There’s no missing the family togetherness that this sprawling, 860-acre mountain ranch surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, fosters. Driving onto the property, the first thing you encounter are families playing miniature golf, engaged in a game of tennis, baseball, basketball and various other planned and spontaneous activities. And you can tell, everyone is having the time of their lives. As did we.
Since 1907, the ranch has long been a place where families come to unplug and bond in the most serene and magnificent setting you can imagine. The snow-capped mountains, Aspen trees and freely roaming elk will transport you. And when I say unplug, I mean that literally. What was the first thing my family commented on when walking into our room at the lodge? “There’s no TV!” This made me grin from ear to ear. No escaping each other now!
There is no lack of activities at the YMCA of the Rockies. In addition to fishing, hiking, swimming, rafting, horseback riding and archery, how about zip lining, rope courses or scaling an outdoor climbing wall? You can also sign kids of all ages up for fun classes and activities throughout the day like Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! where little ones will look at bugs up close and make a bug craft. How about some Parachute Games or a game of Whiffle Ball? Both remind me so much of my childhood and were my favorites on the school playground.
As for my five-year-old daughter, her favorite activity at the Ranch became the Craft and Design Center. Okay, it was my favorite too. This isn’t your typical paint and poster board art room… at YMCA of the Rockies, you can paint pottery, design jewelry, tie-dye a t-shirt, create a mosaic masterpiece, weave a basket or whittle away the hours on woodcrafts. It was tough to drag my daughter away from the ceramics at the end of the day. “Can I just paint one more thing, Mom?!” We tackled three different projects and have already picked out what we’ll be doing next time we come.
While there’s no camping at YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, they do strive to make your family’s stay affordable. Their lodges are clean and comfortable, but no frills. However, they do include free Wifi, which we found to be faster and easier to use than some of the finer hotels we’ve stayed at. You can also rent cabins and vacation homes, which are really ideal for family reunions.
The Dining Hall is what you would expect for feeding a thousand or so people 3x a day – just adequate. One of the upsides of renting a cabin for your stay is the fact that you have your own kitchen to prepare your meals. And, with the town of Estes Park, home to the historic Stanley Hotel, just a short drive from the Ranch, there are plenty of other dining options available too.
Membership is NOT required to stay at YMCA of the Rockies, but if you become a member, you will have the opportunity to make cabin reservations before the general public and all Members receive $15/night off their lodge or cabin rental. Read more about all the benefits of membership here.