This story originally aired on Colorado Getaways in the 00s. It aired again on the Colorado Getaways show on June 11.
SOUTH PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – Most drivers in central Colorado head quickly through South Park on Highway 285 to points beyond, but those who turn onto County Road 77 from the small town of Jefferson and head past Tarryall Reservoir will find themselves back in the Old West at the Tarryall River Ranch.
Kevin and Lisa Tesch bought the historic guest ranch along the Tarryall River in 2002. They and their four boys gave up good jobs in exchange for a lifestyle they love, a lifestyle they say is something close to heaven.
“Probably everbody likes to describe their part of Colorado this way, but when people ask about it we say it’s God’s Country,” Kevin Tesch said.
Visitors to the ranch can do lots of activities, but horseback riding might be the star attraction. Riders have access to 100,000 acres in the surrounding Pike National Forest and they can ride a half day, full day or stay up to a week and ride every day at the ranch.
This summer the Siggins family paid their third annual visit to the ranch. While a CBS4 crew was at the ranch Summer, 8, was proud to be back on a horse named Wyatt, the same one she was on last year during the family visit.
“I always like riding horses and I like just being in the mountains because it’s really fun,” she said.
“You really get to see Colorado versus just being in the city, so we love it,” her mom Misty said. “We get to play cowboy and cowgirl here. Who doesn’t love that?”
Kelvin Tesch, the oldest of the Tesch sons, told CBS4 that he loves sharing the western lifestyle with people who don’t normally have the opportunities to experience it.
“There are a lot of people that have lived in Colorado their whole lives and they didn’t even know that this was here. They come for the first time and just love it,” said Kelvin Tesch, the oldest son.
During the same ride the Siggins were on dozens of employees from a company called Twin Eagle Consulting were there enjoying a group outing.
“We just thought it would be a really great time to get together and relax,” Tom Burscino said. “All of our staff works really hard during the year and the ranch is a great place to get everyone together. ”
The ride included a stop outside for an outdoor breakfast featuring sizzling bacon and lots of eggs. Cody Tesch, another Tesch son and wrangler, was on breakfast patrol for the ride and joked that he only knows how to cook in large quantities.
“We have 99 eggs, so it’s a lot of egg cracking,” he said.
Wrangler Klayton Tesch, yet another son, said the visitors on their horseback riding trips usually spend more time looking around at the scenery than they do looking at their horse and the trail ahead, “which is okay cause it’s a lot of new scenery.”
“Not a lot of people get to see it all the time — we’re pretty lucky to ride thru it every day,” Klayton said.
Kip Greenstreet, also with Twin Eagle Consulting, said one of his favorite parts about the ride was the hot tub he got to sit in at the end of the day.
“We went trotting and loping and had a good time. I had a good horse,” he said.
In addition to the hot tub, the pool is a popular place for people who are done with their day’s ride.
“I love it. You’re out in the fresh air and riding horses and they have amazing food always and tons of activities… and a good pool,” visitor Elizabeth Grove said.
There are only a few modern additions to the historic Colorado ranch. Some of the original barns on the property are still standing since the early 1880s, when it was established as a cattle ranch.
In addition to the pool, hot tub and horseback rides, activities also include hay rides, square dancing, cowboy singers, a petting zoo, kids programs and fishing on the Tarryall River. Give the ranch a call at (800) 408-8407 or log on to their website at TarryallRanch.com.
To get there take Highway 285 to Jefferson in South Park, follow County Road 77 South about 26 miles past Tarryall Reservoir to the ranch. It lies about 15 miles north of Lake George from Highway 24.
For a complete list of dude ranches around the state, call the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association at (866) 942-3472 or log on to ColoradoRanch.com.