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Just as the Tumbling River Ranch staff started clearing the dishes following a full, family-style breakfast, another group of staffers popped into the dining room to take our kids (for the next eight hours!) to start their day of adventures. Before I could even tell my daughters to stay with the staff and have fun, the little one was on a piggyback ride down the Ranch House’s spiral staircase, and our older one was charging out the front door to explore the ranch with her new friends. As for me, I sat back and finished a cup of coffee—a vacation win for any busy parent.
And that’s the thing we loved most about Tumbling River Ranch: Before you can even begin to think about what you or your kids need, it’s already being taken care of. Tucked three-and-a-half miles up Guanella Pass from Highway 285—officially in Grant—the ranch is a mere hour and 15 minutes away from Denver, but it feels like a true escape. While week-long stays are the prescription to fully immerse yourself in life at the ranch, a three-night Labor Day weekend vacation offers a mini dose of ranch life and, unlike most of the remaining summer weekends, there are spaces still available.
Eight two- and three-bedroom cabins dot the property—each with a sitting deck, fireplace, and all in walking distance to the historic community Ranch House, which hosts the dining rooms and a cozy, wood-paneled bar, as well as features a handful of rooms. The second historic lodge is the Pueblo House, which boasts seven bedrooms and was built as the mountain home for Adolph Coors’ daughter in the late 1920s/early 1930s. Our accommodations—the two-bedroom, one-bath Hogan Cabin—acted as our home base between hikes along the Geneva River, an all-ranch game of whiffle ball, and meet-and-greets with the local farm critters, including two free-range donkeys.
That free-range mentality extends to guests, as well. For the kids, the ranch offers a summer camp program that’s suitable for all ages (yes, even infants). Kids ages three to 17 are grouped with their like-aged peers and soon-to-be lifelong friends for days filled with everything from critter care (goats, llamas, etc.) and crafts to archery and horseback riding. If your little wrangler is under three, Tumbling River Ranch boasts a full-service, nanny program. The nanny will not only care for your baby or toddler for the entire length of your stay, if so desired, she’ll also keep to your little one’s schedule and get them out in the fresh, high-country air by tagging along with the youngest kid group—mountain-approved stroller included.
With the kids occupied for the day, adults are encouraged to plan their own adventures. Climb up the 10,500-foot Flag Mountain and autograph the flag at the summit, test out the guided fly-fishing tours, try trap shooting, indulge in a massage, or just hang by the pool and hot tub.
When sun sets over Guanella Pass, you can find Tumbling Rivers’ owners, Megan and Scott Dugan, barbecuing burgers and setting up s’mores fixing beside the creek-side fire with their staff. Tales of the day accompany a go-with-the-flow feeling that’s unlike a normally scheduled family weekend. So, when the staff asks if anyone is up for a quick hayride, hop aboard. You’re likely headed to the waterfall made famous by the Coors Original can and sealing the summer of 2019 with an ideal, out-of-cell-range experience that your family is not likely to forget.
If you go: Tumbling River Ranch’s nightly rates include accommodations, most activities, meals, and snacks. Check out special nightly rates (minimum three nights) for Labor Day Weekend $375/night for adults ($350/night for teens, $325/night for kids ages 6–12, $300/night for kids ages 3–5, $75/night for kids under 3). Find out more here.