When planning your dude ranch vacation, you may wonder what items you should bring for the best and most comfortable experience. It’s ideal to be prepared when your family is considering the various outdoor activities offered by our all-inclusive dude ranch, whether it be horseback riding, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, or hiking in the mountains. 

Grab your luggage and get ready to make some epic memories in an unforgettable place with these 10 essential items to pack for your dude ranch vacation. 


1. Cowboy Boots (or other Horseback Riding Boots)

what to pack dude ranch

At the top of your packing list should be proper cowboy boots. Your boots should preferably have a smooth sole with a heel to hook on to your stirrups. This will keep you safe in the saddle and riding comfortably when out on the beautiful Rocky Mountain trails around the ranch. Keep in mind that the rides can take you through some dirt and mud so be prepared to get your boots dirty if you decide to bring some fashionable cowboy boots.

Make sure to consider bringing other shoes for various activities (or simply lounging around). If you plan to hike, hiking boots or trail shoes are recommended and it’s always good to have flip flops for relaxation time.

Don’t own a pair of cowboy boots? No need to worry! Just check with us beforehand and let us know your size. We will gladly lend you a pair of loaner boots!


2. Warm Clothes and Base Layers

cowboy clothes

The weather and climate in the mountains of Colorado can change so much from day to day that warm clothes and base layers are a must. If you want to be comfortable, be prepared to dress appropriately. 

While days in the Colorado sun can get extremely hot, it can just as quickly cool down in the mountains. That is why we suggest bringing various layers to make sure you are comfortable every day. Lightweight base layers are a great choice to bring along for your trip since they are made to keep your core muscles warm underneath your normal clothes. 

You will also want to bring a warm jacket or sweatshirt for the cold mountain nights because even in the summertime, it can occasionally drop below freezing later at night. Also, for those cold Colorado nights, consider bringing a warm hat that covers your ears as well as warm gloves.


3. Cowboy/Cowgirl Hat

What would a dude ranch vacation be without a horseback ride wearing your favorite cowboy hat? 

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will be essential for keeping the sun out of your eyes during your rides. Consider bringing a cowboy hat that has a firm, but comfortable fit or a chin strap, so your hat doesn’t fly off while riding on the mountain trails.

If you forget to bring a proper hat or want to wait until you get here, we have straw hats in our Gift Shop!


4. Riding Jeans (Lightweight and Breathable)

what to pack

You will thank yourself for bringing along the right jeans for horseback riding at the ranch. Not only do jeans have classic western appeal, but they are an excellent choice due to their durability and comfort. When choosing a good pair of jeans, keep in mind that you may get dirty out on the trails so bring a pair that you do not mind taking a bit of damage. 

Many of our guests suggest wearing an extra layer between jeans and skin – such as tights, pantyhose, long underwear, or Lycra shorts – to help protect from chafing. We carry premium Colorado Trails Ranch logo riding knickers in our Gift Shop!


5. Long-sleeved Shirt

While you’ll want some short-sleeved t-shirts for the hot days, make sure to bring a long-sleeved shirt for riding on the trails. This will help protect your arms from the sun and any branches you will likely brush up against while riding through the forest. 

A nice western-style shirt will be nice to have for an evening of Western Dancing in the Opera House. After a long day of activities in the sun at the Colorado Trails Ranch, your family can come together to learn (or show off their skills in) line and square dancing with our staff. Having a long-sleeved western shirt to match your cowboy boots will be fun, fitting and only add to the overall fun!


6. Fully Waterproof Rain Jacket

Like we said earlier: Colorado weather can change day by day. Rainstorms are common in the Colorado afternoons and can oftentimes be unpredictable. Colorado locals know to always have a rain jacket when adventuring outdoors, and now you do too! 


7. Swimsuit

There are many activities we offer that require a swimsuit. We have a pool and hot tub available to our guests to relax after a fun-filled day. There is also access to cool mountain streams and two miles of private water on the Florida River with excellent fishing spots. There are also off-site activities like white-water rafting and power tubing to consider. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit!


8. Gloves

Gloves are another essential item for horseback riding you won’t want to forget. If it gets cold, your hands will have more trouble gripping the reins without gloves. You will also want to keep your hands protected from friction burns. Consider purchasing a good, well-fitting pair of riding gloves for your trip!


9. Camera

There is no shortage of amazing memories that will be made during your dude ranch vacation. Bring a camera to capture the special moments with your family whether you are out horseback riding, whitewater rafting, or spending time around a campfire underneath the stars. Keep in mind that if you have a large DSLR camera, it might not be the best choice to bring out on a horseback ride since the trails are dirty and rugged.  


10. Long, Breathable Socks

When out on the trails, you will want to have some long socks (wool is recommended) that go as high as your boots. Some breathable socks will also go a long way when out hiking in the mountains and enjoying everything that the Colorado nature has to offer. 


Packing List for your Dude Ranch Vacation

Apart from the 10 essential items we think you should bring for your stay, there are many additional items to consider for your dude ranch vacation. Here is a full list for you to review when packing your bags for one of the most unforgettable experiences of a lifetime. 



Western Wear (Cowboy/Cowgirl Hat and Boots)

Fully Waterproof Rain Jacket

Wind-resistant Jacket

Lightweight Jeans


Long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts (avoid cotton for activities such as whitewater rafting and fly-fishing)

Synthetic base layers (for fly-fishing and whitewater rafting)

Warm Pajamas

Warm Hat (For evenings)

Long and warm socks (preferably wool – it can get very cold at night in Colorado, even in the summer!)


General Items:

Backpack (bring a hiking backpack if going out in the wilderness)

Reusable Water Bottle


Phone Chargers


Sunscreen (SPF 20 or higher)

Chapstick (with sun protection)

Lotion (since Colorado has a dry climate)

Insect Repellent 

Flashlight or headlamp



Horseback Riding:

Riding boots (smooth sole and heel preferred) 

Leggings/Riding Knickers

Long Socks (wool works great)



Whitewater Rafting:

Synthetic shirt for sun protection and warmth

Sturdy Footwear (sandals with straps, not flip-flops)

Hat with a brim (for sun protection)

**Avoid cotton clothing since cotton gets cold when wet and takes a long time to dry.**


Fly Fishing:

Lightweight shirts (avoid cotton)

Comfortable shorts

Base layer (for warmth) 



Hiking Boots/Trail Shoes