There aren’t many dude ranches in the American West that can say they’ve been around for over fifty years, but Colorado Trails Dude Ranch can. As a matter of fact, we are in the midst of celebrating our 50th season anniversary in 2011.
Early Years at Colorado Trails
Colorado Trails, unlike many other dude ranches, was designed to be a guest ranch from the very beginning. That is, it’s not an adaptation of working ranch or farm, but has been a planned Colorado dude ranch from the start.
In 1960 when construction first began, there were only two structures on the Colorado Trails property — an old, 600 square-foot barn and the anteroom of a 1912 dance hall. Today, Colorado Trails is laid out to look like an Old West town, complete with a Jail, Saloon, Blacksmith Shop, Trading Post, and so forth, but when we first started offering our all inclusive family vacations, the only new buildings we added were the ranch lodge and the six Alpine cabins.
Decades Two and Three
The 1970s saw a flurry of new construction, starting with the Trading Post in 1970. The Trading Post still has an authentic, old-fashioned soda fountain unit from the 1930s, making it an especially popular hang out on hot summer days. In the fall of 1970, we added the kids’ Ruckus Room to the Trading Post.
One year later, we built the Saloon to house the staff women. Shortly thereafter came the Country Cabins, the Adobe building, and the School House for housing staff men. Later, the Opera House was added for our famous square dancing and shows.
In the late 1990s, we remodeled and dressed up our lodge. We added a space for adults to relax as well as a multipurpose room. On rainy nights, kids watch videos in the multipurpose room, and we also hold our art classes there.
Colorado Trails still isn’t done; we continue to upgrade and add to our facilities almost every year. Staff and guests alike enjoy our modern, comfortable accommodations and amenities, from the in-ground pool to the new, more efficient barn.
Want to hear more of the history of the ranch? Next time you’re here, find our general manager, Jeanne Ross. She arrived to work on the dude ranch in 1966 and has been here since!