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Ranch Wranglin' & Writin'

Las Vegas + Western Life

By on December 9th, 2021

The beginning of the holidays are a special time for everyone, but for cowboys and cowgirls, it means that “Cowboy Christmas” starts in Las Vegas, Nevada!

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Spring Opening

By on April 27th, 2021

The first two weeks of staff is all about opening, orientations, and getting to know one another. It’s a wonderful way for us as a staff to bond, and then we are ready for guests to arrive!

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Guests Say…?

By on March 30th, 2021

Guests say: bring chapstick! Among other things. We asked return guests and staff members if they had any words of advice to give to new guests this summer, and they had great responses!

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Horse Vocabulary & Riding

By on March 24th, 2021

When we are riding, we as wranglers always want to make sure that we can communicate with our riders to the best of our ability. In this post, we discuss vocabulary that we might use when talking about making our horses comfortable while we ride.

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Basic Horse Colors

By on February 10th, 2021

Often, when we talk about our horses we refer to them by the color of their coat. We want you to be in on the conversation. In this blog, you can learn more colors of horses you might see in the herd.

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Cattle Kingdom

By on January 22nd, 2021

Reading is one of my resolutions for the 2021 year. However, this year, it has a focus on the cowboy life and history!

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Horse Vocabulary – Part 1

By on December 19th, 2020

Learning the vocabulary about and around horses is one of the first steps in knowing more about these wonderful animals. This winter we are going to do multi-part posts on horse knowledge!

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Thank you, Chris Collins

By on December 8th, 2020

A man of many talents, we were lucky to have Chris Collins visit us this summer! Thank you to Chris Collins for sharing his time and efforts with us this summer.

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Wintering the Horses

By on November 24th, 2020

All winter, our horses get to be horses. Run with the herd, play all day, and grow a thick, fluffy winter coat to keep warm all winter. We think they quite enjoy themselves, and come back refreshed and ready for a new summer every year!

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A Great 2020 Season

By on September 30th, 2020

We had a great 2020 season, all things considered, and now that the season is over, we are starting to focus on next year.

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Cheyenne & Her Legacy

By on May 5th, 2020

A long time veteran of the ranch, Cheyenne comes up in stores new and old. We were lucky to have her for so many years at the ranch, and even more lucky to have her offspring to live on.

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Key Western Tack & Their Purpose

By on April 23rd, 2020

We always hope that any guest to the ranch leaves knowing more than when they came! These pieces of tack and equipment are just a few things we reference out on the trail.

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Traveling to the Ranch

By on April 15th, 2020

Being remote is a special part of the ranch, but the travel can be a big part to plan. Frances, long time guest and friend, has shared her insight on traveling to the ranch from the UK, and road trip routes to the ranch from the various proximity airports. We hope this helps you plan your trip with us!

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“Little Britches” Book Series

By on March 25th, 2020

Growing up, I always enjoyed reading. I never knew until now that I have a special place in my heart for the westerns! I’ve heard Doug mention this series for a while now, and this winter I made the time to start.

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Mornings on the Ranch

By on March 16th, 2020

The morning air can be great anywhere, but I personally find it exceptional here at the ranch. There is something special about the ranch waking up, and everyone working together to make it a magical place.

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Branding: History & Today

By on February 25th, 2020

There is much to know about the history and purpose between branding. In this blog, we’ve touched on the basic understanding of branding.

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Horse Hall of Fame: Santa Fe

By on February 18th, 2020

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a horse that has become such a big part of the experience at RTR to so many. We are incredibly grateful for the years that we had with Santa Fe.

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Hydroponic Happenings

By on February 12th, 2020

In 2019, one of the biggets accomlishments was completing the latest addition to the ranch, which includes the expansion to the hydropic hay, or fodder, production.

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Looking Western, Staying Safe!

By on February 3rd, 2020

We have many guests who bring their own helmets to ride in while they are with us. Our guest blog writer, Frances, shares with us her latest find in the western helmet trends!

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Movie Confessions: City Slickers

By on January 27th, 2020

For a few years, I’ve been hiding my lack of education in westerns from everyone I work with. But as I watch the classics, I’m coming clean and confessing which ones I’m just watching for my first time. In this case, it’s City Slickers.

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2020 Resolutions

By on January 20th, 2020

Resolutions are often a part of jump starting any new year. Like anyone, I’m always working towards being the best I can be for myself and for those I am around. Here are a few of my personal goals for 2020.

