RanchSeeker Blog

Let Animals Heal You Inside Out during Your Next Dude Ranch Visit

11/09/2015 12:14:32 PM

You’ve probably heard about pet therapy from different news channels or sites. Basically, the term covers a form of therapy where animals help individuals recover from health problems starting from heart disease to depression. It also entails activities where animals are used to provide comfort and entertainment to individuals such as nursing home residents. However, what you probably didn’t know is that YOU TOO need a little pet therapy from time to time. And the best place to get this is at a dude ranch, especially since this alternative approach goes well with ecotherapy (i.e. natural healing).

pet therapy

How Animals Can Improve Your Health

You already have a good idea of how consuming grass-fed cattle can be good for your health. However, interacting with animals aside from your own pets offer many physical and psychological advantages, including:

Improved Mood – Be it the antics of a litter of puppies or bleating lambs, watching these cute critters is bound to chase your stress away and reduce your anxiety. In fact, your body goes through a series of changes that affect your mood. For instance, your cortisol (stress hormone) levels decrease while the production of serotonin (well-being hormone) increases.

Increased Physical Activity – Whether you’re riding a horse, herding cattle or just taking a dog on a walk, you’re getting a good dose of exercise. Even if you’re just cleaning the horses’ stalls, grooming them or feeding them, these chores will burn your calories and strengthen your muscles.

Building Confidence – Knowing that you can control a 1,000 pound horse or a much heftier herd of cows will help you feel accomplished. If the animal doesn’t comply, you’ll feel empowered disciplining it and making sure that it follows your orders.

Connecting with Nature – Animals love the outdoors, so you’re bound to step outside more times than you think possible. The outdoors, in turn, will improve both your physique and psyche. Besides, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun, giving your body a fighting chance against diseases such as obesity and cancer.

Improved Digestion – One of the least known advantages of riding horses is improved digestion. Even riding one at a walking pace will stimulate your internal organs, especially your liver. This explains why ranchers have a hearty appetite.

Decreased Isolation – Tending to ranch animals will give you a chance to talk with others who may be experiencing this for the first time like you or veterans who have been coming there for years. As you strike up a conversation, you’re bound to find people who share other interests and make friends. Also, many ranches have family style dining where guests come dine together at a set mealtime. Therefore, you’ll become more sociable and capable of preventing mental health disorders such as depression.


Fewer Allergies – Exposing younger children to animals is bound to make them less likely to develop allergies. In fact, children who live on farms are more immune to allergies and a variety of microbes. As a result, they grow into healthy adults and experience fewer health issues.

Why Dude Ranches of All Places?

You can always head to the nearest petting zoo, but it won’t provide you with the same benefits as dude ranches. You see, you don’t only get to stroke the animals there, you get to interact with them on a different level since you can be in charge of a herd and/or your own horse. Besides, you get to play, exercise or meet up with more animals at once, doubling their benefits every time. Aside from the animals, dude ranches offer you a wide range of benefits that make visiting them worthwhile. For instance, you get to bond with your family members, be it through an activity such as fishing or around the dinner table. There are also many activities that you can enjoy solo, starting from horse riding to enjoying a spa treatment. However, what you get to experience at the dude ranch depends completely on where you plan your vacation. Therefore, make the right choice for you and your family and giddy up to where all the good animals are. Ranchseeker can help you find the right ranch for your family. Use our free dude ranch search tool.

RanchSeeker’s Photo of the Week: Chilcotin Holidays

09/09/2015 10:05:54 AM

Chilcton Holidays is all about nature and authentic wilderness adventures. They feature over 100 wilderness-related programs and guest experiences under the following categories: ranch holidays, hiking, Grizzly viewing, fishing, guide training, native tours, mountain biking, ESL, snowmobiling, wildlife viewing, horse pack trips, and guest ranch and wilderness jobs. I’m sure that you will agree that Chilcotin Holidays guest ranch is undoubtedly the most committed and comprehensive wilderness outfitter in North America. Located in Gold Bridge, British Columbia, this 4 season guest ranch will custom design your wilderness experiences enabling you to connect with nature in a meaningful and life changing way. With over 5,000 sq-km to explore with licensed guides and Cayuse horses at the South Chilcotin Mountain Park you are sure to enjoy each and every day of your wilderness vacation. Whether you stay just for a few days or a week you will discover that it isn’t so much about the quantity of time spent in nature but more so about the quality of your time spent outdoors. Chilcotin Holidays is the ideal choice for those looking to try new things and discover more about themselves and their surroundings.

