Living in Florida, I absolutely love the year round sunshine but sometimes I want to experience more of the seasons. Vista Verde Ranch is located just outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado and is the perfect winter escape for those seeking both solitude and outdoor adventure. I visited at the beginning of March for a few days where we were greeted with sunshine for our first day, and then beautiful snowfall for the remainder of our time.
Although it has transformed over the years, there’s been a ranch on this beautiful property since the early 1900s. In fact, the name Vista Verde originated in 1928 when the sister of one of the original owners, who was a Spanish teacher, exclaimed ‘Vista verde!’ meaning ‘green view’ when she was looking out onto the newly irrigated lush views of the hay fields. The current owners want guests to enjoy an authentic dude ranch experience while still being luxurious. Meaning, you really get the best of both worlds at Vista Verde!
To clarify, a dude ranch is a vacation destination where guests can enjoy an all-inclusive Western experience which can include lodging, meals, horseback riding, fishing, hiking and more. At Vista Verde, they pride themselves on combining the amenities of a luxury Colorado resort with the intimate and relaxed atmosphere of a ranch vacation. You can always count on exceptional personal service, small guest counts, and warm Western hospitality.
One aspect that I found to be very special was what they call ‘Vista Verde Magic’. This is what happens when you sit together with all of the guests for your meals and evening activities, sparking amazing new connections and fascinating conversations. This was the first time I ever experienced something like this at a resort, and it really made the trip more memorable. I will also say that the staff at Vista Verde are amazingly friendly, involved, and helpful. During our outdoor excursions, we generally had 1 guide to a couple.
LUXURY RANCH ACCOMMODATION:
At Vista Verde Ranch, you can choose between their 10 cabins or 3 lodge rooms. Lodge rooms are very convenient, located just up the stairs of their Main Lodge. These rooms are ideal for older travelers with slower mobility. Each lodge room is named after nearby lakes, and include a private bathroom, small sitting area, comfortable interiors and wonderful views. They’ve recently been remodeled and furnished with Western art and handmade king beds.
We were lucky enough to stay in one of their spacious, two-bedroom cabins. If you’re traveling with a bigger group, they also have cabins with three bedrooms as well. I was impressed to discover that every cabin comes with a sitting area featuring a wood-burning stove and a hot tub out on the deck. Both of these are such nice, luxurious touches for a weekend getaway. I absolutely loved having our very own hot tub to help us stay cozy and warm even outside, while admiring the snowy landscape.
The furnishings in our cabin were a mix of Western art, antique, rustic, and luxury. The beds were so plush and felt unbelievable after fun, but tiring days filled with outdoor activities. Each cabin and lodge room comes with a snack bar and refrigerator stocked with complimentary beverages. The housekeepers left a basket for us upon arrival with fruit, chocolate, and other delicious snacks to enjoy during our stay. Please keep in mind that there are no phones or TVs in the rooms or cabins, and wireless internet is available in the Main Lodge at no charge. People visit Vista Verde to unplug, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors. It was absolutely wonderful and I didn’t find myself missing television at all!
Sometimes, outside our cabin, we were greeted by Vista Verde’s friendly Golden Retriever – Finn! He was such a sweet dog, and definitely put a smile on our faces.
The food was fresh, homemade, savory and plentiful. There were new options on the menu every day and there was always a selection of berries, yogurt, and homemade granola with a coffee bar for breakfast, a beautiful salad bar for lunch and a delicious buffet for dinner. Our last night there was called a formal night where there was no buffet. We ordered from the menu. The food was delicious!
OUTDOOR WINTER ACTIVITIES:
While in the warmer months, you can enjoy their pool and activities such as mountain biking, hiking, various water sports and more, the winter season has just as much to offer for all ages!
For those looking for a charming and atmospheric winter wonderland activity, Vista Verde Ranch offers sleigh rides several times a week. We loved exploring the snowy property via their one horse sleigh!
If you really love horses, you’re in luck. We wanted a more in-depth riding experience, and signed up for lessons in their heated indoor arena. We learned how to better communicate with our horse before going outside with an expert trail leader.
Once outside in the snow, you keep to a slower pace because of the weather and only go out for about an hour or so. This was a unique experience for me, as I had never been horseback riding in the snow. It was a fun adventure, and having the option to enjoy a hot chocolate after in the main lodge or soak in our private hot tub was the cherry on top!
Cross Country Skiing is also offered for those looking for even more adventure. It was a great way to explore this vast property. I also loved snowmobiling and snow tubing. In fact, tubing is one of their most popular winter sports, perfect for adults and kids. It was amazing to channel my inner child in their cushy tubes, while speeding around the ranch; these activities really get your adrenaline going.
While we couldn’t do it all on this weekend visit, they also offer photography workshops, snowboarding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and more outdoor activities during the cooler months!
For those looking to break a sweat and keep up with their fitness routine, there is a Fitness Center at Vista Verde Ranch. They offer an elliptical, treadmill, and multi-gym for strength training along with weekly yoga. While I got my exercise outside in the snow, it was nice knowing this was here as well. Other indoor activities we will enjoy on our next visit will be the cooking classes and wine tastings they offer at the ranch.
Vista Verde is very family friendly, and the Coyote Corral is where you’ll find the spacious Kid’s Cabin and low ropes course. This area is totally a kid-zone and it looks like so much fun. I found myself spending a good amount of time, especially in the evenings, in the Great Room. This is the perfect area for lounging with guests, especially during their daily Happy Hour. During the winter months, there’s a roaring fire here which really creates an inviting atmosphere in this elegant space. One evening we enjoyed trivia night, and live music and dancing the next evening for Western Night. One thing is certain: boredom doesn’t exist at Vista Verde Ranch!
Before leaving, we were sent a wonderful group photo of the staff from Vista Verde so we can always remember them. They really made us feel like we were a part of one big family at the ranch!
While the beautiful landscapes might draw you to Vista Verde Ranch, the cozy atmosphere, comfortable interiors, outdoor fun, and five-star hospitality are the reasons why you’ll want to return. We live in a very fast paced and technology obsessed world, but it is comforting to know that places like Vista Verde still exist. They embrace all of the tranquility and beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. It is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the great outdoors, while still enjoying luxury resort amenities and comforts. Whether you’re craving a romantic getaway or a family trip, Vista Verde Ranch will be the perfect place for you.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Vista Verde Ranch, but all opinions are my own.