December 2007: The Denver Post Kyle Wagner, Travel Editor
Along for the Ride
“It’s also about people”
Spend enough time at dude ranches, and you come to realize that as much as the food and the horses are a big part of the experience it is the people who set the tone. Which is why Sundance Trail Guest Ranch near Red Feather Lakes has a rather laid-back, nurturing feel to it – owners Ellen and Dan Morin are former nurses in hospice care who took over this 140-acre spread in 1999, and they have a light-hearted approach that makes a stay here all the better for it.
For instance, chatty Dan Morin, who leans toward bright plaid shirts and sports a handlebar mustache, may pop over to the nearby Shambhala Mountain Center to get in some meditation practice between chores. Ellen, meanwhile, with her quiet, gentle demeanor, can go only a day or two without climbing onto a horse before she just starts to feel “not good”. The couple had been riding and visiting ranches for years and always knew they wanted to own one, and finally it was a matter of “right place”, right time, right things happening,” Dan said. In the summer, the ranch offers one of the most popular Frisbee golf courses around, as well as white-water rafting on the nearby Cache La Poudre River, trap shooting, rock climbing and hiking and in the winter, because the area gets so little snow, can feature some snowshoeing, but mostly is still about horses and the hiking.
At Sundance Trail, three squares are included in the rate, meals are down-home and comforting, filling and guaranteed to prompt at least one guest to beg for the recipe, which is provided on the spot. Meals are served with home-brewed iced tea or lemonade (you can purchase wine or beer), and in case it wasn’t enough, a sideboard holds tempting jars of molasses cookies, gingersnaps and peanut butter blossoms.
After breakfast on the first day, first-time guests must watch Dan’s half hour training video, a part humorous look at horse behavior – filmed in the corral, it features one animal spending most of Dan’s discussion trying to prove the point about a horse’s tendencies to try to see who’s boss – and part serious safety talk. Then it’s out to the barn to get hitched to the horse love of your life. A dude ranch is no place to be shy and you get to know fellow guests and perhaps make lifelong new friends.
Kyle Wagner, Travel Editor, The Denver Post, December 2007
Return visits are not unusual for dude ranch guests. Lots of guest ranches have incredible return rates. People come back year after year. Return guests tend to have preferred cabins, favorite horses and cherished routines.
That’s the tradition at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, a small, comfortably rustic guest ranch tucked in the splendid seclusion of northern Colorado’s sprawling Medicine Bow Mountains near the lakeside hamlet of Red Feather Lakes. It’s operated by Ellen and Dan Morin, a husband-wife team of professional nurses who jettisoned the hassle of a Texas medical center years ago to pursue a dude ranch dream.
At Sundance Trail, they oversee a dude ranch operation that accommodates approximately 24 guests in seven cabin suites and a main lodge.
Perched in the heart of the 880,000-acre Roosevelt National Forest, the ranch offers warm summer days, pleasantly crisp nights, a relaxed, down-home atmosphere and a parade of dude ranch activities – twice-a-day horseback rides on scenic trails through the national forest, rock-climbing forays with professional supervision, mountain hikes that are as rough or easy as you wish – along with jeep jaunts through the high country, optional target shooting, occasional archery, lake trout fishing opportunities and plenty of down-time for feet-up chilling out on the cabin porch.
As with larger Sylvan Dale Ranch, the children of guests at Sundance Trail can participate in a ranch children’s program that features horseback riding instruction, Western crafts, hiking and games. No swimming pool here, but an equally popular kid’s activity is an optional nighttime tipi campout enhanced by a jackalope “hunt” with marshmallow ‘guns’.
