Trinchera Blanca Ranch
Just 30 minutes east of Alamosa, Fort Garland is home to Trinchera Blanca Ranch, a year-round Western-style lodging located in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Protected by conservation easements, the homestead sees more wildlife than the average ranchland. Spot elk, mule deer, black bears, coyotes, bighorn sheep and turkeys as you make your way across the grounds.
With 172,000 acres of pristine land (yep, it’s really that big and not a typo), Trinchera ranch is where the Colorado adventure you’ve dreamed of comes to life. So, tie a blood knot and toss your line into Trinchera Creek for fast-swimming trout or hop aboard a mountain bike to zigzag across rocky hills and dales. Mountaineering, wildlife viewing and stargazing round out the activity menu.
Each massive lodge room features unique touches like iron bedframes, paintings of bison crossing snowy territory and Southwestern-patterned rugs. Be sure to book one with a private patio for early morning cups of steaming coffee boasting excellent views of the mountains.
What makes it special?
As the sky turns from bright blue to purple, head outside for a comfy chair in front of one of the many outdoor fireplaces to listen to the ranch’s wildlife wake up for the night. You’ll see the massive Trinchera Peak tower in the distance.
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
The team at Trinchera manages their forests, grasslands and streams to make sure they are conserving the land for future generations. They live by Care for Colorado Leave No Trace Principles to an extreme. Ask a staff member how they mitigate forest fires, expand the Rio Grande cutthroat trout habitat and encourage beaver dams to improve wetlands.
We can’t pick just one so here are a few. The grange has a world-class exercise studio with top-of-the-line treadmills and ellipticals. More of a yogi? Check out the stretching room before spending some time in the sauna. Or book yourself a massage followed by an outdoor dip in the cold-water plunge.
Top sensory encounter you’ll experience
Taste the flavors of the Southwest from the lodge’s galley each night. Grab a table under ornate antler chandeliers and gaze out floor-to-ceiling windows as you chow down on delicious fare made from Trinchera’s kitchen garden. If you’re lucky, the chef has crafted something with from-the-ranch honey.
Our favorite traveler review
“This is a large private ranch tucked away in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the San Luis Valley. They offer fishing and hunting as well as other outdoor activities. The fly-fishing is outstanding and Marcus, our fishing guide, is the best guide I have ever had. Top-notch lodge and the dining experience is excellent. Would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a great fly-fishing experience and relax on a pristine private ranch.” — Cole W., Google
Things to see & do nearby
Visit the old Fort Garland, now a museum, to learn about the Buffalo Soldiers (troop established by the U.S. government as the first all-Black regiment in the U.S. Army) stationed there after the Civil War. At White Mountain Trading Post, history comes alive with guided tours of 1800s replica buildings and meet-and-greets with friendly animals. Just 35 minutes west, rent sleds at Great Sand Dunes Oasis and ride the golden waves at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. If you’re visiting in late spring, you can also get your feet wet in Medano Creek (the mysterious snowmelt steam that pops up seasonally).
Photos courtesy of Trinchera Blanca Ranch