RanchSeeker Blog

Zapata Ranch! A Working Bison Ranch

3/20/2012 10:00:47 AM

RanchSeeker’s latest addition to our website is Zapata Ranch located in San Luis Valley, Colorado. Guest ranches and working ranches in Colorado take advantage of the state’s mountainous, Rocky Mountain landscape, and outback living to attract visitors as well as high desert grasslands, alpine forests, wetlands, sand dunes, creeks and lush meadows. Colorado offers an ecologically diverse environment where elk, bison, deer, coyotes, birds and many other species can be found.

As stated on Zapata Ranch’s RanchSeeker listing the Zapata Ranch is a 103,000 acre authentic working cattle and bison, guest ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy. It borders the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve along most of its eastern border. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains tower alongside the ranch with several 14,000 foot peaks with trail heads leading into them, just minutes from the lodge. It has one of the most scenically spectacular and diverse geological landscapes to be found anywhere in the world. Duke and Janet Philips, who are a third generation ranching family, manage the Zapata Ranch which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. Currently Tess, their daughter manages the ranch and Julie, their other daughter, is the head wrangler. In the summer Grace, their youngest, will be joining them as a wrangler as well. Their son Duke is in ranching operations and Tess’s husband is in charge of marketing.

 The Zapata Ranch offers guests the opportunity to experience real life ranching and explore the outdoors. It is a true working cattle and bison ranch with over 2,000 bison. Guests work alongside real cowboys or they can choose to take a trip to study the bison herds in the wild or explore sand dunes and mountain meadows. There are many activities to be enjoyed at Zapata Ranch. Photography or wildlife viewing safaris are part of the daily events, or they can be customized to meet your special interest. Because of the sheer numbers of bison that graze the Medano meadows this area is sometimes called the Rocky Mountain Serengeti as the herd comes together and blackens the landscape.  Food lovers will enjoy cowboy cookouts and other mouth-watering meals prepared by award-winning chef Mike Rosenburg.

 Zapata Ranch has received many mentions and write- ups in well-known magazines and T.V. programs:

Conde Nast Traveler Magazine: 1 of 3 Best Ranches in America for a Real, Working Ranch Vacation

Western Horseman Magazine: 1 of 15 Best Holidays and Riding Vacations to Book Today

Conde Nast Traveler Magazine: The Best Ranch Lodging and Dining in Colorado    

America’s Heartland TV Show: Featured as an Unforgettable Experience in the World of Agriculture

Colorado Meetings & Events Magazine: Featured in the National Treasures Venue Report

Gourmet Live: 1 of 4 Ranch Vacations for Food Lovers

CBS Denver News: Top 5 Ranches in Colorado

If you are looking for an authentic working ranch experience Zapata Ranch is the ranch vacation experience for you. Check out their ranch listing on RanchSeeker for more details .

Drowsy Water Ranch-A Colorado Guest Ranch

2/7/2012 8:56:10 AM

Guest ranches in Colorado take advantage of the state’s mountainous, Rocky Mountain landscape, and outback living to attract visitors. Being centrally located in the US, guests from all over won’t have to travel far to visit a guest ranch in Colorado. Drowsy Water Ranch, located in Granby, is just one of RanchSeeker’s many Colorado guest ranches. Family owned and operated by the Fosha family, Ken, Randy Sue, Justin, Ryan and their children the Drowsy Water Ranch has been in their family for 36 years.

Because the guest ranch is family owned and operated your hosts are involved in every activity and aspect of the ranch. There is a strong emphasis on their riding program and an individual approach to all riders. They also feature outstanding kid’s programs, great programing for families of all ages and sizes including couples and singles. It is situated in a scenic area and is very much a working ranch but with lots of options that are all included like rafting, guided hikes, guided mountain biking among other fun activities.

