Top Ranches In Colorado

July 7, 2011 12:28 PM

Tarryall River Ranch (credit: CBS)

The CBS travel show Colorado Getaways has featured several ranches in recent years where everyone from tourists to Colorado natives can saddle up and spend some time with horses. While they have different focuses, each of these ranches is open to the public. They also offer cabins and other places to stay overnight.
saddleback ranch Top Ranches In Colorado

Saddleback Ranch (credit: CBS)

Saddleback Ranch

37350 RCR 179
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
(970) 879-3711

The Saddleback Ranch outside of Steamboat Springs is a working cattle ranch. It offers horseback rides on the same horses that workers use for ranch work. The ranch also offers snowmobile rides, a tubing hill and dinner sleigh rides. The ranch’s owner said he first got the idea for the horseback rides at his ranch from the movie “City Slickers.” The rest blossomed from there. It’s a great way to connect to the country’s ranching heritage and have a good time. To get there, take Hwy 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Springs. Next continue west about 10 miles to Mile Marker 122 and follow signs south to the ranch.

chico basin Top Ranches In Colorado

Chico Basin Ranch (credit: CBS)

Chico Basin Ranch

22500 Peyton Highway South
Colorado Springs, CO 80928
(719) 683-7960

You can join the cowboys of Chico Basin Ranch for cattle drives and other activities on the ranch for an education vacation. This working cattle ranch spans 87,000 acres between Pueblo and Colorado Springs. Guests can stay several weeks or just come for the day to join in on the cattle drives, fence mending and horse tending. Other activities include: bird watching, horsemanship demos, nature hikes, fly fishing and more. Chico Basin Ranch is also home to the Ranchlands Learning and Research Center. The center is a private nonprofit organization that provides universities with research opportunities. The center invites schoolchildren and others around the region to come learn. To get there take I-25 south of Colorado Springs to Exit 133. Next go east about 15 miles to the entrance.

Zapata Ranch/Bison Tours

5303 State Highway 150
Mosca, Colorado 81146
(719) 378-2356

This property in the San Luis Valley is managed by the Nature Conservancy. In addition to the Baca Ranch and the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, this ranch protects the region’s valuable water resources and open space. Call about their horseback tours of the bison that roam freely on the ranch. Reach the Zapata Ranch from Highway 17 and head west toward the Great Sand Dunes.

C Lazy U Ranch

3640 Colorado 125
Granby, CO 80446
(970) 887-3344

One of Colorado’s premier dude ranches, the C Lazy U has been around since 1919. The ranch offers horseback riding, fly fishing and a rich lesson in Colorado history. Activities are available for the whole family.

tarryall1 Top Ranches In Colorado

Tarryall River Ranch (credit: CBS)

Tarryall River Ranch

27001.5 County Road 77
Lake George, CO 80827
Phone: (719) 748-1214

Ranches in Colorado are turning more and more to tourism opportunities as a way to help bring in some extra income during winter months. This historic guest ranch is reached by taking US Hwy 285 to Jefferson in South Park. Next turn east on County Road 77 and go about 26 miles as it turns south past Tarryall Reservoir to the ranch. It’s about 15 miles north of Lake George on Hwy 24. 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. 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. In addition to the pool, hot tub and horseback rides, activities include hay rides, square dancing, cowboy singers, a petting zoo, kids programs and fishing on the Tarryall River.