“We talked about going to a dude ranch for years,” said a first-time guest with her husband from Illinois. They take regular vacations, but usually choose resorts in Florida or the Ozarks. “We always wanted to go to a ranch”, she explained while sitting on the lodge porch at Sundance Trail, “but just never got around to doing it before. I really like it here – you can do a lot more than just nose-to-trail riding if you want. I’ve been able to feed and take care of my horse, and I enjoyed that.” She had some childhood experience with horses, but her husband had none. “I’m not into horses,” he said, “but I thought this was a good excuse to come see Colorado – and it’s been much more than I expected. I like the laid-back atmosphere, but I’ve also enjoyed the hiking and the rock climbing. Even if you don’t like the outdoors, you’d have to like it here – the country is so beautiful. I didn’t expect to ride much, but I actually wound up taking every horseback ride that was offered – and I really liked it.”
A dude ranch vacation has obvious appeal for adults and children, but what about senior citizens? Both Sylvan Dale and Sundance Trail cater to the over-60 crowd as well as families and singles. Senior citizens typically find a lot to enjoy in a dude ranch vacation. Some of the optional activities – mountain biking for instance – might not be for grandparents, but most of what you find at a dude ranch is perfect for seniors – beautiful scenery, hiking, fishing, cookouts, the slower pace in a wide-open natural environment. And horseback riding is a great equalizer. Trail-riding is a safe and easy activity, and something that all ages can enjoy.
A lot of seniors grew up with an emphasis on the outdoors, so they really like what they find at a dude ranch. They want their grandkids to put away the video games and experience the outdoor lifestyle – and a dude ranch does that for them. Most don’t have computers and television – the kids actually go out and play – and there’s a whole host of activities. Most ranches are family oriented and families have a pleasant, shared experience together.
Uncomfortable with animals that are larger than you? No problem. Most dude ranch guests quickly lose their intimidation of horses – mainly because of the controlled conditions and the on-site instruction they receive.
The typical dude ranch requires every guest to participate in an orientation program on safety issues, including what horses like and don’t like from their riders. Individual horseback riding instruction is usually an essential part of the package at a dude ranch – and horses are usually selected for their stability and cooperative nature. Trail rides are normally led and overseen by experienced wranglers, and competent staff will always try to match the rider with the horse.
Corral instruction may allow some cantering, and even some easy horseback games, but most trail rides are easy-going, comfortable for even inexperienced riders and are lots of fun. The rides also provide a scenic experience that’s often unavailable from any other kind of vehicle.
The American West is famous for its spectacular scenery – and much of it is best viewed from the seat of a saddle. And what about the cost? A dude ranch vacation is all-inclusive at most places – lodging, dining, horseback riding and a multitude of other activities are available for a single price.
Most ranches also offer optional activities that cost extra – both Sundance Trail Ranch and Sylvan Dale Ranch offer optional river rafting opportunities, for example. Some ranches will negotiate price, and most will schedule less than six days in a package. The Western scenery, the ranch lifestyle, the variety of activities and the outdoor focus make a dude ranch vacation distinctively unique. And it’s one of the few American vacation venues where the entire family may willingly put away computers, television, ipods and video games for outdoor adventure, a genuinely family-focused vacation and a treasure-load of memories.
Ranch Life – Dude Ranches Offer a Uniquely American Escape, and give Meeting-goers a Taste of the Old West
Meetings West Magazine, August 2001 by Christine Brenneman
The need to breathe fresh air and get away from it all at a rustic, Old West-style dude ranch is nothing new. In fact, the legacy of these ever-popular ranch vacations started more than a hundred years ago, when East Coast city folk sought peaceful escapes from the harried urban grind. Back then, anyone from east of the Mississippi was called a “dude”, and these dudes would travel west to get a taste of ranch life, paying to board on various ranches. Thus, a niche of western travel was born.
Today, many dude ranches still exist as a beloved holdover from a bygone era. Americans seem to be fascinated by myths of the Old West – cowboys, rustlers and a simpler life – so it seems dude ranches are here to stay. Plus, these days, it’s more and more possible to take a corporate group out into the pastoral environs of a ranch to meet – and have the modern approximation of the dude ranch experience. Just what is a ranch vacation, and how do meetings at dude ranches work?
