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FAQS

Are you open year-round?

We will open for the 2019 season on May 23rd.

Spring: May 23rd-June 15th (minimum 3 night stay)
Summer: June 16th- August 24th (6 night stay, with check in Sunday and check out Saturday)
Fall: August 25th-October 31st (minimum 3 night stay)

How long should we stay?

In order to take full advantage of all the experiences at the ranch we encourage guests to stay for a minimum of four nights. In our Summer Season we host a weekly itinerary with ranch events included and guests are required to book a full 6-night stay with check in on Sundays and check out on Saturdays. Staying the full summer week ensures that you are able to participate in all the scheduled ranch activities as well as fit in activities of your choice. In our Spring and Fall seasons guests are required to book a minimum of three nights, unless otherwise noted by our Ranch Reservationist. In the Spring and Fall Seasons the stays are more flexible and guests can choose their days of check in and check out.

Check In and Check Out:

Check in is at 3pm and check out is at 10am.

Cell Service and Wifi, what kind of connection can we expect during our stay?

Smith Fork Ranch is located in a secluded area and therefore there is currently no cell service in the ranch area. Wireless internet is available in all accommodations and buildings on the ranch property. We encourage guests who have more recently released cell phones to turn on wifi calling in their settings and most of their phone applications will work using the ranch wifi. There are landlines available in the ranch office and domestic and international calls are included in nightly rates.

What all is included in my rates?
Include in our rates is all lodging accommodations; twice-daily housekeeping and all in-room luxury amenities. Daily coffee & tea bar, breakfast, lunch, hors d’oeuvres, and dinner. Unlimited soft drinks and assorted beverages and snacks. On-ranch, guided activities including all gear and equipment (Spring/Fall: 1 activity per person/per day Summer: 2 activities per person/per day)

I see a ranch fee on my bill, does this mean gratuities are included?

Our staff is dedicated to ensuring that you have a memorable vacation experience at Smith Fork Ranch. While all staff members are well compensated, please note that our pricing does not include gratuities. Staff gratuities are much appreciated for exemplary service, but never expected.

The Ranch Fee at Smith Fork covers a few things:
  • It allows us the ability to compensate our employees a fair working wage up front (the history of ranches was that employees worked for minimal wages and relied solely on tipped wages from guests, we believe that having a fair working wage upfront encourages them to provide the level of service that we want them to be extending to guests and in our experience we have seen this from them as well. We encourage our guests to tip our staff if they have provide a more than exceptional experience for you all.
  • It also covers services & entertainment provided throughout your stay along with the use of all ranch amenities & facilities outside of the guided activities each day.
  • It consists of ranch-wide Wi-Fi, Newspapers & Magazines, and use of equipment (such as fly fishing gear at any hour of the day, so you are able to use before and after scheduled ranch activities. Get up with the sun and head down to the river/pond for an early morning fishing excursion.)
This Ranch Fee is calculated off our base package rates and the 20% Ranch Fee is a fully refundable portion of the reservation in the case of cancellation.

What are the incidentals not included in the rates?

Bar purchases (alcohol, beer, wine)
Spa services
Off ranch excursions
Transportation to/from the ranch
Laundry service

Pet Policy

We know your pet is part of the family, unfortunately pets are not allowed at Smith Fork Ranch due to the unknown nature of their reaction to horses and our other ranch animals. If you are traveling with your pet we do have a well-trusted pet boarding facility just miles from The Ranch that we are happy to help you get the best care for your pet during your stay.

Laundry
We do provide a laundry service that is available for $15 per bag of laundry. Any laundry you need washed will be picked up daily by housekeeping and returned folded and ironed as needed that evening.

We’ve booked our stay, do we need to book our activities now?

Don’t worry there will be plenty of time to book your activities once you have arrived on the ranch. If there are specific activities that you are looking forward to doing or if there are any off ranch activities or spa services that you would like to book feel free to let our Ranch Reservationists know or make note on your pre-arrival survey. Otherwise each night during cocktail hour our Ranch Reservationist will meet with you to book activities for thefollowing day. As we are a small operation we can ensure that you’ll fit in all the adventures that will make your vacation an experience to remember.

