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“Never going back!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Elkhorn Lodge and Guest Ranch

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Elkhorn Lodge and Guest Ranch
600 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517   |  
Hotel amenities
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Never going back!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012 via mobile

We recently purchased a living social deal for a 1 1/2 hour horse ride and steak dinner for my husband and myself and my sister and her husband. Upon arrival we thought the place had a rustic charm that quickly disappeared. The man at the front desk was friendly and helpful but that is where the good part ends. We were instructed to go to the stables to check in a pick out our horses. We were ignored by the at least 5 people at the stables who were too busy laughing about some poor woman who recently fell off a horse during a ride and hit a rock upon impact or the two guys sitting there also ignoring us while they tried pick the lock on a padlock. Finally a girl with a broken arm had us sign some paperwork and said dinner was back up at the lodge and walked away. We didn't get to pick horses instead we watched some poor dog running around with an injured paw.

We waited in a fly infested room for our dinner. The steak dinner was nearly an hour late and nothing special that is for sure I didn't even finish my food. We went to use the restroom before the ride and none of the toilets would flush, there were no doors on the stalls just curtains that did not provide much privacy and a bottle of dish soap was perched on the sink next to the broken soap dispenser.

There were no safety instructions given at the stables and we were quickly loaded onto the horses and sent on our way. The ride lasted about 30 mins not anywhere near the promised 1 1/2 hours. Just as we were getting close to the stables one of the guides on the ride came along side of us and his horse stepped onto a part of the barbed wire fence which made a noise that startled a few of the horses including mine. Myself and one other rider were thrown from the horses and hit the ground hard. The employees stood around staring at us while other riders had to act and get us help. We were both taken by ambulance to the local hospital. I am out of work for who knows how long and in so much pain. I am not sure how the other rider is doing but I overheard doctors telling her she needed to go to a different hospital due to the severity of her injuries.

No one from the lodge has called to see how I am doing or if they could help in anyway. I think this place is rundown, has staff with poor attitudes and is unsafe.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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111 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012

My husband and I had the enjoyment of staying at the Elkhorn Lodge and Guest ranch Aug 14th - 17th 2012 and I will say it was awesome!! I knew this facility was to be rustic and the only expectations I had was that it would be quiet, relaxing and friendly. I was beyond happy with the way we were treated by all the staff both in the lodge and the stables. Some of the things I liked best....there are animals here...dogs, bunnies, roosters, a pig, donkeys, ponies and horses (I LOVE animals :-) it is NOT the Hilton and does not FEEL like that. This place feels like comfort, peace and family!! We did go horse back riding 2x while being here. The 1st was the steak dinner and trail ride. I thought the steak was amazing and the beans were great!! The trail ride was beautiful. I grew up in Minneapolis, MN and currently reside in St Paul, MN so the views here are breath taking!! Anyone can easily see these horses are fun and well loved!! The 2nd trail ride was PERFECT. My husband and I had the opportunity to go out on a ride just us and the wrangler. I told my husband on the way home it was the best hour of my life!! I laughed so much my stomach hurt. I would and have recommended Elkhorn to my friends and family. We have vacationed in New York state and city, San Francisco, Ca and Colorado. My overall experience with people in Colorado was truly amazing. I will be returning to Colorado and the Elkhorn Lodge for my next vacation.

Room Tip: We had the Honeymoon suite. Room 14, the balcony is really nice for sitting and unwinding. Being in...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012

We stayed at the main lodge, and the room was nice, definitely not a 5 star hotel nice, but nice enough to feel comfortable and cozy. The staff was extremely helpful and people suggested good places around town to eat and good attractions to go to. The horseback riding was also great. We went on a 90 minute tour and the sites were awesome and you also get a bunch of fun facts, our guide, Jason, was very friendly and nice and made the ride a great experience. Would definitely recommend this to others!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Denver, Colorado
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

Before my wife and I came here we had read some reviews about the rudeness of the staff and were a little bit nervous. However, everyone we encountered was very pleasant to us. Remember that most of the staff are legitimate ranch hands, not bell-hops from the Hilton. Highly recommend the horse-back riding and chuck wagon dinner to complete the whole 'old west' experience. We even saw two HUGE bull elk roaming the property. (see photo). The cabins are small but charming and clean (see photo). Downtown Estes is an easy 5 minute walk from the property. To summarize, bring your cowboy hat, an open mind, and have a good time.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Westminster, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

We had a great time at the Elkhorn. Quiet surroundings, clean sheets and towels, rustic charm of the Old West. I half expected cowboys to come strolling out of the main lodge on their way to a roundup. I loved sitting on the front porch of our tiny 1 room cabin, listening to the wind in the trees. This isn't resort accommodations, it is Estes Park of the past, preserved for the too-fast paced traveler to stop and see how things were in a simpler time. The dining room had a very hearty breakfast spread, and it was fun to see the staff all duded up for wrangling, with spurs on! I will stay here again and recommend it to others.

