Ranch holidays

Smith Fork Ranch

Crawford and Gunnison National Forest, The Rockies, United States of America

From $5600 per person in low season

per person based on private transfer on arrival, one night in Denver, hire car with unlimited mileage and 7 nights at the ranch on a full board basis inclusive of meals and ranch activities

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At a Glance

  • Intimate and personalized ranch experience in the high Colorado Rockies

  • Inclusive; all meals and on-site activities. May, September, October; B&B packages available

  • Ranch operates from Memorial Day May 31 through to the end of October

  • Accommodation options range from cosy lodge rooms to stunning riverside home

  • Farm-to-fork dinning and Wine Spectator awarded private cellar

  • Children's tepee camp and activities

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

The ranch operates from Memorial Day (31 May) through to the end of October. The summer months of June to August provide warm to hot days and pleasant evenings. Fall is a idyllic season, with shimmering golden fall foliage starting in September, its a great time for couples to visit the ranch.

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Insider's View

Try your hand and tying your own flies in the Elk Lodge before heading out to one of the ranch’s five stocked ponds, and three miles of private water.

The chefs at Smith Fork will put together a beautiful picnic basket for you at lunchtime, so you can chose to dine on a shady river bank or whilst your swinging in your hammock.

Smith Fork's water comes from Saddle Mountain, at 10,000 feet it's the purest mountain water imaginable.

Take a tour of the organic homestead garden, get your hands dirty and get involved in garden activities, picking fresh herbs and salad leaves for the upcoming meal.

For a memorable horse riding experience join the 'cocktail ride' where you ride your horse to the top of the mountain for majestic views with delicious canapés and cocktails.

Take an evening dip in the hot tub overlooking the valley and marvel at clear starry sky.

Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Smith Fork Ranch or take a look at our itineraries to The Rockies

Description

Nestled amid striking mountains and national forest in Crawford Colorado, Smith Fork Ranch is an upscale guest ranch with a dreamy location. With just 28 guests, the ranch offers a personalized experience for active families who like to be pampered.

Located at the foot of Sleeping Indian Mountain on the edge of the beautiful Gunnison National Forest, the ranch straddles three miles of the Smith Fork River Valley, midway between Aspen and Telluride. With an equal staff to guest ratio, on-site activities and service is extremely personalized. The location is far from the only charm, the owners have a superb eye for native and local crafts and as a result, the ranch looks and feels like the old Wild West. It is evocative of an innocent age as children play out in the tepees, hang out in the swimming pond and roast marshmallow s’ mores.

Choose to stay in the cosy Mountain House Rooms, individual cabins or book the River Cabin, a family home complete with hot tub overlooking the Smith Fork River. The main lodge is home to an atmospheric lounge, with plank floors, deep leather sofas, Western antiques and artifacts, with a snooker table, games and even a fly-tying table where fisherman can make their own flies. Talented craftsman and local artisans were employed to restore the ranch from the start; the ranch is filled with rich local textiles, handmade pottery and elk antler chandeliers evocative of the West. The Hodgson's passion for local crafts is reflected in a beautiful gallery shop collection that supports local craftsman.

At the ranch your lodging, meals and on-site activities are included. Horseback riding and arena lessons, biking, archery, fly-fishing, shooting clays and hiking are guided by friendly, enthusiastic staff. Ride on horseback to a mountain top as the sun sets over the Colorado Rockies, mountain bike or hike through seemingly endless miles of national forest with breathtaking views in every direction, and challenge yourself to three miles of private fly fishing along the fast-flowing Smith Fork of the Gunnison River, and five stocked trout ponds. Other unique experiences at Smith Fork Ranch include archery, sporting clays, tailored children’s programs, and cooking classes. Guests of all ages may pick fruits and vegetables from the organic farmstead.

Food is farm-to-table and Smith Fork Ranch boasts a stellar Wine Spectator cellar of wines from premiere growing regions around the world. Colorado's own wine country is just a short distance northwest of the ranch, and wine tastings and bike tours of the North Fork Valley can be arranged.

