The Dude Ranch Experience

4 different Colorado destinations

Whether you are looking for a week-long equine adventure or just a simple trail ride this summer, these Colorado destinations provide horsey fun for everyone.


YMCA of the Rockies has two locations in Colorado. Their Snow Mountain Ranch location is in Grand County, not far from Winter Park. The “ranch” is actually an outdoor destination for families looking for everything from Frisbee golf to fishing. Lodging options include everything from hotel rooms to yurts.

Sombrero Stables, located at Snow Mountain Ranch, provides a dude ranch experience that can be accomplished in an afternoon. During the summer months, they offer an array of trail rides and wagon rides. Keep an eye out for wildlife as your horse winds her way through fields brimming with lupine and aspen groves filled with deer.

Snow Mountain Ranch

YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park provides trail rides through Jackson Stables. Jackson offers one-hour rides or all-day outings, and there are pony rides for youngsters. The trails here weave through Rocky Mountain National Park as well as YMCA of the Rockies property.

You do not have to be a guest of the YMCA to book a ride with Sombrero or Jackson.

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch


Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, just an hour northwest of Denver, is a real working ranch raising grass-finished beef on their 3,200 acres. This guest ranch offers full dude ranch experiences or two-night, bed-and-breakfast type stays in their well-appointed cabins.

Sylvan Dale provides trail rides for guests and visitors of all riding abilities. Their stables also offer horseback riding lessons. Onsite business retreat clients can take advantage of Sylvan Dale’s equine-based team building activities.

Unique to Sylvan Dale, those who pass the ranch’s riding assessment will be eligible for seasonal cattle work and special horsemanship clinics.

Latigo Ranch


Latigo Ranch near Kremmling, Colorado, was recently named one of the “12 Best Family Resorts” by USA Today. I can say from personal experience that Latigo Ranch is a truly magical place.

Guests spend seven days and six nights at this remote ranch eating delicious, homemade food, enjoying the onsite swimming pool and recreation lodge and riding horses.

Horseback riding is a big part of a stay at Latigo Ranch. The trail rides here offer phenomenal views and loads of wildflowers. Those with a sharp eye may even see a coyote or moose during their horseback rides at Latigo.

It’s no surprise that people come from all over the world to experience this true western Colorado getaway. 

Categories: The Heidi Guide