What do horseback rides, bonfires, hikes, fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing have in common? These are all activities available at the year-round dude ranch, Latigo Ranch, Kremmling, Colorado. I know – I was surprised too, but my recent visit during the snowy month of March confirmed that Latigo Ranch is open for your family vacation year-round, including the winter.
One of Grand County, Colorado‘s premier dude ranches, it isecluded and scenic, located at 9000 feet above sea level in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Snow conditions couldn’t be better at Latigo with its amazing 18 feet each year!
While summer is typically associated with dude ranches, Latigo is also a nordic winter adventure, with 60 kilometers of machine groomed trails for cross-country skiing (classic and skate skiing) and snowshoeing! For those looking for a more intense backcountry adventure, step up your adventure by exploring the surrounding more than 200 square miles of deep powder in the National Forest.
A Denver traffic jam delayed my arrival to Latigo Ranch. I was greeted by Randy & Lisa George, one of the two couples who own the ranch. Lisa expertly threw together a hot potato soup and a quiche for me, while Randy delivered the bags to my cabin via snowmobile. Included in your room rates are your equipment rentals, and those too were delivered to my room.
After lunch, I checked into my comfortable 3-bedroom rustic cabin, located a short walk away amongst other cabins. The living room and fireplace would be a perfect place to curl up and read a book later, and the bonus was the amazing view through the large picture window. The cabin would’ve been perfect for bringing my grandkids, but this was me time. I choose the room with a sink.
I dressed in my winter gear, ready to explore the trails located literally just outside my door. I’d read the easy-to-follow, one-page Latigo Ski trails maps and descriptions. I’d left my snowshoes on the cabin deck, slipped them on, and stepped onto the trails by 3:30.
I opted for the trails closer to my cabin (Mallard, Porcupine, and Doc Hollow). I admit I was tired from the 3-hour drive from Denver, but the fresh mountain air and moving my snowshoes through the powdery snow was invigorating.
A quick shower, and I grabbed the flashlight in my room to enjoy dinner with my fellow guests, all from Denver: a young couple enjoying a romantic weekend and another couple with their adult children.
The main course was a divine salmon, but the best part of the evening was the conversation with Latigo Ranch owners Jim & Kathie Yost and their stories as former missionaries in the remote Ecuadorian Amazon.
The best part of any vacation is the scenery, and no matter the season, Latigo is surrounded by spectacular views.
Step onto the front porch of the historic log lodge and be rewarded with a panoramic view of 100 miles of the Continental Divide. Any direction you look, you’ll see wide open spaces and the beautiful Colorado Rockies.
I pointed my snowshoes to the 1.2 mile Meadow Loop just beyond the lodge and detoured slightly to the right to continue on the Upper Cliffhanger. I wish I’d had time make the short climb to Jumper Flats, as the other guests had raved up the view of the rugged peaks stretching from Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.
For lunch, I enjoyed a hot bowl of Pepper Soup (secret ingredient: pureed pear!) and pasta before packing up and heading to the next stop on my agenda: The Candy Store in Hot Sulphur Springs, and then Granby’s Inn at SilverCreek.
Winter family vacations at Latigo Ranch are more flexible, ranging from day skiing to short weekend (ie. Friday – Sunday) or longer. For day skiing, verify trail conditions first; optional reservation for lunch and dinner available.
If you miss the winter season, cowboy up and visit Latigo Ranch during Colorado’s summer season for a family friendly dude ranch vacation.
I explored Grand County courtesy of the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board in 2013. Follow along on your preferred Social Media platform with hashtag: #visitgrandcounty!
Photos and Videos © Diana Rowe