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“Worth every penny !”

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Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch
Reviewed August 30, 2013

We have been all over the world and I can truly say, hand on heart, that this is one of the best vacations we have ever had. We flew in from the UK and, due to the school holidays, flights were extortionate, so the ranch had a lot to live up to in terms of our expectations and meeting our "value for money" criteria ; we were not disappointed.

From the very first moment of our arrival, we were greeted with such a warm welcome that we felt like we were amongst old friends and not strangers. Waking to the sounds of the river and the horses coming along the road each morning was such a treat, and the food ....well let's just say that my waistband was much tighter when I left, than when I arrived thanks to chef Eddie's Southern cooking !

The ranch is not so big that you feel lost in a crowd, and not so small that you feel crowded - the balance is perfect. The staff are so great and nothing is too much trouble. It was our wedding anniversary during our visit, and we came back to our cabin that evening to find a bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us - what a lovely surprise !

And what about the horses ? My daughter rides 4 times a week and has done so for the last 10 years - she LOVED it. My husband used to ride all the time when he was in his teens, but hasn't spent much time on a horse since then - he LOVED it. I've never been on a horse in my life - I LOVED it. Every ability is catered for, from very young to very old. There were two families of 3 generations staying during our week with ages ranging from 6 months to over 70 and there was something for everyone.

Jerry & Cheri Helmicki run a wonderful place ; a place that feels so much like home that, when the time comes to leave, it is a truly emotional experience.
It will take us a while to save, but we will be going back - no doubt about that.

Room Tip: All rooms are lovely, but bring a heavy duty mosquito repellent as there are some mean little bloods...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank WhereUBin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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49 - 55 of 114 reviews

Reviewed August 19, 2013

My husband and I just spent a week at Bar Lazy J with our grown children and their families including grandchildren ages 7-10. We were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and it was one of the happiest times of our lives. We agree with everything that has been written about Jerry and Cheri's wonderful hospitality, the beauty of the area, the stress free ambiance, the comfortable accommodations, the plentiful food, the best horse program we have ever participated in, the variety of activities that kept 9 of us totally happy for the entire week and the fun children's programs. What I would like to elaborate upon is how wonderful this was for 9 of us with different ages and interests. It was perfect for my husband and I because we could share the time with our family, but they could do what they wanted, not what we chose for them. It was perfect for our adult children and their spouses because they could pursue their activities and know their young children were cared for and happy. It was perfect for the young children because they had peers with whom to interact and activities at their level. The ranch is a very safe place so children could take off for the playground or game barn on their own. Children today usually do not have this freedom in their home cities. The week we were there the children became good friends with each other and by the 3rd day were choosing to eat at their own table in the dining room - it was fun for them and allowed their parents time for adult conversation. And yet, it was total fun to share with the children some unique experiences like a rafting trip on the Colorado, a breakfast horse back ride, line dancing, a family hike, soaking in the hot tub, playing a game of tetherball and much more. This week gave all of us an opportunity to grow. I had done horseback riding before, but was never totally comfortable with horses. At Bar Lazy J I met my horse for the week the first night. We grew together as we learned to communicate with Cheri's outstanding instruction, fun rides and my opportunity to lead my horse through the obstacle course on the last day. I am still glowing to know that I learned to build a relationship with my horse enough to accomplish this - something I thought I'd never be able to do. I am also glowing from the yelp of joy that emanated from my 7 year old grandson on the last day when he successfully completed leading his horse through a figure 8 during the barrel race. This little boy had never ridden a horse before coming to the ranch so you can imagine how this accomplishment boosted his self esteem and confidence. I would like to conclude by showing how this was such a perfect place to come with 9 people of different ages - on the last morning the children had their fun activities and among the 6 adults we did 4 different rides or activities. It was a way for us to be together and still do the things we wanted to do. Our week at Bar Lazy J was truly a perfect time in our lives.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled on business
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6  Thank Myrnalee s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Our family headed to the Bar Lazy J to fulfill my lifelong dream of spending a whole week riding and being out in the mountains. We had pretty high expectations, and as we turned onto County Road 3 I thought to myself "I hope I haven't set myself up for disappointment" --
I can safely say that Jerry, Cheri, and the rest of the staff exceeded every expectation we had for our stay. From the first meal (Eddie's amazing pot roast) to the last goodbye (who knew we would end up with so many new friends??) we had a truly wonderful time.

