The three guest lodges at the Wind Walker Guest Ranch (888-606-9463, www.windwalker.org) offer one- and two-bedroom apartments. Summer rates are $1,348 per person for a Monday-through-Saturday stay, all meals and riding included. Rates drop to $1,079 October through May. Like most ranches open in winter, shorter stays are available off-season, making a trip more affordable. For example, a two-night package at Wind Walker is $340 for adults, $250 for children.
Fly to Salt Lake City, about two hours away. The ranch picks up guests who prefer not to rent a car.
The land here was made for cross-country skiing, but be sure to arrange ski rentals before you come. Brochures about local attractions and events are available through the Chamber of Commerce (800-283-4345, www.sanpetecounty.org). Various craft co-ops are scattered throughout the area, and small historic sites abound. Various ethnic and heritage festivals are hosted in nearby towns, primarily during the summer.The ranch is 15 minutes from Maple Canyon State Park, 11/2 hours from Capitol Reef National Park, three hours from Bryce National Park, and 31/2 hours from several other national parks, including Zion.
Anyone with a horse can call himself a dude ranch. The Dude Ranchers' Association evaluates properties applying for association membership, and only about 60 percent meet association standards. Prices vary widely. Higher-end ranches tend to offer more activities, especially in winter.For winter dude ranching, if money is no object, check out Hidden Creek Ranch in Harrison, Idaho (208-689-3209, www.hiddencreek.com), which looks fabulous. Rates for two nights start at $827 per adult, meals and most activities included. I was also quite taken with the brochures of Vista Verde in Steamboat Springs, Colo. (800-526-RIDE). Minimum stays in winter are three nights, at $900 per adult. In summer, minimum stays are one week, for $2,400.
Dude Ranchers' Association, (970) 223-8440, www.duderanch.org.
Source: Washington Post