November 2008

More than a Colorado dude ranch

 Times have changed since the Tufly family from the 1930’s were roping and wrangling on the grounds of Vista Verde. Although VVR hasn’t strayed too far from their roots as one of Colorado’s dude ranches, this all-inclusive Colorado resort ranch isn’t afraid to change with the times. Understanding the new age cowboys and cowgirls way of life is exploring the Colorado terrain and scenery in every way possible, we know that “cowpeople” today aren’t ashamed to jump on a bike or take a family hike up the mountains during their horseback riding vacation. We pride ourselves on not being just another of the many Colorado dude ranches. 

Unleashing my inner new age cowgirl, I have been taking advantage of the scenery and hiking as much as possible. Three Island Lake is one that any guest at Vista Verde looking for an escape from the office workplace should mosey up. Although our time constraint kept us from moseying, the usual three-hour hike of 6.1 miles turned into more of a trail run completed in nearly two hours. But the beauty was appreciated all the same. During the 2,800 feet elevation gain, the path switch backs and twists through the Zirkel Wilderness area. Just before the lake with three islands is reached the path guides you up a few rocky areas alongside a runoff stream. Around the bend a valley opens up filed with Pink Elephant Heads (Pedicularis Groenlandica) a pink flower in which the petals form a trunk and ears to look well, like an elephant’s head. After this stunning sight, the lake comes into view. A short jaunt up the path around the lake, will take you into view of all three islands. 

After all, who says a family dude ranch vacation or romantic honeymoon can’t have a spice of adventure to it? 

Living it up at the Ritz

I just pulled back in from a fun getaway at the Ritz Carlton in Bacherlor Gulch (Beaver Creek/Vail area). I was a Ritz rookie, but had the opportunity to go stay there for a meeting of the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association ( We have meetings twice a year, and the fall one is usually the fun one that is held in a unique venue. Last year we went to Vegas, which was a riot at 7 months pregnant. I wasn’t much for the nightlife at that time. But, back to the Ritz. We packed up the kids and hauled them down to stay in a deluxe suite and we treated like royalty. Dace and Ben showed up for the day on Monday, so they didn’t get the full treatment. It’s really fun to go somewhere like that, especially when you are in the hospitality business. I was able to really watch what they are doing with a critical eye, and as with any good vacation we take, I was able to steal some good ideas. Now, don’t expect a earpiece-wearing, suited up valet next time you pull up to the ranch or a phone next to your toilet, but I did get some good ideas to put into place. Now it’s back to reality….although I can admit to all of you heckling me right now that I do understand our reality at the ranch is a bit dreamy.

Ranch Resort Under the Rainbows

Anyone who has visited the mountains or lives in them can testify that mountain weather can be unpredictable. Even with that, reading headlines across the nation like “Record Rain Soaks big Apple” and “Texas Towns Tap Toilets to Beat Draught”, makes me realize that with its unpredictability isn’t that bad. Besides, when mountain weather is good … it is good. Sometimes it is more than good even to the point of enchantment. A few weeks ago a few rain showers passed through Vista Verde Dude Guest Ranch which left a beautiful vibrant rainbow that covered the ranch. Moments later the romantic moment got better when another rainbow appeared in the sky to form a double rainbow. Although the horse trail rides, arena work, hiking, biking and fly-fishing are all part of the main attractions here, little moments like this are what make a horseback riding vacation more than just another Steamboat Springs Vacation.

Our blog is now really a blog!

Many of you have enjoyed visiting our ranch blog called This Week at the Ranch. We’ve been posting updates on our site since last winter. With the increased interest in this section, and growing backlog of posts, we decided it was time to make it a true blue blog. So, here it is. The weekly posts will continue, and we’ll keep trying to come up with fun tidbits to share with you on life at Vista Verde. Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes trivial, but always honest and heartfelt.