P.O. Box D
Shawnee, CO 80475
Toll Free: (866)-94-CDGRA (23472)
Vacation Guide Request via phone: (970) 887-9248
Vacation Guide Request via email: email@example.com
The Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association (CDGRA) is comprised of about 30 ranches located throughout the mountains and mesas of Colorado. Formed in 1935, the Association serves as a member network, marketing, educational, and promotional organization for its members. Each ranch must meet strict standards of excellence in order to maintain membership in the Association and is regularly inspected to ensure that they meet Association standards. In addition, when a ranch changes ownership or management, it must be inspected promptly. All inspections occur during the peak of the season when guests are present so their input can be included in the evaluation.
CDGRA members are active in local charities, conservation and wildlife organizations, historical preservation, and their local communities. Members employ more than 1,000 seasonal employees, most of whom are college-age students who return each summer until graduation. CDGRA member ranches own 3,000 horses or 3% of all riding horses in Colorado.
CDGRA Pledge of Inspection Certification
For nearly 70 years, the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association has maintained high standards and strict qualification requirements for membership. Each ranch is regularly inspected for: cleanliness, facilities, hospitality, and honest representation in advertising messages.
In addition, CDGRA member ranches are inspected for the quality and safety of their horse programs. Ranch horse health, nutrition, and treatment are of utmost importance to ranch members. Horse standards are three-fold: to insure the safety of guests when around or riding guest ranch horses; to maintain the health and care of the animals on each ranch; and to insure that guests have “fun” riding horses. These standards extend to include the tack, barns, corrals, and riding trails.
About 30 certified ranches
24 – 115 people, depending on the ranch
Ranges from $1,495 – $3,950 per week. Partial weeks are sometimes available.
When Colorado Dude and Guest Ranches say “all inclusive” they mean “all”. At most ranches, lodging, meals, horseback riding, hiking, rafting, campfires, fishing, jeep tours and many other activities are included in the quoted daily rate. Each Colorado ranch has special activities that may be unique to their ranch such as rock climbing, hot air ballooning, or guided fishing, but they inform guests if these activities cost extra BEFORE arrival. Once, at the ranch, there are no wallet-stomping surprises.
Member ranches offer everything from riding, river rafting, fishing, hiking, tennis and mountain biking to crafts, photo workshops, swimming, hay rides, and much more.
All ranches offer a place to soak. Some have a camp hot tub and, at other ranches, each cabin has its own private hot tub. Many offer services such as massages, several have saunas, and one even has its own hot springs.
Life on the ranch is anything but rough. In fact, some could be considered more luxurious than others. Although every ranch is different, each one offers comfy beds, western room décor, and all the amenities you would expect at any fine lodging establishment. Along with all the modern conveniences guests will find lots of rustic and even historic charm, including Antique quilts and comforters, vintage dressers and old poster beds. Bathrooms are all equipped with soft towels and soaps and shampoos (some custom blended for the ranch by local artisans). Most ranches include mini-refrigerators, tea and coffee makers, and some supply in-room snacks.
Most ranches offer a combination of family cabins and/or individual lodge rooms. The ranch owners try to keep families together in lodging that provides individual sleeping rooms joined to a central living area (some with fireplaces) and other sleeping rooms. A few ranches have lodge accommodations only, but guests have plenty of room and private baths at these ranches.
You won’t find locks on the doors or air conditioning – they are not needed because the nights are cool and quiet and the cabins and lodges are safe because they are far off the fast lane of life. There are no TVs, phone or Internet connections in the rooms either, although they may be available in the lodge. With all there is to do guests won’t need them.
Almost all ranches have game rooms and other gathering spots where guests can enjoy playing board games. The main lodges provide guests with a quiet corner to read a good book or simply rest and rejuvenate by a softly burning fire. Colorado dude and guest ranches are famous for their front porches hung with wildflower planters and humming bird feeders. In addition, there are enough rocking chairs and spectacular scenery for everyone.
Ranches menus have expanded considerably since the days of cornbread and beans to include just about everything you can imagine. “Cookies” have evolved into classically trained chefs, serving gourmet dishes and healthy alternatives, alongside all the old camp classics, “never-empty” cookie jars, and bowls of fresh fruit always on hand.
It’s not just the food, but how it’s served. Meals are served family-style and feature cookouts, barbecues, on-the-trail meal stops, chuck wagon suppers, and serving guests streamside, poolside or lakeside. On days when guest are on their own, they can pack individual lunches for the road.
Gourmet dining. Some ranches are gourmet, serving world-class cuisine prepared by chefs, bakers, and other skilled kitchen staff. Multiple entrée choices and the appropriate wine selections for each meal are served. Whether enjoying down-home cooking or gourmet meals, guests will find a variety of wholesome food choices at Colorado dude and guest ranches.
Special dietary or nutritional requirements can be accommodated. All of the ranches a can accommodate special dietary or nutritional requirements.
Making eating a fun experience. Some nights the kids might enjoy a cook-out with the ranch staff, while mom and dad are served by candlelight for some grown-up time alone together. Don’t be surprised if the ranch owners do the cooking and serving at some meals. They like to get in the kitchen to prepare family recipes to share with guests during their stay.
Most of Colorado’s Dude and Guest Ranches provide extensive programming for children. Each ranch is unique in how they cater to children. Some ranches set a minimum age while others take infants and small children, but only provide programming for certain ages. Many ranches have extensive age-appropriate programming for children through teens. Kids are matched up with others their own age and are led by a trained, qualified counselor who knows how to make the day fun (and maybe even a bit educational).
Activities include: Learning about horses and riding, gold panning, building and floating wooden boats, archery, campfire-building, and playing in the pool. Often, kids will go on their own trail rides or are taken to a nearby hot springs pool or other children’s attraction.
Many ranches host corporate retreats, conventions, team building and incentive programs. Depending on the ranch, groups of up to 115 can be accommodated.
Colorado’s ranches provide the picturesque setting for that special day, with jagged 14ers and alpine meadows. Many ranches offer wedding services and can help with the planning details. Depending on the ranch, groups of up to 115 can be accommodated.
Most ranches can accommodate family reunions and offer specific rates. Some rent out the entire property. Depending on the ranch, groups of up to 115 can be accommodated.
Summer: Is high season at the Colorado’s dude and guest ranches. Horseback riding season starts in May or June, depending on the elevation of the ranch and when it’s safe to assume the snow will have melted. But many ranches have programs throughout the year.
Fall: When the aspens turn from green to gold it’s fall at Colorado’s ranches and a great time for a hike or horseback ride…it’s also hunting season. Many ranches provide the perfect game access by hiking or horseback. Whether hunting with a rifle, bow or black power…for elk, deer, antelope or moose, guests have plenty of options, both on private land or National Forest.
Winter: When snow begins to blanket the Rocky Mountains, Colorado’s arid climate produces some of the world’s best powder for snow sports. Skiing, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, dog-sledding, nature viewing, sleigh rides, ice climbing and hot tubing are a few of the activities available.
Guest ranches offer a personal touch that big hotels and resorts can’t match. Ranch owners and staff quickly get to know their guests’ preferences because they interact closely with them every day.
Guest ranches even make packing easy by sending guests a list of what to bring.
Most guest ranches are located near major airline hubs and include transportation to and from the airport.