Not even the experts can agree on where exactly constitutes the American West, but all the Stateside visitor needs to know is that The West is home to two iconic American experiences - cowboys ranches and National Parks.

Will and Hero are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

Because when Americans refer to big country, they mean BIG.


Our guide to holidays in The American West

For the sake of clarification, we've classified the American West as the following States - Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona; with Washington, Oregon and, of course, California, forming the Western Seaboard instead.

So now we know where we stand, what to do when in situ? As you can tell from the map this is a BIG area, so careful planning (or a chunky amount of time off) is required, and that's where we step in. Twin centres, road trips, family holidays, ranch breaks - the American West can, and does, cater beautifully to them all.

Let's start with the National Parks, and Stetsons off to the Americans for inventing the entire concept of protecting, in perpetuity, a country's most beautiful bits. The world's first National Park, dedicated by President Ulysses S Grant in 1872, was Yellowstone and this 3,500 square mile area in the north west corner of Wyoming is so vast it spills over the state borders into Idaho and Montana as well. Yellowstone is home to bears, bison, wolves and elk, as well as some truly spectacular geothermal activity, with the highlight definitely Old Faithful, a geyser that shoots boiling water over 100ft in the air every hour. Neighbouring Grand Teton National Park also forms part of the Rocky Mountains, with the name derived from the highest peak in the beautiful Teton Range. Jackson Hole sits in the valley floor beside the Tetons and alongside the Snake River.

Another region where the National Parks are conveniently clustered together is Utah and northern Arizona, and a circular 900 route road trip taking in Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands (all in Utah) and Grand Canyon (Arizona) National Parks would be the ultimate way to experience America at her most awe-inspiring. For anyone wanting to cherry pick, the red sandstone peaks of Zion National Park, the pinnacles of the Pink Cliffs in Bryce Canyon National Park, the flat topped mesas and arches of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and the big one - the Grand Canyon - are all bucket list contenders.

When you've had your fill of big country, how about big experiences instead? This is where ranch holidays come into their own, but it's crucial to pick the ranch experience that's right for you. At one end of the spectrum there are resort ranches where riding is a focus, but guests (and particularly families) can also enjoy activities such as fishing or rafting. These resort ranches range from the seriously expensive (and seriously wonderful) to more affordable affairs, but the emphasis is on fun experiences in beautiful places. Things get a little more immersive at a dude ranch (sometimes referred to as guest ranches), with more emphasis on enjoying a taste of the cowboy lifestyle, from rodeos to riding. Finally, there are working ranches where guests are a genuine part of the team, helping to round up cattle and swapping stories around the campfire for the genuine cowboy experience. As you can imagine, this type of trip is really only for experienced riders. We work with a selection of the finest ranches in the West, and we're hopeful that one or more will offer the perfect experience, be you after the perfect bonding family trip, a romantic honeymoon or a holiday with a real sense of achievement and the ability to learn new skills.


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Flight from London

10:00 hrs

Time Difference

GMT -7 hrs


Top picks for The American West

Zapata Ranch

Zapata Ranch

The American West

Zapata Ranch is a beautiful 103,000-acre working cattle and bison ranch located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley in Colorado and bordered on one side by the new Great Sand Dunes National Park. Guests at the ranch can relax, explore the beautiful surroundings or learn about the ecosystem, the bison and the ranch way of life, helping out with activities such as cattle branding and fence repairs.

Where to stay

Brush Creek Ranch, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Brush Creek Ranch

The American West

Saddle up and prepare for an authentic Western experience. Brush Creek Ranch is a boutique hotel surrounded by 15,000 acres of South Central Wyoming's North Platte River Valley, in the heart of the American West.

Where to stay

Elk Mountain Ranch

Elk Mountain Ranch

The American West

Elk Mountain Ranch is a dude ranch in the heart of the Rockies, just two hour’s drive from either Denver or Colorado Springs in Colorado.

Where to stay

Ranch at Rock Creek, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Ranch at Rock Creek

The American West

With the exception of nearby Philipsburg (population 930), The Ranch at Rock Creek offers the perfect wild west experience, and it really is wild, with 6,600 acres of mountains, meadows, lakes and streams between you and any real evidence of civilisation.

Where to stay

Ranch Holidays in the USA

Ranch Holidays in the USA

The American West

Few things are more quintessentially American than the cowboy, and staying at a ranch in the American West is the perfect way to indulge any Wild West wish fulfilment fantasies.

What to do

The National Parks

The National Parks

The American West

When a country is the size of a continent you’d expect it to have a national park or two, but a visitor to the States could spend every week of the year in a different park and still need another month or two to complete the set. In fact, the US National Park Service protects a total of 84 million acres across every state in the Union. Now that’s impressive.

What to do

Zion Lodge, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Zion Lodge

The American West

Loyal to its name ‘Zion’ meaning a place of peace and refuge, Zion Lodge lies secluded from the crowds, nestled inside the Zion National Park, surrounded by red-rock cliffs on all sides. The Park is Utah’s first and it wows with the outstanding beauty of its landscape and diverse flora and fauna.

Where to stay

Bryce Canyon Lodge, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Bryce Canyon Lodge

The American West

Bryce Canyon Lodge is a rustic hotel, surrounded by steep cliffs, coloured canyons, attractive rock formations and tremendous deserts of the Bryce Canyon National Park. The National Park is easily accessible and will draw everyone in with its beautiful natural setting.

Where to stay

Dolores Cabin at Dunton Hot Springs

Dunton Hot Springs

The American West

Set in a striking alpine valley deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies, lies the beautifully restored 'ghost town' of Dunton Hot Springs. Comprised of a number of hand-crafted log cabins built around the central Saloon and Dance Hall, this exclusive resort is a luxurious and cosy retreat.

Where to stay

Paws Up tent exterior

Paws Up Montana

The American West

‘I’m in love with Montana’ proclaimed American author John Steinbeck and honestly, we couldn’t agree more. In our view, there's no better place to enjoy the ideal Montana lifestyle than at The Resort at Paws Up—the crossroads of unspoiled wilderness and incomparable luxury. The ranch sits on a lush and sprawling 37,000-acre cattle ranch, providing both adventure and comfort in the American West.

Where to stay

White Stallion Ranch

White Stallion Ranch

The American West

White Stallion Ranch is one of the best dude ranches in southern Arizona, within easy reach of Tucson and surrounded by 3000 acres of beautiful countryside at the foot of the Tucson Mountains.

Where to stay

Lounge Terrace at Amangiri, luxury hotel in the Great American Wilderness

Amangiri

The American West

Surrounded by one of the USA’s most dramatic landscapes with canyons and towering plateaus as far as the eye can see, Amangiri is fairly unassuming from the outside and lets the land do the talking.

Where to stay

Overall a fabulous trip and you did a fabulous job pulling it together. It was our third time traveling with Original Travel and we will again

Rick

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