Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Named "Best Family Vacation" by Frommer's Colorado guidebook and rated among the "Top Ten Colorado Dude Ranches" by True West Magazine, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch offers year ‘round outdoor adventure.

Sylvan Dale is an historic working horse and cattle ranch (our all-natural Heart-J beef is delicious and available for purchase). Guests go on cattle drives and cattle roundups, trail rides, and overnight pack trips, take horseback riding lessons and play “Gymkhana” games on horseback. So c’mon and saddle up, discover your “inner cowboy,” and experience the old-fashioned family hospitality and cowboy culture of the historic American West.

During the ten weeks of summer (mid-June thru August) we host six-night dude ranch vacations, plus groups on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. During the rest of the year (fourth week in August through mid-June), we host overnight conferences and retreats as well as family reunions, group events, business meetings, dinners, receptions, picnics, bed & breakfast stays, holiday packages, special events, and weddings.

Conveniently located just one hour from Denver in the Colorado foothills near Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, Sylvan Dale’s 3200-acre Dude Ranch and Retreat Center is nestled along the banks of Colorado's beautiful Big Thompson River. Trophy trout fly fishing, nature experiences, tennis, swimming, and other activities await you.

For folks who care about nature and the environment, you will appreciate our green philosophy and sustainable practices. At Sylvan Dale, we pride ourselves on being good stewards of our land, our animals, and the earth.

Named "Best Family Vacation" by Frommer's Colorado guidebook and rated among the "Top Ten Colorado Dude Ranches" by True West Magazine, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch offers year ‘round outdoor adventure.

Sylvan Dale is an historic working horse and cattle ranch (our all-natural Heart-J beef is delicious and available for purchase). Guests go on cattle drives and cattle roundups, trail rides, and overnight pack trips, take horseback riding lessons and play “Gymkhana” games on horseback. So c’mon and saddle up, discover your “inner cowboy,” and experience the old-fashioned family hospitality and cowboy culture of the historic American West.

During the ten weeks of summer (mid-June thru August) we host six-night dude ranch vacations, plus groups on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. During the rest of the year (fourth week in August through mid-June), we host overnight conferences and retreats as well as family reunions, group events, business meetings, dinners, receptions, picnics, bed & breakfast stays, holiday packages, special events, and weddings.

Conveniently located just one hour from Denver in the Colorado foothills near Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, Sylvan Dale’s 3200-acre Dude Ranch and Retreat Center is nestled along the banks of Colorado's beautiful Big Thompson River. Trophy trout fly fishing, nature experiences, tennis, swimming, and other activities await you.

For folks who care about nature and the environment, you will appreciate our green philosophy and sustainable practices. At Sylvan Dale, we pride ourselves on being good stewards of our land, our animals, and the earth.

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We’re pleased to announce that David Jessup has been chosen for a fellowship awarded by Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation. David was selected as one of the five “conservation practitioners” to take part in the program. A total of only eighteen fellowships were awarded.

David Jessup is co-owner of Sylvan Dale Ranch, a 3,500-acre working dude ranch west of Loveland that raises grass-fed beef for local sale. Jessup’s fellowship will allow him to test two soil restoration strategies, mob grazing and compost tea application on an irrigated hay field where decades of hay removal has depleted the soil. Working with university and government collaborators, he will measure changes in soil quality indices and analyze the potential value of these improvements for a ranchland ecosystem services market for Colorado and the Western United States. His report will be applicable to soil restoration, conservation and grazing land management for private and public lands” (http://www.news.colostate.edu/Release/5703).

Warner College Collaborative Conservation Fellows
Photo credit: www.news.colostate.edu

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We love nature and our beautiful valley teeming with wildlife. As the upcoming Christmas holiday draws closer it’s easy to find ourselves dashing and scurrying about tending to the various activities of this time of year, but we’re not alone!

squirrelSylvan Dale’s resident naturalist David Armstrong has been featured in an article published today on ReporterHerald.com that shares some interesting facts about our neighborly squirrels who are also busy about their own seasonal routine.

Take a moment to read the article, “‘Squirrelly’ for a reason, during this season” and perhaps learn a bit more about these popular and delightful little creatures.
Read more on Gettin’ ‘Squirrelly’ for the Holidays!…

bobcats-clip-bob-savannahThere have been increasing sightings of a resident bobcat and her kits at the ranch. Here’s a few stories from those that have been fortunate enough to see this beautiful cat.


Mrs. Bobcat and her two pre-teen bob-kits sauntered past Tillie’s house about a month ago. I was preparing lunch in Tillie’s kitchen when they walked along the walkway right beneath the kitchen windows. My pastrami sandwich nearly fell out of my hand. I took the basement stairs two at a time, grabbed my camera and flew out of the door to the lower driveway. By that time, all I could see was three sets of pointed ears trotting along the edge of the parking lot. I snapped away, getting a picture of nothing, then ran down the hill. The parking lot was empty. But my head was full of the image of those beautiful creatures, robed like kings.

— David J

Read more on Bobcat Sightings!…

I caught the biggest trout I ever caught in the Big Thompson River yesterday. Twenty-one inches. A huge, fat rainbow, like one from our trophy lakes.

That big boy came out of the stretch of river in the lower valley where it slows into a riffle above the irrigation dam. It was about 7 pm. The slanting light from the setting sun lit up every bug like a firefly, including my size 16 royal trude. The cliffs above were ablaze, and it was hard to not look at them instead of focusing on the end of my line.

Read more on The Big One!…

Ecological research will be ongoing at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch over the next few months to years.  

Dr. McCain and a variety of students will be doing ecological research on vegetation, climate, and small mammals in Sulzer Gulch and Cedar Park (especially on Palisade Mountain). They will be setting livetraps and a variety of other equipment, as well as temporary flags to identify transects and other study sites.  

Dr. Christy McCain is a biologist at CU-Boulder (a professor in the Museum of Natural History and the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology). Results from this work will help inform SDR’s land management activities.

While you’re at Sylvan Dale you may see Christy or her students at work now and then. Their vehicles may be parked near the Cedar Park Cabin or above Echo Lake near Sulzer Gulch. Their vehicles will be identified with placards.

Being a part of the Big Thompson River clean-up on Saturday April 17th was a surprisingly emotional experience. The people at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch called and asked if I wanted to be one of their volunteers for the day. As a fly fisherman I am someone who benefits from clean clear water and as a conservationist at heart I was only too happy to be included.

Read more on Emotional Ownership…