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2019 Summer Recap – Horses

By on January 14th, 2020

While we had a few new things to be grateful for this year, (and I am!) I wanted to share a little about the new horses we welcomed into the herd here at the ranch.

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Christmas in July

By on January 4th, 2020

This time of year always makes me nostalgic for one of my favorite parts of the summer: Christmas in July. A time to enjoy hot chocolate, laughs, and my ranch family.

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Photo Blog Highlight: Emma

By on May 16th, 2019

Emma, past guest of the ranch as a teen (2007, 2008), stopped by on her road trip for work. She took some incredible pictures of our spring, and has allowed us to share them with you!

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What ARE those? Chaps vs Chinks

By on May 12th, 2019

Sometimes the western lingo can be bit hard to keep up with, so we decided to give you a little background behind chaps and chinks.

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Foals of 2018

By on May 6th, 2019

For many years, foals have been born into the RTR family. We are proud to have had four babies this past summer, and we have high hopes for them in the future!

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Interview: Julia & the Cowpokes

By on April 29th, 2019

The Cowpokes (6 to 11 years old) are such a fun group of kids to hang out with all week. After catching up with Julia, who is coming back again as a Cowpoke counselor, the excitement is rising for the summer!

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Spring on the Conejos with Sam

By on April 20th, 2019

Sam and Derek recently competed in a fly-fishing tournament on the Conejos River, and they did a wonderful job representing the ranch. Sam has written a blog on the river, and the fun in fishing in Colorado in the spring.

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Staff Blog Highlight: Sorrell

By on April 13th, 2019

Staff member, wrangler, and friend, Sorrell, has written a wonderful blog piece about her time at the ranch. We hope you get a chance to check it out!

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New Horses on the Ranch!

By on April 5th, 2019

We have found our horses in various places as the years have gone by, and many of them have become beloved RTR family members. We are excited to say that this coming summer we have 15 new horses that have the opporunity to become part of our herd. Check out what we think is important, and meet a few!

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Interview: Lauryn & the Teens

By on March 22nd, 2019

Coming in for her 7th summer, Lauryn has made quite a name for herself as one of our favorite Wisconsinites and staff members. She’s spent many a summer working with the teens, and we wanted to catch up with her on her experiences!

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September at the Ranch

By on March 16th, 2019

As the end of August comes around, the kids and teenagers return to school, the ranch takes a turn into fall, and we become exclusively Adults Only.

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Ranch Raised Horses

By on March 8th, 2019

We are so lucky to have the opportunity to breed, raise and train a number of the horses that are a part of our herd. They now help some of our guests have a wonderful vacation.

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Friday Night Fun

By on February 22nd, 2019

Friday nights come alive with laughter and fun for all ages — it’s one of the most unique nights of the week at RTR.

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Everybody Swing!

By on February 16th, 2019

From two stepping to line dancing, barn dances to square dancing, we do a little bit of everything, and more, when we hit the dance floor!

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Wild, Wild… Rags?

By on January 30th, 2019

Wild rags, or scarves, have been a staple of the cowboy attire for years. Jane has been a trendsetter at Rainbow Trout Ranch, and many have jumped on the bandwagon — including me!

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Faith, Hope, & Charity

By on January 23rd, 2019

The lodge is tucked underneath three spectacular rock faces that we can hike to any time during your stay with us.

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Dude Ranch Family – Braden

By on January 16th, 2019

The dude ranching world is an amazing opportunity to make life long connections with people from all over, staff and guests alike. This past week, we got to visit with one of ours, Braden, who was a wrangler for us for two years! We got to hear about her exciting new world in Pigeon Forge, TN.

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Wintering Horses

By on January 10th, 2019

We had a chance to visit with each horse individually a few days ago when we dewormed this winter. So nice to see them all while they are on vacation! You can learn more about what their winter looks like here.

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Working at Rainbow

By on January 2nd, 2019

There are so many wonderful opportunities at Rainbow Trout Ranch for summer jobs. Click to read more about how summer working in the southern Colorado Rockies could be your best yet!

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Staff Map 2018

By on December 20th, 2018

We have been lucky to have a great dude ranch staff from all over come work with us in our magic part of southern Colorado. This year, we thought we would map it out!

