North Fork Ranch is a family owned and operated traditional dude ranch that's been welcoming families since 1985. Located just an hour from Denver (a little longer by horseback), the ranch offers a multitude of activities to satisfy everyone's interests.

Whether you're a seasoned cowboy or you've never put your feet into a pair of cowboy boots, a dude ranch vacation to North Fork Ranch will be an experience you'll never forget. Enjoy activities ranging from horseback riding, hiking in the beautiful Colorado backcountry and whitewater rafting, to hayrides, campfire sing-a-longs and square dancing. As an Orvis-endorsed fishing lodge, North Fork Ranch guarantees a world-class fishing experience.

North Fork Ranch leans towards luxury in both accommodations and dining without compromising its focus on families. Get to know the Mays and their personal brand of hospitality: ride with Dean and Hayley May and the team of wranglers through miles of beautiful Colorado forests, and bond with your horse as you learn about "Mutual Gains Horsemanship". A beautiful property in a great location - a week here is never long enough!

Good to know

  • Works with travel agents?

  • Belongs to

    Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association, Dude Ranchers Association, Orvis Endorsed Lodge, Colorado Lodging Association, Colorado Mule Riders
  • Good time to go

    It's always a great day at North Fork


  • Owner(s)

    Dean and Karen May
  • Address

    PO Box B, Shawnee, Colorado, USA, 80475
  • Tel

    800-843-7895 / 303-838-9873
  • Fax

  • Capacity

  • Open

    Apr-Oct - view details
  • Nightly rate

    $339-382 - view details
  • Ranch Type

    Guest Ranch
  • Great for

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Pampering, Solitude, People of all ages

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  • Great location - just over 1 hour from Denver International Airport
  • Meals are homemade and delicious and accommodations very comfortable, and Dean and Karen's warm hospitality maintains a personal touch
  • Dean and Karen are committed to quality and strive to give guests the best vacation possible
  • The ranch was endorsed by Orvis in 2008, guaranteeing guests first-class fishing
  • Excellent value for money, with an extensive, family-friendly range of activities offered

Summer Season Rates & Booking

  • Open

  • Nightly rate

    $339-382   view details on lodging rates
  • Nightly rate (non-rider)

  • Nightly rate (children)

  • Minimum stay

    3 days
  • Preferred arrival day

    Weds, Sat
  • Preferred depart day

    Tues, Sat
  • Booking Policy

  • Reservations are best made by phone so we can answer all your questions and place you in the best fitting accomodation.
  • Included in your stay

  • meals, activities, lodging, Riding
  • Extras

  • Tax

  • Gratuity

    Ave 15%
  • Massage

  • Other

    Airport transfers, guided fly-fishing, golf

Winter Season Rates & Booking  

  • Open

    Apr-May, Sep-Oct
  • Nightly rate

    $185-235   view details on lodging rates
  • Minimum stay

    No minimum stay
  • Preferred arrival day

    Any day is fine
  • Preferred depart day

    Any day is fine
  • Booking Policy

  • Reservations are best made by phone so we can answer all your questions and place you in the best fitting accomodation.
  • Included FREE in your stay

  • lodging
  • Extras

  • Tax

  • Gratuity

    Ave 15%
  • Massage

  • Other

    Meals, Limited Activites, Limited Riding, Guided Fly Fishing

Environmental & Social Practices

  • Environment

  • North Forks practices "leave no trace" wilderness and forest use, and feeds only certified, weed-free hay to its animals.

  • Community

  • The ranch hosts "Casting For Recovery" twice a year, and has hosted "Wounded Warriors". North Forks supports the local school with its "Chances" scholarship fund, and regularly hosts local church fund raisers and food drives. The ranch team also visits local nursing homes with their quiet horses and mules.

  • Conservation

  • Recycling Programs


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

Avg Temp (°F):


Avg Rainfall (in):


  • Elevation

    8100' ft.

Nearest Airports

  • Denver International Airport, Denver

  • Nearest town / city

  • Distance to ranch

    70 miles
  • Time to ranch

    1 hour 30 mins
  • Airlines

    Delta, United, Alaska, United Express, Continental, American, Southwest, Frontier, Lufthansa, British Airways
  • Ranch shuttle

    $200 each way per family up to 6

Private Air travel

  • Nearest town / city

    Centennial Airport, Denver CO
  • Travel by

  • Distance to ranch

    70 miles

Nearest Town / City

  • Bailey

  • Population

  • Distance

    6 miles
  • Facilities

    church, school, post office, medical clinic, bank, gas station
  • Ranch shuttle


Our riding stands out

  • Wranglers are trained in "Mutual Gains Horsemanship" and teach these principles to guests
  • Rides are small, diverse and intimate, and tailored to individuals' desires
  • Quality tack and horses, beautiful forests and amazing scenery

Our horses

  • guest horses

  • horse types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft Cross, Paints, Geldings, Mule

Our Riding

  • Scheduled rides

    Each day a variety of length of rides can be offered. When our rides enter the National Forests we are required to be in certain areas on certain days.
  • Guided rides

