Goosewing Ranch

8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation

A dude ranch vacation? Say yes, but don’t go into it expecting City Slickers. From outdoor excursions to horseback adventures, the fun quotient at a dude ranch is off the charts. Guests looking for a nature-centric, outdoors vacation are guaranteed to love the views and the diversity of activities. Knowing what to expect is key to finding the right ranch. So here are 8 reasons to choose a dude ranch vacation.

One of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation has to be horseback riding and trail rides.

If you’ve never taken a dude ranch vacation, just ask someone who has. They will probably have many stories and likely will rave about it…for good reason! Find out these 8 reasons to choose a dude ranch vacation. Then we hope you’ll consider Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole for this adventure. Don’t be surprised if it becomes the family’s new go-to destination.

8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation

1. Location, location, location.

Consider where your dude ranch is located. If the ranch is close proximity to national parks, plan to take advantage of this either before or after your dude ranch vacation.

One of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation includes location; Goosewing Ranch's proximity to Jackson, Wyoming makes it a popular spot.

Our ranch is about 40 miles northeast of the town of Jackson. You will need about 30 minutes for the first half, through beautiful Grand Teton National Park. The last 20 miles will take about 45 minutes, driving along a scenic dirt road through the Bridger Teton National Forest. Goosewing Ranch is about 90 miles from the south entrance of the Park. Allow at least 2 hours for driving through Grand Teton Park and wilderness and along the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway to reach the South entrance of Yellowstone.

Study up on your ranch ahead of time. Know what it’s close to and what activities it offers. This helps everyone go in with realistic expectations. Pamela from California took this advice to heart: “We researched guest/dude ranches for months trying to find the right ranch for us. We loved the fact that Goosewing Ranch is a smaller more intimate ranch!”

8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation have to be their close location to national parks, especially Grand Teton National Park; Goosewing Ranch even has views of the Grand Tetons from the ranch.

Our ranch is also in a prime location with views of the Grand Tetons. Located deep in the Gros Ventre River Valley in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area. Goosewing Ranch marks the entry point to a protected, pristine wilderness. The south entrance to Yellowstone National Park is located just 90 miles north, and you are within minutes of the majestic mountains of Grand Teton National Park, one of three mountain ranges surrounding the high valley of Jackson Hole. 

Looking for the ultimate family vacation? Here's 8 reasons to choose a dude ranch vacation. From food to horseback rides to exploring nature and new activities, there is something for everyone at a dude ranch. Especially if families and guests want to unplug from the stresses of life and get off the grid! We hope you are convinced to book a dude ranch experience with us at Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. #duderanch #JacksonHole #duderanchvacation #Wyoming #thatsWY

2. The experience feels like family.

So may dude ranches are owned by families or have been in their family for years, so it translates that a dude ranch vacation feels like staying with family. It starts early because the staff get to know all the guests. Additionally, the warm hospitality also spills over to fellow guests who are sharing the same experiences. 

Bonding with staff and fellow guests make dude ranches feel like family, one of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation.

One guest compared it to old friends: “Staff were extremely friendly and helpful! Felt like we were old friends and enjoyed meeting them.”And Jayne from London gives credit to the staff: “But most of all we enjoyed the people, who were all warm, charming and willing to bend over backwards to give us a great experience.”

We highly recommend read the reviews of previous guests. Our ranch is happy to share guest feedback because it both gives an unbiased review of our property…and because they have great things to say!

3. Prepare to be surprised at what your family can do.

A dude ranch is a liberating experience for the entire family. Kids may discover skills they didn’t know they had; grown-ups may try something for the very first time.  

Some of the new-to-you activities might include: target shooting with .22 rifles or BB guns, Geo-caching, hatchet throwing, archery, horse games, fishing instruction, themed trail rides, wagon rides, team penning, unguided tubing the river, unguided hiking, unguided mountain biking, and roping practice.

trying new activities like axe throwing is unique experience at a dude ranch, making it one of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation.

As an added bonus, we also have a glamping site with covered wagons as accommodations. Be the envy of your friends and family when you return home with grand stories of horseback riding, wildlife spotting, hiking, fishing, explorations, and much more.

