Picks and Pans Review: Ranch Vacations

updated 07/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Gene Kilgore

Okay, dude, you've been to Maverick, Wyatt Earp, Tombstone and City Slickers II and your teenage daughter just got herself modestly branded. Now you're thinking, maybe it's time for a little westernizing of your own, but that involves gelling on a horse, right? Not necessarily. This guide to dude ranches democratically lists all sorts in enlightening, often evocative detail.

If you want something posh where you can swim, golf, hot tub and maybe just gaze at the Appaloosas, check first under California, Colorado and Arizona. If you're after something more rugged, start with Montana and Wyoming—but even in their mountains you can hike, fish or snooze if you're not the saddle sort. For those who love horses, Kilgore offers generous descriptions of 250 ranches—small, big, demanding, simple, fancy, all in spectacular country—throughout the United States and Canada.

As with any guidebook it's hard to gauge the author's candor; his unyielding enthusiasm is both appealing and suspect. But for anybody pondering a getaway ride to the ridge where the West commences or only a weekend in the Catskills, this is a most informative and helpful leg up, whether toward the saddle or not. (John Muir, $19.95)

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