Ultra-Luxury Ranch Vacations & Horseback Riding Tours

Interested in getting into nature and riding horses without sacrificing comfort? Check out these ultra-luxury ranch vacations and horseback riding tours and get ready to giddy-up in style.

by Darley Newman

Whether it's a castle in Ireland, a safari camp in Botswana or a historic ranch in Montana, there are definitely some places that go out of their way to combine adventure with comfort, meaning you enjoy the great outdoors along with exceptional service, amenities and thoughtfulness. If you enjoy fine wines, gourmet meals, cool antiques and surprising amenities, keep reading to discover a few of the most luxurious ranch vacations and riding holidays and get ready to giddy-up in style.

#1 The Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana
This luxury Montana ranch combines Western style with over the top comfort and fresh, fun amenities. Located in Western Montana, near Philipsburg, the ranch rests on approximately 10 square miles bordering the Deer Lodge National Forest with views of the Flint Creek Range. Guests can enjoy a wide array of equestrian activities including horseback riding through serene meadows, Western riding lessons, pole bending and barrel racing. Out of the saddle, there's yoga, mountain biking, hikes, paintball, stagecoach rides, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling and more.

Over-the-Top Amenities: A cedar sauna for Spa guests. Signature Canvas Cabins place guests in the great outdoors in style for the true ‘glamping’ experience. The Silver Dollar Saloon has a four-lane bowling alley and movie cinema.

ranch at rock creek saloon

Guests can literally saddle up at The Saloon, which features a fully stocked and tended bar, at The Ranch at Rock Creek.

#2 The Resort at Paws Up, Montana
Located on a 37,000-acre working cattle ranch in western Montana, this ranch resort offers first-class amenities and activities on lands where Lewis & Clark once trod. Personalized service extends from the outdoor adventure arena into the world-class spa and restaurants. Outside, guests enjoy chuck wagons, trail riding and cattle drives, fly-fishing on the Blackfoot River, whitewater rafting, paintball and more. The ranch is part of the "Green" movement with Farm to Table dining, a water conservation and energy efficiency program and sustainable farming practices.

Over-the-Top Amenities: The Resort at Paws Up's Pomp Restaurant has been named "one of the 100 best wine restaurants" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Luxury camps include safari-like tents with a skilled camp chef and a camping butler, who is on call to do everything from start a fire and make you yummy s’mores to help you plan your next day's itinerary.

clamping luxury text resort at paws up

A luxury tent at The Resort at Paws Up.

#3 Jack's Camp Makgadikadi Pans, Botswana
Often cited as a top safari camp in leading publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Jack's Camp in the Kalahari desert of Botswana, Africa is an oasis amid the unforgiving and starkly beautiful desert. You'll need to fly to this remote location, where guests can take horse safaris on the wild Makgadikgadi Pans, which looks like the surface of the moon and has amazing wildlife migrations. In the wet season, ride with herds of zebra and wildebeest and interact with meerkats year round. Guests can also enjoy jeep tours, trekking with the San, one of Africa's oldest tribes, quadbike tours and more. Nights are spent in well-appointed canvas tents with en-suite bathrooms and indoor and outdoor showers.

Over-the-Top Amenities: Tented lounge with library and museum housing artifacts from the Kalahari. Pool pavilion and plunge pool. 1940's style safari tents complete with Persian rugs and fine cotton sheets.

botswana sundowner pans

Having a sundowner on the Makgadikgadi Pans is truly special. There is nothing to obstruct the vibrant sunset. 

#4 Castle Leslie, Ireland
One of Ireland’s last great castles still inhabited by its eccentric founding family, Castle Leslie is a truly unique and luxurious equestrian escape. Close to the border of Northern Ireland, this classic Irish sporting estate may make travelers feel that they've stepped into their own "Downton Abbey." The Leslie Family has a long history, tracing their ancestry back to Attila the Hun. Today, Castle Leslie is run and managed by Sammy Leslie and governed by a Family Trust. Staying in the Castle is a once in a lifetime experience. Each of the 20 bedrooms with private bathrooms is individually decorated with priceless family antiques and heirlooms with their own history and story and painted with dramatic, rich colors.

Over-the-Top Amenities: Victorian Spa with a hot tub overlooking the stables. Castle bathrooms feature the oldest plumbed bath in Ireland. Prince, the Virtual horse, for beginners and those who want to work on their form. Indoor riding arena complete with indoor cross-country fences. Over 300 cross country jumps dot the estate grounds with 100 new cross-country jumps from knee high to knee tremblers built by Willis Bros. of Badminton Horse Trials fame. Mile-long all-weather gallop. 

castle leslie library fire

A fire in the library at Castle Leslie Estate, which has hosted celebrities and famous guests including Irish poet WB Yeats, Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, Prince Pierre of Monaco and Paul McCartney.


Learn more about luxury ranch and horseback riding vacations and holidays in the Equitrekking Vacation Guide, Top20Ranches.com and EquitrekkingTravel.com