Fall Adventures! Mexican culture | Huge discounts! | Thanksgiving | Fall roundups

Published by Jody on September 1 2014 06:53 in
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Top50 Ranches


Fall Adventures!

The bright colours of summer may be disappearing, but they make way for an amber trail of crisp leaves dropping from the trees. The days may be shorter, but that means more time for stargazing and nighttime campfires. Hot summer weather may be leaving us for another year, but crisp fall mornings mean hot cups of coffee and cowboy breakfasts aplenty, to set you up for an adventurous day in the saddle. 

Fall is here - and we have the perfect ranch adventures fit for the leafy season!

Rancho Las Cascadas Mexico Zapata Ranch, Colorado Bar W Ranch


Culture special El Dia de los Muertos - Rancho las Cascadas

This fabulous 3-day folklore event at the Mexico ranch celebrates El Dia de los Muertos, or 'The Day of the Dead', from 31 October to 1 November. Mexico's national festivities are no more enthusiastic than in the colourful towns surrounding the ranch, which you'll visit on horseback. A real adventure full of authentic Mexican culture!


Save! 15% off at Zapata Ranch

Head to the Colorado bison ranch for a 5-night adventure, from 5-10 October 2014. Adventures include a 22-mile Champagne ride through changing Aspen groves in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range, plus get up close a personal with wild bison!

15% discount extends to all new bookings, total US$1,453.50.


Save! 20% off, flexible stays!

To celebrate Bar W Guest Ranch's 10th anniversary, join the Montana ranch between 12 and 31 October for a 20% discount on your stay. The 3-night minimum and check-in dates are waived during this special period, so you can choose when you stay, and how long for - and enjoy a great saving to boot. 

Prices start from US$290 pppn, excluding discount. 

Fall Adventure Specials! Top50's pick

Rancho Los Banos
From 1 October to 23 December, enjoy the majesty and tranquility of the Arizona Rancho with its Cowgirls Special! Two or more cowgirls, when staying 4 or more nights, get a discounted rate of $175pppn (based on double occupancy). 

C Lazy U Ranch
Enjoy discounted rates and shorter stays at this Colorado guest ranch this fall, as well as the stunning colors of the changing Aspen leaves surrounding the ranch! All-inclusive rates start at US$325/night for adults, US$125 for children.

Vista Verde
From 28 September to 19 October, this Colorado dude ranch can enjoy both sun and snow - sometimes both in the same week! - so it's a great time to cozy up by the fire, soak in your private hot tub, or adventure out on horseback or on foot to explore the mountain vistas. Stay Sunday-Sunday, or opt for a shorter vacation. 
From US$1,250pp for a 3-night stay.

Lone Mountain Guest Ranch
The kids might be back at school, but adults can still enjoy some fall adventures! Choose from these 4-night vacations:
- Until 11 October: Browns on the Madison Fly Fishing Experience (from US$1,980pp)
- 4-night Horse Enthusiasts Riding Package (from US$1,540pp)
- 4-night Wildlife and Naturalist Package (from US$1,540pp)


Mountain Sky Guest Ranch:

Save 30%!

Mountain Sky ranch

Leave the kids at home for an adults-only getaway this fall! This Montana ranch's Wild West Adventure itinerary has been put together whether you're looking for high adventure or ultimate relaxation. The choice is yours - explore the vast and unspoiled Montana wilderness on horseback or hiking, golf on the ranch's private course, enjoy a massage or dissolve into your favorite book. 

Packages start from US$1,900pp (includes 30% discount)

Relax and revive!

Try one of these more relaxing fall adventures, whether art or yoga is your thing...

C Lazy U Ranch
Calling all yogi! Visit in September and October for Julie Goodnight riding and yoga clinics. With 8,500 acres, luxury accommodations and fine dining, this Colorado guest ranch makes the ideal fall retreat.

Triple Creek Ranch

Triple Creek Ranch

Visit from 23-26 October for the Artist Workshop Weekend. Revel in the fall splendor of Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains and unleash your inner artist! You'll work side-by-side with renowned western artists Greg Kelsey, Andy Thomas and Jason Rich. With luxury accommodations, meals, art supplies, workshop sessions and on-ranch activities all included in your cabin rate, this is one not to miss.

