountain Ranch is a tiny exclusive ranch that offers a serene environment that provides a unique, hands-on horseback riding experience. The best part about the ranch is its close proximity to the Sun Peaks Ski Resort. This makes for almost 4000 acres of skiable terrain, and activities like snow bikes, skating, dog sledding, snow mobiles and Tubing & Tobogganing.

Tod Mountain Ranch
Winter at Tod Mountain Ranch

4.  Lone Mountain Ranch

This is your base camp for the perfect Rocky Mountain adventure vacation. The Lone Mountain ranch boasts of unrivaled downhill skiing facilities and a combined lift-serviced alpine experience with over 5,000 skiable acres. These amenities, coupled with an exclusive world class Nordic Ski Center, make Lone Mountain Ranch an unbeatable winter destination. It is favored by the most experienced cross-country ski devotees. The Montana ranch offers a spell binding 2,200 vertical feet from the top of the system to the bottom.

Lone Mountain Ranch
 Winter at Lone Mountain Ranch

5.  Sugar and Spice Ranch

Situated in Bandera Texas, this is one ranch that offers the real ranch experience. This is the perfect family spot that provides all its guests with a hands-on experience in taking care of the horses and living the ranch lifestyle, just the way it is meant to be. Guests bunk together as a group in a big beautiful bunk room, meals area communal experience and this is what makes vacations here a lovely, bonding experience. The Sugar and Spice Ranch offers women’s only weekends, mother-daughter bonding weeks as well as family weekend packages for the winter season.

Sugar and Spice Ranch
Winter at Sugar and Spice Ranch

Surely one of these dude ranches will have the Winter getaway perfect for you. Use the easy dude ranch search tool on Ranchseeker to find more dude ranches with Winter promotions.

White Stallion Ranch Oatmeal Pancakes

11/11/2013 4:13:24 PM

There is nothing quite like homemade pancakes on a lazy weekend morning. Why not make them healthier by adding the superfood oats! The folks over at White Stallion Ranch in Arizona have provided us this yummy recipe for Oatmeal pancakes.  This Oatmeal Pancake recipe is easy, delicious and healthy!

Oatmeal Pancakes


2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups buttermilk
3 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter (not oil)
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Combine oats and buttermilk and let stand overnight
  2. Combine the eggs, sugar and oil in a small bowl and beat together. Add to the oat/buttermilk mixture
  3. Add flour, salt and baking soda. Add a bit of cinnamon if you like!
  4. Cook on a hot griddle

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