It’s time to pack up and Go West to a Dude Ranch. Are you an outdoors kind of person? Do you love horseback riding, whitewater rafting, trap shooting, and horse-drawn carriages? Perhaps you prefer a bit of seclusion, large front porches, pristine views, and gourmet eats?
No matter what your preference and style, I am quite certain you will love the luxury dude ranch I uncovered in Durango, Colorado. What you are not going to expect is everything you will find in your rooms and on the property. You might have a vision in your mind of cramped cabins, potluck-type dinners or casseroles, but that is not what I am about to share with you!
For those with family members of every age from tot to elderly, there’s a special moment waiting for you. Most days are sun-filled and polished with white puffy clouds, it’s just the most incredible ambiance.
The all-inclusive dude ranch in Durango, Colorado, hits high notes with both kids and adults. Above average staff from servers to wranglers along with GM of the ranch makes truly create an unforgettable vacation destination. Continue reading and I’ll reveal where to find this impeccable dude ranch!
All-Inclusive Dude Ranch In Durango, Colorado
Don’t Blink Your Eyes
Your destination for an all-inclusive ranch is Colorado Trails Dude Ranch . There’s no other quite like this one, and Durango is lovely!
If you blink your time at this Dude Ranch will be done. Time at this all-inclusive dude ranch flew by. As I was unpacking I was super excited and yet it seemed that I was packing just the next day.
We were busy from beginning to end, yet we had plenty of free time. I do want to make sure you understand that just because there are activities does not mean you have to take part in them. Be as busy as you want or relax as much as you want.
There’s an airport in Durango, Colorado that is only 20 minutes or so away from the Dude Ranch, so access is easy. You can also fly into Albuquerque and drive in with a rental car. The drives are gorgeous and so photo-worthy!
We flew into Denver, spent a few days there navigating the Colorado Springs Area, and then drove down. Our drive was from Colorado Springs to Durango and oh what we saw! It was a fabulous, scenic and easy drive, only 6 hours.
You can rent a car at the Denver airport and drive through and return the car to the airport. Talk to Jeanne at the ranch and she will arrange for someone to pick you up! Ask me if I would do it this way again and I will tell you 100x yes. There’s a flea-type market in Pagosa Springs, and plenty of other shopping there too. Yes, we stopped.
The drive through the Rio Grande National Park is enough to bring me back on its own. Trees and magnificent views are just undeniably the best!
Jeanne is the devoted General Manager who has been meeting, greeting and taking care of guests at the Colorado Trails Dude Ranch for 50 Years +. I guess you could say she keeps Colorado Trails Saddled right (to say the least).
We met Jeanne at the office, she walked us around the property (atop) and showed us the Ruckus Room, Trading Post, Opera House,, the heated pool, and petting zoo as well as the Dining Hall. Jeanne will be someone you will interact with on a daily basis, and seek her out if you need anything first!
The Den – Wolf & Coyote
Next, we drove and parked our car at our cabin: Den & Wolf. That is the last time we needed the car, from here everything would be on foot, around the ranch property.
When we went to outdoor dinners there were a few different modes of transportation, which makes this even more fun. I’ll detail transportation about the ranch further down, keep on reading, there’s a lot to know and love!
Take Those Boots Off Cowgirl! (or Cowboy!)
I have never seen anything like this before and it sure beats laying on the floor and tugging at your boots till you want to die. Or, it is better than rolling on the floor and sticking your foot up at whoever you are with begging them to pull off your boots! Pure genius and there’s one at every front door! Yee-haw!
What’s in the Wolf & Coyote Cabin?
When I saw the cabins online I pretty much had no idea what to expect. Priority to me was a bathroom and a bed in a clean environment, but I was absolutely thrilled that there was so much more. I am a luxury kind of girl so I tried to keep my thoughts small and realistic, but WOW!
The cabins were recently renovated and are nothing short of gracious, luxury amenities. Each offers different views and varying amounts of beds, so inquire to Jeanne to learn more.