British Columbia Wilderness Vacation
Chilcotin Holidays

You can choose from half day, full day and full length adventures. Should you choose to go horseback riding be sure to bring your camera!  You will be exploring hidden pathways, pristine mountain trails and riding past emerald lakes, snow- capped mountains, wide open valleys, and abundant wildlife. For those who love to hike there are endless mountain trails and picturesque look-out points to discover all within a matter of hours and for the more avid hiker be sure to ask about their “Mountain Hiking Adventures” and “Ranch-based Hiking Adventures.”  The fisherman in your group will love the mountain-fed lakes and rivers that provide an excellent opportunity to catch up with friends or spend some quiet time alone while trying to hook “the big one”. Ask the staff about “Mountain Fishing Getaways” and “Ranch-based Fishing Adventures” to see which fishing trip best suits you. These are just a few of the fun outdoor activities that you can choose from while on your wilderness vacation. If you’re ready for a genuine wilderness experience, your adventure begins here at Chilcotin Holidays.

Happy Trails!

RanchSeeker’s Photo of the Week: Gros Ventre River Ranch

02/09/2015 12:37:24 PM

Gros Ventre River Ranch in Moose, Wyoming, is considered a premier Jackson Hole dude ranch that offers all-inclusive vacation stays. Nestled on the banks of the Gros Ventre River this ranch boasts spectacular views of the Teton Range. With 30 to 40 guests per week you will be treated like family. If you love to horseback ride then this is the guest ranch for you. The morning after you arrive wranglers will assign you a horse for the week that best matches your experience level and riding style. There are several rides to choose from like scenic walking rides or more challenging rides that take you into the surrounding hills near the ranch. With two rides a day available and also an all-day picnic ride the amount of time you spend in the saddle is up to you.

Wyoming guest ranch
Gros Ventre River Ranch

Other fun activities to choose from are fly-fishing and hiking or if you are in the need of a jolt of adrenaline then try your hand at white-water rafting or a tandem parachute jump off of the 10,450 foot summit of Rendezvous Mountain. Looking to slow down? There are several golf courses in the area too. Or simply kick back in one of the hammocks found hanging between the trees throughout the front yard or curl up in one of the soft chairs by the fireplace in the main lodge. Kids love to hang out in their own rec room which comes complete with foosball, ping pong, puzzles, games, movies and more. Accommodations include either cabins, log lodges or the homestead house. All options can be rented in whole or in part depending on your group’s needs and size. Meals at Gros Ventre River Ranch are served family-style and are chef-prepared. Adults can enjoy cocktails in the lounge and soak up the beautiful Wyoming sunsets while relaxing on the porch. After dinner the whole family can get together for a game of pool or play some table games while in the main lodge. So next time that you are considering a vacation why not choose Gros Ventre River Ranch where you will find western luxury for your inner cowboy.

Happy Trails!

RanchSeeker’s Photo of the Week: Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

27/08/2015 6:58:33 AM

Stunning views and fresh mountain air await you at this North Idaho guest ranch located on 1100 acres. While staying at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch you will discover true western hospitality since this is a fourth generation family owned and operated ranch. Open year round guests can choose from several different “Adventure Vacation Packages” all of which include lodging, daily horseback rides and three country gourmet meals per day as well as evening entertainment and access to all ranch amenities. During the summer months horseback riding is the main focus but there are lots of fun activities to do as well like hiking, fishing with a local outfitter (extra charge), playing horseshoes, Teepee camp, basketball and singing songs around a campfire with s’mores. Additional activities included, for those staying on the “All-Inclusive Guest Ranch Package” are cattle sorting, a dinner cruise on Lake Pend Orielle, a scavenger hunt, trap shooting, archery, and white water rafting and kayaking for an additional charge. Winter at the ranch is a lot of fun too! You can choose from a downhill skiing, cross-country skiing snowmobile or spa package. Be sure to ask about the sleigh rides that are available as well. As North Idaho is blanketed in white guests enjoy the romance of coming back to a fire-warmed cabin or warming up next to the big stone fireplace in the lodge at the end of the day after playing in the snow.

