Top 10 Colorado Luxury Dude Ranches
Top 10 Colorado Luxury Dude Ranches Overview
Stacked heels, braided rope and wide brim hat. This isn’t your kid playing dress-up; it’s your get-up for a Wild West vacation! If you typically wear stilettos instead of boots and would rather trade that rope for a purse – believe it or not, there is beauty in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains for you, too. Cabins may appear rustic but inside await spacious living areas and tasteful décor. For aspiring wranglers and anglers alike, streams can be mastered on a saddle or in wading boots. With a sapphire Southwestern sky, groves of pine and aspen and wildflower meadows, our list of Top 10 Colorado Ranch Vacations is the nugget of gold that brings on the rush of dude ranch memories worth making.
C Lazy U Ranch - Granby, Colorado
Just look at C Lazy U’s history. The ranch’s trademark 5-SPUR SERVICE doesn’t just refer to its charming Western hospitality. It also means that C Lazy U is the only guest ranch in North America to receive the AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Five Star ratings for 25 consecutive years. The deal gets sweeter with 8,000 acres of land! You can try and explore on foot, but we suggest saddling up a horse from the C Lazy U’s stable and riding from valleys to mountain peaks with an experienced wrangler. Speaking of wranglers, your little lasso-toting lad or lassie will be thrilled by the Shodeo. After preparing all week, they – and the whole family – can show off their new horse handling skills and compete in horseback riding contests.Visit Website
Smith Fork Ranch - Crawford, Colorado
Escape to the Rocky Mountains, horseback ride to your heart’s content, indulge in the expertly-crafted cuisine or build your own Colorado adventure at Smith Fork Ranch. You could attempt to experience every aspect of Smith Fork, but then you might not get the chance to sleep in one of the hand-built cabins originally built between 1890 and 1950. Dismiss those mental pictures of creaky wood and cobwebs. Smith Fork lodge rooms and cabins are rustic with their log walls and beamed ceilings, but they are also appointed with amenities such as gas stone fireplaces, easy chairs and Western artwork. When you’re not catching some shut-eye, take a morning hike through Gunnison National Forest, surround yourself with the scent of aspen, fir and spruce on an afternoon ride in the mountain valleys or spot a red-tailed hawk from your front porch while sipping a glass of premier vintner’s wine.
Vista Verde Ranch - Steamboat Springs, Colorado
You aren’t the type of friend that has to entertain themselves or make their bed every morning either. You are both the star and life-long friend on your Vista Verde vacation. With a one-to-one staff to guest ratio, attentive service is inevitable. Finding trails is easy with Vista Verde Ranch’s location in Hinman Park and the bordering Routt National Forest. With more than 80 horses at the ranch, experienced trainers will pair your personality with the best horse and together you can climb Wapiti Mountain to see the Continental Divide or find a watering hole at Pearl Lake or Elk River. If you’re looking for a different kind of horse riding, then warm up those vocal chords and learn how to round up cattle in the arena. Later on, trade those chaps for an apron and learn how to cook!Visit Website
North Fork Ranch and Fishing Lodge - Shawnee, Colorado
If that last part didn’t make sense, it soon will. Our No. 4 pick fulfills not only your dude ranch expectations, but your angler ambitions, as well. North Fork Ranch and Fishing Lodge is an Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge situated by the North Fork of the South Platte River. This means that professional guides help you lure in that legendary rainbow, brown, cutthroat or steelhead trout. And while you may not be sitting atop a saddle, you can still appreciate the clear water rushing past, the trees swaying in the breeze and the blue sky above it all. Thrill-seekers will get their fill of white water rafting through class III and IV rapids or taking aim with target and trap shooting. The excitement continues into the evening with square dances, hay rides, story time with Mountain Man and Will Dudley Western ballads.
