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Ten Ways to Burn Calories While Having Fun at Colorado’s Dude and Guest Ranches

Shawnee, Colo. (May 19, 2009) – Grab your gear and get ready for some outdoor fun and adventure this summer at one of Colorado’s dude & guest ranches. The Colorado dude ranch experience is unlike any other – there may be chuck wagon cookouts, gourmet food, campfire singing, and ghost stories, but it’s the outdoor fun that brings guests back year after year. You get to decide how adventurous you want to be at any of the 30 member ranches located across the state.

Since most activities are included in the weekly rate, you can create your own adventure itinerary. Here are ten ways to get out and burn some calories.

1. Cattle Drives: Gather and herd cattle from one pasture to another to prevent over-grazing and preserve the land. Cattle drives are seasonal and can involve pushing livestock up into federally-leased land in the Colorado’s High Country or, in the fall, bringing them back to deeded ranch land. Check with individual ranches for details.

2. Fishing: Colorado dude and guest ranches offer fishing for all abilities. Many guests enjoy wetting a line along stretches of private or leased Gold Medal river and exploring secluded ponds with their family. Most ranches stock their own ponds or are near local streams and lakes where the ranch staff can advise guests on the hotspots where they are most likely to find fish, and many can outfit them with the latest gear or put them in touch with a seasoned outfitter for instruction and guided trips.

3. Gymkhana Games: Let the competition begin! Gymkhanas, known as games on horseback are fun, timed events that involve a starting point, a finish line and some sort of "obstacle" to get through. It’s a fun time for the participants, audience and the horses!

4. Hiking: There are many ways to explore the wilderness and hiking happens to be one of Colorado’s most popular pastimes. There are dozens of trails to explore on foot as well as on horseback. Most ranches offer guided hikes or nature walks with guides knowledgeable about local history and the ranch’s plants, birds, and wildlife. Some ranches even offer alpine treks up nearby peaks (you can climb most of Colorado’s highest mountains without technical climbing gear).

5. Horseback Riding: There is nothing more relaxing and fun than letting a well-trained horse take you into the Colorado high country. But trail riding is just one way to enjoy horses at Colorado ranches. Additional horseback activities are offered at many of ranches including cattle roundups, team penning, horseback overnight pack trips, and family rodeos.

6. Mountain Biking: Many ranches have loaner bikes or can arrange a rental with a local bike shop. Not only is it great exercise, it’s another great way to see wildlife and spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery.

7. River Rafting: Float a class-one river with a fly rod or paddle through class-five whitewater. Most ranches offer a time in the week for rafting. The ranches contract with the best, most reputable outfitters around and an excursion is sometimes covered in ranch rates or discounted.

8. Rock Climbing: Some of Colorado’s dude and guest ranches offer rock climbing adventures where you can spend a few hours learning the basics of climbing and rappelling. Guides are able to challenge strong climbers while teaching newcomers.

9. Square Dancing: Get out your boots for a little square dancing! All ranches host evening entertainment which includes barn dances where you can dance the night away.

10. Swimming: For those who live where the summer heat index climbs above 100, nothing sounds better than escaping to the cool high-country of Colorado. Most ranches have heated swimming pools. Others offer heat relief via natural ponds, streams, and water decks.

Other Winter Activities

Although many ranches are open for only part of the year, a handful of Colorado ranches remain open during the winter season. During the winter, guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities many of which include a guide and equipment such as scenic backcountry ski tours, snowshoe adventures, mild naturalist tours, cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, ice skating, tubing, sledding, horseback riding, swimming, fly-fishing, and more. Off-ranch activities such as snowmobiling, dog-sledding and downhill skiing can also be arranged.

The Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association (CDGRA) is comprised of about 30 certified ranches located throughout the mountains and mesas of Colorado. For more information and/or request your free Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch vacation guide and DVD, visit http://www.duderanching.org


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