The Best Ranch Vacations for Independence Day 2018

From Colorado to California, America's best ranches have planned spectacular Fourth of July shindigs to celebrate their patriotism the cowboy way. 


Vista Verde Guest Ranch

Families flock to this Clark, Colorado guest ranch year after year for their unique Fourth of July festivities. In addition to their traditional summer activities, including horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking, Vista Verde Guest Ranch hosts a day filled with family-friendly entertainment. 

vista verde ranch fourth of july activities

Younger guests (and guests young at heart) decorate the ranch horses before the big stampede. 

vista verde guest ranch fourth of july flag

Vista Verde wranglers put on a patriotic show during the parade. Photo courtesy Vista Verde Guest Ranch. 

vista verde guest ranch horse stampede

The sight of stampeding horses is as American as it gets. Photo courtesy Vista Verde Guest Ranch. 

The party begins with a traditional Independence Day cookout on the patio with old-school lawn games that everyone can enjoy. Afterward, kids attend an art party where they paint the ranch horses in red, white, and blue. Later in the day, guests enjoy a charming and hilarious ranch style parade, complete with riding mowers, hay wagons, an antique fire engine, and a few more surprises. The major highlight of the celebration, however, is The Star-Spangled Runout. At the end of the parade, ranch wranglers ride out carrying flags, while the red, white and blue painted horses stampede behind them to music.  

Learn more about Vista Verde Guest Ranch

Rankin Ranch 

The Fourth of July is a big deal for the Rankin family, who have owned and operated historic Rankin Ranch in Walker's Basin Valley, California for over 150 years. Every Fourth of July, the property transforms into a patriotic wonderland--with red, white and blue decorations bedazzling every inch of the ranch, even the horses! Families are divided into red, white and blue teams, encouraging a bit of lighthearted competition--the ranch even supplies guests with t-shirts and hats to display their team pride.

rankin ranch july fourth

Rankin Ranch loves to share their American pride with guests on the Fourth. Photo courtesy Rankin Ranch. 

rankin ranch moving cows

Start the Fourth of July holiday with a trail ride through this beautiful landscape. Photo courtesy Rankin Ranch. 

The holiday begins with a morning horseback ride through the area's scenic cattle country. Afterward, guests participate in an afternoon of old-fashioned family Olympic games, including potato sack races, an obstacle course, water balloon volleyball, and more. After the fun and games, Bill and Glenda Rankin serve happy hour and dinner at their family home, where partygoers can take in the stunning views of Walker's Basin mountains and surrounding meadows. The day of celebration ends with a patriotic children's pageant, where kids dress up in historical costumes to re-enact early Rankin Ranch history and share the reasons why they're proud to be an American. 

Learn more about Rankin Ranch

The Resort at Paws Up 

At this Greenough, Montana guest ranch and resort, guests celebrate the birth of the nation cradled in luxury. The Resort at Paws Up combines first-class service and accommodations with the stunning natural surroundings of Montana's unspoiled wilderness. Visitors the week of the Fourth will enjoy all of the outdoor activities the resort offers, including horseback rides through 37,000 acres of Lewis and Clark wilderness, as well as an array of holiday events that have families returning year after year.

paws up resort sorting cattle

Cattle sorting at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. Photo courtesy The Resort at Paws Up. 

paws up resort fourth of july campfire

Families return every year for the Fourth to make memories around the campfire. Photo courtesy The Resort at Paws Up. 

paws up resort fourth of july parade

The Fourth of July Parade gets everyone in the spirit to celebrate. Photo courtesy The Resort at Paws Up. 

The festivities include live music, craft cocktails, and line dancing. The entertainment continues with a float-decorating contest, lawn games, gunnysack races, and of course, glamping in the invigorating mountain air. At the end of the night, guests are treated to an epic firework display beneath the starry Montana skies. 

paws up resort fourth of july fireworks

The fireworks bursting against Montana's starry skies are a magical sight. Photo courtesy The Resort at Paws Up. 

Learn more about The Resort at Paws Up

Red Rock Ranch

Located right outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Red Rock Ranch is the destination for an authentic dude ranch experience this July 4th. Set amidst the legendary Teton mountain ranges, this Wyoming dude ranch offers visitors a wealth of traditional ranch activities, including full and half day mountain trail rides, team penning, and fly fishing in the ranch's private access creek.

red rock ranch wyoming

Red Rock Ranch offers any activity a traveler could hope for in a Wyoming ranch vacation. Photo courtesy Red Rock Ranch. 

red rock ranch fourth of july vacation

Charming Fourth of July decorations display the ranch's American pride. Photo courtesy Red Rock Ranch. 

red rock ranch wyoming vacation

The camaraderie among the guests and wranglers keeps visitors returning every year. Photo courtesy Red Rock Ranch. 

For the Fourth, the ranch hosts an afternoon of traditional family games, along with a few cowboy games, like the cowpie toss. In authentic cowboy style, the ranch treats guests to a slow roasted pig, followed by singing by the campfire and a generous fireworks display. 

Learn more about Red Rock Ranch.

The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

It's not a Fourth of July party without barbecue, and this California dude ranch goes all out with their annual "Fourth of July BBQ Extravaganza." Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort's guests can indulge in the property-wide celebration that hosts fun-filled summer activities that the whole family can enjoy.

alisal guest ranch fourth of july bbq

At Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, the Fourth is all about the barbecue! Photo courtesy Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. 

alisal guest ranch rodeo

The week of the Fourth is a great time to catch a summer rodeo. Photo courtesy Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. 

The ranch's Independence Day celebration includes a flag demonstration by a veteran's color guard, live music, and line dancing. Kids of all ages will love the magic show, as well as the ranch's frosty snowcones and watermelon eating contest. The night ends with a gathering at the historic Adobe Camp, where guests can relax with their families and watch fireworks fall over the American West. 

Learn more about Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

About the Author: Mary Katherine is a photographer, writer, and visual artist living in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a lifelong equestrian and enjoys trail riding with her two horses. Follow her on social media: Instagram: @marykatherinemorris Facebook: Mary Katherine Morris Photography. Visit her photography website at