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We’ve visited four other Colorado dude ranches over the years, and when the owners of the one up north where we’d been for three years retired, we decided to try a new one. Our main focus is riding, and the description of the Rainbow Trout horse program sounded just like what we were looking for. We spent the last week of the 2008 season there in September and loved it. We’ll be going back next year. Everything was just great: the owners, the staff, the horses, the trails, the lodging, the food, the activities, the scenery. Other ranches promise a lot, but Rainbow Trout Ranch really delivers.
What an amazing holiday we had at Rainbow Trout Ranch! It was everything we had hoped for and more. The horses were all carefully selected with the rider’s ability in mind and our family group ranged from nervous Granny who hadn’t ridden for 25 years to Mum a former International Event Rider!! Toby (10 years old) caught his 1st trout and then it was cooked for him, which was very special. The Van Berkum family and all their staff were so welcoming and entertaining with the whole week so well thought out. The kids loved their program and made great friends as did we all. I would have no hesitation in recommending spending a week at RTR to anyone, whether or not they ride I hope that we will return one day to visit this special place!
I would just like you to know that when I was a teen-ager, my family stayed at your Ranch. It was delightful. There was a pool, horses, trails, and I also remember that we had a Western barbecue. It was a wonderful time for kids and their were 4 of us. My brother saw this on the Internet, and I just wanted to share what a wonderful time we had. One of your hosts name was Nina. I will never forget her. She was so kind to all of us. Well, I just turned 50 last month and I still remember what a GREAT experience it was for our family. I am sure it still is!
RTR is as good as it can get! I have been to a number of ranches and RTR is the best. The food is delicious. The cabins are quiet and comfortable. The fishing is good. The scenery and the lodge are majestic. I love sitting around the fire in the evenings in the lodge. The riding and the Van Berkum’s are much better than at other ranches. One small example: At one ranch I asked for an all day ride, especially since I was going to be there only 5 days. Well, the head wrangler replied, “We don’t have anything scheduled while you’re here.” so I let it go… At RTR, the response was “We’ll pencil one in for you.” And that’s why I go back to RTR every September.
I had an absolutely amazing time at Rainbow Trout Ranch. All the trails were really beautiful and my horse was so sweet. All of the staff were so friendly and I met a lot of super nice people. It is hard to find a vacation that my whole family will enjoy, but we all loved it here. I hope I can come back again. Thanks for the great vacation!
I spent a glorious week at RTR the year before last. This was the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever taken. The hospitality of the Van Berkum family and the staff was wonderful and far better than any 5-star I’ve stayed at anywhere in the world. My goal is to make it back at least every other year — so this is the year! I highly recommend RTR for a relaxing vacation with the opportunity to enjoy the peace and serenity nature and RTR has to offer. Thanks for such a wonderful time and I hope to see you soon.
We’ve been to 10 ranches in Colorado and Montana looking for the perfect place to return to every year. We have finally found it at Rainbow Trout Ranch. Great location, great food, excellent fishing, fantastic riding program, awesome cabin, but most of all–Doug & Linda, you are the perfect hosts. You have done everything to make us feel special during our stay and we are so grateful for the time spent with all of you and your excellent staff. I’ll definitely talk up your ranch with everyone we meet that inquires as to where is the best place to go out west for a great dude ranch experience! See ya’ll next year!
This year at Rainbow Trout Ranch was the most wonderful vacation ever. My family and I set off From NC in boots and cowboy hats only to be looked at strangely until we were in Denver. We then had one of the funniest times getting from the airport to the ranch from going the wrong way 45 minutes and then getting a speeding ticket only for poor Owen (maintenance person) on his 2nd week of the job. I have to say that once we arrived at the ranch it was splendid. Everyone was so nice and willing to do anything for us. My horse (Elliot) couldn’t of been a better horse. Jane and Dave did a great job. The overnight was a great experience and the food was the best part. Dinning at Rainbow Trout Ranch is excellent. Sit at Shannon’s table. She is very nice and funny. Don’t forget to go fishing and most importantly have a great time at the ranch. I could say plenty more but I have already taken up enough of your time. Have a wonderful stay. PS. – Listen to the wranglers they know what they are doing.
I began to beg my father for a horse when I first came to RTR in 1996. It amazed me how Jane and Dave could communicate so well with them. It is now seven years later and I have given up asking for a horse, but I still love them and know that every two years I will get to see them again at RTR. My mother says we go back because it is the only place my dad can relax, but I know it is because we grow closer as a family. Whether you come for the fishing, dancing, or riding, you will not be disappointed. This year was my fourth time at RTR, and it has been the best yet. My little sister, Anna, finally broke out of her shyness shell and danced with people besides her family. My mom learned how to lope on a horse and my dad caught a 21″ trout! Every year it gets more exciting. This is my family’s favorite vacation spot!
