Above, the spa offers soaks in oversized copper tubs infused with therapeutic mineral salts. Below, ranch guest George Kuzmiak tries his hand at fly-fishing for trout.
The ranch’s fate changed again in 2001, when current owners Bob and Suzanne Fanch thwarted developers who were intent on building residences and a golf course. Instead, the couple moved ahead with their vision of creating a special reserve where visitors to the valley could still have an authentic Colorado experience celebrating the soul of the West. To house expected guests, they inserted 15 ridge-top cabins with plenty of space for privacy. In 2007, a 52-room main lodge was added, and one year later the ranch’s smaller spa got its own homestead in a nearby meadow. More recently, in 2013, the 35-room High Lonesome Lodge, barn and wine grotto completed the accommodations. For an intimate gathering space, the Broad Axe Barn, a conference center and events venue built from a reconstructed Civil War-era barn, rounded out the additions. The activities visitors can experience include horseback riding through the meadows, creeks and hilltops; zip-lining above stands of sturdy green giants; mountain biking and hiking that could comprise a foray into the many trails of the Arapaho National Forest; or Rocky Mountain National Park, 45 minutes from the ranch. For young guests, there is the option of a two-hour, half-day, or full-day excursion to the Cowpoke Camp while mom and dad can fish, hike, mountain bike or relax at the spa. Guests who fill their days with a variety of adventures can also find relaxation in Rachel’s Pool, a geothermally heated pool and hot tub that is anything but ordinary. The pool is shaped like a natural pond to blend in with the landscape. Fly-fishing, a Colorado staple, is a cherished pursuit on the ranch, where anglers can fish on 4 miles of Ranch Creek as well as a mile of the Fraser River, both meandering through the ranch property. In the spring and early days of summer, the creek and river rush through the ranchland in a spectacular display of the power of water. Trout reaching the size of a tennis racket frequent these mountain runoffs.