In Colorado, there are only three Relais & Châteaux properties—The Little Nell in Aspen; Dunton Hot Springs outside of Telluride; and the lesser known, but no less deserving, The Home Ranch in Clark. Located about 20 minutes outside of Steamboat Springs, The Home Ranch is an exceptional 14-room, all-inclusive collection of guest rooms, cabins, experiences and refined dining one would expect from a Relais & Châteaux property.
Close to four hours from Aspen, the drive to The Home Ranch brings guests back to old Colorado—rooted deeply in Western tradition. Wide open spaces, working cowboys and country stores that act as landmarks are the only places within sight for miles.
The property name tells almost all there is to know about The Home Ranch: It is cozy and it is easy to be there, from being active to just reading a book on the porch. It’s meant to be shared like stories around a campfire. That homelike atmosphere was the intention of owners Ann and Steve Stranahan, who established the guest ranch in 1978. (Steve is the brother of local philanthropist George Stranahan.)
In addition to a Western ranch experience, land conservation is a goal of the Stranahans. Together with their neighbors, they’ve worked to place more than 8,000 acres of the upper Elk River Valley in permanent conservation easement, ensuring the landscape and way of life will remain unchanged. “It’s very simple,” says Ann. “When land is no longer used for ranching, it is sold for development. As this happens, the great landscapes of the American West disappear—forever.”
Surrounded by McAlpine, Saddle and the iconic Hahn’s peak, The Home Ranch’s big draw each winter is its 20 miles of Nordic skiing trails and acres of pristine powder for backcountry skiing. Guests can explore on their own or take advantage of The Home Ranch’s team of guides. Other favorite winter activities include tubing and sledding, sleigh rides, winter horseback riding and nearby dog sledding.
At the end of the day, guests settle in with a glass of whiskey and listen to local musicians play guitar and sing about the West. It’s a beautiful version of “home” indeed. Rooms from $805 a night for two people, homeranch.com
Photography Courtesy Of: