One of our favorite things about traveling is the random bucket-list experiences we get to share together. Sometimes we don't even know how bucket-list they are until we actually experience them!!
Anyway, a dude ranch is one of those experiences. We didn't really know what to expect or what we were in for, and man... was it epic. Have you seen the show, "Hey Dude" on Nickelodeon? It's pretty on point...
Ghost Canyon Ranch is in the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota, minutes from Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. The ranch was established in 1878, and recently was taken over by Trevor and Laura Bryan and their family. They are passionate about family, nature, and horses and will definitely show you a great time. Ghost Canyon Ranch is a PERFECT place for a group gathering (family reunions!), as it has a capacity for 20 and offers an all-inclusive Western experience. You'll enjoy refreshing mountain air, gorgeous evenings, horseback riding, fishing, and relaxing. All this to say, or stay at Ghost Canyon Ranch was far to short. We basically got a taste of what a vacation on the ranch could be, and we can't wait to be back.
We arrived in the afternoon and were greeted warmly by Trevor and Laura. We had a pretty long day of travel and we were tired, hungry, and pretty wiped out from the drive. They welcomed us with a big hug, showed us our room (more like a house!), and led us to the dining room where they had a full steak dinner waiting for us. And it was SO GOOD!
We shared stories of our travels, learned about how they met, and got the scoop on what a "Dude Ranch" really is - a working ranch that accepts guests. So you can come to relax, or get to work! These past few years since they took over Ghost Canyon Ranch has been really busy for them, as word has traveled about how amazing their ranch really is. We went to bed feeling full, excited, and really honored for the opportunity to be there.
The next morning we woke up to picture-perfect views of the ranch, and the smells of breakfast calling us to the dining room. Laura greeted us with another home cooked meal, and told us to get our sneakers on. It was time to feed the horses!!
Laura and Trevor told us all about each horse, where they came from, their temperament, and how they daily care for each of their animals - they even let us help brush them! Odie the goat was the highlight of our morning, as he followed us around and ate from our hands - of course we HAD to get a picture with him!
As we said above, our time at Ghost Canyon Ranch was too short. We had some amazing home cooked meals, got to enjoy a beautiful evening, a lazy morning, and the peaceful silence you can only find in nature. We didn't have time to go on a horseback riding trip through the mountains, watch the sunset from their jacuzzi, or get get to work as a couple of ranch-hands... but we'll be back.
We'll definitely be back.
Thank you to South Dakota Tourism for sponsoring this post!