Come for the genuine Western spirit, rustic cosy comforts, blissful tranquillity and endless adventure. It’s a place to kick back and soak up some of nature’s finest scenic wonders, especially the nearby Black Canyon of the National Park. Those who demand lavish luxury, round-the-clock service and high-speed internet may miss the point of a premier ranch vacation in the high Colorado Rockies.

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Accommodation

The 285-acre Smith Fork Ranch encompasses two log houses and three cabins, historic buildings that have been lovingly restored. The Mountain House is a two-storey lodge, with a wrap-around porch with views of Needle Rock. The second floor of the house is made up of four guest bedrooms, each with a private bathroom and unique furnishings. On the first floor is a two-room guest suite, with a private bath, fireplace, and separate entrance way.

Three individual cabins with private decks offer the authentic log-cabin experience. The cabins are not large, but feature charming porches and the ample communal lounges in the main lodge offer extended relaxing space. The River House sits along the banks of the Smith Fork River with views of the West Elk Range. There are three bedrooms and bathrooms ideal for a family with a bunk, twin beds, and a bath upstairs, or suitable for couples and adults.

Oak Cabin

Ideal for families, Oak Cabin offers a cosy living room with vaulted ceiling, and two bedrooms; one with queen size bed and the other with a king that can be converted into two twins. All cabins have bathrooms, with a large slate-tiled shower.

Mountain House - Saddle Mountain

With views of the 900-foot high Needle Rock to the west end of the valley and Saddle Mountain to the south, this room in a corner of Mountain House has a queen bed.

Mountain House - Needle Rock

Sleeps two people in either a king-size bed or twin beds and from its location in Mountain House has views of Needle Rock and the mountains beyond Five Pond Hill in the north.

Mountain House - Mendicant Ridge

This room features either a king size bed or twin beds and amazing views of Saddle Mountain in the south and the cliffs of Mendicant Ridge in the east.

Mountain House - Sleeping Indian

With views across the front gardens of Mount Guaro, the easterly West Elk Mountains and Sleeping Indian to the north. there is a queen size bed in this room.

Mountain House - West Elk Suite

Featuring a California King Bed, views of the front lawn, gardens and horse corrals, a cosy sitting room complete with river rock fireplace and a separate entrance from the outside of Mountain House.

River House - Woodlands

Features a king-size bed that can be converted to twins and original Western and Native American furnishing and artwork.

River House - Pond

Features a king-size bed that can be converted to twins and original Western and Native American furnishing and artwork.

River House - Willow

Features a king-size bed that can be converted to twins, two bunk beds and a twin sleeper sofa and original Western and Native American furnishing and artwork.

Spruce Cabin

For a romantic getaway, chose Spruce Cabin, a one-bedroom cabin with a living room with cosy log-stove and antler chandelier. The bedroom includes a queen-sized bed, slate-tiled bathroom with shower. Additionally there is a south-facing deck with views of the mountains.

Aspen Cabin

For families, Aspen Cabin with views of Saddle Mountain, a king bedroom and a second bedroom with log bunk beds, a twin bedroom and slate-tiled bathroom with shower is ideal.

Childcare

The staff at the ranch are on hand to help organize any activities. There are two full time child counsellors and a kids tent where the lil' wranglers can reconvene. The children’s program is offered 930am-noon and 2-5pm daily, with the counsellors available until 830pm.

There are also Indian tepees for children to enjoy an overnight camp under the stars. In the evenings, there is an option for children to eat an earlier kids dinner at 6pm, or eat with the family.

Facilities

What really stands out at Smith Fork Ranch is the quality of the food. The ranch takes great pride in its farm-to-table cuisine and the chef takes full advantage of the region's farm-fresh meat and produce. Much of the menu comes from the ranch's own organic garden or from farms within a 20-minute drive.

