5 Dog-Friendly Dude Ranches for an Unforgettable Cowboy-cation

By: Kristen ArendtUpdated:

A man in a cowboy hat pets his dog standing next to a fence in the grass. Mountains are visible in the background
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5 Dog-Friendly Dude Ranches for an Unforgettable Cowboy-cation

Wide open spaces, stunning scenery, starry night skies and plenty of space for your pup to roam—these are just a few of the perks of a dog-friendly “cowboy-cation.” Rustic ranch getaways are gaining in popularity, and if you have a well-behaved pup who loves the great outdoors, a dog-friendly dude ranch offers a unique vacation experience for you and your best fur bud.

Whether you want to get down and dirty for the full ranch-hand experience or you’re interested in a luxurious all-inclusive resort-style stay, these pup-friendly guest ranches let you plan out your itinerary to be as busy or relaxed as you’d like. So get some R&R and experience a slice of Wild West ranch life with a dude ranch vacation for you and your dog.

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

A dog sitting in a wide dirt road in front of a Western-style building
Courtesy of Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

Location: Yucca, Arizona

Average Room Rate: Starting from $438/night for 1 adult. Rates vary by season, room type and number of guests.

Pet Policy: $20 fee per dog per stay. Dogs are not allowed in the dining room; dogs need to be friendly with other dogs, animals and people.

Don’t Miss: The whole-nine-yards horseback riding program—learn how to saddle, groom and even feed the horses for the full ranch-hand experience.

Trade the daily grind of city living for the peaceful setting of Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch. It’s located an hour away from the nearest town, and is one of the best dude ranches for pup parents who are looking to get back to nature. The ranch, which feels reminiscent of an old western town, borders over 360,000 acres of Arizona desert at the foot of the Mohave and Hualapai mountains.

Though the outstanding year-round trail rides are the must-do experience (dogs are allowed to come along if they are well-behaved around horses and fit enough to hike for several hours), the ranch also offers dog-friendly wagon rides, hiking and mountain biking. In fact, your dog is welcome to join you for most of the ranch activities except for archery and shooting. You and your pup might come as city slickers, but you’ll leave feeling like real ranch hands.

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Greenhorn Ranch

Image
Courtesy of Greenhorn Ranch

Location: Quincy, California

Average Room Rate: Lodge rooms start from $150/night; cabins or airstream start from $486/night. Rates vary by season, room type and ranch package add-ons.

Pet Policy: $20 fee per dog per day. Dogs are not allowed in the dining room or on horseback riding trails; dogs must be leashed out on the property.

Don’t Miss: This 600-acre ranch has access to thousands of acres of national forest for horseback riding, so you can ride until the cows come home (or your butt gets sore).

Looking for a luxury dude ranch experience? Greenhorn Ranch has serious glamping appeal. They’ll greet your dog with a bed, food and water bowls, and a complimentary puppy treat to start their stay. Take your pup out to stretch their legs on the four dog-friendly hiking trails then grab a bite at the outdoor seating area of the Chuckhouse. Your dog is also welcome to join you at the Greenhorn Saloon—just make sure they’re comfortable around large groups, as this popular spot is likely to get lively on busy nights.

You might have a hard time picking what ranch activity to start with—horseback trail rides, fly fishing, fat-tire electric mountain biking, archery, skeet shooting and hiking are just a few of the outdoor activities the ranch offers (dogs are not allowed to join, so leave Fido behind to catch some zzz’s). When the sun goes down, enjoy live music, a bonfire and s’mores, karaoke, line dancing, roping lessons or whetting your whistle with a tequila and whiskey tasting.

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

A woman wearing a cowboy hat pets a large black and white dog
Courtesy of Sundance Trail Guest Ranch

Location: Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Average Room Rate: A 7 day/6 night package for 1 adult starts from $2,165.63; a 4 day/3 night package for 1 adult starts from $1,147.50. Rates vary by date.

Pet Policy: Well-behaved dogs are allowed everywhere on the ranch, except the dining room and kitchen. They must be with and under the control of their pet parent. Dogs are free to be off-leash if pet parents keep an eye on them.

Don’t Miss: Book a private riding lesson/coaching session with the ranch’s knowledgeable staff who will answer questions about grooming, tack, horsemanship and riding—even if it’s your first time on a horse.

A smaller guest ranch great for the whole family, Sundance Trails Guest Ranch welcomes pups and pup parents to enjoy true Western hospitality at their peaceful paradise in the Colorado Rockies. This family-run ranch makes a point of tailoring your stay to whatever activities you’re hankering to try—whether you want to learn how to saddle a horse, throw a rope or square dance.