Idaho Guest Ranch
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Accommodations at the ranch can either be in a cabin or in one of the lodge rooms. Each cabin is different so be sure to explain your vacation needs when booking. All cabins and lodge rooms are comfortably rustic and are sure to provide you with a great night’s sleep. A vacation at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch will take you back to nature and to a time when things were simpler. Your ranch stay can be as relaxing or as action packed as you want. With so many packages and seasons to choose from you will find yourself returning year after year!

Happy Trails!

Get a Dose of Nature Therapy at a Dude Ranch

24/08/2015 5:09:29 PM

Every day, you wake up to face a never-ending whirlwind of bills, drama, family feuds, nagging, traffic jam, messes, to-do lists, phone calls, emails, social media alerts, money problems. If you didn’t get a headache just reading all this, kudos on being quite resilient. But let’s be serious, life can be quite tough and almost overwhelming. This is why you can’t wait to hit the gym, indulge at the spa or simply share a meal with friends from time to time. However, there’s an even better therapy for your daily woes, one that you probably never heard of before: Ecotherapy.


Also known as green therapy or natural therapy, ecotherapy allows you to go back to Mother Nature and absorb her healing power. Be it through a walk in the open range or a canoe trip on a river, you’ll get the following five advantages of this alternative form of healing.

#1) Withdrawal from Every Day Stress Triggers

Everything around you is a stress trigger, starting from your personal life to your career. However, leaving everything behind and stepping into nature will help you clear your mind. In fact, a 2010 Japanese study revealed that elements of the environment such as the smell of wood or the sound of a running stream can relax and de-stress individuals. The latter was proven by lower levels of cortisol, a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure.

#2) Better Chances against Disease 

There are many reasons why doctors have started prescribing a dose of nature. While there isn’t any concrete research proving the effects of nature on a particular condition, there are many studies that paint a hopeful picture of the efficiency of ecotherapy. For starters, Kathy Helzlsouer, MD, director of the Prevention and Research Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore recommends that breast cancer survivors step outdoors more. That way, they can counter the persistent fatigue that follows their treatment and ultimately improve their diet and exercise habits. If you have kids, you need to take them outdoors to strengthen their immune system. Researchers have also uncovered a link between obesity or type II diabetes and the amount of time children spend outside. Families that spend more time in front of TV or computer screens have benefited from increased physical activity outdoors, gaining a chance to fight these dreadful diseases.

#3) Extra Dose of Vitamin D

If you’re the type who tends to hiss at the few rays peeking through your blinds, chances are that you haven’t been getting any vitamin D. This pre-hormone is very important for your body as it controls many functions in your body and ensures its overall health. What further makes soaking up some sun vital is vitamin D’s ability to fight cancer, obesity, mental disorders and numerous health problems. While researchers are still trying to prove the vitamin’s capabilities, you really can’t go wrong by stepping out and getting this vital nutrient from the best source out there – The Sun.

#4) Breathing the Freshest Air

If you thought that you enjoyed fresh air in the city, prepare to redefine what the word ‘fresh’ means by stepping into all-natural surroundings. Not only do you get to break away from the 6,000 airborne chemicals indoors, but you also get to inhale negative ions. In case this is the first time you’ve heard about them, negative ions are nature’s antidepressants as they can relax and heal. This further explains Mother Nature’s ability to counter stress, increase your energy levels, and relieve muscle tension and insomnia.

