Typically, guests check in sometime on Sunday. Most ranches begin the week with a welcome campfire or staff introduction and they make sure guests are comfortable in their accommodations. It’s always good to take it easy this first day and drink plenty of water to acclimate to the altitude.
The second day begins with horse orientation and training. One of the unique attributes to a Colorado dude ranch is that you can ride as much or as little as you like. Many guests come to the ranch to work on their equestrian skills, while others simply choose to ride up to the high country. Dude ranches are great places for families with different levels of riding skills. Experienced wranglers match guests to the perfect horse and make sure they ride trails equal to their ability and desire.
Each day guests are offered different types of rides – short, 2-hour rides, half-day rides, full-day rides, etc. Often, the various rides will meet up in the mountains for a trailside breakfast or brunch. After eating, everyone continues to enjoy the rest of the day according to their individual desire.The rest of the week is generally organized so that guests go river rafting one day, take an excursion to a nearby National Park or historical site on another day, or are driven to a high mountain pass in an open air, four-wheel drive vehicle. Guests can pick and choose how they want to spend each day, whether participating in the many outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and fishing or sleeping in and spending part of or the entire day in a hammock or rocking chair relaxing. Some guests like to ride in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and read by the fire or play board games in the evening.
During the week, most ranches offer guests the opportunity to horse pack into the backcountry for a night in a tent. Of course, a cook goes along to make sure guests are well-fed and cared for while “roughing it” for a night. Kids really enjoy overnight trips since they know there will be a campfire with s’mores, hot chocolate, story telling, and singing. The next day everyone rides back to the ranch for swimming and more fun.
The week culminates with a send off dinner, barn dance or cookout, and other activities. Departure day there is a lot of hugging and exchanging of contact info so that guests can keep in touch throughout the year and/or plan their return trip the next year.