    All rides are guided by our amazing wranglers for your saftey and enjoyment

Good to know

  • Riding considerations

    Up to 225 lbs, no riding experience needed
  • Saddles



  • Type of riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

  • Rides are grouped by

    Age, Ability, Pace of Ride, Rides tailored to guest requests, Families Ride Together
  • To accommodate guests wishing to lope, rides may be broken up into different abilities for safety, meaning families may be split onto different rides
  • Max riders per ride

  • Wranglers per ride

  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guests must be able to demonstrate control and balance before riding off the lead

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You'll enjoy

  • hours in the Saddle

    Morning - 3 hours, Afternoon - 3 hours, Evening - n/a
  • Easier, shorter walking rides are always offered
  • Riding

    Openly through property, On specified trails

Riding Lessons

  • Details

    lessons come with package
  • Lessons given by

  • Lessons located

    on the trail, in the arena
  • Our wranglers are always keen to help improve your horsmanship skills, and safety is their first priority

Pack Trips

  • Details

    weekly trips, remote
  • Extras

    Pack trips are offered over two different weeks in July, venturing into the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. This is an increadible adventure for a family, or two to three couples.

Arena Work

  • Type

    outdoor arena
  • The arena is used mainly for instruction and riding practice

Sample Riding Itinerary

  • Day 1: Orientation, morning and afternoon rides

    Day 2: Lunch rides (about 4 hrs in duration)

    Day 3: Champagne Brunch ride, lasts upto 6hrs and offers loping

    Day 4: 4 hr lunch ride with loping offered

    Day 5: 4-6 hr lunch ride with loping offered

    *non-loping and shorter rided always offered


  • Private Land - 250-1000 (acres)

  • Public Land - more than 50k (acres)

  • Pike National Forest and Lost Creek Wilderness

Our goal is to serve family-style meals with a gourmet flair that you wouldn't normally attempt at home. From fresh salads and vegetables to homemade breads, only the best ingredients are used to create delicious, balanced meals. Desserts are truly sinful!

All meals are served with families in mind, meaning kids will love the food and adults with be just as impressed. Special diets and requests are never a problem.

Wine and beer are welcome at meals - BYOB

Good to know




BYO snack


  • Enjoy

    Gourmet, Ranch-style, Health oriented
  • Meals served

    family style, buffet style, meals roll with days activities, everyone eats together, scheduled meals
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, patio, 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

  • Eggs Benedict
  • Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Chipolte Sauce
  • Wild Game Dinner

Your Chef

  • Your dedicated chef is Karen

  • Karen has been cooking for our guests since 1985. She has published six ranch cookbooks and it's our hottest seller. You will not be disappointed! 

Sample Menu

    Breakfast: Help yourself to our breakfast bar complete with fresh fruits, homemade muffins, yogurt, breads, and hot and cold cereals. To really set you up for the day, delve into eggs benedict with hash browns.

    Lunch: Enjoy a Mexican buffet where you can build your own tacos and burritos, and tuck into pork tamales and tortilla soup.

    Dinner: Fresh spinach salad with poppy-seed dressing, fresh-baked peasant bread, pork loin with raspberry chipolte sauce, rice pilaf and roasted sugar-snap peas.

    Dessert: Home-made chocolate ice-cream roll.

Ranch Recipe

    Colorado Pine Nut Salad


    1 tsp onion salt
    2 tsps black pepper
    1/4 cup minced garlic
    2 cups olive oil
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup white or red wine vinegar
    1 1/2 tbsps stoneground mustard
    1/2 cup pine nuts
    1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped
    Fresh cranberries, to serve


    1. In mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the lettuce, cranberries and pine nuts. Whisk or place in food processor until blended, then refrigerate.

    2. Brown the pine nuts in a saute pan with a little oil over medium heat, then transfer to paper towel to cool.

    3. Stir and toss the chopped lettuce with desired amount of the refrigerated dressing, top with roasted pine nuts and a few cranberries, and serve.

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 6 and over

We encourage families to take part in ranch activites together. We want the parents to be the ones remembered for being the hero, catching their first fish, camping out together, toasting marshmallows, taking a pony ride, feeding and caring for the petting zoo critters, and swimming in the pool together.

We're here to help you have a western blast with your children. For the older kids we provide supervised .22 target shooting, skeet shooting and bow-and-arrow, and they are also are encouraged to help the wranglers in the corral and to feed the horses, and anything else to get them involved with ranching.

After a hot, dusty day of riding and ranching, kids will love splashing into our heated pool!

Detailed Activities

  • Arts & Crafts

    coloring, painting, stick-art
  • Activities

    Fishing in the pond
  • Games

    scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, volleyball, ping pong, pool table
  • Riding based activities

    animal care, horse care, pony rides


  • Available for children age

    0 to 5
  • Provided by

    In-house kids counselor
  • Hourly prices from


The Knisley family homesteaded the ranch in 1910, harvesting hay and supplying timber to the mines, smelters and railroads.