#5) Stronger Eyes and Improved Vision

This may come as a surprise, but surrounding yourself with nature can be good for eyes, especially those of children. Children who spend hours looking at computers or TV screens daily tend to develop nearsightedness since man is genetically predisposed to look a different colors and various levels of brightness and depths. Besides, they can develop eye fatigue and ultimately suffer from headaches growing up. So give your kids’ eyes and yours a break by heading to where Mother Nature shines brightest – away from the city. Aside from these health benefits, reconnecting with nature via ecotherapy is good for your soul. It can help you stay grounded and balanced. It’ll also bring a smile to your face as everything surrounding you will be quite beautiful. You’ll finally feel awake and alive. And you might even learn something new about yourself if you decide to enjoy some different activities such as horseback riding, skiing or fishing. However, if you really want to enjoy all these advantages, you need to go to where nature is at its purest. Dude ranches are nestled in the middle of mountain ranges or deserts, ensuring their distance from pollution, toxins and stress triggers that bring you down. They’re also the perfect place to enjoy a range of adventurous activities that will make your adrenaline levels go high. Therefore, don’t miss the chance to heal by Mother Nature and get some ecotherapy at a dude ranch soon. Find the perfect dude ranch using Ranchseeker's free dude ranch tool.  

RanchSeeker’s Photo of the Week: Coulter Lake Guest Ranch

21/08/2015 8:24:24 AM

Coulter Lake Guest Ranch is a small year round guest ranch located in Rifle, Colorado. Nestled in a beautiful valley on the shores of a pristine mountain lake guests at the ranch are treated to the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains as well as abundant wildlife. Ideal for summer vacations, family reunions, wedding, business retreats, hunting opportunities and winter getaways since each package can be customized to start and end your days to fit your schedule. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the two trail rides that are offered every day. From atop a horse you will see the Colorado Rockies like no other way so be sure to take your camera. Each guest is matched to a horse that best suits their riding abilities. Whether you are a first time rider or have ridden your whole life Coulter Lake Guest Ranch has the horse for you. There are scenic walking rides and loping on most trails or you can choose to take lessons to improve your skills. You can choose to ride as often or as little as you like. When guests aren’t off riding they can often be found in the lake. With activities like kayaking, canoeing, fishing or simply swimming out to the platform to cool off on a hot day the lake provides kids and adults with hours of entertainment. And this being Colorado there are many other opportunities as well for avid fishermen to fish the superb trout rivers, nearby streams and mountain lakes. Hiking enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either since no matter what direction they choose beautiful trails await them.  For the more adventurous half day white water raft trips are available and for those that like to golf there is a course nearby. If you feel like a short drive you can also visit Colorado’s wineries and orchards in Palisades or book a massage at one of the spas in Glenwood.

Colorado Guest Ranch
Coulter Lake Guest Ranch

At the end of a fun-filled day of activities or a relaxing day spent by the lake guests can retire to their own cabin by the lake or among the aspen trees all within an easy walk to the main Lodge. Each cabin has 1-3 bedrooms, a sitting area, a private bathroom with shower, and a front porch with incredible views of the lake and mountains. For those nights that get chilly all but one cabin has a fireplace and all of them have heating systems. Meals are served either in the lodge’s dining room or al fresco at one of the outdoor locations. Expect family-style meals with a western gourmet flair. Coulter Lake Guest Ranch will provide you and your loved ones with a memorable vacation that will have you coming back year after year.

Happy Trails!  

RanchSeeker’s Photo of the Week: Coffee Creek Ranch

13/08/2015 7:45:49 AM

When you think about California a dude ranch vacation may not be the first vacation choice that immediately comes to mind but “The Golden State” has several Western dude ranches to choose from and Coffee Creek Ranch is just one of them. Located in the Trinity Alps wilderness area you will find snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush meadows, sparkling lakes and one of Northern California’s finest guest ranches. The most popular activity at Coffee Creek Ranch is horseback riding. The ranch breeds its own AQHA and Paint horses for guests to use on one of their two scheduled rides per day. You can choose from the “Breakfast Ride” or the all-day “Wilderness Ride” that takes guests to a picturesque lake. For the more adventurous the all-day ride can be extended into an overnight pack trip that returns the next day. With access to over 833 miles of scenic trails picture-postcard views of the Trinity Alps Wilderness area await you. Be sure to pack your camera!

