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Tap your inner cowboy or cowgirl at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

click to enlarge Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
  • Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Dude ranches aren't just about getting in touch with your inner cowboy or cowgirl. At Western Pleasure Guest Ranch northeast of Sandpoint, you can enjoy Old West ambiance without saddle sores, and still get plenty of outdoor exercise. The 1,100-acre ranch abuts Forest Service and timber company land, guaranteeing you'll feel far from the madding crowd.

In 1940, Riley Wood came to Sandpoint, built a log cabin and settled in. Today the ranch operates as a year-round guest facility managed by Riley's granddaughter, Janice Schoonover, and her husband Roley. Their grown kids and their spouses all work on the ranch as well.

Western Pleasure's horses mostly take the winter off, but there are plenty of other ways to get fresh air and exercise. The ranch has partnered with Schweitzer Mountain Resort on a variety of ski-and-stay packages that include lift tickets, and the horses do get hitched up for picturesque sleigh rides. One- or two-night options are available, and you can choose a spacious fireplace log cabin or a room in the beautiful lodge. Prices start at $365 per couple.

Not a downhill skier? Miles of groomed cross country ski trails are just outside your door. Two nights' lodging, a horse-drawn sleigh ride and tummy-filling ranch breakfast are included in the package. Bring your own skis or rent from nearby Tauber Angus Farm which has even more cross country trails: $440 per couple.

Snowmobiling may not add steps to your Fitbit, but it will increase your heart rate. Packages include backcountry snowmobiling, two nights in a lodge room or log cabin and enough breakfast to power you through the day: $710 per couple Packages are not available from Dec. 2 through Jan. 1., 888-863-9066

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