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“Linda Clean”

By on December 5th, 2018

We always have a good time wherever we are at Rainbow Trout Ranch, even when we are cleaning! A few of our housekeeping and waitstaff members made a great timelapse video in one of our cabins in the twin room, and we’ve put it here to share with you.

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Pink Friday Tradition

By on June 20th, 2018

A few years ago, we adopted the tradition of wearing pink on Fridays, and support the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” program sponsored by Wrangler. It’s become something that we encourage everyone on the ranch to participate in!

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Staff Spotlight: Hannah

By on June 1st, 2018

This summer, we are making an effort to introduce our blog readers to some of our great staff members that we have this year! This week is Hannah, from Ohio. We hope you have the pleasure of meeting her out here on the ranch!

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Unplugging at the Ranch

By on May 14th, 2018

In today’s world, we are always checking our emails, responding to texts, or seeing what’s new in the world on our phones. At our dude ranch, it offers the perfect opportunity to take a break, relax, and just enjoy the moment. Read more to see why!

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The Dog Days of Ranching

By on May 2nd, 2018

You’ll never meet two ranch dogs more welcoming to new faces and old friends than HubCap and LugNut. We have had some great ranch dogs through the years at Rainbow Trout Ranch, but these two definitely have left an impression in our hearts.

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The History of the Suffolk Punch

By on April 17th, 2018

The old English breed, the Suffolk Punch, is truly a beautiful breed of horse. We are now proudly breeding and training them at Rainbow Trout Ranch! With the newest addition just born, we are interested in learning more about them, and sharing with you.

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Ready for June Fishing!

By on April 9th, 2018

As winter comes to a close in Southwest Colorado, our fly fishing guides are gearing up for another great summer of fishing!

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This is Me: Max

By on April 6th, 2018

Fly fishing guide going on his 5th summer with Rainbow Trout Ranch, Max Vaaler writes a little about himself, and his time here at the ranch. Look for more from Max soon!

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RTR Country Music Playlist

By on March 14th, 2018

Over some hot tea and coffee, a few us started talking about our favorite country songs and singers. We quickly decided we had to share this playlist!

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This is me: Arden

By on February 23rd, 2018

My name is Arden, and I thought I might write a little about me.

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A Week at the Ranch in Video

By on July 12th, 2017

Enjoy this amazing video shared and created by guest JD Blackburn, in honor of our 25th anniversary.

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What if I Don’t Ride at a Colorado Dude Ranch?

By on July 3rd, 2015

Many folks ask “What if I don’t ride but my family wants to go to a dude ranch?”   Here at our dude ranch in southern Colorado we often have guests who don’t choose to ride.  Sometimes they can’t for physical reasons, sometimes they just prefer not to, but either way they still have a wonderful […]

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Colorado Dude Ranch: Five Ways to Choose a Guest Ranch for Your Family Vacation

By on July 3rd, 2015

A Colorado dude ranch is a great way to get your family outdoors, hopefully far away away from technology and enjoying some spectacular scenery from the back of a horse. But choosing a guest ranch can be a challenge, especially when each ranch looks more perfect than the last. Here are five ways to help […]

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Rocky Mountain Adventures on our Colorado Dude Ranch

By on November 1st, 2014

Here in the southern Colorado Rockies we’ve been closed for the dude ranch season for just over a month.  In that time we’ve  shut down the grand old Lodge and all the cabins, said goodbye to our great staff, remodeled the last two cabins that needed living areas and fireplaces, pulled shoes and trimmed feet on the […]

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Colorado Dude Ranch Finds Success with Hydroponic Hay

By on October 17th, 2014

With 130 horses at our southern Colorado dude ranch, you can imagine we go through alot of hay since the terrain here is spectacular, but not conducive to enough grazing to support that many.  So our hay bills run high and we are always on the lookout for creative ways to care for our herd. […]

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The Wonderful Life of a Dude Rancher

By on March 25th, 2014

We live a very wonderful life here on our Colorado dude ranch, the Rainbow Trout Ranch.  We’ve been doing it for twenty-one years, although my husband David and I worked on other ranches for a few years before his parents and he decided to make a full fledged dude ranch out of what used to […]

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September 2014 Here we come

By on September 20th, 2013

I haven’t made any blog entries for a while as my next trip to paradise (aka Rainbow Trout Ranch) seemed so far away, but now that we have the flights all booked up for next fall (my American is improving, I remembered not to say ‘autumn’) it seems closer. Yes, September 2014, Here we come! […]

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Top 10 Reasons to go to a Colorado Dude Ranch, not on a Cruise!

