Trip Itineraries

fall vacation in Colorado

Itinerary for enjoying the fall colors on your way to the ranch

The aspens are bursting with color, and we’re all trying to freeze time so we can enjoy this amazing moment a bit longer.  It’s such a fleeting time of year–autumn in Colorado.  The air is crisp, the skies perfectly blue in contrast to the big, puffy, white clouds….and then there are the aspens, the auburn ferns, the red berry bushes and scrub oak, and the golden grass.  It’s truly breathtaking.

So, why not extend your visit to Colorado just a bit and take in some of these amazing colors with fabulous views on your way to or from the ranch?  It’s a must do in my book!  There are so many beautiful spots, but here are a couple recommendations for leaf peeping drives:

  1. If you’re flying into Denver and are tight on time, how about taking a few extra hours and driving the long way through Rocky Mountain National Park?  Lots of aspens, most likely elk and other wildlife sighting, and the see-forever view at the top of the Continental Divide.  Pack a lunch and stop for a short hike on one of their many trails if you have a little extra time, or just stop when you get over the pass in Grand Lake for lunch before you head on towards Steamboat Springs and the ranch.
  2. Maybe you were able to fly in a couple days early to Denver, and you have some more time to go explore?  Then you should head up towards Vail on I-70, then turn off and go down past Leadville, over to Aspen, through Glenwood Springs, and then north on Hwy 131 to Steamboat Springs.  Stay the night in the cute town of Frisco, then a night in Aspen, but make sure to make some time to enjoy the hot springs in Glenwood Springs.
  3. Now, for those of you who are going to fly right into Steamboat Springs, how about renting a car and taking a day trip into the Flattops?  There is a gorgeous and remote drive from Steamboat to Craig, down to Meeker, and then into the Flattops.  You’ll come out in Yampa and head back up to Steamboat Springs.  This drive can be done in about 4-6 hours, depending on how many photo ops you stop for along the way.

There are some other great ideas for fall foliage drives, as well as hot springs stops in Colorado on the Colorado Tourism Office website.  Enjoy the colors as you scope out the many gorgeous vistas in Colorado.  We’ll provide you with many more while you’re at the ranch, but when in Colorado in the fall, take the extra time to soak up the beauty!

steamboat winter vacation

5 Night Winter Steamboat experience

Here is an itinerary we put together for a 5-night stay that gives you a taste of Steamboat and the ranch experience.  There is a lot packed into this one!

Day 1 (Thursday)

  • Arrive to Steamboat Springs and check into the Steamboat Grand.
  • Go check out the ski area, get your rentals ready to go at Christy Sports, and then stop by the Truffle Pig for a happy hour cocktail.
  • Grab a shuttle to downtown Steamboat Springs and head over to Carl’s Tavern for a nice, but casual dinner. Stretch your legs a bit after a day of travel by walking over to Ciao Gelato before heading home to bed!

Day 2 (Friday)

  • Wake up and grab a quick, hearty breakfast at Paramount. Spend the day downhill skiing at Steamboat Spring’s famous Mt. Werner.  Enjoy long runs, fast chair lifts, and that Colorado champagne powder.  Lunch stop?  The Four Points Lodge has amazing food and a great view of the valley below.
  • After a day of skiing, what’s better than soaking your muscles in hot water? Take a shuttle up to Strawberry Hot Springs.  Enjoy multiples levels of pools with different temperatures, beautiful grounds, and all beneath the open Colorado Sky.  If you want to enjoy the views, head up there before dark and then treat yourself to dinner afterwards at Café Diva.  Make sure to make your reservations far in advance as they book up early!


Day 3 (Saturday)

  • Take your time checking out and stop by Creekside Café (a local’s and Vista Verde staff favorite) for the best breakfast in town.
  • After breakfast, take time to check out the town! Visit the shops and take a stroll down the Yampa River Core Trail.  You might even see some ski jumpers flying off the jumps over at Howelsen Hill from the trail!
  • After exploring town, it’s time to head to Vista Verde Ranch. Check in is at 4 o’clock, but if you get in earlier, you are more than welcome to explore the ranch or relax in our Great Room until your private cabin is available.
  • After settling into your cabin, unpacking, and getting the lay of the land, come on down to the Lodge for our Happy Half Hour (we’re too busy having fun outside to make it an hour!). Grab a glass of wine or craft beer and meet the other individuals staying on the ranch.  After Happy Half Hour, stroll into the dining room to enjoy an outstanding, elegant formal dinner (don’t worry – this doesn’t mean it requires formal attire – you can be as comfortable and casual as you’d like!) filled with fabulous appetizers, entrees, and a dessert that have been personally crafted by our chefs.
  • After dinner, wander back to your cabin under the light of the stars and enjoy your private hot tub or snuggle up by the wood burning stove to relax before your adventures the next day!


Day 4 (Sunday)

  • Wake up to the horses nickering and the snow plows working, and head down to the Lodge where the coffee is brewing and the bacon sizzling.
  • After breakfast, start your ranch vacation adventures off with and introduction to classic skiing. You will meet with our guides, go over all there is you need to know about skiing, and then head out onto any of our 20 km of private ski tracks to practice technique, or into the backcountry with a guide!
  • After an active morning and a delicious lunch joined by the Vista Verde staff, spend the afternoon riding a horse on a snow covered trail. Enjoy this beautiful loop around the ranch property and take in the exciting experience of riding a horse in the snow.  And a bonus – the horse you ride will be yours for the duration of your stay!
  • After the trail ride, hop onto the feed sleigh and help the wranglers feed our Vista Verde herd. The sleigh is pulled by our team, two Belgian brothers named Kenai and Sitka.  Enjoy the lap around our Winter Pasture and watch the horses as they interact while eating.
  • Following a full day of adventures, head back to your cozy cabin and hot tub as the sun sets or relax before another wonderful dinner paired with the perfect glass of wine.


Day 5 (Monday)

  • After a delicious breakfast, try out the horsemanship clinic with your horse you rode the day before. Learn the details and intricacies of working with a horse, both on the ground and in the saddle.  Lead by one of our talented horse trainers, the horsemanship clinic is a great way to learn all that it takes to find a connection with the horse you are riding
  • Come back after riding for a hearty lunch cooked to order and prepare for your afternoon! A quick post-lunch nap refreshed you to jump on the back of the snowmobile to head up to the tubing hill.  An hour of exhilarating rides up and down the hill is capped off with a private sleigh ride—the perfect way to wrap up an active day.
  • Finish the day off with a casual BBQ dinner where you enjoy the company of the staff and any children staying for the week. After a lively dinner, head up to our barn for the barn dance!  Learn to square dance, line dance, and partner dance with other guests and our staff.  It is a great way to get your country western moves on!


Day 6 (Tuesday)

  • Your last morning at the ranch has arrived, and you know that all of the Vista Verde crew are sad to see you go! But you have just had the most incredible winter vacation, experiencing much of what Steamboat Springs and a winter guest ranch vacation has to offer!  You will be missed at Vista Verde, and we will be counting down the days until we get to see you here again!  Because there is so much you didn’t get a chance to fit in during this stay!  Dogsledding, cooking classes, snowmobiling, ranch yoga, perfecting your technique on back country skis, tasting wines with the ranch chefs, and more!  Come back and enjoy this Western town and lifestyle soon!