The Goosewing glamping site is located about four miles northeast of the ranch and sits at about 8,400 feet.  This is a unique western experience perfect for those seeking adventure without sacrificing comfort.  You will have many opportunities to search for wildlife, learn survival skills, learn about Dutch oven cooking, learn how to tack and care for your horse, fish, ride, hike, and explore the Gros Ventre area.  This is a remote location and the main focus is for you to have a unique Western experience in a one-of-a-kind location.

8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation: glamping in a covered wagon like this one here at Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Guests from Arlington, Virgina found glamping to be the highlight of their vacation:”The covered wagon, in particular, was awesome. We were the only guests there and wrangler Wayne and cook Jim were super hosts. We spent both days riding horses all day, learning how to tend for them, taking the ATV up the mountain, eating and drinking around the campfire, and enjoying some space and time out in nature with virtually no other contact or modern life. It was the highlight of our ten-day trip to Wyoming.”

4. While on a Dude Ranch, Enjoy Everything It Has to Offer

Dude ranches hit the mark with amazing activities. We offer fly fishing, archery, skeet shooting, cattle herding and pinning, target shooting, hatchet throwing, driving our Utility Terrain Vehicles, and tubing. Not to mention the special events like cookouts, s’mores by the fire, and hayrides. And don’t discount enjoying the pool and hot tub after a day in the saddle.

Keep in mind that many ranches are isolated and it will take some driving to get to any off-site activity. Translation: Once guests arrive at our ranch, they don’t want to leave! 

Cooling off in the pool or soaking in the spa after a trail ride sounds pretty appealing, which means amenities at a dude ranch are one of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation

Here’s how Jodi D. described it: “As many activities or as little as you want – fly fishing, trip to rodeo, horseback riding (several trips to choose from) swimming pool, skeet shooting, Rangers to explore…..Absolutely LOVED it!”

While it’s not included in our packages, we will gladly arrange excursions to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; Rafting or floating trips on the Snake River; Guided Fishing trips; Golf outings; Hot Air Balloon Rides; Guided Hiking Tours; or a Night at the Rodeo.

One of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation: consider the local attractions like the Jackson Rodeo.

5. Dude Ranches are heavy on horseback riding.

The heart and soul of a dude ranch is its horseback riding. This becomes obvious when one of the very first things guests do is get fitted for a horse. Simply put, a dude ranch vacation is more enjoyable if guests are willing to ride. All levels are welcome as Bonnie from Illinois commented: “As far as horseback riding, you could take beginner, intermediate or advanced riding lessons all included in your week. The staff at the stables were awesome and very patient with you. They offered 2, 3, or 6 hour rides.”

Come to a dude ranch primarily for the horseback riding; all levels are welcome, making it one of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation.

One of our guests from Alameda, CA commented: “We rode every day, and never repeated a trail. These trail rides are not at all like trail rides you have ever taken…or at least not like the tourist trail ride where you ride an hour to a waterfall, have lunch, and ride back. Sometimes we weren’t even on a trail…just rode where we wanted to go. We had beautiful views from our lunch spots, as we gained altitude during the ride. We also rode through shallow rivers. It was breathtaking wherever we were. The vistas never got tiring. The fall foliage was really starting to come into its own, mostly with the aspens. We took far too many pictures, as it just seemed so pretty at every turn we made.”

Check out these views of the Grand Tetons from Goosewing Ranch's trail ride and think of it as one of 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation.

Guests from London raved about the horseback riding options: “We did one ride a day, 4 and 6 hour duration. For the longer rides, the kitchen provides packed lunches which you order in advance. The rides were fun – we passed the loping test and were able to lope (canter) on the trails. The scenery was spectacular – we haven’t been anywhere like this. Two of our rides allowed us to have amazing views of the Tetons – nothing like it.”

6. Freedom from Devices.

Most ranches like ours have limited wifi and cell phone service. We like to call it the “dude ranch bubble.”  And consistently we hear that families are happy to be in the bubble and free from electronics. Families can instead focus on their adventures and each other.

