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“Hands down our best vacation, ever!”
Review of Elk Mountain Ranch

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Elk Mountain Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
1 review
“Hands down our best vacation, ever!”
Reviewed 24 June 2012

My wife and I just finished with our vacation at EMR, and I can without reservation tell you that it was our best vaction ever. From the very first contact, the staff at EMR made us feel special. I had mentioned to Sue that I wanted to do a mountaintop vow renewal, and she took it from there, offering to contact a local Reverend, and just went out of her way to make our dreams come true. The rides were fantastic, the staff was outgoing, and the fellow guests really made our vacation feel like a family gathering rather than an anonymous "by the numbers" event. I do have to say, that the staff really went out of their way for us, and I am very grateful for that. My wife is lactose intolerant, and at every meal, they offered her Silk, and made entrees specifically for her, without cheese or dairy in order to accomodate. There was not a moment during our vacation, they didn't make us feel like Kings of the Mountain. If you are considering ANY other vacation other than Elk Mountain Ranch, stop now, and book at EMR. You won't regret a second of it. (Make sure to stay up after the power goes off to see the stars!)

Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank ZacharyB930
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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169 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Brea, California
1 review
Reviewed 13 June 2012

We really didn't know what to expect as we have never been on a "dude ranch" vacation. I can say the brochures didn't do it justice. It was beyond our expectations. Tom & Sue and the staff were the best! The food was delicious. The accommodations were clean and comfortable. The horsemanship orientation at the beginning of the week was awesome, as you could really tell that EMR cares about their horses and their guests and wanted each person to have the best possible riding experience. My husband who is a more experienced rider than myself had a great time. Tom & Sue helped me feel comfortable on my horse (at my request) before setting me out on the trail. The horses and the riding were fantastic. The scenery was breathtaking, and we even got to see some of the wildlife. We met some great new people and can not wait to go return.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank T D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 June 2012

My wife and I had never been to a Dude Ranch, and we can count on one hand how many times we had ridden a horse. But having just spent a week at Elk Mountain Ranch, it was hands down the best vacation experience we have ever had. We have been to Italy, France, Bermuda, etc. but this is the first place we definitely plan to go to again, likely next year. I can't say enough about the staff. To a person they were friendly, helpful, and one of the best parts of the experience. The food was fantastic; we did not have one bad meal, even among the several which were served out on the trail. The scenery was of course breathtaking, and their initial training before we even got on a horse was perfect, and made the whole experience fantastic. We can't wait to go next year with our children. The fact that they limit the guests to no more than 30 per week (there were 23 the week we were there) makes it a very personable, unique experience. Add in the fact that the price was amazingly reasonable; this experience would be worth it if it were double the price. I cannot say enough about Tom and Sue and the folks at Elk Mountain, all I can say is that even if you don't see yourself as a "Dude Ranch" type, you can't go wrong here. Enjoy!

Room Tip: All rooms are perfect.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank jbrabazon46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glen Ellyn, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 June 2012

We just returned from a week long stay at Elk Mountain Ranch with our 3 kids ages 5,6 and 9. As with most vacations, we did lots of research and read all the reviews. EMR is everything and more. First off, for the parents, this place is staffed with youthful, happy and energetic young adults - mostly college age or a bit older. Equestrian experience, child experience and overall young professionals in their approach to treating "guests". They like and want to hang out with you and /or your kids.....and the ranch has a kids pgm which allows you to enjoy some time on the trails/horses while the kids hunt for teepees or pan for gold with their ranch counselors....the ranch was clean, full of time to rest or do activities. Really the perfect blend of down time and an agenda... which is nice when you have small kids who get bored easily. My 9 yr old son fished plenty in the pond on the grounds, did archery, rifle shooting, horse riding of course, river rafted.... and he met other kids his age..The food was by far one of the most impressive aspects of this trip. 3 meals a day and each and every one was fantastic. Really the perfect mix of "dude ranch" lifestyle and upscale customer service. Always a smile from Sue and Tom the owners who were always around and SO accomodating. We also had booked the first week for the season which was great - because the staff was fresh and ready for the season. No bugs (yet!) and the cabins were impeccable. The weather was great - cool mornings and evenings but warm days. My kids loved the "lights out" from 11 pm until 6 am to conserve power....the flashlights were a hit for the middle of the night bathrrom break when needed ! A huge thumbs up - great place to go on your own OR with a couple friends. You will not be disappointed. Afterwards we drove down to the Grand Canyon and onto AZ for some hotel resort R&R....the chlorine in the pool was needed after a dusty but VERY worth it week at Elk Mountain!! We hope to return again someday!