By on April 11th, 2013

Given the recent news stories about cruises, we decided to add our two cents as to why a Colorado dude ranch, like Rainbow Trout Ranch, is a much better choice for your vacation than a cruise… 10. We don’t ever need to wait for tugboats! 9. We don’t have sewer issues that you have to […]

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Dude Ranch “Super” Marketing

By on February 12th, 2013

Like most dude ranchers, I think about marketing at our Colorado guest ranch. A lot. Between all the blogging, face booking, tweeting, pinning—or is it pinteresting?!—posting, meta tags, YouTube videos, keywords and goodness knows what else, my mind is a jumble of noise, rather like a casino when you first walk in. With the recent […]

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Zorro: The Southern Colorado Dude Ranch Legend

By on January 11th, 2013

THE STORY OF ZORRO:  A RAINBOW TROUT RANCH LEGEND ABOUT A HORSE WHO WENT WALKABOUT We operate a beautiful dude ranch set in a picturesque river valley here in the San Juan Mountains range of the southern Colorado Rockies. When we stand in the shade of the massive porch that hugs the lodge, we look […]

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A Very Special Dude Ranch Horse Story: Mikey

By on December 4th, 2012

The true heart and soul of our Colorado dude ranch lies with the horses.  Without horses, a dude ranch is just another place to stay, albeit a pretty one, and although we do have awesome fishing, a fish doesn’t seem to inspire the same love that a horse does, although some of our staunch fly-fishermen […]

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Riding Western in the UK – getting ready for our Colorado dude ranch visit

By on November 3rd, 2012

I am planning a family reunion for a big birthday in 2016, and where else would I want to be but Rainbow Trout Ranch! So we already thinking about it. Two of my four girls have been dude ranching before, but the other two haven’t. Two of their husbands have never even sat on a […]

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Summer Season 2012 Wrap-Up

By on October 11th, 2012

2012 Rocked! It was an awesome season here at the ranch. Scroll down for some pictures and memories.

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At Rainbow Trout Ranch at last

By on October 1st, 2012

Having made it to the ranch at last, I thought I would share just one day of my two weeks in paradise at Rainbow Trout Ranch. On this particular day, I woke to hear the welcome sound of footsteps on my balcony, heralding the arrival of hot coffee! As I crept out of my cosy […]

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Season’s End at Rainbow Trout Ranch, High in Southern Colorado

By on September 30th, 2012

 A week ago, I took an all-day ride to the back-country high above and behind our Colorado dude ranch.   It was a simply glorious day to be riding good horses in spectacular country.  We came back, seventeen miles and packed-lunches later, tired, sore but on a truly natural high fostered by the sheer beauty around us. […]

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83 days to go until I arrive at Rainbow Trout, my Colorado Dude Ranch

By on June 14th, 2012

  My trip is getting closer! My last blog was about ways to get to the ranch, so what have we decided to do this year? We are flying into Denver on September 4th, but we don’t get to the ranch until Sunday the 9th, so we have a few days with which to play. […]

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Spring at this Colorado Dude Ranch: Getting Ready for Guests

By on May 16th, 2012

It is so exciting at our Colorado dude ranch located in the southern Rockies when the staff start arriving for the new season. We have a guest capacity of around sixty at our all-inclusive family vacation ranch, and thus we need a staff of around thirty, plus the four of us.  This year we are […]

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Getting to the Ranch…

By on May 11th, 2012

I’m pleased to say I am typing this with two hands again as the wrist is on the mend. Only one more week in this horrid splint. Horray! Although we have had our flights to the ranch booked for months, there is still plenty to think about in terms of a route. If you look […]

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The Horse We Shared at the Colorado Dude Ranch

By on May 7th, 2012

A TRIBUTE TO CD, The Horse We Shared By Andrea Hansell      Our family first came to Rainbow Trout Ranch in July of 1997.   Before we arrived, I spent a good deal of time discussing horse choices with Jane on the phone.  I had enough riding experience to want a horse with some spunk, but […]

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More Getting Ready for My Colorado Dude Ranch Holiday

