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Horseback Riding & Cattle Drives at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado

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Lodging in Rustic Luxury at a Colorado Dude Ranch
Cabins at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado

The cabins at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado are surprisingly luxurious

(c) Lois Friedland
I've always thought the words "rustic luxury" were overused, but the cabins at Vista Verde Guest Ranch and Resort actually fit this term. Inside, guests curl up on a comfy couch or other hand-made wood furniture in front of a wood-burning stove, and retire to very comfortable beds. The all-inclusive weeks include refrigerators stocked with drinks and snacks, and a few bottles of wine. The number of bedrooms varies in the nine cabins but all have hot tubs. There are also three guest rooms in the lodge. When full, the guest ranch tops out at about 40 guests.

The guest to staff ratio is 1:1 and the staff - from the wranglers to the chef - are superb. The food is labeled "Cowboy Cuisine" but you can expect plenty of gourmet touches in the entrees, with suggested wines to match. From the custom furnishings to the soaps to the saddles and the organic beef and lamb, the ranch stays local whenever possible.

Vista Verde Guest Ranch All-Inclusive Week-Long Packages

In the summertime, everything, from the horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing is included. In the winter it's snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and backcountry skiing. Steamboat Resort is about 25 miles away for guests who want downhill skiing or snowboarding. The Ranch Manager, Ben Martin, accurately outlines the ranch's philosophy: "There's everything to do but you don't have to do anything."

The ranch has a 40 percent return rate in the summer, and the guests include many families because the ranch has special programs for the children. In the fall, there are some adult-only weeks.

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