While some dude ranches invite guests to join in the regular ranch activities, such as feeding the cattle or exercising horses, others use the dude ranch design style to provide luxury accommodation surrounded by unspoiled nature, with activities such as horseback riding and hiking.

1. Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
© Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort brings to life the spirit of the West in their rustic but upscale 10,000-acre working cattle ranch snuggled in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley.

Only half an hour’s drive from Santa Barbara, the resort is a world away from the modern fast-paced life with 50 miles of horseback riding trails, two world-class 18-hole championship golf courses, a 100-acre spring-fed lake, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a spa.

The rustic but luxurious accommodation includes wood-burning fireplaces, Western-style art and furnishings, free Wi-Fi, and mini-fridges.

There is a gourmet restaurant on site. Minutes away from the ranch, guests can visit over 75 renowned vineyards and wineries and the charming Danish village of Solvang. Things to Do in Solvang

1054 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463, Phone: 805-693-4208

2. Bar SZ Ranch

Bar SZ Ranch
© Bar SZ Ranch

The Bar SZ Ranch is perfect for those who would like to experience the life their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago. In this 660-acre real working family ranch only a few miles from Pinnacles National Park, guests get the opportunity to try roping cattle, feed animals in the morning and evening, and enjoy hayrides, archery, creek walking, and hiking. For those who enjoy more activities, there is horseback riding, skeet, and trap shooting. In the evening, when the sun goes down, just as any rancher would do, the guests sit around the campfire, enjoy grilling meat on the wood BBQ, watch a movie outdoors, spend some time stargazing or line dancing, and much more. The accommodation is rustic and facilities include two showers, a potty, a wash station, and a camp kitchen with stove, oven and, microwave.

1989 Old Hernandez Rd, Paicines, CA 95043, Phone: 831-201-2593

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3. Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables

Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables
© Circle Bar B Guest Ranch & Stables

Circle Bar B Guest Ranch and Stables is a one-of-a-kind 1,100-acre dude ranch in Los Padres National Forest, less than a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles and 25 minutes from Santa Barbara and scenic Santa Ynez wine country. Surrounded by the majesty of California’s Central Coast, guests enjoy horseback riding, a full-service spa, true home-style dining, and much more. The rustic lodging includes Western-style rooms with wet bars with mini-fridges and a shared deck. Private cabins have their own porches and cozy wood-burning stoves. The rustic-chic cottages offer more space with a separate living area with hardwood floors and satellite TV. The ranch also has two-story houses with stone fireplaces. The guests enjoy complimentary meals and a well-stocked bar, a live dinner theatre, an outdoor pool, a games room, and a library. Horseback riding can be arranged for a surcharge. Things to do in Goleta

1800 Refugio Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, Phone: 805-968-1113

4. Coram Ranch

Coram Ranch
© Coram Ranch

Located on the banks of the Sacramento River, near Shasta Lake and north of Redding in Northern California, Coram Ranch is a 40-acre family ranch established in 1998. The charming guest ranch has five homes with large yards. It is a perfect rustic retreat for families with plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing, swimming, or playing basketball, horseshoes, or bocce ball. There is also an indoor game room. There is a large kitchen and dining room where guests can prepare meals and dine together with the whole group or family. Some of the homes have private kitchens too. The ranch is a perfect place for family reunions, company retreats, and other group gatherings. Each group gets the entire ranch, no sharing with other guests. The ranch can sleep 46 people. Things to do in Redding

14251 Coram Rd, Redding, CA 96001, Phone: 530-275-5510

5. Greenhorn Ranch

Greenhorn Ranch
© Greenhorn Ranch

Greenhorn Ranch is a genuine 600-acre working dude ranch in California’s Lost Sierra. With 60 horses, riding and taking care of the horses are the main activities. The ranch provides its guests a true ranch experience, where cowboy living is still the way of life. They will work and eat together with wranglers and greenhorns, who will teach the guests how to ride a horse or improve the skills of those who are already comfortable in the saddle. The accommodation in rustic cabins and rooms is cozy and comfortable. Besides horseback riding on the miles of scenic trails, guests enjoy family-style dining, a fun saloon with line dancing in the evening, swimming in the heated pool, fishing, and hiking.

2116 Greenhorn Ranch Rd, Quincy, CA 95971, Phone: 530-283-0930, (website link)

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6. Hunewill Guest Ranch

Hunewill Guest Ranch
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Hunewill Guest Ranch is a 26,000-acre historic ranch founded in 1861 and located on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains next to Yosemite National Park. Hunewill is a working cattle and guest ranch with 1,200 head of cattle, 190 horses, and an assortment of goats, llamas, and sheep. Horseback riding on their well-trained horses through scenic mountain trails surrounded by old forests and a vast expanse of lush green meadows provides life-long memories. The guest participate in all the activities of a traditional ranch in the American West. There are special cattle events featured during the year, such as the Big Fall Cattle Gather and the traditional fall cattle drive to their winter ranch in Nevada. The home-style meals are served in the dining room of the Victorian ranch house and the lodging is provided in rustic but comfortable cabins.

1110 Hunewill Ranch Rd, Bridgeport, CA 93517, Phone: 760-932-7710

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7. Knob Hill Ranch

Knob Hill Ranch
© Knob Hill Ranch

Knob Hill Ranch is a dude ranch and serene desert retreat located about a mile and a half from Black Rock Canyon, at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. Horseback riding through the beautiful Yucca Valley, the Mojave Desert, and Joshua Tree Park on well-trained horses is the main activity on the ranch. They offer a range of trail rides of different lengths, to different destinations, and at different times depending on the season. Guests who want to stay overnight can rent their charming one-bedroom guest house with spectacular views of the mountains and the desert. The house has a queen-sized bed, living room with two sleeper couches, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, large bathroom with shower, and spacious outdoor patio with dining table and chairs.

