Riding the Range
Western movies have long inspired folks worldwide to take a western ranch adventure vacation. Westerns date back to the early 20th century through the 1960’s and beyond. The films have commonly centered on the life the cowboys and cowgirls who ride the range to watch over their land and cattle. Although the “wild west” depicted in some of the films no longer exists, it still creates a desire to experience the western way of life.
The 1991 film “City Slickers” depicts the adventures of three friends who go on a cattle drive and created a renewed interest in experiencing a western adventure. Thanks to cattle ranchers throughout the west who accept guests to help out with the herds, anyone can experience the real west.
There are four members of the Montana Dude Ranchers’ Association that offer the opportunity to work with cattle.
Hubbard’s Six Quarter Circle Ranch is an upscale guest ranch on the border of Yellowstone National Park, south of Livingston, MT. The ranch offers trail riding and moving cattle, and to top off a busy day of riding the range you can treat yourself with a variety of massage treatments. A trip to Yellowstone National Park is a must while you’re in the area; plan to spend a full day to explore the numerous features in the park. Hubbard’s is located near two natural hot spring resorts, Chico Hot Springs and Yellowstone Hot Springs, so you may want to treat yourself to a soak in the hot springs after a long ride.
Bonanza Creek Ranch is nestled in the hills near Martinsdale, MT. There is no nose to tail riding here, giving you the opportunity of riding to your own ability as you move herds of cattle. Riding is the main activity with morning and afternoon rides as well as day rides. You’ll climb the high range, through the woods along Bonanza Creek and canter across open country. And for the ladies, Cowgirl retreats are offered annually so check out the website for more information. Other activities include hiking, fishing and massages. There is a hot spring close by in White Sulphur Springs and is about a 45-minute drive from the ranch. Museums and cultural attractions nearby are also worth a visit.
Dryhead Ranch is located north of the Wyoming/Montana border within view of both the Pryor and Bighorn Mountain ranges, providing breathtaking views in all directions. Guests arrive in Billings then take the scenic drive south west to Lovell, WY then north to the ranch. From Lovell to the ranch you’ll drive through the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Reserve, the Big Horn Canyon Recreation Area and the Caroline Lockhart Ranch. Take the time to stop and enjoy them; it’s likely you’ll see a wild mustang or more along the way. The Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center is located in Lovell and is worth a stop before you head north. Dryhead offers cattle and horse drives and ranch weeks. You’ll have a great time moving cattle and horses as you ride the open range of this beautiful area. If rounding up a herd is your thing, this is the place!
Sweet Grass Ranch is located north of Big Timber, MT and lies in the shadow of the picturesque Crazy Mountains. The ranch dates back to the 1880’s and has been preserved by maintaining the ranch’s historic buildings and the untarnished landscape. The ranch is open from June through September when they round up the cows from mountain pastures and move them before the snow flies. Join them for exceptional horseback adventures, authentic cattle work, and recreational opportunities such as hiking, wildlife viewing and fishing in lakes, streams and ponds.
More information on these and other ranches can be found here. All of our member ranches are taking bookings for 2021, so start planning!