Swimming Pool and Saloon

Our Story

Every dude ranch has a story behind it, and each is unique.

Colorado Trails Ranch is different from all of them and a very special place. Rather than being an adaptation of some sort of former ranch, ours was built to be a dude ranch from its very beginning in 1960.

Prior to any original construction, there were only two buildings; a tiny old barn and the anteroom portion of what was once Coney Cove dance hall, built around 1912. This log structure is still in use today as staff housing. The first few years there was only the new lodge and six Alpine cabins. A lot of growth and change has taken place over the past half of a century on this guest ranch.

In early years, guests made up their own brand, which was burned into the timber posts in the lodge. Those brands are still there, but this practice came to a halt many years ago. It was a sad end to a great Colorado Trails Ranch tradition, but necessary to protect the building from burning down.

Each year, the ranch comes alive in May with the arrival of our staff from all over the country, and sometimes from around the globe. CTR would not be the special vacation spot it is without the liveliness, and vitality, of the staff.

We’ve enjoyed thousands of new friends through the years.

Five decades of our staff and guests who came to work and play. Every wall holds millions of warm memories left by those who had fun within them. No matter how advanced the world may become technologically, the magic of this dude ranch remains quite the same.

Guests find it hard to leave, and many return over and over again. Past staff members return as guests, introducing their new families to the wonders of dude ranch vacations.

For Jeanne Ross, the CTR experience has never ended. She came to work as a staff member in 1966, and has yet to find a reason to leave. Over the years, she has filled lots of roles including housekeeping, kids’ counselor, cooking/baking, running the office and eventually General Manager. In 2020 Jeanne has decided to step back a bit and hand over the reins to Brian McCormack, our chef and hospitality manager since 2009, to take over as GM. Jeanne will continue to be part of our team by handling the finances and just helping us keep with our dude ranch tradition!

There’s one very special week we are extremely proud to be a part of.

It isn’t a vacation style of dude ranch event, but the Equine Investigator’s Academy. Colorado Trails Ranch has been hosting this event since 1984, first under the American Humane Association, and with Code 3 Associates since 1996. This national school teaches animal control officers, and other animal professionals, how to recognize and investigate horse abuse. Today, we host two levels of this class which are accredited by Colorado State University.