Tumbling River Ranch - Grant, Colorado
Tucked away in a Rocky Mountain valley surrounded by Mts. Evans and Bierstadt and running alongside Geneva Creek, Tumbling River is the quintessential Colorado getaway. Family-owned and operated with around 12 families staying at the ranch at one time, this Grant haven is the ideal, intimate environment to bring the kids or just you and your other for quality bonding. Get off on the right hoof – err, foot – each morning with a different daily trail ride. Take a fast-paced gallop or leisurely trot through meadows, valleys and the breathtaking Pike National Forest. If you like having nothing between you and nature but air, polish up your horsemanship skills for an overnight pack trip! If you get a little saddle sore, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool, test your trigger finger trap shooting, or enjoy the crisp mountain night air at a campfire, hayride or outdoor games.Visit Website
The Home Ranch - Clark, Colorado
Alright, maybe it’s more like the bread and pastries from chef Clyde Nelson’s kitchen that are made from scratch daily, but you won’t hear any complaints from us! In fact, meals at Home Ranch are the centerpiece the days revolve around. This is to say, skiing or riding expeditions are planned out over yogurt and fresh fruit, lunch is served poolside in the summer so as not to interrupt splashing and a four-course dinner is the reward for a day well spent in the Colorado evergreen and aspen forests. When you don’t find yourself seated at the majestic oak dining tables, we have no doubt that you will have already picked out a favorite horse from Home Ranch’s herd that has been 25 years in the making. To learn more about your new friend from nose to tail, take Home Ranch’s Horse Psychology.
Peaceful Valley Ranch - Lyons, Colorado
Peaceful Valley Ranch not only boasts a comforting name, it also offers families rustic-luxury cabins with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape and a myriad activities that won’t require a family vote and tantrums from the losing party. Couples won’t even have to compromise. As soon as they lay eyes on Mountain View, a one bedroom cabin sequestered by trees and its towering namesake, there will be unanimous agreement. When it comes time to plan the itinerary, fill it with native Colorado favorites like the climbing wall, panning for gold in the Ceran St. Vrain River and the ever popular BOM – breakfast on the mountain, that is! When the stars come out to play, so can you! Now, try and tell us you’re not glad about choosing Peaceful Valley when your kids are laughing during The Great Scott magic show or when you forget the beans at the Chili Cook-Off.
Lost Valley Ranch - Sedalia, Colorado
Lost Valley Ranch is the only Colorado dude ranch to receive the AAA Four-Diamond rating for 30 consecutive years. This means that Lost Valley’s brand of hospitality goes beyond pancakes and breakfast pastries. In fact, it follows you straight into your Lost Valley cabin with all the cowboy – we mean, creature comforts you need like wood-burning stone fireplaces, multiple bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs and porches with lounge swings shaded by pine trees. When it comes time to hit the trails, you’re not on your own. Lost Valley wranglers know that every horse and every trail has its own personality. Therefore, you will be paired with a horse that meets your skill and comfort level and a trail that can go through wild flower meadows and across streams or up to alpine heights.
4UR Ranch - Creede, Colorado
While we don’t want to take away the thrill of being the first, we do want to point out that our No. 9 spot has a system that may allow you to hit snooze. After a hardy meal of smoked beef, the 4UR Ranch manager and fly fishing guide conducts an evening lottery. The winner chooses their station along Goose Creek and the second chooses theirs and so on down the line for the morning cast. In the afternoon, the order is reversed and every angler gets a prime spot on the renowned trout stream. If you’re more into riding boots than waders, 4UR Ranch also has all the gear to get you riding through Rocky Mountain territory in no time. If you’re not a rider, take some time to relish in regional specialties: onsite hot spring spas and the nearby Rio Grande Club golf course.
Rainbow Trout Ranch - Antonito, Colorado
Rainbow Trout Ranch combines staff, facilities and a spectacular south-central Colorado location to become a place for classic family experiences. Remember when you rode a horse for the first time? Caught your first fish? That’s a big part of the fabric of Rainbow Trout Ranch, central to the organized optional programs for children and teens, the weekly whitewater rafting trips, the trapshooting, the fly fishing and a number of other ranch activities. There’s a historic lodge here – forty feet tall, with its own library and recreation room – where family-style chef-prepared meals are served. There’s a riding area where ranch rodeos are held. There’s a range of spacious and often wonderfully-appointed cabins, and a pool and outdoor hot tub. But again, the overriding draw at Rainbow Trout Ranch is watching your children grow in confidence and skill on your one-week getaway. And the crying? When you leave, of course!