You arrive as a guest to the ranch, but you're sure to leave as family. Owned and operated by the Van Berkum household for more than 20 years, this historic lodge was built in the 1920s. Originally a private fishing club, the property transformed into the ultimate family vacation destination over the years. From horseback riding and fly-fishing to honky-tonk dancing and sunrise hikes, a stay at Rainbow Trout means you’ll embark on a week-long adventure that will have you crooning “Home on the Range” in no time.
What makes it special?
Where do we even begin? Family-owned and operated, hosts Doug and Linda Van Berkum love to personally greet guests and walk them to their cabins, spinning tales of the ranch and its history. On Scenic Sunrise Wednesdays, you’ll hike up to Charity, an expansive rock outcropping behind the ranch. Linda supplies all the goodies, from fresh-squeezed juice and coffee to mouthwatering muffins as you watch the valley explode in a kaleidoscope of color. The fun keeps going with Flat Out Fun Fridays: Doug’s hamburgers by the pool are legendary and the basketball challenges for the kids are a real hoot. End the day with an adults-only candlelight dinner at the lodge with wine personally poured by Linda (we swear she is superwoman). Then, every night, the sky lights up in a flurry of constellations and astronomical wonder. Prepare to be blown away — you’ve never seen a night sky like this.
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
Cowboys, horses and rodeos. The great outdoors is a Colorado staple, and the code of the Wild West lives on in the San Luis Valley. With more than 130 horses living on the property, you’ll have every opportunity to experience the Colorado backcountry like Old West pioneers. And by the time you check out, you’ll know how to heel-toe and do-si-do.
The historic Grand Lodge is the centerpiece of the Rainbow Trout Ranch. Cuddle up in front of the grand, old, double-sided fireplace; or peruse the library and stop by the Trading Post to pick up necessary items for your stay.
Our favorite traveler review
“Our family spent a week at the ranch eight years ago and we haven’t stopped talking about it since. We are returning in June and bringing some friends along. Each time we receive a newsletter it reminds us of the wonderful week and the fantastic people who made us feel like family. We are so excited to visit again and look forward to seeing the Van Berkum family. Rainbow Trout Ranch is the best vacation spot ever! — Cory, Karen, Alexa and Ryan W.
Things to see and do nearby
Take a relaxing ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, “America’s Longest and Highest Narrow River Gauge,” between Antonito, Colorado, and Chama, New Mexico. Travel across 64 miles of diverse terrain with sweeping views of the peaks, valleys, and jaw-dropping gorges.
Or, spend an afternoon fishing on a 1.5-mile private section of the Conejos River. Catch rainbow and brown trout at a scenic fishing hole or cast your line off the picturesque bridge on the property. Care to dabble in some fly-fishing? Rainbow Trout guides are ready to provide personalized instruction.
Photos courtesy Rainbow Trout Ranch