From $950 per couple, per night. Adults only.

Round 'em up!

For a real cowboy adventure, there's nothing like a fall roundup - complete with all the authentic cowboy culture than goes hoof in hoof with this annual tradition. We've found 4 to choose from:

Latigo Ranch Roundup 
Latigo's authentic cattle roundup takes place on 14-20 September. Round up a thousand pair of cattle in all kinds of terrain, before pushing them down the mountain to their winter pastures.  
US$2,995 for the week-long stay.  

Chico Basin Ranch - Fall Works 2014

Chico Basin Ranch Colorado

For a truly authentic riding experience, head to this Colorado working cattle ranch on October 6th for an extra-busy week, as the first calf heifers are put through “fall works”. Gather more than 200 pairs and trail them into Chico HQ, before sorting off and weaning calves in the corrals, both on the ground and horseback. See the heifers being checked for pregnancy, then end the week trailing bred and open cattle to different areas of the ranch. A truly authentic adventure!
Enquire for rates.

Los Banos Ranch, Arizona
From 2-8 November, experience an authentic corrida full of vaqueros, horses and cattle, with drives, corral and cattle work. Combined with up to 3 back-country trail rides of 5-7 hours through the 30,000 acre rancho, this is a great time to enjoy both the ranch and its annual roundup. 

Space is limited. Rates start from US$1,500 all-inclusive, including shuttle to/from Tucson. 

Malibu Dude Ranch

Malibu Dude Ranch Pennsylvania

New to the cattle drive thing? Taking the kids? For a less intense roundup, head to the Pocono Mountains of northeast Pennsylvania where you'll learn to round up livestock to move along the trail and enjoy refreshments from the chuck wagon. You'll be matched with a horse for your skill level and learn how to work the herd with instruction from Malibu's seasoned wranglers. Limited to ten participants per 3-hour roundup.
Suitable for ages 13 and up, prices are US$100 for overnight guests; US$150 for non-guests.

Fancy something a bit different?

It doesn't all have to be about the horseback riding - fishing and nature is all part of the adventure at these ranches this fall...

High Lonesome Ranch - fishing and hunting 
- Explore the diversity around the main ranch on a few Colorado rivers with a fly rod. 5-night Fly-Fishing Expeditions include a float trip on the Roaring Fork, wade fishing on the White River, and a float trip on the Lower Colorado - one of the best stretches in the country. From US$3,300pp.
- The 5-night Fin & Feather Expeditions take you through the ranch's hundreds of acres of coverts for four species of upland bird hunting with award-winning dogs, combined with fishing on two legendary rivers that make anglers' dream lists. From US$3,700pp.
Expeditions run through to December 2014.

Brush Creek Ranch - Cast & Blast
Experience premiere Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing and wing shooting hunts led by the ranch's seasoned guides in Wyoming’s famed Platte River Valley. Fall sporting packages unfold across 30,000 private acres and include gun range tune-up, luxury accommodations, gourmet meals and more.
Adventures run through to 18 October 2014. From US$3,400pp for 3-nights/4-days.


Thanksgiving Special at Echo Valley Ranch and Spa!


From 11-13 October, enjoy a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving at one of BC's top resorts and lodges. Experience the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure, with horseback riding, fly fishing and mountain biking in the crisp fall weather to enjoy over the holiday. Not forgetting a gourmet 5-course Thanksgiving feast - including pumpkin pie, of course! The holiday package includes the feast, all other meals, daily Thai yoga (Ruesri dat ton) stretching classes, luxurious lodgings, use of all ranch facilities (including indoor heated swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre), and cookies all day long.
Other activities including horseback riding, fly-fishing lessons and spa treatments are also available 'a la carte'. This is the ideal holiday vacation for the whole family!
Prices start from CAN$450pppn night for the Thanksgiving Holiday package, additional nights from CAN$210pp.

