Snow Mountain Ranch:: Where the Wild West Meets High Altitude Family Fun


Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMB

Recently, our family had the opportunity to spend three days at Snow Mountain Ranch, a YMCA of the Rockies property, nestled in the beautiful mountains near Winter Park, CO. Their website reads,

Adventure. Tranquility. And everything in between.

Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMBAnd we found that statement to be absolutely true. At check-in, we were welcomed by a friendly staff member and given both a map of the property and that week’s program guide, listing the different activities available each day. The list of fun activities to choose from was endless, as there is truly something for everyone at Snow Mountain Ranch (SMR). We were given wrist bands that allowed us entry to the dining hall and the various activities around the property. That’s when our adventure began.

Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMBIt’s no secret that our family loves outdoor fun, so the opportunity to hike to a waterfall, bike along the trails, zip down a summer tubing hill {the only one in CO}, canoe on a placid lake, and go for a horseback ride through the mountains to enjoy a chuck wagon breakfast, all without leaving the property, was a perfect fit for our little family. And those are only the activities we enjoyed outside! Quite honestly, three days was not nearly enough time to enjoy all that Snow Mountain Ranch has to offer.

Let’s talk about the weather – We all know that weather in the Rocky Mountains is, shall we say, unpredictable. We arrived to SMR in a downpour, but did that stop the fun? Absolutely not! Not only does SMR have a whole host of outdoor activities, but they have a plethora of indoor options to enjoy, as well. We were on a bike ride when it started to rain, so we ducked into the library. Yes, they actually have a library on the property. We warmed up with a hot cup of coffee and perused the books, as the boys played with puzzles and cars.

Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMBLater that afternoon, as lightening cut our round of mini-golf short, we headed to the craft shop, where the boys chose to paint some wooden geckos. The craft shop is a great place to let your creative juices flow, as you can choose to work on a variety of projects, each for a small fee, including jewelry making, ceramic painting, wood burning, tie-dying, acrylic painting and more. I could have stayed busy in there for hours, but you know, the kids have an attention span of about 5 minutes, so upon completing their reptilian masterpieces, we decided to check out the Recreation Center. Once inside, we not only discovered foosball tables, pool tables, both a basketball and volleyball court, as well as an indoor climbing wall, but we also encountered a massive game of dodgeball taking place. Oh boy, was I tempted to revisit my youth and jump into the game! And when people are not hurling balls through the air at one another, that area of the gym is transformed into a roller skating rink!

By the last day of our stay, the windows of clear weather had allowed us to do every outdoor activity that we had wanted to do, so even though it was sunny out, we decided to hit up the indoor pool. There’s nothing like a good swim to wear the kiddos out, just in time for a sleepy ride home!

Highlights for our family included:

  • Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMBThe three-year old daredevil: The Summer Tubing Hill. Kids under 5 ride in their own tube that is secured to an adult’s tube. So, this was definitely an endeavor in trust for Mom and Dad, who had to take the staff member’s word that our little son was not going to bounce out of his tube going 30 miles an hour {or so it felt} down a giant turf-covered hill! We also had to trust our three-year old, that he would hold on the whole way down {which he did, for dear life}. I can’t lie, it was a pretty incredible experience to sit across from him, watching his face transform from a look of compete terror to sheer joy, as we sped down the hill. And as we came to a stop, to hear him exclaim, “that was so fun, Mommy. Let’s do it again” = priceless.
  • The animal-loving five-year old: Feeding the sheep and goats at the small petting zoo area takes the prize for this kid. I’m pretty sure that if he had his way, he would have stood there feeding and talking to the goats all day long.Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMB
  • The solitude-loving, outdoor enthusiast Daddy: It’s hard to say which part of the Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMBhorseback ride he loved more, the actual riding part along quiet mountain trails or the all-you-can-eat chuck wagon breakfast consisting of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and good ole cowboy coffee. The trail guide and other staff at Sombrero Stables helped to make this a fun, safe, and enjoyable adventure for all of us.


  • The adventurous but protective Mommy: It’s a toss up for me, because I really loved our relaxing time canoeing on the lake and our hike through the rain and Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMBmud to the waterfall, but if I’m honest, one of my biggest highlights occurred in the dining hall. You see, our older son has severe food allergies and eating out with him is nothing short of stressful. Yet, every food item in the buffet had it’s own sign stating which major allergens it contained, and each of the kitchen staff were so accommodating, willing to specifically check on various food items, send the chef out, bring out labels, and basically, go above and beyond to ensure our son’s safety. And for a worried mama, that takes the cake. I also loved that there was a huge fruit (breakfast) or salad (lunch and dinner) bar at every meal, with a variety of gorgeously fresh produce. Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMB

Aside from all the summer fun, Snow Mountain Ranch has lots to offer, year round!

Winter Outdoor Fun –Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMB

  • Nordic Center (with a full service Ski Shop, ski rentals, lessons, and over 100km of t
    rails for every level of skier)
  • Tubing and Sledding
  • Ice Skating
  • Snowshoeing
  • Dog-Sledding
  • Fat-biking (You know those mountain bikes with the really fat tires, allowing you to bike through the snow? Yeah, you can do that here too.)Snow Mountain Ranch:: Wild West High Altitude Family Fun | DMMB

Indoor Fun –

    • Rec Center with Roller Skating, Volleyball, Basketball, Foosball, Pool, Rock Climbing, and Archery
    • Swimming Pool {with Aqua Climbing Wall}
    • Craft Shop
    • Library
    • Gift Shop

Whether you come as a group of 4 or 40, for the day, for a night, or for a whole week, one thing is for sure, you and your family will be asking, “when can we come back again?!”

A stay at Snow Mountain Ranch was received in exchange for this post, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Previous articleThe Last First Day of Kindergarten
Next articleParenting U-Turn Ahead
Melissa is an adventurer at heart, seeking to embrace the beauty and wildness of this life with her co-adventurer and husband of 8 years, Tom. When she’s not splashing in a mud puddle with her boys, ages 4 and 5, or cleaning the remains of a diaper gone awry from the hallway walls, Melissa works part-time as a Licensed Professional Counselor, striving to empower women through her practice, Rise and Shine Counseling. Give her a mountain and some free time and she’ll find a way to play, embracing every opportunity to run the trails, ski the slopes, and bike or hike the hills. A great day for Melissa would include a pre-dawn trail run, a cup (or maybe 3) of coffee, brushed teeth, some belly laughing with her boys, a little uninterrupted (what’s that?) time to read and write, and sharing in some good conversation over a glass of bold red wine with her hubby. Her faith, her people, and her sense of humor, carry her through the peaks and valleys of this life. She attempts to chronicle the journey over at her blog,


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here