I was very impressed with the quality of the horse program. Cheri works hard to keep her string of horses fresh and happy throughout the season, and it shows. She does a great job instructing guests in everything from basic riding skills to finer points of horsemanship. We also really enjoyed the new Challenge Course, with obstacles to test our riding skills.
It was clear that a lot of thought goes into matching the right horse with each guest, as my husband, daughter, and I were very happy and comfortable with our mounts for the week.

The food was every bit as good as the reviews say. Go hungry! And don't worry about eating a lot -- you'll work it off on rides, hikes, fishing, and rafting trips. We didn't try the zipline but we heard the whoops of enjoyment from those who did. Things not to miss: whitewater rafting, hikes with Cheri, Jerry's High Country ride, and all the fun evening activities. Especially the side-splitting staff show!

We can't wait to get back to the Bar Lazy J.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank ZiggyInSB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

"What a Wonderful World" The Bar Lazy J is everything I expected and more! Jerry, Cheri and all the staff made me feel so comfortable. I travelled alone for the first time ever and I was well taken care of. Riding, hiking, dining and the Zipline are all outstanding. I enjoyed every minute. I will be back next year.

Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
4  Thank janet k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2013

We just completed visit number seven to the Bar Lazy J. 32 of us had an awesome family reunion! This is an perfect venue for any event. Jerry, Chery and the staff make sure everyone has a great time. We are scheduled for visit number 8 in 2015!!

Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
4  Thank CaptAA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2013

The Bar Lazy J reminds me of summer camp when I was a child, but much, much better. I agree with all of the other reviews and that I thought I'd try to answer questions I had about going to a Dude / Guest Ranch.

The Bar Lazy J has rustic style cabins that can accommodate guests from 2 - 10. Our family took 3 cabins out of about 10 or so. They only take about 40 guests per week. Rooms do not have TV or internet access. The main lodge does have free WiFi but the signal is limited. Every cabin has nice, clean sheets, bedding , bathrooms. Daily maid service makes and turns down beds, refills ice chests, etc. Each cabin has its own screened in porch. Most of the cabins are directly on the Colorado River. No A/C because you don't need it. There are heaters. Weather for mid-July was around 80 during the day and 45 degrees (F). The mosquitos are RIDICULOUS. Deet Spray will be necessary and they do sell it. Don't kid yourself like I did and think, oh they can't be that bad. Oh yes, they can. You need jeans. And a sweater/jacket.

Activities: (which make it like a summer camp). At the beginning of the week you are given a detailed outline of available activities. Horseback riding is the main activity, however there are other options like Fly fishing, hiking with Cheri (owner), relaxing by the river, pool, hot tub or getting a massage. Many activities are on a schedule and most are free. For example, Wednesday is Zipline day at a set time. There are typically 2 horse rides offered per day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) but you get to choose each time if you want to do a scenic (walking horse), adventure, challenge OR a full day extended ride. My hubby had never been on a horse and the instruction and guidance from the wranglers, made him comfortable and a good rider by weeks end. You are matched with your own horse for the week. They have over 80 horses and Cheri matches each person to their horse based on the paperwork you fill out before you arrive.