Room Tip: The cabins are basic and rustic. The location was very quiet, enough off the main drag that you coul...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
TheDoobers, Front Desk at Elkhorn Lodge and Guest Ranch, responded to this review, August 14, 2012
David,
We are happy to hear that your visit to our lodge was a pleasant one. It is true that one steps into the Estes Park of the past once at the Elkhorn Lodge and Guest ranch. It is wonderful that you found the time to slow down and enjoy our way of life here at the lodge. Thank you very much for the positive review and recommendations and we all look forward to your next visit.
Best Regards,

Elkhorn Staff
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Longmont, Colorado, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

I went on a 90 minute horseback ride with lunch. The lunch was a dry sandwich, a bag of chips, and a warm bottle of water. The ride itself was great. We were taken on hills going up and down and through the mountain--it was absolutely beautiful! However, the staff were not very friendly. One of the female ranchhands, was young and extremely unfriendly and RUDE. She made it so I didn't want to come back, but fortunately the girl who took us on the tour (Mallory) was much better!

By the way, if you are looking to stay here, they say they have a pool--maybe 50 years ago! Now it's just filled with dirt! The cabins are really cool and rustic though!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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.
Denver, Colorado
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012

I bought the living social deal for the 2 nights in a cabin ($105) for a weekend trip from Denver. I read the reviews here on TripAdvisor 2 nights before coming and briefly considered cancelling due to some of the experiences people wrote about!

But we were glad we went. The front desk was not overly friendly nor informative, but I wasn't expecting much. There was some girl standing by the front desk, who I guess worked with the horses, burped the whole time we checked in, but whatever. If that was the worst I had to endure, I was okay with that. We had a little one room cabin which was clean, but old. I was expecting hell, but was pleasantly surprised. The bathroom, especially the shower, left a lasting imprint on me. The shower was just about as awful as you could get. The boyfriend describes the water pressure like a "light drizzle". Luckily, this was as rough as it got.

The balcony was cute and nice to sit outside with a beer after exploring Estes Park. The cabin had good lighting and outlets and lots of room to throw all of your stuff. The windows opened and the screen door was great. I would recommend curtains on the cabin windows. I guess I'm just scared of weirdos, but the lace curtain on the window wasn't working for me.

We had a decent night's sleep the first night, and we hit up the lodge for breakfast around 8:00. The lodge needed a solid cleaning, and the gift shop was literally hilarious. Toy guns and a weird painting, and a lot of empty space. There was a cute little bar that seemed unused, but could've been nice to have a drink at the end of the night. The dining room was really big and mostly sad. I think if someone could put some money and TLC into this place, it could be really great. The dining room needs a complete overhaul, starting with the green tablecloths. Yikes. But it has potential! Breakfast was breakfast, they had a hot breakfast and decent options, but sparse at times. I waited until after we had ate for them to bring eggs out. And the OJ was never refilled during our meal. But it filled our bellies and the coffee was decent.

Next, we headed over to the stables for a horseback ride. There is absolutely no one in charge of this place. The girl at the front desk acted like she expected me to just know what needed to be done to pay her and go get on a horse. She was rude and not friendly at all. People starting milling around, and hanging out with the animals. We got to meet 6 or 7 horses and one of the ladies in the barn was nice and told us their names and what kind of horses they were. They also had adorable little collie puppies, a pig, and some rabbits. We stood around for a while with zero direction from anyone until finally some girl walks up and quietly asked us to group together by trip time. She asked about 6 out 30 people to do this, so most of the people continued standing around. Then she asked everyone to go stand on the porch. I was slightly worried if she was going to be the one taking me up a mountain on a horse. She quickly assigned us horses and we all stood by ours until someone came around and helped us on. Our guides, luckily not the girl, were super nice, friendly, knowledgeable, and talkative. The horseback ride was beautiful and 90 minutes is the perfect amount of time. The horses were great and looked well taken care of. This was our favorite part of the trip.

The grounds were kind of sad, with a filled in pool, empty hot tub and a "volleyball court". We did get to see some elk snacking near the sign when you drive in on our way out. This was pretty cool! Check out was uneventful, just handing the guy the key and said thanks.

Oh, and I can't forget Jack Jack! Jack Jack was the sweetest miniature donkey ever. They had a rest area for some horses near our cabin and Jack Jack was a regular here. He was adorable, and let me sit and pet him forever. I wanted to take him home!

Overall, I'd recommend a cabin, it seems a lot of people with bad experiences stayed in the lodge, so maybe a cabin is worth the increase in price. It was basic and rustic, but all you do is sleep there, so you don't need much! We'd go back!

But seriously, owner, if you are reading this: it's time for some upgrades! This place could be seriously amazing with some money put into it! I'd also recommend making Jack Jack your mascot! He was the best!

Room Tip: Get a cabin!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.

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Additional Information about Elkhorn Lodge and Guest Ranch

Address: 600 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517
Location: United States > Colorado > Estes Park
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #70 of 73 Specialty lodging in Estes Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Elkhorn Lodge is the oldest continuous operating lodge in the Rocky Mountain region and is the most historical property in Estes park. Dating to 1874 when Reverend McCreary from Ft. Collins built a small summer cabin on what was to become the Elkhorn property, to today's struggles to save and restore this jewel of the West, the Elkhorn Lodge has been and continues to be a major part of Estes Park. With a fully functioning main lodge, cabins galore, and several spacious buildings for large parties, there's accommodations for any and all at the Elkhorn Lodge and Ranch. And Don't forget about the horseback riding! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Elkhorn Lodge And Guest Ranch Hotel Estes Park

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