By Jane Van Berkum on August 4th, 2010
Pagosa.com recently posted the following article on Rainbow Trout Ranch:
Experience the True West at this Colorado Dude Ranch
Living in Colorado the past 7 years, we thought we had been living the Western lifestyle. However, after spending a wonderful week at Rainbow Trout Ranch, a Colorado dude ranch in nearby Antonito, Colorado, we discovered the true meaning of the Old West. Rainbow Trout Ranch sits at 9,000 feet in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Not only is the scenery incredible, but the fly fishing along the ranch’s mile long private stretch of the Conejos River and their quality quarter horses and horse program proved to exceed our expectations.
Owned by the Van Berkum family, guest ranching became a tradition for the Van Berkum family in the late eighties when Doug and Linda’s son David went to wrangle on a ranch in Montana and daughter Rachel took a job helping in cabins on a Colorado ranch. Doug and Linda visited them both and pretty soon, guest ranching was in their blood. A few years of searching for just the right place led them to the Rainbow Trout Lodge in southern Colorado, long famous for the amazing lodge and superb fishing. They changed the name to the Rainbow Trout Ranch, bringing the focus onto both the exceptional fishing and riding and the rest is a wonderful, rich history of western vacations and experiences.
Doug provides entertaining stories on hay rides while driving his team of draft horses – Duke and Dan. Additionally, every evening featured a different Western theme, such as Western dancing, live Western singers, square dancing, BBQs and hayrides. Linda provides gracious service in the office providing advice, running into town and signing people up for the various activities such as all-day rides, massages, trap shooting, and team penning. Additionally, David and his wife, Jane, oversee the horse program for all guests. When they are not running the ranch in the summer, David and Jane raise and train quarter horses as well as compete in team roping. This expertise helps them pick the right horse for each guest during their stay.
Personally, our kids improved their riding skills immensely during their stay. The Colorado dude ranch provides great instruction at the various levels as part of their teen and children’s programs. Our teenage son, Brayden, was not too wild about spending a week around horses, yet by the end of the week, he loved loping and got best ride of the day during the rodeo. He met friends from around the world, swam in the heated pool and enjoyed himself thoroughly without TV or video games for a full week! Our two daughters, ages 11 and 8, fell in love with their horses El Paso and Capitol as well as got close with their Cowpoke camp counselor, Callie. My husband, Bart, loved the incredible fly fishing on their private mile of the Conjeos River. He caught more than 20 rainbow and brown trout throughout the week on his artificial lures. I even caught my first rainbow trout on a fly rod that week.
One of the best things about the ranch was that everyone could pick what they wanted to do and everyone was happy. In the mornings after a hearty breakfast, our kids rode with their counselors and friends while I would go out with the adults on our own ride in the National Forest. My avid fisherman husband, Bart, would walk down to the river and have a great morning fishing. Then, we would all meet up for a delicious lunch and everyone would pick what they wanted to do. We would meet up again for dinner and evening activities. Being a mom and business owner, it was quite relaxing not having to think about anything other than what I wanted to do every day! The meals were planned and delicious, the dishes were done, the cabin was cleaned by housekeeping every day and everyone was smiling!
Rainbow Trout Ranch enjoys many return guests year after year. One of the return guests explained why Rainbow Trout Ranch was one of the best dude ranches in the country, “The food is great, the cabins are very comfortable, the scenery is spectacular and the staff and owners are outstanding.”
For those families or individuals looking for a fun-filled, restful and exciting Western adventure, I would highly recommend Rainbow Trout Ranch. Only 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Pagosa Springs, you can enjoy a relaxing week at the ranch and then head over to Pagosa Springs to soak, float down the river and enjoy our little piece of heaven here.
For more information on Rainbow Trout Ranch, visit their website at http://www.rainbowtroutranch.com or call 1-800-633-3397 1-800-633-3397 1-800-633-3397 . Make sure you mention you heard about them from Pagosa.com!