Do we need to bring any equipment?

You are more than welcome to bring any of your own equipment however our guides and wranglers are happy to get you outfitted for all our activities at the Round-Up and our Boot Barn. At the Round-Up you’ll find that we provide Simms waders, Sage rods, Ross reels and a selection of flies for flyfishing adventures. Beretta shotguns, 12 and 20 gauge, are available for shooting clays and BB guns are ready for our younger guests! We do ask that you leave any personal firearms at home.

FISHING

Colorado State Fishing Licenses

The Colorado Division of Wildlife requires anglers to purchase a fishing license for any fishing done outside of our ponds. Our Ranch Reservation staff will help facilitate your purchase when you book your stay or when you plan activities each evening. Children age 15 and under do not require a license to fish. Please note that for United States Citizens a valid Social Security Number is required to purchase a Colorado Fishing License. You will need the physical copy of your license on hand while fishing. *Please note that fishing license fees vary and will be added to your final bill.

We sure do. Our guides are available to introduce you to the art of fly fishing or give you a refresher course if it’s been awhile. They’ll teach you the fundamentals of casting (and catching!) so you’re ready to hit the water with confidence. Start on our ponds to learn the mechanics, and then when you’re ready the river will be waiting!

Where do we go fly fishing?

Fly Fishing at Smith Fork Ranch is phenomenal, with three private miles of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River, six trout ponds, and a fresh, mountain stream, not to mention many backcountry angling opportunities. The ponds are stocked with Brown and Rainbow trout and are a great place to start learning how to fly fish. For more challenging waters, make your way down to the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River. Wade through the mountain waters and hook some nice Brown, Rainbow, and Brook trout. For kids, we have spin rods.

Do we need licenses to fish on the ranch?

The Colorado Division of Wildlife requires anglers to purchase a fishing license for any fishing done outside of our ponds. Our Ranch Reservation staff will help facilitate your purchase when you book your stay or when you plan activities each evening. Children age 15 and under do not require a license to fish. Please note that for United States Citizens a valid Social Security Number is required to purchase a Colorado Fishing License. You will need the physical copy of the license. *Please note that fishing license fees vary and will be added to your final bill.

I’d like to go fishing but not fly fishing. Do you offer other fishing?

We have spin rods available for kids and those not interested in fly fishing.

What type of fish will we be catching?

There are plenty of trout to catch here on the ranch including: Brown, Brook, Rainbow, and Cutthroat.

HORSEBACK RIDING

To participate in independent trail rides, children must be at least 7 years old and able to control their horse (we leave it to the discretion of our experience wranglers to determine if your child is able to control their horse). Pony rides are also available for ages 4-7 and those children not yet ready for a trail ride.

Which horse will I be riding?

One perk of riding at Smith Fork is that you are matched with one horse for the entire duration of your stay to allow you to build confidence and comfortability. We match you with a horse based on your experience and size.

Will I be able to ride English?

We want you to experience a western ranch adventure and therefore we only have western tack available for our trail rides. Due to our terrain the western saddle will also provide more stability and support & add to your comfort while riding in the beautiful West Elk Wilderness!

Will I be able to go off and ride alone?

For safety reasons we do not allow solo rides without being accompanied by a wrangler. Our wranglers are trained and educated on horse safety and familiar with our trails and the terrain. We want to ensure you have the best experience possible and for those reasons we send at least one wrangler out per trail ride.

Why do you ask for my height and weight?

The general rule of thumb is that a horse should carry between 15-20 percent of their weight. We require your height and weight so that we can properly assign a horse to you and vice versa the safety of both horse and rider are our main concern. Remember that this weight also includes the saddle and other riding equipment, in addition to the rider.

SPORTING CLAYS

We’ve never shot shotguns before, how safe is your program?

Safety is our number one priority. All guides are trained in gun safety and each guest will go through a safety briefing before being allowed to handle the guns.

What type of guns are we shooting?

Our guns are 12 and 20 gauge Beretta shotguns.

