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Trip Ideas

5 Ranch Retreats (And One Outfit) Straight Out of Westworld

Fellow Westworld fans: hasn’t it seemed like an eternity since season one wrapped in 2016? Well, the wait is over: season two drops April 22, and we're already fantasizing about those dreamy American West landscapes, dusty desert towns, and unexpected plot twists. Interested in living out your own Wild West fantasies IRL? (Without the AI uprising, of course.) Channel your inner cowboy/girl at these five dude ranches, whose epic country settings, log cabins, and old-time saloons feel straight out of Sweetwater. Plus, what to wear when you get there.

Senior Editor, Jetsetter | @lindseytravels | lindseytravels.com

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Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa, Utah

If getting (nearly) out of cell phone range is your idea of the perfect backcountry getaway, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Sorrel River Ranch. Hugging a bend in the Colorado River, a half-hour away from the nearest national park, this 160-acre resort is your ticket to adventure or relaxation—or both. After taking in views of Utah’s red-rock mesas from any of the 55 cozy cabins (which come retrofitted with beamed ceilings, kitchenettes, and patios looking out towards the cliffs or the river), it’s time to plan out your stay. Guided hikes, horseback rides, river rafting, mountain biking, and more get your heart pumping in the great outdoors, while a full-service spa, outdoor pool and hot tub, and riverside dining keep the romance factor in check.

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Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming

Brush Creek Ranch’s 30,000-acre expanse in Wyoming’s Platte River Valley could very well pass for its own kind of Westworld-esque mini-universe. Here, guests can choose their own adventure—whether that’s fly-fishing on the property’s 20+ miles of private waters and bringing your equestrian skills up to speed during quiet horseback rides or socializing with fellow guests during archery lessons and drinks at the saloon (entered via swinging doors). There’s the Trailhead Spa for proper indulging before three-course meals at the restaurant, but we far prefer the campfire dinner served beneath the stars. After that magical conclusion to the day, there’s no need to do anything but decamp to your room for the night—be it in Trailhead Lodge proper or your own multi-bedroom log cabin tricked out with potbelly stoves and seriously luxe extras like 400-thread-count sheets.

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Gateway Canyons, Colorado

The red-rock cliffs of Unaweep Canyon, in far-western Colorado, provide a stunning backdrop for this Sedona-esque ranch resort, whose adobe buildings come tricked out with Native American-inspired prints, kiva-style gas fireplaces, and lots of wood and leather. The nearest town over is a ways away, but you won’t notice the distance: days are jam-packed with horseback rides and wagon lessons out of the resort’s own stables, pampering massages at the spa, meals three on-site restaurants, dips in the two pools, and unique extras like an on-site vintage-car museum and even dinosaur prints. This summer (May through September), groups can book their very own "Westworld" package, which includes mini-bars stocked with cigars and ingredients for Moscow Mules, dinner by a campfire, and tales of the Wild West by the resident storyteller.

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Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana

Working ranch it may be, but Montana's Ranch at Rock Creek is as luxurious as any all-inclusive package you might expect from a stay at Westworld. We're talking rustic-chic log or canvas cabins, 6,600 acres designed for horseback riding and hiking, an in-house spa and movie theater, and standout meals like smoked oysters in Calabrian chili, cast iron fried chicken, and Alaskan salmon. (No wonder Scarlett Johansson deemed this high-mountain lodge worthy of her 2014 nuptials.) After dropping your bags in your digs for week—which, if glamping’s not your thing, could also be inside the main lodge or three-room 19th-century barn done up with frontier antiques, cowhide chairs, and Birch canopy beds—don't miss cocktails in the gazebo at sunset (we love the French 75, made with Missoula's own Quicksilver vodka) or the Silver Dollar Saloon, where saddles stand in for bar stools.

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Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico

Media tycoon Ted Turner’s 585,000-acre Vermejo Park Ranch estate straddling the New Mexico and Colorado border is as private and impressive as it gets. Of the nine accommodations on property, Casa Grande is its most legendary—a 1909 mansion that once hosted the likes of Herbert Hoover and Cecil B. DeMille and features its own ballroom as well as guest rooms done up in European antiques and toile armchairs. Adirondack chairs on the porch make perfect perches for surveying the grounds—but nothing compares to a hike led by an expert guide, who are quick to point out resident bighorn sheep, bison, golden eagles, and elk, who are known to gather by nearby Vermejo River for a drink.

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What to Wear

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