Best vacation for the whole family!
Rainbow Trout Ranch is not just a vacation spot. For me, it has become part of who I am. I have been spending a week in Colorado each year for ten years of my life. Being only seven when my family first discovered this wonderfully preserved secret, I have been greatly influenced by my experiences at Rainbow Trout Ranch. There is no way that Rainbow Trout can be explained without doing the Van Berkum family a great injustice. Nobody is treated like just another guest when at Rainbow Trout. When you are at RTR, you are family. Over the years, I have seen many people my age at Rainbow Trout arrive with a bad attitude. They are the kind of teenagers that are determined to displease their parents by being miserable. This never lasts long. The wonderful horseback riding program, the enthralling activities, and the exuberant staff are enough to make anyone, no matter how much they miss their video games, enjoy themselves. Since that first week at RTR, ten years ago, each year has been thought of differently. There is only the time at the Ranch, and the time away. Rainbow Trout Ranch has not been a vacation spot for me. It has become my home.
There is no greater place for a family vacation. Rainbow Trout Ranch has become our summer home away from home. We have been fortunate enough to enjoy 3 summers with the Van Berkum/RTR family and are looking forward to our 4th this summer of 04′. A week at RTR is better than anything we know. Riding the horses, hiking in the beautiful mountains, relaxing on the porch while the humming birds fly by, watching our children learn and grow and enjoy life in a completely different environment then what they are used to! Meeting new friends from all over the country, riding in the Rodeo and the food… the food is fantastic and there is lots of it!! Our souls are renewed every year. We highly recommend RTR – if you want a great vacation, this is where you want to be!
I just returned from my fourth visit at RTR, and my best! Every time we go there is wonderful staff, food, horses, and activities. My family has thoroughly enjoyed every week we have been there. I can’t even explain how much I love this place. Whenever I’m there, everything just feels right. RTR is an amazing place for anyone. No matter who you are, you will love it, and find yourself coming back year after year just like my family! I can’t wait till I will be able to come back. To my buddy Horseshoe, the Van Berkum family, and all the 2004 staff at RTR, I miss you and love you all!
The place just gets better. Every year, I collect an incident, which reflects how well run the place is. This year’s: I was the only one signed up for an all day ride and I offered to forego the trip since a wrangler would have to be tied up all day with just one guest. Not on your life was the response. And it was a great day… This is the reason I keep coming back!
Our family spent a week at the ranch 3 years ago and we haven’t stopped talking about it since. We are returning again in June and bringing some friends along. Each time we receive a newsletter it reminds us of the wonderful week and the fantastic people who made us feel like family. We are so excited to visit again and look forward to seeing the Van Berkum family. Rainbow Trout Ranch is the best vacation spot ever!
Rainbow Trout Ranch has a special place in the Curran’s hearts with the fondest of memories. We have had two summer stays at the ranch and are planning our third. The Van Berkum family is the warmest and kindest of hosts looking after our every need. When asking our children which was their favorite vacation, they always say Rainbow Trout Ranch and ask when we are going back. This says a lot coming from 2 boys who have been world travelers. Driving from Santa Fe to the ranch is a spectacular drive. As you climb the mountains you feel the anticipation of what lies ahead. And Rainbow Trout does not disappoint. In the week we were at the ranch we all bonded with our horses, which were expertly selected by Jane to match our varying abilities. We did the variety of rides (half day, all day, family ride) through the beautiful Conejos River Valley and participated in the hikes, whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande, trap shooting, fishing, and team penning. The food is served family style, which gives the opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and for the kids to sit with their newfound friends. We loved the food whether it was the hearty breakfast in front of the giant stone fireplace, or the coffee and muffins on top of “Charity” with the sunrise after an early morning hike to 11,000 ft. We packed lunch in our saddlebags for the day rides, and came home to hearty dinners in the beautiful lodge or a cookout riverside. After dinner tables were cleared and it was time for musical performances, dancing, or a sing-a-long. Somehow after a long day you still found the energy to enjoy the evening activities. At the end of the week when it was time to go home I remember my oldest son and I tearing up knowing that we had an amazing experience and made great friends along the way and wanted to continue our stay, but alas, it was time to leave that little piece of heaven and get back to the real world. We knew we would return.
Here is why you should go to Rainbow Trout Ranch: EVERYTHING IS FANTASTIC!!! The food is great, the Van Berkum’s are amazing, and the staff in general is great. This is my (Michael, the thirteen year old son) favorite place on the planet. We have gotten to the point where we can request our horses, and everyone knows us. You can do just about everything imaginable. Just bring some extra cash to play poker with Doug. Let us suggest that you spend half a day in Santa Fe before you go down there. The rafting trip is great, the trapshooting is awesome, the riding is amazing, and the views… dear god, don’t even get me started on the views. Each morning you can hike up the mountain and just look down at the ranch. All in all, the ranch is a place that you will never want to leave if you go up there. The peace, the quiet, the Van Berkum children, take a trip up the mountains to the little bit of paradise known as Rainbow Trout Ranch, and let your worries flow away, like the Canejos River (good for fishing by the way).
