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Weekend Colorado Getaway at Aspen Canyon Ranch

Updated on September 10, 2012

About the Ranch

Aspen Canyon Ranch is nestled within the mountains of Parshall, Colorado and just under a 2 hour drive from Denver. The Ranch is secluded within the Arapahoe National Forest and civilization is just a little more than 30 minutes away. The owners of the Ranch are fairly young but have extensive experience with mountain and ranch living and offer the best hospitality to their visitors. The staff lives on site 24/7/365 and are knowledgeable of every trail, marsh, and creek nearby. In the summer, the Ranch offers self-guided ATV rides, fly fishing and lessons, skeet shooting, horseback riding, rafting and hunting. In the winter, the Ranch is known for its back-country snowmobiling and is consequently the Ranch's busiest season of the year.

The majority of log cabins are set beside the creek that flows along the Ranch with 2 outdoor hot tubs, benches, and bench swings. The cabins sleep 3-4 with log bunk beds and lofts fitted with pillows and handmade quilts. The mattresses could be more comfortable, but if you don't fall fast asleep by the end of the night you most likely did not enjoy what this Ranch has to offer. The cabins provide personal bathroom, shower, and are heated with gas fireplaces and/or space heaters which heat the cabin instantly in a matter of minutes. There is one River House which sleeps up to 8 and offers additional amenities such as TV, washer/dryer and more to those who can afford it.

Visitors must remember that they are staying in the mountains, which means no cell phone service or internet access in the cabins or Ranch grounds other than the main lodge. The main lodge provides free WI-fi, one TV situated above the bar with the most up to date ESPN news and phone access as needed. The main lodge offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with meals hearty enough for a ranch hand or a hungry visitor after a 3 hour ATV ride. The lodge remains open 24/7 for all visitors and provides complimentary coffee, tea, ice water and activities such as pool, ping pong, and foosball.


Lodging

The majority of log cabins are set beside the creek that flows along the Ranch with 2 outdoor hot tubs, benches, and bench swings. These cabins sleep 3-4 with log bunk beds and lofts fitted with pillows and handmade quilts. The mattresses could be more comfortable, but if you don't fall fast asleep by the end of the night you most likely did not enjoy what this Ranch has to offer. The cabins provide personal bathroom, shower, and are heated with gas fireplaces and/or space heaters which heat the cabin instantly in a matter of minutes. There is one River House which sleeps up to 8 and offers additional amenities such as TV, washer/dryer and more to those who can afford it.

The Locals

The Ranch dogs run free on the Ranch and may even join you on a couch in the lodge or on a local hike around the grounds. They are quite friendly and will never turn down a belly rub or pat on the head.

The ATV Experience

My fiance and I were able to spend Friday and Saturday night in a 4 sleeper cabin and experienced a 3 hour ATV ride with the help of a Groupon for the mere cost of $200. Being a recent graduate student, I most likely would not have been able to experience the Ranch or its' amenities as the usual cost of the ATV is around $140 - $180 and nightly cabin rentals range from $130 and up. The staff provides you with a map of highlighted routes and then let you explore on your own. They provide ATV rides three times a day but recommend going in the morning to prevent the risk of getting caught in a fast-developing mountain storm and to "avoid drunken idiots." We went at 9:00AM and couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather and only encountered a few outside campers, dirt bikes, and fellow visitors on the trails.

ATV Views

Pros & Cons

The Pros. These are numerous and the top three are listed below

  1. The Staff/Owners: The staff is the closest thing to family you'll find here and provide the best hospitality and friendliness to their visitors.
  2. Location: Beautiful hiking and mountain bike trails are available within just a few feet of the cabins.
  3. You'll never feel like a stranger here and you truly feel like a part of the Ranch family when you're here.

The Cons. These are few but no one can truly believe a glossed over and perfect review.

  1. Cost: True cost is high for a low-medium family income and truly takes some saving or the lucky find of a Groupon to enjoy the Ranch and multiple activities. (Unfortunately the Ranch does not make money from Groupon visitors and therefore discount rates are rare here)
  2. Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are an additional cost to the stay and while breakfast is reasonable ($8-9 per meal that can feed 2 people easily); lunch ranges from $10-$12 (grilled cheese, hamburger, etc.) and dinner ranges between $17 - $21 (grilled fish, sirloin, grilled chicken). That being said, it's a good idea to pack accordingly & a cooler filled with cold beverages and snacks will fend off the midday munchies and lets you enjoy the sights and sounds of the river in solitude, on a nearby swing set or hot tub set between the cabins.
  3. No cell service (Not a con to people accustomed to mountain living): This means that you must be aware of the trails you've traveled, the time you need to get back, and to stay on designated trails. I have no doubt that the staff could find a lost visitor in no time, but getting lost in the mountains may wreck a good time at the Ranch.

Overall Impression

The Ranch is a beautiful place to enjoy the mountains and time with family and friends at a slower pace. The Ranch can only thrive if visitors are able to enjoy their multiple activities and amenities. Therefore, my fiance and I hope to save in the upcoming months to discover a new adventure in snowmobiling at the Ranch.

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