Explore! Discover! Get Away! Escapades, adventures and retreats await the Western traveler.

SF_lead_Adventure-Outdoor
– Courtesy Kristin Foster Photo –

Wintertime blues clouding your mood? Do you dream of an adventure to escape the monotony of endless gray skies and rush-hour commutes? Want to cut the electronic-cord of smartphones, laptops and e-mail and get away from it all?

Across all seasons, proprietors of Western resorts, retreats, ranches and lodges are ready to inspire the intrepid traveler, the thrill seeker and the adventurous recreationist with more than just gourmet food, grand views and a cozy room. From the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast, from the Rocky Mountains to the Desert Southwest, owners of hotels, lodges, resorts, inns and spas are offering more and more add-on adventures for their guests, including back-country jeep tours, preservation, history and archeology tours, hot-air balloon rides, helicopter and special historic rail trips, wildlife- and bird-watching expeditions, river rafting and heli-skiing, traditional Western round-ups, and horse and mule pack trips into mountain wildernesses. Whatever type of retreat you seek, you are sure to find it among the following listings compiled by True West’s editors. We invite you to experience these unique Western getaways soon, and make some memories that will last a lifetime.

—Stuart Rosebrook

 

 

– Courtesy Sheridan Travel & Tourism –
– Courtesy Sheridan Travel & Tourism –

The Historic Sheridan Inn
Sheridan, Wyoming

The Historic Sheridan Inn was once the stomping grounds of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and his Wild West Show, and has been one of Wyoming’s greatest treasures since the day it was built.

Constructed in 1893 as part of a railway extension program, the Sheridan Inn was designed by Omaha architect Thomas R. Kimball. Drawing inspiration from Scottish hunting lodges, the architect included the iconic wraparound porch and stunning dormered windows in his design. After six months of construction, the inn was complete, and became the first building in the region furnished with electrical power and bathtubs, giving adventurous travelers a taste of Eastern luxury in the West. The Sheridan Inn was long considered the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco.

Buffalo Bill Cody frequented the inn and, as an investor, he transformed it into an important staging site for his Wild West Show, auditioning new members on the Sheridan’s iconic front porch. Local cowboys and cowgirls were recruited to the show, including George Gardner and Tode Bard. They traveled along with Bill from America to Europe, and beyond.

With a grand ballroom and a dining room table large enough to seat 165 people, the Sheridan Inn was the region’s social hub, hosting opulent dances and dinners for the wealthy and well-to-do. Its 64 hotel rooms hosted new residents while their homes were being built, and also welcomed ranchers looking to enjoy Sheridan’s “city” flair during weekends. Original prices were lofty by the standards of the day—one dollar a night, and fifty cents for lunch or dinner. Over the years, The Sheridan Inn drew notable guests from far and wide, including Ernest Hemingway, President Hoover, Will Rogers and Bob Hope.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. After a series of lean decades and the property quickly deteriorating, the Sheridan Inn was forced to close to overnight guests in 1965, around the same time it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2013, a new ownership group came on board with a vision of former glory strongly shaping their plans for the hotel. The Sheridan Inn was quickly renovated and restored, and for the first time in 50 years is receiving overnight guests once again. Guests can choose from  22 uniquely designed rooms named after important figures in Buffalo Bill’s life.

Reserving a room involves looking over a Room Menu and selecting from such options as the “Sitting Bull Room” or “Annie Oakley Room.” Each suite reflects the times and individual histories of its namesake person in its overall finish, furnishings, artifacts and exhibits.

A true testament to the incredible amount of time and work dedicated to this renovation and reopening, the Historic Sheridan Inn recently received True West’s Best of the West 2016 “Best Preservation of a Historic Western Building” Reader’s Choice award.

This home of Buffalo Bill and Best of the West 2016 award-winner is yours to experience.

The Historic Sheridan Inn
856 Broadway Street :: Sheridan, Wyoming
307-674-2178 :: SheridanInn.com

 

 

 

Adopt A Living Legend: BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program
Mustang Heritage Foundation
Georgetown, Texas

Today, an estimated 58,000 wild horses and burros still roam public lands in the western United States managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. This law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands.

In an ongoing effort to place excess wild horses and burros with caring private owners, the BLM, in partnership with two nonprofit organizations—Mustang Heritage Foundation and Family Horses, Inc.—provides opportunities across the United States to have one of these special animals go home with you!

Imagine having your own living piece of the American West to share those favorite back-country trails or equine events with in 2016! Wild horses and burros are known for their surefootedness, strength, intelligence and endurance, and they excel in a variety of disciplines, including dressage, competitive shooting and endurance riding.

“I urge people from across the country to go to an adoption event this year and bring home one of these icons of the West,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze. “This is not only an opportunity to own a living legend of Western history, but also an action that helps reduce our agency’s off-range holding costs.”

