Why fly halfway around the world and suffer through jetlag, language barriers, and passport control for your honeymoon, when there are more than enough places here in the States to have some romantic post-wedding R&R? After all, with so much glamorous international travel out there (often supported by big marketing dollars), it’s easy to forget that America’s guest ranches still have so much to offer: wind in your hair, a sense of adventure, untamed landscapes, and hearty home cooking. Here, a selection of some of the West’s best guest ranches—and why they could be a perfect fit for your honeymoon.
The Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado
Located just outside Steamboat Springs, The Home Ranch is the state’s only ranch affiliated with Relais & Chateaux, a global association of individually-owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. Since opening in 1980, this ranch has been distinguished by its extraordinary scenery and what it calls “Haute Mountain Cuisine.” The quality of both its outdoor activities and cuisine make this a top destination in Colorado.
Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana
Situated on a unique property between Big Sky Resort and Yellowstone National Park, Lone Mountain Ranch has been an important part of Montana’s history for over 100 years, and today is part of the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World consortium. The ranch’s Montana Honeymoon package is uniquely tailored for each individual couple and includes a couple’s massage, a private dinner for two, a scenic guided tour in Yellowstone National Park, and accommodation in a cozy, private log cabin. Given its proximity to the park, there is no shortage of activities—or ways to unwind afterward—at this luxurious ranch.
Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, Colorado
Farm-to-table foodie couples will love this one. Smith Fork Ranch operates its own organic farm and encourages guests to get their hands dirty harvesting ingredients for meal prep. They also offer a Wine Spectator-endorsed wine selection. Expect comfortable luxury and perfectly-designed guest rooms here—Smith Fork Ranch is owned by Linda and Marley Hodgson, who also founded the luxury leather goods brand, Ghurka.
The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch in Shell, Wyoming
With a maximum capacity of just 25 guests, finding plenty of privacy and alone-time at The Hideout will not be an issue. The landscape is extraordinary—aside from Alaska, it’s the least-populated region in the country—and is a favorite among landscape photographers for the diversity of landscape, which ranges from high desert to alpine pastures and canyons. You could spend your entire honeymoon riding horseback here, and never do the same trail (or landscape) twice.
Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana
Find the ultimate tranquility at the adults-only Triple Creek Ranch. Honeymooners can opt to stay in a private cabin that includes a hot tub (perfect for stargazing at night), a couple’s massage, and intimate culinary experiences. And with four million acres of national forest all around you, it might just feel like the two of you have the entirety of Big Sky country all to yourselves.
Vista Verde in Clark, Colorado
There are a few surprises about Vista Verde that aren’t readily apparent to newcomers, like the fact that the property is surrounded almost entirely by protected national forest, giving unprecedented privacy and access to outdoor activities. After a long day of playing in the woods, the surprises continue with a meal prepared by a chef de cuisine who earned his chops in the kitchen at Daniel Boulud’s New York institution, Daniel. You won’t go hungry here. Also, Vista Verde operates year-round, giving you the option to follow up your summertime honeymoon with a return visit in the winter, when you can ride horses through waist-deep Colorado powder.
Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork, Montana
Over half of Flathead Lake Lodge’s guests return each year, so that means it’s a 50-50 shot that honeymooning here could become your new annual tradition. Not only is this lodge located just minutes away from Glacier National Park, but it is also located on the largest freshwater lake in the West. Fly fishing, lake fishing, and whitewater rafting are all at your fingertips.