A guest from Jupiter, Florida said: “You really go off the grid. No cell service. Wifi is pretty much non-existent. Just go with the mindset that you are disconnecting. Was wonderful to have our full family unplugged for a week!”

7. Choose a Ranch that Serves Great Food

Activities and riding are great, but one thing that guests comment about it the quality and variety of food. Some of the options include Prime Rib Night, Southwest Night, French Night, Cowboy Night (steaks), and Angler Night (trout and salmon). Depending on the cuisine, meals may be served plated or buffet style.  We offer two choices for dinner each night as well as accommodate dietary restrictions, requests, and a kids option.  Once a week we do an open fire cookout in dutch ovens.

Great food is a key draw to any dude ranch, especially cookouts, making cuisine one of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation

One guest raved: “We can’t say enough about the food. It’s simple, but outstanding. Lots of choices per meal and all were hearty, fresh and very appreciated. The chef even made whip cream for our daughter to have on top of the chocolate chip pancakes. THANK YOU. All of the servers were friendly and took the time to get to know all of the guests.”

BBQ ribs served up family style are one of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation.

8. Exploring Nature and Seeing Wildlife

Dude ranches are all about the outdoors and usually located in peaceful spots with scenic views. An isolated retreat deep in the Gros Ventre River Valley, Goosewing marks the entry point to a protected, pristine wilderness. We are located 40 miles northeast of Jackson, Wyoming in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, bordering the Gros Ventre Wilderness. Our remote location allows for excellent horseback riding, fantastic scenery, and many opportunities to spot wildlife.

One guest wrote: “Each cabin is allocated with a Ranger for your personal use. There are endless roads, trails and areas to explore at your convenience. We had a blast packing up a small lunch and visiting the river, the lake and the overlooks per the staffs recommendations. Our daughter loved this part of the trip and we would love to have explored more of the area if we hadn’t spent so much time on the horses!”

One of the 8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation: Polaris Rangers (UTVs) are a great way to explore the surrounding areas of a dude ranch.

So share with us in the comments: what would be most appealing about a dude ranch to you and your family or group?

Why You Should Plan a Goosewing Ranch Vacation in June

Rejoice-summer is on the horizon! Our ranch doors will soon open, and we are excited to start a new season with guests that are soon to be part of the Goosewing family. June is considered our early season, so there are definite advantages to booking your ranch vacation in that month. Think wildlife, fewer crowds, and discounted rates. Learn more about the upside of a June dude ranch vacation in our Jackson Hole, Wyoming location.

Summertime is just around the bend, and that means…vacation time! Whether you’ve already booked a trip to Wyoming or are still in the planning stages, summer is a delightful time to visit Wyoming. Since our season at Goosewing Ranch begins on June 1, we thought we’d chat about the benefits to having a dude ranch vacation in June. Between the weather, the crowds, and the animals, June can be one of the best times to explore our corner of the world here in Jackson Hole.

Why You Should Plan a Goosewing Ranch Vacation in June

1. Price advantage

Rates for early summer travel are discounted off our peak season. Shoulder season runs June 1-16, followed by the Low Season rates from June 17-July 7. Both are more advantageous in pricing that our peak season. Our Summer 2018 Rates will be properly reflected on our website. Or feel free to call us at (307) 733-5251.

2. Great for Wildlife Viewing

June is quite an opportune time to see all kinds of wildlife as they get active from their winter slumbers. From bison to grizzy and black bears, moose, elk, mountain goats, foxes, and eagles, animal sightings are especially plentiful during the month of June.

Since the road to our ranch doesn’t officially open until June 1, the upside is that wildlife roam free and virtually undisturbed during this time. So the possible animal sightings are heightened. Between elk, moose, bears, they have all been spotted on our property during June. Although the tradeoff is a bit more unpredictability in terms of weather, the advantage is a season filled with wildlife. Antlers and sheds are also plentiful during this time.

Moose Jackson Hole wildlife


It’s also a time where animals are starting to have their babies, so you may even see those.

Photography buffs, June may be more ideal because the sun is not as strong as it is in July and August.