In the world of the dude ranch, change comes slowly. Indeed, these properties often eschew trendiness in favor of tried and true ranch activities such as trail riding and horsemanship. But recently, ranches as travel destinations have enjoyed a slow but steady increase in popularity. Blame it on the ubiquitous cell phone or our cubicle-bound existence. People are simply aching to get back to a slower daily pace in more scenic, technology-free environments. Of course, a dude ranch fits these specifications; and in the current, more competitive market, each ranch has had to carve out its own niche – and even diversify a bit – to differentiate itself from others.
But just how many niches can there be in the seemingly limited dude ranch world? According to Dan Morin, owner of Sundance Trail Dude Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colo., who has been in the business for years, even some traditional ranches have expanded beyond mere horse rides.
“Over the last few years, I’ve seen much more diversification,” Morin explains. “Twenty years ago, a dude ranch was a dude ranch. Now you’re finding that ranches tend to find niches that fit with the personalities of the guests and owners. Some are involved with trout fishing, for example. Our ranch is very involved in family, and supporting that. That fits our philosophy. And each different ranch specializes in enhancing the guests’ skills in certain areas.”
“This is a place to get into jeans and tennis shoes,” explains Morin of his ranch in Colorado. “I’ve never seen anyone here wear a tie. The meetings we host are very informal; this is our home after all – you’re meeting in the barn or the lodge dining room. And on breaks, people can go sit outside and watch the horses or hummingbirds.”
At Morin’s Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, a local group of teachers, who meet at the property for a seminar each year, decided to bring families along for the first time last summer. Morin describes it as an unexpected, but overwhelming success.
“We were packed in, with teachers and professors in the meeting rooms strategizing, and the kids and spouses out riding horses, hiking and doing activities with our staff,” he says. “They took their breaks together and it was marvelous. We made it fun by turning one guest room into a kids-only room. And one night, our chef took the kids to make pizzas, which they ate around a campfire. The whole time, though, the spouses stayed away from the meeting rooms, and kids were warned off – so the meeting attendees got their business done.”
American Cowboy, January/February 2002
by Debra Bokur
Set along the border of Roosevelt National Forest, the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch
is a study in natural beauty. The landscape is rich with pines, aspens, and granite, and the authentic, Western-themed accommodations include your choice of suites or cabins. Rooms are equipped with refrigerator, coffee maker, and private bath. Meals are home-cooked, and there’s no pressure to do more than you want to do. Ride into the beauty of the Rocky Mountains,
savor a cup of steaming coffee on the deck, or relax in the hot tub located in the recreational barn.
* Atmosphere: Relaxing, intimate, cozy
* All levels of riders accommodated
* Great family or honeymoon destination
* Options: Fishing, hiking, off-road Jeep trips, hot tub
Where can you hear the dinner bell ring from the large country front porch set against a backdrop of 140 pine and aspen covered acres bordering the Roosevelt National Forest? And, you can only hope you’re within hearing range so you can go to a friendly and hearty mountain western-style dinner.
Ellen and Dan Morin are your hosts at Sundance Trail Guest Ranch near Red Feather Lakes, a beautiful 100 mile jaunt from Denver.
The dude ranch offers everything you could imagine from a true western locale and then some, which makes for guests who sit down family-style and have an appetite for their vittles.
A Sunday night dinner usually includes steak, twice-baked spuds, a vegetable stir fry, homemade breads and you’ll find at Sundance, every meal includes a freshly made dessert.
“Everything we offer our guests here is made from scratch,” says Ellen Morin, and that goes whether they’re serving you on the trail or hosting an outdoor barbecue.”
When I spoke with Morin, she was planning a meal for a group riding to the Mount Margaret Trailhead, which will take a group of horseback riders through meadows, hills, tree groves and to a mountaintop at 9,500 feet. Some of the group may ride to nearby lakes. They might have wraps or sliced roast beef and turkey sandwiches. Desserts might include brownies, or fresh pumpkin cake. “We always have tea, lemonade and plenty of fresh fruit and cookies available at the house for between meals,” Morin suggests.
