Best Wild West Experience

Maria Garcia
• Wednesday, 23 December, 2020
• 7 min read

The ‘Old West was famous for cowboys, native Indians, pioneers, gamblers, outlaws, gangs and gunfighters. Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah receive countless tourists each year looking for Wildest attractions.

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Hiking through Grand Canyon’s massive expanse of gorges, ridges and rock formations is definitely something you will remember forever. Visit nearby Horseshoe Bend, one of the most photographed areas on the Colorado River, and an absolutely incredible sight.

Drive north into Utah to find the towering stone structures in Arches National Park which are so incredibly photogenic. With plenty of hiking opportunities, picturesque foothills, and old mining pits, any Wildest enthusiast could spend days exploring this part of the USA.

You could spend days exploring all the collections, stories and exhibitions that work hard to truly bring the Wildest to life for its visitors– giving you a real taste of what it was like in those times. The lovingly restored rail cars ooze 1920s grandeur and the scenery you can admire during the ride is unrivaled.

Here's how to explore the West through the eyes of a cowboy, prospector, pioneer, gourmand, historian, spiritualist, and modern-day adventure traveler. Her work also appears in The Wall Street Journal, Saver, Cooking Light and National Geographic Traveler.

Guests can saddle up on a mule for a ride along the Grand Canyon's North Rim; explore natural wonders via horseback, including famous rock formations such as the Three Patriarchs and the Beehives; and gallop through picturesque cactus gardens. On Historic Trails West's overnight expedition, visitors can also sleep in an Indian Lodge, experience a cattle drive, and savor an authentic campfire meal, while surrounded by the majestic mountain peaks of Wyoming.

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At the Jim town Mining Camp, which dates to 1849, guides, dressed in period costume, walk a new generation of gold rushers through the panning experience. Certainly more refreshing than a horseback ride, a four- to six-day journey coasting rapids down the famous Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho offers the best of the wet Western wilderness.

During the 100-mile journey, commune with local wildlife, soak in hot springs, marvel at canyons, and, if you float with Middle Fork Wilderness Outfitters, your tents and campsite will be set up upon arrival, with a gourmet meal waiting for you at the end of a long day on the River. When ski season is over, there are few better ways to become familiar with the varied, breathtaking terrain of Tao's's valley than on foot.

There are more than 50 hiking trails tucked away in the mountains, foothills, and canyons ready for all levels of hikers to explore. Climb the peaks, loop through the alpine scenery, frolic among the wildflowers, discover old mining pits, and of course, take countless pictures of the unmatchable landscape.

If traveling through Colorado, a stop at the Western American Art collection at the Denver Art Museum is an absolute must marvel at historical works such as William Jacob Hays' Herd of Buffalo and Frederic Remington's bronze The Cheyenne. Experience the good old grub of the American West at Dorian's Moose Chuck wagon, a Jackson Hole institution since 1948.

Goldfield features a historic goldmine, a museum, and an antique train, not to mention staged gunfights. A less-kitschy stop can be found in Bodies, California, a State Historic Park that once held a population of 10,000 people.

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Crossing Worlds introduces sacred landscapes via tours and ceremonial retreats that celebrate the traditions of the Hopi and Navajo people. Guests leave with insight, wisdom, and the peace of the cherished landscape of the American West embedded within their souls.

The hills surrounding the ranch are dotted with the majestic Saguaro cacti, native only to the Sonoran Desert area. You may happen upon deer, javelin, coyotes, rabbits and a wide range of bird species on your visit.

With Longhorn cattle coming in for water every day and outdoor baroque's, the White Stallion Ranch has plenty of Western atmosphere. Movies Filmed at White Stallion Ranch include such classics as Apache Ambush with Bill Williams and Backlash with Richard Tidemark and Donna Reed.

Today, film crews tasked with fashion shoots can be seen posing their models among the stately Saguaro cacti. The El Rancho Hotel has been designated a National Historic Site and retains the charm of Old West Gallup.

Autographed photos of the movie stars who have visited and Navajo Rugs surround the two-story rustic lobby. Families have been coming to the ranch for over 50 years to golf, ride, enjoy fine dining and soak up the desert sunshine.

