All Articles 10 adventure-filled ranch getaways across the U.S.

10 adventure-filled ranch getaways across the U.S.

Get the best of both worlds at these ranch retreats.

Esme Benjamin
By Esme Benjamin22 Nov 2022 4 minutes read
Fire pit at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana
Fire pit at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana
Image: Courtesy of The Resort at Paws Up

Striking just the right balance between rustic cowboy culture and resort-level amenities, ranch getaways keep you active with adventures set in some of the United States’ most beautiful landscapes, then wind you down with spa treatments, wellness classes, farm-to-table dining, and luxury accommodations. Expect wide open spaces in Montana, Texas, Wyoming, and beyond, and be sure to pack your cowboy boots—and comfiest PJs for some sweet dreams in these vast frontiers.

The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, MT

Perhaps the most luxurious of all ranch getaways, The Resort at Paws Up places you on a working cattle ranch in the heart of 37,000-acres of unspoiled Montana wilderness, then elevates your experience with upscale accommodations and resort-level amenities and activities. You can choose to stay in a spacious private home (the treehouse is particularly cool) or a butler-serviced safari tent, and spend your days soaking up the idyllic western surroundings by hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, indulging in fireside treats courtesy of Paws Up’s “certified” s’moreologists, or unwinding with a massage at Spa Town—private treatment tents assembled along the edge of a tranquil meadow.

Vermejo, a Ted Turner Reserve in Raton, NM

Dining room at Vermejo, A Ted Turner Reserve, in Raton, New Mexico
Dining room at Vermejo, a Ted Turner Reserve in Raton, NM
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

To call Vermejo expansive would be an understatement. Set on over 550,000 acres of unspoiled northern New Mexico wilderness where more than 1,200 bison roam, the ranch boasts 19 fishable lakes and 30 miles of crystalline streams. It’s truly a place where you can immerse yourself in nature and feel the worries of everyday life subside. Vermejo’s elevated accommodation options include a stone mansion-turned-guest-house called Casa Grande and private cottages that are perfect for group trips. Once you’re ready to leave your comfortable quarters for the day, head out into the mountains for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, archery, geocaching, and fishing.

Cibolo Creek Ranch in Marfa, TX

Guest room at Cibolo Creek Ranch, in Marfa, Texas
Guest room at Cibolo Creek Ranch in Marfa, TX
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

History buffs will be in heaven at Cibolo Creek Ranch, one of the oldest ranches in West Texas. The original structures of this 1800s trading and agriculture site have been painstakingly restored with help from the Texas Historical Commission and transformed into a resort. Particularly impressive are Cibolo Creek Ranch’s adobe forts, which once protected the property from raiders and bandits but now serve as private accommodations for a one-of-a-kind vacation experience. There’s plenty to do in Big Bend country, from hiking to ATV tours, but the ranch’s pool, hot tub, and yoga/meditation classes also facilitate a slower, more restorative pace if that’s what you need.

Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, CO

Living space at Smith Fork Ranch, in Crawford, Colorado
Living space at Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, CO
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

If you’ve been craving a big reunion trip with friends or family, Smith Fork Ranch’s group buy-outs for up to 30 people promise a highly personalized vacation experience. Guests work with the ranch’s team to build their itinerary, selecting activities that span fly-fishing, archery, private concerts with song-writing workshops, wine-tasting tours, guide-led day excursions to the Gunnison National Forest, yoga classes, and survival skills training. After a satisfying day in the Rockies, head back to one of six recently refreshed guest homes and cabins for a restorative slumber.

Zion Mountain Ranch in Mount Carmel, UT

Exterior view of Zion Mountain Ranch, in Mount Carmel, Utah
Zion Mountain Ranch in Mount Carmel, UT
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

A mere five-minute drive from Zion National Park, you’ll find Zion Mountain Ranch, a peaceful retreat with a range of rustic-yet-refined cabin and lodge accommodations. Activities here include guided hikes and slot canyon expeditions in Zion, and horseback riding through the surrounding red rock terrain. After a day of adventures, get seated for a satisfying meal at Cordwood, the ranch’s restaurant which harvests food from the on-site organic garden to create seasonal dishes.

