Saddle Up: Colorado’s Best Vacation Ranches

Ranches are all about exploration, roaming free and celebrating nature. And now that the sun is out, the skies are clear and the mountains are green and lush, it’s the perfect time to spend your summer riding along Colorado’s most gorgeous sites.

So strap on your boots and get ready for a summer vacation like no other. Here are three of Colorado’s best vacation ranches for summer fun.

Smith Fork Ranch

If you haven’t checked out Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, now might be time.

With its stable full of trained horses, miles of trails and some of the best private fly fishing in the west, Smith Fork Ranch is the quintessential western wilderness experience. This summer, enjoy several new offerings, including camping in the mountains.

The ranch has engaged Tony Pendergast, previously the Forest Service ranger for the area, and his son Darby to guide guests on an overnight in the Gunnison National Forest. After breakfast, with a duffle bag in tow, your adventure begins. You’ll head up to the old corral at Hawks Nest where your horses and pack mules await for the 2 1/2 hour ride up to the campsite. On the way through the forest you’ll stop for a picnic amid aspens before reaching camp. There, you’ll find safari-style, walk-in tents, cots with mattresses and a private toilet tent. Now that’s roughing it – in luxury.

Smith Fork Ranch also offers a day-long fly fishing experience. You’ll take an early morning horseback ride up to Little Elk Basin to fish for the rare A-strain of Colorado Cutthroat. You may see brown bears, mule deer and eagles along the way.

Located on 300 acres, Smith Fork Ranch is secluded and intimate, boasts five-star farm-to-table cuisine and provides guests with all the comforts they would expect from a five-star resort.

Deer Valley Ranch

If you’re all about keeping it simple while also pampering yourself, then Deer Valley Ranch is just for you.

The ranch is located in Nathrop and is surrounded by Mt. Antero, Mt. Princeton and the beautiful backdrop of the famous Chalk Cliffs.

Guests can enjoy horse riding, rafting, hiking and much more. There’s also a spa, dancing hall and delicious food to add to the experience.

Children and teens are also encouraged to attend, and the ranch provides activities that are specialized to them.

C Lazy U Ranch

Voted as the #1 resort in Colorado, 4th best resort in the United States and the 13th best resort in the world by the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, C Lazy U Ranch is all about Western-style ranch living.

It provides professional horsemanship programs, first-class amenities, an enriching children’s program, delicious meals and various activities the whole family can enjoy.

Listed in the New York Times Best Seller “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” C Lazy U Ranch is definitely a place that cannot be overlooked.

What Colorado ranches will you be visiting this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

By | 2016-08-03T17:57:28+00:00 July 18th, 2016|

About the Author:

Margaret Jackson is an award-winning journalist who spent nearly 25 years in the newspaper industry, including seven years as a business reporter for the Denver Post. While at the Post, Jackson covered both residential and commercial real estate and cultivated strong relationships throughout metro Denver’s business community. She’s worked at publications including the Fort Collins Coloradoan, St. Louis Business Journal and Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat. Her awards include best reporting from the Colorado Press Association and business and investigative/enterprise reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Leave A Comment