Elk Mountain Ranch is high and remote in the San Isabel National Forest with off-the-beaten path charm. Adjacent the Browns Canyon National Monument. Unique for spectacular scenery, quality horses, variety of activities & superb menu. Here you will savor hospitality second to none - warm, friendly and sincere.

At Elk Mountain Ranch families are encouraged to spend time together, though we do offer adult weeks in September where up to 20 guests can enjoy the peak of fall colors, with an emphasis of riding and relaxing.

The ranch is a pleasant 2 1/2 hour drive from the Denver Airport. Nearby Buena Vista is home to the largest collection of peaks over 14,000 feet and the "White Water Capital of Colorado."

Week includes horseback riding through unspoiled wilderness, thrilling white water raft trip within minutes of the ranch, trapshooting, marksmanship, archery, trips to Aspen, hiking, fishing, mountain biking and excurson to Browns Canyon Ropes and Adventure Park. Hayride, square-dance and musical entertainment take place in the evenings.

Elk Mountain Ranch is very family-oriented ranch, our supervisors offer fun-filled, well supervised activities for children, ages 3-7. Activites revolve around the "theme of the day," whether this be a cowboy day, Indian day, etc. To learn more about our children's programs visit the "children" tab above.

Elk Mountain Ranch has been the Murphy family's home and passion since 1985.

Good to know

  • Works with travel agents?

    yes
  • Belongs to

    Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association, Dude Ranchers Association, Certified Horsemanship Association
  • Good time to go

    Every day is a great day at Elk Mountain Ranch.

Lowdown

  • Owner(s)

    Tom and Sue Murphy
  • Manager(s)

    Tom and Sue Murphy
  • Address

    PO Box 910, Buena Vista, Colorado, USA, 81211
  • Tel

    800-432-8812
  • Capacity

    30
  • Open

    May-Sep - view details
  • Nightly rate

    $275-303 - view details
  • Ranch Type

    Dude Ranch, Guest Ranch
  • Great for

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Solitude, Diverse scenery, Kids - all ages

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Highs

  • Largest collection of peaks over 14,000 feet in the lower 48 states, highest guest ranch in Colorado
  • Considered the "white water capital of Colorado", with rafting within minutes of the ranch
  • Believes in natural horsemenship, rides are kept small in size and all are accompanied by a competent and caring wrangler
  • Extensive children's program, complete with "theme days" for the lil' buckeroos-Cowboy day
  • Tom and Sue create lasting memories, as one guest recounts, "when recommending a vacation spot they quickly said to another 'you should go to Elk Mountain where we took our family 20 years ago and was our best vacation ever!"

Lows

  • Generates it's own power, so it's lights out at 11pm, but it ensures time to view the star-filled sky
 

Summer Season Rates & Booking

  • Open

    May-Sep
  • Nightly rate

    $275-303   view details on lodging rates
  • Nightly rate (non-rider)

    $246-289
  • Nightly rate (children)

    $142-212
  • Minimum stay

    1 week
  • Preferred arrival day

    Sun
  • Preferred depart day

    Sun
  • Booking Policy

  • An $800 per person deposit required when booking. Balance is due upon the end of the stay.
  • Included in your stay

  • meals, activities, lodging, Riding, white water rafting, shooting sports, fishing, van trip to Aspen, excursion to Browns Canyon Ropes and Adventure Park, hay rides , square dancing , evening western entertainment.
  • Extras

  • Tax

    6.4%
  • Gratuity

    Optional based upon your satisfaction
  • Massage

    $80 an hour

Environmental & Social Practices

  • Environment

  • Practice leave no trace policy upon our National Forests. The ranch recycles and practices water conservation with staff and guests. We try to be good stewards of our lands.

  • Food

  • Superb, varied, home-cooked meals to delight both the hearty and discerning appetites.  Trail ride cookouts, champagne brunch, steak fry, hors d-oeuvres, fabulous desserts, and kid-friendly options.  The highlight at week's end is the country candlelight dinner.  Fresh baked cookies, snacks and fruit bowl always available between meals.  Special diets happily accommodated.
     

