agrees. "It's an
cation," she ex-
plains. "You know
what your costs are
even before leaving
seven home. And then
different you get to spend a
states and Canada whole week being
(as well as eight winter ranches), says taken care of.
that dude ranching has doubled in pop- What more could
ularity every year since she came on you ask for?"
board in 1986. Last year, Ms. Pelton
helped 3,000 people — singles, couples a dude ranch? Horse-
and families, ranging in age from their back riding, answers Amey
Grubbs, who reports that every mem-
twenties to their seventies — select a
ber of the Dude Ranchers' Association
dude ranch vacation.
must offer horseback riding as its chief
Ms. Pelton attributes the popularity
activity. Many ranches also offer a vari-
of dude ranching to an increased in-
ety of other activities, from swimming
terest in the western lifestyle. "Our fash-
and tennis to white water rafting and
ions are western, movies and television
wilderness trips. Some ranches play up
are focusing on western themes," she
the family vacation angle with children's
explains. "I just think the West is corn-
programs that include riding instruc-
ing back around."
tion, a visit to a rodeo, child care facil-
Amey Grubbs of the Dude Ranchers'
ities for younger kids, and overnight
Association has also seen a rise in
camping trips for older kids, among
ranching vacations' popularity. "Last
year, the Gulf War kept people at home," other enticements.
Horseback riding remains the key,
she says, "so they looked for alterna-
though. And, assures Ms. Grubbs, you
tive vacations. Then, of course, there
don't have to know one end of the horse
was 'City Slickers' which was the icing
from another. "A lot of people have nev-
on the cake. And, then too, the busier
er even looked at a horse be-
people get, the more this type of
fore," she says. "Most ranches
offer basic instruction for the
true tenderfoot all the way up
to overnight pack trips for the
Most dude ranches offer
week-long packages, with
prices dependent on the
number of people in your
party and the type of ac-
commodations you re-
quire. Ranches range
to luxurious," says Ms.
Grubbs. In general, an
runs from $450 per
week per person on up to
$1,400 per week
per person. The average falls
in the $700 to $750 range.
The Dude Ranchers' Association
publishes a 32-page directory of its
member ranches. To receive a copy,
send $3 to: Dude Ranchers' Asso-
ciation, PO. Box 471, LaPorte, Co. 80535
(phone: 303-493-7623). American
Wilderness Experience also has avail-
able, at no charge, a directory of its
members. Write: American Wilderness
Experience, PO. Box 1486, Boulder, Co.
80306 (phone: 303-494-2992).
There are also guidebooks available
in bookstores and libraries, including
Gene Kilgore's Ranch Vacations (pub-
lished by John Muir Publications, PO.
Box 613, Santa Fe, N.M. 87504) and
Farm, Ranch, and Country Vacations (pub-
lished by Adventure Guides, Inc., 36
East 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10022).
To whet your travel plans today, how-
ever, read on for a sampling of some
In Arizona, guest ranches are pri-
marily for winter and spring vacations.
Tanque Verde Ranch (602-296-6275),
located 15 miles east of Tucson, is a
luxurious year-round resort that ac-
commodates 125 guests in casitas and
Continued on next page.
SPRING '92 23