 Last week when I was speaking with Justin about his guest ranch he shared with me the following: “Dude ranches allow you to show people a western way of life surrounded by beautiful mountains while enjoying entertaining people who are having a fantastic time while on vacation.  You are also sharing your home with people and making friends for a living all while riding horses.” The Drowsy Water Ranch is proud that their guest ranch has been picked for the Trip Advisor Travel Choice Awards in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

It is a fantastic tribute from their guests who posted reviews about their ranch. In 2010 they were choses as #1 All-inclusive vacation destination in the world followed up by #4 last year and this year in the top 25 category. Such a huge honour that they plan to continue to live up to in the future.

So when planning your next vacation consider staying at Colorado’s Drowsy Water Ranch….a fun guest ranch vacation for the entire family!

Overview of the ranch and its programs with some great riding clips VIDEO

Latest VIDEO

Country Dance VIDEO

Breakfast Ride VIDEO

Kid's Activities VIDEO

Happy Trails!

RanchSeeker Welcomes a New Guest Ranch!

1/5/2012 10:28:15 AM

RanchSeeker kicks off 2012 by welcoming a new guest ranch in Montana to our website. Guest ranches in Montana take advantage of the national parks (including the well-known Yellowstone National Park) and the mixture of mountainous and prairie landscapes to attract visitors. Covered Wagon Ranch, owned by Jerry Taylor and Debi Naccarto, is located in Galletin Gateway.

 Both Jerry and Debi, after having successful careers (Debi, a licensed pharmacist, owned an infusion pharmacy business with offices throughout the State of Montana; and Jerry, a licensed architect, owned an architectural firm for over 20 years) both sold out and decided to semi-retire. For over 30 years they had enjoyed horseback-riding the land surrounding the Covered Wagon Ranch. Once retired they decided to get into the guest ranch business and chose the Covered Wagon Ranch as their new home. Covered Wagon Ranch is steeped in history.

The historic character of the ranch (built in 1926), its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, and its spectacular horseback riding opportunities make it a truly special guest ranch. It is possible to ride over 100 different trails, including trails into Yellowstone and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area.

 Covered Wagon Ranch is one of the oldest continuously operating guest ranches in the canyon, and any changes that have been made are in the interest of the comfort and enjoyment of their guests today. Here, you'll stay in historic log cabins with their original 1920's charm, complete with wood-burning stoves and rustic wood furniture, but you'll also enjoy private baths, great meals and pampered attention from Jerry and Debi who are always happy to cater to your every need. So treasured is this place that it's become a tradition among families, individuals and couples over the years ˜ in fact, most of their guests are return visitors or their friends and families. So for your next guest ranch vacation consider visiting Covered Wagon Ranch.

Happy Trails!

How about Visiting a Guest Ranch in Arizona?

9/29/2011 8:32:04 AM

Are you looking to experience the true cowboy experience? Arizona awaits where you can savour the real Western lifestyle and where you will find guest ranches as diverse as the state itself. Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon, many other parks, monuments and national parks. With varying temperatures due to its variation in elevation mild winters and hot summers can be expected. You will also find lots of wildlife and unusual flora and fauna. RanchSeeker has many guest ranches located in Arizona and below are just some of them to get you started.

Apache Spirit Ranch Tombstone

Our Guest Ranch: We are on a journey into the year of 1881, when the West was still untamed and rough. Gunsmoke, loose women and tough men were everywhere; living was rough and so were the people. Experience it much as they did; we offer Horseback riding as just one of our features, with an array of diverse activities and onsite facilities. Luxury and Western Hospitality. Enjoy delicious ranch cooking, guided activities, the elegance of a Southern Arizona guest ranch, and a staff dedicated to make your stay something truly special.  

 Bar 10 Ranch Inc. North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Our Guest Ranch: The Grand Canyon is the home of the Bar 10 Ranch. Located on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Bar 10 has been hosting visitors for several decades. Whether it’s an overnight stay at the guest ranch, participating in ranch activities, a thrilling white-water rafting trip, a one-of-a-kind helicopter tour, or simply relaxing and enjoying the “Grand” views in a secluded area, you’ll appreciate the country atmosphere and western hospitality.  

