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“GREAT Dude Ranch” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Elk Mountain Ranch

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Elk Mountain Ranch
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13000 CR 185B, Buena Vista, CO 81211   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Package Deal
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Scottsdale, Arizona
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“GREAT Dude Ranch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2011

Elk Mountain Ranch was an amazing experience. It is small (30 guests at a time), family oriented, fantastic home cooked meals, and their employees along with Sue and Tom are incredible! The ranch itself is located in a beautiful area and the horses are well kept. The beauty of this ranch is that you have plenty of choices. We went river rafting one day which was a highlight! Another day, we chose to take the day trip to Aspen. Also incredible. Other days, the rides included breakfast or lunch, short and long rides, etc. They have great activities for the kids... and adults! The shooting, both skeet and target, was especially fun for my son. For the price, you get more than necessary. Thank you for a wonderful week full of great memories!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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115 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Fairfax, Virginia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2011

Elk Mountain Ranch is everything the reviews said and more. As a novice rider, I felt completely comfortable on every ride. An experienced wrangler accompanied just our family of four on each ride. The views were breathtaking. The food, service, and cabin were perfect. Sue and Tom and the staff work so hard to make sure everyone is feeling at home. They even remembered to bring my favorite tea at each meal! The food is simple and delicious. There was a wide variety of activities both on the ranch and off. Sometimes we did things as a family, and sometimes we split up. The evening activities were also special--campfires, square dancing and music. We went whitewater rafting and some of us went to Aspen via Independence Pass. We shot at targets with guns and arrows, played tetherball, air hockey, fat ball, flashlight tag and volleyball. Our son rode in the kids' rodeo and won a ribbon! We loved all the animals--goats, pigs, cats, dogs, ducks and horses! The only thing I would change would be to bring more jeans and warmer clothes...it's cool in the evenings and when it's cloudy.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesterfield, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2011

We visited Elk Mountain after much research on the availability of ranches in this area. One thing that struck us was the 'family' element of this particular ranch. We were not disappointed. In a family of 6 we have only 2 riders with experience, the others were all novices. This did not spoil our enjoyment at all. The orientation lesson given by Tom on day one is by far the best explanation of what you can expect from a horse whether a novice or an experienced rider, that I have every heard. Trail rides are taken daily by different wranglers who posses the ability to converse with young and old alike whilst having a great sense of humour. Our rides were very much family orientated and we all managed to trot and canter from day 3 which is amazing for our novice riders. The cabins were very clean and the beds were extremely comfy (a must for this type of holiday). The food was fantastic and there are always hot and cold drinks available and home made cookies/snacks whenever you feel peckish. The only money we spent during this week was on the obligatory cowboy hats, (also reasonable priced) and the photo's at the White Water Rafting. (which is a must!!)

Tom, Sue, their family and all the people who work at Elk Mountain are warm, welcoming, friendly and courteous. Nothing is to much trouble. We were very sad to leave at the end of the week as we all agreed that we had had the most amazing time. With four teenagers in our party who agreed that this is by far the best holiday that we have every had, what more of a recommendation do you need.

We can't wait to visit again.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Virginia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2011

We first vacationed at Elk Mountain Ranch in July 2008. My family of four (Hubby and I and two daughters, then 12 and 15), and my niece, then 12) drove from Florida to Colorado to spend a week at Elk Mountain Ranch. That was the best vacation of our lives. In 2009, after hearing over-and-over how fabulous the Ranch was from all the girls, my sister decided to take them herself. Hubby and I took advantage of the "adult only" weeks and went by ourselves. In 2010, we moved from Florida to Virginia and were unable to visit the Ranch, we were very disappointed. This July, my sister's family and my family decided to go together to the Ranch. We had a great time! As we were leaving, my 15 year-old daughter said "Mom, next year, can we come for two weeks?"

What's to love? - Everything!!!

People - Tom, Sue, and their children are the best! Ever since we drove through the gate the first time we have felt as if we are part of their family!

Accommodations - Clean, comfortable, spacious. Perfect in every way. We have stayed in three different cabins and loved them all.