3. Fewer Crowds Than in Late Summer

Crowds in the national parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone swell at the peak of summer. The National Park Service reports that from 2012-2017, the average number of visits to Yellowstone per summer months as follows:

Month Average # of Visits (2012-2017) % of Average Annual Visits
June 743,361 19.39%
July 922,018 24.04%
August 822,021 21.44%


So wildlife buffs, photography fans, and those craving fewer crowds in the national parks, come check us out in June!


What to Pack for a Dude Ranch Vacation

Summer is on the horizon, and that means VACATION! Dude ranch vacations offer some of the most active, adventurous experiences for families, couples, and even multigenerational or solo travelers. As unique as a ranch vacation is, it also requires some specific items to make the trip a success. Check out this dude ranch packing list to get prepared for the ultimate outdoor vacation.

Dude Ranch Packing Tips | What to Pack for a Dude Ranch Vacation just might include clothes for a pack out. And the horses do the heavy lifting!

The countdown has begun and your summer vacation is quickly approaching. Now begins the task of preparing and packing. Packing for any vacation can be a challenge, and a guest ranch is no different. Whether you plan to pick up some essential items in Jackson, or bring them from home, we would like to give you some suggestions on what to pack and expect.

Dude Ranch Packing Tips | What to Pack for a Dude Ranch Vacation. Use our packing list to get ready for the ultimate vacation. Specific tips on what works best at our dude ranch, the climate, and what NOT to pack.

Dude Ranch Packing Tips

Remember, Goosewing Ranch is located at 7,400 feet in the Gros Ventre Mountains, the sun is very intense, and the weather can change drastically very quickly. Typically the summer months in Jackson Hole are very enjoyable, with mild temperatures and a dry climate. Expect, warm, and dry days, with chilly temperatures in the evenings and nights.

The weather can be very different as you travel from Yellowstone to Jackson to the Ranch. We recommend always carrying an extra layer with you while traveling through western Wyoming. The ranch, town, and surrounding National Parks are all very causal and laid-back. You will be welcomed into most establishments in causal summer attire, or your cowboy getup.

Jimmy and Tiffany riding their horses with the Tetons in the background

Aside from you cowboy or cowgirl gear we suggest that you bring along sunblock of SPF 15 or higher, lip balm with SPF, and make sure to apply throughout the day. Hats are a great tool in keeping you cool, and aid in sunburn prevention. A cowboy hat works well, because it keeps the sun off your face and neck. Just make sure it is a snug fit or purchase a stampede strap to keep it on your head.

We also recommend bringing a thin long sleeve shirt; this will also help keep you cool and from getting too much sun exposure. We have found that fishing or western button up shirts work the best. For horseback riding, you will want to have a comfortable pair of jeans, and slick soled boots with about a ½” heel. We recommend this style of boot for safety reasons; bulky hiking boots could get stuck and shoes without heels can slide to far forward being very dangerous for the rider. Boots are fun for a night of line dancing, also.

There can be a drastic temperature fluctuation between day and night, so we suggest that you bring a fleece or light jacket. For those of you coming in June or late September, bring a heavier jacket or more layers.

Don’t forget shorts, t-shirts, and comfortable hiking or walking shoes for touring the local area and parks. And a bathing suit for the pool, hot tub, and sauna!

If you are planning on rafting the Snake River or floating the Gros Ventre, pack a pair of water shoes or sandals that will stay on your feet.

For your convenience, we have a guest laundry facility located near our cabins. We will provide all riders with rain slickers in case of an afternoon shower. We also have a number of items available for purchase in of gift shop, such as gloves, hoodies, vests, lip balm, bug spray, sunblock, ball caps, and more.

In your cabin for your pleasure are hair dryers, robes, mini refrigerator, coffee maker, and eco-sential bath products. If you are planning on going on an overnight pack trip, we suggest bringing wool socks, warm hat, and an extra warm layer.

Average Temps at Goosewing Ranch:
June High and Low: 68 / 35
July High and Low: 76 / 42
August High and Low: 75 / 43
September High and Low: 65 / 33

Feel free to print and use this packing list to get ready!

Please feel free to contact at 1-888-733-5251 or 1-307-733-5251 us or visit our website for more information.

And check out the Dude Ranchers’ Association website for more dude ranch packing tips.