 Rancho de los Caballeros Wickenburg

Our Guest Ranch: Discover the romance of the wide-open range…a guest ranch resort with 20,000 acres, 18 holes of golf, Spa and 100 horses for exploring our rugged trails. Chat with friends in the hospitable lodge, tour the desert, get a massage at the spa, or just relax and enjoy our tradition of hospitality. Arizona's premier Historic Guest Ranch and Golf Club.

Williams Family Guest Ranch Wickenburg

Our Guest Ranch: We invite you to vacation at a little working cattle ranch, guided trail rides, hunt and pack trips ... Experience the life at a real working cattle ranch, have a look at the life and work of a cowboy... Spend a great week at a ranch in the desert of Arizona, in the Hassayampa River Wilderness.  

 Arizona guest ranches offer many different exciting vacation opportunities from horseback riding to amazing scenic vistas. Find your next guest ranch vacation using RanchSeeker’s Dude Ranch Finder

7 Fun Activities Other Than Horseback Riding on a Dude Ranch

9/21/2011 10:10:28 AM

You may think that a dude ranch vacation is all about horseback riding and nothing else but many dude ranches offer a wide array of fun activities outdoors. Activities will vary from dude ranch to dude ranch so be sure to ask in advance which activities are available before booking your next dude ranch vacation. Below are 7 possible activities that you could do other than horseback riding.

1)      HIKING- Dude ranches can be found in some of the most spectacular natural settings in the world. A hike could take you through mountains, boreal forests, canyon deserts, grasslands and marshes. Many dude ranches offer guided as well as self-guided hikes which vary from 1 hour to an all day hike.

 2)      FLY-FISHING- Dude ranches that are found near water may offer fly fishing as one of their activities. Beginners can often take a lesson or two before setting out to catch “the big one”.

3)      WILDLIFE VIEWING-Wildlife at dude ranches can be diverse. From Elk, White tail deer, Mule Deer, Black Bears, coyotes, Moose and more abound you are likely to come across something while staying at a dude ranch. Don’t forget your camera!

4)      RAFTING-Some dude ranches offer white water rafting excursions to rivers nearby. This could include simply enjoying a nice leisurely day floating down the rapids or a far more advanced program.

5)      SPORTING CLAYS & SKEET SHOOTING-Dude ranches may offer a visit to the range where after learning some shooting basics and safety guidelines you can try your hand at shooting.

 6)      BIRD WATCHING-Many dude ranches are home to a diverse bird population. Birders of all levels of interest can spend their time in the pursuit of easily found or not so easily found birds.

7)      MOUNTAIN BIKING-For those people who prefer to ride a bike rather than hiking many dude ranches will make available sturdy mountain bikes for their guests to use out on the trails.

Whatever you decide to do on your next dude ranch vacation RanchSeeker’s Dude Ranch Finder can help you find the ideal guest ranch.

Spend Thanksgiving at a Canadian Guest Ranch This Year

9/14/2011 2:19:58 PM

With its spectacular sunsets and brilliant harvest moons, a Canadian Thanksgiving guest ranch vacation will surely become a cherished memory for years to come for your family. Canadian guest ranches are surrounded by magnificent scenery whatever time of year but especially so during the beautiful fall season when the trees are ablaze with crimson red, orange and burnt amber leaves.

What better way than to spend a Thanksgiving Holiday with your family or friends by staying at a guest ranch and enjoying lovely sunny days and crisp autumn nights together. Instead of toiling in the kitchen all day, why not relax and let the friendly staff and trained chefs of a Canadian guest ranch do all the work by providing a delicious and traditional Thanksgiving feast for your family or friends. Canadian guest ranch’s often offer special package prices for the Thanksgiving holiday period which can be less than during the summer season.

