Hey, guys, it’s Where Niko Travels and I’ve done so much in one week, that I almost can’t remember everything. Just kidding because forgetting stuff would make me a grandpa’s age, and I’m not! As you have been following along on my Instagram, you probably have seen some cool stuff, but there’s so much to do, it never stops!
My week was spent at Colorado Trails Dude Ranch in Durango and it was fun from the beginning of each day to the end. Here’s what is different, I had no cell phone service, unless I was close to the office and I had no television or XBox. Right, you are reacting like I did when my mom told me all of that.
Did you notice I am very happy and that I said ‘busy from the beginning to the end of the day?’ Is a Dude Ranch fun for teens? Really it depends which Dude Ranch you pick. Colorado Trails totally rocks my world and if you are a teen, just know you will love it too.
I prefer to share my experiences with you, so here are five activities (but there are so many more) for teens at Colorado Trails Dude Ranch.
Five Activities For Teens At Colorado Trails Dude Ranch
I was a guest of Colorado Trails Dude Ranch and in case you already can’t tell I had a ton of fun. The destination is definitely teen-friendly. For the parents reading my mom’s blog, I hope that this helps you make a good decision because it’s all fun, all day.
Read some of my other articles, you will see I don’t lie, however, I do say things like they are because no one wants a crappy vacation. For most people out there, travel is a big deal, you do it once a year, some more, but it has to be fun.
If you have teens it can be tough, my mom says that all the time. Trust me, she has threatened a lot to not take us along anymore because traveling with teens is hard. Personally, I think she takes us along so she can have an extra glass of wine and blame it on us:)
Me and my mom rode from Colorado Springs to Durango, it was only six hours. There were people there that drove in from California (LA) and from Denver and even Indiana. I asked the people at Indiana why they did not fly, I would have wanted to. They wanted to see the country and enjoy life in their camper, and their camper was cool. Also, some guy and his wife from Arizona drove in too, but they hardly did any activities, they just kept taking pictures.
On the first night at the Colorado Trails Dude Ranch, we went to the information meeting after dinner. First, we got ice cream, which is a reason to go on its own. I am always hungry, so ice cream was perfect.
Next, the ice cream was allergen-friendly (no nuts, no latex, no fish, etc), so I could have it… Big Win here! Thanks, s. Jeanne. (she’s the lady that runs everything, she makes sure the kids and teens have their own time and own fun, no adults cramping our style.
The Menu For Teen Fun
I heard that there was a chance to shoot trap (breaking clay discs with guns), 22’s on targets, whitewater rafting, line dancing (eye roll), a sleepover/hayride/cookout, horseback riding, fly fishing, fishing, basketball, and a petting zoo. I’m in!
One night there was a cookout and a sleepover. Because I was a bit tired, I did not stay for the sleepover. However, I did go down and have hot dogs and other fun food and hung with Evan and Sean and Katelyn and the other kids! The picture you see is us heading down to the outdoor overnight place! Yeah that’s Evan, he is who you want to find for fun, he’s so fantastic.
1. Shooting a 22 Rifle
Those are words I never thought I would get to use, but it was so much fun. First I thought my mom would say no, but she was super excited to shoot too. We had a competition, well in her mind it was a competition.
She used everything Katelyn taught and thought she beat me with target shots, but I was already like 20 ahead of her. I will let my mom believe she did better but truly I whipped her on this! Gotta be truthful to all of you, but have to candycoat it for my mom!
I’ve never shot a gun before hey and before we start real guys use pink. Take note of my ‘Pink First Rifle’ and go ahead and have a good laugh. Then you can be completely jealous because I fired this thing for 50 rounds and every round I nailed the target.
This is about precision and shooting and taking your time while eyeing up the target. If you think I had fun you were right and my instructor was the wrangler Katelyn she is fun and amazing.
Katelyn showed me how to hold a gun, and how to load the gun. Last she explained where to shoot and with all of that, I got it right every single time. and where to shoot. I shot with Precision and I hit the target every time-
2. Trap Shooting – Breaking Clay Target In The Air
OK, I’m not gonna sound totally strange but I love my trap shooter instructor Mike he rocks. First of all, if you can shoot five in a row you could totally annoy him in a good way. And, while I did not have a chance to win a milkshake (from Evan the other instructor), I came close.
Second when you’re up there if your elbow is even 1° off he’s going to tell you about it. Mike told me, where I was missing the target above or below. I felt awful because I could not get it and everyone else was. This had to end.
Day one was awful, I could not get the trap shot. Mike coached me for 2 hours and the other 8 people that were shooting too. He never gave up on me or got snappy and crappy. Instead, he just would drop his voice and say, “Ok, Neeeeeko.”
Isn’t that what every good coach does plus he’s your cheering team at the same time he’s telling you how to get it. When you get it, the normally unemotional Mike will actually celebrate with you like it is 4 July! I had no idea what to expect whenever I started working with my instructor Mike but I can tell you if everybody had a mic in their life they be better off he’s a solid coach and now he’s now he’s my friend
I had a frustrating first day, no breaks, and that made me want to shoot more and break the trap again. So, my mom obliged and we signed up for shooting again on Thursday. Also I topped the day off with a bit of swimming and some ice cream.
Thursday Trap Shooting
So I am ready to go and Mike is like let’s try doubling up the firepower, and I was like ‘yeah!’ – resulting in great shots and the want to do even more!
