What is a dude ranch?
There are lots of ways to answer this question! Here are some thoughts that we have collected over the years:
For the guest, the Colorado dude ranch vacation is both a place and an experience:
- A guest ranch or dude ranch is typically a place of scenic beauty, a taste of the old west, which offers the genuine hospitality of the host’s home, and the amenities of modern living.
- A guest ranch or dude ranch is also a unique vacation experience, an experience that can be very active, or very restful, or a bit of both.
The dude ranch is a place of sunshine, blue sky, and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills:
- Sundance, as well as the surrounding areas, has lots of unspoiled country in which to ride horses, hike, bike, fish, sight-see, get dirty, and generally exhaust oneself.
- Endless space to walk quietly and ponder.
- Lots of hammocks where a cowboy and cowgirl can nap.
The dude ranch is a taste of the old west:
- The ranch is a place for the city slicker to get away from the work, schedules, lines and deadlines, and be transformed into a cowboy, with his or her own horse, cowboy jeans and boots, and campfires at night.
- The primary activity of the ranch, besides eating, is Colorado horseback riding. The ranch can teach the greenhorn beginner the pleasures of riding, can challenge the experienced rider, or do both for the intermediate or rusty rider.
- There are no pressures to participate in any activity, but there is plenty to do, with lots of organized, unorganized, (and sometimes disorganized!) group activities.
- The ranch also provides time to spend alone, for quiet walks in the hills, reading a book on the porch, or napping in a hammock.
The dude ranch has no interest in the chrome or glass of the modern corporate hotel chain:
- Ranch life is comfortable. Guest quarters are simple, and comfortable. Each room is unique, not a homogenized cookie cutter shape of the next.
- Guestrooms have heat (for those rare mornings when it gets cold) and each has a private bath.
- The ranch has a Jacuzzi, recreation room with pool table and other games, and TV with movies available.
The guest ranch provides genuine hospitality, with a balance of privacy and personal attention:
- Ranch life is informal, relaxed, and friendly, an opportunity to meet and enjoy others and make new friends.
- Home cooked meals are served family style, with guests and staff sharing the same table.
- The ranch also has frequent cookouts and other opportunities for folks to get to know each other without pressure.
- Ranch staff is truly interested in caring for the guests. They lead all activities, are available to help in any way, and enjoy being with their “city cousins.”
The dude ranch is a place where time is measured by the sun and the dinner bell:
- The ranch gives couples and families time to catch up with themselves, to get to know themselves again, and to do fun things together and make memories.
- Actually, the stresses of the modern life and the dude ranch cure are not new or a passing fad. As early as 1938, a description of Montana dude ranches included the following: “ The harried urban dwellers should find new calm as they traded offices, subways, and traffic for saddles and mountains. Ranches portrayed a refuge where ragged, exhausted people could recover their health and vigor.”
What is There to Do on a Dude Ranch?
The Colorado dude ranch vacation can be described in four words: recreation, relaxation, connection, and discovery.
Recreation- there’s lots to do on the ranch:
- Colorado Trail Riding
- There is a riding experience that will fit the level of experience of just about any rider, from the “first time greenhorn” to the experienced expert.
- Riding lessons
- Private lessons and coaching can be arranged on an individual basis.
- Eating meals out on the trail
- Each week a a number of rides include meals cooked on the trail.
- Walk and enjoy God’s country up close. Bring your camera.
- Disc Golf
- Try one of the hottest new outdoor family games on our professional level 18 hole course..
- After riding, eating is our most favorite thing to do. Meals are served family style, which helps people get to know each other without pressure. Many life long -friendships are started around the dinner table. No one stays a stranger long.
- Throw horseshoes
- When is the last time you have actually tossed horse shoes?
- Swap tall tales, hear some cowboy poetry, sing cowboy songs together (we’ll help).
- During the week stay, one day you will spend on the Cache La Poudre white water rafting.
- Target practice and archery available on the ranch. (Be sure to ask about Big Bertha).
Relaxation- Take Time to do Nothing at all
- your breath and recapture your sense of humor.
- Hang out at the barn
- Just enjoy sitting; there’s always interesting story to hear.
- We keep a bookcase of paperbacks and lots of magazines!
- That’s what all those hammocks are for.
- From a registered massage therapist, right on the ranch.
- Sit in the Jacuzzi
- Find some quiet
- Walk the hills, for an hour, or all day (we can pack you a lunch).
- Slow down
- Take your watch off. We tell time by the sun and the dinner bell.
Connection – Take Time to Just Be Together
- Couples and families have time to play together and maybe just talk. No rushing, no lines, no “must do” lists.
- Climb a ridge
- Explore the wildflowers, and enjoy being by yourself or with the ones you love.
- Quiet Focus
- Guest rooms have no televisions and no phones although both are available in the lodge.
Discovery – Take The Opportunity To Try Something New
- Go in search of deer, elk, rabbits, and if your that brave, bears.
- Visit the ranch animals
- Play with the rabbits, miniature goats, donkey, the dogs, the cats, the kittens, the pig, and other pets.
- Sleep out
- In the tipi (kids only!). During family weeks, there will be kids’ programs, including dinner and sleep out in the tipi. Parents will be consoled with special candle light dinners on these evenings.
- Try your hand at roping
- Ever wonder just how those cowboys catch their cows? Let a Wrangler show you how.