During the warm summer months, dinner is served on the pavilion deck with stunning mountain views, and special diets and requests are easily accommodated by attentive staff. There is a weekly Friday night cookout by the river, weather permitting. Picnic lunches and BBQs supplement the lodge meals. Breakfast is a set menu with seasonal daily specials as well as continental breakfast buffet.

Activities

Smith Fork's well-trained horses offer a great ride though endless miles of riding on the trails and surrounding forest. Beginners can take arena lessons to improve their riding and confidence, whilst those with an inner-cowboy can try their hand at barrel racing rodeo or cattle penning. Fly-fisherman will delight in fishing for trout on three-miles of pristine river or taking an off-site fishing trip down the mighty Gunnison River. Leave the ranch on horseback with lunch in your saddlebag and head into the wilderness with your guide for a day's fishing. The sporting clays are a blast! The five-stand sporting clay lookout with state-of-the-art traps is situated in the shadows of the magnificent Saddle Mountain. Practice archery on the target range, and then try your woodman's archery skills on the six-stage adventure course through the woods. Mountain bike through the ranch property and local farms and vineyards or kick it up a notch on one of the single-track mountain trails for an adrenaline rush.

Swim off the floating dock at the hillside swimming pond, indulge in a relaxing massage, swing in a hammock by the ponds, go stargazing and sing songs around a camp fire.

Reviews

5

Lucie Polwin (Staff)

Smith Fork Ranch is a small intimate ranch tucked away in a valley surrounded by the Gunnison National Forest. Driving down the unpaved road towards the ranch we definitely felt like we were in true ranch country! The ranch is situated in the most beautiful setting, made all the more beautiful by the fall colors which we were so lucky to catch, you cannot see another property in sight. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and shown to our cosy cabin complete with gas fireplace. The Two Bedroom Cabins are perfect for a family of 3 or 4, and for larger families the Mountain House is a definite must, with 4 bedrooms upstairs and a spacious living/dining area and porch downstairs it offers such a great space for families. The thing I loved about Smith Fork Ranch was its intimate size, when full the ranch sleeps just 26 guests which allows for a truly personalized experience.

5

Camilla Swift (Staff)

Smith Fork Ranch feels very much like your own private retreat in the Rockies. The five beautifully rustic cabins, ranging from one to five bedrooms, provide the perfect base for action and adventure, as well as a peaceful setting for relaxation.

Set in an idyllic fertile valley, surrounded by green mountains and the Smith Fork River valley, with a wonderful history (originally the hunting and growing grounds of the Ute Indians), it's impossible not to totally unwind and relax. The gardener, Beau, and the rest of the delightful staff and owners at Smith Fork, grow and harvest fresh salad leaves, vegetables and fruit from the organic homestead garden for the upcoming meal. I love the way guests are encouraged to get their hands dirty and get involved in garden activities during their stay.

You can fill your days with hiking, mountain biking, riding and take part in the fabulous fly fishing program. With so much outdoor adventure and activity, there is also plenty of opportunity for relaxation. Lakeside hammocks are dotted around the property, perfect for an afternoon snooze, and of course the spa offers an range of massages and treatments. The uppermost hillside pond has been set aside as a swimming pond, complete with sun loungers and even a floating dock! An evening soak in the hot tub overlooking the valley and mountains is the ideal spot to enjoy a glass of wine from the award winning cellar and watch the sunset.

The main Elk Lodge is cosy and welcoming and is the central point of the ranch where guests and staff congregate at the end of the day and swap stories and experiences of the days ride or of hooking the biggest fish!

Location & directions

Crawford and Gunnison National Forest, The Rockies, United States of America

Smith Fork is located on Colorado's Western Slope, approximately 7 miles east of the town of Crawford. The Ranch is nestled within the beautiful Gunnison National Forest adjoining the wild, untamed West Elk Wilderness Area. The Ranch and its surrounding areas are home to stunning mountains, abundant rivers, high altitude streams and ponds, and breathtaking views.

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Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Smith Fork Ranch or take a look at our itineraries to The Rockies

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