These 10 dude ranches make for magical winter vacations


Set in some of the most beautiful scenery in the American West and covered in blankets of snow for months, these dude ranches offer a secluded yet active winter getaway for all ages. Whether for skiing or enjoying seasonal activities like sleigh rides and snowmobiling, these ranches have it all when the weather turns cold.

C Lazy U Ranch | Granby, Colo.

C Lazy U Ranch is warm and inviting — Photo courtesy of C Lazy U Ranch

While the ground might be covered in white, count on plentiful sunshine and clear blue skies at C Lazy U Ranch. Take advantage of private skiing with no lift lines, where the snowcat delivers guests back up the hill, or pop the kids on a tube or sled for a wild downhill ride.

Other winter options include backcountry snowmobiling, horseback riding or snowshoeing, and there’s even ice hockey on the ranch’s pond. C Lazy U also provides fine dining and luxury accommodations to refuel and recharge for the next day’s adventure.

Latigo Ranch | Kremmling, Colo.

Miles of ski trails await at LatigoMiles of ski trails await at Latigo — Photo courtesy of Latigo Ranch

Located along the Continental Divide in Colorado, Latigo Ranch caters to skiers during the winter months with some of the state’s best snow conditions (about 18 feet every winter) and nearly 40 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing. Other winter activities at the ranch, which is approaching 100 years old, include snowshoeing, tubing and biking on snow.

Or you can simply take in the quiet and seclusion from the front porch of the historic log lodge with panoramic mountain vistas.

Bar W Guest Ranch | Whitefish, Mont.

A sleigh ride with the ranch horses is fun for all agesA sleigh ride with the ranch horses is fun for all ages — Photo courtesy of Bar W Guest Ranch

The Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish gets up to 300 inches of snow every year. The ranch offers terrain for every level of skier, including cross-country, downhill and backcountry skiing. Kids love dog sledding, taking a sleigh ride and ice skating or playing hockey on the ice rink.

You can even try ice fishing for trout, perch and more in area lakes, or perhaps join in a square dance. End the day with down-home cooking, Montana-style.

Western Pleasure Ranch | Sandpoint, Idaho

Take a scenic sleigh ride at Western Pleasure RanchTake a scenic sleigh ride at Western Pleasure Ranch — Photo courtesy of Western Pleasure Ranch

A favorite activity of visitors to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in North Idaho is a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride by one of the ranch’s draft teams. A two-mile loop trail takes passengers through a forest and offers snow-covered views of the nearby Selkirk Mountains.

There’s also snowmobiling and plenty of scenic skiing for all levels. When the day is done, cozy up by the lodge fire and then head back to one of the ranch’s log cabins or lodge rooms. 

The Home Ranch | Clark, Colo.

Amazing snow draws many guests to The Home RanchAmazing snow draws many guests to The Home Ranch — Photo courtesy of The Home Ranch

Nestled in Colorado’s Elk River Valley, just north of Steamboat Springs, The Home Ranch becomes a winter wonderland when its legendary snowfalls begin each season. Considered one of the most beautiful cross-country skiing resorts in Colorado, the ranch has top-notch Nordic skiing, a world-class chef and rustic accommodations.

Guests can even help feed the ranch’s herd of more than 100 horses while visiting.

Lone Mountain Ranch | Big Sky, Mont.

Enjoy a magical Montana getaway at Lone Mountain RanchEnjoy a magical Montana getaway at Lone Mountain Ranch — Photo courtesy of Lone Mountain Ranch

Located just six miles from some of the country’s best skiing, Lone Mountain Ranch is a skier’s paradise. Guests can also take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes. If you’re feeling daring, try out winter fly fishing, too. 

Cap it all off with a sleigh ride under starlit skies to the North Fork Cabin for a family-style prime rib dinner, lit by oil lanterns and warmed by a 100-year-old cook stove.

Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch | Council, Idaho 

Snowmobiling is a popular guest activity at Seven DevilsSnowmobiling is a popular guest activity at Seven Devils — Photo courtesy of Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch

Just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, Seven Devils Lodge Guest Ranch sits on 18,000 acres among canyons, high desert and mountains. A working ranch since the early 1900s, it is one of the most sought after destinations for backcountry snowmobiling (“boondocking”) because of its widely varied terrain, which begins right out the front door.

The lodge has five individually-themed bedroom suites and serves family-style ranch meals in the dining room, a perfectly cozy way to wind down each day.

Waunita Hot Springs Ranch | Gunnison, Colo.

Square dancing and Western music give Waunita Hot Springs an Old West feelSquare dancing and Western music give Waunita Hot Springs an Old West feel — Photo courtesy of Waunita Hot Springs

Set high in the Colorado Rockies at nearly 9,000 feet of elevation, Waunita Hot Springs Ranch is filled with snow-covered mountain views at every turn. Surrounded by Gunnison National Forest and 10 miles from the Continental Divide, the ranch is close to two popular ski areas and abundant terrain for snowmobiling.

Most accommodations are in the main lodge, which boasts two fireplaces, a library and billiard room. The nearby barns hosts square dancing and live Western music performances. 

Vista Verde Ranch | Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Explore the snowy wilderness of Vista VerdeExplore the snowy wilderness of Vista Verde — Photo courtesy of Vista Verde Ranch

Vista Verde Ranch offers guests an upscale, all-inclusive winter experience with plenty of activities for all interests. Spend days frolicking in the snow on skies, snowshoes, by sled or tube, or even by fat tire bike. Enjoy a sleigh ride led by ranch horses or take a horseback ride through softly packed snow.

There are also yoga classes and private hot tubs in guest cabins to soothe aching muscles after the day’s snowy adventures. 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch | Red Feather Lakes, Colo.

Hit the trails with Fido at SundanceHit the trails with Fido at Sundance — Photo courtesy of Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Head out on horseback into winter’s crisp morning air for a ride through Roosevelt National Forest at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. A small horse ranch with a lodge and cabin suites for accommodations, Sundance Trail even welcomes dogs to join owners during winter months. An outdoor Jacuzzi helps guests stay warm as the snow softly falls.

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