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The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch | Shell, Wyoming Cowgirl Getaways, custom-tailored women’s trips. Summer stay, 6-nights, $2,885; lower cost in spring and fall. thehideout.com
Wyoming has more guest ranches than any other state, and each property has a unique personality. The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is no exception, though it is exceptional. Its managers, former corporate exec Peter De Cabooter and his wife, Marjin Werquin, moved here from Belgium, bringing European style to the western experience. You may hear a half-dozen or more languages among guests, who hail from Western Europe, South America, North America and the South Pacific. Staff here mirrors this multi-lingual, multi-cultural reality.
Given its discerning clientele, ranch life here is sumptuous – guest rooms include espresso makers and complimentary bottles of wine. Landscaping is meticulous and the gentle valley location gives way to spectacular rock cliffs in the near distance. And while the cuisine is western, the chef can accommodate a variety of dietary requests, within reason (though a paleo diet might best suit the Certified Angus Beef).
Though the ranch doesn’t offer women-specific trips, its “Girls Getaways” can be tailored to the specific needs of all-women groups. According to Peter, it’s the kind of ranch where women feel safe, well-attended and deliciously cared for.
“We try to create a perfect world…clean, polite and open to all cultures,” he said. “We are also a very female-oriented organization…we’re not the hardcore John Wayne type ranch.”
Bonanza Creek Country Ranch | Martinsdale, Montana Cowgirl Retreat. Rates vary by retreat, but expect about $300 per day, 3-4 day stay. bonanzacreekcountry.com
Judith Voldseth of Bonanza Creek Country Ranch attended a life coaching course called “Touched by A Horse,” that led to the creation of the women’s-only Cowgirl Retreat. It’s a guest ranch vacation meant to profoundly impact women’s lives. Imagine having both a life coach and an equine coach, then add to that a group of strong, supportive women to ride with each day. The trip is designed for experienced riders.
“This retreat is for anyone who loves horses, nature, and is interested in getting more from life,” said Judith, whose family has been involved in the guest ranch for five generations, going back to 1877.
There’s only four cabins at Bonanza, so the groups are small and intimate. The ranch is situated in south central Montana, where the mountains meet the plains, so there is plenty of both flatland riding (great for cantering) and scenic trails with views of the Castle and Crazy Mountain Ranges. Legitimately earn the title “cowgirl” by working cattle on this genuine working ranch, and enjoy a hot tub or massage when you’re through.
“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself,” is an apt phrase that captures the essence of these trips.