Nowadays, there are more ways to travel than ever before and lots of choice when it comes to accommodation. In the past, travelers usually had to choose between hotels or campsites, but modern day vacations offer so many more options. Glamping has seen a big rise in popularity, and unique locations like dude ranches are allowing people to enjoy ecotourism and agritourism like never before. First popularized over a century ago, dude ranches are enjoying a real revival since turn of the millennium, letting people feel the thrills of the Old American West. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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Utah is one of the most historic ranching states around and is fittingly home to a lot of awesome dude ranches, with friendly cowboys and cowgirls waiting to welcome you onto their land and into their hearts. These locations always provide warm welcomes, long-lasting memories, and a lot of outdoor fun. Many of the best Utah dude ranches even propose various organized activities and tours like horseback riding, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and other fun things to do around the ranch itself. If you’re looking for more of a relaxing time, that’s fine too; Utah’s top dude ranch locations provide comfortable, cozy accommodation in peaceful environments.

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2.Best Dude Ranches in Utah

Best Dude Ranches in Utah
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Known for its large national parks and varying landscapes, with canyons, mountains, valleys, wetlands, and more. Utah is one of the most popular states in all of America for folks who want to be outside as much as possible and get in touch with nature. Dude ranches allow you to indulge your love of the outdoors like never before, providing the perfect base for nature adventures and physical activities, while also offering the comfort and relaxation you need to enjoy your vacation. Here are some details on the top dude ranches of Utah.

- Sorrel River Ranch Hotel & Spa Resort - Highway 128, Mile 17 Moab, Utah 84532, Phone: 436-259-4642

Sorrel River Ranch is the only dude ranch located in Moab, one of Utah's top towns for outdoor activities. Conveniently located near the Colorado River and several major national parks like Arches and Canyonlands, Moab is a super spot for your Utah vacation. Offering luxurious accommodation and dozens of fun activities like whitewater rafting and horseback rides, as well as more relaxing options like massages and spa skincare treatments, this ranch provides everything you need to have a wonderful time.

- Tavaputs Ranch -, Phone: 435-637-1236

If authenticity is what you want, Tavaputs Ranch is the place to be. This is one of the oldest dude ranches in all of Utah, being established way back in 1887! Guests will feel like they've been transported back in time as soon as they step foot on this historic land, engaging in thrilling ranch activities like hiking, horseback riding, wildlife spotting, and more. Only open in the summer, this is a highly popular location and rooms should be reserved in advance if you don't want to miss out. This ranch is also situated at an elevation of 9,000 feet at Desolation Canyon., offering unbeatable views of the surrounding scenery.

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3.More of the Best Dude Ranches in Utah

More of the Best Dude Ranches in Utah
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- Defa's Dude Ranch - 16350 N Country Road 7, Hanna, UT 84031, Phone: 435-848-5590

Owned and operated by the Defa Family for several generations, Defa's Dude Ranch is another awesome agritourism location in the great and beautiful state of Utah. Fitted out with a 50s-style cafe, an Old West bar, a dance hall, picnic pavilion, and much more, this ranch has a lot to offer. Guests will spend the evenings in their private cozy cabins, complete with power outlets, private bathrooms, comfortable beds, and more. In the days, visitors will be able to take their pick for a wide selection of outdoor, nature-based activities like hiking, fishing, and horseback riding.

- Zion Mountain Ranch - 9065 West Highway 9, Mt Carmel, UT 84755, Phone: 866-648-2555

The spirit of the Old West lives on at Zion Mountain Ranch, the perfect Utah dude ranch location for anyone hoping to explore one of the most extensive and beautiful natural spaces in North America: Zion National Park. Featuring elegant cabins and lodges fitted with a wide array of modern amenities like cable TV, coffee makers, fireplaces, fridges, microwaves, and more, Zion Mountain Ranch offers a warm and comfortable place of rest after long days of exploring the park. For a genuine Old West experience in Utah that kids and grown-ups alike can enjoy, Zion Mountain Ranch is definitely one of the very best destinations to choose.

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Best Dude Ranches in Utah

Attraction Spotlight: Bluff Fort Historic Site

The historic site of Bluff Fort is tucked in between the red rock landscape in the southeastern corner of Utah. Previously developed by San Juan pioneers, the settlement is now a historic area that welcomes visitors around the world to learn more about the settlers in the late 1800s. Through a detailed rebuilt and restored development, guests are able to see the Bluff Fort at its original state. It is even complete with a collection of journals, biographies and stories of the determination of this group of people as they settled in the west. The mission of the Bluff Fort Historic Site is to preserve the historical legacy from the early pioneers in the late 1880’s at their establish community.

