There is a cowboy or cowgirl in everyone and playing the role of one on a ranch can prove to be one of the most rewarding vacations you could take. You can step out of the city life and general demands of reality and begin fulfilling that childhood dream. So, go ahead and dust off you cowboy hat, put on some boots and get ready to ride. Here are a few ranches available for those seeking the ultimate outdoor adventure and an authentic taste of the West.
The family owned Hartley Guest Ranch in Northeastern New Mexico is beautifully situated on over 25,000 acres. It has over two hundred miles of trails through forests containing a variety of trees, mesas and canyons. This ranch has a fantastic stock of horses on which you can take a ride on some of the beautiful trails to get a more intimate view of the scenery. Or, you can get a taste of the all day cattle round-ups moving cattle from pasture to another.
All riders go through an orientation at first to match you with the best horse and also evaluate your riding ability. The rides are all guided and vary in length based on the how long the guests want to ride. There are cantering and loping rides also available for guests to enjoy once qualified by a wrangler. Guests can also take experience pack trips and overnight campouts or participate in rounding up the cattle, separating cows from calves and even branding the calves in season. Of course, guests do not have to participate but can simply sit back and watch if they prefer.
Guests can also enjoy terrific fishing in nearby ponds close to the lodge, or hike with or without a guide to see ancient Indian sites, dinosaur bones or other unusual geological structures. The Hartley Guest Ranch is also home to many deer, bear, mountain lions, wild turkey and coyotes.
The Blue Mountain Cattle Drive is northwest of Cedar City, Utah and is another great option for anyone seeking a real taste of the old West. The famous outlaw Butch Cassidy originated from this area and, actually, some of his descendants work this ranch. Here, you can take part in cattle drive adventures, horse back riding, campfire singing, western entertainment, cattle roping, Chug Wagon dinners and viewing wildlife including deer, elk, wild horses and antelope. Lodging at the ranch includes trail rides, meals, cattle drives and ranch chores to give you an authentic taste of the west as it really was.
Finally, you may consider the Grapevine Canyon ranch in Arizona. Here, you can immerse yourself in the rich Indian history and the dragoon Mountains, once home of the famous Geronimo and Apache Chief Cochise. This ranch offers over seventy horses for all levels of riding ability, beautiful trails and even ghost towns to explore. You can also stay in the furnished suits or cabins and enjoy the hot tub, pool, library and game room.