Experiencing dude ranches in Wind River Country
By Flash Parker
If there are ten people in a room anywhere in North America, chances are good that six have been on an American road trip. Of those six, one or two have likely been to Wyoming—but other than rolling through Yellowstone with a camera pointed at bubbling geysers and streaking buffalo, or admiring the Grand Tetons, how many folks have really experienced Wyoming’s fabled cowboy country and gone full yeehaw at a working dude ranch? Wind River Country, tucked into the heart of Wyoming, offers myriad ranch experiences that range from the active to the historical to the family friendly. Each experience is so seminally American West, you’ll wonder why you haven’t saddled up sooner.
Get Your Boots On
Wind River Country has an unmistakable cowboy verve that sets it apart from other western destinations—some of the dude ranches here were first built in the 1920s, and they retain an air that is both genuine and refreshing. But you don’t have to be a real cowpoke to appreciate everything Wind River Country has to offer. Some ranches offer programs that allow guests to live out their fantasies of becoming a ranch hand and rounding up the cattle, while others offer a glimpse at a Western way of life, but allow you to keep one foot firmly entrenched in modern, luxurious living. Most of the ranches in Wind River Country are family owned, and have been that way for generations—so you can expect fully personalized, customizable escapes that can be tailored to your every Western whim, whether that has you up at the crack of dawn branding cattle, sitting ringside at a rodeo or learning how to rope.
A Wind River Country ranch experience is unlike any other, and the perfect family getaway for groups looking for an experience that exists just on the periphery of ordinary. Campfire singalongs, cookouts under the stars and horseback riding lessons are but a few of the activities families can expect. These ranches often serve as outdoor outfitters for adventures further afield—in the summer months, when the mountains have fed the rivers and water runs high, Wind River Country becomes one of Wyoming’s premiere fly fishing destinations, where guides can show you how to land the catch of your dreams – maybe even that elusive golden trout. Adrenaline junkies can race up and over mountain trails on ATVs, outdoor enthusiasts can hike all day in the Absaroka Mountains (where you can picnic near thundering waterfalls, spy on bighorn sheep, moose and more), and hunters can stalk game in wild backcountry that is as fierce as any predator. In the winter, visitors can snowmobile in powder at 9000’ on the Continental Divide backed by towering snow-capped peaks or snowshoe among the pines and sit around the fireplace as cowboys tell tall tales late into the night. All this while enjoying the modern amenities of guest ranches that fuse rustic charm with contemporary style.
And oh, those mountains! The Absaroka and Wind River Mountains are some of the most impressive in the country and every bit as stunning as the Grand Tetons. Severe peaks cradle scoops of snow most of the year and rock spires carve up fast-flowing clouds. Wind River Country ranches can outfit overnight trips into the backcountry as many employ their own guides and naturalists, each adept at helping you get the most out of your mountain expeditions. Drop trips for your own expedition can be arranged also.
Wind River Country has a way of sinking into your bones and staying with you—and bringing you back out for more. The ranches in this most quintessential cowboy country are among the country’s finest, and a gateway to remarkable western adventures.
Saddle up and plan your dude ranch experience in Wind River Country!
Businesses & Packages
- Custom jet boat, drift boat and walk/wade fishing trips to anglers of all abilities.
- Small, highly personalized ranch for special groups, retreats and workshops.
- Wilderness horseback, fishing, big game and ranch vacations into the rugged Wind Rivers. Horse pack trips and drop trips.
- Located in Dubois. Pack trips and a luxurious base camp in the Shoshone National Forest specializing in riding, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Drop trips, hunting and custom trips available.Packages
Valid From 07/15/2018 to 07/19/2018Make the most of your summer break by filling it with many activities- all from the one vacation spot. The Dunoir Valley in the Shoshone National Forest, Dubois is a beautiful glaciated volcanic valley offering challenging hikes, meandering strolls, varied riding, fishing, and photography. The surrounding lakes and streams are good for cutthroat and brook trout fishing. Our pack trips offer all this plus delicious meals, comfortable camping, skilled guides, safe horses/tack and a fun unforgettable experience. All for a great price and all in one package! $1,580 per person. 5 days/ 4 nights. Book before February 1st and receive $80 off per person. Photo: Sarah WoltmanFor the trip to depart there needs to be a minimum of three guests.