By on April 19th, 2012

The jeans have arrived! Thank you e-bay! They came straight to my front door with no nasty UPS man demanding a small fortune before he would hand them over. The site is http://stores.ebay.co.uk/peachstatewholesale, and the Q-Baby Ultimate riding jeans were $27.99. The tag said $59.99. The postage was $19.25, but I paid more than that […]

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My Favorite Colorado Dude Ranch Horse and More

By on April 3rd, 2012

Well , it is 1pm here in sunny England. It is an extraordinary 23 degrees here (now that is not freezing point, as in Fahrenheit it is nearly 75 degrees and very warm), but am I outside enjoying this mad March weather? Am I heck! I am chained to my desk as usual, transcribing interviews. […]

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Blog of an RTR Guest

By on March 29th, 2012

My name is Frances, and I have been lucky enough to visit RTR three times (2007/9/10), and I am very excited about my next visit in September this year. I am even more excited about 2016 when I am planning to bring my whole family to celebrate a BIG birthday. I won’t tell you which […]

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Teens at the Dude Ranch: The Transformation from Surly to Happy

By on March 19th, 2012

Dude Ranching for us is primarily about families.  And while we do have a wonderful  “Adults Only” time in September, the three main months of the summer are primarily families who come to share an all-inclusive, adventure  vacation with our family.  We do have couples and groups and we love them.  But the backbone of […]

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Dude Ranch Dogs

By on February 15th, 2012

While most people think of horses when they hear the term “dude ranch,” many ranches, like ours here in the southern Colorado Rockies, are also about the dogs.   Just a bit of background on us here at Rainbow Trout Ranch:  we are a long-time dude ranch dating back to the 1920’s although we are […]

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The Changing Times

By on November 14th, 2011

For those of you who are new to Rainbow Trout Ranch, we are a Colorado dude ranch located in the southern Colorado Rocky Mountains.  We offer a full program of riding, fishing, kids’ programs, teen program and so much more in the summer months and a month of “adults only” time in September.  It is […]

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Dream Trip to our Colorado Dude Ranch Inspired an Article

By on January 3rd, 2011

One of our Colorado dude ranch guests wrote a great article about her experience at Rainbow Trout Ranch in Mommy Magazine of Sarasota, Florida. Dream Trips Save and Plan Your Way to Nirvana by Kerri Dieffenwierth I guess it’s true: Some of us have always had wanderlust. Instead of posters of Leif Garrett, Michael Jackson […]

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Pagosa.com article on Rainbow Trout Ranch

By 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 […]

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Teen Program at Rainbow Trout Ranch

By on July 30th, 2010

When we first came to the ranch, all that ran through my mind was: “I hope this week goes by fast.” But by the time we got to the lodge, that thought was changed into “This is gonna be fun!” From the first time I caught a hummingbird to the time I first loped, I never wanted to go. […]

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Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

By on July 13th, 2010

The Peanut Butter Jelly Ride is a great event here at Rainbow Trout Ranch. This ride is the all day horseback ride for the cowpokes, who are ages 6-11. When the clock strikes 10am, I hear the eager voices of the children running down the mountain from the lodge to the stables. As the cowpoke […]

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Colorado dude ranch ride coming in

By on June 9th, 2010

A fun picture of a ride coming in, taken last week. That is wrangler Dave on the paint, guest Susan, guest Joe, wrangler Luke, and guest Deborah on the right holding her hat in the wind–it was pretty windy last week but very beautiful. Note how many of the aspens weren’t budded then–they are all […]

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A Guest of the West

By on March 29th, 2010

Antonito, CO. – Where the mountains meet the desert at the Colorado-New Mexico state line, the Conejos River winds its way through a tranquil valley 9,000 feet high in the Rockies. Guarded by towering peaks and dramatic waterfalls, the beauty of this place is matched only by its remarkable stillness. Here, for a week you […]

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Rocky Mountain High

By on March 19th, 2010

One Week At A Colorado Dude Ranch Is The Travel Bonanza Of The Year By Candi Pillitterri There’s a reason somebody made a song about springtime in the Rockies; this is the kind of place people get silly and rhapsodic about approximately five seconds after they arrive. And if you’re lucky enough to get to […]

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Spring is coming to the ranch

By on March 18th, 2010

Spring has sprung! Even though we’ve had close to a foot of snow these last few days, there is a definite feel of summer coming in the air. The river is starting to open up–it is frozen solid all winter–and the aspens are budding. That gorgeous blue Colorado sky is spectacular as always and I […]

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Cowboy Boots