Weather

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Avg Temp (°F):

394248556575797672624940

Avg Rainfall (in):

0.40.60.70.90.90.51.81.40.70.70.50.4

Lowdown

  • Elevation

    9600 ft.
  • Generate power

    Ranch generates it's own power. The generator runs from 6 am. to 11 pm. Then it is "lights out" and enjoy the show that the stars will put on at 9600 feet.
  • Remote Location

 

Nearest Airports

  • Denver International airport, Denver

  • Nearest town / city

    Denver
  • Distance to ranch

    120 miles
  • Time to ranch

    2 hours 30 mins
  • Airlines

    Delta, United, Allegiant, Northwest, Alaska, United Express, Frontier, Southwest, British Airways, Jet Blue
  • Ranch shuttle

    $475 roundtrip for a family group of 5 or less
  • Colorado Springs airport, Colorado Springs

  • Nearest town / city

    Colorado Springs
  • Distance to ranch

    100 miles
  • Time to ranch

    2 hours
  • Airlines

    Delta, United, Northwest, United Express
  • Rental car

    Required

Private Air travel

  • Nearest town / city

    Buena Vista
  • Travel by

    Helicopter, Airplane
  • Distance to ranch

    18 miles

Nearest Town / City

  • Buena Vista

  • Population

    2000
  • Distance

    18 miles
  • Time from ranch

    30 mins
  • Facilities

    grocery store, pharmacy, church, school, post office, medical clinic, bank, atm, gas station, museum
  • Shopping

    small hometown necessity shops, boutique shops, western wear
 

Our riding stands out

  • Wide variety of rideable terrain
  • Spectacular vistas on all rides
  • Group size typically 4 to 6 guest with one wrangler.

Our horses

  • guest horses

    55
  • horse types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft Cross, Paints, Fox Trotters, Other, Geldings, Mares

Our Riding

  • Scheduled rides

    We follow a weekly schedule as per our operating permit with the forest service. We have a great deal of variety in our rides offered - each heading out in different direction. Ride options include lunch ride, champagne brunch ride, opportunities to trot and canter dependent upon riders' abilities. Please call us to discuss the riding.

Good to know

  • Riding considerations

    225-250 lbs, no riding experience needed, We consider height and athletic ability as well as a guest's weight
  • Saddles

    Western

Lowdown

  • Type of riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

    Intermediate
  • Rides are grouped by

    Ability, Pace of Ride, Rides tailored to guest requests, Families Ride Together
  • Max riders per ride

    7
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope

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You'll enjoy

  • hours in the Saddle

    Morning - 2 hours, Afternoon - 3 hours, Evening - n/a
  • Riding

    Openly through property, On specified trails
 

Riding Lessons

  • Details

    basic riding lessons
  • Lessons given by

    wrangler, ranch owner or manager
  • Lessons located

    on the trail

Sample Riding Itinerary

  • Weekly riding schedule can be found on our website.  Ride options include lunch rides, champagne brunch ride, opportunitites to trot and canter based upon riders' abilities. Please give us a call. We would be happy to discuss the riding in detail with you and answer all your questions.

Setting

  • Public Land - more than 50k (acres)

  • Elk Mountain Ranch overlooks the Arkansas Valley with breathtaking views of the Collegiate Peaks. Here we have the largest collection of peaks over 14,000 feet in the lower 48 states. The ranch was once the Futurity Millsite and is completely surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest. Our lodge is nestled among aspen and evergreen on Little Bull Creek. A 10-mile dirt road is your gateway to adventure.

Superb, varied, home-cooked meals to delight both the hearty and discerning appetites.  Trail ride cookouts, champagne brunch, steak fry, hors d-oeuvres, fabulous desserts, and kid-friendly options.  The highlight at week's end is the country candlelight dinner. 

Fresh baked cookies, snacks and fruit bowl always available between meals. 

Special diets happily accommodated.
 

Good to know

Alcohol

BYOB

Snacking

Stocked refrigerator

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Ranch-style
  • Meals served

    family style, everyone eats together, scheduled meals
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, dining room (casual attire)
  • You'll definitely love

    fresh daily bread, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for include

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, other

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Guest Favorites

  • Lasagna Florentine
  • Beef Brisket
  • Eggs Benedict
 

Sample Menu

    Please feel free to contact us about the menu or any special dietary needs.