The ranch can handle vegetarians, special diets, and the Morins have had whole families visit that are vegan, Diabetic and Atkins diet requirements get frequent requests.
Everything here is Western themed, with seven lodge or cabin suites. The ranch can accommodate up to 24 guests, including two suites in the lodge that are wheelchair accessible.
Recently, an 87 year old grandmother hosted her family for a one week reunion. Another family has returned several times because there are activities that each person has grown to love. Riding trails run throughout the area, plus there are guides to help you with hiking, fishing, jeep rides, whitewater rafting, rock climbing and even more adventures strictly for the kids.
In addition to programs with wranglers in horseback riding, you can learn archery, astronomy and leatherwork.
Come evening, curl up near the granite fireplace with a good book, or listen to western lore and learn about Isabella Bird who visited Colorado in 1873, and managed to herd cattle and climb Long’s Peak.
The wranglers here are college students, former students, or folks who came and couldn’t leave the lifestyle behind. You’ll get logs of advice: Your stirrups are too long if your butt’s sore; too short if your knees are sore; just right if they’re both sore.
There are decks to appreciate the view, and at the Eagle’s Nest, you can try your hand at pool, ping pong, horseshoes or cards. There’s a Jacuzzi that’s a perfect fit after a day in the saddle and you can sign up for a massage from either of the Morins.
The Morins offer the opportunity to visit a carefree western lifestyle. “Live the adventure and fall in love with the ‘spirit of the West’ at Sundance Trail.
During October you can schedule a one-night stay or one-week, just enough time to stir up your appetite and answer the dinner bell.
The accommodations were designed with wheelchair users in mind, as two suites are completely adapted. Apache cabin, attached to the main lodge, has one queen bed in the bedroom and two twins in the loft. The bathroom has a 42 inch wide door, roll-in shower (seat available upon request), hand-held showerhead and grab bars. The toilet also has grab bars, and there is knee clearance under the sink. Other conveniences are the lever-style handles and lowered mirror. The Apache also has a private porch.
Buffalo is the other accessible suite. It is located in the main lodge off the dining room and also has a private entrance. One bedroom has a queen and the other offers two twins; the bed sizes can be interchangeable to meet the needs of different-sized groups. The bathroom is identical to Apache, with the exception of a 36-inch wide door Both rooms are tastefully decorated in a forest green and candy-apple red décor.
All common areas in the lodge are accessible via ramp (where need be). Some of the summertime activities include fishing for rainbow trout at nearby lakes (two of which are ramped for access), jeep tours, rafting and trapshooting. If you want to explore the forest, an old logging-type road can be navigated by wheelchair users. The terrain is not always level but can be accessed by the adventurous. A deck is a great place for relaxing in the sun with a good book. The evenings feature a campfire and a cowboy singer.
During the fall and winter, the ranch is a cozy bed and breakfast, the perfect place for relaxing and getting away from it all. A special wintertime feature is the Murder Mystery Weekends, great fun for those with a bit of detective coursing through their veins.
The owners, registered nurses, welcome guests of all abilities and are comfortable with wheelchair users.
Amarillo Style, Norman Living, Edmond Monthly, 2/03 By Elaine Warner
Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, hosts a smaller number of guests.
Owners Ellen and Dan Morin have no more than seven guest families at a time. This makes a very flexible schedule possible. Children have their own wrangler for riding instructions, campouts or crafts. Rafting is available on the nearby Cache la Poudre River. There are lots of opportunities for hiking or rock climbing and Dan supervises target shooting on the rifle range. One evening, the kids have special activities while parents have an adult hospitality hour and candlelight dinner. The last night of the week, guests and staff gather around the campfire and read cowboy poetry they have written during the week.
