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“A Travel Writer's View - An Atypical Guest Ranch!”

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Vista Verde Guest Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 20, 2012

It is not surprising that guests travel from Europe and other places around the globe to visit Vista Verde, a luxury guest ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It also follows that Vista Verde’s guests tend to be iron-clad loyal—it seemed that nearly every guest I spoke with began his or her story with, “This will be our… (How long has it been, Honey?) … our tenth year visiting so far.” The ranch’s location is ideal and its staff, accommodations and food are outstanding.

The rustic, down-home ambiance is tempered by the quality of lodging and gourmet food. The most striking observation I made though, in my two wonderful visits so far, is the camaraderie between everyone here—staff to guest, guest to staff, staff to staff, and guest to guest. The Steak Ride is the perfect example of this.

As our horses neared the elaborate outdoor kitchen set up especially for the Steak Ride, I noticed I could just see the cluster of cabins and common buildings that comprise the main ranch area. From my viewpoint, they seemed to be huddled in the valley, but not dwarfed by the magnificence around them. The buildings fit—they belong here.

Guests came trotting in a few at a time and the staff offered us wine, homemade lemonade and shrimp cocktail as an appetizer. The smell drifting over from the grills nearly made us all melt--I can’t ever remember feeling so hungry in my life. We sat ourselves on long picnic tables and talked to keep our minds off of the yumminess soon to come. At Vista Verde, the staff members and guests mingle like a close family at a much-anticipated reunion. After lots of chatting, the dinner bell rang and we all got in line to dish up. The marinated steak was covered in an herb butter sauce, but would have still been stellar without it. All the sides that come to mind while thinking of cowboy grub were laid out, including corn that tasted like it was picked at its peak a half an hour earlier. For dessert, I managed to fit a homemade peach cobbler in my extra dessert stomach. Heaven. For entertainment, Ben’s dog kept a piece of juicy cow on his nose while we all marveled. The wonder dog became a salivating statue until he was finally given the okay to wolf it down.

After dinner, the staff stayed to clean up and a few guides took us on horseback at a relaxed, casual pace back to the ranch. I gave DB (my hourse) lots of love pats and let him know I appreciated that he did all the work and I had all the fun. Back at the ranch, the horses were put to bed and the people party began at the lodge. The ballad singing, story-telling and a slide-show presentation of the week’s activities put everyone in a great mood. After the party, I capped the night off with a pampering soak with my husband in our cabin’s hot tub while admiring the night sky. I can pass along from personal experience--you haven’t truly admired Earth’s view of space until you’ve seen every last square inch of black sky sprinkled in stars. I can also recommend the perfect spot for everything from a horse ride to star-gazing—Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado.

We've created a video review of our trip to Vista Verde with other helpful information. Watch it at YouTube.com/TravelbyLori.

Room Tip: Get a private cabin with hot tub. You'll love it.
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Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Lori M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 - 131 of 174 reviews

Reviewed March 3, 2012

My sisters and I just returned from our first vacation at Vista Verde guest ranch. I say first because we are already planning a return trip. We stayed in one of the guest cabins and the accommodations are first rate. We chose the all inclusive plan and it was an exceptional value for the money. The rates may seem a little pricey but when they say all inclusive, that is what you get. Once you arrive at the airport, everything is covered. The ranch provides free transportation from and back to the Hayden airport. All meals are first rate and included. They provide all the wine and beer your group desires (at no cost). Tipping is not allowed although you can add a gratuity when settling your bill. Those gratuities are shared with all staff. All activities and equipment are included. There are no equipment rental fees. We went snowshoeing, had expert instruction on Nordic skiing and Horses, enjoyed staff guided ski tours and trail rides and even shared some laughs while tubing down a mountain. Instruction and activities are available for all skill levels. You do not have to be an athlete to enjoy the ranch. Ranch staff will drive you into Steamboat if you want to downhill ski or shop. The ranch is located in a beautiful setting located about 45 minutes from Steamboat Springs. Did I tell you how good the food was? We enjoyed wonderful meals in a family style setting with a variety of choices available at each meal. My sisters and I just had the best time. The staff are amazing and so friendly. I just can't say enough about this experience. Vista Verde is a vacation of a lifetime.



  • Stayed: February 2012
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Thank Chibi1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2012

We stayed at VVR Feb 4-9, 2012. Words cannot describe how great a time we had. The amazing facilities are surpassed only by the incredible staff. From the moment we arrived we felt like family. We've made friends that I'm sure we will have for the rest of our lives. For the first time in our lives we learned how to ride horses the right way and had a blast at the same time (Thanks Terry!!). The days flew by, packed with activities (by choice) and the food was spectacular. Imagine waking up to the freshest air on the planet, hearing the horses whinnying in the fields, walking through beautiful powder snow to the lodge and then getting the biggest smile from one of the warmest faces you've ever seen as you sit down for a magnificent breakfast....that's just a glimpse of what this ranch is all about.