A group of Mormon pioneers were sent out on an assignment from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1879-80 to establish settlements in Utah. Seventy families set on a long difficult journey, which historians regard as one of the most impressive wagon trips in North America. With the goal of establishing a mission at Montezuma, they began creating a route across some of the most rugged terrain in America. With their wagons they crossed over dangerous terrains such as the Colorado River gorge, mountains, deserts, forests, and deep ravines. Many of the sections were nearly impassable with a wagon, and much of the 260-mile long journey was spent making a road. After 6 months of travelling, the first settlement was created in 1880, which was less than 20 miles from the original destination of Montezuma Creek. However, the families stopped in the new location because of the lush farmland and named it Bluff City. They began building log cabins, and working the land, Bluff City was used as a place to establish law and order, and maintain a good relationship with the Navajo Indians. The colony remained for about a decade, yet most of the original families moved to the north to join ranching and farming in Monticello and Blanding. Today, Bluff City is a historical site that is open to visitors to learn about a great American pioneering story.

The historical legacy of Bluff Fort is available for the public currently, and the rebuilt community is an interesting and educational experience for visitors of all ages, and it is filled with information and visuals about these early settlers. The story of one of the great stories of settling in the west is told through re-created buildings that are filled with photos and antiques of the Mormon community. The community was created as a fort, allowing the colony to colony to defend themselves quickly.

There were between 38-63 cabins, a blacksmith shop, a Co-op story, and multipurpose meetinghouse used as a church, dance hall, and a school. The Co-op store was used for trading wool, pelts, blankets, and other supplies with the Navajo people. The profit from the Co-op store and the cattle business started by the residences of Bluff Fort helped the community economically. Yet, the extremely difficult weather conditions from the winter and the flooding from the San Juan River that damaged the irrigation system was reason for the residence to ask the church to be released from their mission. Only few families left, but the fort was only in use for 14 years and the re-created site is now filled with unique stories of some of the residences that previously lived there. Each cabin is furnished with antiques and has multi language buttons that give a further in-depth explanation about an aspect of the mission. In the main building, the Visitor’s Center, there are many visuals of early residences, a wagon, quilts hanging on the walls, and many works of art that were created by local artists. There is more to the fort than just information about the early pioneers, the Navajo culture is displayed through an authentic Hogan and a teepee that are on site. Aside from the indigenous culture, visitors are welcomed to dress in pioneer attire and go on a guided tour of the settlement. From there they can explore the interesting story of American pioneers, who were sent on a mission from the church to venture across Utah in the 19th Century. Their tale is now displayed in a historic site, and visitors have the opportunity to explore more about the preserved site, understand the San Juan Mission pioneers, and hear about their impossible journey.

550 I Ave, Black Locust, UT 84512, Phone: 435-672-9995

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Attraction Spotlight: Goulding’s Lodge at Monument Valley

Located in Monument Valley, Utah, the Goulding’s Lodge aims to give visitors unforgettable experiences in one of the country’s most picturesque landscapes – the Monument Valley. The Monument Valley is in the Navajo Tribal Park along the southern border of Utah and sits at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. The Valley is known for its iconic sandstone mesas and buttes that have been the setting for many movies in its day.


The main stretch of desert road surrounded by the picturesque cliffs is featured in Forrest Gump when he is running across the country.

The area also features a Navajo Tribal Park where generations have been preserving and caring for the land for hundreds of years. Now, they provide visitors with educational and breathtaking tours of the Monumental Valley. There is also currently a museum located at Goulding’s Lodge which allows visitors to learn more about the rare ecosystems and iconic stone formations, as well as the natives who call this land home.


Goulding’s Trading Post Museum: The museum at Goulding’s Lodge was opened in 1989 and features many Native American artifacts and artwork. The culture, traditions, and spirit of trading among the Navajo tribe is kept alive in this little corner of the world.

There are a few different sections of the museum including the following:

The Trading Post Bull: This area represents a typical trading post back in the good old days. There are items for trade including kitchen supplies, canned food, various materials, and guns. Many of these items are historical and some are the original pieces.

The Ware Room: This area represents the storage area during the high times of the trading post times. All kinds of extra supplies, photographs, pottery, and crafts are kept in this warehouse.

The Josef Muench Room: This area houses photography, jewelry, and artwork from the artist, Josef Muench.

The Movie Room: This area is filled with call sheets, posters, movie stills, and other items from the Golden Age of film. There is always a classic John Wayne movie playing in this room as well.

The Living Quarters: This area is located upstairs and features a replica of a typical home of John Goulding from the 1940s and 1950ss. There are various personal items from Goulding and the quarters are very warm and cozy.

John Wayne’s Cabin: This area is also known as Captain Nathan Brittles’ Cabin and features a variety of memorabilia from the movies the John Wayne shot in the area during his heyday.

Gift Shop: The gift shop features a wide variety of arts and crafts by local Navajo Native Americans. The collection consists of hand-woven rugs and pottery. Any items purchased come with a certificate of authenticity and often, a photograph of the artist themselves!

There are also plenty of other traditional souvenir items such a t-shirts, photographs, and items for the children. Be sure to stop by!


Sunrise Tour: This your takes guests on a 2.5-hour wake-up excursion through the Mitten rock formations and the picturesque buttes and mesas along a 17-mile desert road. Times for this tour vary based on sunrise and the tour runs from May through September.

