The Various Types of Ranches

Mar 4


Billy Long

Billy Long

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Most people don't realize that there are many different types of ranches. This article reviews the features and benefits of many of the most popular types of ranches.


When purchasing a ranch,The Various Types of Ranches Articles considerations will vary based on whether the ranch will be operated as a business or be used for personal enjoyment. While there is some overlap, several ranch types are commonly operated for profit; Cattle Ranches, Guest Ranches and Hunting Ranches.

Other ranches are primarily used for recreational purposes with a focus on either sporting activities or personal enjoyment of the land. Recreational ranches include Fishing Ranches, Horse Ranches, Acreage Estates, and Shared Amenity Ranches.

Cattle Ranches – Most cattle ranches are run as a for-profit business. They have multiple head of cattle, feedlots, processing facilities, a ranch manager and ranch hands. Although cattle is the most common, other large animals such as bison are sometimes raised. Production ranches require extensive acreage, experience and business acumen to be run profitably.

Guest Ranches – Normally operated for profit, guest ranches offer lodging facilities for guests. The accommodations can vary from 5-star lodges with fine dining and luxury suites to cabins or huts. Guest ranches may operate as corporate retreats with a focus on solitude and escape from the stress of the city or as retreats for individuals and families to enjoy nature and participate in recreational activities on the ranch.

Hunting Ranches – Many hunting ranches are operated for profit. They offer sport hunting for large animals including deer, elk and antelope or various types of birds. For-profit hunting ranches typically offer guest accommodations for recreational hunters. Personal hunting ranches may simply be acreage with appropriate conditions for wildlife such as water and tree cover that is purchased for the purpose of hunting.

Fishing Ranches - Although some fishing ranches are operated as fisheries, most are recreational properties. Fishing ranches with sport fishing capabilities have natural streams or rivers for fly fishing or man-made and stocked lakes for boat fishing. Most fishing ranches offer additional activities such as hunting and horseback riding.

Horse Ranches – Horse ranches are usually purchased for recreational purposes to accommodate horse enthusiasts. They may consist of a simple barn and miles of riding trails or have complete equestrian facilities with indoor and outdoor arenas, turnout pastures, hay storage, large barns with multiple horse stalls, wash racks and tack rooms. 

Acreage Estates – These properties are defined by their luxurious improvements and are often located in highly desirable areas near resorts or popular vacation spots. They may be primary or secondary residences but are purchased primarily as luxury estates where owners may participate in hobby ranching or just enjoy the serenity and privacy offered by the surrounding acreage. Year round access and proximity to international airports are important to most purchasers of acreage estates.   

Shared Amenity or Community Ranches - This type of ranch offers an alternative to the traditional ranch setup where operational costs and demands can interfere with the ability to enjoy the property. The shared amenity ranch offers an innovative way to live an authentic ranching lifestyle with some of the comforts of modern living. Owners share common areas such as equestrian centers, trails or community centers but do not have to personally manage or maintain the shared amenities. These ranches can often be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a large ranch.

Purchasing a ranch is a considerable investment. An experienced ranch broker can assist in identifying the best type of ranch to suit your long-term requirements.