• Silhouette of a cowboy on the range.

Ranching 101

The various types of dude ranches in Wyoming offer a variety of experiences ranging from rustic to upscale, depending on what you and your traveling companions are looking for. We have tried to offer a simple overview of Wyoming dude ranch types below to help you determine which experience and accommodations suit you best.

The Types of Dude Ranches in Wyoming

Rustic Wyoming Ranches
These dude and guest ranches offer the basics in terms of accommodations. You might sleep together in a bunk-style building with several other guests and share bathrooms, or there may be cabins or lodge style rooms – the lodging will be clean, yet rustic. A vacation at these ranches is priced accordingly. As with the other categories there are Wyoming Dude, Guest and Working Cattle Ranches in this category.

Working Wyoming Ranches
Working dude and guest ranches come with different levels of accommodations and service. Some are rustic, some will be traditional and a few are upscale. You can choose to be a cowboy during the day and be pampered at night at an upscale working cattle ranch, or be a full-time cowboy at the more rustic working cattle ranches.

Traditional Wyoming Ranches
Most Wyoming guest ranches will fall under this category. They combine modern amenities most with private cabins or lodge rooms with private bath to compliment the traditional dude ranch experience. There are several levels of service dictated by price in this Traditional category. As with the other categories there are Wyoming Dude, Guest and Working Cattle Ranches in this category.

The choice is yours to decide among these types of Wyoming dude ranches, what will work the best for your family vacation or adventure getaway.

Traveling to Wyoming

Wyoming mountains.

Some Wyoming Dude Ranches are quite remote with dirt roads that wind through the countryside, while others are right off paved highways.  No matter how you get there, a ranch is worth travelling to.

Travel by Air:  Gateways to Wyoming
Wyoming is the least densely populated state in the U.S.  For this reason, the population does not support major airports.  Wyoming is home to several smaller airports but you will most likely enter Wyoming through a larger airport, or land at a major airport and drive to your ranch from there.  Major airports that serve Wyoming are Denver, CO; Billings, MT; and Salt Lake City, UT.  See Wyoming airports located on a map to find the airport closest to your ranch!

Travel by Car
Whether you are driving from your home state or renting a car at a major airport, you are likely to see some beautiful sites from Wyoming highways!  Guests often underestimate the size of Wyoming!  Wyoming is the 10th largest state in the U.S. at just under 100,000 square miles.  To drive from Yellowstone (northwest corner) to exit the state in the southeast area, the drive would take about 7 hours!  Wyoming is full of wide open spaces, mountain peaks, high plains, and much more!

Public Transportation
Don’t count on it!  Even within some of the larger cities in the state, public buses, taxis, and Uber are not common forms of travel!

What to Expect

Group posing in a field.

Expectations on a Wyoming Dude or Guest Ranch vary with the type of ranch you decide to visit.  Learn what to expect at a dude ranch in Wyoming.

There are two basic types of Wyoming RanchesTraditional Dude Ranch and Working Ranch’s. Then within those two categories there are levels of comfort that separate one ranch from another. These levels are basically cost per person depending on the amount of services offered. These levels are for you to decide, what is best for you and your family or travel companions.

What to Expect at a Dude Ranch for Activities

There are traditional Wyoming Guest Ranch’s with a diversity of activities ranging from horseback riding to fishing, hiking, biking, games, trapshooting, river rafting, cross country skiing, swimming pool, canoeing, etc., and there are also ranches that are very kid-friendly with dedicated kids programs. There are Wyoming upscale resort ranches, ranches that organize pack trips, working cattle ranches where guests participate with ranch hands in the ranch activities and riding and horsemanship ranches.

If you choose a more rustic Wyoming  Western Ranch you will enjoy a different experience than staying at an upscale ranch. The differences will typically be based on cost per person and the services you are looking for at your Wyoming Dude Ranch vacation. But rest assured the Forever West Wyoming hospitality will not change where ever you decide to visit.

Rustic Wyoming Ranches will offer most of the traditional ranch features at a typically lower rate. A working cattle ranch is where you will participate in pushing cattle and working with the cowboys. There are levels of comfort at most working Ranch’s as well. Traditional Wyoming Ranches will feature all of the authentic western ranch amenities in a traditional ranch setting. And the upscale ranches will offer the same with more polished amenities and services and there are those that feature a spa like atmosphere. There are Wyoming guest ranches that are focused on specialized riding programs. And there are Wyoming Dude ranches focusing on a kid’s friendly family vacation with a variety of activities. A ranch limited to 10 or 25 people will have a different feeling than a ranch accommodating 65 or more people.