The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, MT

Aerial view of The Ranch at Rock Creek, in Philipsburg, Montana
Aerial view of The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, MT
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

Situated on a 19th-century homestead in a Montana valley, the all-inclusive Ranch at Rock Creek offers guests an authentic Western experience wrapped in lavish amenities. There are activities to suit every age and interest—we’re talking mining for sapphires, learning rodeo skills, horseback riding, and joining workshops with a master naturalist to name a few. The ranch also has an award-winning kids’ club to keep little ones entertained with age-appropriate adventures and educational experiences. Pro tip: Go during Christmas time if you want a “fantastic beyond measure” holiday escape with plenty of roaring fires, holiday meals, Santa cameos, and more.

The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch in Shell, Wyoming

For an intimate dude ranch experience, head to The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch. Located east of Yellowstone National Park, the lodge hosts a maximum of 22 guests for six-night stays, from Sunday through the following Saturday morning. It’s worth noting this family-owned and -operated ranch centers heavily on horseback riding (though there are other activities on offer, too). Tackle diverse terrain on a trek, learn the basics of stockmanship, and meet the wild mustangs of McCullough Peaks. After your equine adventures, hit The Hideout’s lap pool to soak up some sunshine and awe-inducing views.

What one reviewer said:

“Wow. This is my third visit to The Hideout. On my first visit, I asked another guest if he'd been there before. He responded with, ‘Yeah. Eight or nine times.’ I thought, ‘What have I wandered into here?’ I soon realized that it is about perfection...”

Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, CA

If sitting in an outdoor hot tub gazing at the stars above or reading by a crackling fireplace is for you, start packing. Luxury and hominess collide at Carmel Valley Ranch, an all-suite retreat in quaint Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA. The ranch offers a veritable buffet of activities and experiences intended to help guests have fun—whatever their version of fun entails—from farmyard meet-and-greets and pickleball clinics to hilltop yoga and a beekeeping experience. Suites are modern with marvelous design touches like outdoor bathtubs overlooking the ranch’s vineyards and golf course.

Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, MT

Guest room at Triple Creek Ranch, in Darby, Montana
Guest room at Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, MT
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

At Triple Creek Ranch, an award-winning resort at the foot of Montana’s Trapper Peak, guests are invited to set their own agenda, whether you crave back-to-back adventures or a peaceful schedule of rest and relaxation. In the winter, go dog sledding and cross-country skiing or read a book in front of the roaring fireplace at your private cabin. In the summer, try ATV-ing and whitewater rafting or take a gentle yoga class and nap in a swaying hammock. Whatever fills your schedule, you’ll return home feeling like you made the most of your PTO.

Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, AZ

With a history that dates back to the 1800s, Tanque Verde Ranch is a classic American cattle and guest ranch that’s adjusted with the times, evolving into an award-winning family-friendly resort that ticks all the essential vacation boxes: adventure activities, spa and wellness, and educational experiences like horsemanship fundamentals, tennis and archery lessons, and watercolor painting workshops. Tripadvisor reviewers especially love the “unforgettable” horseback riding here, too.

Esme Benjamin
Esme Benjamin is a Brooklyn-based award-winning writer and the current editor-in-chief of Full-Time Travel. Her editorial work, which covers wellbeing and travel, can be found online at Self, Refinery29 and Culture Trip, and in British "glossies" like Red, Grazia and The Telegraph Magazine. She was a contributing author to the book Wanderess: The Unearth Women Guide to Traveling Smart Solo and Safe, and currently hosts The Trip That Changed Me, a podcast from Full-Time Travel featuring transformative travel stories from guests like writer/illustrator Mari Andrew, celebrity Chef Markus Samuelsson and former star of ABC's The Bachelor Ben Higgins.