Saturday morning after breakfast everyone gathers at the corral for a gymkhana. Both adult and kid guests and wranglers get a chance to show off their skills. Wranglers lead the horses for the littlest riders, and everyone cheers for each participant. One of the favorite games works great for non-riders also – a tandem stick-horse race. Then comes the tearful time when the kids kiss their horses good-bye and families pack up to return to reality. One of the kids, a seven year old said, “My mom said next year I get to pick Hawaii, Mexico or here. I pick here!”
“ HORSES ARE AFRAID OF TWO THINGS,” Dan Morin explained, taking off his Stetson and settling himself near the huge granite fireplace in the parlor of his Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. “Everything that moves and everything that doesn’t.”
Dan was giving two dozen of us dudes the introductory talk for our week at the ranch, and it wasn’t going well. The thing to remember about horses, he said, is that they are at the bottom of the food chain. Everything eats them given the chance: bobcats, wolves, lynxes, mountain lions. “Think of a horse as a very large rabbit,” he suggested, one that will select from three unpleasant responses at the first hint of danger: buck, bolt, or bite. The art of riding, therefore, seemed to consist mostly of avoiding stuff your horse might be afraid of. Yeah, yea, I thought. But what if you’re afraid of the horse?
Given that fear, it may sound odd that I brought my wife, Barbara, and seven-year-old daughter, Maddy, out from Vermont last August to spend a week at a dude ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, 37 miles northwest of Fort Collins. But the fact is that I didn’t have to spend the entire week surrounded by stampeding cattle, being yelled at by leathery wranglers, or constantly in the saddle. Sundance is a sort of multisport adventure center offering a hyperactive menu on top of riding hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, whitewater rafting, four-wheeling, archery, riflery—the full western octathlon.
Besides, my wife loves riding, and she hoped Maddy would like it, too. I wanted to explore the Colorado Rockies, and I didn’t want to go on foot because, to misquote Gertrude Stein, there’s too much there, there. So we’d do it the old-fashioned way: on horseback. And that’s how—even though tall hats look silly on me and, having grown up in England, I’d already eaten enough beans for a lifetime—I started thinking about ranches.
Dude Ranch Hoof Picking – Dude ranching started to catch on in the 1850s when western farmers, always on the lookout for a second income, started hosting aristocratic adventurers from Britain, Ireland, and Russia in search of good hunting. One party in 1871, guided by Buffalo Bill Cody, shot more than 600 bison and 200 elk, and traveled the Colorado Territory with French chefs and 25 wagons, including three that served as mobile icehouses.
My favorite dude was my countrywoman Isabella Bird, who visited Colorado in 1873. She survived rattlesnakes, locusts, and ghastly frontier food (she described one entrée as “black with living, drowned, and half drowned flies”). Bird rounded up cattle and climbed Longs Peak—which at 14,255 feet was a considerable achievement, even if her detractors say that she was hauled up the difficult parts in a basket.
Today’s dude ranching is, frankly, less arduous. The Sundance Trail Lodge is a large A-frame log cabin, perhaps built by someone familiar with Architectural Digest, flanked by two smaller cabins, housing a total of 24 guests. Built in 1968, the lodge has a large dining room as well as a parlor, two guest suites, and quarters for the owners, Dan and his wife, Ellen. We stayed out back in a kind of woodsy duplex among the trees that comprised of a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom suite. Our quarters were small yet comfortable, with a shower but, thank God, no TV or telephone. Sundance is neither Old West nor new age, more like an amiable, unpretentious family home, with big picture windows and pine furniture, that happens to have a lot of land and a lot of horses.
And I mean a lot of land. The ranch is on 140 acres, surrounded by 660,000 acres of Roosevelt National Forest between the Mummy and Rawah ranges of the Rockies, a remarkable setting: yellow-gray granite hills like stacks of pancake; forest of ponderosa pine, aspen, and Norway spruce; a floor of sand, pine needles, carpet juniper, and fragments of dead branches, bleached like bones. At 8,000 feet, poisonous snakes are rare. Sundance is too high for most insects, too. Just the brilliant western sky, broad-tailed hummingbirds around the porch, cool nights, and the sighing of the wind in the pines.
