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.[slideshow:96602]

Horseback riding is like a rite of passage in the country; and old westerns have almost made it an iconic experience that everybody wants to try at least once in their lives.

Back in the day, cattle ranches turned into guest ranches to house and profit from people traveling more and more, largely thanks to the railroad. Tourists may not be using the train as often anymore, but staying at an old-school ranch is still popular.

Guest ranches are usually family-owned and operated. Some offer visitors a chance to work with the staff to keep the place functioning – you get to actually do cattle work; others require it. This only makes the experience a lot more thrilling and certainly unique.

The focus of such places has always been horseback riding, but many now offer additional activities such as hiking, swimming or fly fishing, to keep entire families entertained at all times.

A typical day in the life of a cowboy living in the late-1800's can still be experienced.  

Click here to see 10 of America's Best Old-School Ranches

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