Adults-Only Colorado Dude Ranch Vacations

Colorado's dude and guest ranches are known for amazing family vacations, but they also make for incredible couple's getaways.

Quiet dinner during Smith Fork Ranch's adults-only weeks, Crawford, CO
Horseback riding at a Colorado dude ranch
Horseback riding at a Colorado dude ranch
Relax with some porch sittin' at Elk Mountain Ranch near Buena Vista, CO
Relax with some porch sittin' at Elk Mountain Ranch near Buena Vista, CO

Most of the state's ranches offer adult-only weeks, usually in the fall, when the pace slows a bit, the menus are a little more gourmet and guests can be found canoodling in front of glowing fires set amid spectacular mountain backdrops. These all-inclusive retreats welcome you to take part in as many — or as few — ranch activities as you'd like, including hikes, trail rides, cattle drives, fishing excursions and boating, all of which can be tailored to all abilities.

Many ranches also throw in unexpected luxuries like spa treatments, yoga sessions and cooking classes. All of them have incredible home-cooked meals, serene settings and hospitality you can't stop talking about (we're serious about this one — read any online review of these ranches to see people expound on this subject).

Although a week is the standard ranch stay, ensuring guests are really able to unplug and savor ranch life, these adults-only periods are a bit more flexible. Some even open their lodges and cabins to overnight travelers when they're not booked up, featuring B&B services and a la carte activities.

Below is a sampling of the amenities that will appeal to couples looking for romance and relaxation. Visit the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association for more comprehensive listings.

C Lazy U RanchGranby

For couples who aren't on the same page when it comes to communing with nature, C Lazy U has the perfect solution: Book a night of glamping for a a "luxury campout." A ranch hand will guide you to a campsite with a large covered wagon (with a king-size bed inside!), s'mores kit, firepit and other delights. Back at the ranch, luxe cabins await with swanky rustic decor and options like jetted tubs and fireplaces.

Rainbow Trout RanchAntonito

Set in the scenic San Luis Valley, Rainbow Trout Ranch offers an adult-only season in September. Take in the beauty of forests flooded with golden aspens on a fall horseback ride. Or, spend your days fly-fishing nearby rivers and creeks — you'll find autumn an amazing season for making great catches. After a relaxing day, unwind further in the poolside hot tub or on your private porch.

4UR RanchCreede

4UR sets itself apart from the outset with one major amenity: its very own natural hot springs. Those who can find their way out of the mineral water and into the elegant accommodations will also enjoy a cozy little bar and an Adirondack-style porch perfect for stargazing. Nearly 7 miles of private tailwaters on Goose Creek, long trail rides and chef-driven, ranch style meals with wine aren't so bad either.

Vista Verde RanchClark

Toward the end of September, Vista Verde hosts an adults-only cattle round-up, which is a remarkable experience on its own, but becomes even more so amid changing leaves and crisp fall air. Other packages for grown-up good times include fall foliage weeks, where you can dine on locally sourced meals, cozy up around the lodge's massive fire or take part in cooking classes and wine tastings. 

Lost Valley Dude and Guest Ranch, Sedalia

Lost Valley is laid-back luxury with all the upscale comforts you need. The cabins, complete with stone fireplaces and porches with lounge swings, are nestled in the pines overlooking the valley. Adults-only weeks in September and October feature cattle drives and rides through golden aspen stands and a long list of activities that can be totally ignored by those who prefer to just laze around this peaceful ranch.

Find more places for adults-only escapes on the Sleep Somewhere Cool Blog.

Photo: Courtesy of the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association/Home Ranch.