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Time to plan your Get-Away

Looking to escape from everything BUT horses? Here's a guide of prospects for you

- March 17th, 2016 - Cover Story, Special Section

1603BcoverDude Ranchers Association
(866) 399-2339
Western * Adventure * Vacation
Whether you are looking to get your family to unplug and reconnect or to challenge and revive your body, spirit and mind in breathtaking off-the-beaten path locales, an all-inclusive dude ranch is the perfect vacation destination – paired with thrilling adventures, opportunities to recharge and a chance to explore the “Wild West.” Think horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart. And that’s just the beginning.
As the original all-inclusive vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary, and no additional costs once you arrive to your destination. Guest ranches also offer a wide variety of activities. From horseback riding and hiking, to zip- lining and archery, to swimming and yoga, a dude ranch vacation guarantees a memorable experience and memories that will last a lifetime.
The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) represents a broad spectrum of 100+ guest ranches across the U.S. (two are located in Canada), ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches offering five-star cuisine and spa treatments. Dude ranches are located in some of the most scenic, pristine areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. The DRA takes great pride in the quality and standards it requires its ranches to uphold. Find out more at www.duderanch.org

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
Winston, N.M.
(575) 772-5157
Experience horseback riding and scenic beauty in the breathtaking, untouched Gila National Forest. Ride through tall ponderosa forests, up on mountaintops, and down into deep canyons with sheer cliffs and crystal clear streams. From atop your well-trained horse, spot abundant wildlife including elk, mule deer, and javelina. This is the land Geronimo grew up in. Swim in the creek near the headwaters of the Gila River where he was born! Visit 1,000-year old cliff dwellings and pit houses dating back to the Mimbres people. Search for pottery shards and view pictographs still remaining from these ancient people. Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch’s main focus is on riding — and making this a special vacation for you. Other activities that its guests enjoy are hiking, campfires at night with s’mores and fantastic star-gazing, swimming in our small pool or the creek, or just reading a good book on one of our bench swings.

LAZ S Ranch
Big Bear, Calif.
(760) 505-0931
Your Luxury Mountaintop Sanctuary, the LAZ S Ranch is the premier rental property for anyone who wants to experience the beauty of the National Forest in Big Bear. The 1,700 square foot cabin includes three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a fully-stocked gourmet kitchen, and a comfortable living area with a flat-screen TV. The 10 private acres of LAZ S Ranch provides you with complete quiet and privacy. Sit anywhere on the 1,000 square foot deck that surrounds the cabin to enjoy the stunning panoramic views. The property includes four box horse stalls with runs, so you can bring your horses and ride the endless trails in the surrounding area. It is a 15-minute ride to the San Bernardino National Forest and the Pacific Crest Trail.  Amenities include three bedrooms (sleeps 10), 2 bathrooms, washer/ dryer, DirecTV, WiFi, and outdoor grill. Dogs allowed.

Rancho Oso Resort
Santa Barbara, Calif.
(805) 683-5687
Rancho Oso Guest Ranch, a perfect vacation destination, is located in the beautiful backcountry hills of the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Spectacular forest and mountain scenery combined with the rich history of Rancho Oso provide one of the most memorable riding and recreational experiences found anywhere in California. Big corrals, arena, round pen, heated pool and spa, delicious weekend meals, and camp store provide overnight guests with all the comforts of home. With unlimited access to national forest trails and upgraded cottages and cabins, as well as full hookup RV sites, Rancho Oso is the ideal place to board or vacation with horses.

Rock Creek Pack Station
Bishop, Calif.
(760) 872-8331
Get ready for a season of packing! Experience all the beauty in the Eastern Sierra that naturally comes with Rock Creek Pack Station’s many rides, excursions and packing schools. Since 1947, Rock Creek Pack Station has been offering wilderness and outdoor vacations in the Eastern Sierra, under the ownership of the London family. Herb London was active in the operation of the pack station until his death in March of 2011. His son, Craig, has spent every summer since his birth in 1954 at the pack station and operated the pack station with his dad. The London family is dedicated to serving the public, taking care of the land, making sure the horses and mules of the operation have happy and meaningful lives, and that the crew has a good time and is fairly compensated for their hard work and dedication. Consider a mountain packing or camping vacation for this summer. Spend a few days tracking wild Mustangs, or four days on a horse drive, herding over 100 horses and mules more than 80 miles. Or you can spend a week at the Rock Creek Pack Station packing school where you’ll learn backcountry horsemanship and camping skills. Rock Creek Pack Station also has access to the Golden Trout Wilderness and Sequoia National Park. Scheduled traveling pack trips as long as 10 days are offered, as well as short trips of three days. In addition, there’s a full spectrum of custom trips, deluxe “full service” trips, dunnage transport and spot trips. The schedule for the 2015 season is online now, so book your trip today.

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