With so many activities to choose from they are an ideal vacation to spend with family and friends. From horseback riding to fly fishing, water rafting, hiking and spa treatments there is something for everyone Here are just some of the guest ranches in Canada offering Thanksgiving packages.

Tod Mountain Ranch Heffley Creek, British Columbia, Canada

Special Offer: Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend - $745 per person

Arrive Friday after 4pm for Dinner. Enjoy a variety of trail rides on Saturday and Sunday with one last ride on Monday morning. Take advantage of the facilities and activities at the ranch throughout your stay and enjoy a special Thanksgiving Feast prepared by our resident Chef on Sunday. Depart Monday after lunch.

Offer valid: October 7, 2011 through October 10, 2011  

 Sundance Guest Ranch Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada

Thanksgiving Weekend October 7-10, 2011 - Two Rooms Available!

What can we say about this one? Many of our regulars think this is the best riding of the year. Glorious food, including a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, and a long-running, always hotly-contested horseshoe tournament!

 Echo Valley Ranch & Spa Clinton, British Columbia, Canada

A Cariboo Thanksgiving, October 8th to 10th

At Echo Valley we've created a special weekend filled with adventure, activities and fine food and we invite you to come and celebrate in the spectacular landscape of BC's Cariboo. You'll enjoy two nights at the ranch including a welcome bottle of wine in your room and a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. In addition to exploring the ranch and meeting the resident Border Collies, choose between a half-day horseback ride through the trails of the Gold Rush days, or a half-day hike, perhaps to explore the Cariboo grasslands or to strike out to the top of Mt. Bowman.

    So take the stress out of planning a huge Thanksgiving meal and spend some quality time with family and friends at a Canadian guest ranch.

Happy Trails, RanchSeeker’s Dude Ranch Finder will help you plan your next guest ranch vacation.

Guest Ranch Vacations and First Time Riding a Horse

9/8/2011 9:59:50 AM

So you have decided to go to a guest ranch for your next vacation but it will be the first time riding a horse. That’s okay as most guest ranches offer lessons to those who haven't ridden a horse before  sending them out on a group ride. Horseback riding is a lot of fun but it is important to learn a few basics before riding a horse for the first time.

 A Few Basic Horseback riding tips for Beginners:

1)      Before booking a guest ranch vacation find out whether the guest ranch that you want to go to offers lessons for first time riders. If it is your first time riding a horse let them know in advance that you would like some lessons.

2)      Take sensible riding clothes with you on your guest ranch vacation. If you don’t have riding boots you don’t need to buy them unless you want to. Most guest ranches have boots that you can use in various sizes. It is important that you wear something with a sturdy heel. Take a couple pairs of jeans with you as your legs can chafe against the saddle if you don’t wear long pants.

3)      If it is your first time riding a horse, wear a helmet when possible to protect your head in case you fall.

4)      Horses have blind spots so avoid approaching a horse from behind or from the front to avoid getting kicked from a startled horse. It is better to approach them from the side where they can see you.

5)      In the beginning use a mounting block to get onto your horse and always mount from the left-side.

6)      When you are riding a horse on your guest ranch vacation try to remain calm and relaxed. Horses are very sensitive creatures and they can feel if you are uncomfortable and not in control. Be patient and take deep breaths until you feel at ease.

7)      When riding a horse keep your heels tilted down while in the stirrups as this will prevent you from flying over the horse’s head if your horse has to come to a sudden stop.

8)      When riding a horse ,keep your head upright and sit firmly in your saddle and maintain a good posture. Don’t wave your arms around in the air.

9)      To stop, pull your reins back and sit deep in your saddle. Don’t pull too hard as a horse’s mouth is very soft and sensitive.

10)   Most importantly try to have fun and enjoy your surrounding s and your horse.

 These are just some of the basics that you will learn about horseback riding if it is your first time riding a horse. Once you feel comfortable with the basics you will find that horseback riding is a fun way to spend time on vacation. There are many other activities at a guest ranch aside from riding but spending time with horses is definitely one of the most enjoyable.

