For an Authentic Colorado Experience, Visit these 5 Dude Ranches for an Unforgettable Vacation.
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For an Authentic Colorado Experience, Visit these 5 Dude Ranches for an Unforgettable Vacation

woman horseback riding in front of mountains

Have you ever entertained dreams of the wild west? Of riding across the dusty, expansive plains or living in a small country town? On a dude ranch vacation, you have the opportunity to live out these western dreams. Enjoy guided horseback riding, cattle drives, rodeos, fly fishing, hiking, trapshooting, archery, square dancing, hayrides, and tons of other fun western activities. Here are a few of our favorite Colorado dude ranches to get you started.

man horseback riding

#5: Latigo Ranch

Latigo Ranch, near Kremmling, Colorado, is a ranch for all seasons. In the summer, visitors are assigned their own horse for their stay and can ride an expansive network of trails. The ranch also offers kids programs for kids to learn and explore together, as well as allows parents to explore the trails on their own.

woman horseback riding in front of mountains

In addition to horseback riding, visitors can learn and practice fly-fishing technique, and in the winter, cross country ski on over 50km of groomed trail. This includes classic and skate skiing, with backcountry or telemark available in the nearby National Forest land. Guests stay in luxurious cabins, with delicious hot meals prepared for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

#4: Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch

If you are looking for the most genuine experience of a dude ranch, Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch is the place to go. Since its construction in 1912, its location along the Colorado River fosters both adventure and relaxation in ranch living. Your first day will consist of a scrumptious dinner with Jerry and Cheri Helmicki, the ranch owners and your hosts. Then, you will meet your horse for the week!

ranch amidst backdrop of mountains

Riding takes place on trails throughout the Arapaho National Forest, allowing visitors to explore its valleys, mountains, and forests. Specialty rides also include High Country, Stagecoach Inn, and Breakfast rides, with unique features to each. In addition to riding, kids and adults can participate in fly-fishing and ziplining, with special kids programs for targeted ages.

horses running through golden field

#3 Rainbow Trout Ranch

Rainbow Trout Ranch offers the ultimate Wild West experience in the Conejos River Valley in southern Colorado. Within the Rio Grande National Forest, the ranch offers a plethora of rides through meadows, up mountains, or more specific learning opportunities for beginners.

person on horseback in field

The ranch offers an expensive lodge perfect for mingling and hanging, out with cabins for guest accommodations. The ranch also hosts specific events and outings including trap shooting Thursdays, sunrise Wednesdays, and pool party Fridays. With countless activities always in rotation, no one misses out on the fun. Visitors can also cast their rods into the Conejos River, which flows throughout the property, and experience some of Colorado’s best fly-fishing.

#2 Drowsy Water Guest Ranch

Located 6 miles from the wonderful town of Granby, Colorado, Drowsy Water Ranch is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Each day during your stay at Drowsy Water Ranch has a different theme. On the first full day, you will be paired with your horst, with riding lessons and trail rides ensuing.

man patting horses

The other days include more exciting opportunities to ride, as well as raft, mountain bike, hike, zipline, golf, and participate in country dancing. The ranch also puts on a carnival, obstacle course, and talent show to show off your skills. Open for the summer season only, the ranch offers lodging in private cabins or lodge rooms and provides home cooked meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

#1: Lost Valley Ranch

Lost Valley Ranch is located just 90 minutes from the city of Colorado Springs, just outside the Pike National Forest. Over the last 43 years, Lost Valley Ranch has been awarded a AAA Four Diamond Award for its impeccable service. This all-inclusive ranch is known for its Signature Brand of Western Hospitality.

woman with horse through field

They provide true old western activities like horseback riding, cattle roundups, cowboy cookouts, square dancing, and rodeos, along with hiking, fly fishing, trap shooting, 3-D archery course, swimming, hayrides and a multitude of other fun activities and amenities. They offer twenty-three cabins located all overlooking the ranch and three different floor plans to accommodate the exact kind of vacation you are looking for.

And if you are looking to experience the excitement of horseback riding with a shorter adventure, check out our half and day trip horseback riding experiences at Mount Princeton Stables!