Vibe: Like staying with old friends.
Drive time: Located about 400 miles—7.5 hours—southwest of downtown Denver near Cortez.
TIP: The guest ranch is a unique home base for exploring Indigenous Ute and Pueblo historical sites, including Canyon of the Ancients National Monument (CANM).
Set in scenic McElmo Canyon about 28 miles west of Cortez, this 2,000-acre working ranch is an ideal jumping-off point for destinations like Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, and CANM.
The property owners Garry and Ming Adams offer five guest houses, including three original, restored buildings: the Elden Stone house (1880s); the Cowboy Log Cabin; and the Pioneer House. The Ranch House is the largest and sleeps eight people. The newest added in 2016, the Wagstaff Cabin, is an Appalachian-style structure featured on the DIY Network’s Barnwood Builders. See the most amazing view from the property’s Folsom Point Sanctuary, a place for meditation and contemplation.
While there is no on-site dining, all cabins include kitchens and grills, and visitors are welcomed with homegrown garden produce and eggs. You can also order ranch-raised lamb and beef. Families should stock up on groceries before arrival or be prepared to drive to Cortez for meals, about 30 minutes each way.
The Animals Ranch dogs and cats greet guests. The owners will leave cat food for folks who want feline visitors, as well as organic tortilla chips for the flock of pet Navajo-churro sheep. Watch for the one they call Quasimodo.
The Area The closest of the ancient sites, CANM, is just a seven-minute drive. It was conserved through the Bureau of Land Management and contains more than 6,000 recorded archaeological sites, the greatest concentration in the U.S. Garry and Ming are great resources for area highlights, often willing to take guests on tours to their favorite spots, including a village site right on the property that’s being excavated. canyonoftheancients.com