American Western Adventure in the Wild West

Some of my fondest memories are of Saturday mornings watching westerns with my father. He favored Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The Rifleman.  Each week we would settle in for rerun after rerun, each episode distinguished by resounding gunshots or a horse stampede. As I sat on the sofa or sprawled on the floor, I submerged myself in the fictional Wild Wild West with an American western adventure.

Beautiful shots of untamed nature, wild saloons, and majestic stallions roaming the countryside stuck with me. Though the shows depicted hard times, the good guys always won and there was freedom within the simplistic rustic setting. Years of watching these shows created a desire to live as the cowboys lived.

Luckily, I’m not alone in my desire to relive these tales. All around the United States there are ranches that cater to tourists in search of their own American Western adventure. Here are two worth considering.

American Western Adventure

French Broad Outpost Ranch

hotel room at french broad outpost ranch, tennessee
Rustic Beds at French Broad Outpost Ranch

Located in Del Rio, Tennessee, the French Broad Outpost Ranch opened its doors in 1993. It originated merely as a campground before it was turned into a “dude ranch” in 2001. The resort features a western hotel with seven guest rooms and a saloon called the Iron Horse. 

Some of the traditional American western adventure experiences you can participate in include cattle drives. Take advantage of their $649 package that includes riding lessons and four nights of lodging. In addition to an old-fashioned cattle drive, you can also participate in what they call “pioneer games.”

Activities are described as “like being on the Little House on the Prairie.” Adults can go black powder shooting while the kids join the rodeo specifically designed for them. If visiting in the summer season, the family can attend a Friday evening square dance.

When visiting the French Broad Outpost Ranch, you can choose between a three-night partial stay and a six-night stay. The nearest major airport is Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), where you can rent a car and drive the 63 miles to Del Rio.

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch

horse and buggy ride at bar lazy j ranch
Horse and Buggy Rides at Bar Lazy J

The Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch in the isolated region of the Colorado Rockies is a place for rest and relaxation. Fly into Denver and drive two hours northwest to Parshall, where you can live your American western adventure for several days. Located by a lush valley next to the Colorado River, Bar Lazy J offers trails suitable for horse riding for those ages 13 and up. Guests can also try fly-fishing on the Colorado River, which offers some of the best rainbow and German brown trout fishing.

American Western Adventure, Rockies view from Parshall Trail
Rockies View from Parshall Trail

In addition to the typical ranch activities, Bar Lazy J offers a heated pool and hot tub for relaxing under the stars. The barn has been transformed into a recreation facility offering shuffleboard, air hockey, foosball, and other games to occupy your time while vacationing on the ranch. The grounds also offer a volleyball court and mountain bike rentals for anyone adventurous enough to take on the nearby trails. Evening activities include adult comedy nights, campfires, and cocktail parties. Rates for the Bar Lazy J ranch are booked by the week and are all-inclusive, starting around $1,300 per person.

Where will you have your American western adventure?  Let us know in the comments below.

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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