Chances are at one time or another as a child you pretended you were out on the range. Your best imaginary friend was your horse, and you stayed under the stars rustling the herd in. Now that you’re grown up, you can take a trip back in time, but instead of an imaginary experience, you can be a cowboy for real.
Here are some places where you can still live the cowboy dream during your vacations.
Hartley Guest Ranch, New Mexico – This is not just a cute themed vacation spot, but also a family-owned operational ranch. Spanning 25,000 acres, this is the real deal. When you get to the ranch, you will be taught to find the right horse that suits you, how to ride it, and how to wrangle cattle on the trail. Then it’s off to work. There are cattle to gather and move daily, but if you’re really up for adventure, you can also take part in multi-hundred-mile trails of cattle drives where you will camp and sleep on the trial, under the stars. There are other recreational activities, including hiking, and fishing areas. And if you don’t really want to do cattle drive duty, that’s ok. You also have the option to just enjoy the farm life and watch all the bustling activity.
Blue Mountain Cattle Drive, Utah – If you want a little history with your dude ranch, consider this location. This is where Butch Cassidy, the famous Wild West outlaw was from. If you ask around while you are working, you may even find some of his descendants working on the ranch. Here you can also live the life of a cowboy, by jumping in the saddle and doing you part in cattle drives and trail rides. There’s much more than just horse riding and chasing cattle involved here. You will learn about the camaraderie that is formed between cowboys. At the end of the day, you can enjoy great vittles that are a hallmark of outdoor, chuck wagon, cowboy cooking, and join the rest of the hands sitting around a campfire. Chances are someone will break out a guitar or their voice, and you can join in for a song or two.
Grapevine Canyon Ranch, Arizona – While you may have played cowboys and Indians as a child, this is the real location of cowboys and Indians events of days of old. If you know anything about the Dragoon Mountains, it has a thick Indian history including being the location where famous Indians like Geronimo were found. You can choose to learn more about the Indian history and see some monuments in the area. Or, if you choose to work the dude ranch and be a cowhand, you can saddle up and ride across vast mesas and through steep canyons watching the vibrant sunsets on the horizon at the end of the day’s ride. This is when you realize what it really would have been like to be a real cowboy in the Wild West.