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5 Great Dude Ranches Near National Parks

By Darley Newman, March 20, 2014

As lovers of ranches and national parks, we know a great vacation combo is to visit both at one time! Check out these dude ranches in close proximity to great national parks.

by Darley Newman 

Horseback riding in the great outdoors and exploring national parks is an exciting way to see the diverse terrain, wildlife and nature across the USA. We've picked out five great dude ranches that are close to U.S. National Parks. At some ranches, you can actually horseback ride in the park, while others are close enough for day-trips or excursions prior to or after your ranch vacation.


  A beautiful view from the saddle on a horseback ride overlooking the Tetons with Gros Ventre River Ranch. 

  1. Bar W Guest Ranch- Glacier National Park in Montana The scale and diversity of Glacier National Park is spectacular in itself. This park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres of pristine waterfalls, turquoise-colored lakes, milky white streams, alpine tundra, colorful wildflowers, glacier carved peaks and more. Early explorers called it the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem". Drive a pretty 23 miles over about 40 minutes (if you don't stop) from Bar W Guest Ranch, located in Whitefish, and you'll find yourself at the West entrance to the park. This entrance provides access to the Park Headquarters, Lake McDonald area, the Apgar Visitor Center and the Going-to-the-Sun-Road. Many of guests add Glacier National Park to their ranch vacation itinerary, scheduling one day or more to explore. You may even decide to ride again in the park, as guided horseback tours are available inside the park.

  2. Gros Ventre River Ranch- Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming This longtime Wyoming dude ranch is well-located for national park adventures at 18 miles from Grand Teton National Park and 60 miles from the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Guests may travel to either or both for world-class hiking and other outdoor adventures. Grand Teton National Park boasts the 40-mile-long jagged peaks of the iconic Teton Range, the youngest mountain range in the Rocky Mountains. Visitors may also take in alpine lakes, whitebark pines and sub-alpine fir, rocky canyon streams, glaciers and snowfields. Take a ranger-led hike, scenic drive or go canoeing on Jenny lake, fishing and even horseback riding. The ranch will send you along with a picnic lunch and have dinner waiting for you when you return. 

  3. Drowsy Water Ranch- Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado Conquer the Continental Divide and the highest national park in the United States in Rocky Mountain National Park, around 25 miles from Drowsy Water Ranch in Granby, Colorado. While some guests fly into Denver and explore Rocky Mountain National Park on the drive to or from the ranch, others take a side trip during their stay. This national park attracts visitors with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildlife viewing, biking, scenic drives and horseback riding. Look up to the more than sixty peaks over 12,000 feet in this varied park. Hike through subalpine spruce, ponderosa, and aspen and then head above the trees to the park's unique "land above the trees," an area too high and extreme for trees to grow. Montana may have its big skies, but you'll find that Colorado does too in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

  4. Elk Mountain Ranch- Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado Scenery you wouldn't necessarily expect in Colorado! In Great Sand Dunes National Park, massive sand dunes, the tallest in North America, are juxtaposed with peaks from the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This national park, listed as the quietest national park in the 48 contiguous United States in a recent study, offers visitors extreme sport opportunities. Travelers can try sandboarding and sand sledding and then build sandcastles and splash around in Medano Creek. It's sort of like the beach made its way to this part of Colorado. Though the dunes are a big attraction, this park also draws in hikers to visit its alpine lakes, pine forests, aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands. It's about a 2 hour and 45 minute drive to this park from Elk Mountain Ranch, located in Buena Vista. Many guests tack this onto the beginning or end of their stay at the ranch, especially those driving up from the Southern part of Colorado. 

  5. Lone Mountain Ranch- Yellowstone National Park in Montana A must-see national park, Yellowstone is famous for Old Faithful Geyser, but you may be equally impressed by the bubbling mud pots, steam vents and traffic-stopping bison. Lone Mountain Ranch, located in the heart of Yellowstone Country in Big Sky and just 18 miles from the Northwest Corner and 48 miles from the town of West Yellowstone, is a great ranch to visit for a trip to Yellowstone National Park, especially since you can horseback ride from the ranch into the park. In fact, all of your horseback riding at this historic ranch is in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. With 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined, so make sure you schedule a nice bit of time to explore America's first national park and snuggle down in a cozy cabin with a wood burning stove or fireplace after your adventures. 

