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The following modified article appears in Ranch & Reserve's March issue:
When people think of guest ranches, horseback riding is the main activity that first comes to mind and although this remains the primary focus of numerous ranches, there are guest ranches that also offer a wide array of exciting and adrenalin-inducing options for the more adventure-seeking traveler. Have you ever dreamed about white-water rafting down a fast flowing river or zip lining high above the treetops? Or how about learning new skills like archery, skeet and long distance shooting? And for those up to the challenge, rock climbing will not only test fitness levels, but will boost your feeling of confidence and dare-do spirit. The following ranches, aside from offering exceptional equestrian programs, provide these activities and more for anyone looking to try something new or wanting to add to their horseback riding vacation.
Red Reflet Ranch
Located in beautiful Ten Sleep, Wyoming, this guest ranch strives to provide its guests with a remarkable and unique vacation experience. Both a working ranch and luxury guest ranch resort, it offers all-inclusive stays with unlimited activities. Sign up for intense, high-energy fun or choose a more relaxed way to pass your time… the choice is yours! With over 27,000 acres, guests are encouraged to experience the spectacular surrounding landscape as much as possible on horseback, in addition to the more adrenalin-rush options available.
Soar through the air like a bird while strapped into a harness on the ranch’s private 4 course zip line. Get ready for a fast, exciting ride over the ponds of Red Reflet. Do it as many times as you want since unlike most zip line courses, there is no limit to your fun. Once you have decided to plant your feet firmly on the ground for a while, learn a new skill like rifle range or skeet shooting. Qualified instructors will show you the proper handling and usage of their guns and rifles. For younger participants this is the ideal opportunity to teach them about gun safety and lots of people enjoy this aspect of Western life. If you feel like testing your fitness level or are in need of a good workout then there are several climbing sites from moderately difficult to challenging where you will be treated to unrivaled views of the Ten Sleep Canyon. Red Reflet Ranch also has its own man-made rock wall where you can hone your skills before attempting a ‘real’ climb on a natural rock surface.
Open year-round this Wyoming guest ranch has different attractions available during the four seasons. Customize your dream adventure based on what you would like to experience. Being a working ranch as well means that the highest level of ranch activity takes place during the Spring and Fall. Accommodations include various sized chalets and one Ranch House that sleeps up to 14 that is perfect for large families or groups. Some of the additional activities include: fishing, ATVs, mountain biking, cattle drives, hiking, skeet & rifle shooting.
Red Reflet Ranch
Gros Ventre River Ranch
An ideal vacation choice for adventure buffs, the Gros Ventre River Ranch is located in a beautiful natural setting in Moose, Wyoming, just 18 miles from the visitor’s entrance of Grand Teton National Park, and 60 miles from the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Aside from a first-rate riding program which includes scenic trails or the more challenging rides in the surrounding hills, Gros Ventre River Ranch has something for everyone and offers some fun heart-stopping options* for the thrill seekers in your group.
If you have ever wanted to try white-water rafting, the Snake River Canyon is the place, as it features Class III and Class IV rapids. Take the plunge down this aptly-named river with experienced guides and enjoy spectacular scenery while maneuvering through rushing water and canyon bends. Getting wet isn’t for everybody, so perhaps running off a mountain is more your speed. At Rendezvous Mountain you and an experienced pilot strapped to your back will take off from the 10, 450 foot summit and smoothly paraglide down to the ground while experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the Teton and Snake River Range with incredible vistas only possible from your privileged vantage point. Finally, for those not content to simply admire the majestic Tetons from their deck, rock climbing is available too. The opportunities for adventure at Gros Ventre River Ranch are endless*Please note that these activities can be arranged through the ranch, but are provided off-site by local companies with no affiliation to the ranch.
Open June through September Gros River Ranch is a premier Jackson Hole dude ranch that can accommodate up to 30-40 guests per week. With four log cabins, five log lodges, and one Homestead House you are sure to find the ideal option for your vacation needs. Some of the on-site activities include: horseback riding; fly- fishing in the stocked ponds; hiking, canoeing, team penning & sorting; mountain biking and roping instruction.
Gros Ventre River Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch
Nestled in the Elk River Valley just north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado you’ll find Vista Verde Ranch. Deep in the Rocky Mountains this luxury dude ranch boasts exceptional views and offers a wide array of activities throughout the different seasons. Create a lifetime of memories white staying at this AAA Four Diamond, 500 acre property that features personalized service and true Western hospitality. Horseback riding is a must whether you visit during the summer or winter months and for those who love playing in the snow the ranch has lots of fun activities to choose from like skiing, snow-shoeing and snow tubing to name but a few.
For the more adventurous guest, Vista Verde Ranch provides 2 rock climbing trips per week. It doesn’t matter whether you are new to the sport either, since you’ll first spend a few hours learning the basics of rock climbing and rappelling. This activity is suitable for families with children but will also challenge vacationers looking for added excitement. The views of the National Forest are well worth the short hike up the rock. During the summer months cool off on a daylong river-rafting trip. At the beginning of the season, experienced guides will lead you down the snow-fed rapids for a true white-water adventure on the Eagle River. As the summer wears on and the snow melts away your trip will be calmer in nature but just as much fun.
The Dude Ranch season runs from June through late October and Vista Verde operates as a winter ranch from mid- December to early March. It is closed during the spring and fall for “mud season”. Accommodations include a spacious private log cabin or deluxe lodge room. Additional summer activities include: fly-fishing, mountain biking, hiking, paddle boarding, yoga, photography and culinary adventures.
Vista Verde Ranch
Whether you decide to stay at Red Reflet Ranch, Gros Ventre River Ranch or Vista Verde Ranch you are guaranteed to find comfortable accommodations, top-notch riding programs, true Western hospitality and an abundance of diverse activities for even the most adventurous traveler in your group. Dude ranch vacations nowadays truly deliver the ‘stuff’ that memories are made from. RanchSeeker can help you find the ideal guest ranch vacation today! www.ranchseeker.com