Find once-in-a-lifetime experiences at Colorado’s dude and guest ranches, whether you want to get your hands dirty helping out or prefer a more refined experience.
Visitors to Colorado can find active vacations packed with real cowboy adventures in stunning settings. Enjoy fun-filled experiences while spending valuable time with new acquaintances. For your family, group of friends, or romantic getaway, pick from a variety of dude and guest ranches, then relax. All-inclusive housing options, including hotels, meals, and a wide range of activities, are available at ranches. You can plan your holiday around working-ranch experiences, incredible outdoor adventures, or more opulent lodgings, according to your travel preferences, from rustic to glam.
Bring Out the Cowboy in You
Put your hands to work and prepare to assist around the ranch. Trail rides, cattle drives, assistance with feeding and caring for livestock, and other practical experiences are all available at working dude ranches. Guests at the modest, family-run Badger Creek Ranch in central Colorado have the option of working with livestock, mending fences, and moving cattle before enjoying regional cuisine. The broad range can be explored while practicing your riding techniques in this isolated, off-the-grid setting. A herd of 2,000 wild bison is kept at Zapata Ranch, which is close to Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Whitewater rafting, hiking in the adjacent Sangre de Cristo Mountains, riding among the bison, and working with the ranch’s wranglers are all options for visitors. Take charge of your horse during your stay at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to forge a particular bond. The options available to visitors include Cowgirl Roundups (ideal for a girls’ weekend), Great Grownup Getaways (think wine and cheese tastings), and Dude Ranch Vacations (featuring family-friendly activities like campfires with smores).
Take Advantage of the Outdoors
Traditional guy ranches mix horseback riding with a variety of fun, family-friendly pursuits, and outdoor recreation options. One of the first continuously running dude ranches in Colorado, Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch is located in a valley by the banks of the Colorado River, west of Boulder. Families can go trail riding, fly fish, go trap shooting, go on guided treks, go mountain biking, and then unwind in the heated pool and hot tub. Families can take advantage of the heated pool, petting zoo, basketball/volleyball court, excursions to the Mesa Verde Puebloan Ruins, and rides on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad at Colorado Trails Ranch west of Durango.
The Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, located northwest of Fort Collins, is full of entertaining activities. Try square dancing lessons, disc golf, yoga, archery, trout fishing, river rafting (from float trips to whitewater rafting), and picturesque drives with breakfast or lunch outside.
Amp up the luxury
These locations offer equestrian and other outdoor sports together with highly personalized service, lavish lodgings, and gourmet meals. They resemble a hybrid between classic dude ranches and luxury resorts. Vista Verde Guest Ranch, located just north of Steamboat Springs, mixes Western hospitality with AAA Four Diamond luxuries like a private hot tub on every cabin’s porch, massage robes, and Italian linens to create a luxurious summer or winter escape.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is located two hours west of Denver, close to Winter Park, and is obviously not your typical rural guy ranch. Visitors can take part in paint-and-sip sessions, daily yoga, live music, movie screenings, and a full range of spa services. The Grand Guest House, which has seven bedrooms and ten bathrooms, is one of the lodging options. 10 opulent cabins, each with a fireplace, are available at The Broadmoor’s The Ranch at Emerald Valley, which is located close to Colorado Springs’ renowned Broadmoor Hotel and is surrounded by the Pike National Forest. Play golf on a championship course, ride a horse to herd livestock, and engage in some lawn activities. Enjoy a decadent meal and a bottle of wine on the balcony or s’mores over the campfire to cap off the day.