Steamboat Springs is a pretty wonderful place and has become a bit of a hub of Colorado dude ranches with three ranches belonging to the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association within a 6 mile radius of each other. We all enjoy the camaraderie of being neighbors and friendly competitors. Dude ranching can be an isolating business, as there aren’t many people who can relate to the challenges and rewards. Reading a hotel industry magazine just doesn’t cut it. We’re not dealing with ADR’s and REIT’s. We’re dealing with people, emotions, animals, dirt, and a staff that is like family. So, we feel pretty privileged to have some other great ranches within a stone’s throw with whom we share the ride.
The Home Ranch is just 6 miles down the road, right off of the Elk River Road. A Relais and Chateaux property, they have a strong emphasis on their farm to table dining. With beautiful views of the Zirkel Wilderness area right from the Main Lodge, this ranch is top notch and classy. They have a similar guest count, great riding and fishing, and a variety of cabins and lodge rooms. As well, the Home Ranch is also open in the winter for cross country skiing vacations and other fun activities in the snow. This is the first ranch we refer guests to when we are full, as they are as close as you can get to being similar in the dude ranch world. As I always tell people, comparing ranches is like comparing apples to oranges, but they both taste good.
The Elk River Guest Ranch is only a mile or so down Seedhouse Road, right next to the Elk River. This ranch has had a number of owners in the past 10 years, and has gone a few different directions. But, a little over a year ago it was purchased by a Bex, a former staff member at another Colorado dude ranch who had a dream of owning her own dude ranch. She and her husband opened the Elk River Guest Ranch for traditional dude ranch vacations last summer, and are busily building up the business. It’s a smaller, more rustic ranch, but is loaded with charm and great riding access into the Routt National Forest.
And then there’s Vista Verde Ranch. Our ranch has been functioning as a dude ranch since the 1970’s, and we just keep fine tuning our offering. Through a couple amitious owners, the facilities have been drastically upgraded over the years, the staff filled with long term, dedicated people, and our committment to “betterness” keeps us moving forward all the time. We pride ourselves in our diverse offering of activities, hiring phenomenal people, luxurious accommodations and amenities, and a culinary program that walks the line between ranchy and fancy. Summer, fall, or winter you can find us looking forward to getting to know our guests and sharing this little slice of heaven with folks from all over the world.
We hope you make it to one of these Steamboat dude ranches sometime soon. We’ll take all the guests we can handle, but as long as you visit one of these ranches it’s a win for the industry.