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Saddle up in Colorado

1st April 2010 Print
Horseriding in Colorado

Fed up of the being stuck indoors with just the television and computer for company? Why not explore the great outdoors without the everyday distractions of mobile phones and gaming consoles with a ranching holiday in Colorado with the family.

As people strive for something more substantial in their annual holiday, last year saw a dramatic rise in bookings for ranching holidays.

Take a step into the Wild West with the chance to eat, sleep and work alongside real cowboys and share their passion to learn the tricks of the trade. Suitable for couples, families, and singles, guests are invited to join in with riding, herding and the odd barn dance! Some ranches extent to cattle round ups, overnight pack trips and family rodeos for a thrilling experience.

Colorado boasts over 30 approved* all-inclusive dude ranches which offer families the chance to explore life out in the real west and get as hands on as they please.

Ranching is an excellent opportunity for children as well as adults; each ranch has individual programmes for children of different age groups that are fun and educational. Older children can learn to ride their own horses, train in archery, build camp fires with trained guides and learn about Colorado’s gold mining history with the chance to hunt for their own gold. Younger children can also get in on the action with rides on ranch ponies with the help of Colorado’s finest cowboys. At the end of the day, children and families can meet up to share their experiences along with other over the campfire as they toast marshmallows and enjoy the evening entertainment.

Participation is of course optional, so if you are after a slower pace of life, the ranches offer a much-needed relaxation – trotting on horseback across Colorado high country during the lazy sun-drenched days, swimming in some of the state’s ponds or a friendly game of golf is an enjoyable way to pass the day.

Contrary to popular belief, dude ranches don’t necessarily mean camping round log fires in the wilderness - although it is still an option. Many ranches now boast luxury accommodation in rustic cabins and modern elegant lodges complete with pools, spas and hot tubs.

To capture your own holiday with some quality time with the family, take a look at some of Colorado’s fine holiday ranches:

Less than 60 miles south of gateway city Denver is where you will find Lost Valley Ranch immersed in the Pike National Forest. Nestled in the wilderness, this resort features premium quality log cabins dotted around a main rustic ranch house. No matter the weather, optional rides are scheduled for each morning and afternoon across the Colorado Rockies and every rider has their own fitted saddle to ensure comfort throughout. With a strong emphasis on children and family adventure, camp counselors sit down with each child upon arrival to plan their itinerary to ensure that they get the best experience from their stay. Meanwhile parents with children aged two and under have the option of an on-site babysitting service.

The ranch offers a transfer service between Denver International Airport and the ranch. Prices start from £695 per person for a 7 night stay all inclusive stay in a standard double and includes accommodation, all meals, ranch activities, taxes and gratuities.

For a chance to don your cowboy hat and work on a real ranch, the Black Mountain ranch is a fully operating ranch that offers guests the chance to get a real taste of the west. Cattle work is high on the agenda and guests are invited to herd, brand and doctor the ranches’ Texas longhorns. In a prime location, just outside Vail, there are extensive trails cross country just waiting to be explored on horseback, and an excellent base camp to finely tune your new-found cowboy skills which can be demonstrated at the ranch weekly rodeo. For the more adventurous, private overnight trips into the wilderness can be taken for your very own cowboy escapade.

Black Mountain can also provide transfers from Vail Airport and Denver International Airport. Prices start from £1,659 per person for a 7 night all inclusive stay in a standard double and includes accommodation, all meals, ranch activities, taxes and gratuities.

Elk Mountain Lodge is located at 9,600 feet with stunning views overlooking the Arkansas Valley and snow capped Collegiate Peaks in the Chaffee County. This ranch truly is a nature lover’s paradise with deer and elk roaming the surrounding San Isabel National Park. While horse riding is still the main attraction, with each guest having their own horse for the duration of their stay, the ranch also features a petting zoo and has an abundance of leisure activities including fishing, shooting and mountain biking for family fun.

Prices start from £1,065 per person for a 7 night all inclusive stay in a standard double and includes accommodation, all meals, ranch activities, taxes and gratuities.

For complete information on planning your vacation to Colorado, including lodging, attractions and activities, log on to:

* Ranches are approved by the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association. Prices quoted are with Ranch Rider Holidays. Flights are available for £529 per person.


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Horseriding in Colorado