Working cattle ranches are found throughout the US. Run by families and worked throughout the entire year, they still run primarily as they did when the first ranchers first took their cattle out to pasture. If you have a passion for horses, the wilderness, and new experiences, you might be interested in a truly unique kind of trip - a cattle ranch vacation.
Many of the modern working cattle ranches are also working dude or guest ranches. This means that they not only welcome guests and travelers into their homes for rest and relaxation, but they also give the guests a true western rancher experience by teaching guests the ins and outs of a working ranch. Between tending to horses and the yearly cycle of cattle drives, there is plenty to do.
While on your vacation, you can hone your horseback riding skills, or, if you've never ridden before, learn how to ride for the first time. From there you can explore the surrounding area or go on one of the ranch hunting trips. If you stay at a location with a lake, such as Bull Hill near Kettle Falls, WA, you can spend a day fishing.
During the spring and fall months, however, the most exciting part of vacationing at a working cattle ranch takes place - the cattle drive. In the spring, after long, cold winters, the cattle are ready to be taken out to pasture. So, the ranch hands, as well as guests, saddle up for the trek through the mountains, wrangling cattle, making sure everyone sticks together. In the fall, you can help search the hills and pastures for the cattle. Then, similar to the spring, you get to help wrangle all of the cattle back home to the ranch.
No matter the time of year, you can always have a good time on your cattle ranch vacation. Foals and calves are usually born in the spring, before the cattle are moved to pasture. Hay harvesting is done during the summer months for cattle feedings throughout the winter. And, of course, for the true working ranch experience, there are always maintenance repairs that can be done.
If you are looking for a truly unique experience, then a cattle ranch vacation might be just up your alley. If you aren't afraid to get your hands dirty, if you like to work hard and relax even harder, then the dude and guest ranches of Washington are calling your name.