What is a Dude Ranch? What to Expect

colorado dude ranch adventure family vacation affordable
colorado family guest ranch dude ranch affordable adventure vacation

Colorado family dude ranch adventure vacation

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.

We hope you find these thoughts useful!

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:

  • The ranch has lots of unspoiled country in which to ride horses, hike, bike, fish, sightsee, get dirty, and generally exhaust oneself.
  • The ranch also has lots of country where one can walk quietly and ponder.
  • The ranch has 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, retreat, and time.

Recreation- there’s lots to do on the ranch:

Colorado Horseback 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 on the Trail
Each week a a number of rides include meals cooked on the trail.
Try some roping
Ever wonder just how those cowboys catch those cows? Let a Wrangler show you how.
Walk and enjoy God’s country up close. Bring your camera.
Sleep out
In the tipi (kids only!). During family weeks, there will be kids’ programs, including dinner and sleep out in the teepee. Parents will be consoled with special candle light dinners on these evenings.
Visit the animals
Play with the rabbits, miniature goats, donkey, the dogs, the cats, the kittens, the pig, and other pets.
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).

More Recreation Nearby- there’s lots to do nearby.
The ranch is located less than 6 miles form the town of Red Feather Lakes where you can:

Practice your two step or line dance at one of the local saloons.
The town itself is home to a trading post, salon, café, and post office that are like walking back into the old west.
We are located near some old mines that are great for a day of sight seeing.
We are minutes away from some of the prettiest lakes in the mountains. Take an afternoon to fish and relax.
          Fort Collins is also home to over a dozen public courses, some are award winning.

Relaxation- Maybe you don’t want to do anything. Or maybe what you want to do is nothing. That’s OK too.

Hang out at the barn
Just enjoy sitting, or there’s usually an 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

Retreat- Maybe you just want to catch your breath.

Find some quiet
Walk the hills, for an hour, or all day (we can pack you a lunch).
Take a deep breath
Climb a hill
Explore the wildflowers, and enjoy being by yourself or with the one you love.
Guest rooms have no televisions and no phones although both are available in the lodge.
Go in search of deer, elk, rabbits, and if your that brave, bears.

Time- the ranch has plenty of time

Slow down
Take your watch off. We tell time by the sun and the dinner bell.
Couples and families have time to play together and maybe just talk. No rushing, no lines, no “must do” lists.
your breath and recapture your sense of humor.