Currently, more than 47,000 off-range horses and burros are fed and cared for in off-range corrals or off-range pastures at a cost of $49 million a year, which accounts for 65 percent of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget. Each horse and burro placed into private care saves taxpayers $48,000 over the course of the animal’s life. In addition to attending locations announced at BLM.gov/WHB, wild horses and burros can be obtained by contacting an off-range corral or by placing a bid during a scheduled Internet event. Potential adoption applicants can download an adoption application from BLM.gov/WHB or call 866-468-7826. If interested in an Internet event, visit BLM.gov/AdoptAHorse or call 800-370-3936.

You may also purchase a sale-eligible animal through the sales program. Sale-eligible animals, per Congressional amendment to the Wild Horse and Burro Act, are great animals! They are typically 10 years old or older, but some are yearlings to six-year-olds. Prices are negotiable. An application can be downloaded or you can request one at 866-468-7826.

The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) and Family Horses, Inc. is to highlight the value of mustangs and burros and to help in their placement into private care. This year marks the 10th year that MHF has produced Extreme Mustang Makeover events to showcase the beauty, versatility and trainability of the rugged horses. It is also a unique opportunity for the public to see the results of wild horses becoming trained mounts and to adopt a mustang with a solid training foundation.

“We hope you find time in 2016 to attend an Extreme Mustang Makeover event and join us in celebrating 10 years of adoption and awareness of our American Mustangs!” said Sublett. For more information, visit ExtremeMustangMakeover.com.

For more information about Family Horses, Inc., contact April Lee at FamilyHorses.net.

Wild Horse and Burro Program
Bureau of Land Management, U.S.
Department of the Interior
866-468-7826 :: BLM.gov/WHB

Mustang Heritage Foundation
P.O. Box 979,
Georgetown, Texas
512-869-3225 :: MustangHeritageFoundation.org

 

 

 

Great American Adventures
Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah

Historic Old West Horseback Rides—Ride Where Legends Rode

Join the award-winning four- and five-day historic Old West horseback rides planned around the exploits of illustrious Old West legends and Western film characters, hosted at historical and movie locations, and experience a colorful look back into the glory days of our American frontier. Follow the bloody trail of retribution against the cowboy faction during Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride in Tombstone; become a film legend as you participate in an original indie-movie at an active Western film set during Ride the Reel West in Santa Fe; ride into film history with John Wayne’s Monument Valley Ride, the holy grail of Western settings; or encounter Texas history of Comanches, Texas Rangers and Charlie Goodnight during a Comanche Moon Ride in Palo Duro Canyon. You may start green; but you’ll finish with grit.

All rides are suitable for all horseback riding levels. Horses, tack, food, wranglers, historians, private tours and more included.

Great American Adventures
8 N. US Highway 31
Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah
505-286-4585 :: Great-American-Adventures.com
Flying E Ranch
Wickenburg, Arizona

The Flying E ranch prides itself as one of the few remaining historic guest and cattle ranches in the Southwest. Established in 1946, the ranch offers 20,000 acres to ride and roam. Known as “the riding ranch,” it has great horses for every rider and fun activities, as well as comfortable, exceptionally clean accommodations, delicious ranch food with a gourmet touch. Breakfast cookouts, lunch rides and chuck wagon feeds are regular events. Enjoy a real ranch, real West, real cowboys!

Flying E Ranch
2801 W. Wickenburg Way
Wickenburg, Arizona
928-684-2690 :: FlyingERanch.com
Simpson Hotel
Duncan, Arizona

On Main Street in Duncan, Arizona, the century-old Simpson Hotel has the elegance of a bygone era—“like my grandmother’s house”—and unforgettable breakfasts. Each of six guest rooms is uniquely appointed with antiques and original artworks. Duncan is a gateway to birding trails, historic mining sites, working cattle ranches, rock-hounding areas, spectacular Gila River accesses, and routes for highway and off-road cycling. Downtown offers shopping, antiques, arts and crafts, four restaurants and three old-time saloons that guarantee a satisfying visit.

Simpson Hotel
116 Main Street
Duncan, Arizona
928-359-3590 :: SimpsonHotel.com

 

 

 

Desert Caballeros Western Museum
Wickenburg, Arizona

Desert Caballeros Western Museum hosts its 11th annual Cowgirl Up! Art from the Other Half of West Invitational Exhibition & Sale on March 18 through May 8, 2016. The show gathers more than 50 of the country’s finest women artists whose artwork captures the spirit and lifestyle of the American West. Cowgirl Up! is one of the most important art shows for women artists in the nation, and gathers the best artists to one place at one time. Opening weekend events, March 18-20, include an artists and patrons party, miniatures sale, Bash ’n Bid Gala, a Chuck Wagon Breakfast, Artists Quick Draw and Live Auctions.