Room Tip: We stayed in a lodge room for one night and in a cabin for four. Both were fantastic.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2012

We had our first visit to Vista Verde Ranch over the holidays and all I can say is "WOW". I did all the research, and read all the reviews, so I had great expectations of the ranch. It didn't take long for us to realize everything that has been said about Vista Verde was true. Accommodations, staff, food and service are all top notch. And did I mentioned the food :) Outstanding! Thankfully the great selection of activities allowed for all of us to work off some of the daily gourmet meals.
Prior reviews mentioned the fabulous staff, again all true. They all go above and beyond to provide a fantastic experience.On the day several guests wanted to go tubing the hill was iced over and unsafe. We all expected the activity to be cancelled but instead the guys grabbed some snowmobiles, found another hill, and made us some new runs!!
We will have a hard time repeating this vacation-unless of course we return in the summer! That seems to be the case for many guests. It just takes one visit to Vista Verde Ranch and you are hooked.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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Thank BFAM4_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2012

No there's no yellow brick road, but there might as well be. We returned for our third Christmas vacation. Our daughter is fifteen and our son is thirteen and though cynicism creeps into nearly everything else their parents enjoy, Vista Verde has sidestepped their disenchantment. In fact, they're looking forward to our next visit, already scheduled. The food is excellent. The wine list is the same. (You don't need to buy bottles off the list because the wine served with the meals is quite good.) We did come across a Pinot that we especially liked on the list and indulged. Though the snow was sparse throughout Colorado, there was plenty at the ranch and within a short drive to support all our cross country skiing and snow shoeing expectations. Christmas at Vista Verde is nearly magical. A horse drawn hay ride to a cabin restored from the original ranch is a special evening. Hot mulled wine and hot cider wait and caroles are spread generously along the trail to and from the cabin. It's hard to imagine a better buffet on Christmas day and it's made even more special as the ranch hands join the guests for Christmas dinner. Check out the web-site and look at the large room and fireplace in the main lodge. I'm pretty sure it's the best room of its kind in the Rockies. The lodge supports nordic ski activities and there is plenty to do. The horse arena is one of the biggest and best in the West.
Finally, what makes this place special and trust me anyone who's been there more than once, or even once, will echo this sentiment, is the staff. There are lots of ranches. (We've been to seven others) but this is the only one we've returned to. It's because of the people who run it. They're present all the time, and they make all the difference. That and the hot tub on your front porch.

Room Tip: Any of the cabins are excellent. Big Agnes has been "rehabbed" and the master bedroom bath...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Donald P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2011

After a lot of research, we decided on Vista Verde Ranch for our honeymoon. The tipping point was how quickly Stephanie responded to my emails, and how personable and accommodating she was. She even helped me select the perfect cabin for our stay (and she was right!) From the moment we arrived, the trip was perfect. I love the laid back, family atmosphere of the ranch, and especially love that every single employee knew our name and was quick to welcome us. Our cabin (Dome) had a wonderful view of the horse pasture, and was as homey as can be. The basket of snacks was perfect, and we especially loved the gift of chocolate covered strawberries and champagne from the housekeeping staff!

I cannot say enough great things about the staff. They truly want you to enjoy your time on the ranch, and we had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone! They are an amazingly talented, kind, hardworking group of people who truly go above and beyond. I loved sharing meals with all different members of the staff, and even the owners of the ranch!

The food is to die for. Just when I didn't think it could get better, it would! You will never go hungry, whether it be breakfast on the trails, a huge lunch buffet, gourmet dinner and cookies in the lodge! Plus, a fully stocked cabin!

Activities were amazing. We went horseback riding every day, and did the cattle drive 2 days. We also went mountain biking (Steve is amazing) and I took a private yoga class (Kelly is awesome!) I don't have enough space to detail just how amazing the activities are.

Vista Verde TRULY is all- inclusive, there is absolutely nothing that we did that was not included. I felt that it was such an incredible value- if we had added everything up that we did, the trip would have cost double anywhere else. Absolutely worth it.

Vista Verde, thank you for making our honeymoon absolutely special, and the trip of a lifetime. We are already planning our return trip!!!

Room Tip: Dome cabin- great for couples! Although, they are all amazing, you can't go wrong.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank JLEinCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2011

We just finished another family vacation at Vista Verde, and once again, it was the best. The term "guest ranch" is really not accurate. By the end of the week, you're not a "guest" at Vista Verde, you are a member of the family. That's the feeling you get from the staff. They are welcoming, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, anxious to please, and very easy to get to know. And by sharing experiences, you build real, lasting relationships with your fellow guests. There are several families we've met that we stay in touch with throughout the year. And yes, Vista Verde is very much a "ranch", with horses and cattle, but it is so much more. The scenery is majestic - arresting really. You will find yourself stopping just to stare at the views (bring your camara). The variety of activities is almost overwhelming - it's hard to choose and hard to fit everything you want to do into one week. The accommodations are first rate - the cabins are beautifully decorated and lavishly appointed. The food is not what you saw in "City Slickers" - it's like what you see in gourmet restaurants.

While the price may seem steep, when you consider all that you get for your money, Vista Verde is bargain. It really is worth every penny. If you are looking for unique, fun, active, memorable vacation spot, this is it. If Disneyland were a "guest ranch", it would be Vista Verde. I truly think Vista Verde is "the happiest place on earth".

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Stepstool1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vista Verde Guest Ranch

Address: 58000 Cowboy Way, Clark, CO 80428
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Colorado > Clark
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Clark
Price Range: $355 - $545 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vista Verde offers a diverse selection of activities making it more than just a riding ranch. Summer: hiking, rock-climbing, mountain biking and fly-fishing, trail riding and lessons. Winter: skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and snowy horseback rides. Secluded cabins feature private hot tubs and wood stoves, with gourmet dining, wine tasting and cooking classes adding to the experience. Creative childrens' program makes it enjoyable for everyone, with special times set aside for adult only escapes ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Vista Verde Guest Ranch Hotel Clark
Vista Verde Guest Ranch Clark, Colorado

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