Cowboy Life

Experience the West

You have a dream.  You’re gently swaying to your horse’s rhythmic walk as it picks its way up the trail, past a shimmering stream, under the flashing light of quivering aspens, and across a flower-filled meadow. Or perhaps you are rounding up cattle drive—just change the scenery and you’re there.

There is an abundance of dude and guest ranches in Wind River Country and they provide the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Western lifestyle.

Photo: Gary Kunis

Photo: Gary Kunis

Small ranches, many family-owned and in operation for generations, personalize your stay. Working cattle ranches give you a peek into the life of real cowboys and cowgirls. Explore the vast trails and big country on overnight pack trips offered by some ranches or hone your skills in horse training clinics. Many have structured lessons to learn how to ride, or, if you are already a seasoned rider, improve your horsemanship.

There are always other activities if you had your fill of riding for the day. Hike nearby trails, or simply explore the ranch where you are staying. Fish private streams or go with your seasoned host, who might just show you a few of his or her favorite spots near the ranch. Go wildlife watching and learn about the area’s plants and geology – some of the ranches have their own naturalist on staff.

300x284-jennie-hutchinson-dude-ranchYour hosts have mastered the art of matching horses to riders so that you’ll be challenged in a way that is fun, rather than scary. And horses can cover a lot of territory in one day, allowing you to explore a lot more country than you could do on foot.

If you are only passing through and don’t have time for a dude or guest ranch stay, some outfitters offer day rides to give you a taste of the western experience. It’s a great way to see the country and to participate in an enduring part of the area’s culture.

So go ahead and fulfill your dream.  Ride the range and feel like a rugged cowboy—until you get a little sore in the saddle, then spend the afternoon fishing or swimming or simply taking in the view.

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