Meals are also on a schedule.
The morning bell rings at 7:30 to let you know breakfast starts at 8. lunch is at 1, Dinner at 6. The bell is very summer camp like. It is rung to communicate throughout the day and keeps everyone on the schedule. Chef Eddie has developed a menu that I think would pleasing to most. Chicken Parm, Trout, Ribs, Mexican, Buffalo meatloaf, burgers, etc. Every night you get a choice of 2 or 3 things and NO REPEATS the whole week. If you don't like what is on the menu you can always get a sandwich. Lunch is buffet style. By the way, you are guest at the ranch and no places are "off limits". If you want a bowl of cereal at 10 am or a glass of lemonade, you help yourself to the kitchen. Cheri has a saying that if you are hungry or bored, she gives up. This is certainly true. You can bring in your won alcohol - beer, wine, cocktails...whatever you want. This one thing that they do not provide (except at the cocktail hour once during your stay). We also brought a few snacks for the kids (chips and granola bar). Besides the Amazing bottomless cookie box, and fruit, there is not a lot of "snacking" choices. You don't really need them because another huge meal is only a ring away.

They have a laundry room for guest with detergent for free and open the entire stay.

There is evening entertainment every night and different each night. Campfire, western music , staff "variety show", line dancing (with instructions), etc. Around 9 things wind down. Everyone is usually tired from all of the activities. But the hot tub is open 24-7, so a light night soak looking up at the stars is a must. But don't feel like you have to turn in, we hung out on our porches having a night cap or two.

I was a bit skeptical of how this experience would be, I'm a bit of a city girl and like TV and internet, but also love nature. I am now a huge enough fan. Cheri and Jerry (owners) have this down to a science. They are efficient, organized and welcoming. They have a wonderful staff of young adults (just out of college) that go out of their way to make sure your time with them is a real vacation. They all go out of your way to make your vacation exactly what you want.

About the children's program: it is EXCEPTIONAL. The staff are attentive, kind and keep your little ones busy pretty much all day every day (except meal time). The children feed the rescue horses and donkeys 2 x's a day, swim in pool, make tie dye shirts, go horseback riding, play games, etc. They will not be bored. And parents can join the children's rides and activities at any time. They even have a program for little ones babies/toddlers.

But if you get a bit too dusty and your sore from riding, Parshall isn't as far from civilization as you might think. Less than an hour away is Winter Park with a little shopping and a variety or restaurants (Mexican, sushi, etc). Steamboat Springs is about 1.5 hours and Grand Lake is about 1 hour. the western slope of the Rockies provide postcard pictures at all times, they'll take your breath away (or is that the high altitude?)

It seems a lot of guests are multigenerational, Grandparents bring their adult children and their children. That was true in my case as well. The price may make it out of range for many. But remember, it is all inclusive.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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7  Thank KLB12309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013 via mobile

We just finished our first and not last trip to the Bar Lazy J ranch. My two kids (ages 11 and 13) said that this was the best vacation ever. They have been lucky enough to go to disneyworld and Disney cruise multiple times and this was better. Best owners that I have ever met. Great staff, cabins were perfect, only 50 feet to the Colorado river. Food was excellent. Road horses twice daily. My kids even learned to trot and lope. Could not have asked for a better vacation experience. Thank you Jerry and Sherri! We will be back next year.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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3  Thank Steve67670003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch

Address: 447 County Road 3, PO Box N, Parshall, CO 80468-8714
Location: United States > Colorado > Grand County > Parshall
Amenities:
Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Parshall
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Colorado's oldest continuously operating guest ranch is nestled in a peaceful valley along the beautiful Colorado River. Near Rocky Mountain National Park. Warm Western hospitality and delicious home cooked meals served in our historic lodge will add to your experience. Enjoy Gold Medal fishing, scenic horseback rides (all levels), jeep rides, mountain biking, guided hiking, river rafting, and sightseeing van trips. Extensive children's program, evening entertainment, recreation barn, and heated pool/jacuzzi. Listen to the Colorado River rush by in your private log cabin. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bar Lazy j Guest Ranch Hotel Parshall
Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch Colorado/Parshall

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