A dude ranch vacation can be a trip of a lifetime, for those that want to experience the feel of living and working on a ranch. While most offer horseback riding, many provide all sorts of other activities too, from swimming and fishing to hiking, hayrides, and cookouts. These Colorado dude ranches are truly destinations everyone should experience at least once.
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Latigo Ranch, Kremmling (Nearby Hotels)
Latigo is renowned for its outstanding horse riding program, with lots of individualized attention. It’s surrounded by national forest on three sides, with winding trails that bring guests through the pines, aspen groves, sagebrush and wide, open meadows. Voted Best Dude Ranch in Colorado by “Colorado’s Best,” this intimate, secluded ranch also offers hiking and fishing in the summer, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding in the winter. There’s also an ideal balance between family time, and separate excursions, with adults-only pack trips and outings just for the kids.
Vista Verde Ranch, Steamboat Springs (Nearby Hotels)
This luxurious dude ranch in beautiful Steamboat Springs offering an ideal blend of adventure, elegance and top-notch cuisine. Visitors can look forward to trail rides, horse clinics and cattle drives as well as fly fishing, yoga, mountain biking, cooking classes and even wine tastings. There’s also a comprehensive kids program, and multiple options for relaxation too, including soaking those sore muscles in the outdoor hot tub.
Cherokee Park Ranch, Livermore (Nearby Hotels)
Historic Cherokee Park Ranch, established back in 1886, was named “America’s Best Dude Ranch Vacation” by USA Today, and it’s easy to see why, with a ton of western character and breathtaking scenery, set along the North Fork of the Cache La Poudre River. Although it’s easily accessible from the Denver Airport, less than 100 miles away, this all-inclusive ranch is surrounded by pure Rockies wilderness. Enjoy delicious home cooked meals, special programs for the kids, and a host of activities, including roping lessons, fishing, hiking, tubing on the river, raft trips, boat trips, mountain biking and more.
Rainbow Trout Ranch, Antonito (Nearby Hotels)
Rainbow Trout Ranch is ideal for just about any type of traveler seeking a western escape, offering a wide range of adventures, including amazing horseback riding in a remote area of southern Colorado near the border of Mexico. Not only can guests enjoy plenty of time on the horses, but outstanding fly fishing, trapshooting, whitewater rafting, swimming, day trips to Taos and the opportunity to hope aboard the highest and longest narrow-gauge steam train in the country. It also hosts a teen ranch program that’s sure to satisfy even the pickiest teenagers, and an excellent children’s program too.
Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Red Feather Lakes (Hotel Prices & Photos)
This awesome Colorado dude ranch offers fabulous adventures all year round, and is also just 100 miles from Denver International Airport. There are opportunities for the entire family, including horseback riding, hiking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, disc golf, trout fishing, trap or target shooting and archery. In the water, you can even ride horses in the snow and then look forward to warming up in the Jacuzzi. Star gazing is incredible here, and you can even enjoy a bit of nightlife, with evening campfires as well as an onsite pool table and lounge.
C Lazy U Ranch, Granby (Hotel Prices & Photos)
C Lazy U Ranch was awarded a five-star rating by AAA, which calls it “posh but has a genuine ranch feel.” It offers rustic elegance, a rich history, incredible cuisine and exceptional service, resulting in a luxury vacation that allows you to do just about anything and everything you want, or nothing at all. Guests can enjoy traditional activities like horse riding, even in the winter, with a heated indoor arena, as well as kids activities. Cross-country skiing is popular during the colder months of the year as well, and alpine skiing can be enjoyed in nearby Winter Park.
Drowsy Water Ranch, Granby (Nearby Hotels)
The Drowsy Water Ranch has been around for nearly 100 years and is home to about 100 head of horses, primarily quarter horses and paints, while nine individual cabins are tucked beside the creek, offering tranquil lodging for families. This is an ideal ranch for those with little ones, as it welcomes children of all ages, even infants. Children who are 5 and younger get to participate in the Buckaroos program, led by smaller horses in a pen, and those who are 6 to 13 participate in the Range Riders program where they can walk, lope and trot according to their comfort level and trail conditions.
Colorado Cattle Company, New Raymer (Nearby Hotels)
Guests of the Colorado Cattle Company get to enjoy a week of ranch activities that kick off with a special BBQ welcome dinner upon arrival. You can stay in a real teepee, and go horse riding right alongside real cowboys who teach visitors how to do just what they do, and then let them do it. Look forward to Cowboy School where you can rope, drive cattle, check the herds and more, as well as shooting clay pigeons, target practice, and doing plenty of relaxing too. Enjoy dining on delicious meals prepared by the onsite chef, soaking in the hot tub or dry sauna, and swimming in the indoor heated pool. There’s also a great room for watching TV and movies via satellite.