California Guest Ranch 
Coffee Creek Guest Ranch

Other activities include mountain hiking and biking, swimming in a heated pool, soaking in the outdoor Jacuzzi, badminton, volleyball, horseshoes, pedal boating, table tennis, gold panning and basketball. You can also test your skills at the rifle and archery range. Bingo, square & line dancing, Karaoke and a talent show round off the fun list of activities that guests can choose from while staying at the ranch. Accommodations at the ranch feature secluded, rustic, cozy cabins. One ranch house room and one cabin is handicapped friendly and most of the family cabins have wood burning stoves that are just perfect to set the mood for a “romantic weekend getaway” for couples. Meals are prepared by professional chefs who provide nutritious cuisine using only the freshest herbs, vegetables and fruits that utilize the garden to table concept whenever possible. Daily menus are planned and prepared keeping in mind both children’s tastes and the hearty appetites of the adults in the family. Special diets from Gluten-free to Vegan can be accommodated if notified in advance so that the ranch can have your food products available in their pantry. So next time you are thinking about booking a vacation why not consider Coffee Creek Ranch in the beautiful state of California?

Happy Trails!

Scribble a Cattle Drive on Your Bucket List Now!

07/08/2015 11:10:43 AM

Cattle drives were an important economic activity in the American West two centuries ago. Historians believed 20 million cattle were herded from Texas to Kansas before they were shipped to stockyards in Chicago and other cities in the east. While there are many cattle drives taking part in the west, this part of cowboy culture is vividly alive at some of the best dude ranches in North America. If you haven’t experienced the joy and thrill of a cattle drive, here are five reasons that’ll drive you (pardon the pun!) to locate a dude ranch hosting this activity.

#1) Stepping into Cowboys’ Boots

Cowboys earned their name by herding and tending to cattle on the ranches of North America. Their distinctive gear, which comprises of high-crowned cowboy hats, high-heeled boots, leather chaps, spurs, and a rifle/pistol, has always fascinated people, especially on movie screens. With President Theodore Roosevelt further popularizing the American cowboy image through his writings, it’s no wonder that you’d want to be a cowboy yourself. However, just stepping into cowboy gear won’t be enough for those who truly want to immerse themselves into this world. You need to get your hands dirty to appreciate their heritage; and what better way to do so than participating in a cattle drives? In addition to learning how to handle a large herd, you’ll enjoy the same feelings, smells and sounds which thousands of cowboys experienced before you.

Cattle Drive at Laramie River Ranch

 #2) Discovering the Best Scenery Nature Offers

Most dude ranches are located near spring and summer pastures that allow you to appreciate the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. Cattle rides allow you to enjoy the wildest and most beautiful country. While riding, you’re bound to be mesmerized by the scenery surrounding you and even experienced wildlife up close and personal. Just think – the same scenes before you have attracted hundreds of city slickers in the past, driving them to set make their home there before opening it up to you and other guests.

Cattle Drive at The Hideout Ranch

#3) Stimulating Your Sense of Adventure

Nothing can make your heart pump loudly as chasing a cow that decided to go its own way. If you master dude ranch skills such as calf roping, you’re bound to be itching to flex your new learned expertise and show that errant cow who’s boss. And, you’ll get to work up a hearty appetite for the delicious, home-cooked meals waiting for you at the lodge. Rest assured that your adventures will be so memorable that you’ll bore everyone around you with cattle drive stories.

#4) Learning the True Meaning of Teamwork

Cattle drives are a major challenge for cowboys, which is why they’re used to handling this delicate process in pairs or in groups. By taking part in this adventure, you’ll become an active part of a team that abides by the orders of the trail boss. As you know that working together will get this job done successfully, you’ll start working with others and hone your teamwork skills. Your boss will love the dude ranch for the better, more cooperative employee returning from their holidays.

