Katharine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful about the view from Pikes Peak during a trip to Colorado Springs in 1893, paying homage to the region’s “purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain.”
So let’s explore four of the Front Range’s exclusive outdoor gems; from glamping and fly-fishing to trail riding, wilderness walks, and “just being,” these properties are some of the best in the region.
Bison Peak Lodge at Puma Hills
“Highly recommended glamping experience—far exceeded all expectations!”
“Glamping” reaches a new level at The Bison Peak Lodge at Puma Hills. Located in Lake George, the lodge provides guests with a comfortable and stress-free customized camping experience that is complete with all the modern amenities of a luxury vacation. Your stay includes lots of seasonally offered activities, such as skiing, archery, disc golf, yoga, and of course plenty of nature for a perfect getaway. The lodge also regularly offers the ability to help first responders and veterans, as well as their families, relax and heal.
When asked about an ideal day at the lodge, owner and founder (along with his wife, Lily) John Kessel says, “A perfect day for me is when veterans and first responders wake up on a luxurious heated mattress pad in the lodge and may start their day with a program, like music therapy, to counteract their feelings of isolation. The group is given guitars and work with a lyricist, ultimately participating in a concert for their family and friends.”
Juxtaposed with this experience is the opportunity for weddings, corporate retreats, and families/friends to spend two or more nights on the property and experience all the adventures available to them. “Because we have so much to do on the property and even offer horseback riding and kayaking through our local partners,” says Kessel, “most of our guests want to stay right here. We also don’t have internet.”
As far as overnight accommodations go, there is a variety of lodging options at Puma Hills, which allows family, friends, or that certain someone to choose an ideal setting to unwind or cozy up. Private cabins, bubble tents, and custom tipis are among the options that will keep you comfortable during your stay. The Bison Peak Lodge sleeps up to 12 people and will pamper you and your group with luxury beds and a private chef to meet your culinary needs and wants, leaving you more rejuvenated than ever at the end of your stay.
The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp
“We would truly go back and do it over again tomorrow.”
The Broadmoor Resort is steeped in history and rich tradition spanning more than a hundred years. The luxury property has received Forbes Five Stars for 54 consecutive years and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. It is home-away-from-home to countless business leaders and politicians, celebrities, and sports stars.
In 2015, the resort opened the Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp, one of the resort’s several new wilderness experiences. Hidden along a private five-mile stretch of the Tarryall River, the Orvis-endorsed Fly Fishing Camp outfits guests with professional fishing guides and an array of outdoor activities and wildlife watching.
Andra Penny, author of the enthusiastic quote above, stayed at the camp last summer with her friend, Chantal, and describes the stay as a true “bucket list” experience. “Our guide, Chris, was amazing,” she says. “I think he finally figured us out on the second day…and was so patient, knowledgeable and fun. We were totally clueless when we arrived, but he didn’t let that deter him. He stuck with us the entire time and taught us so much.”
Penny also raved about both the dining and lodging. “The accommodations were first rate. Trust me, when we read the words ‘bath house,’ we did have a panic moment. However, we shouldn’t have worried...again, everything was first rate. And talk about the food. Every meal was over the top.”
The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp is available to all guests of The Broadmoor and offers five miles of private waters along with professional anglers to provide guests of all levels some of the best fly-fishing in Colorado. Anglers can also spend off-the-river hours exploring the 120,000 acres of the Lost Creek Wilderness.
Lazy River Ranch
“We had such a great time being ‘away from it all.’ Hiking, fishing, exploring, relaxing, and enjoying the views. Incredible property to kick your feet up and enjoy the great outdoors!”
Located in the beautiful Tarryall Valley, which boasts scenic historic preservation sites along the winding picturesque river, Lazy River Ranch is a working hay and cattle ranch. It is also a well-stocked premier fly-fishing paradise and, with no internet, phone, or TV service, a wonderful place to unplug.
“The ranch gives you a sense of escaping, and if you live on the Front Range, you really haven’t traveled very far but are in this special world,” says Lazy River Ranch co-owner Kaitrin Kuchera. “The property is so quiet that our guests have a sense of connecting to the earth, sometimes just sitting on the riverbank or watching the fall hay harvest.
Other activities include river tubing both on smooth water and down small rapids and hiking in the thousands of acres of wilderness, and guests experience both wildlife and wildflower peeping in the spring and early summer.
About 1.6 miles of Tarryall Creek winds through the Lazy River Ranch, and it supports a wild trout fishery as well as a high-quality riparian and wetland habitat. The ranch is currently leased to the Rocky Mountain Angling Club for members-only fishing. However, if you are staying at the property’s ranch house and want to fish, arrangements can be made at the time of booking for day passes, which cost $35/per person per day.
The Ranch House is available for full rental and sleeps 12 with six bedrooms and four bathrooms and offers archery and ping-pong with a three-night minimum stay. Guests are responsible for providing their own food, which can be prepared in the Ranch House Kitchen.
Tarryall River Ranch
“I had a lovely room, was fed like a queen, and had a fabulous weekend there.”
Tarryall River Ranch was originally founded as a working cattle ranch during the Tarryall gold rush of the late 1800s. Hidden away in Lake George at 8,600 feet above sea level, Tarryall River Ranch offers one of the loveliest settings in the area, offering guests of all ages three- to seven-night stays from May through September.
Visitors to the ranch can do lots of activities, but horseback riding might be the star attraction. Offering a full equine program, riders have access to 100,000 acres in the surrounding Pike National Forest, and they can ride a half day, full day, or stay up to a week and ride every day at the ranch. The ranch provides training for all levels, so every type of rider will be at home on the range. Ride around the region to the top of mountains or wherever you feel like exploring. Guests can also assist the staff with cattle penning.
“You really get to see Colorado versus just being in the city, so we love it,” says recent ranch guest Misty Tesch. “We get to play cowboy and cowgirl here. Who doesn’t love that?”
With miles of trail riding, hiking, excellent fishing, and authentic Western experiences, Tarryall River Ranch strives to create a rejuvenating and restorative environment for guests to experience the beauty of Colorado during spring, summer, and early fall.