I’ve got kids and I’m not sure they’re ready for a shotgun…

We understand the concern, and will only allow kids that meet the age/weight requirement to handle shotguns if both the guardian as well as our staff see that it’s safe and comfortable for all parties. If not, we do have BB guns available for the kids! We will set up targets that will allow them to still take part in the activities and practice their aim.

What are the age and weight limit?

We do have a minimum weight limit of 80 lbs. This ensures that kids are able to comfortably and safely support the shotgun.

Where are your guns stored?

When not in use, our guns are safely stored and locked in a safe.

I’ve got my own shotgun, can I bring it?

For the safety of our staff and guests, please leave your personal firearms at home. Thank you!

ARCHERY

What type of bows are we shooting?

All of our bows are long bows.

HIKING

How many trails are there for hiking?

Some of our best trails for hiking are also the horseback riding trails. (We won’t send you on a hike that is also being used by the horses at the same time) Let us know what you’re looking for and we can send you off in the best direction suited for you. We have well marked trail maps for you to take along as you enjoy the beauty of the West Elk Wilderness.

Do we need a guide to go hiking?

Hiking is one of our activities where a guide is optional. They will be happy to go with you, however if you’d like to venture off solo we can give you a trail map, point you in the right direction, and the trails are clearly marked to keep you on the right path.

Hiking at the ranch can be challenging if you are not used to hiking at elevation. But the views and feeling of accomplishment are worth it! Be sure to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated. If you are looking something on the easier side, we will show you a couple trail options that may be more your style.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

We are coming from across the country, do we need to bring our own bikes?

If you want to bring your own bikes, please feel free! If not, we have plenty of Specialized bikes available for all ages and sizes.

Just looking for an exercise, do we have to go with a guide?

Mountain biking is one of our activities that gives you the option of going with or without a guide. If you’re looking to get out and stretch your legs solo, just let us know and we will make sure there is a bike waiting for you at the Round Up so you can hit the road. The guides are also happy to provide a lift in the ranger up to the top of the trails so you can enjoy flying back down.

My kids love biking, what size bikes do you have? 

We do have some kid size bikes available but please note we do not have training wheels, as our road and terrain wouldn’t be the most user friendly for those still learning how to ride.

For more on our activities, visit here to learn more!

Are you able to accommodate dietary restrictions?

Our kitchen and dining team are committed to providing amazing culinary experiences for all of our guests and we will be more than happy to assist you with any dietary needs and preferences. You can let our Ranch Reservationists know at the time of booking as well as fill out dietary restrictions and preferences in our pre-arrival survey.

My kids can be a little picky… What options are available for them?

We know that kids and parents don’t always agree on food – so we make it easy for everyone. In the evenings at 6 p.m., we offer an optional kids dinner with the counselors, while adults enjoy cocktails on the pavilion. Make-your-own pizza night and barbecue night are big hits, and we can always adjust menus based on age and preference. For more on our Kids and Teens activities.

When is the Kids Program available?

The Kids and Teens Activities are available during our Spring and Summer season only. Babysitting and Nanny services are available during our Fall season.

Does the program last all day?

Half Day Morning Adventure is 9 a.m.- noon
Half Day Afternoon Adventure 2-5 p.m.

What if we want to do some activities as a family and some separately?

We are here to make this exactly what you envision for your family. If that means a family day Tuesday and then setting aside some adult time Wednesday while the kids are busy with the counselor we are happy to arrange your days accordingly. Feel free to change it up day to day!

Will I eat meals with my kids?

Your whole family will eat together for breakfast and lunch. We do offer a nightly Kids/Teens Dinner available at 6 pm on the Dinner Bell Pavilion. However, if you would like the kids to join you for dinner so they can fill you in on their day of exploring, we will make sure to have their place set at your family’s table!

What about after hours?

The Kid’s Program does not run after hours (after dinner) and all young children will be returned to parents by 8:30pm. However, we can arrange for after hours care with babysitting rates applying at $18.00 per hour.

Still have questions?  Visit here to learn more! Or feel free to contact us directly- Our ranch reservationists will be happy to assist in answering any questions you have and help you plan your trip of a lifetime.