     

     

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 3 and over



We are a very family-oriented guest ranch. In concert with our regular ranch activity program we offer a full kids' program for children ages 3-7 years of age. Two children's counselors will offer youngsters a supervised, fun-filled day of activity. Each day includes riding in the arena and activities that revolve around the theme of the day. Cowboy day includes roping, panning for gold, and making sheriff badges. On Indian Day children will make Indian headbands and necklaces, paint faces, hike to a tepee and hunt for arrowheads. Spend a day at the Mount Princeton Hot Springs pools and enjoy the water slide on Water Day.

Children 8 and older are usually able to participate in our regular ranch activities, but are always welcome to join this program.

The following is a typical schedule for children ages 3 through 7 years. Naturally, activities will be tailored to the interests of the children each week.
 

Detailed Activities

  • Arts & Crafts

    coloring, sketching, Make bird houses, Indian crafts, paint bandanas, decorate water bottles, nature-related crafts.
  • Activities

    Trip to Mountain Princeton Hot Springs Pools and Water Slide. Hike to tepee for Indian Day - make crafts and hunt for arrowheads. Pan for gold. Learn to rope.
  • Games

    scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, pool table
  • Riding based activities

    animal care, horse care, pony rides, arena riding, gymkhana, rodeo

Babysitting

  • Available for children age

    0 to 3
  • Provided by

    Childrens counselor
  • Hourly prices from

    $12

Over 100 years ago the area surrounding the Arkansas Valley was teaming with mining activity.  The ranch was the original “mill site” for the Futurity Mine.  At this site, the ore was processed from the surrounding mines of Futurity.  Today, the Trading Post, an original building from the late 1800’s, still stands as a reminder to the heritage of our mining past.

Tom and Sue met at the ranch as wranglers back in 1985. After managing the ranch for 10 years, they were given the opportunity to purchase. The have been blessed to be able to raise two children in a spectacular setting surrounded by so many wonderful people. The family of summer staff are so good about keeping in touch and returning to visit.  The ranch has been “match makers” for fourteen lovely couples.  Tom and Sue have been hosts to 8,500 special guests from all over the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Egypt, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Denmark, Kuwait, Bermuda, Italy and U.A.E.  We are thankful to be able to spend our lives doing something that we truly love, and thankful that we can share our little piece of heaven with all of you!

Lowdown

  • Ranch established

    1897
  • Guest ranch since

    1967

Our Staff

  • A smiling face
  • A willingness to serve
  • A "can do" attitude
  • We have 7 wranglers on our staff, aged 19 to 26

Email Ranch  View Website

 
The Murphy Family Welcomes You
Genuine and sincere hospitality

Owner Info

  • Owner - Tom and Sue Murphy

  • Languages spoken

    english
  • Tom and Sue met at Elk Mountain Ranch as wranglers in 1985.  Both were in college and enjoying their summer jobs in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.  They returned throughout college and were married four years later.  The opportunity arose to purchase the ranch and they have never looked back.  They have now raised two children here and are passionate about sharing their home with others.

Our Managers

  • Manager - Tom and Sue Murphy

  • With ranch since

    1985
  • Languages spoken

    english

Rooms & Rates

  • Room type | nameSummer ratesWinter rates

  • Cabin | The Deer Cabin$0n/a

    • Description

      The Deer cabin has a King bed in the master bedroom, second room with two Twin beds and sitting area combined. Bath has a shower. This cabin is nestled in the aspen and evergreen with small porch overlooking pond. Great for small family or a couple. The deer cabin sleeps 4. You may view online at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      2
    • Max occupancy

      4
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer, seating area
  • Cabin | The Bighorn Cabin$0n/a

    • Description

      The Bighorn cabin is one of our most spacious. There is a King bed in the master bedroom, a second bedroom with Bunk bed, and bath with shower. A large sitting area also has a day bed. Covered front porch overlooks the pond. Tucked in the pine trees, near the Main Lodge and play area. Great for families with young children, the Bighorn sleeps four to five persons. You may view online at our website at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      3
    • Max occupancy

      5
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer, seating area
  • Cabin | The Beaver Cabin$0n/a

    • Description

      Like to be in the midst of all the action? The Beaver cabin is for you. Near the Main Lodge, Trading Post and hot tub. There is a master bedroom with a Queen bed, second bedroom with bunk bed, sitting room and bath with shower. Sleeps four persons. You can view online at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      3
    • Max occupancy