Sunset Tour: This tour takes guests on a relaxing evening tour at sunset. The tour takes 2.5-hours and is 17-miles long. The tour will feature gorgeous fluctuations of light and color until the sun behind the picturesque rocks and cliffs.

Basic Tour: This tour takes 2.5-hours and covers 17-miles of Monument Valley and its monuments and landmarks. Guests will also get to see a real Navajo rug-weaving demonstration.

Deluxe Tour: This tour takes 3.5-hours and covers 17-miles of Monument Valley and its traditional stops with some added back country additions. Guests will also get to see a real Navajo rug-weaving demonstration at a local Navajo home.

All Day Tour: This tour is approximately 8-hours and guests will hit all of the traditional stops as well as Anasazi Ruins, and they will split the day up with a barbecue lunch. Guests will also get to visit the Hogan formations.

Full Moon Tour: This tour is 2.5-hours and takes guests on a tour of Monument Valley at one of its most beautiful times – the full moon. Don’t miss the chance to see the picturesque Monumental Valley by the light of the full moon.


The Goulding’s Lodge offers accommodations for all kinds of visitors, there is the cozy indoor lodge or the outdoor picturesque campground where guests can either stay in tents or recreational vehicles. Be sure to visit the Goulding’s Lodge website for more information on booking and pricing.

Additional Information:

Goulding’s Lodge at Monument Valley, Monument Valley, Utah 84536, Phone: 435-727-3231

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Attraction Spotlight: Bean Life Science Museum

The Bean Life Science Museum is a unique addition to the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah. Focusing on displaying the creatures of the earth, the institution has a variety of exhibits that explore the characteristics and types of animals and their habitats around the world. Named after Monte Lafayette Bean, a man who funded the construction of the building, since its opening in 1978, the museum has to grown into a center for learning. Currently, there are over 2 millions specimens of plants, insects, fish, shells, reptiles, and birds. Along with the collection, the Bean Life Science Museum is a hub for knowledge because of its classes for students of all ages and programs for the public. There is even a section that is geared towards children that teaches them about animals’ habitats through a play area. The entire museum is themed around a biblical passage, which calls people to protect the planet and be stewards of the earth, and through this the museum strives to teach the public more about the natural world.

There are a variety of taxidermied animals that are on display throughout the different floors of the Life Science Museum. Large columns greet visitors and life-sized giraffes guard the entrance, which leads to a variety of exhibits such as the Annual Photography Show, Protect Your Planet, Life on Top: Apex Predators, Life Submerged: Marine and Freshwater, Because of Plants, Why Insects, Into Africa: Exploring Nature's Interactions, and Fred and Sue Morris Bird Gallery. Throughout all of the exhibits there are many different life sized taxidermies animals, in the Protect Your Planet exhibit there is a giant elephant that is shown. Other extinct, endangered, and threatened animals and their history of the struggle to survive are displayed. The museum speaks more about the survival and lifestyle of animals who are predators in the Life on Top: Apex Predators gallery. There are many scenes that display the interactions between pretty and their hunters. Another exhibit in the museum is the Life Submerged: Marine and Freshwater collection, which focuses on the marine and freshwater ecosystems. Both the coral reef and rivers are featured in the gallery, and guests are able to learn about “what you see” and “what you don’t see” in a river. To learn more about biology on land, the exhibit Because of Plants teaches visitors about how plants play a critical role in supporting the earth. The display following Because of Plants is called Why Insects, and it is filled with glass cased preserved bugs. There are many photos and facts about the little creatures, and there is a beautiful piece of artwork that is a large butterfly made from many small ones. Intro African: Exploring Nature’s Interactions is an exhibit dedicated to different animals from the diverse continent and the different encounters from African wildlife. There is an entire section of the museum that was donated by an American couple; this area is called the Fred and Sue Morris Bird Gallery. The collection has more than 100 different kinds of birds within it. All of the various exhibits within the Bean Life Science Museum are dedicated to teaching visitors more about the natural world.

Another way that the museum encourages knowledge is through their educational programs and events. The Discovery Drawing, Discovery Reading, live animal shows, exhibits tours, and Tanner Lecture Series are all forms of how the institution is an advocator of educating its visitors. Discovery Draw and Reading are creative programs that encourage guests to use their imagination to draw animals or listen to stories. The live animal shows are a popular addition to the museum, they are designed around the Utah Science State Core Curriculum, and the shows take place both onsite and as part of their outreach program. Animals such as snakes and spiders are shown to the public as they learn facts about the creatures. All guests are welcome to take part in a self-guided tour by reading the well-marked informative panels. However, for a more detailed visit, there is a guided tour available for small groups, which explains different aspects of the Bean Life Science Museum. The Tanner Lecture Series are guest presentations that are given by various academics on topics such as the natural world, biology, conservation, and the environment. Throughout all of the programs and events that take place at the museum, guests are able to explore the natural world displayed in the institution.

645 I Ln, Phillips E, UT 84602, Phone: 801-422-5050

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