Our second day at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, we woke to the sounds of birds chirping cheerily in the trees outside our cabin. Trees play a large part in the history of Sylvan Dale, in fact, a lot of the trees around the cabins have dedications.
One tree is dedicated to a couple who met at the ranch many years ago; there has been more than one love affair that started at Sylvan Dale. Four generations later, the family that blossomed from that love still comes to the guest ranch every summer.
Be sure to ask the story of the Sylvan Dale’s apple trees when you visit.
Breakfast was French toast made from Sylvan Dale’s famous cinnamon bread. While I’m more of a savory and spicy food person, Ryan’s favorite breakfast item is French toast and he gave these an A++. Chef Scott grilled them up fresh while we munched on fresh fruit and yogurt and fueled up on coffee.
We needed fuel for our day ahead which included a nature hike with Dr. David Armstrong, Susan’s husband, and a horseback ride.
Dr. Armstrong (everyone just calls him David or Dave) is a retired University of Colorado biology professor, and there’s no better person with which to take a nature walk around the ranch. The ranch is truly unique in that it is located in an area where the plains meet the mountains, making it a fascinating spot in terms of animal and plant life.
Sylvan Dale is alive with animals, and not just cows and horses. There’s a startling array of animal life here, more than some entire states have on record. For instance, there are a total of three different species of rabbits that call the ranch home. Most recently, mountain lions have been captured on remote cameras that are placed around the property.
Despite the flooding of the Big Thompson River in September 2013, the fish are coming back. The river runs through the property and fisher folk can rest assured that there are plenty of trout to catch here.
On our walk we surveyed flood damage, spied some of the rabbits that lives on the ranch and checked out the rock formations on the property. Several Colorado colleges have their students visit the ranch to study the geology here.
A nature walk at Sylvan Dale is more than a stroll on a pretty piece of land, it’s an entertaining lesson about the diverse biology of this amazing property.
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is located just an hour north of Denver along Hwy 34 west of Loveland, Colorado. We were at the ranch taking part in the Swing into Spring package. Look for other weekend getaway such as this at SylvanDale.com. Birders may be interested to note the Birding Bonanza is taking place on the ranch on April 23-26.
Read the first part of this 3-part series, An escape to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.
Read the third part of this 3-part series, Playing cowgirl at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.