Our cabin was perfect for families, offering 2 full bathrooms, 2 closets, laundry baskets, hangers (you will do laundry), a common room, bunk beds, double bed, and a King Bed.
On the exterior, a fullback deck from one side of the cabin to the other. Each sitting area, off of the bedroom, offered sliding doors and seating, as well as being covered. as well as a front covered porch with 2 seats. This is perfect for the rain (pretty much an afternoon event for about 1/2 hour then it passes)
Inside our common room was a couch, 2 chairs, and our coffee-maker and refrigerator. Due to the high elevation of the ranch, you have to use this pin to let air out of the kcups or they will explode (always learning new tricks as I go!). Coffee was replenished daily.
In the morning, if you get up at about 6:45 AM you can see the horses come into the farm, it is rather cool. To help you visualize this, I took a video. Of course, I got up each morning, and I was well rested.
While I watched the horses, I sipped on coffee, that I made right in my own room. I was welcome to head to the kitchen at 7 am any morning for fresh coffee, I liked my digs and Where Niko Travels got to sleep (pretty important for teen boys!)
The rooms are perfect, as you can have the kids in one room and stay in the other, while the common area bridges the 2 rooms. What you won’t find in the rooms is a television or cell service. However, that said, when you return from your full days, you pretty much are just craving sleep.
Meals At Colorado Trails Dude Ranch
Between Chef Brian and Pastry Chef Brian, the meals are basically 5-star comparable. Chef Brian is a master of the craft, gotta be honest here. He truly met my Vegetarian, clean-eating lifestyle and got my attention from the get!
He’s super accommodating and the bridge between you and him is Tiffany! She’s a rockstar at accommodating guests and their eating issues (Gluten, Food Allergies, Aversions, Pickiness, Vegetarian, Vegan!). Just because you are on the ranch does not mean you are going to starve or not have food if you have food issues. Chef Brian’s got your back!
I will cover this in a much more detailed article so you can see the food spreads created by Chef Brian, and meet Tiffany so you totally can understand how she bridges the gap between Chef and You!
Transportation on the Ranch
Get ready to use those ‘hooves’ of yours because you will do an immense amount of walking. Then, for certain events, there is transportation to get you to the other areas, unless of course you choose to walk.
Horse Drawn Carriage
One night we rode in a horse-drawn carriage by Bo & Luke for our first outdoor dining experience. Literally, it was their maiden voyage. While the staff had ridden in practice pulls, this was the first time Bo & Luke had actually pulled guests, and it was a wonderful ride.
Tractor Drawn Ride
Another night, we rode in a tractor-drawn ride. This consists of wooden-bench seats and the farm tractor hauls the seating. It is perfect for getting to the top outdoor dining location. Trust me at the end of the day, you are tired from horseback riding, swimming, shooting and walking, so you will love this part of the day and the ride!
On the Adult-Only night dinner, the kids were escorted via a hayride, on a cart by a tractor and they had a blast! Truly this made the trip unforgettable.
When we went fly-fishing we got to ride in an old-style, open-aired vehicle, the Canvas Express (1948). Truly a fun ride in a cool vehicle. I have never been in anything like this before and a lot of the guests were excited about this too.
Do know that you may have to alternate your ride with other guests so you may ride in this down, but ride back in the van (to be fair to all others vacationing there as well, as everyone wants the experience.)
On the morning of white water rafting (you leave the ranch for this), we rode in other vehicles (vans). All the vehicles are clean as clean can be and well-kept. That is one thing I want to mention as I always worry if on-site transportation is in good condition or not.
The white vehicle is a Suburban (1953). These are just so much fun and make the trip all the more authentic, IMO!
I will tell you this, Brett (the Head Wrangler and Farm Manager) and Mike (Maintenance Manager) truly take pride and maintain the equipment you will come in contact with from guns, to vehicles to saddles and horses!
Horseback Riding – That’s Transportation Right?
Horseback Riding counts as transportation right? After all, you get from place to place from atop a horses back, lol. What I want to tell you is that the horses at the Colorado Trails Ranch are very well cared for. The staff from servers, to the barn hands/wranglers all, are very devoted to keeping these animals, happy and well-cared for.