The Desert Caballeros Western Museum welcomes and enriches diverse audiences by inspiring an appreciation of the art and history of the American West through creative exhibitions and educational programs that preserve the West’s cultural legacy. The museum hosts special exhibitions throughout the year as well as Members’ Only events, kids’ art workshops, monthly lectures, a book club, desert adventure tours, family day activities and more!

Desert Caballeros Western Museum
21 N. Frontier Street
Wickenburg, Arizona
928-684-2272 :: WesternMuseum.org

 

 

 

– Courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West –
– Courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West –

Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Cody, Wyoming

A futurist, William F. Cody always envisioned what could be: A town here, a dam there, a ranch over yonder—and a Wild West extravaganza that toured in America and Europe for 30 years! Nothing in today’s world would have been far from the Great Showman’s imagination.

Then again, Cody—Buffalo Bill, as he came to be called—was game for anything. Why, by age 22, he’d worked a wagon train, prospected for gold, rode for the Pony Express, hunted buffalo for the railroad, and scouted for the Army.

And then he really got to work!

His life became the very grist for dozens of dime novels—stirring together fact and fantasy, romance and honor, action and adventure. For a time, a leap from page-to-stage fashioned Buffalo Bill, the actor, and then Cody turned producer in 1883 to create “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.” Some writers called the show “the dime novel Western come to life, where the characters from one became the cast for the other.” Arguably, with a few histrionics and some poetic license thrown in for good measure, the Wild West show carried the frontier’s action far and wide to audiences across this country and Europe.

Some would say, “Buffalo Bill was so big, even the West couldn’t hold him.”

From his days living and working on the frontier to his Wild West show, the name Buffalo Bill became synonymous with the West. And, just as he brought the West to the world, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is committed to that legacy today. In this authentic Western town founded by Cody himself, the majesty of the Greater Yellowstone Area, the history and myths of the Old West, the vibrant life of the New West, and the living cultures of Plains Indian peoples surround us.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is the largest history, art and nature museum between Minneapolis and the West Coast, encompassing an area the size of five-and-a-quarter football fields. Because it’s located in Cody, Wyoming, a town of just 10,000, many visitors are stunned when they venture inside—and you will be, too. With 175,000 visitors annually, the center is the most popular cultural attraction in the Yellowstone Park region. Our five museums boast thousands of priceless treasures related to the art, history, culture and nature of the American West, and our family-friendly programs and activities bring it all to life.

Simply put, there really is no better place to meet the legendary showman and the West he loved than at the five museums of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming—a real Western adventure for you and your family.

Long live the Wild West!

Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, Wyoming
307-587-4771 :: CenterOfTheWest.org

 

 

 

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Cortez, Colorado

Explore America’s ancient past! Other tours show you the sights. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center gives you perspective. See the ancient ruins and contemporary pueblos of the Southwest, with archaeologists and American Indian scholars as your guides. Or take part in an archaeology dig near Crow Canyon’s idyllic campus in southwestern Colorado’s Mesa Verde Country—it’s an archaeology vacation with tasty meals and charmingly rustic lodging included.

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
23390 C R K
Cortez, Colorado
1-800-422-8975 :: CrowCanyon.org

 

 

 

Winnemucca: More than Meets the Eye
Winnemucca, Nevada

If you enjoy the great outdoors, you will find numerous opportunities to hike, bike, camp and hunt in the rugged Nevada outback that surrounds Winnemucca. The area is full of exciting places to explore. Whether you are looking for off-road adventure trails or abandoned ghost towns, Winnemucca is a great base camp for outdoor recreation in northern Nevada. Offering a landscape rich in minerals, the Winnemucca region is well known for some of the best rock-hounding in the country, and the outlying community of Denio serves as the gateway to Nevada’s opal mines. These small towns are home to great people and true Western hospitality.

Winnemucca Convention & Visitors Authority
50 W. Winnemucca Boulevard
Winnemucca, Nevada
1-800-962-2638 :: Winnemucca.nv.us

 

 

 

Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel
Cody, Wyoming

Visit Buffalo Bill’s original hotel of the Rockies, where the historic West comes to life in a classic Victorian hotel with restored suites furnished with furniture of the period. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places by the National Park Services, The Irma was built in 1902 by Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and named for his youngest daughter, Irma.

While staying at The Irma, make sure to see the cherrywood bar, made in France and given to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria for his command performance. Enjoy a drink in the saloon and the famous prime rib.

If you plan your visit between June and September, you may sit on the porch and enjoy the Cody Gunfighters, then head to the Cody Nite Rodeo. Visit the Irma and stay awhile!

Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel
1192 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, Wyoming
307-587-4221 :: IrmaHotel.com

 

 

 

Visit Laramie: Real History, True Adventure
Laramie, Wyoming

In the summer of 1868 Laramie, Wyoming, was a turbulent place with little or no effective law enforcement and no effective government in place. The town was run by the gang of outlaws who ran the Bucket of Blood Saloon. In the fall, a vigilante committee drove out the worst of the outlaws (a few hangings helped) and the town settled down.

In 1869, Mr. Edward Ivinson was appointed by the governor of the territory to a committee of three. This committee chose and acquired the site of the penitentiary by the Laramie River. It was the only prison to hold famed outlaw George Leroy Parker—AKA Butch Cassidy.

The Ivinson Mansion, which now houses the Laramie Plains Museum, was home to Edward and Jane Ivinson, who finished its construction in 1893.  The museum has hour-long guided tours.

Real history!  True adventure!

Laramie Area Visitor Center / Albany County Tourism Board
210 E. Custer Street
Laramie, Wyoming
800-445-5303 :: VisitLaramie.org

 

 

 

Visit Cheyenne
Cheyenne, Wyoming

Cheyenne is an authentic Western city, where history and culture meet in Wyoming’s Capital City.

Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration, is held each July and delivers world-class rodeo action, top music acts, parades, pancake breakfasts and more. Railroad fans enjoy various train attractions, including Big Boy No 4004, the world’s largest steam engine, and the beautifully restored Cheyenne Depot, which houses a railroad museum, restaurant, and cultural festivals throughout the year.

As the state capital, Cheyenne boasts historic attractions like the gold-domed Capitol Building, historic Governors’ Mansion and Wyoming State Museum. History buffs can enjoy one of seven museums or a trolley tour of the community. Another great attraction is Terry Bison Ranch, where visitors can take a train ride into the bison herd or go horseback riding.

Live the legend of Cheyenne!

Visit Cheyenne / One Depot Square
121 W. 15th Street
Suite 202
Cheyenne, Wyoming
800-426-5009  :: Cheyenne.org

 

 

– Courtesy Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, MT –
– Courtesy Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, MT –

The Dude Ranchers’ Association
Cody, Wyoming

Top travel trend for 2016: Dude Ranches
Planning a trip for 2016? While the beach is warm and a cruise ship is lovely, you’ve done those trips before. This year you want something unique that will create lasting memories and bring you closer to your family.

“More people are visiting dude ranches, due to the desire to do something out of the ordinary,” says Colleen Hodson, from The Dude Ranchers’ Association. “These aren’t the ranches from City Slickers. High-end ranches across the country average 45 guests. You get to know everyone. By the end, you’ll have friendships and memories to last a lifetime, and you will reconnect with your family in a way you never thought possible.”

Travelers enjoy getting a taste of the dude ranch experience blended with a heaping serving of other popular vacation-type activities. Today’s dude ranches cater to a diverse crowd with activities, attractions and services that travel far beyond the trail.

“Dude ranches are the original Western Adventure vacation,” says Colleen Hodson. “Though guest expectations have changed and ranchers have had to change with them, the core principles of dude ranching remain the same: horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart.”

In addition to discovering the beauty of nature and gazing into a crackling fire, here are other top reasons dude ranch vacations are a top trend for 2016:

Indulge the taste buds
Home-cooked cuisine that oftentimes features ingredients from the ranch brings new meaning to farm-to-table eating. From family-style meals to gourmet al fresco dining, the food is a central part of the dude ranch experience.

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure
You can learn traditional ranching skills like riding a horse, driving cattle and throwing a lasso, but adventures on a dude ranch don’t stop there. Some ranches offer overnight pack trips, rodeos, target shooting, zip lining and whitewater rafting.

Enjoy exclusive fishing
Casting your line has never been more relaxing than at a dude ranch. The vast acres on these private properties often include secluded rivers and ponds ripe with fish. Forget about battling overcrowded hot spots—the water will be all yours.

Embrace an R&R mindset
While the unique dude ranch activities will keep you busy, there comes a time when cowboys and cowgirls just want a bit of rest and relaxation. Fortunately, many ranches now offer luxury spa services so you, your family and friends can enjoy a little pampering.

Bond over some friendly competition
Looking for a fun way to connect with your family and other guests? Friendly competition can be found in many forms on dude ranches, from roping contests to talent shows. If lassoing a speeding calf isn’t your forte, you can sing, tap or joke your way to local stardom in a talent show.

There are a lot of dude ranches to choose from and The Dude Ranchers’ Association can help you find the perfect one to suit your family’s unique personality. Visit DudeRanch.org or call 866-399-2339 to work with someone directly to find the dude ranch right for you and your family.

The Dude Ranchers’ Association
1122 12th Street
Cody, Wyoming
866-399-2339 :: DudeRanch.org

What do you think?