Saddle up! There’s plenty of frosty fun at Colorado’s destination dude ranches, even in the colder months. From riding horseback on icy mountain trails to cozy fireside dinners, ice fishing and skiing, these six dude ranches in Colorado provide the ultimate Wild West experience.
Are you ready to unleash your inner cowboy (or cowgirl) this winter?
Music Meadows (Westcliffe)
For an all-inclusive winter ranch vacation, head to Music Meadows in Westcliffe. Here, you’ll stay in a cozy 1800s homestead and immerse yourself in true Western life, pitching in on the ranch and learning about horsemanship, cattle raising and more. Enjoy a winter horseback ride across the snow-covered meadows. Feast on trailside picnic lunches over an open fire. Or, keep warm with a steamy soak in the wood-fired hot tub. Due to the winter weather, you have two days to hunker down on the ranch and play board games, relax near the fireplace, or take a ski trip to Monarch! Not able to ride? Sleigh rides are available with views of Marble Mountain and Blueberry Peak. And on clear nights, end your evenings stargazing.
Vista Verde (Steamboat Springs)
Experience dude ranch life with a resort-like edge at Vista Verde in Steamboat Springs. Here, you’ll stay in a private log cabin featuring a fireplace and private hot tub! Your days will be filled with grooming, tacking and riding lessons in the comfort of the heated arena, or you can face the elements and take your horse companion out for a wintry trail ride. When you’re not on horseback, the ranch provides plenty of opportunities for winterized fun, including indoor archery, fat tire biking, snowboarding, skiing, sledding, snow tubing, or (perhaps most thrilling) driving a snowmobile over icy hills in Elk River Valley. You’ll also be treated to chef-made, multi-course dinners with locally sourced ingredients during your stay. Dine on potato gnocchi, short rib ragu, and rich butternut squash soup with mushrooms and sage brown butter. You can also get your hands dirty during one of the weekly cooking classes!
Sundance Trail Guest Ranch (Red Feather Lakes)
Combining a mountain lodge with a bed and breakfast, Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Red Feather Lakes is the perfect place to disconnect from the outside world and play pioneer for a night or weekend. In between horseback riding excursions in Roosevelt National Forest (watch for antelope, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats), play pool in the rec room, warm up in the jacuzzi, try axe throwing, or take a private lesson for in-depth training to improve your confidence on horseback. You’ll also enjoy Western-style meals with a fantastic view of the Rocky Mountains at the Country Inn!
C Lazy U Ranch (Granby)
In Granby, the historical C Lazy U Ranch makes the Wild West feel just a little less wild. Start your days exploring the snowy landscape on horseback over miles of rugged backcountry trails. Keep an eye out for red foxes and bald eagles during your adventure. Rather stay warm? Enjoy a trot inside the heated indoor arena. After your morning ride, feed the herd of nearly 200 horses (and their companion, Petey, the miniature donkey), or head to the Activity Yurt to get everything you need for a full day of ice skating on the pond, cross-country skiing, tubing, and more. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy the ranch’s gourmet dining made with farm-fresh ingredients, such as aged beef or fresh-caught trout, accompanied by a glass of wine from their award-winning cellar. And make sure to book an appointment at the spa, which offers plenty of opportunities for rejuvenation – soak in a copper tub and experience a facial tailored for the dry winter air!
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch (Loveland)
Another historic spot with over 100 years under its belt is Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland. Cozy up in one of their cabins or at the B&B. Spend an evening indulging in made-from-scratch Southern cuisine on Saturday nights with the Ranch’s winter dinner series. Take a wagon ride on the Foothills Trail (and enjoy hot chili and cheese by a campfire). Or , saddle up and hit the forested paths or glittering, snow-covered meadow on the 3,200-acre property. Ride along old wagon trails on Alexander Mountain and trace the footsteps of early Western pioneers along Eagle Ridge. Back at the ranch, polish your boots and don your cleanest cowboy hat for a night of Western dance and a buffet dinner fit for a king. Round out the evening by the campfire and lots of DIY s’mores!
Latigo Ranch (Kremmling)
Latigo Ranch in Kremmling gets over 200 inches of snow yearly–perfect for playing cowboy in a winter wonderland! This family-owned and operated ranch offers more than 30 miles of maintained trails for self-paced horseback riding under the supervision of experienced wranglers. Out of the saddle, you can try winter biking, skiing, sledding or snowshoeing with equipment rented from the lodge–try the half-mile Goshawk Trail or the Meadow Loop at just over a mile. Don’t leave without snapping sweet pics of the long-haired yaks raised on the property! In the dining hall, be ready to feast! These chefs don’t hold back, preparing grub you’d expect at a five-star hotel like truffled eggs with roe, rare roasted duck breast or Tahitian ceviche. However, the never-ending supply of homemade caramel corn stocked in every room is a guest favorite!