DENVER (KDVR) — If you are looking for a unique vacation experience where you can head back to the Wild West, Colorado is a great place to be.
USA Today’s 10Best combines a list of 20 nominees for contests that cover food, lodging and travel. Then, readers get to make the final decision and vote for their favorite picks.
USA Today made a list of the top 10 dude ranches in the U.S., and three Colorado locations made the cut.
So, what exactly is a dude ranch?
According to one of the winners, a dude ranch was the name given to ranches that opened up their doors to tourists in the late 1800s and early 1900s. When the East Coast city slickers traveled West to explore the open range, ranches would host them and eventually charge them for their stay.
Colorado is home to a ton of Western-style ranches, and three dude ranches were named the best in the whole country.
Vista Verde Guest Ranch
Coming in at number nine on the list is the Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Clark.
The ranch describes itself as “a little bit luxury, a little bit Old West, a place for adventure, and a place for rest.” The ranch sits north of Steamboat Springs and offers a “log cabin luxury” stay.
In the winter, you can snowshoe, ski, tube and even ice fish. In the summer you can hike, fly fish, mountain bike and of course go horseback riding.
C Lazy U Ranch
At number eight is the C Lazy U Ranch in Granby.
The ranch said they are “one of the few remaining places you can experience the traditions of the American West from the minute you arrive.” The ranch has been family-owned since 1919.
The luxury ranch has 38 rooms of varying sizes. During your stay, you can practice Western traditions like horseback riding and cattle pushing. They also offer mountain biking, cross-country skiing and hearty family-style meals.
Cherokee Park Ranch
Rounding out the list of the best dude ranch in the U.S. is the Cherokee Park Ranch in Livermore. The northern Colorado ranch is just a few miles from the Colorado-Wyoming border and was voted the number one dude ranch in the whole country.
“Our little slice of cowboy heaven is surrounded by green mountains, mossy rocks, colorful wildflowers, twinkling streams, a flashy river, and a bright blue sky!” the ranch said.
USA Today called the ranch “one of Colorado’s first guest ranches.” It was once a stagecoach stop between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Laramie, Wyoming. Now, guests can experience an array of Western activities.
While Colorado claimed three spots on the top 10 list, the following seven dude ranches were also named some of the best:
- Cherokee Park Ranch: Livermore, Colorado
- Alisal Ranch: Solvang, California
- White Stallion Ranch: Tucson, Arizona
- Rancho de la Osa: Sasabe, Arizona
- Circle Z Ranch: Patagonia, Arizona
- Flathead Lake Lodge: Bigfork, Montana
- Western Pleasure Guest Ranch: Sandpoint, Idaho
- C Lazy U Ranch: Granby, Colorado
- Vista Verde Guest Ranch: Clark, Colorado
- Brush Creek Ranch: Saratoga, Wyoming
Colorado places in the top 10 in a few other USA Today votes, including best brewpub, hot springs and art districts.