Food: A very important part of the dude ranch experience.

As I was fixing my husband’s and my favorite breakfast for a Sunday morning, getting ready for all the Super Bowl hype, my mind wandered back to some summer memories. My mouth started watering, thinking about probably my favorite breakfast of eggs, grits and Navajo Fry Bread at Colorado Trails Ranch.

Our Saturday morning breakfast ride combines some all-time favorites of a guest ranch experience: A family ride into the woods, stopping by Shearer Creek for a great breakfast and then continuing the ride after breakfast, savoring a full stomach and beautiful scenery. What a wonderful way to begin the last day of activities of a week’s stay at Colorado Trails Ranch.

The families meet down at the barn to mount up on their favorite horse from the week. Then, in small groups, they ride out into the forest for about a half of an hour. They stop along Shearer Creek and the wranglers tie up their horses while they walk over to the cook-out area to pick up a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, maybe even some orange juice. They then stop by the grill and tell me how they want their eggs cooked. When the eggs are ready, they go on down the line and pick up some Navajo Fry Bread, grilled Kielbasa and some seasoned grits. They then stop at the serving table and load up on fresh fruit. The dude ranch guests then must decide what to put on top of the fry bread….what’s best: Cinnamon and sugar, honey, powdered sugar, butter, all of the above? Or, I like to have an over-easy egg on top of the fry bread. Some just can’t decide so they have one of each (or more).

As the sun dapples through the trees, our guests sit at tables by the creek and enjoy the breakfast and conversation with their new friends that they have spent a week with, participating in all sorts of activities. This is a fantastic part of a dude ranch vacation!

Below is our own special Navajo Fry Bread recipe that we have been serving our guest ranch guests and staff since the 1980’s. Enjoy!


2 cups flour                                         2 TBLS shortening

⅓ cup powdered milk                         ¾ to 1 cup warm water

2 tsp baking powder                            oil for frying

1 tsp salt

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add water and mix until a soft dough forms.  Knead until dough is smooth and springy in texture. Cover and set aside for 30 to 45 minutes. Make into golf ball sized balls. Using both hands, stretch each ball into thin rounds, pulling between your fingers and the palm of your hands. Fry in oil at 365° until lightly browned, turning once. The oil should be about 1½-inches deep in pan. It is important to keep the oil hot. Serve with butter, honey, powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar. Or you can make larger balls and make the bread rounds larger. Then serve on a buffet with chili, grated cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, sour cream, etc. This is called a Navajo Taco.