Dude Ranch Vacations with Dude Ranchers’ Association’s Bryce Albright
In this episode, we’re headed west to explore Dude Ranch vacations with Bryce Albright, the Dude Ranchers’ Association Executive Director.
Bryce grew up on a dude ranch and worked on her family ranch before becoming the association’s Executive Director.
For more family travel ideas, check out more podcast episodes. Adventure Awaits!
Tell us about the Association.
The Dude Ranchers’ Association was founded in 1926 and now represents 93 ranches in 10 different U.S. states and one Canadian province. Membership stipulates they must be west of Mississippi.
It was founded by the Eaton Brothers in North Dakota, whose ranch was started in 1880 (and is still going strong now in Wyoming). Their family and friends back east wanted to visit the cattle ranch and live the life of a cowboy. They would come out to work, and after many visitors, they decided to start charging people as it was a lot of work. And then the association was born.
All member ranches are vetted. They must apply for membership, and we visit them as part of the application process. They must follow our six H’s – Horses, Hats, Hospitality, Honesty, Heritage, and Heart.
All members must have a horseback riding program and a horse safety program to take great care of the horses.
Why is a Dude Ranch Vacation great for families?
Ranches have been a vacation destination for over 100 years.
Dude ranch vacations are perfect for families as there is something for everyone at every age, from water sports to cattle work to bird hiking.
Ranch vacations are all-inclusive (meals, lodging, and most activities). Many of our ranches have kid’s programs. And you can visit any time of year as we have ranches in New Mexico, Arizona, and California open year-round.
Many offer educational programs for the kids, too, from geology to wildlife.
It’s a great environment to be in. The kids love the horses and the other kids that are at the ranch.
You can even explore National Parks as part of your Dude Ranch Vacation. We have a high saturation around Yellowstone and Grand Tetons and many around Glacier and Yosemite. Many people go to a ranch for a week then plan extra days to go through a National Park.
How do you pick a Dude Ranch?
We classify our members into three categories to help.
- Working Ranches: These are actual working ranches where you expect to help out with the work. They are hands-on, and you see the agricultural side of the ranch.
- Traditional Family Ranches: This is most of our members. They have a great family atmosphere, lots of activities, and accommodations big enough for families. This is the most popular family vacation type.
- Luxury Ranches: At these ranches, you’ll find kids programs, spa & wellness programs, and an even more extensive list of activities. They are higher-end with nicer accommodations and gourmet food but still have a family atmosphere.
Do you need to have horseback riding experience?
You don’t have to have prior experience at all. We have everything from beginners to experienced riders visit. Ranches have horses and trails for every level. Some ranches even have private lessons. Their excellent staff ensures everyone feels safe.
Where can we find out more?
Our website has tons of great information. And we are here to help you in the office and help make recommendations based on what you’re looking for. You can contact us via email () or call us (307.587.2339).