My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Boomer adventure on a Colorado dude ranch

2012/07/31by Donna Hull

Are you ready for a boomer travel adventure at a Colorado dude ranch? In today’s guest post, freelance writer and author Linda Ballou tells us about her experience at North Fork Ranch. Grab your virtual cowboy hat and boots for a Western adventure like no other. 

north-fork-ranch-campfire-boomer-trip

Sitting by the campfire

Dude ranches have long been a bastion of Western hospitality for urban cowboys but, today they are multi-sport adventures leaping generation gaps in a single bound. White water rafting on the Arkansas River, fly fishing in pristine waters chock full of trophy trout, champagne breakfast rides, and hikes to an alpine wonderland are part and parcel of an all-inclusive holiday offered at North Fork Ranch in central Colorado

Karen and Dean May purchased the 500+ acre ranch surrounded by national forest in 1984 and have been upgrading and expanding it ever since. Extended and blended families share spacious log cabins and leave the cooking and cleaning to the attentive ranch staff. Scheduled activities for kids, supervised by staff, allow parents and grandparents to take the day off. Evening entertainment around the campfire is provided by a singing cowboy and mountain man who shares what it was like to be a trapper in the early 1800s.

Boomers who love to ride, will get their fill. There are horses for every level of riding. “Bushwacking” on a soft bed of needles through forests of ponderosa pine allows wrangler guides to see how well novices are handling their mounts. The wranglers strive to give you an authentic Western ride and to stretch your abilities safely. The all-day picnic ride takes you through shimmering aspen groves and old growth forest to vistas of purple peaks stacked to eternity. Riding though meadows with billowing grasses peppered with red paint brush and alpine daisy beneath bluebird skies made me feel like the luckiest cowgirl in Colorado.

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Relaxing by the North Fork of the Platte River at North Fork Ranch

Options for non-riding guests include a trip to trendy Breckenridge for a day of shopping with a stop-over in the small mountain town of Conifer to test your zip-lining skills. Bow and arrows and skeet shooting are also on tap. Or, you can just lie by the pool and read a book, or simmer in the hot tub for a while. There is no pressure for you to partake in any of the activities available, and a nap is always in order.

For more about the ranch, read Linda’s interview with Karen May at National Association of Baby Boomer Women. For rates and reservations check out the North Fork Ranch website, or call (800) 843-7895.

Colorado Wildfires

Colorado is home to 23 million acres of public lands, including 10 national parks and monuments, 41 state parks, and 334 state wildlife areas. The active fires represent less than one percent of the state’s public lands and most of the state’s destinations and attractions are open for business. The Colorado Tourism Office has announced an online travel resource for tourism-related fire updates at http://www.colorado.com/colorado-wildfire-updates-for-travelers

Los Angeles based freelance writer Linda Ballou specializies in adventure travel. When she’s not traveling, she hikes e the trails in and around L.A. Find her travel essay collection, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, at Linda Ballou Author and major online distribution sites including the Nook and Kindle.

Disclosure: North Fork Ranch provided Linda Ballou’s travel experience but the opinions are her own.

Is a visit to a Colorado dude ranch your type of boomer travel experience? Post a comment to tell us all about it. Alan and I have yet to experience a dude ranch. Don’t you think it’s about time that we did?

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A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie Smith
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August 1, 2012 at 8:04 am

I love dude ranch vacations. In fact took my first horseback ride at one in Northern Canada at age 48 — that was enough lesson in horse culture. I prefer to spend my time sittin’ round the campfire and tellin’ those tall tales about the Old West. As I recall, even 10 years ago the stay wasn’t inexpensive, but well worth the money spent.
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Heatheronhertravels
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August 5, 2012 at 4:35 am

We did have a ride on a ranch when we were in Texas at Easter and I’d have loved to have spent a few days to soak up the real cowboy atmosphere.
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Chris August 30, 2012 at 8:18 am

We love going to Steamboat Springs, CO. There are a couple of Dude ranches in the area that let you do day or overnight horseback riding. Of course, there are also those that have the “full” dude ranch experience as well.

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