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“As good as everyone else says”

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Black Mountain Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 7, 2011

Cannot fault anything.
We were a family of five, from England over for the tird week of august.
It was all very well executed and i would heartily recommend it to all.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank harridan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 19, 2011

We stayed at the Ranch in the first week of August, with two children (8 and 5). What can we say that the other reviews have not? Our kids thought it was the best holiday ever and we are inclined to agree.

We were put in a three bedroom cottage between the Saloon and Dining Hall, which was perfect as it meant little climbing up and down the hill. The accommodations were very good - rustic and simple, but comfortable. But you don't come here for the indoors.

Outdoors, our week ran as follows. Sunday afternoon was settling in, meeting everyone, watching the locals practice roping in the arena, trying our hands at lassoing and enjoying the welcome BBQ that night. Our week had 29 guests, mainly families with kids 8-13. This was a great number and the kids got on extremely well. Our two were often off playing around the Ranch for the rest of the week with the other kids. We also visited the Trading Post and we all borrowed pairs of cowboy boots for the week (much better for riding than anything else) and rented chinks for the week.

Monday morning, after a huge buffet breakfast, saw the introductory ride. We met our wrangler for the week (each family gets their own wrangler, which gives you continuity in experience and flexibility in choice) and horses for the week. They take a lot of time to match everyone up and get you comfortable saddled. The first ride was about 2-2.5 hours and allowed everyone to get settled and the wranglers to check experience levels. A lovely lunch followed before a few of us headed down to the shooting range. Great fun, especially for the kids. In the late afternoon, we grabbed our horses and rode up the mountain to a lake for a BBQ dinner. We had a little evening thunderstorm, but slickers were provided and it only added to the atmosphere. Once again, food was great, and the kids went nuts playing around and on the lake while the adults got to know each other. When then rode back down the mountain for drinks in the saloon.

On Tuesday they split the group into two, so they could run two separate nights at the overnight camp. I think they did this very well, putting together families which seemed to be getting on well. Our group consisted of three families with kids around the same age. On this day we went white water rafting while the other "team" went to the overnight camp. Rafting was lovely - beautiful weather and relatively easy rapids so everyone could participate. The raft ride itself lasts about 2.5-3 hours, so plenty of time on the water. That night we had a full service dinner in the dining hall before retiring to the saloon.

On Wednesday, we had the morning to ourselves. Each family could do as they pleased with their horses and wranglers. Some went fly fishing, some riding, some shooting and some relaxing. We went shooting again. After another enjoyable lunch, we saddled up and rode up to the overnight camp. The camp is a permanent fixture during the season. The tends have cots with thick sleeping bags and fitted floors. We enjoyed a hilarious campfire (Zombie Hobos!) and a great mexican meal, before s'mores. The kids played in the camp and explored the forest until they were dirty and tired.

On Thursday morning, we awoke at camp and enjoyed the early morning views and breakfast before riding back down to the ranch. Each of these rides, by the way, is between 1-4 hours depending on your interest. More experienced riders could take longer and more difficult routes, while others took more direct ways home. Arriving back in camp we had the rest of the day to ourselves (while the other "team" had their day of rafting). We grabbed our wrangler and went for a terrific 2.5 hour horse ride perfectly suited to our family. By this time, our 8 year old was guiding her own horse while our 5 year old was "ponied" (led on his own horse) by our wrangler. So we were altogether for the rides. That night, after another great dinner, a local muso came to provide free entertainment in the saloon.

On Friday, I went early for fishing on the Colorado river with our wrangler. When we got back, each family went for a picnic lunch ride with their wrangler. Destinations varied depending on what you wanted to do. We did a short ride to a nearby pond, enjoyed lunch and fished for trout in the pond (caught 7 in 15 minutes). In the afternoon, everyone was bussed into Steamboat Springs for a free night (shopping and dinner) and then the weekly rodeo. We sat as a group at the rodeo and took notes on the roping skills of the cowboys.

