John's Dude Ranch Days

[Image: skulls hanging on the outside of a log cabin]

The outside wall of a guest cabin at cow camp

My getaway took me to eastern Idaho and the Small Cattle Company’s dude ranch. The ranch is located northwest of Dubois, Idaho in the wide open spaces near the Continental Divide. The Small family has ranched in the area since 1879 with five generations spanning the nearly 130 year time period.

Over the last decade the Smalls have opened up their operation to visitors. Butch Small, a former rodeo champ, built a cow camp with guest quarters north of the family’s main ranch. It’s really out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s close to the ranch’s cattle grazing areas. While the Smalls do host a number of “dudes” each year they also still run a working cattle operation. There aren’t a lot of frills at the cow camp, but guests say it’s a great place to experience an authentic cowboy lifestyle. I would concur with that.

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