Rainbow Trout Ranch is my home away from home! All of my best friends were workers at RTR and the Van Berkum family is considered to be my “Colorado family”. Anyone who is looking for a place to relax, enjoy the west and meet amazing people they should visit Rainbow Trout Ranch. I promise that you will be back after the first year! My family and I first visited RTR in 94 and have been back every year since then, 10 years and counting. The Van Berkum’s are a group of people who care about each and every one of their guests and work as hard as possible to make your stay as relaxing as possible.
I stayed at RTR years ago, and it was the best week in my life. I made such good friends, and the staff were so friendly. Whenever I think about RTR it fills me with joy and good memories. I was quite young and don’t remember everything, but I do remember a man who walked around serving coffee who rubbed the coffee pots on my shoulders every morning! I also remember catching a trout and eating it that very night (delicious!). My horse Winchester was the best! Everyone is so caring and the really know what they are doing! I hope to return there some year and relive those wonderful experiences!
Two grandparents and their three grandchildren (one aged 9 and two aged 5) came to Rainbow Trout Ranch not knowing what to expect. What we found was a unique experience and a magnificent vacation for each of us. We will never forget the kindness and hospitality of the Van Berkum family who have created a magical place; the fun and friendship with the other guest families; and the extraordinary care and good company of the staff, whether wranglers or counselors, maintenance, cabin or wait staff, cooks or dishwashers. Did I say that neither grandparent had ridden for 50 years, but somehow won awards for “coolest cowboy” and horsemanship? At the end of a wonderful week the grandchildren could hardly be torn away from their new friends and their horses.
We were looking for a unique family vacation and it turns out we found “home” instead. Our two daughters were 10 and 12 respectively and the youngest said she wished we could go someplace to ride horses. I began investigating and before long had the choices narrowed to two Colorado dude ranches. It was talking with Jane on the phone that swayed our decision. “I’d be so delighted if you’d come,” she said in her irresistible British accent. It turned out to be true. The Van Berkums welcomed us with genuine hospitality. We met fellow travelers who, along with us, learned how to ride, fell in love with the scenery, the food, the overall companionship we found at the RTR. There was one thing we knew for sure—-we had to return. We have too; families from all across the country meet each year the same week, to enjoy the magic that is the RTR. Our children have grown up there with a strong circle of friends and we’ve made some of the best friends of our lives—including the Van Berkums. When Sunday rolls around and we have to go home, we all say, “Only 51 weeks and we’ll see you again.”
Our family has spent a June week at Rainbow Trout Ranch for the past 6 years, and we’re eagerly anticipating year #7 as if it were our first. Amazingly enough, the doldrums have never set in, except when Sunday morning is lingering ever more present on the horizon, and we have to leave our private bit of paradise at RTR for yet another year. Over the years, we’ve each found our own rhythm. Yet nothing ever seems to be just as it was during the previous years. Oh, we repeat many an activity mind you, but each is always fresh and vibrant. Whether it’s rafting down the Rio Grande River, traversing the Beaver Ponds during an all-day ride to the cascading waterfall, two-stepping in the lodge with Doug & Linda, catching that first Rainbow Trout down on the Conejos River, or yee-haaing during the Saturday afternoon rodeo, the level of enjoyment remains that ever elusive Perfect 10! There isn’t sufficient time left in life to get me on too many rides through/to Lone Pine Meadow, let alone enough to stop marveling at the sheer majesty of it all up in the Back Country. Best meal of the week: without question it’s the cookout on the Overnight. Oh, my goodness! Leftover peach cobbler and fire-roasted coffee for breakfast around a roaring campfire is in and of itself reason to return year after year. Colorado is our home sweet home, but this is a slice of our state well off the beaten path that few ever experience. If I can borrow a line from Meredith Wilson’s musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”: There ain’t 7 wonders. There’s only 3: The stars and the mountains far’s a man can see. And, somewhere a wee bit of paradise shared by the Van Berkum Family called Rainbow Trout Ranch. Oh, yes, and did I mention Lone Pine Meadow? Just kidding! I’m already tasting the Sunday evening steaks.
These are the things I love about Rainbow Trout Ranch. I love riding. Jane always picks a good horse for me. I love fishing in the Conejos River. I love swimming in the pool. I love the line dancing, square dancing, hayrides and riding the Belgian Horses. It is my favorite week all year. I can’t wait to return this August.
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