While working on a venue report about guest ranches for our new sister publication, Mountain Meetings, it further confirmed what I already knew. Colorado is rich with top-notch ranches. The Dude Ranchers’ Association (duderanch.org) has more than 100 member ranches, and 27 of them call the Centennial State home.
Fortunately, DRA’s website helps narrow it down by allowing you to sort by state, alphabetically and activities/amenities. At top50ranches.com, the categories are family, luxury, working, cattle drives, corporate retreats, fishing, weddings and spas.
How you want to ride horses and on what type of terrain, the seasons the ranches are open and available to groups, maximum capacity, atmosphere, size and amenities are aspects for groups to consider. Ranch experiences range from rustic to high-end in Colorado, so what best fits your group’s culture and the objectives of the gathering? Some ranches have been owned by the same family for decades, while others are newer endeavors by owners with the financial resources to make it happen.
I grew up going to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch near Loveland for family events held by my dad’s employer. Near to where I have a home in Crested Butte are Waunita Hot Springs Ranch east of Gunnison, where I enjoy a visit to the hot springs, and Harmel’s Ranch Resort near Almont, where it’s fun to have dinner overlooking the Taylor River. These all feel like classic Colorado guest ranches. Others I’ve had a chance to visit such as Kessler Canyon in DeBeque, Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash, Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, C Lazy U in Granby and the new Ranch at Emerald Valley by The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs have redefined my concept of time on the ranch.
It’s like finding the right pair of cowboy boots and saddle. The fit can make all the difference in the world!
Colorado Meetings + Events