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You'll have the opportunity to ride the desert like a Western star, top the day off with a prickly pear margarita, and then bed down in your own “capital” during your Rancho de los Caballeros stay. With the magic touch of two talented men, one an eclectic artist and the other a refugee from Hollywood, the Wildest image of Williams has been greatly enhanced.

Find a luxurious retreat deep in the White Mountains of Arizona that will give you the opportunity to experience a ranch atmosphere and the wilds of White Mountain elk country while dining on gourmet food and relaxing in your private log cabin. The Chisholm Trail relocated cattle from south Texas, through Oklahoma, and all the way to Abilene, Kansas.

The ‘History on the Hoof', for example, will see 400 head of longhorns driven 800 miles San Antonio to Abilene, Kansas. The fight between brothers Earp and Doc Holiday and the notorious Clinton cowboy gang is re-enacted every day at 2pm and again at 3:30pm during holidays.

You will also walk away with a free copy of the 1881 reprint of The Tombstone Epitaph newspaper with the original reports of the gunfight. It was the place for settlers, cowboys, prospectors, show girls, gamblers, and even outlaws to get a drink.

The local Chamber of Commerce prints a ‘Prescott Saloon Crawl’ guide to help you plot your own course of mayhem. According to the Webster dictionary, a ‘Dude’ is a city dweller unfamiliar with life on the range.

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Dude Ranches, then, are designed to get you familiar with rounding cattle, eating beans and sleeping under the stars, real fast. Set in 725 acres of spectacular Texas Hill Country, it has 20 cabins and offers every cowboy-themed activity imaginable.

Its overnight trail rides are legendary, with cowboy balladeers on hand to serenade you to sleep. Moving cattle from winter range to mountain pastures has been part and parcel of the cowboy life since the West was won.

Each night you'll set up 1800s-style canvas wall tents and eat grub cooked in a Dutch oven. Fast and exhilarating, you'll be in the saddle for up to six hours a day, driving hundreds of horses the old-fashioned way.

On a normal day it is not unusual to see a real-life cowboy ride into town and tie his horse to a hitching post (still a feature on the streets of Band era). Head for Area Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon, one of Texas' greatest dance halls, for one hell of a hootenanny.

Anyone who has a true appreciation for the history of the U.S. understands how the Wildest fits into our nation's past. For our RV Lifestyle fellow travelers, know this: Traces of the Wildest can be found aplenty.

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Visitors can check out many historical sites significant to the history of the area. One of those is the Boot Hill Museum, packed with memorabilia from the Wildest and some of the town's most famous residents.

In the summer, the museum hosts daily gunfight reenactments where you can see the action of the Wildest in person. Whenever you visit, though, Dodge City is a place where you can immerse yourself and relive the glory days of the cowboy.

According to Tombstone Web, the history of the town dates to the discovery of silver in the nearby hills. Visit Arizona calls Tombstone “the town too tough to die,” but visitors will find it a friendly place.

The hotel he built and named after his daughter Irma still stands and is open for business. Today, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center is a world-class museum in Cody that celebrates the exploration of the West, with exhibits that document the history of the Plains Indians, as well as Cody’s life and the history of firearms.

Speaking of guns, every night at 6 p.m., the Cody gunfighters stage a nightly gunfight between the good guys and the bad guys, with a couple of saucy saloon girls mixed in. It wasn't only men who settled the west because cowgirls had a vital part to play in western expansion, too, and it's a role that's getting more attention today.

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That's because Fort Worth is home to the National Cowgirl Museum, which honors the women past and present who helped shape the west. The museum has information on over 750 cowgirls who were vital in the history of the western United States.

Fort Worth offers more for fans of the Wildest, including mini cattle drives down at the stockyards or take one of the city's many historical tours. Learn about the town's central role in cattle ranching and the importance ranching played in the development of the western U.S. For what it's worth, Lonely Planet says the town still has a cowboy feel, making it the perfect spot for visitors who want to explore history but still want some big-city amenities on their travels.

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