Dude Ranch Day Dreams After his first-morning talk, Dan led us down to the corral, where we met the wranglers, all age 20 or 21: Dustin, Josh, Lonni (the children’s wrangler), and Rifka. All four in addition to having spent most of their lives in the saddle, were college kids working over their summer break.
“If your butt’s sore,” Dustin was saying in his droll cowboy way, “your stirrups are too long. If your knees are sore, your stirrups are too short. If both of ‘em are sore, your stirrups are about right.”
We were all quizzed about our level of horsemanship and assigned horses for the week accordingly. The more experienced dudes were eyeing lean horses distantly related to the Maserati; I was hoping for something like a 1964 Land Rover. By then all I could remember of Dan’s talk was that one end of a horse kicked and the other bit.
Sundance Trail has a stable of 21 quarter horses and leases 30 more for the summer visitors. My prospective mount, a roan named Redman, squinted at me sideways, his eyes barely open in resentful and reptilian leer. “I am not a mountain lion,” I told him. “I am not a bobcat. I am not a wolf.”
These calming words must have done the trick, for once I was up in the saddle, the ground a distant memory, Redman turned out to be amiable and touch-sensitive, if rather generous in his output of methane. By the second day I was giving him a little more than a twitch of the rein or a nudge of the heel. I realized that “ride” is used in two opposite senses: to be in charge or to give up control. When your horse is descending a steep, narrow trail, picking its way through sand and stones, you have to ride by letting go, releasing your hips to go with the horse while the rest of you remain level—like surfing from the waist down.
We graduated from one-hour rides, along the piney trails that surrounded the ranch, to three- and four-hour rides among the buttery rocks that made up the ridges. Dustin sang cowboy songs, Josh told cowboy jokes, and nobody got yelled at or stampeded. On the last day we rode out to a panoramic outdoor breakfast up on a rocky knoll, and those who were expert riders and hadn’t eaten too much galloped back. When we weren’t on horseback—and as the week went on, each family increasingly wandered from the herd—we took evening hikes to some of the surrounding outcrops, shot pool in the rec room, explored the area in the ranch’s jeep, and spent more and more time lounging around on the porch, talking more slowly.
Marshmallows Make Dude Ranch Friends!Some of the more traditional western activities were less of a hit. When we drove 15 miles downslope to the bend-in-the-road hamlet of Livermore to watch the weekly calf-roping—a strange and demanding sport—some were bemused. (“Novel concept,” observed Ken, an architect from Philadelphia.( “Recreational cattle.”) Others, like Barbara, were appalled at the squeals of the calves, rushing down the chute ahead of the cattle prods.
“You just ate beef kebab,” I pointed out.
“yes, but I didn’t play with my food,” she retorted.
The beauty of Sundance was that everyone—the adults as well as the kids, who ranged from three to 15 years old—found and fell into his or her own rhythm. The two 15-year-olds, for example, invoked the Teenager’s Bill of Rights: One was happy enough not joining in much of anything: the other made a token appearance on horseback, then spent the rest of the week rafting.
Our family found rhythms we’d never have expected. I overcame my unease around horses and my fear of heights (I thought that on rock-climbing day, they’d have to haul me up in a basket) and ended up whooping and swinging across the 60-foot rock face like Spider-Man. Yet I probably got the most pleasure from teaching Maddy and her new friends Faye, 9, Kirk, 10, and Patrick, 11, how to play cricket with a branch and a pine cone, a multicultural sporting feat beyond even Isabella Bird.
Barbara followed Maddy over to the rifle range—a couple of shelves of tin cans set up in the trees—and, to her own amazement, turned out to be a markswoman.