What you can expect at all of these ranches are great views, great genuine Western hospitality and everybody going the extra mile to make sure you have a great vacation. You will be guaranteed clean air, unspoiled endless views, National Parks and enjoying seeing the traditional Wyoming Cowboy Way everywhere you travel.

Wyoming Ranches


Vee Bar Guest Ranch - Lodge Interior.

Relaxation is a true part of your Wyoming Dude & Guest Ranch vacation. You can relax after a day filled of activities and head back to the Wyoming dude ranch lodging with its richly appointed western furnishings, comfortable beds and bath amenities that rival most fine lodging establishments.

Most Wyoming Guest Ranches will feature individual cabins or lodge style rooms. All are steeped in tradition and heritage that made the West such an alluring destination. Many cabins or lodge rooms will have daily housekeeping service, private baths, coffee maker, mini fridge and a spacious porch for sitting back and re-telling the stories of adventure from the day.

What Make Wyoming Dude Ranch Lodging Special

You will not find T.V. or phones in most Wyoming Ranch cabins. Some will have internet access, phones and business centers in the lodge. So unplug, disconnect and then re-connect with your friends and family while enjoying clean, comfortable accommodations that will leave you with lasting memories of the simplicity of Forever West, Wyoming.

Family Vacation

Group posing in front of the mountains.

If you’re planning a family vacation in Wyoming, our member dude, guest and working ranches have always offered some the most memorable vacations available. This is the reason why so many families return to Wyoming Dude ranches for their vacations generation after generation.

The experience of a dude ranch family vacation in Wyoming is one that is all inclusive, without worries, and very safe for the entire family.

Dude Ranch Options for a Family Vacation in Wyoming

Some Wyoming guest ranches specialize in vacations for families with younger children, while others are more for families with older children and teenagers. Some ranches offer specific kids programs, while other Wyoming guest ranches believe kids and parents need to enjoy this experience together.  Many parents and grandparents take their kids and grandchildren to ranches where they had been when they were young.

Working guest ranches might cater to families with kids during the summer months, but will be mostly adult-oriented once schools and colleges start again.

Even the Wyoming Guest ranches accommodating 60 or more people are mostly family owned, small scale and very casual in terms of experience. As guests typically dine together and indulge in activities and new experiences every day together, long lasting friendships and relationships are frequently forged. Very often these involve relationships with friends from other countries, regions and cultures.

After more than 100 years at the top of the list, a ranch family vacation in Wyoming remains the ideal all-inclusive getaway for your family.


Rancher wrangling horses.

If you think that a family, couples, individual or corporate event vacation at a Wyoming Dude & Guest Ranch is limited to riding horses or fly-fishing, you could not be further off! Forever West is Wyoming’s state slogan and the activities available in the West will transport you back to a time more simple, unplugged and full of authentic Western adventure.   There’s a world of activities at a dude ranch, especially when you choose one from among our members.

Depending on the ranch that you choose for your Wyoming Dude and Guest Ranch Vacation or, more importantly, depending on what you and your travel companions would like to enjoy during your vacation in Wyoming, the list of possibilities is almost limitless.

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding, of course, is a mainstay of Wyoming dude ranches.  Our member dude & guest ranches offer a wide range of locales and ride types, including all- & half-day rides, cattle drives & cattle work, horse clinics & horsemanship, family rides, fast rides, overnight pack trips and even winter riding.

Other Activities at A Dude Ranch to Enjoy in Wyoming

Find a Wyoming Dude Ranch

Using the search function on the Wyoming Ranches; page will help you narrow down what is most important to you for your vacation. There are some ranches that do it all and there are some that are more specialized.


Group on horseback trail ride.

Often overseas travelers are not familiar with the guest ranch concept and are not sure what to expect on western USA family holidays at dude ranches. However those folks could compare a guest ranch vacation with a stay on a farm in the alps tables d’hotes with or without additional activities besides the ranch & cowboy work.

Western USA Family Holidays at Wyoming Dude Ranches

Many European travelers compare a stay at a Wyoming Guest Ranch with a small scale, family operated and customized version of Club Med. Especially the traditional family guest ranches offer a variety of sports, activities with wranglers supervising and instructing the guests. Some have dedicated kids programs so the parents are able to enjoy their vacation as well.

Some believe that kids and parents need to stay together to enjoy such a family vacation. And like other destinations several ranches are adult oriented except for the months of June, July to mid-August.

One thing is for sure….this is the most traditional and great American Vacation.