Colorado offers a wide selection of ranches (some former, some still working) that are perfect for your sophisticated yet truly Western wedding.
By Dana Butler
1. DUNTON HOT SPRINGS
Across from Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs resort is set in a formerly abandoned ghost town. For a romantic adventure, you and your wedding party can take over the whole place, which includes lodging and meals from the organic kitchen for up to 44 guests. Rustic charm abounds from the 13 hand- hewn, luxuriously appointed cabins and the mineral hot springs to the original Dancehall & Saloon and Bathhouse. Over the course of the wedding weekend, check out the Pony Express yoga studio and the West Fork boxing gym, or spend your time outdoors among the ruggedly beautiful 14ers, rivers, lakes and meadows horseback riding, fly-fishing, mountain biking, hiking or rock climbing.
2. C LAZY U GUEST RANCH
This award-winning resort specializes in weddings and features more than 8,500 acres of open space. The staff is incredibly flexible and will do everything it can to make your experience magical. Enjoy horseback riding and fly-fishing, the top-notch spa or the ropes course and zip line. Accom- modations are available for up to 105 guests (including three gourmet meals per day), and you can spend your first night together at the secluded honeymoon cabin.
3. THE HISTORIC PINES RANCH
4. DEER CREEK VALLEY RANCH
5. GRANBY RANCH
6. DEVIL’S THUMB RANCH
This place works for everything from a casual outdoor affair to full black tie. A relatively new addition is the 4,200-square-foot High Lonesome Barn, which was reconstructed from a Civil War-era structure that once lived in Ohio. It features views of the Continental Divide, a con- verted hay loft that can work for smaller get-togethers and two historic Rumford-style stone fireplaces. Another option is the Broad Axe Barn built from hand-hewn beams reclaimed from a mid-1800s Indiana barn. Guests can stay on-site in log cabins, decorated with antiques from around the globe. There’s also fly-fishing, hiking, raft trips on the Colorado River and the Ranch Creek Spa.
7. ELLIS RANCH
A plus for the Ellis Ranch Event Center and Wedding Park is the location. Out of town guests will be especially impressed that you chose to tie the knot in “Loveland.” The setting is romantic and just rustic enough. Grander weddings make good use of the event center and wedding park, and the property also features the Carriage House for more intimate events.
8. MIDNIGHT RANCH
The 105-acre Midnight Ranch offers an unforgettable location. The couple, wedding party and guests stay in lovely homes, which can house approximately 32 guests. The ranch itself can host up to 200 guests for an outdoor (and/or tented) ceremony high in the Rocky Mountains.