With so much history in the west, how are you to choose the right dude ranch in Colorado for you? Many guest ranches in Colorado claim sorted histories of all types but Sundance Trail Guest Ranch is lucky to be among the best locations for history buffs of all ages. The Red Feather Lakes area, though on the map for well over a century, is still sparsely populated and offers amazing opportunities to take a walk through history, and legends…in the rough.
The Legend of Redfeather
Long ago, a young Cherokee by the name of Redfeather was living a quiet life in the flat land with his tribe when a vision changed his whole life’s direction. This vision told him of a land, far to the north, that was full of clear water, plentiful fishing and game as far as the eye could see.
Redfeather and his loyal band of followers made the trek northward and claimed the area now known as Red Feather Lakes for the Cherokee. Redfeather was made chief and his people prospered in the gentle valleys the park like setting offered. He was a true leader and was beloved by his people, other tribes and travelers alike for his gentle nature and giving spirit. When the time came, he was a fierce warrior and led his tribe to victory over many who would try to take their land.
Word got out about Redfeather’s mountain utopian paradise and soon the challenges for their land increased. Battle after battle, Redfeather and his tribe ended victorious. One, well-planned attack by the Pawnees caught the Cherokees by surprise and led to a long, exhausting battle between the two tribes. Redfeather and his forces fought heroically and, eventually, the Pawnees fled but Chief Redfeather had taken his last breath on the battlefield leading the Cherokees to the finish.
The town of Red Feather Lakes has taken the legend of this great chieftain with them throughout history and still displays his namesake proudly. The people who live and work in this area display the self-sufficiency and courage set forth by the Cherokees who settled this land.
The Red Feather Lakes Historical Society has a wonderful compilation of the stories, legends and history within the Red Feather Lakes and Livermore areas that our Colorado dude ranch is home to. This is but a small piece of the legends available at our Colorado guest ranch and we invite you to visit us, and our surrounding area, for more!
Cutting your own Christmas tree in the forest can be a great family adventure!
Consider visiting us for a night or two of Bed & Breakfast quiet get-away and maybe a bit of horseback riding in the snow. And then, on your way home, stop at the Canyon Lakes Ranger District Christmas Tree Sale!
Christmas tree cutting on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District will be from December 7-15, 2013.
Permits go on sale December 2, 2013.
On the weekend, permits may be obtained at the cutting area. For weekday cutting, permits must be obtained in advance from our offices in Fort Collins at 2150 Centre Avenue, Building E.; Boulder at 2140 Yarmouth Avenue; or Greeley at 660 “O” Street. The District never runs out of permits! The price is $10 per tree, with a limit of five trees per person.
Planning Your Trip
Chains or four-wheel drive vehicles are required.
Snowmobiles, motorcycles and ATVs are prohibited.
From Fort Collins take Highway 287, 21 miles north to Livermore. At Livermore turn left onto County Road 74E (Red Feather Lakes Road). Follow Red Feather Lakes Road 16 miles and turn left onto County Road 68C (Boy Scout Road). Follow Boy Scout Road for seven miles. Signs or Forest Service personnel will direct you into the area.
The sale area will be open during periods of bad weather unless Highway 287 is closed. For more information please visit the Colorado Department of Transportation website.
Smokey Bear’s Cabin
Smokey Bear typically greets visitors for part of the day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Make sure to bring your camera!
There are several miles of roads within the cutting area, so remember to spread out when searching for your tree.
Use a handsaw or axe to cut your tree. Chainsaws are prohibited.
Cut trees only within National Forest boundary and respect surrounding private property.
Cut trees with a stump diameter of 6 inches or less and within six inches of the ground, below any live branches.
Take or scatter any unused portion of your tree.
Attach permit to tree in a visible location.
Do not cut any tree marked with blue paint or designated as a wildlife tree.
Do not forget something to safely tie down your tree.
Pack out all trash.
Safety & Comfort
Roads are narrow and slick with limited sight distance, please use caution.
Drive slowly within cutting area. Park off roads in plowed areas or pull-offs; do not obstruct traffic. One-way traffic only on all roads within the cutting area.
If someone in your group is missing, don’t wait, notify Forest Service personnel immediately.
Have a full tank of gas.
Each year a number of people either lose their keys or lock them in their vehicle. Bring a spare key and give it to another member of your party.
Remember, cell phones may not work in the cutting area.
Expect winter conditions, including below-freezing temperatures and cold winds. Dress warmly.
Bring food and a warm beverage, blanket, shovel and first aid kit.
Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
Pets are not recommended; dogs must be on a leash if brought into the area.
Visiting Mountain Pine Beetle-Hit Areas
Remember, your safety is your responsibility.
Falling trees are always a hazard when visiting the forest.
Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. They can fall without warning.
Stay out of the forest when there are strong winds that could blow down trees. If you are already in the forest when the winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
Park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if dead trees fall.
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.”
9/20/23 – We have an immediate opening for Ranch Marketing Manager!