Drowsy Water Ranch is an exceptionally well-run dude ranch located in northwest Colorado. We got there by flying to Denver and driving two hours to Granby. Ken and Randy Sue Fosha have owned the place since 1977. We saw a lot of them during our weeklong stay and they sure are good at what they do. The same goes for their sons Justin and Ryan. DWR accommodates the full spectrum of riders’ capability, so things start off slow as the Foshas make sure everyone from first-timers to capable cowpokes are comfortable.
The ranch is set on 700 acres at an elevation of more than 8,00 feet with lots of riding also on adjacent BLM land. There is majestic scenery in every direction. We would have liked more flat, wide-open spaces for faster rides, but the groves of aspen and pine are beautiful. The ranch keeps some 120 horses, and they are so obviously well cared for. The Foshas pair you with a horse to match your ability and size, and that is yours for the week.
Ken Fosha promised us at orientation that we would be impressed with his staff of some 25, most of whom are college-age, and he was absolutely correct. Service with a smile doesn’t begin to give enough credit.
There is a kids program for parents who want to ditch the little ones (under 13) to ride with other grown-ups. I admit we are in the minority--we want to ride with our 12-year-old son (who’s as good a rider as my wife and me)—so this required a little arranging to free him some times from doing crafts (like painting horseshoes) or playing in the stream that runs through the property so we could enjoy some family time in the saddle.
While we ultimately judge a guest ranch by the joy (and speed) of our rides, I must admit my most lasting takeaway will be riding a zip line for the first time. Not only was it a deal price-wise compared with others we have seen, the middle of the three runs reportedly is the longest in Colorado (and is 300 feet high). We soared across the valley bottom of the ranch at 30 mph for some 1,200 feet. It was breathtaking (literally). Other non-riding opportunities included fishing (didn’t see much luck there) in the lake by the lodge, an off-site white-water rafting trip (I was told it was fun) as well as mountain bike and hiking trips into the mountains.
There are also the usual assortment of activities, including a cookout, singing by the campfire, guest rodeo (team penning was quite a challenge, but I’ll be better next time), playing with the various ranch animals (chickens, goats, dogs), square dancing and carnival night (which proved you can have good old-fashioned fun with activities that do not require electricity). There also is a pool and hot tub as well as massages.
Our accommodations, a two-bedroom/one-bathroom cabin, were excellent. The mini-fridge is great as Granby is only seven miles away, so we kept it stocked with “essentials” (some containing alcohol).
While dude ranch vacations typically are not cheap, this one delivered more than its cost (approximately $5,300 for the three of us). The price is all-inclusive except for a worthy tip (15 percent) for the wranglers and staff.
Drowsy Water Ranch was all we expected—and all the Foshas promised. The little bit of rain that coincided with one ride was nowhere near enough to dampen our enthusiasm for this charming place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our dude ranch is totally committed to bringing guests into the beautiful Colorado Mountains in a friendly, clean authentic western ranch environment for families, singles and couples. We take extreme pride in our programs and genuine hospitality!! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Drowsy Water Ranch Hotel Granby
- Drowsy Water Hotel
- Drowsy Water Resort All Inclusive
- Drowsy Water Ranch Colorado/Granby