Of course, then there is your personal experience. Again, I will detail 6 Activities To Enjoy At Colorado Trails Dude Ranch so you can learn all about the fun activities! Horseback-riding is part of your all-inclusive package at the ranch.
You can ride 2x a day, morning and afternoon. There are so many trails that you simply won’t repeat any! All the trails are fun and they differ can be altered for those that don’t like heights (trust me on this! wink wink!)
What’s In My All-Inclusive Package?
A big question is always, “Dana, What’s in the all-inclusive package?” IF you are coming here to drink, it’s not your spot. This is not about alcohol, it’s about family time. You can bring your own wine, or have the staff pick some up in town when they go during the week.
What is included? Your cabin, laundry facilities (including detergent) are in your package. I know we were happy to use the laundry facility, and all the washers are maintained very well. You saw the video for my room so you have hangers to air dry anything you might want to as well.
3 meals a day, 8:30A, 12:30P, and 6:30p (However this time may change for activity-type dinners to load into transportation). Additionally, you will have coffee in your room, mugs and condiment packages to create your favorite coffee brew.
Sometimes you will find fresh fruit or cookies in your room as well. Here’s what we found in our room one day. Another day cookies, and other days other treats, I am not going to ruin all the surprises, but I loved them and so did Where Niko Travels!
For those that want to fish (you may need a license ) but fishing on the property is included and they have several properties that are included for fly fishing (all of this is explained opening night). Your guide and equipment are all provided and they even have a fully stocked fly shop, no worries, just kick back and fish!
Who loves white water rafting? Good, because you get to go! I advise taking money for a tip ($10-20). Other than that, Colorado Trails transports you there, and a few staff come along. Additionally, the Ranch sends towels. You pretty much need nothing. If you want to purchase the photos, then you will need money for that, and Jeanne will tell you how much to bring.
A night that includes line/square dancing is also part of your package as is a night around a fire with a cowboy singer. Don’t forget about the heated pool it’s there for the taking! For more fun, there’s a petting zoo, everyone loves this! Goats, rabbits, etc are in the area waiting to be loved!
You are not going to get nickeled and dimed to death, the trip is very comfortable from start to finish.
If you love ice cream, head to the Trading Post, and enjoy ice cream sodas, sundaes, cones, and other snack items, as well as beverages, all at a nominal cost. Soda was around .50 a can, see what I mean, reasonable!
When you go and shoot trap you will need to purchase your ammo. No worries, they mark down how much you use. An entire round, which is 25 lasted me 2 hours and is only $10. I learned so much, and the instruction is no charge.
Also, if you shoot 22’s (which the kids can too), it will just be ammo and that might have been $5 a box, or maybe $2.50 it was super affordable and fun. There are 50 in a box and because it is fun, you will definitely want at least a box!
Souvenirs, I mean that is a given right? The Trading Post has a lot of great stuff, and I mean it. A mug person that I am, I found a favorite mug because I loved using them while we were there. They also have bandanas, tee shirts, hoodies, jewelry, ornaments, etc. Lots to choose from and you can just charge it to your room!
All-Inclusive Dude Ranch
Like I said, Colorado Trails Dude Ranch is all-inclusive and that even means when you pack up and leave. We needed a ride to the airport and they provided us a ride bright and early (so sorry Mike) at 5:45 AM! We took the first flight out.
What I will say is that when you leave, you will feel like you are leaving a piece of you there. The staff is outstanding and friendly, and go to extreme measures to make sure you are having fun and have everything you need.
When you leave, you leave with a bit of sadness because the calm that comes over you while you are there is priceless. The real world is about to jump-start your heart again, and I prefer the peace and tranquillity we were afforded with our week of rest at the ranch.
After talking to all the other families there, I believe we all fell in love with Colorado Trails Ranch and the super staff! ~Dana The Traveled Foodie XO
My trip was hosted, but all photos and story content is my own based on a week well-spent at an incredible all-inclusive dude ranch.