Thursday was the day I owned the target range. I shot and broke trap. And, I double shot and broke them 2 in a row. Mike was right by my side and I would load and he encouraged me to take pull after pull (2 in a row) to challenge myself. I got one round that I broke both, and one that I broke only 1/2.
After that, I just kept on shooting and I broke them in the air, one after the other. I have no idea how it happened, but suddenly it all came together. Totally addicted to this trap shooting now!
Totally out of my element here trying something new and I got to tell you they’re in the middle of a drought. Why am I telling you this because we went to go rafting it was my mom and me and one thing with a girl name to Talula she was our guide.
We got into the raft had no idea what to expect and we had such a great time. I learned that we have to row together in order to move forward or backward otherwise you will be in a turning cycle which is just not fortuitous.
Because the river is so low we got stuck on a ton of rocks but Talula actually managed to set us free we did a bunch of bouncing and we pushed off the rocks and we succeeded. Now I might mention this is a class III set of rabbits and we did actually engage in that and they are about 5 feet drop four in a row.
I absolutely suggest going on this adventure if you come to the Colorado Trails dude ranch because it is included in your price and you have a total great morning of fun it’s about 2 1/2 hours of action.
4. Horseback riding
All right so I’ve never gotten on the back of a horse before and I did here. First, you have to have a pair boots make sure you do if you don’t they have them here too. The ranch has some boots, but I brought my own western gear, mine were Twisted X. I did the patriotic theme. Take a look. Not only did I wear them on horse rides but I wore them at night to gatherings for dinner.
Next, you definitely need a hat no matter what. The hat you have must have a stampede string on it. That makes the hat stay on, even if the wind blows it off. We got ours at the Trading Post right on the ranch, for like $3.
If your hat were to fall off onto a horse while you’re walking on a trail from you to the one behind you because total chaos that is not something you want to make sure your hat has a way to attach to your chin and your neck and will not fall off.
One of my two heroes is Brett. He is tough, fun and hard-working and he works so hard to make your ride right. Was I ever scared of my horse? Absolutely not. My horse’s name was Chama. –
Chama is like a big fat puppy dog who just wants to be lovey and kind. However, when my mom’s horse Rocket got on his butt and that is what horses do, he gave him a good big kick. Now you can only imagine my mom’s bad reaction to all this. Trust me it did not end well for her!
I was on my horse for miles and he was absolutely incredible pleasure. It’s not about being afraid of heights, it’s about having fun. This horse wants you to have fun and their wranglers make sure they are well-trained and safe for you to ride. All I can tell you is you have to get on and ride at least once a day because I rode every single day.
Also here is something cool you don’t have to have your parents with you. Colorado Trails has a program that has the counselors take you out on your own rides. So if your mom gets scared and does not want to ride or your dad does not want to, no worries, your counselor will take you! I know this from personal experience.
5. Flyfishing & Fishing
The master of fly fishing at the ranch was Sean. Not only is Sean tough but he knows all of the hunting sports like he knows the back of his hand. He goes bow and arrow, and rifle hunting and he knows all the animals and he knows stuff I don’t even know and I read a ton. His real-life experience makes him kind of like a Bear Grylls kind of guy.
He is on the ranch all the time for your fishing wants. I started out fishing with him and found out that I was the first teen boy to catch fish before the girls all season. Here’s my prize fish, please know it is catch and release.
Just in case you can’t figure that out it means that he’s a really good instructor and I learned before the other kids I was fishing with and I kicked butt and captured and release the fish.
Then we went flyfishing and that was an interestingly different kind of fishing. We practice on a different property and then we went ahead and fishing upon it while I didn’t catch anything I learned that I do have a totally new appreciation for flyfishing. I can’t thank you enough for being a cool guy who works with teens doesn’t act like we’re a bunch of babies.
Line Dancing/Square Dancing
Yeah, you are saying too. That was my reaction totally when my mom told me I had to wear jeans, put on my western boots and then go dancing. “You gotta be kidding me!” While not everyone went, those of us that did, had fun!.
I went to the front with Mike (my Trap Shooter Guide) and learned how to do a cool line dance. He was fun like I said, so I was happy to dance in his line! Yee-haw! It was a nighttime activity and other kids were there too!
Colorado Trails Ranch and Teens Like Me
Here is what I want you to know about Colorado Trails Ranch and teen activities. There are a lot of activities for teens to take part in or kids and you should. The ranch is really safe and you don’t need your parents to walk around and if you can believe it or not my mother lets me go back-and-forth to the cabin by myself. Trust me that is a huge deal, she is so over-protective. Love her.
I spent a ton of time with each of the wranglers, my shooting instructor and sometimes my mom was there sometimes not. What I think is best is nobody treats me like I’m a kid or that I don’t matter I counted on this trip and they all took part in the fun and helping me learn new skills. When I wanted soda or ice cream I went to the Trading Post and got it. It’s fun freedom.
For all of this, I am forever grateful for each of you at Colorado Trails Ranch. Teens, you need to get your parents to bring you here. You get a bit of freedom and you learn and then you decide if you really love the great outdoors. Now I know I want more of this in my life and I will return to Colorado Trail Dude Ranch and even might try other ranches.
Huge thanks to Evan, Mike, Katelyn, Sean, Ms. Jeanne, and Faith and McKenna for all you do to make it fun here! ~ Where Niko Travels.