As my 4 year old said on her first trip to Lost Valley, "This is the BEST place EVER!" My parents took me to Lost Valley as a child in the mid1980s, and I was thrilled to take my own children there this summer for the first time. Very little has changed there in the last 25 years, which makes this such a memorable experience. Spending time at Lost Valley is like no other vacation you'll ever take. It's one of the only places left where you can feel free letting your children run free and allow them to experience freedom. After a week there the staff and other guests feel like your extended family. This ranch is on the American Plan, so your room, meals, horseback riding, and most other activities are included in the price--extras include fly fishing classes, massage, skeet shooting, and family photos.
Accommodations are in 1-3 bedroom cabins with ceiling fans. Each cabin is very homey and decorated with a western/cowboy/outdoorsy theme. The living area of each cabin contains a mini-fridge, fireplace (with plenty of wood supplied on the front porch), coffee maker, CD player, and 1-2 pullout sofas. Our family of five (kids ages 10, 7, and 4) fit very comfortably into a 1-bedroom cabin. The front porch swing was one of our favorite places at the ranch!
Meals were delicious and filling. The breads and desserts made by the on-site baker were incredible. The homemade raspberry jam was delicious! Breakfasts were cooked to order from a menu most mornings---eggs, omelettes, bacon, sausage, ham, pancakes, waffles, toast, hash browns, fruits, cold cereals, oatmeal, fresh breakfast bread (changes daily), yogurt, etc. Some lunches and dinners are served as buffets but most give you two plated options from which to choose. Don't like the choices? No problem--the kitchen staff is extremely accommodating and very flexible. There is a kids' menu from which the young ones can choose (unless they are at a separate kids' meal)--grilled cheese, burger, chicken fingers, etc. Our favorite meal by far was the barbecue dinner on Friday evening! If the meals don't fill you up, there is an old-fashioned soda fountain open throughout the day where you can get a milkshake, soda, candy, etc. to hold you over until the next meal.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, guests stay from Sunday to Sunday. A full children's (ages 3-12) and teens' program are run. During this time children can spend from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. with their "kiddie sups" most days, if you choose, or you can choose to have them with you. Morning and afternoon trail rides are taken most days (ages 6 and up) with an occasional afternoon off for tubing down Goose Creek or a swimming party. Thursday the kids take an all-day ride to a swimming hole. Most days there is also a separate supervised kids' lunch or dinner offered to allow parents some time for adult conversation. Children from age 3-5 can ride their horse around the corral and spend their days around the ranch property doing crafts and activities around a different theme each day. Despite no TVs or cell phone reception, our children were never at a loss for things to do. We've only been home for a few days, and they are already begging to return. There is also family-friendly nightly entertainment offered during the summer months--square dancing, melodrama & ice cream social, programs, etc. Babysitting is available, for an additional hourly fee, for children 2 and younger during the daily rides as well as on some evenings.
Adults can choose to ride on either or both morning and afternoon rides daily through the surrounding Pike National Forest. The surroundings are breath-taking! Despite the change in the scenery caused by the Hayman Fire of 2002, rides at Lost Valley are still amazing. (I almost like them better as you can see so much more now that the trees are gone.) If you are not a horse person, there are lots of other activities as well--numerous hiking trails (and some staff-led hikes), fly fishing classes, hot tubs, pool & sunbathing deck, a stocked fishing pond, etc.
The collegiate staff on site are like no other. They are exactly the type of people I want my kids to become--wholesome, well-mannered, responsible, hard-working! The level of care and interest they take in their guests is exemplary.
I cannot say enough good things about Lost Valley. It truly is a vacation not to be missed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lost Valley Ranch, Colorado's premier dude ranch, provides an unforgettable guest ranch experience for your Colorado family vacation. Recognized as the only Colorado ranch to receive AAA's Four Diamond rating for 40 consecutive years, it is no wonder Lost Valley Ranch guests keep coming back time and time again. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Lost Valley Ranch Hotel Sedalia
- Lost Valley Hotel
- Lost Valley Ranch Sedalia, Colorado