Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, west of Loveland, Colorado, encompasses about 3200 acres, 5 square miles of foothills beauty, a naturalist’s paradise.
This is "up-and-down country." Elevations range from 5140 ft. along the Big Thompson River in the Big Valley to 7340 ft. on the north slope of Palisade Mountain above Cedar Park. That is some 2200 feet of elevational range, a greater range than in 15 of the 50 states!
Topographic diversity allows a wide diversity of habitats. Sunny south-facing slopes support species typical of Southwestern US and Mexico: yucca, prickly-pear, mule deer, canyon wrens, Steller’s jays, Mexican "packrats," rock mice, and rock squirrels.
Shady, north-facing slopes have species of the higher mountains and the "North Woods": Douglasfir, blue spruce, pine squirrels, gray jays, columbines, and ladyslipper orchids.
We like to say that a Sylvan Dale vacation is a real bargain—three vacations for the price of one.
Ecologically, on a horseback ride (or hike) up Sulzer Gulch—within a mile of the Antique Dining Room on the beautiful Big Thompson River, you can see ecological Mexico on the sun-splashed right-hand side of the trail and ecological Canada on the cool, shady left!
The verdant corridor of the Big Thompson River through the Main Ranch is a haven for a diversity of wildlife. Plains cottonwoods and narrow-leaf cottonwoods (a mountain species) shade the river. Mink frequently visit the ponds. In the "Little Canyon" American dippers (uniquely mountain birds) nest alongside canyon wrens (a southwestern species).