The roof of a hard-sided yurt near Capulin, Colorado, is dusted with snow as the sun brightens up the sky.

Camels & a Yurt

Drive through the Mystic San Luis Valley’s sun-baked landscapes to reach the tiny town of Capulin for an off-grid farm escape at Camels & a Yurt. Here you can roam the 35-acre property, where resident camels’ humped silhouettes mirror the Sangre de Cristo Mountains’ rugged peaks. Just be sure to watch where you step!

After rolling up a long dirt road, your knowledgeable hosts — Matt and Meghan — will welcome you to your rustic vacation rental. Start things off with a full-farm tour, where you can mingle with grazing camels and donkeys, and familiarize yourself with the sprawling grounds.

Then, settle into your home away from home, where just outside your window you may hear hooting owls and yipping coyotes. The roomy, hard-sided yurt comes with a cozy queen-size bed and futon, as well as glowing lanterns to light after sunset. A wood-burning stove warms up the space and provides the perfect ambience for a night of playing board games and cards, chatting and enjoying a remote respite from your routine.

The dark skies in this secluded location make for some truly magical stargazing, too. So, sit back to spot the glitter of stunning constellations and rocketing meteors across the wide-open skies. In the morning, take advantage of the pitcher and basin, as well as basic supplies for fresh coffee and cooking for an extra-rewarding camping breakfast.

What makes it special?

Many Colorado retreats have mountain views — but few can boast all the camels, donkeys, chickens and ducks you’ll see meandering in the foreground here. Meet the friendly farm animals when you tour the grounds with your hosts, who will walk you through the canyon’s flora and talk about the region’s history. It’s hard to come by a local experience as immersive as this rural haven.

The most Colorado thing about this place

We’re going with the surprising delight of using an al fresco restroom. Whether you’re ambling out at sunrise to spot rays peeking over the craggy summits or in the middle of a clear night when the sparkling Milky Way pours across the dark sky, you will not catch these views walking to your average hotel latrine.

Top sensory encounter you’ll experience

Something about mornings in the Centennial State’s wide-open spaces make your senses come alive. Wake up slow, brew a hot cup of coffee and light a crackling fire in your yurt’s sturdy wood-burning stove. Once the sun pops up over the valley, step outside and breathe in the crisp air before wandering down to the tumbling creek or the nearby box-canyon hike.

An adult sits on a rock and holds a toddler in their lap near Capulin, Colorado. A babbling creek and lush foliage can be seen in the background.
Camels and donkeys munch on grasses in a yellow high-desert field near Capulin, Colorado.
The inside of a yurt near Capulin, Colorado, is draped with white and teal swathes of fabric, a cushy couch and a large bed.

Quirkiest thing to expect

While you’re here, check out the camel-milk soaps, creamy camel-milk fudge and warm camel-fiber products made right here at the farm. It’s the perfect locally made souvenir.

Our favorite traveler review

“We absolutely loved staying here! The landscape was beautiful and, of course, the camels were incredible. Matt gave us a tour of the farm and we really enjoyed his knowledge on not only the camels and donkeys, but the history of the area as well. The yurt was larger than I was expecting with very cozy decor. There were board games and thoughtful touches like their homemade camel soap, which was fantastic. The outhouse was clean and well kept. My only regret about our stay was that we were only there for one night. Next time we are in the area, I will be sure to book a longer visit.” — Kelsey, Airbnb

Things to see and do nearby

Just beyond the farm, you’ll find sprawling Bureau of Land Management and National Forest areas, perfect for exploring the shrub-lined trails in a pair of sturdy hiking boots or snowshoes. If you’re visiting in the warmer months, you can drop a line in the nearby La Jara Reservoir, which is abundant with glimmering rainbow and cutthroat trout.

Drive just over an hour to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve to see a natural wonder amid the mountains. In spring and fall, make your way to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge to spy on crimson-capped Sandhill Cranes. For a winter day trip, cruise to Wolf Creek Ski Area to carve down the powdery slopes — they’re known for having the most snow in Colorado. Or take a dip in a steaming hot spring at Sand Dunes Recreation in Hooper.

Want more?

Discover the Mystic San Luis Valley with a handpicked itinerary of activities, dining and other outings.

 

Photos courtesy of airbnb.

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