Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Coordinates: 40.48785° N, -106.83639° E
Baton Rouge to Vista Verde Ranch: 1,377 miles
Driving Time: 21 hours, 38 minutes
Flight Time: 2 hours, 26 minutes
Why Vista Verde Ranch? This lovely piece of heaven on Earth started out as a hay and cattle operation during the early 20th century, and was dubbed “Vista Verde” in the 1930s by the owner’s sister, a Spanish teacher from Grand Junction. The property became a dedicated dude ranch in the 1970s, a rather rustic operation, until new owners took over the place in the 1990s. The property has been updated and refurbished, offering activities that make you feel as if you’ve stepped back into the Old West. Let’s saddle up and round up some fun!
WHERE TO STAY
There are so many lovely lodging choices on the property that it might be a tad difficult to decide where you want to hang your hat at the end of the day.
Vista Verde Ranch (VVR) has a choice of one, two, three and four bedroom cabins, ranging from the cozy “Dome” which is deemed as the “honeymoon” cabin, to the largest of all, “The Ranger,” a two-story dwelling with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a relaxing hot tub that is great for large groups or families.
The ranch also offers Lodge Rooms located above the Main Lodge. Amenities include in-room goodies such as a snack bar and a refrigerator with complimentary beverages; a fitness center, swimming pool, The Coyote Corral for kids, and an indoor riding arena.
WHERE TO EAT
Vista Verde Ranch Main Dining Room
Delightful breakfast, lunch and dinner options are served primarily in the ranch’s Main Dining Room. For breakfast, choose from hearty choices including house-made pastries, buttermilk pancakes with Vermont maple syrup, or carrot cake waffles with walnut syrup. Lunch options include a choice of salad bar, Cuban sandwiches, and pasta dishes. Your dinner options include yummy entrees such as potato gnocchi with short rib ragu or chicken breast with a squash puree.
If you believe your cooking skills are lacking, fear not, for the ranch offers their on-site Culinary Adventures led by Chef Cholly McGlynn. Learn everything from how to bake naturally-leavened artisan bread to creating a main dish for the evening’s formal dinner.
Dine and Dash
If parents would like to have a peaceful evening meal alone, the ranch offers the Dine and Dash where children can enjoy kid-pleasing fair then head off for a treasure hunt or hayride. This is the perfect way for all parties to wrap up the day.
WHAT TO DO
Family vacation options offer everyone, from the small to the tall, with a vast array of fun at the ranch all year long. In winter, there are sleigh rides, horsemanship clinics, backcountry ski tours, and snow tubing. In the summer, take on a trail ride, hike Mt. Zirkel, go fly fishing or participate in a horsemanship clinic, which includes cattle work.
If you want time alone with your sweetie, head to the ranch during the Autumn Romance or Winter Romance time of year for their adults-only vacation weeks. Cozy up in one of their rustic cabins, take a dip in a bubbling hot tub, or take a walk outside. This is a great way to unwind before the holiday season.
If you enjoy traveling alone, VVR is the perfect place to have a safe, relaxing vacation. Their Solo Escape in Winter happens in January and early February, offering for adults-only retreats. Stay in one of their comfortable lodge rooms, then head downstairs to the Great Room where you can cozy up next to the fireplace.
Grab your camera and explore your artistic side by participating in a Photography Workshop led by Carla Jones. This is the opportune time to learn tips for taking perfect pictures offered by this amazing professional photographer.
The Kids, Tweens and Teens Program offers fun experiences designed for each age group. The young campers can participate in riding orientation classes, head to the Clark Store on an antique fire engine to get ice cream, race through the low ropes course, and pan for gold.
If you’re looking for a way to connect with your work family, the ranch offers Corporate Retreats that bring fun to your group. They have Western Team Building activities, skiing adventures, and accommodations that allow you to have a productive weekend.
Experience a traditional dude ranch stay during the summer, complete with horses, cookouts, and barn dances. They will make your week one that will be looked back on for years to come.