From the moment you drive onto the property, it’s easy to see why Devil’s Thumb Ranch has been receiving world-wide attention for sustainability, exceptional service, wine selection, fine dining and more. This expansive 5,000 acre ranch set in the pristine wilderness of the Ranch Creek Valley at the foot of the Rocky Mountains is all about the details. From preserving and restoring the land and its history to creating the most memorable experience for guests, nothing has been overlooked at this rustically-elegant, wilderness resort.
Just 90 minutes from downtown Denver and 10 minutes from Winter Park Ski Resort, you’ll feel a million miles away in an oasis of rugged beauty and tranquility. As a 5-year resident of the Denver area, and frequent visitor to Winter Park, I admit I never knew this jaw-dropping luxury resort and hotel lay just beyond the trees and rolling hills off Highway 83 in Tabernash until I was invited to visit and share it with you.
While the original lodge and cabins have existed on the property since 1946, it is the Ranch’s newly constructed 52-room main lodge and 10,000 sq. ft. Ranch Creek Spa completed in 2007 and 2008 that the word is getting out about. Travel +Leisure and Conservation International honored Devil’s Thumb Ranch as one of the World’s Leading Eco-friendly Hotels and Resorts in 2007, and in September of this year, Sunset Magazine named it one of the 25 Best Hotels in the West. This environmentally-sensitive, year round ranch resort, spa, corporate retreat and wedding destination just hosted Google’s corporate retreat and had its’ first “celebrity” wedding for one of the writers of the hit TV show, The Office.
Every one of the 52 guest rooms in the main lodge is uniquely decorated with rustic antiques and modeled after the “parkitecture” of national park lodges. With a commitment to the land and the use of sustainable materials, beetle-kill pine has been used for the ceiling beams and paneling and rocks from a landslide make up the majestic three-story, hexagonal fireplace that is the focal point of Heck’s Tavern.
In addition to the main lodge, there are 16 ridgetop, luxury, 2-4 bedroom log cabins that offer ski-in, ski-out access for cross-country and snowshoe enthusiasts.
A short walk from the lodge or cabins, Cabin Creek Stables offers year round trail rides, pony rides, wagon rides in the summer, and sleigh rides in the winter.
And after a full day of fly-fishing, horseback riding, archery, hiking, mountain biking or swimming in the indoor/outdoor heated pool in the summer, or cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, sledding or outdoor ice-skating in the winter, nothing could be more indulgent than relaxing at Ranch Creek Spa.
Follow your spa treatment with a soak in the outdoor hot tub and watch the sunset over the Continental Divide. Or, enjoy the same view from the wall of windows in the second story yoga studio.
End your day with fine dining in the Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon, where Chef Evan Treadwell is sure to make your taste buds do a jig. You can even learn to cook an entire 4-course meal from the Iron Chef Award recipient himself at the Ranch’s new Cooking School. My party were Chef Evan’s lucky first students to break in the school with him, and it was without a doubt the highlight of my stay.
Or how about an intimate dinner for two in John Ls Wine Cellar? The cellar and adjoining barrel-shaped, wine uncorking room were hand-crafted from 150-year-old cherry trees harvested on the owner’s family land in Adirondack Park in New York.
With so much to offer, Devil’s Thumb Ranch won’t be a secret for long. Especially when it comes to weddings and events. There are a multitude of available spaces for every size event or meeting, but the Broad Axe Barn Room by far, makes the biggest impression. This Indiana 2,900 sq. ft. barn, circa 1850s, was dismantled, shipped to Colorado and then rebuilt with the original hand-hewn white oak and beech beams as its’ frame. With a 25-foot vaulted ceiling, 7’ x 10’ windows and barn doors that open onto the adjoining 2,200 sq. ft. deck, your guests will enjoy breathtaking views of the Continental Divide inside and out.
If you plan to visit during the Summer, be sure to check out the Ranch’s reasonably priced half-day and full-day Cowpoke Camp for kids ages 5-12 on the weekends, giving Mom and Dad the opportunity to fish, spa or just relax.
Disclosure: My stay at Devil’s Thumb Ranch was hosted free of charge, except for all outdoor activities I chose to partake in. Said compensation did not in any way influence my opinions expressed in the writing of this article.