      4
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer, seating area
  • Cabin | The Spruce Cabin$0n/a

    • Description

      The Spruce was built with teens in mind. The cabin has two bedrooms (one with King bed, one with two Twins). Each bedroom has its own bath. Also a nice sitting room. The Spruce is surround by pine trees and does require a short uphill walk. Sleeps four persons. You can view online at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      3
    • Max occupancy

      4
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer, seating area
  • Cabin | The Vista Cabin$0n/a

    • Description

      “Vista” means view in Spanish, and The Vista cabin definitely has the best. From the cabin porch you will be awe-inspired by the 14,197 foot high, snow-capped, Mt. Princeton. The sunsets are worth the wait. There is a master bedroom with King bed, second bedroom with two Twin beds, sitting room, and bath with tub/shower combo. Sleeps four persons. You can view online at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      3
    • Max occupancy

      4
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer, seating area
  • Cabin | The Aspen Cabin$0n/a

    • Description

      The Aspen cabin is popular for its three bedrooms and two bathrooms (both with shower). Plenty of room for a large family. A short walk from the Main Lodge. Near the barn with horses just outside your bedroom window. Sleeps six persons. You can view online at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      3
    • Max occupancy

      6
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer, seating area
  • Lodge | The Pioneer Lodge$0n/a

    • Description

      The Pioneer Lodge consists of three lodgerooms each with their own bath (shower) and private exterior entrance. They share a large, long front porch. All rooms named after Native American tribes. The Ute has a King bed. The Navajo has a King bed and adjoins (if needed) to the Arapaho with a Full bed and a Twin bed. Great for couples, singles, or families with older children that just want to “spread out”. You may view online at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      3
    • Max occupancy

      7
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer
  • Lodge | The Elk Suite$0n/a

    • Description

      The large guest suite - The Elk - occupies the second floor of the Main Lodge. The suite overlooks the pond and has a separate outside entrance. There is a master bedroom with King bed, second bedroom with a Full bed and Bunk bed, sitting room, and bath with tub/shower combo. Sleeps five to six persons. You may view online at www.elkmtn.com
    • Rooms

      3
    • Max occupancy

      6
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      hair dryer, seating area
Vista master bedroom
Vista master bedroom
Vista master bedroom

Services

Communications

  • wireless internet
  • Business Services

    • common computer
    • Cell Networks

      • alltel
      • AT&T
      • verizon

Additional Services

  • Spa

    relaxation massage, deep tissue massage.
  • Weddings

    We can cater for groups of up to 30.

Onsite

Shopping

  • Ranch trading post. Basic ranch essentials are sold here.

Outdoor Activities

  • mountain biking
  • Golf - 9 hole course
  • sporting clays
  • wagon rides
  • bird watching
  • Water based Activities

    • hot tub
    • hot springs
    • whitewater rafting-adventure

Good to know

  • You can borrow

    Cowboy boots, Riding helmets, Saddle bags, Rain coats
 

Fishing & Wildlife

  • Fishing

  • Types of fishing

    spin, fly, stocked pond, equipment available, instruction available
  • Ranch has two stocked ponds.  Beginners fly-fishing clinic offered on Tuesday afternoon.  Please inquire about options to fish on the Arkansas River.

  • Wildlife and birding

  • Elk, Deer, Pronghorn, Coyote, Bear, Badger, Golden Eagle, Redtail hawk, Mountain lion,

Offsite Activities

  • Golf, ATVing, and Guided Fly Fishing on the Arkansas River is additional.  Personal car or rental car is needed.

Local Attractions

  • We've only highlighted attractions that may add to your stay!
  • Browns Canyon National Monument

  • This newly designated National Monument is within a one mile hike of the ranch. Some rides will take you through this spectacular country, but you are also welcome to journey off on your own.
  • Distance

    1 miles
  • St. Elmo Ghost Town

  • Located just at timberline, this quaint mining town has plenty of history and spectacular scenery.
  • Distance

    25 miles
  • Rental car

    Required

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  • Adults:
    No.
  • Children:
    No.
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Colorado
Arkansas River rafting
Opportunities to trot and canter based upon riders
Mountain biking
Test your marksmanship skills
 

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