Ever been glamping before? Melodious Traveling Mom and her family hadn’t either. Now that these “City Slickers” stayed at the glamping site at Goosewing Ranch in Wyoming, the Boswell family is spoiled for life to this adventurous, outdoor-centric experience. Dude ranch meets Laura Ingalls Wilder, the dude ranch glamping experience is sleeping in covered wagons, having a private chef for campfire meals, and riding with a real life cowboy.
Glamping is a new word coined to show the merger of glamour and camping. The two combine like a marshmallow and chocolate on top of a graham cracker for s’mores. Yes, THAT good! Accommodations range in diversity from tents, cabins, yurts, treehouses, igloos, and even caves. One of the newest arrivals on the glamping scene is a covered wagon village at Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They take the best components of a dude ranch vacation and kick it up several notches.
Why Goosewing Ranch Glamping?
Glamping is my idea of camping. Forget sleeping on the ground. Hello to a cozy covered wagon with king size down comforter bed and bunk beds for the kids, horseback rides on different trails every day, and home-cooked meals that would make cowboys’ mouths water in anticipation. The proximity to nature is unparalleled without sacrificing luxury. This unique outdoors experience comes with its own private chef and wrangler, and the glamping site’s location 4 miles from the main ranch makes it feel even more like stepping back in time. Here are all the reasons why our family adored this unique dude ranch glamping experience.
Glamping Means Awesome Accommodations
Wagons are a throwback to a bygone era. Thank goodness I wasn’t born in the time of covered wagons and migrating West. I wouldn’t have been able to cut it. But THIS is totally my speed.
First of all, the wagon squeezes a lot in its space. There’s a king sized bed for the grownups, and bunk beds for the kids. We and another family from England were the first to stay in the glamping wagons, which made it feel all the more special. Seriously, no one had done this before! We were embarking on brand new territory. So for those looking for something few others have done, this is the ticket!
Here a “behind the canvas” tour of our wagon to give a sense of how spacious they truly are:
My family had the most reservations about the bathroom situation. Were we sharing a communal bathroom? Was it a glorified outhouse? The answer to both of these was NO.
Surprisingly, the detached bath-cabins were spacious and reminiscent of our bathroom at home. The vanity, mirror, toilet, and shower are more reminiscent of a home bathroom than one in the wilderness. Added touches include shampoo and conditioner and white fluffy towels. And a space heater knocked back the chill in the early mornings.
The only issue we encountered since we were the first families to stay at the glamping wagons was a glitch with the hot water. Taking a cold shower works better than coffee in the morning! After a few days, the management kindly moved us to a cabin at the ranch. I see it as win-win since we experienced both the glamping site and the Goosewing Ranch cabins.
After a few days, the management kindly moved us to a cabin at the ranch. I see it as win-win since we experienced both the glamping site and the Goosewing Ranch cabins.
Glamping Means Our Own Wrangler
Cowboy Wayne is the real deal. I’m convinced he’s a horse whisperer. Beyond his wrangling skills, he’s a storyteller and jokester. (Cue the “horse walks into a bar and is asked why the long face” joke here). My 12-year-old took to him instantly and wanted to be just like Wayne in getting the horses tacked, riding, and even his attire.
As for my 16-year-old equestrian, she had a fun dynamic with him as well. One day she decorated her horse Juniper’s mane and tail with flowers. Wayne called it turning the horse into a hippie. So as our parting gift to Wayne, we drove back to the glamping site and decorated his wagon with flowers.
Honestly, all the ranch hands and staff are exceptional, but the personalization and Wayne essentially adopted our kids for the week and shared his stories and knowledge with them. Now I have a daughter who wants to work at the ranch when she gets old enough and a son who wants to be Wayne when he grows up.
None of our prior vacations have inspired THIS much love in my kids before. I sincerely believe that this glamping experience at Goosewing Ranch will be THE preeminent vacation my kids remember for decades to come.
Glamping Means Fabulous Food
At Goosewing Ranch, a full food preferences profile is taken ahead of time. My kids dislike peanuts and peanut butter because my daughter once had a peanut allergy, and my husband doesn’t eat red meat. All these preferences were taken into account when making our meals.
When glamping, guests have high expectations on food as well as accommodations. We were beyond impressed with Ryan, our chef extraordinaire. The setting couldn’t be more spectacular: meals are either in a tent or under the stars. Hearty breakfasts started our days out right with eggs, bacon and sausage, pancakes, juice, and “Cowboy Coffee.” Most days, we were on our horseback rides during lunchtime, so they packed up bag lunches with enormous sandwiches made to order, chips, pudding, apple or orange, and a juice box.
My favorite meals though had to be the dinners: from pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and salad to trout with squash, rice, and potato salad, we dined like kings.
It’s really impressive that Ryan made these meals on cast iron skillets. Having formerly owned his own restaurant in Puerto Rico, he attended cooking school in Paris and worked at Magnolia’s in Charleston. Ryan’s culinary pedigree was impressive. We were more than a little sad to move from the glamping site to the main ranch because we loved our buddies Ryan and Wayne.
