As you head up State Highway 24 over historic Ute Pass west of Colorado Springs, the first thing you'll notice is that nature is just plain showing off. We're only driving 35 miles today, but concerns of everyday life fall away quickly as verdant ranchlands hosting herds of cattle and horses serenely announce that we're officially in cowboy country.
Small mountain towns, such as Green Mountain Falls, Woodland Park, and Divide roll by, and anticipation grows as we arrive in Lake George, home of the M Lazy C Ranch and Mule Creek Outfitters. We can feel our trusty mounts under us already!
The 100-year-old historic ranch and cattle company is nestled in a high mountain valley, surrounded by thousands of acres of ponderosa pine and quaking aspen. Seasoned horsemen, who bring their own mounts, as well as guests riding for the first time, feel they've returned to the Old West.
Old West Heritage
The Thatcher family built the ranch's log homestead and barn in the early 1900s. They were primarily truck farmers who hauled their potatoes and other vegetables to Denver. They also raised cattle and other livestock. Over the years, they added a blacksmith shop and individual cabins for their working cowboys.
In 1992, Randy and Brenda Myers purchased the ranch, dreaming of turning it into a guest ranch. They carefully added a few modern conveniences while preserving an Old West setting. The original buildings now provide a perfect setting for a "General Store" to show-and-sell authentic cowboy gear and gifts; guest cabins are decorated with period antiques.
The ranch also hosts chuckwagon dinners, hay rides, cattle drives, pack trips, Wild West shootouts and shows, Western weddings, and country music and dancing.
Trail riding is a mainstay of the ranch's smorgasbord of Old West activities. Surrounding the property are the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, which offer 25,000 acres of land to explore. Members of the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association enjoy the ranch and its environs so much they return each year for their annual ride.
M Lazy C also offers pack trips into national forest land and the Lost Creek Wilderness. At the end of the day, you'll enjoy a cowboy dinner, then camp out in a tent or teepee.
If you're traveling with your horse, you may be particularly interested in the ranch's equestrian sites, with recreational-vehicle hookups and horse pens overlooking the ranch and guarded by the Rockies. From there, you can ride out on your own or ask a wrangler to guide you.
And while there are amenities, such as a hot whirlpool spa for stargazing, you won't find a swimming pool or cable TV. While you're a guest, you're reminded of life the way it was for many of our ancestors.
The M Lazy C would like to extend an invitation to take a ride off the beaten path and into the Old West. Come and experience the real Colorado.