C Lazy U Guest Ranch horsesHidden away on 8,500 acres of pristine meadows, rolling hills and majestic mountain views in Granby, Colorado is a guest ranch listed in the newest edition of “Top 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”  Our family is fortunate to now be able to check the C Lazy U Guest Ranch and Resort off our list after one of the most memorable family vacations we’ve had.

DestinationReviewC Lazy U is known for its western charm and hospitality. We experienced both from the moment we drove onto the property. The staff greeted us with handshakes and first name introductions, then escorted us to the Ranch Concierge to pick up our weekend itinerary, sign up for activities and be given our welcome bag.

C Lazy U Guest Ranch welcome sign

Gourmet cookies and assorted candies also greeted us – a welcome sight for the weary traveler. Okay, it’s really only a two-hour drive from Denver, but cookies are always welcomed by this family just the same.

C Lazy U Guest Ranch Cabin Guest RoomWe were helped with our bags to our cabin, which exuded rustic elegance and attention to detail. I could not wait just to spend time relaxing by our own wood-burning fireplace that evening, even though it was May. Conspicuously absent was a TV, which no one missed at all. This would be no ordinary vacation and that’s the exact reason we came.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (I’ve always wanted to say that), the Shodeo was about to start. Anyone who had been riding that week was a participant and showed off his or her new riding skills. From the littlest kiddos to the biggest kiddos (adults), everyone left with a ribbon.

An inflatable water slide was being erected for the afternoon and the Ice Cream Bar was just about to open at the Patio House. We rushed back to our cabin to don our bathing suits and enjoy some sweet treats by the pool before the Family Cookout.

C Lazy U appetizersBefore our prime rib dinner, jumbo cocktail shrimp appetizers were set out and we were beginning to see how similar our stay was to a cruise – lots of delicious food always available for that constantly full feeling. But, we weren’t complaining.

C Lazy U Family Cookout dinnerAnd just like a cruise, you get to know the other guests and even the staff pretty well. C Lazy U maxes out at 75 guests at any one time for a very intimate experience.

The amount of individualized attention we received from the staff really stood out for us. This is attributable not only to the intimate setting, but also to the fact that C Lazy U has an almost 2:1 ratio of staff to guests, ensuring everyone is well taken care of.

C Lazy U ice cream barNot surprisingly, C Lazy U is listed on the 50 Top Ranches in the World website, and one of Equitrekking’s top 20.

C Lazy U Guest Ranch viewsAfter a deliciously hearty breakfast the next morning at the lodge, our six-year-old, Reagan was introduced to her horse for the next two days: Clint. I lucked out with my own wrangler and a wrangler-in-training all to myself while everyone else at the adult trail rides went in groups. I learned a ton about wrangler life from the two bright young women I had the pleasure of riding my horse, Jane with. And enjoyed the most gorgeous views along the way.

On our second day, Reagan and I rode together on a family ride. And just like typical families, our horses bickered.

C Lazy U Guest Ranch Kid's Trail Ride

Yep. Clint and Jane did not get along. I’m sure it had something to do with my trying to ride alongside Reagan, which the much older and wiser Clint knew was not how a trail ride was supposed to work. I was in awe of how well Reagan handled Clint and could see her confidence building throughout our stay.

If horseback riding isn’t your thing, there is so much else going on at the ranch, no dull moments are allowed. Other activities available include fly-fishing, archery, trapshooting, paddle boating, a ropes course, zip-line and more. Special events are planned throughout the week too: square dancing, kids’ carnival, a talent show, poker, bingo and live music and dancing. But the best activity of all? Just relaxing on your porch in a rocker with a good book like my husband did.

C Lazy U spaAnd, if you’re the spa-going type, you will enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience in the C Lazy U’s top-rated spa set up on the banks of the creek where you can hear the bubbling water below as you get the pampering of your life. No soundtrack necessary.

For something completely different and a true bonding experience with your family away from all the noise, I can’t recommend C Lazy U Guest Ranch enough. It truly is “Miles Above Ordinary.”