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?