I find something special about every place I visit in Colorado, however, sometimes I stumble across a destination that has just the right amount of history and ambiance to make it magical. Maybe it was the rain, perhaps it was the flock of grazing sheep, but Avalanche Ranch Cabins & Hot Springs was just such a place.
As we made our way up Hwy 133 out of Carbondale, Colorado and towards Avalanche Ranch, Mt. Sopris rose like a giant into a cloudy sky that was threatening rain. We didn’t mind. All we had planned for the afternoon and evening was to soak.
As we turned into the ranch, I was giddy to see a field full of fluffy sheep. I hadn’t known that the ranch is home to farmyard animals. In fact, our cabin overlooked the field, and as I ran down to take photographs several sheep came tottering towards me. In their winter wool coats they looked exactly like cotton balls on toothpicks.
They were hoping I had some veggies, but sadly I did not. I managed to find some green grass stems that they seemed to like a great deal. Guests may feed the sheep, alpaca, pony and donkey at Avalanche Ranch, just follow the rules posted in your cabin or wagon.
Lodging at the ranch consists of cabins and wagons. The cabins date from the 1950s and are fully equipped with everything you’ll need for a weekend stay or week long stay – just pack groceries.
The three wagons, however, are a bit more akin to glamping; comfy accommodations without a kitchen, bathroom or shower (guests may use the hot springs’ changing room). The wagons each have a charcoal barbecue grill and picnic table. All guests have 24 hour access to the hot spring pools.
We were in Cabin #8 at the end of the lane, called The Northwoods. It was a studio, with a bed, loft area, full bathroom and kitchen and eating area. I felt a bit like Laura Engalls Wilder and the lack of internet or phone service completed the illusion. There is wi-fi and a guest phone in “The Lodge,” should you feel the necessity to plug into the world during your stay – we did not.
Our cabin had a lovely view of the pasture and being at the end of the lane, nothing but woods lay to the northwest. There are hiking trails in the woods and even a pond where guests can fish in the summer. We didn’t have fishing on our minds, however, we wanted to soak.
We walked down the lane, enjoying the briskness of the day, and arrived to find that we had the pools all to ourselves, at least for awhile.
Avalanche Ranch has three hot springs pools and a “hot tub” inside a little rustic building just above the main pools. The pools are beautifully integrated into the landscape. The largest pool was a bit cool during our stay, but would be perfect during the summer.
We loved the rocks on the bottom of the pools and the views are spectacular, even on a drizzly day. We only spent one night there, but the magic of Avalanche definitely seeped into my soul.
While the springs were wonderful, the highlight of my visit was sitting at my cabin window in the morning drinking a cup of coffee and watching the sheep, alpaca, donkey and pony eat their breakfast of hay. I can think of no more peaceful way to wake up.
Situated above Crystal River, Avalanche Ranch is truly a unique and authentic Colorado escape.