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Black Mountain Ranch – A Colorado Dude Ranch

by Deliciously Organic on July 20, 2011

Ever thought of getting away? Like completely away. No cell phones. No computers. Fresh mountain air. A safe place for the kids to roam. A place where families have fun together? I found a place like that and had the time of my life experiencing everything Black Mountain Colorado Dude Ranch has to offer.

I have to admit, a few of my friends gave me a hard time before I left for the week. “A dude ranch? Is that really your kind of thing?” I know, I’m more of a city girl. I do have a country girl inside trying to burst forth, and I wanted to try something completely different. I tossed my sundresses and sandals for jeans and cowboy boots, and this Colorado dude ranch brought out the country girl in me.

The ranch capacity is 40 people, so we got to spend the week with many other wonderful families. They divided everyone into groups and each was assigned a wrangler for the week. Our wrangler was Jessi – a sweet lady from Park City, Utah who was incredibly patient with my kids as we got up on a horse for the first time. The first day was a slow, steady ride getting used to the horses. These horses are trained well. Very well. The patient animals paid close attention and followed every signal we gave them.

The first day we spent getting used to our horses and easing into mountain life.

We had a few storms, but I didn’t mind. Watching the storms roll in over the mountains was magical.

The amazing Chef Kris fed the whole ranch. Her food could be served in any upscale restaurant in the country. Here’s just a sampling of some of the dishes she cooked up for us: lamb chops with sweet pea risotto, (heavenly) strawberry shortcake, seared scallops with succotash, fajitas, four cheese crustless quiche, and chicken caprese sandwiches.

We spent most evenings in the saloon where we found games for the kids, drinks for the adults and music and dancing for all. At 8pm the horses ran down through the center of the ranch, on the way to graze in the pasture. The kids enjoyed spotting “their” horse in the herd and we all enjoyed the spectacle.

The second day was one of our favorites. Jessi took Jenny, the kids and me up the mountain where we saw a herd of longhorn cattle and stopped for a picnic lunch. After lunch we headed for Jake’s lake. It’s stocked with trout, so we spent a couple of hours fishing and enjoying the fresh mountain air.

After riding in the saddle for hours, most of the kids would hop off and run over to the petting area where they could pet and feed baby goats, chickens, and a sweet little bunny.

We even had time for slack-lining. You basically try to walk across a rope tied between two posts. Andrew was the master at this one:

Midweek, we loaded into vans and headed for Glenwood Springs to raft the Colorado River. Our guide from the company Whitewater Rafting kept us safe as we all laughed down the roaring river.

On our last day we did a long (3 1/2 hour) ride up Black Mountain. Before leaving Chef Kris set up an amazing picnic outside. Sun shining. 75 degrees. A cool breeze. Perfection.

On our way up the mountain I couldn’t get over how brilliant the sky was that day. Our long journey took us to 10,000 feet at the top of Black Mountain.

After viewing the peak, we stopped at “pack camp” for dinner. As soon as we arrived, I happily sat down with a margarita and watched as Kris cooked dinner over the open fire, reflecting on the life-long memories made in a short week of mountain living.

The camp up in the woods even had a fancy restroom. They called it “The Loo with a View”.

Black Mountain Ranch was a magical place where as soon as we arrived everything was taken care of. If you’re looking for a little change, bring friends or family and see if your country side comes out. Or just drive to where the road ends, unplug, and enjoy the very best of the Rocky Mountains.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy Lean July 20, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I want to go RIGHT NOW!!! This looks like the best hols ever and I would love it with the kids – thanks for sharing.


Brooke @ Food Woolf July 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

What an incredible trip. Being unplugged is what it’s ALL about. Welcome home!


Gaby July 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm

sounds and looks like you guys had a blast!! can’t wait to hear more about it on Saturday! xoxo


Georgia Pellegrini July 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm

This looks magical. So glad you had an escape!


Marla July 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Carrie, I am hanging on each and every word in this post. Amazing experience you gals had at the ranch. Those Colorado mountains are addictive. That is why my heart is in Telluride. I must take an unplugged trip like this some day.


