I toured a Jackson Hole dude ranch where people pay more than $2,100 to try living like a cowboy for a week. Here’s what it looks like.

jackson hole dude ranch

  • Gros Ventre River Ranch is a dude ranch in the Jackson Hole valley in Wyoming.
  • Dude ranches, where guests can sleep in cabins or lodges, ride horses, and get a taste of modern cowboy life, are an important part of Jackson Hole culture.
  • At Gros Ventre, a six-night all-inclusive stay starts at $2,170 per person, and guests can go fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking, rafting, and learn how to wrangle cattle.
  • On a recent trip to Jackson Hole, I spent an afternoon at Gros Ventre River Ranch.
  • After my visit to the ranch, which is tucked away in the mountains with no cell phone service and WiFi only in the main lodge, it was clear that the true luxury is seclusion and disconnecting from the world.
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Dude ranches, where guests can sleep in cabins or lodges, ride horses, and get a taste of modern cowboy life, are an important part of the culture in the Jackson Hole valley of Wyoming.

On a recent weekend trip to Jackson Hole, I spent an afternoon visiting Gros Ventre River Ranch, a dude ranch near the town of Kelly, Wyoming.

At Gros Ventre, a six-night all-inclusive stay starts at $2,170 per person and goes up to $4,100. Here’s what life looks like on the ranch.

Gros Ventre River Ranch is nestled in the Gros Ventre Mountains in the Jackson Hole valley in Wyoming.

I drove out to the dude ranch from Jackson on an afternoon in mid-July. It was about a 50-minute drive.

Dude ranches, where guests can sleep in cabins or lodges, ride horses, and get a taste of modern cowboy life, are an important part of culture in the Jackson Hole valley of Wyoming.

Gros Ventre is a working ranch, and its approximately 27 staff members all live on the ranch.

On a typical day, the wranglers will wake start work around 5:30 a.m. They catch and saddle the horses for the guests, put hay down for the horses, and clean the barn — and that’s all before breakfast.

Then they lead a morning ride for guests, and after lunch, they lead an afternoon ride.

The 160-acre ranch accepts only 30 to 40 guests per week, which maintains the ranch’s intimate vibe, Tori McGough, one of the ranch managers, told me.

Their guests come from around the US — “typically people trying to escape the heat in the South and Californians,” McGough said — and internationally from places like London, Germany, France, and Australia. 

“People will book a year in advance,” she said.

My first stop was the main lodge, which includes a kitchen, dining room, lounge, library, and a kid-friendly rec room with a pool table and board games.

Source: Gros Ventre River Ranch

The lodge was built in 1987 to resemble a typical Wyoming ranch home.

Source: Gros Ventre River Ranch

In the main lodge’s lounge, guests can enjoy pre-dinner cocktails and appetizers.

Source: Gros Ventre River Ranch

And family-style meals are served in the dining room or on the deck.

Source: Gros Ventre River Ranch

The Gros Ventre River rushes by just behind the lodge.

Two miles of the river flow through the ranch, offering opportunities for fly fishing, rafting, and floating.

Private fly fishing lessons are included in the ranch’s rate.

Gros Ventre River Ranch has three different types of accommodations. Guests can choose from four log cabins, four lodges, and a homestead house.

The four cabins are about 100 years old.

Each cabin has two rooms and can be rented out in its entirety or in part, with a configuration of one king-size bed or two twin-size beds.

Every room comes with a private bathroom, a portable food and drink cooler, electric blankets on the bed, a coffee maker, and an amenity basket.

Each of the cabins comes with a small shared deck.

Source: Gros Ventre River Ranch

The homestead house was once the ranch’s main lodge.

Now, it’s the ranch’s ideal accommodation for groups or families, sleeping up to eight people. The rooms can also be rented out separately.

The standard room starts at $2,170 per person for six nights of double occupancy, and the house’s premium suite starts at $2,795.

The ranch’s expansive yard includes a fire pit, tables and chairs, and a small playground.

Source: Gros Ventre River Ranch

Because I was visiting on a Saturday afternoon right after checkout time, many of the accommodations were being cleaned — but I was still able to take a peek into one of the lodges.

The Sundance Lodge is tucked away in the trees, the farthest accommodations from the main lodge.

The lodge has two bedrooms, both of which come with a sofa, coffee table, and a dresser.

The twin beds can be converted into one king-size bed. Each bed has a feather comforter.

Each room has an en suite bathroom.

The kitchenette includes a four-burner stove, an oven, and a coffee maker.

There’s also a washer and dryer in the lodge.

A small dining nook offers a place for morning coffee or snacks.

In the living area is a wood-burning stove.

The lodge’s private deck offers views of the dramatic Teton Mountain Range.

In addition to activities like horseback riding, cattle penning, rafting, fishing, and hiking, guests can hang out and go swimming in the ranch’s idyllic pond.

And bikes in assorted sizes are available for guests to use.

Across the road, you can find the barn and the penning area.

About 100 horses and 20 steers live on the ranch.

Here, guests can participate in sorting and penning cattle with instruction from the ranch’s professional wranglers.

Source: Gros Ventre River Ranch

The ranch has a large collection of riding boots for guests to use.

Inside the barn, rows and rows of saddles line the walls.

On Saturdays, after guests check out and before the next guests arrive on Sunday, the wranglers clean and oil the saddles and bridles.

Out in the pasture, the cows looked at me curiously but didn’t seem fazed by my presence.

On my way to go say hello to the cattle, which were out to pasture, a deer crossed my path.

Such animal friends are a common sighting on the ranch, I was told.

Moose, deer, bison, elk, wolves, mountain lions, foxes, and bald eagles have all been spotted on or around the ranch.

Some of the horses were also out to pasture.

While Saturdays are busy for the ranch staff, it’s a day of rest for the horses.

McGough told me that one of the main perks of staying at Gros Ventre is its remote location and disconnection. There’s no cell service at the ranch and no WiFi in the guest cabins, only in the main lodge.

Gros Ventre River Ranch was a contrast to the ultra-luxurious $975-a-night Amangani resort, which I’d visited earlier that day. While Gros Ventre is nearly an hour’s drive from the town of Jackson, the hub of Jackson Hole, Amangani is less than a 10-minute drive.

And while there’s no infinity pool or valet parking at Gros Ventre, it was clear after my visit that McGough has it exactly right: The true luxury at the ranch is its seclusion and the opportunity it offers for guests to disconnect. That leaves room for guests to enjoy what the ranch has to offer in the present moment, rather than posting the same infinity pool shot to Instagram that countless others have before.