On Saturday, the entire group went out on the cattle muster. Once again, more experienced riders could go further and into more difficult areas, while our family (with the 5 year old) went to easier areas. But we all ended up shooing the cows down the mountain and into the arena. After lunch and a bit more lassoing practice, we went into the arena to attempt to catch calfs with the lasso. This was terrific fun - a true City Slicker moment. On our day, captured calves were being branded, so we got to do the whole shebang. Eventually, those who wanted to, could help push the cattle back onto the mountain. This was my favourite ride of the week as the wranglers gave us total free rein to take our horses as we saw and there was real teamwork among the guests to deal with these stubborn cows. After a quick shower, we all visited one of the owner's chalets for cocktails before back to camp for a final big dinner and dance in the saloon.

On Sunday, all the families departed. It was a brilliant week. I loved the schedule - a good mix of fixed events, but also time for flexible choices. Lots of flexibility for different levels of horse experience too. All the staff were terrific with our kids, particularly the 5 year old who was well looked after and included in everything. Food was uniformly great and the service, from every single staff member, was excellent. Our kids had the best time playing with animals (lots of dogs, plus a small petting zoo, not to mention horses and cows), being outdoors, fishing, shooting, rafting, camping, exploring and dancing. As adults, we loved the time with the kids but also the getting back to nature ourselves. Talk has already begun of returning in a few years. A brilliant experience for the family.

TIP: The Ranch is at 8,000 feet and at times you will ride to 9,000 or even 10,000 feet. The Ranch is also on the side of a hill, so it's a lot of walking up and down. We spent four days in Denver beforehand, which incidentally also helped us get used to the altitude. I would recommend spending a day or two in Denver (or elsewhere on the Colorado plateau) for a few days before the Ranch, especially if flying from overseas. If you flew directly overseas to the Ranch, the jet lag and altitude would be a lot to deal with in the first few days.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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10  Thank torking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2011

This was my second, and certainly not my last, trip to BMR. I am single and typically travel solo, and nowhere have I felt more welcome than at BMR. The May family adopts its guests and makes them part of the family. What do you want to do today? Short ride, long ride? Fast ride, slow ride? Like your horse? Need a different style? Want to just hang out? Interested in shooting? How about fishing? Want to learn how to rope? Feed the goats? It's up to you, the guest, to design your experience--and there's no way to go wrong! Everything is fun, but at the same time relaxing. And I don't mean that they assault you with questions--no one is in your face, it's all very laid back, it's all about enjoying the beauty of the ranch and the area and the people and the experience and just doing what you feel like doing.

I used to always travel overseas, usually doing walking holidays, but since going to BMR last year, I'm just not as interested. I want to go back to the ranch; and see Nowell et al and the fabulous wranglers like Jackie and Paige and Lee; and ride "my" horse; and help groom and doctor the horses; and watch the horses stampede in and out each day; and help feed the baby goats; and hang out in the saloon playing pool and shooting the breeze; and meet up with all my fellow guests at meals to hear how their day has been; and enjoy the fabulous food served up by Chef Kris and Sous Chef Brandon. You just can't go wrong. I'll be back next year, like clockwork.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled solo
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3  Thank river2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2011

Let me start by saying that I'm a Travel Agent, and have been in the business for 24 years. I've had the fortunate experience to have travelled all over the world with my family. We've done all the 'typical' family trips: Disney, Cruise, Carribean, Mayan Riviera, Europe, USA, Canada as well as some exotic stuff, like Africa, Tahiti...well, you get the idea.

It was time for a change! We have 2 children, 10 years and 11 years...boy and girl. We needed to 'unplug' and get dirty! Connect with each other, and connect with nature. We got all that, and MUCH MORE at Black Mountain Ranch.

It's all about the people folks! The wranglers (both boy and girl) at this ranch were incredible, and it's all because the owners, (who are on site) encourage a different sort of program at the ranch. For starters, the guests get to decide how they want to spend the day. Imagine that! We, the paying guests, got to choose each morning at breakfast....do you want to go for a short ride, a long ride? A fast ride, a slow ride? Do you want to go hunting for antlers? Do you want to go to the gun range? Strange concept, even to me.

There is just enough structure here..and just enough "what do you feel like doing today?". A perfect blend....

They took genuin interest in my children, making sure each child was excited about something each and every day! My daughter is an advanced rider, my son-well, he's never been on a horse in his life. We got to ride together as a family...and then they took my daughter out with a more advanced group, so that she could 'stretch her legs', (as they say) and challenge herself and her skills.

