10 Of America's Best Old-School Ranches

10 of America's Best Old-School Ranches

Imagine yourself and your family leading horses to a meadow as the sun sets above the breathtaking mountain hills surrounding you. The wilderness of the West is on the horizon as you start a fire to make dinner and marvel at the clear skies and stars. A typical day in the life of a cowboy living in the late-1800's can still be experienced.  

Hideout at Flitner Ranch, Wyoming

The name implies exactly what the ranch offers – closeness and a chance for families to spend quality time together. The guests do the some work in the summer. Log cabins feature breathtaking countryside views and porches with rocking chairs. The horse rides vary in length but they are all stunning – you'll ride by forests and canyons. Non-riding activities include trapshooting, fly-fishing, archery and 4X4 mountain tours.

Los Pinos Guest Ranch, New Mexico

You can get lost in time at the Los Pinos Guest Ranch and have a wonderful time. This mountain paradise is still a family-owned business with four cabins nestled in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo range of the Southern Rockies, bordering the Santa Fe National Forest. Guests basically have their own private country house. Guided horse rides are available for both beginning and experienced riders.

Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Idaho

The 300,000-acre Red Horse Mountain Ranch, located near the eastern shores of Coeur d'Alene Lake in Harrison, is a perfect "western" vacation destination. All-inclusive packages, which are what the ranch is known for, also include horseback riding, zip lining, archery, fishing, mountain biking, and more. Guests can spend an afternoon on the ranch's climbing wall and challenge course. The ranch allows participants to customize the elements of the course in which they wish to participate.

Red Rock Ranch, Wyoming

The Red Rock Ranch has an exceptional horseback riding program coupled with an engaging kids program. This is why many families love this dude ranch. The horseback riding package is flexible and geared to every guest's delight and safety.  Riding through the picturesque Jackson Hole landscape and the sights of the Teton Mountain range will carry you back to a different, and a lot more peaceful, time. Each cabin is named after a Native American tribe and is furnished with western décor.

Southern Cross Ranch, Georgia

You can go riding all by yourself if you want to. The ranch focuses on riding and horses, and it even breeds and trains its own. The ranch is open year-round. Huge discounts are available right now. You can even have meals, go on a horseback riding tour, and enjoy day packages if you are not staying overnight at the ranch. After a day of riding and enjoying stunning views, enjoy a dip in the swimming pool.

Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado

Chico Basin Ranch is an 87,000-acre family-run, working cattle ranch. The guests will be doing a lot of the work – and feel like real cowboys. You will repair fences, help at the gear shop, move cattle, and do whatever else may be necessary at the time to keep the place functioning. You won't find luxury here – there are two rooms for guests and a shared bathroom – but you'll experience the backbone of the ranching operation. You can swim in the adjacent spring-fed lake.  

Clear Creek Guest Ranch, North Carolina

The ranch is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, not far from Asheville. Aside from outstanding horse riding opportunities, you can enjoy exceptional whitewater rafting along the South Toe River. Enjoy riding through the Pisgah National Forest in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. The ranch wranglers and mountain horses suited for walking the trails in a single file fashion. Other favorite activities include tubing on the river, hiking, fly fishing, and singing karaoke. 

Mayan Dude Ranch, Texas

If you are just getting into the life of cowboys, this is the ranch to visit. A typical day starts early with a stroll down to the corral for a trail ride or hayride to the Cowboy Breakfast cook-out. A morning trail ride into the hills or down to the lush cool Medina riverside follows. Dude ranch riding is strictly single file at a walk. After lunch it's more horseback riding, swimming, joining in on the various contests, sunning, or snoozing.

Rocking Z Guest Ranch, Montana

Horses and riding are the center of Rocking Z, so extra activities, which include everyone's favorites of playing pool or soaking in the hot tub, are done in non-riding hours. Learn to work cattle from the back of a horse, ride long trails and try lassoing. The family-run, former cattle ranch, encourages people to be impulsive, riding though hills and valleys in groups or individually.

Tanque Verde Ranch, Arizona

Who would not want to ride through an open desert and prairies? This is one of America's old time ranches established in 1868. This is also the place to be if you want to learn the basics of horsemanship. No member of the family will be bored here. They can choose from horseback riding, guided hiking and biking, swimming, dancing and fishing. Off-site activities include cave exploring and mountain climbing.