Several of Wyoming’s best-known and most luxurious dude ranches are in Jackson Hole , providing wonderful places for families who are looking to rough it in style. Many more guest ranches are just over Togwotee Pass in the Dubois area and to the south in the Pinedale area.
At the base of Sheep Mountain, Flat Creek Ranch (307/733-0603 or 866/522-3344, www.flatcreekranch.com ) is packed with history. The land was originally homesteaded by cowboy, hunting guide, and rustler Cal Carrington, but he sold it to his close friend, “Countess” Cissy Patterson, in 1923. Previously married to a Polish count, Cissy came from a wealthy Chicago newspaper family, but her love of the West and horses matched Cal’s. For two decades Cissy and Cal were grist for the gossip mill, mostly during her trips to Wyoming, but also when she took him along on a grand tour of Europe. Cissy died in 1948, and her relatives now own the ranch. After a long hiatus and extensive improvements, this historic ranch in a gorgeous setting is once again open for guests, with five renovated cabins and three gourmet meals daily. The emphasis is on fly-fishing in legendary Flat Creek; the ranch owns 1.5 miles along the stream. Other activities include horseback rides and hikes into the Gros Ventre Wilderness , canoeing, and a wood-fired sauna for chilly evenings. There’s a three-night minimum stay in the summer ($675 for two people per night, all-inclusive). The ranch is 15 miles up a bumpy dirt road, but the ranch provides transportation (Mon. and Fri. only) if you don’t have a four-wheel-drive with high clearance. Open late May-late September.
Another historic dude ranch is R Lazy S Ranch (near Teton Village along the Moose-Wilson Rd., 307/733-2655, www.rlazys.com ), with space for 45 guests, who enjoy horseback rides, fishing, and other Western adventures. A one-week minimum stay is required. All-inclusive rates range widely depending upon the cabin: $2,745-4,032 for two people per week. Lazy S is open mid-June-September. Tykes under age seven are not allowed.
On the banks of the Hoback River, 16 miles south of Jackson , Spotted Horse Ranch (307/733-2097 or 800/528-2084, www.spottedhorseranch.com ) exudes a comfortable rusticity. The main lodge and cabins contain lodgepole furniture, and a maximum of 35 guests stay in log cabins with modern conveniences. Activities include horseback riding (some Appaloosas), fly-fishing, cookouts, and river trips, and you can unwind in the hot tub or sauna. A one-week minimum stay is required in the summer ($4,500 d per week, all-inclusive). Open mid-May-October.