Critter Mountain Ranch
If your vacation dream morning consists of enjoying a cup of coffee outdoors with a heaping dose of mountain and alpaca views, Critter Mountain Ranch is the place for you. This cozy getaway in Dolores is a perfect home base for exploring the amazing Native American heritage sites and outdoor adventure southwestern Colorado has to offer.
Kick back on this working alpaca farm where you’ll stay in a ranch house surrounded by fragrant juniper and pinyon pine. Inside the home, you’ll find two queen beds along with a couple of comfy double-bed futons. There’s a full kitchen, two patios, a porch and a fireplace to boot.
Note: You have to be accompanied by the host, Kathleen, to meet the alpacas. And dogs are welcome if they’re especially good boys and girls who won’t bark at or chase the alpacas. Alpacas have feelings, too! (We realize how many times we’ve said “alpacas” here, and we’re OK with it.)
What makes it special?
Aside from the alpaca part, you mean? Well, this is an off-the-beaten-path-type getaway, so you’re in for the kind of amazing stargazing you only find when you get away from it all. Stay up late watching for shooting stars as the constellations slowly march their way across the inky night sky.
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
We’re all about sustainability in this state, and Dolores just happens to be a high-desert town. That means water conservation is practiced at the ranch. Consider picking up a few extra jugs of water when you grab groceries. And if you’re the type who likes hour-long showers, this might not be the place for you.
Top sensory experience you’ll encounter
Let’s talk scenery. That’s kind of Colorado’s thing, after all. When you stay at Critter Mountain Ranch, you’re gonna have more views than you know what to do with. We’re talking about two enclosed patios and a separate porch where you can soak up the sight of majestic snowcapped peaks, blue skies and a seemingly endless horizon. (And alpacas. Did we mention there are alpacas?) This this the type of setting that levels up a relaxing vacation.
Our favorite traveler review
“The location is wonderful. We hiked in the surrounding parks and monuments and returned each evening to watch the sunset and see the stars. The authentic ranch house has both an east- and west-facing sunroom. We practiced water conservation just as the ranchers in the area do. The home is spacious. It was so much better than the four walls of a hotel or condo.” — Shari, airbnb
Things to see and do nearby
Settle in because we weren’t kidding when we said this was a great home base. Sip beers in the wildflower-dotted rock garden of Dolores River Brewery. Stroll 6 miles of trails at The Nature Center at Butler Corner, stopping to say “hi” to chickens, goats, (more!) alpacas and geese. Explore the history and heritage of the Ancestral Puebloan people at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument or with guided tours of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. Hop on a mountain bike and shred 8.4 miles of shady pine-forested trail. Cruise 50 miles into Durango to tour the town and ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Drive an hour to Telluride Ski Resort to carve up some of the best terrain for every ability level in the state.
Photos courtesy of airbnb