Echo Valley Ranch and Spa BC Canada


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Lazy L&B Guest Ranch Reviews

Published by Jody on August 26 2014 16:04 in Cowboy Culture | Dude Ranches | Guest Reviews | United States
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Guest ranch reviews for the gorgeous Lazy L&B guest ranch, Wyoming.

Run by the more-than-welcoming Halmay family, the Lazy L&B guest ranch near Jackson Hole is known for the quality, range and scope of its horseback-riding program. Guests wanting to enjoy other outdoor guest ranch activities as well as riding, can also try their hand at fly-fishing, hiking and swimming in the beautiful river or luxurious heated pool.

We at Top50 wanted to know what you guys thought of the ranch, so asked five guests to write reviews about their recent stay. Here's what they had to say!

Lazy L&B Ranch Experience #1

Lazy L&B Ranch review 1

What were the best parts of your guest ranch vacation with us?
The rides and the views were amazing.

What made you enjoy your guest ranch vacation with us?
The Halmay family made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived - we were treated like family and the food was delicious. There was an itinerary for the week, with a different ride and a different view every day, It was an amazing vacation and my children want to return to the ranch every year!

What month(s) do you usually travel?

How did you find out about our guest ranch?
We did an online search.

Did you have any unexpected or eye-opening experiences on your vacation and is there anything else you'd like to add?
I was told by one of the wranglers that this ranch is the only one around the area that has a different ride each day.

Lazy L&B Ranch Experience #2

Lazy L&B Ranch review 2

What were the best parts of your guest ranch vacation with us?
The horses!

What made you enjoy your guest ranch vacation with us?
After wanting to take this type of holiday for many years, I finally got to do it. The beauty of the countryside viewed from the back of a horse was everything I had hoped it would be. My horse was very easygoing and sure-footed, which was important to me because I had only been riding for three months. My fellow riders were good company and the wranglers were always ready to tell us about the area and to stop for us to take pictures. I was also stretched in my riding because although the terrain could be challenging, I always felt that even the more difficult parts were achievable, especially because my horse never put a foot wrong. The easy periods in between helped boost my self-confidence.

What month(s) do you usually travel?

How did you find out about our guest ranch?
We did an online search.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from your ranch vacation with us?
Certainly fun, was an evening cookout for which everyone had been asked to prepare a poem or just say something about their visit and their experiences. It was interesting to find out what we had in common and the things that were more personal. Everyone who did something got a prize in the form of a slice from a tree branch branded with the ranch brand. I've varnished mine to display with a picture of my horse and me as a memento of my stay.

Did you have any unexpected or eye-opening experiences on your vacation and is there anything else you'd like to add?
The opportunity to shoot was an enlightening experience. Trying to get a .45 to keep still enough so that the bullet didn't go into orbit was certainly very educational - I had no idea of the 'kick' in those things! I also didn't expect to be riding a horse that was wading through a river so deep that my boots were in the water. Having been a fan of Westerns in my childhood, this holiday meant I could live something that had only been a dream or a fantasy prior to my visit. I must also make mention of Deb and Jason who are great hosts. They made everyone very welcome and, along with ALL the wranglers, they made everyone's enjoyment their priority. I'm going back in July this year for more of the same!

Lazy L&B Ranch Experience #3

What month(s) do you usually travel?

How did you find out about our guest ranch?
We did an online search.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from your guest ranch vacation with us?
One of the wranglers had their own dog with them at the ranch and the dog decided to follow us one day on a ride. She walked/ran/jumped beside us the entire time and was having the time of her life. It was just another example of how family-oriented this ranch is.

Did you have any unexpected or eye-opening experiences on your vacation and is there anything else you'd like to add?
I was taken aback by the beauty of the area and what a calming effect it had on me. This trip allowed me to de-stress and remember how important it is to enjoy life and family.

Lazy L&B Ranch Experience #4

Lazy L&B Ranch review 4

What made you enjoy your guest ranch vacation with us?
The staff and the scenery were first class! The atmosphere and vibe of the ranch were pretty incredible and made for a relaxing yet exciting vacation - one that I will never forget.

What month(s) do you usually travel?

How did you find out about our guest ranch?
We did an online search.

