Vista Verde Ranch is one of only three AAA Four Diamond Ranches in North America set amid the million-acre Routt National Forest, Colorado.

This family run Ranch has a herd of 100 horses and falls effortlessly between a traditional ranch and luxury resort. There is a staff guest ratio of over 1 to 1, and distinct adult or family times during the year – they also cater effortlessly for solo travellers searching for a wide-open space and escape.

The outstanding riding experiences range from a family beginner’s trek through the incredible Rocky Mountains to participation in the full cattle round up every September,where the ranch invite guests to head out onto over 16,000 acres of forested land to round up the cattle before the snow arrives. This high adrenalin activity promises to be a bucket list with a difference – but not for the faint hearted.

Unlike a usual trekking ranch Vista Verde’s “horse program” kicks off with an orientation that works from the ground up, teaching guests how to communicate with their horse and understand the language of equines. The ranch wranglers carefully pair each guest with their own horse for the week, which  allows riders to develop their unique equine relationship over the course of their stay.

From there each guest can create what they want.  From leisurely and scenic trail rides through the aspens to specific clinics in the arena, small group lessons, or instructional trail rides working on applying riding techniques to real time situations, each rider can choose how much they want to put into or get out of the time they are on horseback.

For the chillier months there is an indoor heated arena for winter riding and lessons and clinics geared to all riding levels, and for those wishing to enjoy the mountains there is something magical about trekking with a blanket of fresh snow under hoof or perhaps heading out on one of the ranches very own “one horse open sleigh” – definitely high on the list of bucket list proposal ideas.

Though the Ranch is famous for all things equine, they also provide diverse sports like cross country skiing, sleigh rides, photography and wine tasting courses to yoga and cooking classes. The many accolades the Ranch has received include the coveted Award of Excellence by the Wine Spectator to being awarded Gene Kilgore World’s Best Ranch

Ranch accommodation can be found in either one of the 15 private log cabins with hot tubs on each deck or one of the three lodge rooms. Each of the cabins is named after the local mountains and whilst in keeping with the ranch are rustic on the outside but offer cozy luxury inside. Ranging in size from one to four bedroom the cabins are spacious and have a sitting area on which to relax with a fine wine and favourite book whilst keeping warm round the wood-burning stove under the star lit sky.