The cabin (we had #14, brand spanking new 3 bedroom) was fantastic. Beds and pillows were awesome.

The food, well, they have a real chef on staff! The food was excellent, every day! Wine with dinner....well, that was just civilized!

The overnight pack trip up into the mountains to camp out was fantastic. Dinner cooked on the open fire....then breakfast the next morning! Cots were very, very comfortable, and sleeping bags were warm and cozy!

Cook out at Jakes Lake was a blast...great steak dinner, and just kicking back and fishing.

One of the highlights was the White Water Rafting (included)....such incredible views, and what a great experience. I mean, common, rafting on the Colorado River...does it get any better than this.....I think not!

My kids made friends....they came back to our cottage and the end of every day covered in dust and dirt, with big smiles on their faces (only to be told to shower, this is when the groaning kicked in). I think the best measurement of the fun my kids had is this: NEVER once did I ever hear......"I'M BORED". The honest truth. No electronics, no TV, no phones, no computer, no electronic games in sight...and not once did that phrase that every parent dreads hearing crossed their lips!

We'll be back....that's a promise! (Or a threat, depending on how you look at it) :-)

Thanks for the fantastic family holiday, and to Nowel, for making us feel like family!

The Adams Family: Laura/Shayne/Julia and Tyler

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank WorldTravellerGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2011

Awesome, amazing, exceptional. Where do I begin? Black Mountain Ranch was bar none, the best vacation my son and I have ever experienced (and we've been to numerous national parks, the Canadian province of British Columbia, to scores of major U.S. cities, and dozens of stops in between). The team at Black Mountain Ranch became our adopted "family" after the first 24 hours. If you've never experienced a dude ranch, give it a try. You will not be disappointed, especially if the name of the ranch is Black Mountain Ranch. The scenery, the activities, the attention given to us by the ranch hands, the accomodations, the meals...all perfect. We enjoyed ourselves so much at Black Mountain Ranch, we're going back again in the summer of 2012! Rob & Stephen, Lodi, California

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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Thank rlechner12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2011

There are so many reasons I loved my trip to Black Mountain Ranch but here are my Top 5:
1.) The People: The staff adds so much to the whole experience. They've all got such an amazing and diverse backgrounds that it makes it fun to get to know each person! Their number 1 goal is to make sure you have a fantastic experience here.
2.) The Animals: Got kids?? They've got a ton of animals [horses, rabbits, chickens, ducks, alpacas, donkeys, dogs, baby goats, and texas longhorns] for the kids to interact with. This big kid had a blast playing with the dogs and feeding the baby goats every day.
3.) The Food: The food was amazing. Chef Kris is a graduate of California Culinary Academy [a Le Cordon Bleu school] and does everything she can to make sure that you leave full and happy.
4.) The Activities: Above and beyond the cattle drives and horseback riding you'd expect to do, you also get to stay at pack camp overnight [with fajitas & margaritas!], white water raft, skeet shoot, go to a rodeo, learn how to country line or swing dance, rope, fish, or hike.
5.) The Relaxation: I enjoyed the time I spent doing nothing but reading, napping, and talking to the other guests at the ranch. I loved the flexibility of doing as much or as little as you wanted to do each day.

I spent about a week here and it just wasn't enough time. I could have stayed another week to take advantage of everything the ranch had to offer.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Jenjenkay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2011

Tucked in the mountains of CO this place is amazing. We spent the week here with the family and made so many great memories. Horseback riding each day, knowledgeable and friendly staff, beautiful views, and AH-mazing food. If you're looking for a place to get away from it all - this is the place. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank DelOrganic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Black Mountain Ranch

Address: 4000 Conger Mesa Road, Mc Coy, CO 80463
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Colorado > Mc Coy
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Mc Coy
Price Range: $300 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come join us for a taste of the wild west. Your week long package includes lodging, all meals, unlimited horseback riding, an overnight pack trip, a longhorn cattle drive, whitewater rafting, fly and spin fishing, rifle and trap shooting, archery, a trip to a local rodeo and so much more! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Black Mountain Ranch Colorado

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