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Colorado Dude Ranch Vacations
Category: At the Ranch

A Colorado Dude Ranch vacation can be a unique experience for the whole family. Harmel’s Ranch Resort offers many different kinds of dude ranch experiences such as square dances, trail rides, overnight pack trips and much more.

Located near historic Crested Butte, Colorado, Harmel’s sits in a high mountain valley. The mild daytime and cool nighttime temperatures ensure an exceptionally wonderful way to escape the heat, and the hustle and bustle of the city.

Take your pick from a wide range of horseback activities … from a one hour, two hour or half day trail ride, to a full day wilderness ride; you can experience the beauty of the Gunnison National Forest on horseback here at Harmel’s. Ride alongside tumbling mountain creeks, listen to the wind sigh through the pines, and enjoy some of the best scenery on the planet.

Every ride is guided by our experienced wranglers. These young men and women all have CPR and First Aid training (because safety comes first) and they also have extensive horsemanship skills.  Our wranglers participated in activities like 4-H, gymkhana, English hunter/jumper, or even rodeo riding. Harmel’s has a string of 40 guest horses that are strong, patient and knowledgeable of the trails. Many guests return and request the same mount they had the previous year.

One of the best options to really enjoy both a great trail ride and a great night out is the overnight horseback riding pack trip. Pack-out with the wranglers three evenings per week and let them treat you to true luxury in the mountains. In your ride through the Gunnison National Forest, you might catch a glimpse of a bear, big horn sheep, deer or other furry critter (the most common being chipmunks). You’ll spend a night out at our High Country Camp, listen to the coyotes harmonize and enjoy a steak, potatoes, and cowboy beans cooked over a roaring campfire. The stars are so close and the sky so clear you can practically reach out and touch the constellations. You’ll enjoy songs and stories around the campfire before retiring to a canvas tent with cots, pillows and warm bedrolls (sleeping bags), each with its own freshly laundered lining. In the morning, you’ll wake up to fresh mountain air, cowboy coffee, bacon, eggs, taters and pancakes hot off the griddle, then ride back to the ranch after breakfast.

If you’ve never ridden a horse before or maybe it’s not your style, Harmel’s has two terrific options for you: horsemanship lessons or kickin’ back on a hayride.


  • Seven days a week, in the afternoon, we offer 45 minute horsemanship lessons.
  • These lessons are given by our very knowledgeable wranglers and are great confidence builders.


  • Every Tuesday and Friday evening, guests climb aboard the hay wagon pulled by our draft horses Mike & Molly, to enjoy some musical entertainment on a trip around the resort.
  • The ride ends at a roaring bon fire where you can roast some marshmallows, make s’mores, sing along with our nightly entertainment and enjoy the cool evening air.

To round out the whole dude ranch experience for the little buckaroos, there is the Junior Wrangler’s Program for kids ages 8 and up.  The kids learn to brush, feed, water, saddle, and mount the horses in morning, afternoon or all day sessions.  Click here to read more in our blog about the Junior Wrangler’s Program. 

If that isn’t enough, Harmel’s sits at the confluence of two streams, and offers some of the best fly fishing in Colorado. One of the largest rainbow trout in Colorado has been taken out of the river just a few miles east of the ranch.  There is so much to do for ev...

Posted by Amie A. on 09/16/2014

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