Rediscover the Wild West Experience at Colorado’s Oldest Dude Ranch
Log cabins, authentic Wild West meals, horseback riding, hayrides, and campfire – these are most of the things you may have on your list while vacationing at a dude ranch. However, at Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch, these are just some of the numerous attractions and activities you can indulge in. Perched at 7,500 ft. elevation in the southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park, this friendly guest ranch will give you a taste of days past while relieving you from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine in a peaceful valley on the banks of the Colorado River.
Bar Lazy J’s Origins
Bar Lazy J takes pride in being the oldest continuously operating dude ranch in the state. Named the Buckhorn Lodge originally, the ranch was purchased in 1904 by James S. Ferguson and Edgar M. Messiter. James, his wife Florence and Edgar then decided to turn it into a resort, a profitable idea considering that many people stopped by during the travels. Even after James passed away, Florence married Edgar and continued his dream.
To add a dash of class to their resort, the ranch had a newly out debutante acting as the social secretary. In addition, guests had to produce a letter of reference before staying at the ranch. This was all the invitation Colorado’s elite needed, all of whom paid the then-hefty price of $5 for the American Plan, i.e. lodging, meals, horseback riding, fishing, singing and square dancing, and cookouts.
The Buckhorn Lodge has undergone many changes since it opened its doors in 1912. Under the ownership of Jerry and Cheri Amos-Helmicki since 1995, it became less of a posh resort and turned into an original dude ranch that radiates hospitality and friendliness while promising a quality ‘Western Experience for everyone’.
Reasons to Drop by Bar Lazy J
If you’re tired of sandy beaches, frozen hills and destinations beyond U.S. borders, you can enjoy a unique All-American lifestyle at Colorado’s Bar Lazy J. The winner of 2013’s Top 5 Best Family Ranch and Best Ranch Hosts in the Nation, this dude ranch promises both excitement and relaxation. It also offers the following, making it worth visiting at least once (but rest assured, you’ll be dropping in often)
A Range of Activities for All Tastes – As part of your vacation, the ranch offers numerous activities all weeklong. First off is horseback riding; you can take your pick from the ranch’s 100 horses, all of which are well-trained to accommodate all levels of riding abilities. You can also choose from special rides, such as high country rides and a Spa Ride. If you’d rather go fishing, catch and release more like it, don’t hesitate to discover why Bar Lazy J has been voted by Signature Ranch Awards as the #1 fly fishing ranch. With the Colorado River at the back, get ready to click photos with some of the biggest fish in your life. However, if you want to catch something you can take home, the ranch’s own stocked trout pond will be a better choice. Finally, you’re welcome to enjoy the latest addition to the ranch, the Colorado River Zip Line, which allows you to deeply breathe mountain air while crossing the river.
Special Programs for Children –You won’t have to worry about your kids feeling left out while you live your cowboy dream. Bar Lazy J provides a Fun Kid’s Program to keep children excited throughout. Offered between 9am – 12pm and 1:30 pm – 5pm, the program includes horseback riding, treasure hunts, fishing, archery, and educational nature walks.
• Different Accommodation Options – If you want to come back to a luxurious room, you can book one at the original log Ranch House and enjoy a list of amenities such as a hot tub, swimming pool, petting corral, and massage room. However, if you want to rough it up all the way, you’re welcome at any of the 12 modernized cabins, which come with basic essentials like refrigerators, coffee makers, and soft linen.
Fresh Delicacies Three Times a Day – Chef Eddie Allen is famous for creating meals showcasing the western flavor. Enjoy hearty breakfasts of pancakes, eggs and sausage and expect a surprise for lunch and dinner. Maybe you’ll be treated to grilled salmon or prime rib. Who knows what Chef Eddie has on mind?
All-Inclusive Packages – For its season, which is between May and September, the dude ranch offers an all-inclusive package at $1,995 for adults, $1,495 for children between 7 and 12, and $1,195 for those between 3 and 6. If you’d rather come on your own or with your significant other, you need to book during the ‘Adults Only Dude Ranch Vacation Time’, which would cost $265 per day.
The Bottom Line
If you want to enjoy an authentic guest ranch experience without fully compromising on your modern day luxuries, Bar Lazy J is where you should be. So, make sure to book before the season starts as the ranch can accommodate only 40 guests at a time.
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