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“Good Times at a Lovely Ranch”

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Rainbow Trout Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
La Quinta
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Good Times at a Lovely Ranch”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

My mother, sister, and I enjoyed Rainbow Trout Ranch several years ago. The lodge is so beautiful and the food was fantastic. We especially loved our delicious breakfasts of melt-in-your-mouth pancakes and creamy scrambled eggs ;>) ! We also liked the free-choice seating during mealtimes as opposed to assigned seating at some other dude ranches. Some of our highlights included the line dancing, last-day rodeo in which guests participated and wranglers showed off their equestrian skills, and the performing guest musician. We were there to RIDE, so we appreciated Jane's attention to detail in terms of matching us with suitable, quality horses that were not plugs. The scenery was very beautiful, however, we were surprised that the rides were not more rigorous and varied. We spent most of our week riding on maintained forestry roads, or weaving through the same meadows, riding mostly nose to tail, with frequent breaks. In retrospect, it seems like the perfect ranch for beginning riders as Jane is an excellent teacher and horsewoman. Future guests should keep in mind that this ranch felt a bit like a Christian summer camp. Cabins are set closely together, many children run about the property, and the young college-aged wranglers and wait staff with whom we interacted openly discussed their faith during dining and trail rides. Those traits surely appeal to some, but perhaps not so much to others. Although this ranch may not have been the perfect fit for us, we still had a wonderful time in a very pretty setting.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank RoadTrippin007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VisitRTR, Head Wrangler/Part of Owner Family at Rainbow Trout Ranch, responded to this review, August 29, 2013
Thank you for your kind words about the ranch--it is a special place to say the least. I do apologize for the fact that we obviously didn't get you onto some of our advanced rides. Our riding program is very strong and we have tremendous variety with everything from gentle meadow rides to truly advanced rides--in fact we were voted the Dude Ranch with the Best Horseback Riding in the 2013 Signature Ranch Awards. Many guests remark that our riding is the best they've come across in all the ranches they've visited. We do take short breaks on our rides--we've found that it adds to our safety-first attitude and gives folks a chance to stretch while their horses graze and relax. And while we have a wonderful safety record, we still have fun and spectacular riding with plenty of loping and other adventures, as well as mosey rides for those who prefer that. As far as being a Christian ranch, we certainly don't bill ourselves as such although we are very selective in our hiring process, handpicking each staff member based on strong values and integrity. Some of our cabins are indeed relatively close together (although we do have some more secluded cabins) and during the summer months, we do have lots of families with children who find it a refreshing change to roam at will with complete safety. Each week in the summer becomes one big family, and our 65% plus return rate is a testament to that. I am so glad that you enjoyed yourself even though it wasn't the perfect fit for you. By the way, if we had the rodeo when you were here, we were still in our summer season. I would highly recommend that you come in the "Adults Only" time given some of your thoughts and comments--and we would certainly love for you to come again so that we can expand upon your previous visit. Or we can certainly suggest some other ranches that might suit you better. We do want everyone to have the perfect dude or guest ranch vacation for them. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please never hesitate to call or email us directly if questions or comments. Sincerely, Jane Van Berkum
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2013

Our family of four – at that time our girls were 8 and 13 years old at the time – discovered RTR 13 years ago, and since then we would not go anywhere else for summer vacation. Over the years, we have had various family members join us there – the oldest 79 and the youngest 2 years old. We’ve had experienced horseback riders, crappy horseback riders, non-riders by inclination or medical reasons, fishermen and non-fisherman, and people who swore they would never – ever – in a million years line dance (but did) – and every single one of us has had a great time, every time.

The ranch itself is a gorgeous old wooden structure (the largest in Colorado at one time) with open fireplaces that Doug has blazing every morning, and the most fabulous wide wooden porch with rockers and chairs set to look down into the valley; one of my favorite sounds in the world is the clomping of kids in cowboy boots running up and down that porch on the way to their latest adventure (peanut butter and jelly ride? S’mores with Doug by the river? Fishing with the Buckaroo’s counselors?). The horse program is phenomenal, with excellent horses well matched to the riders (of all levels), personable and experienced wranglers, and incredible scenery to trot around in. Our kids (and nephews and nieces) loved the kids programs (three groups covering 3-19 year olds – though I caught my 21 year old playing capture the flag with the teens one night) and have made lifelong friends through them. The food is hearty ranch fare, with fresh bread rising by the breakfast fire and cookouts at the river and by the pool. And the evening activities – dances, cookouts, sing-alongs – are a blast for all ages.

What really makes this the vacation you need to reserve NOW are the people who run the ranch, the Van Berkums, and the outstanding staff they put together each year. Doug and Linda bought the ranch 20 years ago and are the heart and soul of the place. Doug is a true cowboy in spirit and bearing and is a hero to every kid who has stayed there (and not a few of us adults). He takes special time with the kids, teaching them old western songs and ferrying them around in his many horse drawn wagons. Jane and David – joined by their three kids Mary Ann, Caroline, and Derek -- run the horse program with care and skill – plus they are in the thick of all the other fun things going on at the ranch, from calling the square dances to judging the weekly rodeo.