Valid From 08/27/2018 to 08/31/2018Join Heath for some fantastic fishing in the beautiful Simpson Lake area on this great pack trip. The northern Wind River Range is fabulous country and the fly-fishing in the lakes is a treat. There will be the opportunity to fish the lake itself and other surrounding fisheries. The fishing is world renowned-fly-fishing or spin-casting. Brookies, Rainbows, Cutthroat Trout and Grayling all inhabit these healthy, pristine waters. We will take day rides or hikes to nearby lakes like Lost Lake, Sandra Lake, Pinto Lake and Rim Lake. The fishing will keep you busy and the scenery awestruck. Come enjoy these wonderful wild lands and water with us. Trip cost includes all meals, tent accommodations, riding, taxes and gratuities. Group bookings of three or more will receive $100 off per person. Photo by Steven Brutger
Valid From 07/08/2018 to 07/12/2018This is a special ladies trip into the beautiful Shoshone National Forest in Dubois Wyoming, staying at our comfortable base camp. We will gather as a small group to explore the serenity of the land, the quiet wisdom of horses, and daily movement and meditation practices tailored to create ease in body and mind. All levels of experience in yoga/meditation and horse riding are welcome. $1,700 per guest. All inclusive of meals, riding, yoga, tent accomodations, staff and taxes. Group bookings of three or more receive $100 off per guest. Photo by Meredith HardwickLadies trip only
- Explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem near the Continental Divide between 11,000 and 12,000 feet. Working cattle ranch specializing in pack trips, horse riding and training clinics. Private trout stream.
- An all inclusive, luxury mountain getaway with spa. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and snowmobiling.
- Hunting, fishing and pack trips in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness. Drop trips for climbers and backpackers into Gannett Peak.
- Hunting camp in Wind River Range. Fishing, drop pack trips.
- A dude ranch specializing in family vacations since 1927. Outdoor adventures include horseback riding, fishing, hiking, pack trips, weekly rodeo and cookouts.
- Dogsledding tours.
- Mountain guest ranch located along the Continental Divide. Horseback riding, ATV and snowmobile rentals.
- Guided service includes wade and alpine fishing from a motor or drift boat. Fly fishing instruction for all levels of experience.
- Float or wade along the Big Horn, Snake and Wind River. Professional fly fishing guide service. Catch and release fishing.
- Half or full-day guided wade fishing trips in the Lander area. 3 & 5 day overnight pack trips available.
- Operates in the Wind River Range, Absaroka Range, and the Red Desert. Fly-fishing, low impact camping, family fun. Wilderness camping, and hunting for guided and unguided trips. Permitted by the USFS. Llama rentals.
- A full service guest ranch. Family owned and operated. Riding, fishing, hiking and hunting. Log cabins along East Fork of Wind River, 60 miles from Yellowstone. All meals provided.
- The only permitted base camp on the glacier trail located in the Fitzspatrick Wilderness. Weekly guided horsepacking trips July-Oct. This area is famous for Gannett Peak, the highest peak in Wyoming.
- Specializing in fly fishing trips. Horseback riding and ATV's can also be arranged.
- Licensed and insured Wyoming outfitting service offering experienced professional fishing and hunting guides, as well as certified mountain guides, for the back country traveler looking for sport or adventure. Drop trips. Rentals- horses, complete camps, wall tents, stoves, cooking gear.
- A non-profit renewal center for spiritual growth, community and intellectual stimulation. Programs by internationally known speakers. Horseback riding, hiking, and a variety of outdoor experiences. June 1-mid Sept.
- Guided fly fishing in the Wind River Range. Day trips or 3-10 day trips available. Golden Trout specialty.
- Day or overnight pack trips into the Absarokas and Wind River Mountains. Remote Golden Trout trips.
- Timberline RanchOpen June 15-Sept 15. Ideal for family events and reunions.
- Triangle C Ranch is an all inclusive guest ranch located in the scenic Wind River Valley, between Dubois and Jackson Hole, WY. Horseback riding instruction, trail rides, fishing, ATV, hiking.
- Wind River Backcountry OutfittersHorsepacking into the Absaroka mountains, fishing and fall hunting. Drop trips. Day horseback rides.
- Whitewater rafting and guided fishing trips.
- Private and customizable instructional climbing courses at the base of the Wind River Range.
- Located at The Black Bear Inn. Guided morning half-day and full day wade trips, evening wade and a golden trout package. Daily afternoon free fly casting lessons (5pm).
- Fishing trips for anglers of all abilities with experienced guides. Walk and wade tours in the Wind River & North Fork rivers and below Boysen Reservoir.
- Cover the same ground as the pioneers in a wagon, on a horse, or both. Access to historical landmarks. Rent horses by the week for re-enactments, movies, outfitters, ranches, hunters, rodeos, etc.