Glamping on a 50-Acre Playground
Goosewing Ranch may be 50 acres, but it’s also surrounded by the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Grand Teton National Park. So it’s more like 5 million acres of playground, according to Francois Corrand, the owner of Goosewing Ranch. I like that math, even if it means there is no way I will discover all the land has to offer.
Glamping Means Lots of Horseback Rides
Our first order of business when we arrived: being fitted for our horses. Someone knew what they were doing when they paired this Disney fan with a horse named Tiger Lily!
We did 4 hours plus rides every day. Every ride took us on different trails, so nothing was repetitive. We climbed hills, crossed rivers, and descended steep trails. I almost fell off once but somehow managed to stay on. All the while, I felt safe and secure on my horse and totally aware of my surroundings. It was glorious.
Kudos to Goosewing Ranch: since they have over 60 horses, they rotate them from week to week to give most of the horses a break. Having been to some tourist destinations where the horses seemed overworked, I found this incredibly refreshing that they take such wonderful care of the horses.
After a long ride, my favorite pastime became a dip in the pool, followed by a long soak in the hot tub. That hot tub revitalized me after our 4-hour rides every day.
TravelingMom Tip: It’s best to plan this vacation for kids ages 6 and up because age restrictions for riding solo. Although younger buckaroos are welcome to do pony rides, part of the joy was our shared experiences on family trail rides.
Glamping Means All the Ranch Extras
Glampers can also participate in all the ranch activities. One of the features that make Goosewing Ranch unlike others is that they provide a Polaris Ranger (Utility Terrain Vehicle) to all the guests. We had more fun exploring the acreage and driving from the glamping site to the ranch. Bonus: our teenager has her driver’s license, so she had a ball driving us around.
Logistically, it’s a 4-mile drive back to the main ranch, but our ranger got us there in under 15 minutes.
Two of my favorite experiences at the ranch were the running of the horses on Sundays and Wednesdays and the sunset hayride singalong on Fridays. There’s something majestic watching a 60+ herd of horses stampede out to the pasture in front of the main lodge.
Add skeet shooting, hatchet throwing, archery, target shooting, cattle penning, arena lessons, painting horses, fly fishing, and massages to the lengthy list of fun entertainment.
Why try a glamping vacation?
“Off the Grid” for a Totally Unplugged Vacation
Getting to Goosewing Ranch is a journey itself over rocky, twisty gravel roads. Thankfully we had a 2017 Nissan Titan with 4 wheel drive to make our trip. Wyoming is made for truck travel, and this vehicle was just the ticket, especially as we got closer to the ranch.
One of the major benefits to this glamping vacation is getting uplugged. Be forewarned: there is NO wifi or cell service at the glamping site. But it only added to the charm and mystique of the experience. As the parent of a teen and tween, I welcomed the ability for myself and them to disconnect.
It’s absolutely refreshing to stay off devices. Instead of looking down at a screen, we were constantly looking around us and at each other. Forget video games and Snapchat: we had real life games like archery and skeet shooting, and chats only “snapped” fireside with s’mores or on a horse-drawn hayride.
Meeting New People
Glamping at Goosewing bonds families together. Our fellow glamping family hailed from England with two kids close to ours in age. We had instant camaraderie and shared trail rides, activities, and meals together.
We suggested tubing down the Gros Ventre River to our English pals, and they were totally game. It looked innocent enough and we planned well by moving our truck down the river at our exit spot from the river. Everything seemed to line up well. And then we got in that chilly water and attempted to stay together, which turned out to be an effort in futility for a while. Once we banded together, we had several mishaps floating down, from falling out of our tubes to brushing branches to bumping our bums on rocks in the shallow water. And yet we’ve laughed more about that chilly, wild tubing adventure that we’ve long forgotten about the bumps and bruises.
Glamping is a One of a Kind, Standout Experience
I get that we are all looking for sensational, unique vacations. When I say that Goosewing glamping is a one of a kind, stand out experience, I don’t say it lightly. Never had a family vacation where we talked so much, appreciated the grandeur and splendor of nature, and really lived in the moments. This is the future of family travel that doesn’t compromise on luxury and ups the ante on adventure and outdoors activities.
The glamping season for 2018 will be June-September. Some spots for 2017 may still be available. Options include 3, 5 and 6-night packages. Consider a combined vacation with glamping and the dude ranch cabins. But by all means, try the glamping!
TravelingMom Tip: Families and groups book up these type of vacations months in advance, so it wouldn’t be far fetched to go ahead and make plans for next summer. Between the surrounding national parks of Grand Teton and Yellowstone, two weeks could easily be filled. With four covered wagons, the glamping site will fill up fast (as will the cabins at Goosewing Ranch which total 10).
I’m not alone in my fandom for glamping and dude ranches: from how a dude ranch can improve a family dynamic to glamping in Florida to winter at a Colorado dude ranch, TravelingMoms are exploring the dude ranch/glamping scene.
Besides TravelingMom, check out the Dude Ranchers’ Association for resources and tips.