It’s been several weeks since our stay at Cherokee Park Ranch and we’re still talking about it. Here are three points we can’t get over. 1) The scenery: Our rides were incredible and diverse, from steep, rocky trails barely wide enough for horse and rider to wide open pastures that had us humming the theme from “Bonanza” as we raced across the grassy landscape. 2) The operation: CPR is run with superlative precision and good ol’ Southern hospitality, thanks to owners Dickey & Christine Prince. They made sure we were satisfied with everything from our horses to food to accommodations. 3) The staff: There were some two-dozen collegians taking care of the 40 guests. Love the ratio. All were courteous, attentive, fun and love to ride as much as we do (that’s a whole lot). 4) The horses: The herd of 120 is outstanding, with one to fit the particular needs of any rider, old, young, experienced, tenderfoot.
We’re good riders, have spent some time at guest ranches and done a lot of research on the subject, and CPR gets an “A” in our book. Sure, it’s not a cheap vacation and the cabins or rooms in the lodge would not pass the “spa” test. But that isn’t what we were seeking. The riding was excellent, that is what we care about. Yes, our son was disappointed that he could not go on the all-day treks that were most challenging—despite the fact that it was acknowledged that he’s a very component rider—just because the ranch has a policy stating you must be over 13 for that privilege. There is a children’s program that looked outstanding, for those with young kids and/or novice riders. For the most part, wranglers take out the adults on two rides a day at any speed desired or one longer ride. Kids typically go with their own wranglers on separate rides. In particular, we loved the Prairie Divide ride, where we even got cozy with some cattle after stopping for lunch. Bring your camera because the sights are Christmas card-quality.
I should add there’s always something going on, even if it’s just sitting on the porch of your cabin reading a book and resting your saddle-sore body. Evening entertainment included a hayride, cookout, visit to a neighboring artist’s home, an adult’s dinner, a square dance and staff show. The pond by the lodge is stocked with rainbow trout. My son caught the biggest one of the week and it was cooked for him for dinner. The three meals a day were varied; the desserts were memorable. There’s a pool, hot tub (adults only) and bikes. We loved hanging out at the corrals where there were some nine newborns frolicking every day with their moms.
We loved that there was no cell service as it felt liberating to let our iPhones sit on the dresser all week. CPR is BYOB, so if you lean in that direction, stop in Fort Collins on the way to load up. There is self-laundry on the ranch, which comes in handy because riding done right is dirty business. Make sure you bring suitable smooth-soled boots and a cowboy hat. Cherokee Park Ranch is a treasure, one that we will surely visit once again—just as 86 percent of previous guests have.
If you own or manage Cherokee Park Ranch, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.