Molly Chester July 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm

WOW. That was my kind of vacation! Loved it! Everyone looks so happy. Great shots of the kids…


Sally Cameron July 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Looks fantastic Carrie. What a time and great memories for you all. Something about fresh air and mountains. My brother and family moved to CO a few years ago and they just love it. No wonder! Those memories will stick with you for a long time…until you go again!


Katrina July 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Looks like an amazing time! Great food, scenery, and company. Awesome!


Kristen July 21, 2011 at 6:23 am

What an incredible adventure. I’ve heard so much about this place. Amazing! So glad you had fun, Carrie!


Heather {Multiply Delicious} July 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

What a fabulous getaway! Looks amazing! I think we could all use one of these getaways! Thanks for sharing.


Maria July 21, 2011 at 8:20 am

Wow, what an amazing place! I need to go!


jenjenk July 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I just LOVE the look of glee & joy on the girls’ face on the river rafting!!! I’m also thankful that it looked like I was digging in and working…unlike the rest of the time I slacked. :)


Cathrine July 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Carrie – it sounds like you guys had an amazing time! Thanks for sharing the pictures – really want to go on a cowboy holiday now!!! The ultimate american experience, right?


Deliciously Organic July 25, 2011 at 8:24 am

Yes, ULTIMATE American experience. Jeans, a cowboy hat, and a horse. Doesn’t get much more American than that. :)


Peyton July 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm

This looks like heaven. Pure heaven.


the urban baker July 22, 2011 at 6:24 am

A dude ranch is on my list! Looks like such a great bonding time for you and the girls!


Laney July 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I will testify to everything Carrie said about Black Mountain Ranch! We went there with our 3 boys last summer and the place is AMAZING! It was a trip of a lifetime and every time I see posts about what they are up to on Facebook, I get really jealous because I wish I was back there! I highly recommend it, worth EVERY PENNY!!!!


Jennifer July 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Well, you’ve captured better than I ever could’ve. And the photos! So gorgeous. We were so so thrilled to meet y’all and missed you when you left. Give both girls a hug for all of us and who knows, maybe we’ll all meet there next summer?
Jennifer, Zach, Eli and Sophie


Deliciously Organic July 25, 2011 at 8:22 am

Thanks Jennifer. It was so great meeting you too! It would be fabulous to meet up again next summer. And if I’m in your area, I’ll make sure and give you a call!


Michael Cummings July 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm

So happy I got the chance to meet you! If ever I’m in Cali again i’m going to be getting in touch with you!


Nicole July 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm

That sounds like SO MUCH FUN!! I might even get over my fear of horseback riding to participate in something like this. Thanks so much for sharing!


Nowell May July 24, 2011 at 11:47 am

Hi Carrie,
Thanks so much for the kind words, we really enjoyed having you here and hope to see you again one of these days.


VADEPAN July 25, 2011 at 2:53 am

What a great trip!!!!! wonderful photos!!!!


Kelly July 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

That looks like a great trip! I used to live in Colorado and love rafting – it’s so much fun!


Shelly July 27, 2011 at 5:08 am

That sounds awesome! I have been to two dude ranches. One was “Drowsy Water Ranch” in Granby Colorado. It has the best kids program I have run across in any vacation. It was also vote “best vacation spot” by Trip advisor, no small honor. (I’m not promoting them, really!) Then we decided to try another ranch since we had such a brilliant time at Drowsy (went 3 times to Drowsy).
In Jackson Hole Wyoming, we went to “Triangle X” ranch. It was a fabulous vacation as well. They really let you ride those horses! Views were breath taking, plus Yellowstone is right next door. However the kids program was not near the caliber as it is at Drowsy. Perhaps “Black Mountain” well be our next stop! Thanks for sharing!


Denise @ Creative Kitchen July 27, 2011 at 11:37 am

Wow…talk about an incredible vacation!! I love getting out into the great outdoors, and it looks like you got the best of both worlds: rustic outdoors/nature while eating like a king. :)


Winnie July 28, 2011 at 6:12 am

FUN! I went to a dude ranch in Wyoming with my family once. It was awesome 😉


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