57840 Cortez Dr, Yucca Valley, CA 92284, Phone: 760-333-1771

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8. Marble Mountain Ranch

Marble Mountain Ranch
© Marble Mountain Ranch

Marble Mountain Ranch is an all-inclusive “Raft & Ride” or "saddle and paddle" family-owned dude ranch established in 1968 on the slopes of Marble Mountain in California's Klamath National Forest. Marble Mountain Ranch offers vacations that meet the interests of all members of a family or group. There is horseback trail riding along mountain trails, in small groups of up to eight riders, along more or less challenging trails. There is a spectacular equestrian programs, whitewater rafting, kayaking, ATV rides, trail hiking, paintball, sporting clays, fly fishing for steelhead, or jet boat tours all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The ranch meals are homemade every day by members of the ranch family. The accommodations include beautifully furnished luxury homes and cottages with full kitchens and smaller cabins with kitchenettes.

92520 CA-96, Somes Bar, CA 95568, Phone: 530-469-3322, (website link)

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9. Rankin Ranch

Rankin Ranch
© Rankin Ranch

Rankin Ranch is a 31,000-acre 155-year-old working cattle ranch near Caliente, California, owned and operated by six generations of Rankins. They raise white face Hereford cattle just like their ancestors and enjoy sharing their lifestyle with the guests. The guests can spend the day horseback riding through scenic terrain, such as mountains, meadow cattle country, rolling hills, open fields, and through oak and pine forests. There is also hiking, fishing in the pond full of trout, and swimming. Homemade meals are prepared daily by the ranch staff. Lodging is offered in the rustic but comfortable mountain cabins, secluded and private but a short distance from the ranch main recreation area.

23500 Walker Basin Rd, Caliente, CA 93518, Phone: 661-867-2511

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10. Reed Valley Ranch

Reed Valley Ranch
© Reed Valley Ranch

Reed Valley Ranch is a secluded 835-acre cattle ranch covered with lush valleys, oak groves and rugged hills located a short drive from Los Angeles and San Diego. Remote and private, the ranch has the Spanish-style ranch house with a bunkhouse, several ponds, and historic barns. The ranch was originally established in 1867, and it has retained the charm of days gone by. For the last 65 years, the same family owned and operated it, breeding and selling high-quality Angus cattle. The ranch is also frequently used for photo shoots and filming. For overnight guests, it offers a bunkhouse and a couple of RV hook-ups. The bunkhouse has a bathroom and can sleep eight. A rustic barn has a fridge, stove, and barbecue. There is a large arena for working with cattle as well as wonderful trails for horseback riding.

36521 Reed Valley Rd, Hemet, CA 92544, Phone: 951-767-0524

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11. Ricochet Ridge Ranch

Ricochet Ridge Ranch
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Located on the magnificent California Mendocino coast, Ricochet Ridge Ranch offers horseback riding along the deserted Pacific Ocean beaches, through bluffs along the ocean or through California’s ancient redwood forests. They offer a range of rides of different length, to different destinations, and for different riding skill levels. Their superbly trained horses are suitable for riders of any age, including children six years old and above. Ricochet Ridge Ranch also offers private rides as well as riding vacation packages. The guests can choose among many local B&Bs, hotels, and inns and combine their riding activities with visits to local wineries or with boat charters. Things to Do in Fort Bragg

24201 CA-1, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, Phone: 707-964-7669, (website link)

12. The Guest Ranch at Pacific Crest

The Guest Ranch at Pacific Crest
© cindygoff/stock.adobe.com

The Guest Ranch at Pacific Crest is located in the Angeles National Forest, near a charming mountain town of Wrightwood and about 75 miles outside of Los Angeles. Calm and graceful, snuggled in a valley between the slopes of San Gabriel Mountains covered in fragrant evergreens, it is a perfect place for a wedding or a special event. The ranch sits on 300 acres of pristine wilderness with hiking trails, wild animals habitats, and manicured lawns. The design of the ranch is inspired by a classic dude ranch, with rustic wooden cabins with rough stone walls. Surrounded by rocky riverbeds, quaint wooden bridges, and small brooks trickling into calm ponds, it provides a perfect background for romantic weddings and a serene sanctuary for couples looking for a quiet escape.

78 Big Pines Hwy, Wrightwood, CA 92397, Phone: 760-249-5093

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13. V6 Ranch

V6 Ranch
© V6 Ranch

Located half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the Cholame Valley, the V6 Ranch occupies 20,000 acres of the most delightful nature found anywhere in California. The beautiful ranch offers a retreat that can satisfy a guest seeking peace and quiet as well as the one looking forward to riding the trails, joining cattle drives, or horse camping. The 50 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails are surrounded by wildlife, more than 200 species of wildflowers, and a large number of bird species. The accommodation is provided in Parkfield Lodge, with its nine guest rooms. The lodge was built in 1991 and was constructed with logs and up-cycled materials. All rooms have full modern amenities including Wi-Fi, refrigerator, satellite TV, coffee maker, air conditioning, and private bathrooms with tubs and/or showers.

70410 Parkfield-Coalinga Rd, Parkfield, CA 93451, Phone: 805-463-2421, (website link)

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