Dude Ranches Out West

Union Pacific’s 1947 dude ranches guide listed 108 ranches in 36 pages; the 1955 guide listed 138 ranches in 60 pages. This guide, from 1959, lists 143 ranches in 68 pages.

Click image to download a 27.8-MB PDF of this booklet.

I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at a few of these ranches, including Elkhorn and Lone Mountain ranches in Montana; Redfish Lake Lodge in Idaho; Redstone Inn in Colorado; and Triangle-X Ranch in Wyoming, among others. They are probably a bit more luxurious today than in the 1950s, and the menus have no doubt kept up with the times, but physically they haven’t changed a great deal. Lone Mountain is a personal favorite as it has become a great cross-country ski lodges in winter, which wasn’t true in the 1950s.

The prices are also higher today. Many of the lodges listed in this booklet cost around $15 a day or $100 per week, including meals, which is about $125 a day or $800 a week in today’s dollars. By comparison, many dude ranches today charge $2,500 a week, or $350 a day, including meals.

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