Food - You will never be hungry! The food is delicious, plentiful, and always available. The staff is so accommodating. Not only do they make sure that they have lactaid milk available for my lactose intolerant daughter, but they also make sure to get to know each guest so well that they always have my Earl Gray tea in the morning and Sleepytime after dinner.

Staff - Don't know how they do it, but Tom and Sue always hire the best staff! They are always trying to figure out what else they can do to make you happy!

Activities - So much to do, so little time... I have tried most things, but my favorite is horse-back-riding!!! Hubby loves the white water rafting, my sister really enjoyed the wildflowers and sky full of stars at night.

Horses - as I said above, my favorite is the riding. There is nothing more peaceful for me that riding a horse through the aspen forests. You have to experience it to know what I mean. Tom's heard in unbelievable! They have horses for every rider. My husband used to hate riding, but was persuaded to come along the first year we went. "Lefty," his horse, changed him forever. My 12 year old daughter had never been on a horse before our first trip, "Cinco" was so calm and sure-footed that she felt good enough to go on the overnight trip. As my daughter's skills progressed, Tom has assigned her a new horse so that she can work on new skills. Tom and the wranglers are always attuned with each guest to make sure that they and their horse are a perfect match!

Warning - I'm not one to cry (ever!) but once a year, as we prepare to leave Elk Mountain Ranch, the waterworks begin. So don't be surprised if the toughest member of your family starts to get teary-eyed on Sunday morning.

Really can't say enough to express how wonderful this place is. We are so fortunate to have found it. Hope you love it as much as we do!!

Room Tip: All cabins are great! My favorite is the Aspen. It has two bathrooms and is next to the horses.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2011

Having never stayed at a ranch before, we used a UK based travel agent for advice and were not disappointed.

Our ranch experience was absolutely fantastic - nearest thing to a ski vacation in the summer.

Having never been on horses before, we were amazed to be riding mountain trails on the first day. Rapidly gaining in confidence over the course of the week we progressed from walking to trotting and even loaping.

The kids programme was fantastic too with our five year old making great friends, as well as learning to ride himself. The rodeo at the end of the week allowing him to showcase his new skills.

The White Water Rafting Trip is a must do activity too.

So, a massive thank you to Tom and Sue Murphy and their talented team for a simply fantastic week in the Rocky Mountains.

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2011

We have just returned from Elk Mountain Ranch and I can't say enough about how much fun we all had. I traveled with my sister, best friend and my son age 12, we smiled and laughed for seven days straight. The wranglers, housekeeping staff and horses were all excellent. I have been a travel agent for over 25 years and have been able to travel to many wonderful destinations over the years and I have to say this vacation tops the list. My son had more fun riding horses, white water rafting and just plain hanging out at the ranch then he did on some of the cruises we've been on. It was just great to enjoy the beauty of Colorado at such a wonderful rustic ranch without T.V., phones or email! Thanks to the Murphy Family for the best vacation ever! Hope to see you again real soon! Bernice Bakley from Huntley Travel

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Temple, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2011

Elk Mountain Ranch is located miles from civilization and offers unparalleled views of the collegiate peaks and the surrounding countryside. We saw bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, a golden eagle, pronghorn antelope and other creatures. The trail rides twist through beautiful aspen forests, to alpine meadows overlooking the Lower Arkansas Valley 1,500 feet below and over isolated grassy hills. The owners (Tom and Sue) are warm, spirited and funny. Tom is a walking encyclopedia of the local fauna and geography and a great teacher of safe horsemanship. The staff is obviously carefully selected, meticulously trained, polite beyond comparison and infinitely patient with children. The food is wonderful and the cooks even prepared vegan meals for one of my family members. Meals in the dining room quickly create community and many opportunities for laughter. My three children expressed it best: all three said, "I would live here forever."

Room Tip: Check the website and match your room to your needs.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Elk Mountain Ranch

Address: 13000 CR 185B, Buena Vista, CO 81211
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Colorado > Buena Vista
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Buena Vista
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Colorado's highest guest ranch at 9600 feet. Weekly package includes meals, lodging and activities - horseback riding, white water rafting, shooting sports, van trip to Aspen, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, hayride, square dance, childrens' program and more. Massage and overnight pack trip extra. 35 pampered guests. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Elk Mountain Ranch Hotel Buena Vista

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