Winter Cattle Drive at Red Reflet Ranch

#5) Flaunting and Learning Horse Riding Skills 

If anything, cattle drives are bound to help you flaunt your riding skills. After all, you need to be an experienced rider before signing up for this activity. However, there are some dude ranches that are willing to teach you how to ride a horse like a pro in a short time. Therefore, you’ll learn how to ride and practice in the open range. YOU can’t teach people how to ride like a pro in a short time perhaps change that sentence

Cattle Drive at Burnt Well Ranch

So make sure to head to a dude ranch before its upcoming cattle drive. Search our extensive list of ranches by defining the ‘cattle drive’ criteria and book your spot before someone else nabs it.

RanchSeeker’s Photo of the Week: Tod Mountain Guest Ranch

05/08/2015 9:04:04 AM

Are you ready for the horseback riding vacation of a lifetime? The Tod Mountain Guest Ranch promises to deliver that and more. Located a short distance north of Kamloops, an easy 4 hours’ drive from Vancouver, Tod Mountain Guest Ranch is the perfect mid-way stop on your Western Canada road trip between Vancouver and Banff or Jasper. This BC guest ranch, which is tucked away in the Louis Creek Valley and surrounded by majestic mountains, offers stunning views, great food and an exceptional experience with horses. It is the ideal vacation spot to find adventure as well as a peaceful, calm environment to relax and unwind. Tod Mountain Guest Ranch focuses on horseback riding and because they are a small, intimate guest ranch they can provide complete flexibility when it comes to their riding program. Rides will be geared towards your interest level as well as your riding ability. So whether you are an advanced rider or saddling-up for the first time experienced wranglers will match you with the perfect horse for the duration of your stay.

BC Guest Ranch
Tod Mountain Guest Ranch

Aside from riding you can also enjoy hiking and biking trails, horseshoe pitch, indoor games or movies and of course just kicking your boots off to relax and unwind. Nearby there are endless activities to try out like fishing, golfing, kayaking and canoeing. For those who are seeking even more adventure there is Stand-Up-Paddle Boarding (SUP) on Heffley Lake or Zip Lining across Chase Canyon. Guests stay in spacious cabins that are a real blend of the modern and traditional.  Each cabin is luxuriously equipped to ensure your comfort during your stay. Imagine waking up with the sun and sitting on your covered porch with a hot cup of steaming coffee while soaking up the beautiful views and sounds of nature! There are several different configurations of cabins to suit your needs and all of them have a private bathroom with a bath tub and shower. This luxuriously rustic guest ranch combines wholesome home cooked meals, delightful accommodations and a unique hands-on horseback riding experience to provide you with a memorable dude ranch experience.

Happy Trails!

RanchSeeker’s Photo of the Week: The Three Bars Guest Ranch

30/07/2015 9:16:00 AM

For your next vacation why not consider visiting “Super Natural” British Columbia? There you will find the Three Bars Guest Ranch considered THE adventure guest ranch of the Canadian Rockies. Located just south of Banff, in Cranbrook, Three Bars specializes in 3 – 6 night all- inclusive riding and non- riding packages. The guest ranch, which is owned by the Beckley family, invite you to join them for the experience of a lifetime. Here you will find an abundance of nature, clean, rushing water, green fields, and breathtaking mountain views. Three Bars offers one of the most complete adventure vacation packages available. There is a wide range of activities to choose from like horseback riding, hiking, river rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing, and tennis. Every day is a new adventure for you and your loved ones to experience!

Canadian Guest Ranch
Three Bars Guest Ranch

If you are a true city slicker and have never been on or near a horse don’t worry. Three Bars ranch offers horseback riding lessons for all of their guests and can accommodate all levels of experience. With over 110 head of horses their horse-to-guest ratio is over 2-to-1, which allows them to suit horses to each rider's individual ability and experience level. While riding you will have the opportunity to roam over 75,000 acres. At the end of the day a spacious log cabin awaits you where you can kick-back and relax on your porch while enjoying all the western charm that your cabin affords you. There are cabins suited for couples and families alike.  Aside from all of the modern amenities that are included there is also an indoor swimming pool, outdoor hot tub and Jacuzzi ideal for soothing sore muscles after a long ride. When you choose to vacation at Three Bars Ranch you are choosing to experience something more than just your regular vacation!

Happy Trails!

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