Find your next guest ranch vacation today using our Dude Ranch Finder

Guest Ranch Activities after Dark!

8/24/2011 10:44:49 AM

There are numerous activities to enjoy while visiting a guest ranch and after the sun goes down the fun continues.Guest ranch activities will vary from guest ranch to guest ranch so be sure to check with the individual ranch that you are booking with in advance. Here are some examples of what you will be able to do after dark on your next guest ranch vacation.

1)      Cookouts and Campfire Sing-Alongs. Many guest ranches have at least 1 cookout per week where guests gather around together to enjoy such culinary delights such as barbecued steak, sausages, corn, potatoes and fresh salads. After a filling meal guests can join staff members around a warm crackling fire to sing along to old favourites and new songs accompanied by guitars and even the odd harmonica or two. You may even get to roast marshmallows on a stick and finish your night off with a few s’mores. For example Red Reflet Guest Ranch has campfire programs with a cowboy singer to delight its guests

 2)      Western Dancing. After dinner break out your dancing shoes and join in the fun with some western dancing. It doesn’t matter if you know the steps or not as someone is sure to show you the way. Country dancing at a guest ranch is informal and since there are many different versions that go by different names from region to region there is always something new to learn. For example on Thursday nights Harmel’s Ranch Resort offers dancing with professional square-dance caller Walt Cranor.

3)      Spa Treatments. After a long day mounted on a horse or hiking through the mountains you may wish to indulge yourself in a spa treatment found at many guest ranch spas today. Spa treatments could include Eastern techniques or Western techniques that are sure to pamper your body and soul. For example at Sorrel River Ranch & Spa they satisfying guests seeking a destination spa retreat with revitalizing spa treatments and renewing body massages.

4)      Go Into Town. Many guest ranches are close to major towns or cities. You could decide to dine away from the ranch that night or just head into town for dessert and a drink. Exploring new places and meeting the locals is always fun to do. For example at Colorado Trails Guest Ranch they feature an evening at an old fashioned Melodrama in Durango.

5)      Movie Night. Guest ranches often have cozy home theaters so that guests can unwind at night by watching a movie. Often with lots of titles to choose from you can catch-up on movie night while on vacation. 6)      Games. Get in touch with your inner child and play one of many games that you can find in guest ranches like scrabble, Pictionary, checkers or pool. Great family fun. For example Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch has a games night as part of their weekly entertainment.

7)      Late Night Swim or Jacuzzi. Wash away any aches and pains that you may have after a long day’s fun at a guest ranch by enjoying a late night swim or Jacuzzi. Nowadays most guest ranches have either swimming pools or indoor/outdoor Jacuzzis and some ranches are situated close to lakes.

 8)      Just Relax. Guest ranch vacations are all about relaxing as well as participating in lots of fun activities.

So grab a book, snuggle up in a comfy chair or just kick back and relax with your partner and enjoy the clean air, starry skies and breathtaking views. To find your ideal guest ranch vacation use RanchSeeker’s Dude Ranch Finder

Packing for Your Guest Ranch Vacation

8/11/2011 10:24:04 AM

How many people find packing for vacations a drag? I know I do as I am never exactly sure of what I will need when I get to my vacation destination. I usually end up taking far too many clothes and shoes and leave out some of the more important essentials. To ensure that you enjoy your next guest ranch vacation here are some useful tips about packing for guest ranches. When packing for a guest ranch vacation be sure to take comfortable clothing and think layers that way you can always add more clothes if the weather is cooler at that time of year. Jeans are an essential item of clothing at a guest ranch so consider taking 3-4 pairs as they may get dirty while riding on the trails. If you have a pair of cowboy boots take them along; however, if you don’t not to worry most guest ranches have several pairs on hand in various sizes to lend to guests. 

