What’s So Special About Vista Verde Ranch?

So, you’re on the hunt for a luxury ranch vacation.  Vista Verde has made the list (not being assuming, but you are reading this, right?).  How do you choose the one for you?

Let us first say that there are a number of wonderful ranches in Colorado and the West, and we understand how hard it is to research and pick the right one. Each is in a pretty setting, operated by nice folks, and provides a real get away from your hectic life.  So what makes us different from the rest and perhaps the one that is just right for your ranch vacation? Here are our thoughts:

Log cabin luxury

Our Cabins and Lodge rooms are authentic log structures, to be sure, in keeping with our Northwest Colorado locale. But rustic stops at the front door. The accommodations appeal to those who want the feel of being in a cozy cabin in the mountains, while still enjoying the finer aspects of a luxury property.

Private cabins, master suites, Italian linens, spa robes, complementary snacks and beverages … even your own hot tub. You might be out in the woods, but you won’t be roughing it!

Cowboy cuisine

This is not what you remember from City Slickers!

Our professionally trained chefs are adept at every offering from checkered tablecloth cookouts to white tablecloth fine dining, from cowboy coffee to crème brulee, and from what pleases the kids to what satisfies mom. Our dining experience strikes the balance between ranchy and fancy. We mix it up so some meals are casual and served family style while others are more formal, multi-course dining events. What is the same at each meal is the high level of attention to quality, freshness and creativity.

In addition to fresh and fabulous food, our Executive Chef hosts a hands-on cooking class and a fun and fact-filled wine tasting session most weeks.  These are a great option for those looking to take a break from the outdoor adventures and explore the culinary arts.

Secluded, yet accessible

Uniquely situated in the National Forest, the ranch offers direct forest entry from virtually all directions. We also have permitted access to the wild and stunning Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area.  And not a condo or convenience store in sight! The widely known and highly regarded ranching community of Steamboat Springs is just 45 minutes away from major league skiing and golf, and even shopping, if you must.  And the Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) airport is just shy of an hour from the ranch.  We’re happy to take you into Steamboat Springs for shopping or skiing as that’s part of our all-inclusive vacation packages.


What draws so many folks to Vista Verde is the diversity of activities offered.  As a guest, you get to choose from the myriad activities offered each day.  Whether you want to try it all, or immerse yourself in one program, the depth is there and the options abound.  Yes, there is a very strong horse program packed with loads of opportunities to learn or just explore the mountains on quality horses who are well cared for and well trained.  But, the quality of programming doesn’t stop there.  From fishing to mountain biking and back country skiing to yoga, each program is filled with talented guides, great equipment, and the ability to customize each experience based on the skills, fitness level, and interest of our guests.

The characters who call this home

Like most ranches, our seasonal staff is comprised of college-age young people who are carefully selected on the basis of character, work-ethic, and personality. They want to be here and it is evident in their smiles, warm greetings and willingness to make your stay the best it can be. In fact, you may find their zest for life, authentic desire to serve, and healthy life choices makes you just want to pack them up in your suitcase and take them home after your ranch vacation.

Then there are the “lifers”.  There are a handful of us who have made a career out of working together to create the best guest ranch in the world.  A lofty goal, but it inspires this dedicated group of people to work hard to keep Vista Verde moving upward and onward, and this crew is key to our success. Their passion and experience add a distinct element of professionalism to our programs, and provide a nice blend of maturity and consistency.

We would be remiss to not point out that at the heart of our mission, one of the guiding lights for all of us is the philosophy that we are developing leaders here.  Each manager is coached to pour into their crews, and our management team is committed to continual growth in leadership skills.  We want our staff to leave the ranch better employees, better people, and better leaders.  Most of our staff will only spend a season or two at the ranch, and we take pride in sending them out into the world to go do big things based on key skills they gained at the ranch.

On top of that, the sheer number of staff is unmatched at many of the finest resorts. We have a 1:1 staff to guest ratio at our busiest times. This is how we are able to be so flexible in our offerings, and provide such a high level of service and attention to detail.

All-Inclusive, and we mean it!

There are many vacation destinations that look like the “real deal” on the front end, but fail to deliver a real value on the back end.  When we say we are offering an all-inclusive ranch vacation, we mean it. Of course the meals and lodging are included. And of course the riding and other activities are included. But at Vista Verde, unique activities like rock climbing and rafting in the summer months and the photography workshop and cooking classes year round are all included as well. You may be surprised that beer and wine are included, even in your rooms (no $5 soda pops here!). Are you interested in going to Steamboat to shop or ski, or need a ride from the Steamboat airport. Yep, it’s all included. Did you enjoy the ride or the ski and want a little more intensive instruction? Yep, it’s included. From the extra little details that make your stay special, to the unexpected surprises, we just aim to give you the best ranch vacation possible, and do it all without nickel and diming our guests.

Final Thoughts

The Vista Verde luxury ranch vacation experience has been molded based on what we would want to enjoy ourselves on a Colorado ranch vacation. Then, we have incorporated the good ideas of our guests over the years to continually tailor and tune. And while luxury makes itself evident with the quality of the experience, the amenities of a premier resort, and the attention to detail for which we are recognized, we maintain the relaxed, casual atmosphere of a Western ranch. Said another way, we definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have a good time and we think you will, too. But don’t take it from us, check out Tripadvisor for real guest reviews.