Dudettes in the Wild West

Guest ranches have been around for about 100 years, when real working ranchers first realized what a lure the cowboy lifestyle was for us “regular” folks. Today’s ranches help visitors experience the romance, adventure and spirit of the Old West without giving up the basic creature comforts of home. Nights consist of inky skies glittering with stars, aspen leaves rustling gently and cool mountain air snuggling guests into cozy comforters. The only sounds are a whinny or two from the horses in the pasture below. It truly is paradise. And for women, these luxury-focused Colorado ranches offer special events and packages catering to them. After 20 minutes or so down a winding, two-lane country road just outside of Steamboat Springs, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the Vista Verde sign indicates that you are are finally “home” at the ranch, a luxury setup with magnificent horses; delicious aromas of leather, hay and sweet equine sweat; and folks gussied up in Western apparel.

“Vista Verde appeals to women, especially single women, because of the camaraderie that develops between the staff and guests here at the ranch,” says Stephanie Wilson, spokesperson.

Most single female travelers appreciate the sense of community and the safety that comes from a setting like this. The private lodge rooms provide comfortable and luxurious accommodations that aren’t intimidating for a single traveler to stay in by herself.

“Our adult-only times from late-August to late-October are also a big draw,” Stephanie says. “We’ve even seen friendships that form during those weeks that continue on long past their vacation. In fact, one of my favorite recollections is of two single women who came to the ranch on their own two years ago. They hit it off so well that they came back the following year and shared a two-bedroom cabin so they could stay up late at night chatting.”

At the C Lazy U in Granby, you and 119 others can “rough it” in style, while enjoying the upscale service at America’s only AAA Five-Diamond (each year since 1979) and Mobil Four-Star (since 1968) dude ranch. Another ranch, The C Lazy U, offers horse lovers of all riding levels the utmost in the quality of its magnificent horses, riding equipment and guest training, but also in cuisine, accommodations and all other amenities. 

Women’s Events

Find Your Inner Cowgirl through Body, Mind, Equine, May 9–12

Learn how to use yoga and yogic principles to improve your horsemanship skills during this exclusive retreat, led by international yoga teacher, retreat leader and longtime trail rider Cathy Woods. Become a conscious rider through body, breathing, energy and present-moment awareness. The three-night retreat allows you to acquire skills to use on and off the saddle. All skill levels welcome, including beginners and advanced yoga practitioners and riders.

Women in the Rockies, Sept. 8–12

This exclusive event for women works to connect your vision, values and voice with the help of Duke health coach Janet Solie, P.A., M.S., and her team. Wellness Adventure offers the opportunity to bring you in touch with horses and nature. Learn mindfulness techniques to achieve overall wellness.

Julie Goodnight Riding and Yoga Retreat for Women, Oct. 11–14

Join like-minded women for a Riding and Yoga Retreat, featuring horsemanship clinics and yoga sessions. Small horseback riding groups allow for personal attention in growing horsemanship skills. Participate in instructor-led yoga sessions to center your body and mind.