Smith Fork Ranch
Poshbrood just spent four blissful days at the luxurious and family-friendly Smith Fork Ranch located in Western Colorado.
Our well-traveled girls each announced that our time at Smith Fork Ranch was the "best vacation" they've ever had. And we certainly agree!
Straddling three miles of the Smith Fork River Valley, the ranch is located midway between Aspen and Telluride. The location is perfect -- a short drive to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, renowned artists, craftsmen, galleries, organic farms and orchards, and the best wineries in Colorado.
We flew in to Grand Junction and decided to make the scenic drive over the Grand Mesa National Forest. It took about 2 hours 45 minutes and was worth the extra time. Truly stunning! We stopped in Cedaredge, Colorado, the first little town after the National Park. We had a lovely lunch at Mama Lisa's Pizza & Taqueria on Main Street before driving the last 45 minutes to the ranch.
When we arrived at Smith Fork Ranch, we were met by the GM, Jim, and the activities concierge, Cindy who gave us a property tour. Then we were escorted to our jewel box of a cabin, the Aspen cabin.
This cabin is perfect for families. It's cozy and throughly appointed -- there's a living room with a wood burning stove, a front and back porch, a King bedroom and a room with bunk beds and a single for kids. A slate bathroom completes your luxury ranch abode.
The decor is Ralph Lauren chic and the feather beds are to die for.
There are several lodging options but the ranch is intimate, only sleeping 26 guests at a time. There are one bedroom suites and cabins for couples and even the three-bedroom River House that can sleep up to 10 people.
We arrived just in time to unpack, freshen up and head to dinner. The ranch has fully supervised kids' dinners at 6 pm (you'll hear the bell ring) while parents enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for an hour before sitting down to a kid-free dinner at 7 pm.
Both the kids and the adults adore this arrangement although you can certainly eat with the children if you so choose.
The food is fresh, outrageously delicious and is included in their pricing. The ranch will survey your likes/dislikes/allergies/food preferences before arrival.
SFR has been a farm to table institution for years and SFR's garden is impressive. Our girls got to help the gardener, Alma, do some weeding while munching on lettuce. Be sure to try the goat cheese that is made fresh from a farm down the road. I'm still dreaming about it!
The next morning we awoke to a pot of coffee, cream and sugar on our front porch. What a treat to sit and look at the gorgeous scenery while sipping coffee, while the girls happily played with one of the friendly dogs who roam the ranch.
We moseyed on over to breakfast where we enjoyed fresh fruits, scones, yogurt, cereal and an extensive menu of hot breakfast items like eggs, frittatas, sausage, bacon and pancakes.
Then we checked the SRF daily schedule and it was off to our family horseback orientation and trail ride!
A central focus of the ranch is horseback riding. They have beautiful horses and a great staff to teach/lead any level of rider. I really liked that you're assigned a horse based on your experience and that you keep that horse throughout your stay.
We grabbed cowboy boots from their loaner closet, a brief reminder/tutorial on western trail riding, did a few laps around the ring and our brood was off! (Penelope, 6, was too young to go trail riding so she had the use of "Penny" the mule, who could actually trot!)
Smith Fork Ranch guests can ride every day, twice a day or even head out on a guided 8 hour ride with a packed gourmet lunch and a stop for some fishing.
On Saturday nights, SFR does a "cocktail ride" where adults ride up to a clearing above the ranch for cocktails and appetizers. An hour later they ride a bit further down to their picnic spot where the children will meet up for barbecue and s'mores. Unfortunately, our ride was canceled because of a lightening storm, but I have a feeling I'll be back...
Lunches at SFR are picnics, and you order your lunch after dinner. Basket pick up is at noon and we had so much fun eating on the front lawn and getting to know other fun families at the ranch that week.
My first afternoon I spent at the spa where Gail gave me one of the best massages of my life -- getting rid of my "city shoulders." (BTW, Gail is also one of the fabulous bartenders at SFR and makes a delicious Hendricks & cucumber tonic!)
My husband had a fly fishing tutorial and even caught a fish! With several managed trout ponds and nearly three miles of private river, Smith Fork Ranch offers first rate fly fishing in a breathtaking mountain setting. If your hubby's an angler, this is his paradise!
We regrouped at the bar for an evening beer and glass of wine, blissfully staring at the incredible scenery.
The rest of our stay was a flurry of awesome ranch activities including a mommy/daddy date at the new shooting range:
A family archery lesson...
A visit to the stable to learn what the wranglers do and how to care for the horses...
Helping take care of the ranch animals (yes, the goats on walks...)
We loved this ranch, the intimate setting, the superior service (there are at least one SRF staff for every guest), the food, the guests, the staff and the owners. The owners, Linda and Marley Hodgson, Jr., live nearby and are very involved in the care and management of this very special place.
For Western exhilaration or relaxation, Smith Fork Ranch is the ultimate ranch getaway -- for couples and families. We cannot wait to go back!
All inclusive rates for two (including all meals) begin at $575 a night.
Interested in booking Smith Fork Ranch? Contact Poshbrood/SmartFlyer and we'll take care of all your luxury travel details!