In 1930 the Peterson Family built the Stonehenge Mansion, and the two properties combined a decade later in 1940. In the 1950s, the Carter Family founded an egg-laying operation on the then named Stonehenge Ranch, and when the egg market fell out in 1960, an existing building was converted to a lodge, providing accommodations to the local ski area.

In 1984 the property was purchased by Jim Gordon, who begain remodeling to open as a dude ranch a year later. Dean May was hired as manager and, after later being given the opportunity to work into the partnership, bought out the partners.

In 1986 Dean married his beautiful bride, Karen, and they raised their two children, Hayley and Tyler, on  North Fork Ranch while developing it into a premier dude ranch and Orvis-endorsed fishing lodge.


  • Ranch established

  • Guest ranch since


Our Staff

  • A serving attitude towards life
  • Self respect
  • Applicable Talents
  • We have 8 wranglers on our staff, aged 18 to 55

Email Ranch  View Website

Your Hosts: The May's   NFR
Time To RIDE !   NFR
Our Friendly Staff   NFR

Owner Info

  • Owner - Dean and Karen May

  • Languages spoken

  • Dean has a degree in Forestry and Land Surveying, and had been dude ranching for 31 years. Karen is a registered nurse and has been dude ranching for 28 years.

Rooms & Rates

  • Room type | nameSummer ratesWinter rates

  • Lodge | Wild Horse Lodge$185-$300n/a

    • Description

      Centrally located for activities and dining. Ideal for couples and singles.
    • Rooms

    • Max occupancy

    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      no minimum
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      safe, fridge, hair dryer, seating area, plush bathrobes, washer / dryer, Handicapped Accessible
  • House | Stonehenge Mansion$185-$300n/a

    • Description

      Decorated in classic southwestern elegance. Two seperate family accomodations - Santa Fe and Taos. Ideal for two families with older children or a large family. A three-level common living room area, each area with its own elegant fireplace
    • Rooms

    • Max occupancy

    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      3 nights
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      safe, fridge, hair dryer, seating area, plush bathrobes, wood fireplace
    • Entertainment

      hot tub
  • Cabin | Homestead Cabin$185-$300n/a

    • Description

      A classic cabin built in 1910, remodeled with the charm of yesteryear but with modern amenities. Three seperate units can host one large family, two small families or three couples. Common living room with large stone fireplace
    • Rooms

    • Max occupancy

    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      3 nights
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      safe, fridge, hair dryer, seating area, plush bathrobes, wood fireplace
  • Cabin | Klondike Cabin$185-$300n/a

    • Description

      A duplex log cabin built in 1989. Accomodates two families of four, each with full privacy. Master bedroom suite with cathedral ceilings and a large stone fireplace
    • Rooms

    • Max occupancy

    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      3 nights
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      safe, fridge, hair dryer, seating area, plush bathrobes, wood fireplace, washer / dryer
Main Lodge along the River   NFR
Main Lodge along the River   NFR
Main Lodge along the River   NFR



  • wireless internet
  • telephone
  • cell phone coverage

Business Services

  • specializing in small meeting groups, <20

Cell Networks

  • AT&T
  • verizon

Additional Services

  • Spa

    relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, rock treatments.
  • Corporate Retreats

    For groups of up to 30. Quiet, peaceful mountain setting



  • Ranch Trading Post

Outdoor Activities

  • campouts
  • wagon rides
  • Skeet & .22 Target shooting, Bow and arrow

Water based Activities

  • outdoor pool
  • hot tub
  • Additional Activities

    • Enjoy the tranquility of relaxing in a rocker alongside the rushing river. Evening activities include campfire sing-a-longs, mountain man story tales, square dancing and board games.

Good to know

  • You can borrow

    Cowboy boots, Saddle bags, Rain coats

Fishing & Wildlife

  • Fishing

  • Types of fishing

    spin, fly, river, stocked pond, equipment available, guided non-inclusive, unguided, instruction available
  • North Fork Ranch is an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing lodge. Fishing in our two miles of private water is all guided to ensure quality and safety for your experience, and you can also fish unguided on the public water just below the ranch, where you'll find plenty of our fish.

  • Wildlife and birding

  • You can be guaranteed to see animals in the Petting Zoo! However, wildlife you might see include mule, deer, elk, Bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose, coyote, fox, bobcat and a multitude of birdlife, including our resident Bald Eagle, "Baldy".

Offsite Activities

  • Ranch shuttle available to whitewater rafting, zip line, mountain biking, guided high-country hiking and shopping tours to nearby Breckenridge.

    Also nearby are several 18-hole golf courses and the South Park City Museum, for which you will need a hire car to visit.

Check Availability / Request a Reservation

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Vacation Dates:

  • Arrive On*:
  • Depart On*:

Party Details

  • Adults:
  • Children:
  • Ages of Children:

Contact Info




Any Requests

Check Availability

Tel 800-843-7895 / 303-838-9873

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Relax near the creek   NFR
Sq Top Mtn   Guided Hike  NFR
Whitewater Rafting   NFR
Skeet Shooting w/instruction   NFR

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