Do you have any funny stories from your guest ranch vacation with us?
Yes! Seeing my 80-year-old mother on a horse for the first time and heading down the hill back to the ranch. The wrangler told her to "Hold on and lean back!". Boy she took it literally and leaned waaaay back, almost falling off! Also, a fun country group came one evening and played for us. We were all getting cozy around them, relaxing and listening, and I looked down and saw the bass player's instrument rest was a cowboy boot - perfect!

Did you have any unexpected or eye-opening experiences on your vacation and is there anything else you'd like to add?
I was nervous about riding and thought I'd be really sore. I can't believe how comfortable I was right away and wanted to ride at each opportunity. Eye-opening for me was when I realised how much I needed a vacation to unplug from the rat race!

Lazy L&B Ranch Experience #5

Lazy L&B Ranch review 5

What were the best parts of your guest ranch vacation with us? 
The horseback riding, the food (style of eating too, socially), the scenery, relaxing (pool and hot tub), and the people there. Couldn't choose just one!

What made you enjoy your guest ranch vacation with us?
I loved learning about Wyoming - the terrain, wildlife, history, and the lifestyle of the people. Getting to see spectacular scenery from horseback was breathtaking. I also enjoyed the local music and dance we were able to experience. We were so surprised by the incredible hospitality from the owners and staff - they all made us feel like friends. Our daughter would say that the best part was having great kids with whom to play and eat, the scheduled kids activities, the petting zoo (specifically the kittens!), and the ability to roam freely. We also enjoyed the flexibility of the experience: you could ride, relax, or socialize, no pressure, and the meals were delicious, containing a wonderful variety of choices. This ranch experience really made us fall in love with Wyoming.

What month(s) do you usually travel?

How did you find out about our guest ranch?
We did an online search.

Do you have any funny stories from your guest ranch vacation with us?
Yes! One that stands out was on the trail one day, a wrangler got down to check one of the horses and it sneezed all over her! She handled it with such humor and grace, all the children thought it was hilarious. Another was during a sudden rainstorm, all the children were out in the pasture and they came racing back to get raincoats. They were having so much fun, they were willing to continue in the pouring rain! The last would be, upon witnessing the absolute calmness and composure of the wranglers no matter what the situation, I expressed: "I guess that's why you don't see any of my Italian family being wranglers!". We had big laughs over that one.

Did you have any unexpected or eye-opening experiences on your vacation and is there anything else you'd like to add?
Many. I got to witness the interaction of the wranglers and the children as I rode with them each day. It was eye-opening to me that the staff reacted with pediatric-nurse-like-compassion, whether a child had anything going on from an emotional concern to a tummy-ache. They would also kindly hang back if a child did not want to trot, played games with the kids on the trail and generally made everything a positive experience for them. The other was the absolute warmth of the Halmay family. I was surprised to see them dining with guests each night as if they were family and their children reached out to each visiting child. I have vacationed many places and have never before experienced anything approaching that level of hospitality.

For more details and bookings, call:+1 307-455-2839 or visit www.lazylb.com

Cowgirl Up to Fight Breast Cancer

Published by Jody on August 14 2014 03:30 in Girlfriends Getaways
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Cowgirl Up for a Cure is your chance to escape for an unforgettable three-day weekend at Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming, while simultaneously supporting breast cancer charity Susan G Komen

Cowgirl Up to Fight Breast Cancer at Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming

From September 4–7, 2014, you can be part of an inspiring weekend designed to encourage and enhance your inner cowgirl. Brush Creek welcomes you to join Ambassador Nancy G Brinker, Founder and Chair for Susan G Komen, on the 15,000-acre luxury guest ranch, which provides the ideal setting for bonding with girlfriends and loved ones. 

Cowgirl Up Brush Creek Evening Entertainment


Working ranch vacation, Badger Creek Ranch, Colorado

Published by Jody on August 5 2014 12:02 in
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Working ranch vacation at Badger Creek Ranch.

Badger Creek is a 'value for money working ranch' that offers no frills – what you see is what you get.