Make sure you pack lots of comfortable shirts and shoes or hiking boots if you plan to take part in hikes around the area. Most people like to bring hats to protect themselves from the sun and some people also bring gloves as the air can be quite dry in some areas.

 When you book your guest ranch vacation ask whether they have an evening dress code. Most guest ranches are fine with casual attire. Also, be sure to take your bathing suit as many  guest ranches nowadays have swimming pools, hot tubs or are situated by rivers and lakes. Since most guest ranch activities are outdoors don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses. What you bring on your guest ranch vacation will depend largely on the season of your vacation and the location of the guest ranch. If you are planning on a winter guest ranch vacation you will need warmer clothes, gloves, hats, thick socks and scarves. On a spring guest ranch vacation you may need rain gear so don’t forget to bring a long, light rain coat to protect yourself from getting wet while out on a ride. During summer months it can get quite hot so take some shorts and lighter pants and shirts for around the guest ranch.

 Many guest ranches supply you with shampoo, conditioner, soap and a hairdryer. Be sure to check with them beforehand in case you need to bring your own. If you are travelling in the warmer months be sure you bring along a good sunscreen and bug spray. Finally depending on your guest ranch itinerary, you may wish to bring these additional items:  

 Camera Battery charger
 Video Camera
 Chap Stick
 Hand cream  

Happy Trails, To help you find your next guest ranch vacation use our user-friendly Guest Ranch Finder

RanchSeeker's Dude Ranch Finder-Find Your Ideal Dude Ranch Vacation

8/3/2011 9:36:54 AM

Are you tired of booking the same type of vacation every year? Are you interested in booking something new and exciting for you and your family or friends? How about a dude ranch vacation this year? Let RanchSeeker guide you to a new destination, a new experience, that will not only invigorate you physically, but will nurture your spirit of adventure and open up new horizons using our Dude Ranch Finder. RanchSeeker’s Dude Ranch Finder will help you plan your ultimate dude ranch vacation in a snap! RanchSeeker dude ranches offer a wide variety of activities from horseback riding for beginners to daylong treks for the more experienced rider, from swimming in pristine lakes to heated indoor pools; tennis, hiking, water rafting and so much more.

Dude ranch vacations are ideal for singles, couples, families and other diverse groups.

Dude Ranch Finder

 Our Dude Ranch Finder takes all of the guess work out of planning your next dude ranch vacation and keeps it simple with our easy-to-use- search form. You don’t need to wade through pages and pages of information before deciding on your ideal dude ranch. To get started choose a geographical region that appeals to you. Are you interested in Western Canada, North West USA, Mexico or another region? Once you have decided just check off the region and if you are unsure of where you want to go that’s ok too just pick all of the regions. Next choose what type of guest ranch experience you would like to have on your next dude ranch vacation. We even provide a useful guide that explains about each destination category.

 After that, choose which activities and services are important to you on your dude ranch vacation. Do you want a dude ranch that offers fly-fishing, overnight pack trips, a swimming pool, a wedding venue, spa services, birding, cowboy cookouts or yoga? There are so many activities to choose from so be sure to check every box that interests you. Now you are ready to think about price. You can select as many options as you want based on how much you would like to spend per night at one of RanchSeeker’s dude ranches.

 Finally, when would you like to go? Do you want a dude ranch vacation in the winter so you can cross country ski or take a sleigh ride or would rather the fall, spring or summer? Choose a month or several months that appeal to you for your guest ranch vacation. Once you are done be sure to click on SEARCH and a list of all of the dude ranches that match your specific search criteria will be returned. Now comes the fun part. You can read about each ranch and add them to your “list” and then make direct contact with the ranch owner/operator by sending them an enquiry and ask them for more details if necessary and/or make your dude ranch reservation. Our dude ranch listings feature photos, special offers and many of them have You Tube videos so that you can get a better idea of each ranch.

 What are you waiting for? Check out our Dude Ranch Finder today and book your next guest ranch vacation. Happy Trails  

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