If you’re planning a reunion during the heart of the winter, warmer climates of the Southwest feature horseback rides and cattle drives. Ranches in the central or northern Rockies offer adventure-packed excursions into the snowy high country. Ranches in more northerly states are open for the winter season with an emphasis on guided snowmobile tours, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice climbing or downhill skiing. Some ranches also offer guided elk- and deer-hunting.
At many ranches you’ll find an all-inclusive vacation experience that includes wine cellars and pairings, sumptuous meals and relaxing massage treatments in addition to the cowboy experience.
Ranch cuisine is often an unexpected experience for many first-time guests. Numerous ranches combine ranch fare with gourmet cuisine. Ranch cuisine has evolved into multi-course gourmet dishes and healthy alternatives, alongside all the old ranch classics like barbeques. “Never-empty” homemade cookie jars, other homemade treats and bowls of fresh fruit are always on hand. In addition, many ranches utilize organic and/or local produce and some employ farm-to-table practices.
Many ranches have their own wine cellars featuring international and domestic wines, and offer wine pairings as well as, in some cases, wine tours to local wineries.
The Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association (CDGRA) is comprised of 28 certified ranches located throughout the mountains and mesas of Colorado. For more information and/or to request your free Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch vacation guide and DVD, visit www.duderanching.org.