Top 10 Ranches of 2015

01/11/2015 by

Our team saw a lot of ranches in 2014.  We took notes, shot video, galloped some horses, indulged in massages, enjoyed some soaks, tried our hands- and legs- at stand up paddle board yoga, ate delicious, organic, locally grown meals,  screamed our way down zip lines, broke bread with unforgettable folks, hiked through woods and on top of peaks, biked over bridges, and warmed our feet by fires. It was tough work, but somebody had to do it.  And now, it's your turn.  So take a look at our favorite ranches for 2015 and start planning your vacation!



Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

Located in central California’s wine valley, Alisal seamlessly blends the past with the present.  There are a few historical structures on the property and it is still a working ranch, but it also boasts two private golf courses, two fitness centers, tennis courts, pool, hot tub, and spa.  Plenty of activities for all ages:  The riding is good with some nice wide open trails, but small children are only led in the arena.  There’s fishing, archery, hiking with a naturalist, and plenty of private trails for mountain biking.  Little ones will enjoy petting and feeding animals at the barn as well as the corn maze.  There's lots of time for activites and relaxing here, but just in case you want to leave the ranch, the lovely Danish town of Solvang is only minutes away.

We enjoyed shooting our Discover Ranches Trailer at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort!



Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge

Crazy family fun.  In addition to riding you’ll find water -lots of water- paddleboarding, kayaks, canoes, boat rides, a diving platform.  Need we say more?  Not really but we will.  This is an amazing place to spend a week with your family.  Owner Doug Averill mingles with guests every day and takes great joy in providing fun surprises for the kids like rides on a fire truck, spontaneous outings for ice cream, rodeo games, and mouse races.  The lodging is very old school, traditional.  Animal  heads on walls, main lodge with big fireplace.  Don’t expect luxury or gourmet food, just good family fun.


Deep Canyon Guest Ranch

Imagine a charming, quaint B&B set on a ranch amidst the pines and that’s Deep Canyon.  All meals are served in the main house where you’ll get to know the other guests and the owners who couldn’t be a sweeter couple.  The ranch accommodates only a small number of guests at at a time so you really feel like part of their family.  It’s like night to your day in the city; expect solitude, privacy, wildlife, freedom in horseback riding, and exclusive access to the Rocky Mountain Front.  If you just want a getaway that’s low key without a lot of action and activities, this is your place.


Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa

Only an hour and a half from Denver, CO, DTR is for the progressive adventure enthusiast.  You can expect to find serious mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding, yoga, hiking, a survival course that includes rappelling and river crossings, and five zip line tours, among the usual offerings of horseback riding, and archery.  At the end of the day relax in the spa replete with outdoor hot tub, pool, dry and steam sauna, plus an extensive list of services. Don’t expect to find mountain lion heads mounted on walls, instead, the interior design punctuates the ranch’s overall philosophy of using organic, recycled materials and a forward thinking approach.  Chef Evan Treadwell uses only local ingredients or ingredients grown on the ranch, and their bar boasts some of the most innovative cocktails west of the Mississippi.


The Hideout Ranch and Guest Lodge

If riding is your thing, then look no further.  The Hideout is a hard-core equestrian’s dream with its variety of topography and freedom.  They have excellent wranglers and a top-notch horsemanship program - so if you’re not a totally proficient rider, this is the place to learn.  You can even participate in a cattle drive.  The food is excellent and the chef makes a point to accommodate any dietary requests.  The cabins are spacious and well-appointed, most with beautiful views of the dramatic Wyoming landscape.  Not for younger kids, however; children must be over 11.


The Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch

Wide open spaces, private cabins, and your own four wheeled vehicle to get around the ranch are just a few of the perks you’ll get here.  The ranch is hundreds of miles away from the nearest airport, but it’s this disconnection from everyday life that will force you to reconnect with yourself. Wake up to sunrise yoga on a platform overlooking mountains and valleys, hiking riverside or through forest, horseback riding, and fly fishing. You will get a luxurious stay where you can expect total anonymity and their well-appointed spa is a great way to end a day of activity.  In the summer, they provide a kids camp.


The Ranch at Rock Creek

Perhaps no other place encapsulates the charm and culture of Montana better with its spirited decor, lively personnel,and its variety of outdoor activities. Expect fly fishing in complete solitude, horse back riding in wide open spaces —or nestled in the woods— a 3-D archery course and your choice of shooting ranges - clay, pistol, rifle.  Each guest is provided their own bicycle, and they also have a ropes course that is not for the faint of heart.  In the summer they have a kids club to keep your young ones active - ages 4 and up.  There is always something delicious to eat thanks to chef Josh Drage who uses local and seasonal ingredients.  Absolute luxury with service and attention to detail you won’t find anywhere else.  This is the trip of a lifetime but expect to pay for it. 


Red Horse Mountain Ranch

During the summer, this is a great family vacation in a gorgeous setting - 300,000 acres- in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. (In the off-season you can expect themed stays such as Women Only, Mother-Daughter/Father-Son Stays, Romantic Getaways, etc.)  The wranglers here specialize in showing kids a good time.  Red Horse Mountain is the only ranch that takes kids at 3 years old out for real horseback riding -not led in an arena.  There’s a pottery barn on premises, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and a challenge course for kids and adults alike.  One of their coolest features is the mega-zip: 1100 feet long and a 100 foot drop into water.


Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch

Do you want to spend a day moving cattle, doctoring injured or sick animals, or mending fences?  While it might not sound like a relaxing vacation, you’d be surprised how life-changing a real working ranch can be.  In fact, Rowse’s boasts an impressive amount of repeat guests, which says a lot about their ability to provide folks with an unforgettable time.  Owners Jerry and Tammy welcome you like family into their home, so expect home made comfort food, hard -but fun- work, and friends for a lifetime.


Texas Ranch Life

Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, only about an hour outside Houston, sits the unique and lovely Texas Ranch Life.  Guests enjoy lodging in one of 8 historic ranch homes dating from the 1850s, furnished in antiques.  Cattle drives and ranch work are an option here, but plenty of other activities abound from the traditional: skeet shooting, fishing, horseback riding; to the unique: Tomahawk throwing.  Owner Taunia picks fresh vegetables from her garden, cooks farm-fresh eggs, and utilizes local grass-fed beef. 


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To be a part of the Discover Outdoor Life Travel Series or to Sponsor Discover Outdoor Life's Travel Series, please Contact Us!

Helpful Reviews Rate It

Toby Dahl rates this article with

Traveled to some of these ranches - definitely recommend.

01/20/2015 - 02:36 pm

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