Get out and giddy-up on a horseback trail ride—fit dogs who are well-behaved around horses are welcome to tag along. The ranch also has a Frisbee disc golf course (dogs can join as long as they aren’t tempted to grab a Frisbee and ruin your score), rock climbing and hiking. The local dog-friendly trails offer some spectacular scenery, too. In the evenings, head back to your cozy cabin or circle up around the campfire for songs and stories.

The Resort At Paws Up

A man standing in a corral with several dogs playing around him. A sign on the wall behind them reads "Paws Up"
Courtesy of The Resort at Paws Up

Location: Greenough, Montana

Average Room Rate: Luxury homes start from $1,730/night, but only select homes are dog-friendly, so contact the ranch for more info. Rates vary by season and type.

Pet Policy: $50 fee per dog per night. Dogs must be leashed when outside; dogs may not be left unattended at guest accommodations; dogs are not allowed in restaurants or other dining venues.

Don’t Miss: Experience a true working cattle ranch in action on an authentic horseback cattle drives.

Welcoming city slickers and experienced wranglers alike, The Resort at Paws Up is a working cattle ranch that invites guests to experience the staggering beauty of Montana’s Big Sky country. From fly-fishing on the Blackfoot River to clay-shooting, archery, ATV tours and, of course, fantastic horseback riding, the ranch has loads of activities to fill your stay.

For their canine guests, the resort welcomes pups with a Paws Up collar, doggie bed, dog dish, hiking trail map, tennis ball and a bag of homemade treats. You can even order up freshly made treats from the pet-friendly room service menu. Dogs can join you on guided hikes, though they aren’t allowed to participate in other activities. Luckily, you can drop your pup off at the complimentary kennel or call the reservations team who are happy to coordinate dog walks, hikes and doggy daycare while you’re off enjoying the ranch’s human activities.

Kara Creek Ranch

A person laying in the grass beside a picnic table. A dog rests on their chest.
Courtesy of Kara Creek Ranch

Location: Sundance, Wyoming

Average Room Rate: $1,975 for 7 nights for 1 person. Room type varies and is filled on a first come, first served basis.

Pet Policy: Dogs must be leashed when around livestock; dogs are not allowed on the furniture in the cabins.

Don’t Miss: Take your pup for a cool-down swim at the private pond.

Looking for a down-to-earth getaway in a remarkable beautiful corner of the American West? Earn your spurs doing real-life cowboy chores at Kara Creek Ranch, which offers guests the chance to take part in the seasonal activities of a working ranch—from branding cattle in the spring to rounding them up in the fall.

The ranch loves dogs and welcomes you to bring your pup along hiking, swimming or exploring the ranch for a day of fresh air and fantastic scenery. Dogs are allowed to stretch their legs off-leash as long as you aren’t around any of the ranch’s livestock. Stop off at the ranch store to purchase an all-natural dog bone for an extra special treat. And you can both swing by the dog-friendly saloon for an evening of entertainment.

5 Tips for a Dog-Friendly Cowboy-cation

A dog stands in a field. Behind the dog, men on horseback are visible
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1Know the dude ranch’s dog policies before your trip.

Dog-friendly dude ranches love animals, and dogs are no exception. However, they usually have a few rules to keep you and your pup safe during your stay. Call ahead and make sure you understand all their dog policies so you can better plan your trip with your dog in mind.

2Make sure your dog is well-behaved around other people, dogs and all kinds of animals.

Your dog should be comfortable and well-behaved around other people and animals—this means no barking and no chasing ranch animals or wildlife. This is especially important around horses and livestock for the safety of other guests, the animals and, of course, your dog.

3Think about whether or not your dog is happy being on their own for short periods of time.

At some point during your stay, you’ll probably want to leave your pup behind—whether you’re heading out for a couple hours on a trail ride or you want to grab a bite to eat. Make sure your pup is happy being on their own (or with a friend or family member) for a few hours. If you have a dog who has to be by your side 24/7 or who is anxious when left alone in a new place, a cowboy-cation might not be the best family vacation for your particular pup.

4Pack appropriate outdoor gear for you and your dog.

Dressing appropriately for your ranch-day activities will ensure you have a good time—and don’t end up with a sunburn. Pants, durable closed-toed shoes like hiking boots, plenty of layers, a hat (cowboy-style if you’ve got one!), sunscreen and a water bottle are the basic essentials for your stay. For your pup, don’t forget their leash, dog poop bags, portable water bowls and any other hiking essentials. For a more detailed list of what to pack for you and the fam, check out the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s recommendations.

5Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Possibly the best part of a cowboy-cation—apart from spending time with your dog, of course—is getting to try old west (but totally new-to-you) ranch activities. From skeet shooting and roping to line dancing and telling tall tales around the campfire, sign yourself up for something out of the ordinary for a memorable dude ranch experience.

Looking for more dog-friendly travel inspo? Check out these top vacation destinations for you and your pup.

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By: Kristen ArendtUpdated:

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