Room Tip: Loved our cabin called the Aspen. Furthest from the main lodge but we were right next to the horse...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Carla G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Quincy, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed 8 March 2012

We stayed at Elk Mountain back in Sept 2006, but I wanted to add to the great reviews. We went with our friends, The Rouths, who used to work there many years ago. We have them to thank for letting us come along to experience this amazing little piece of Heaven! The staff and owners were all very nice and accommodating. The food was fantastic! The views are absolutely breathtaking! We stayed in the Navajo and Ute cabins. Very clean, comfortable, and exactly what you would want at a Ranch. Thank you for the fabulous vacation! We hope to make it back there someday with our family!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Colleen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Linwood, New Jersey
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 December 2011

My family took a detour from the old Disney route and planned a first-time trip to a high mountain ranch (in June 2011). There were lots of expectations and a little anxiety about the unknown. I say " a little anxiety" because there were so many positive reviews about Elk Mountain that it made the plans seem less risky.
We were met at the Denver IAP, at the precise time, in the precise location, by ranch owner Tom and cowgirl Tally. They loaded up the vans and we took off for the three hour drive to Elk Mountain Ranch. First, coming from sea level, you may want to prepare for the altitude. The air's thin as I found out when I carried my daughter to the bathroom. Drink lots of water and acclimate yourself slowly. (It may take a few days to get used to the altitude.) The drive is a little long so, as I also found out, bring some motion sickness medicine since everyone can't sit in the front seat. This is about the only downside of the trip. The drive contains incredibly beautiful views of Colorado which changes by the hour. By the time you get to the ranch entrance, you'll be hungry and ready for the adventure.
There's a 20 minute ride to the ranch from the blacktop on a washboard road. Elk, mountain goats, and antelope are watching you from the many cliffs, open fields and Aspen groves. The ranch is exactly as pictured on the website.
The cabins are comfortable, clean and quiet. In June, the temps. were in the 70's during the day and 40's at night...great sleeping conditions. At night, it's as dark as the millions of stars allows and it's quieter than you can imagine. One night, almost our entire group walked the gravel road as a former cowhand pointed out constellations. The moonlight made the gravel road glow while the mountains stuck out like dark, pointy walls. We sipped coffee and hot chocolate while some of the kids sang songs. No TV, electronic games or phones needed, we had good old fashioned fun. Another night, we took a hayride to spot and sat by a big ol' fire roasting marshmallows. There was a square dance, a multi-talented violin player (skinny jeans I think) that told stories and recited poems. It's the kind of thing that makes you say to yourself, "How lucky am I to be part of this world." Many more activities are available to experience also. There's no pressure to follow an itinerary either. Tom and Sue make it clear you can participate, just spend time wandering or just clear your mind (you can do that in the hot-tub nestled in the Aspen trees).
The days were filled with plenty of activities. On day one, the cowboys and cowgirls match you to a horse after Tom's informative horse class. Then, you're off to the mountain trails. Quickly, I learned alot, especially that horses have a range of personalities. The trails are varied in geography so they offer different views. If you are new to horses, you'll get plenty of real experience to build your resume. One of the best trails was the one leading to the mountain top breakfast. You have to experience a delicious, fresh-cooked, champagne breakfast at 10,000 feet overlooking snow-capped mountains and green valleys. Afterwards, everyone played a game of wiffle ball on a mountain field. One of my favorite experiences was watching Tom try to sneak clay pigeons past me during the trap shoot. He definitley tried!
Speaking of food, it starts this way...a giant food-bell is rung. It's heard far away. That's your signal to mosey down to the ranch's dining room. They don't serve fast food here. The ranch has its own certified chef. She, along with her team, creates delicious meal after delicious meal. I'm not exaggerating either. We eat out alot and found the Elk Mt. dinners to be much better than most high-end eating establishments. The service is outstanding too. Just try to empty your plate or glass before someone is asking you to refill it. One evening, my daughter got a little headache and wanted to sleep through dinner. Elk Mtn. staff was not going to simply let her miss dinner. Instead, the staff delivered her dinner a little later and came back even later with some homemade ice cream! That's extra care that makes a real difference to a parent. Kids especially, will form bonds with the cowhands. It's amazing how Tom and Sue pick the right kids to become their cowhands. As a parent, you'll have no problem trusting them to take care of your little ones if you want to go off with your spouse on your own adventure.
There are a few choices to make while you're there, do I go on the Aspen roadtrip or go mountain fishing? Do I take the overnight camping trip of go white-water rafting? Well the rafting trip was awesome and I think Aspen is the place I'd live if I had alot of money. They are both "must dos." Some people stayed in and massage therapy from a licensed pro. (Something for everyone.)
This review is abbreviated, but I hope it gives you an idea that we had a great time and found it to be an excellent value with excellent services. One couple extended their trip while we were there. That's another point to be made. The ranch holds a limited amount of people. With a small group, you can certainly make new friends here if you choose. We now know why people go back to Elk Mountain!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rotherham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 September 2011

Excellent location. great scenery, good food, wonderful companionship with the other guests ; but the over-riding impression for me was the warm welcome, constant smiles and terrific support from all the staff.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank ajkaye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Elk Mountain Ranch

Property: Elk Mountain Ranch
Address: 13000 CR 185B, Buena Vista, CO 81211
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Colorado > Buena Vista
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 Speciality Lodging in Buena Vista
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Colorado's highest guest ranch at 9600 feet. Adjacent to the Browns Canyon National Monument. Weekly package includes meals, lodging and activities - horseback riding, white water rafting, shooting sports, van trip to Aspen, excursion to ropes & adventure park, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, hayride, square dance, childrens' program and more. Massage extra. 35 pampered guests. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Elk Mountain Ranch Hotel Buena Vista

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