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9 Dude Ranches to Visit in the Texas Hill Country

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9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country offers visitors various ways to enjoy the cowboy life. The area’s dude ranches and guest ranches are known for their hospitality and fun activities, and they attract visitors from all walks of life from around the world. Dude ranches usually have organized activities, including guided horseback riding tours, wrangling demonstrations, classes, sometimes even great fishing with an open-face reel. Guest ranches have less organized activities, so visitors can make their own plans in a quiet atmosphere.

Bandera is the “Cowboy Capital of the World” and boasts more guest and dude ranches than would fit on this list. Each ranch listed below has its own personality and activities, so there’s something for everyone. Check out these fun-filled dude ranches!

1. Dixie Dude Ranch – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: dixieduderanch.com

Dixie Dude Ranch was founded over 75 years ago and is a real, working ranch, which raises longhorn cattle, pigs and Spanish goats. The cowboys who work the horses on the ranch also train for and compete in rodeos. The facilities include an arena for lessons, pool, hot tub, playground, basketball, volleyball, and hiking and nature trails. Guests can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, bonfires, hayrides and Western entertainment. They can also hunt for fossils or arrowheads or explore the century-old barn and Range War Cemetery.

The 725-acre dude ranch includes 20 separate units within duplex cabins, cottages, lodge rooms and a two-story bunkhouse.

dixieduderanch.com

2. Flying L Hill Country Resort – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: flyingl.com

This 86-room, western-style resort is a guest ranch, rather than a working ranch. It does, however, offer horseback riding and lessons. The head wrangler, Tawni Solise, is a rodeo circuit star and has been with the Ranch for over 15 years.

Other activities include fishing, hayrides, swimming, tennis, basketball and an 18-hole, championship golf course and driving range. This family-friendly ranch has a petting corral, playground, three-acre water park, as well as a campfire and s’mores every night.

flyingl.com

3. 7 Canyons Ranch – Tarpley

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: 7 Canyons Ranch

This beautiful guest ranch is tucked away in the scenic canyons of the western Texas Hill Country. The breathtaking vistas and peaceful solitude are perfect for retreats and reunions. The 4,000 square-foot lodge sleeps up to 28 people. It has eight air-conditioned rooms, each with a private bath and most with two queen size beds. The nearby Hunter’s lodge sleeps an additional four. Separate facilities include a large caterer’s kitchen and dining hall, which can serve up to fifty. Additional seating is available outside.

7 Canyons Ranch was once a game ranch. It is no longer available for hunting, but features exotic game species such as antelope, Dahl sheep, red deer and whitetail deer.

canyonsranch.com

4. Silver Spur Guest Ranch – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: silverspur-ranch.com

This family owned and operated guest ranch is adjacent to the Hill Country State Natural Area, which guests can use for horseback riding, fishing, camping and wildlife watching. The ranch has a junior Olympic size swimming pool, the largest pool in the area.

Accommodations include 15 western-style rooms and cabins, which are named after Old West legends such as Wyatt Earp and Jesse James. They also have a spacious lodge perfect for reunions, retreats, weddings and other special events.

silverspur-ranch.com

5. Rancho Cortez – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Flickr

The family owned and operated Rancho Cortez is also adjacent to the Hill Country State Natural Area and touts itself as both a dude ranch and a cowboy fitness ranch. Owner Larry Cortez, with the help of his son and daughter, lead horseback riding, lessons, cattle roundups and lasso lessons. Larry’s wife, Mary Cortez, directs the fitness ranch, where visitors work with certified trainers to meet weight loss or fitness goals.

The ranch has 15 deluxe suites and bunkhouse with porches, two RV spaces, pool, hot tub, outdoor spa and workout gym. Big groups can rent the lodge for retreats, meetings, or reunions.

ranchocortez.com

6. 2E Twin Elm Guest Ranch – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: twinelmranch.com

Founded in 1939, this is one of the oldest dude ranches in the Hill Country and home to several world champion rodeo stars. It spans 230 acres on the Medina River and offers primitive camping and RV sites in addition to their 21 rooms in cabins and bunkhouses. Guests can enjoy horseback riding, swimming, hayrides, hiking, wildlife viewing, fossil hunting, campfires, games and river swimming and tubing. The ranch also holds a rodeo every Friday night, which includes bull riding, steer riding, barrel racing and roping.

This is a great place to get away and completely relax, as Twin Elm does not have televisions or in-room telephones!

twinelmranch.com

7. Mayan Ranch – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: mayanranch.com

The 350-acre Mayan Ranch has been owned and operated by the Hicks family for more than 50 years. Visitors can enjoy horseback riding, swimming in the pool, volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, nature trails, barbecues, hayrides, a cowboy breakfast on the trail, dinner at Old West Town, music and dancing. The ranch also has a general store and some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine around! It is situated along the Medina River, so guests can go swimming, fishing or tubing.

During the summer, the ranch has weekly Fiesta nights with margaritas, a five-piece mariachi band, a pinata, a hayride and a talent show. Accommodations include 68 rooms in cottages or lodges, and some rooms have fireplaces, VCRs and microwaves.

mayanranch.com

8. Hill Country Equestrian Lodge – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: hillcountryequestlodge.com

This guest ranch is a true horseback riding destination just 10 minutes from golf, shopping, dining and entertainment in Bandera. The ranch offers rides, lessons, clinics and camps for novice and experienced riders of all ages. The beautiful surrounding Hill Country provides breathtaking vistas and 6000 acres of countryside to view native plants and wildlife.

Guests enjoy luxury accommodations in a secluded, private cabin with a kitchen, sunroom and limestone fireplaces or a suite with a sunroom and kitchen.

hillcountryequestlodge.com

9. West 1077 Guest Ranch – Bandera

9 Dude Ranches You Should Visit in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: west1077.com

This guest ranch was established on an old cattle ranch and embraces the simple life of the Old West. Guests can book a private horseback ride, relax in the swimming pool, dine at the old-world-style cowboy lodge, and play games like pool, ping-pong and badminton. The nearby Hill Country State Natural Area offers more than 40 miles of trails for hiking mountain biking or studying the native wildlife.

Accommodations include 14 newly renovated cabins with cedar furniture and private porches. Breakfast and lunch are included and served in the spacious cowboy lodge.

west1077.com