Badger Creek Ranch only takes literally a few guests a week and although it’s basic, it is situated in Colorado a long way from anywhere, offering quiet solitude and the chance to really get away from it all. Although it’s a working ranch the hosts never forget you are on vacation. Ride into the open ranges of Colorado, where you’ll see nothing for miles but clean, clear air, open skies and wide open landscapes.

Allow your sturdy steed to become your new best friend as you ride into the open range ro experience life as a real cowboy. At the end of a riding day, enjoy the ranch's hardy food and check out the endless stars in the Colorado Rocky Mountain skies. You’ll return home a new person.

Learn about forestry on a working ranch

Published by Jody on July 21 2014 12:20 in
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Working ranches allow a very hands-on experience, where you can experience lifestyles you have been curious to find out more about but have only previously been able to experience through reading and TV viewing. Just one example of this is the highly-skilled craft of forestry – an important part of land conservation. It's an educated approach that has been passed down and honed from generation to generation, and is even more important now as it was at it's inception. On a working ranch vacation, you can learn all about forestry, including its importance to both the local ecosystem and community, and what is really involved in good forestry.

Sweet Grass Ranch Montana Forestry
Photo: Sweet Grass Ranch, Montana, USA

Ranch forestry: an overview

Interested but want to know more? Here is a quick overview of what you need to know about forestry to ensure that when you arrive on your working ranch vacation you can hit the ground running.

McGinnis Meadows, Montana, USA Forestry
Photo: McGinnis Meadows, Montana, USA

1.    What creates a healthy forest?
A healthy forest needs space, sunlight and moisture in order for the trees to achieve their full potential. Depending on rain fall and how steep an area is, the age, diversification and spacing of trees can give people a good estimation of the last time the forest was manipulated (through human/mechanical means of logging or fire). Forests are multi species – in other words, there are several different woody species in a forest.

Badger Creek Ranch Colorado USA Forestry
Photo: Badger Creek Ranch, Colorado, USA

2.    What does an unhealthy forest look like?
Although attractive to the eye, an unhealthy forest has a very heavy canopy (where the trees are so close together that sunlight can’t reach the forest floor). Too many trees of one age structure means that you won’t have any replacement or new growth - or your new growth is just a thicket. Overgrown forests, where sunlight is not reaching the ground, means that trees are growing so densely that they compete with one another, which won’t allow them to reach their full potential.

3. The truth about logging
It's hard to miss the bad press that logging has received in recent years. But the truth is logging hasn’t created unhealthy forests –incorrect logging methods have. When you get the educated rancher/logger on proper management, they are the best stewards of the land. By carefully selecting the trees to be removed in a sustainable way over a suitable period of time, ranchers can actually support a healthy forest ecosystem. 

Beaumont High Country Experience Southland New Zealand Forestry
Photo: Beaumont High Country Experience, Southland, New Zealand

4. Safeguarding against forest fires
We are taught to fear forest fires but they have their place in forestry history. It may appear that fire leaves only devastation in its wake but, remember, fire has made most of the healthy forests we look at today. Thirty years ago or so they just let fires burn to create those healthy forests, but now with so many structures and homes built in the middle of these dense forests, we need to put these fires out.

If people can be educated upon what a healthy forest looks like, they can create fireguards within their own areas and healthy forests, thus reducing the chances for wildfires to get out of control and put their homes/structures in jeopardy. Working ranches encourage individuals to start educating themselves on how to truly create a healthy forest to ensure their own safety, because everyone who builds homes in these dense areas can become safer in their environment through healthy forest management.

Listen Paul Vahldiek from High Lonesome Ranch, Colorado, talk about the challenges and importance of taking a holistic view of conservation to safeguard land for the future:

To book your working ranch vacation, visit our list of quality-approved working ranches on the Top50 Ranches site or view all of our ranch vacations to find your perfect ranch getaway for 2014.

Soraya Abdel-Hadi

About the author

Welcome to Top50's Ranch blog -The best way to stay current on the best ranch getaways, network with friends, and share stories about your ranch experiences.

Since this blog is largely driven by guest and ranch input and experiences, please contact us with your videos, photos, and stories about your ranch experience or for any story ideas you may have! 

Continue to check back regularly as ranches keep us updated about happenings & special offers throughout the year. 


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