I feel so lucky and blessed that our family has been able to spend so many summers stacking up the memories at RTR – memories of a true western experience – and claiming membership (at least for a week) in the Van Berkum clan. We’ll be back for as long as they will have us!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kate S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marble Falls, Texas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2013

My husband, two kids (8 and 6), and I just returned from our first trip to RTR. We had a wonderful, wonderful time. The programs are set up so that there is plenty of time to pursue your individual wants and have lots of quality family time as well. Though I had pretty limited horseback riding experience, I was able to join the advanced group after two days -- some very fun loping and also excellent instruction. Even the cowpokes (ages 6-12) got to lope. Everyone is assigned a horse when they arrive to ride all week long, and both the kids (and I) fell in love with "our" horses. The Conejos River truly delivered, too. Lots of great fishing to be had with beautiful rainbow trout and brown trout. A mile and a half of river that you are free to explore at any time. They have rods and reels you can borrow, but I recommend bringing your own gear since some of the free gear wasn't in very good shape (the fishing program is not at the level of the amazing horseback riding program). We had our own gear short one rod and mostly used fake salmon eggs at dusk and dawn. RTR does an excellent job hiring college-aged, mostly college-attending, staff who are personable, helpful, intelligent, and interesting to get to know. This made the dances, meals, breaks, and walking portions of the horseback riding even more fun. Finally, the location is STUNNING. The pictures just don't do it justice. The food was great, too. So fun to not plan meals for a full week and still have tasty and healthy options. Our cabin was very cool -- one of the old ones but very comfortable and spacious and set apart from the other cabins, so lots of privacy. Twice, large does walked right by our cabin and bunnies and chipmunks and several bird species were everywhere. My only recommendation that I had for RTR at our trip's end was to upgrade their mattresses on the larger beds (that adults use). Some of the cabins are newer, so not sure this advice would apply to other cabins or not. All in all, there's no question we're satisfied. As we drove away, my 6-year-old teared up and said, "I can't believe we're leaving paradise. I wish I could turn back time by one week." We'll be back!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank SmilingToday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, Oregon
Level Contributor
136 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed August 17, 2013

From the moment you drive up to the lodge you will not believe the world you have entered! The rustic, huge lodge complete with wrap around porch and fireplace is where you will also dine each day. The food is very good, served by college students who work on the ranch to make money for the next year of college. All of the workers are so friendly!!! Line dancing night is a blast! But wait, it gets even better! The horseback riding is out of this world! I have ridden for 5 years and was able to go on some of the most advanced riding I've ever done including riding in the river which I loved! They have over 100 horses that are beautifully taken care of, so they have the perfect horse for your riding ability and will take you on a ride for your comfort level. Seemed like heaven riding through the Aspen Cathedral with a super friendly wrangler leading the way!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Anne W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We couldn't have had a more perfect trip than to Rainbow Trout Ranch. We had such a good time that our kids asked if we could return again next summer (and we plan on it!). There are so many things we could say about what made the ranch special, but the biggest factor was that the staff (every single member!) was incredibly welcoming, friendly and accommodating. It is a family owned ranch (and they own all the horses) and they take pride in making it a fabulous place to vacation. Because the ranch is only able to accommodate around 15 families each week, we came to know most of the other guests and enjoyed time with each of them, too. Our kids spent a large part of the time with the Cowpokes program and LOVED their wranglers, as well as enjoyed making new friends. The horses were wonderful and the kids loved that they had their own horse for a week. Other great aspects included: the homestyle cooking was yummy, the views were gorgeous, and the facilities were very clean and spacious. While horseback riding was the highlight of the trip, we also very much enjoyed fly fishing, hiking, archery and evening activities at the lodge (dancing/sing-a-longs). If you go, we are sure you won't be disappointed!

Room Tip: Request a cabin close to the lodge to have less distance to walk.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Holly H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwood, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 8, 2013

After visiting several other Dude Ranches the RTR was the absolute best that we've ever been to. A group of 15 of us from the Center Riding Club, Massena New York could not have been more pleased with the entire vacation. The lodging was great, the food was fabulous, the staff were very accommodating and professional. The string of horses at the RTR are the best we've seen. Doug, Linda, Dave and Jane have so much to be proud of at this ranch. Their hearts are totally involved in the operation of this business and there is no doubt that they appreciate every guest that chooses to spend their valuable vacation time at their ranch. We will definitely be returning and would encourage anyone who is looking for the perfect Dude Ranch vacation to spend your time with the staff at the RTR. You won't regret your decision. We would like to send a BIG note of thanks to Van Berkum family and their RTR staff for an amazing vacation. No one has checked our cinch, adjusted our stirrup's or fixed a meal like we enjoyed at the Ranch since our return. Any chance you'd lend out a few of your terrific wranglers and send them up to Northern New York? You guys ROCK. :)

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Randy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lexington, Kentucky
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Our first visit to Rainbow Trout. We have been to several other western ranches. Rainbow Trout lives up to its billing as a great ranch. Management is superb, friendly and fun. Great horses, cabins, food and staff. Plenty of great places to ride and you can certainly do more than nose to tail riding. The faster rides are smaller in group size and plenty of chances for loping. While you may go there to only ride, the on property river is full of rainbow trout and they are fun to catch. We were not experienced fishermen and women but we had no trouble reeling some in. Plenty of other activities to break up the non stop riding adventures. A great family ranch, the children's program is well planned and staffed. Can't go wrong with a stay at Rainbow Trout Ranch.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank millskysec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rainbow Trout Ranch

Property: Rainbow Trout Ranch
Address: 1484 Fdr 250, P.O. Box 458, Antonito, CO 81120-9303
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Colorado > Antonito
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Antonito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spectacular guest ranch set at 9000' in the southern Colorado Rockies. Superb riding and fishing, fun kids' and teen programs, evening activities, trapshooting and more. The adventure of a lifetime. Share our special brand of western hospitality and see why folks keep coming back for more! Member of all accredited associations, Horse Safety certified. Top Ten Dude Ranch. Signature Ranch. All-inclusive, and exclusive. Wonderful experience in every way. Come share it with us! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rainbow Trout Ranch Hotel Antonito

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