Colorado dude ranches offer many different styles of family vacations ranging from rustic to luxurious. While the classic dude ranch vacation has always revolved around cattle drives and bunkhouse accommodations, many modern dude ranches also offer family-oriented activities, gourmet meals and lavish accommodations. Most dude ranches are only open during summer, though a handful of Colorado’s dude ranch proprietors offer big-game hunting expeditions during winter for more-adventurous families.
The Wind River Christian Dude Ranch (windriverranch.com) welcomes families to embrace their spiritual heritage while experiencing Colorado’s frontier lifestyle. This large, 80-year-old resort is close to Rocky Mountain National Park and offers an abundance of outdoor activities to explore the breathtaking countryside. Wind River offers all-inclusive resort pricing for six-day stays complete with all meals and activities that range from golf to fishing. Core programs at the ranch revolve around morning activities catering to the needs of children, pre-teens and teenagers.
The San Juan Mountains are one of Colorado’s most rugged and remote areas. This mountain range is home to three wilderness areas with abundant recreation opportunities, historic mining ghost towns and several of the state’s “fourteeners,” mountains over 14,000 feet tall. (read more)
Tarryall River Ranch offers seven-day all-inclusive packages that cater to families who want an active and social vacation. Located within two hours of Denver in rural Park County, Tarryall River Ranch is a small family-owned operation featuring cabin rentals for up to 30 guests, horseback riding, fly-fishing, river-rafting and kid-friendly amenities, including a petting zoo, a jungle gym and special riding programs for teens. During the cooler fall months, Tarryall offers adults-only weeks, bed-and-breakfast accommodations and guided hunting trips.
Eastern Colorado is vastly different from the rugged, mountainous Western Slope region. This windswept area is shaped by rolling prairies, open plains and far-reaching views of the Rocky Mountains. The Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch (coloradocattlecompany.com) is a working guest ranch geared toward adults and older teens who want to perfect the fine art of roping a steer from horseback, as well as participate in arena games like pole-bending and barrel-racing. Shooting games, fishing and wildlife-watching are other popular activities. This rustic ranch has accommodations that can house up to 20 guests at a time and meals are included in the price. (read more)