Check out more great ranches in the Equitrekking Vacation Guide and at For upcoming travel discounts on great ranch and horseback riding vacations check out Equitrekking Travel Deals.

Equitrekking Launches EquineLUX Saddle Pad Sweepstakes

By Darley Newman, February 28, 2013

Calling all equestrians, whether you're into Dressage, Hunter, Jumper or Eventing! Equitrekking is excited to announce a brand new contest with EquineLUX, makers of luxury, high-performance saddle pads. From February 26th through March 29th, EquineLUX will be giving away four different saddle pads to Equitrekking newsletter subscribers. To benefit riders from a variety of equestrian disciplines, contest participants will have the opportunity to win the very first in the new "B&W Domino" series-- the Hunter style Slip-Stopping? Saddle Pad. Other prizes include the sweat-wicking non-slip Dressage Saddle Pad with sheepskin trim, the XTR shock absorbing non-slip Eventing Saddle Pad, and the sweat-wicking non-slip Jumper Saddle Pad. Winners can sign up on a dedicated contest page on and will be announced each Friday in March on Equitrekking's Facebook page and EquineLUX's Facebook page. Sign up to enter at Check out the prizes. Happy riding! Prizes in the Equinelux Sweepstakes
Prizes in the Equinelux Sweepstakes

Equitrekking Debuts on Horse & Country in UK and Country 99 New Zealand

By Darley Newman, February 19, 2013

The Equitrekking TV series continues to globe trot onto networks around the world. Watch all new episodes of Equitrekking on Horse & Country TV in the UK and Ireland, starting with Jordan, and on Country 99 in New Zealand! Head of Programming for Horse & Country TV, Jonathan Rippon, said of the new series: "Equitrekking's unique mix of exciting riding and international travel adventures combined with Darley's enthusiasm and passion has proved extremely popular with our audience. Equitrekking gives viewers a taste of places they might never go to but also inspires them to take on new riding challenges themselves. We're delighted to have this new series on the channel, taking viewers to spots on the globe where even Darley has not ventured before." Horse & Country TV offers a rich, mixed schedule of programming for fans of equestrian sports and country living. Check out dates and times of upcoming Equitrekking episodes on Horse & Country.The channel covers all equestrian disciplines including showjumping, dressage and evening, and other topics such as natural horsemanship, lifestyle, travel, food and documentaries. 

Watch a behind the scenes on Equitrekking's filming in Botswana, Africa, debuting on Horse & Country TV. Equitrekking Debuts on TV in?New Zealand Equitrekking is debuting for the first time in New Zealand on Country 99, which showcases the very best in rural lifestyle and equestrian programs on channel 99 on SKY Network Television NZ. Check out the TV schedule to watch Equitrekking in New Zealand. Launches Travel Deals

By Darley Newman, December 14, 2012

Have fun with holiday trip planning or at least drooling over the dude ranch and riding vacations on the new? Travel Deals page featuring exclusive dude ranch discounts and bargains on horseback riding vacations. Many of the featured vacations are with small, family owned businesses, whose deals aren't available on major travel deals websites. Check out last minute holiday family ranch vacations, winter girlfriend getaways at Arizona dude ranches, special discounts on wild horse tours in Wyoming, all-inclusive guest ranch bargains, equestrian training packages at an Irish castle and more. It's part of our continuing effort to bring true value to people interested in horse riding while on their vacation and making a one-stop site to research, plan, dream and learn about the best dude ranch and riding. Happy holidays and happy travels!

Cowgirls saddled up at Rancho de la Osa in Arizona, a featured girlfriend getaway and travel deal.

Equitrekking Pinklette Contest to Win Equestrian Jewelry

By Darley Newman, November 19, 2012

Your chance to win equestrian jewelry featured in Oprah magazine!

I am excited to be able to team up with to give away gift certificates this holiday season. Sign up for Equitrekking's free e-newsletter, chock full of great travel articles, photos of horses, exclusive travel deals and more, and be automatically entered for the chance to win one of four $50 gift certificates to, maker of adorable equestrian inspired jewelry featured in Oprah magazine!?Pinklette features fun equestrian, nautical and Palm Beach style jewelry collections and accessories. We'll be picking four winners this holiday season and announcing them on Equitrekking's Facebook page on?November 30th, Dec 7th, Dec 21 and Dec 31st. Learn more and sign up. pinklette equestrian jewelry

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