Dude Ranch BreakfastMaddy, surrounded by so much that was new, never became entirely comfortable on a horse and balked at the rock face, but found her own fun, hiking and clambering up the boulders around the ranch with the younger kids, in pursuit of a dozen cats. No one suspected that her favorite day would turn out to be the afternoon we spent whitewater rafting.
Even though the Cache La Poudre River, normally Class III and IV, was so low that August that we could have hopped out and walked—and our guide from Rocky Mountain adventures did, whenever we ran onto rocks—we all paddled hard screamed harder, and spun downstream. When the five-mile outing was over, Maddy and I fell out of the raft and floated around in our life jackets.
“Can we do it again?” She asked, and she’s still asking.
by Ron Stern, Seniors Marketplace News, October 2005
The still night was interrupted only by the sound of a gentle breeze blowing past the tall stately pines that stood guard outside our cabin as we slept. In the morning breakfast was announced by the traditional metallic ringing of a steel triangle hanging outside the main lodge. After a generous portion of blueberry pancakes, ham, eggs, homemade biscuits and fruit, my wrangler, Rocky, took me on a lazy horseback ride up through the Roosevelt National Forest. At the top of the ridge we paused to admire a curious mule deer and spectacular blue skies, craggy ridges and the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains.
Those precious moments are all part of the experience at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, located a short 45 minutes north of Fort Collins, near the village of Red Feather Lakes. For the last several years, owners, Ellen and Dan Morin, have been welcoming guests to the ranch where they offer them a taste of the old west, down home comfort, a bit of relaxation and a host of activities.
Horseback riding is the most popular pastime and the Morin’s help to pair riders with a horse that matches ability – from beginners to advanced. Kids take to these animals quickly, as do adults. Speaking of animals, Sundance is also the home of adorable little kittens, chickens, rabbits and tiny goats that like to ride on the back of a willing donkey.
While the main focus is on horseback riding, there are many other activities, including a shooting range, mountain biking, fishing and billiards. There is even a Jacuzzi to sooth tired muscles at the end of a full day.
Food is hearty, home-style country cooking and is served both indoors and out, depending on the weather. Freshly baked cookies, lemonade and coffee are available all day. The owners are both retired nurses and can accommodate special diets with advance notice.
“This is a great place to make family memories and experience adventures with all the comforts of home,” said Ellen. The seven suites of rooms at Sundance tend to get booked early, so check their website for specials and availability.
Come and get it!! Toss your cell phone, dust off your boots and saddle up for a perfectly peaceful, dog-haven summer vacation at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch – where kids can be kids, families can frolic and Rover can romp … a favorite PetSpot indeed!
The sprawling 140-acre dude ranch set amidst the Colorado Rocky Mountains with 880,000 acres of Roosevelt National Forest in the backyard, is home to horses, donkeys, pigmy goats, cats, dogs, ducks, chickens and bunnies. Each person gets their own horse to ride during their stay, and no one is too big or too small. Sundance Trail will match each rider with the right sized horse or donkey so get ready to enjoy the ride!
Well-behaved dogs and privately owned horses are always welcome at the Ranch. But if you don’t have your own, there are plenty of animals to hang out with for some extra special furry, feathered fun! Activities vary depending upon the season, but summer dude ranch packages include horseback riding, hiking, white water rafting, archery, rock climbing, and evening campfires with cowboy yodeling. Fall/Winter/Spring Bed & Breakfast packages include horseback riding, hiking, massage and Murder Mystery weekends.
In addition to the vast array of activities provided, both packages include three home-cooked western meals, comfortably modern ranch accommodations and plenty of good ‘ole hospitality. Owner/Operators Ellen and Dan Morin always dreamed of owning their own dude ranch and in January 1999, their dream became a vacationer’s delight. So leave the worries of city life behind while you soak in the Jacuzzi, read a good books or just snooze in a hammock…whatever your pleasure, you’ll be sure to enjoy a relaxed, stress-free, animal-friendly atmosphere where you can savor a taste of the old west with a touch of today’s conveniences. Happy trails to you!!