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This-or-That Agricultural Adventures in Colorado

From the sprawling, blue-skied plains in the east to our Western Slope fruit orchards and vineyards set in the high desert, Colorado is an agricultural haven with a multitude of fun activities and experiences. Here are several options to explore, whether you want to be hands-on or like your farm adventures a little more leisurely.

Horseback riding on the Great Sand Dunes with Zapata Ranch in Mosca
Horseback riding on the Great Sand Dunes with Zapata Ranch in Mosca

Maker Meetings & Experiences

Roll up your sleeves and get your maker vibes flowing or enjoy the fruit of someone else’s labors. We won’t judge!

Throw a pinky in the air and sip on a farmers’-market-inspired flight of Colorado Chili White Whiskey and Lavender Hibiscus Liqueur at Rising Sun Distillery (Frisco and Denver). OR Grab a bottle of gin at Broomfield’s Whistling Hare and make your own refreshing gimlets. Bonus option: Wrangle some pals and book a DIY distilling course at Marble Distilling Co. in Carbondale. During the six-day retreat, you’ll make 250-plus bottles of your own whiskey or bourbon.

Snack on small-batch chevre and Manchego-style goat cheese at Western Culture Creamery in Paonia, then meet the bearded ladies who made the deliciousness possible — the goats themselves. OR Longmont’s The Art of Cheese will show you the whey to make heavenly Humboldt Fog-style quesos and blissful burrata.

Pull up a stool at The Elizabeth Brewing Company to savor smooth pints of Hop Blocker IPA and rotating tiny taps like the Arnold Palmer Shandy and Peach Cobbler Cream Ale. Then exit the charming historical building and hit the Elizabeth Farmers’ Market — right next door on the town’s straight-out-of-a-Western Main Street. OR BYOB (blend your own batch) of red or white in Fort Collins with the expert winemakers of Blendings at The Preserve.

Boot up for a tour of Franktown’s Shambalah Alpaca Ranch, where you’ll meet multi-champ Toulouse and learn about alpaca history, breeding and shows. (Call ahead to reserve your tour or Toulouse won’t give you the time of day.) OR Skip the in-person alpaca meetings by taking a fiber-arts class — like needle felting or peg-loom weaving — with The Fleece Factory of the Rockies in LaSalle.

In Brighton, stop by SonFlower Ranch to meet peacocks, donkeys, horses and baby goats before taking home some delicious local honey. OR Make an appointment to tour Hunters Moon Meadery in Severance, where Beowulf’s fave brew comes flavored with delights like Earl Grey tea, Palisade peaches and Colorado chokecherries.

Farm Stays

Live out your cattle-rustling dreams or kick up your fanciest cowboy boots to admire idyllic views. No matter your preference, we’ve got a farm-stay vacay that’s sure to float your goat. Awake to the gentle grunts of dromedaries and stellar views of the craggy San Juan Mountains with a yurt stay at Moffat’s Mudita Camels — a working camel dairy! OR Feast on succulent farm-to-table lamb and pork dishes after a day of leisurely casting for 20-inch brown and rainbow trout at Gunnison River Farms in Austin.

Head to Zapata Ranch in Mosca to saddle up and herd bison while the surrealistic hillocks of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve softly rise before the mountainscape. OR Luxe it up at Creede’s 4UR Ranch with massages and horseback rides through wildflower-sprinkled meadows and whispering aspen groves.

Book a stay at the working farm of Lightning Ridge Llamas in Allenspark, where you can rent a wooly friend to carry your gear on hikes through nearby glacial basins. OR Roast s’mores and stargaze from your personal firepit as the soft lows of zebus (like cows with camel humps) lull you to sleep at the glamptastic Safari Tent at Cedar Ridge Ranch near Carbondale.

In Raymer, Colorado Cattle Company & Guest Ranch will school you on the three R’s — ropin’, ridin’ and ranchin’ — under ridiculously peaceful prairie skies. OR Send your bliss into overdrive at Majestic Dude Ranch in Mancos, where luxury cabins, cocktail parties, archery and jaw-dropping views of rugged powder-dusted peaks await.

Good Eatin’

Get your hands dirty picking fresh fruit or keep that manicure tidy at a locally sourced restaurant. The world is your oyster mushroom!

Schedule a foraging class with Fort Collins-based Forage Colorado, who will help you identify indigenous edibles across the state — from wild plums and mushrooms to native berries and tree nuts. OR Let Hunt & Gather forage for your truffles, morels and fiddlehead ferns. You can find their wild-grown goods at Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe or Marczyk Fine Foods, both in Denver.

Our perfectly sweet-but-not-too-sweet Palisade peaches are arguably some of the best in the world. Pick your own in the summer sunshine at Mt. Lincoln Peach Co. in Palisade, where you’ll also find jams, jellies and other goodies. OR Skip straight to the finish line over in Fruita, where you can devour a different type of fruit pie at Hot Tomato Pizzeria. The Peach, a local favorite, comes topped with mozzarella, Canadian bacon, Gorgonzola cheese, rosemary and, of course, fresh Palisade peaches.

Strap on your helmet for a bike-to-farm excursion with Boulder Bike Tours: You’ll pedal past the herds of cattle, flocks of sheep and wildlife sanctuaries that dot the Boulder countryside before visiting a farm for snacks and meals crafted from uber-fresh produce — sweet corn, kale, tomatoes, chilies, eggs … whatever’s in season!OR Nosh on ethically and sustainably sourced waffles, granola bowls, smoothies and wraps at Cafe Red Point in Colorado Springs.

Tuck your napkin in your shirt and dig into hyper-locally sourced burgers, chili, salads and sandwiches at The James Ranch Grill, Durango’s self-proclaimed “table-on-the-farm” restaurant. May Farms in Byers offers another laid-back option with their Farm Fresh Meals, which rotate weekly. (Former menus have boasted juicy burgers and sausage and peppers.) OR Keep the napkins in your lap and enjoy a chef-curated dinner involving multiple forks and set on rotating Colorado farms, all courtesy of Whistling Boar in Louisville. Brace your taste buds: Past menus have included everything from coriander-spiced lamb ribs to pork chops garnished with bachelor’s button and chamomile blooms.

Want More?

Find tips for visiting farms and ranches >>

Check out Colorado’s summer farmers’ markets >>

Taste the flavors of small-batch spirits in Colorado >>