The Best Cattle Ranches in Colorado

cows and cowboysWhether you are in search of an upscale, resort-like ranch or a rustic, classic ranch, there is no better place than Colorado to experience the timeless American West in style. With these top five ranch destinations, you are sure to find what you are looking for and more for your next ranch vacation.

5. Chico Basin Ranch – Colorado Springs, CO

Chico Basin Ranch, located in Colorado Springs, is a real life, working cattle ranch that embodies the spirit of the West. Central to the ranch’s guest operation is providing learning opportunities about large-scale cattle ranching, riding horses, and learning about the wild. Guests participate in the day-to-day operations on the ranch. The ranch is traditional and authentic; all work is done horseback, and trucks with trailers are rarely used.  Spring and fall are busiest with cattle works, summer involves a lot of moving cattle from pasture to pasture.  Other activities include checking water and fence infrastructures, repairing vehicles and equipment in the metal shop, and building cowboy gear in the leather shop. Self-guided tours, hiking, and fishing opportunities are available as well. Chico Basin serves its own grass-fed beef and local produce. If you are looking for an authentic, hands-on working cattle ranch vacation, there is no better place than Chico Basin Ranch.

4. Wilderness Trails Ranch – Durango, CO

Wilderness Trails family run dude ranch has decades of experience making sure all members of a family enjoy their stay. Whether you are into mountain biking, fishing, riding horses, or want to float down a Colorado lake in a pontoon boat, the ranch itself and the close proximity to Durango (less than thirty minutes away) has a lot to offer travelers. Whether you are looking for adventure or R&R, Wilderness Trails Ranch has something for everyone – horseback riding, fishing, wilderness and lake access, mountain biking, overland tours, rafting, campfire sing-alongs, roping lessons, a spa, a zipline, and a kids program, to name a few. The Wilderness Trails Ranch’s all-inclusive ranch rates give you the flexibility to personally sculpt your vacation.

 3. The Home Ranch – Clark, CO

As you enter the Elk River Valley, just beyond Steamboat Springs, you will find one of the West’s best dude ranches – The Home Ranch. Offering a family-friendly summer and winter vacation paradise, the Home Ranch has year-round multi-sport adventures, horseback riding vacations, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, rafting, rock climbing, tubing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, and more. A beloved Colorado dude ranch in the summer and fall, and a warm and welcoming cross-country ski resort and Steamboat ski lodging option in winter and spring, The Home Ranch is an idyllic Rocky Mountain getaway in the Elk River Valley. The only Relais & Chateaux dude ranch in Colorado, The Home Ranch is renowned for its homey charm, refined comfort, exquisite cuisine, and genuine hospitality.

2. Drowsy Water Ranch – Granby, CO

Drowsy Water Ranch has programs for all ages and all groups, infant through grandparent, families, couples, or single travelers. Activities include horseback riding, swimming, horseshoes, rafting, zip lining, fishing, dancing, hayrides, carnival, and much, much more at this Colorado dude ranch. For over 90 years this 700 acre family guest ranch, nestled in its own private mountain valley, has provided guests with authentic western ranch vacations.

1. C Lazy U Ranch – Granby, CO

This luxury guest dude ranch has a wide array of adventure activities to satisfy families and groups. The C Lazy U Ranch is a premiere horseback riding ranch and working cattle ranch. With a 12,000 square foot heated indoor riding arena, the C Lazy U is a great place for every season. This Colorado dude ranch has been renowned as a 5-star, 5-diamond ranch for years; it boasts breathtaking views of the Continental Divide and the Indian Peaks Wilderness, nestled in a secluded valley on over 9,000 acres. There is never a dull moment on the ranch – a long list of year-round activities for the whole family, rustic family-style dining, and 40 elegant, charming accommodation options, the C Lazy U Ranch provides a vacation you will remember forever.