2 Unforgettable Colorado Ranch Getaways

Truly one-of-a-kind Rocky Mountain stays

Photo courtesy of Cedar Ridge Ranch


Located near Carbondale and 45 minutes from Aspen, for many years, the 67-acre Cedar Ridge Ranch was a horse boarding facility run by Pam and Randy Johnson. Today, they still board horses, but over the last two years, the ranch has blossomed into much more.

With the help of their daughter, Merrill, a sustainable studies graduate of Colorado Mountain College, the ranch has become a convergence zone for art, sustainable farming and tourism.

Photo courtesy of Cedar Ridge Ranch

Visitors to Cedar Ridge can tour Merrill’s Family Farm, an operation raising pigs, chickens, compost and zebu cattle. In addition to the farm animals and horse boarding facility, the ranch offers riding lessons. It’s also home to nine local artists who utilize renovated horse stables as studio space for everything from painting to silk screening to leather making. The ranch also hosts farm dinners and is branching out into weddings.

Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

A little apart from the ranch buildings, on a small pond, sits a yurt, a hut and a bell tent. This where guests of Cedar Ridge can have a true glamping experience. Guests who spend the night can choose their level of involvement. Some guests come and go quietly while others enjoy touring the property, participating in farm dinners, or chatting with the onsite artists. Either way, Cedar Ridge Ranch isn’t a place they’ll soon forget.

Photo courtesy of Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch


Tucked into the far southwest corner of Colorado, where the Ute Mountains stand as sentinels above deserts strewn with ancient Puebloan ruins, Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch is one of Colorado’s most unique getaways.

Thirty minutes down Road G, past vineyards, orchards and the spiraling rock formations, is an inviting ranch where guests are greeted by the baa of sheep and the buzz of cicadas.  

Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch is located on the edge of Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, 178,000 acres of historic and environmental resources with a variety of recreational activities available. Humans have been part of this landscape for at least 10,000 years, so a visit here is to walk in the footsteps of ancient people—literally.

The lodging options at Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch are some of the most diverse you’ll find in Colorado. They have everything from a historic stone house built in the 1880s  to a brand new log cabin that was featured on “Barnwood Builders” on the DIY Channel.

Each house’s interior has been meticulously designed with all the comforts of home and beautiful artwork.

Garry and Ming Adams bought the ranch twelve years ago. It had been home to Elden Zwicker, one of the most famous cowboys in modern history. Guests can watch a fascinating documentary about him and his family that also provides insight into the story of the property.

The Adams’ love of their land and animals is palpable. They warmly welcome guests, giving tours of the entire property and introducing visitors to the various ranch animals, cats and dogs that call the ranch home.

The ranch is remote, but each house is equipped with a kitchen for cooking meals and barbecues for outdoor grilling. The ranch raises free-range eggs, organic vegetables and all-natural grass-fed beef and lamb that is Animal Welfare Approved.

At Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch guests do not have to sacrifice comfort to enjoy the wilds of this breathtaking, and under-visited, part of Colorado. 

Categories: The Heidi Guide