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Tips on Running a Dude Ranch

Ranching can be a hard way to make a living, and many ranchers struggle with the challenges of owning and running such an operation. If you own a ranch and feel like the problems, issues, risks, and uncertainties are just too much, it might be time to kick back, add liability to your ranch insurance, and turn your place into a dude ranch.

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Dude ranches have become popular and profitable as more folks look for unique vacation opportunities that provide fun activities, good food, and comfortable accommodations.


Your guests are paying to be entertained, so you want to ensure that you always have activities they can participate in. Horseback riding and trail rides are givens, but you might also consider working with cattle and livestock, day trips for local sightseeing, learning cowboy skills like roping, evening campfires, and overnight campouts are a few basic activities. On some dude ranches, guests often help with the daily chores to get a true old-west experience.

Always ensure you have a plan B in case of inclement weather. Covered barbecue areas can provide some good rainy day activities. Inside activities such as line dancing and square dancing and cooking and craft lessons are popular indoor activities.


Your guests will expect good vittles. After all, it is a ranch. Be sure you can accommodate special diet requests. Plan meals in advance and have plenty of food on hand. The last thing you want is to run out of food and have to make an emergency trip to the grocery store.


Guests expect comfortable accommodations. They will need a place to sleep, a place to eat, and bathrooms. They might be looking for an authentic old-west experience, but they still want modern conveniences.

Operating a dude ranch can be fun and profitable. It’s an opportunity to meet people from around the country and, sometimes, the world.