Just 65 miles west of Denver, Devil’s Thumb Ranch sits on 5,000 acres near the Continental Divide in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The eco-resort offers sustainable, luxury accommodations in its 52-room luxury lodge, 16 ridge-top log cabins and at the budget-friendly Bunk House.
With old-West flair, Devil’s Thumb Ranch employs both cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned conservation to exist lightly on the land. The ranch’s buildings, pool and hot tubs are heated with renewable geothermal energy. Waste water is purified through sand filtration. Some buildings are “recycled” historic structures that have been remodeled for modern use. For instance, the special events center is a reclaimed, 1850s-era barn.
Wood and stone interiors bring nature indoors at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Pine from beetle-killed trees becomes gorgeous wall paneling and ceiling beams. The floors are recycled spruce.
The décor has a cowboy theme: The lodge, spa, guest rooms, restaurants and cabins feature antique furnishings (including old saddles and cowboy boots). Artwork and metal work are commissioned from local artisans.
Then there are details such as eco-friendly cleaning products, sustainable restaurants, recycling and water-conservation programs, low energy-use lighting, and recycled asphalt for paving.
When you’re visiting this outdoorsy resort, green programs may be the last things on your mind. Focus instead on saying “I love you” (during winter) in these ways:
- Lounge in your luxurious, mountain-style room or woodsy log cabin. Many have private fireplaces, decks and breath-taking views of the Continental Divide.
- Snuggle under all-natural down comforters on your ergonomically correct mattress.
- Explore more than 65 miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on groomed and tracked trails at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch Nordic Center.
- Steal some time together in the 10,000-square-foot Ranch Creek Spa with the Bonnie and Clyde couple’s massage. (Spa products are all natural and nourishing to the skin at high altitudes.)
- Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride across the 5,000-acre property to dinner.
- Enjoy a gourmet dinner at the Ranch House Restaurant and Saloon, in an original log cabin. The food is organic and local; 85 percent of the restaurant’s meat and game comes from Colorado producers.
- Book an intimate private dinner in John L’s Wine Cellar (its entryway is a giant wine barrel constructed of recycled cherry wood). Pop a cork and pop the question!
- Stargaze from the outdoor hot tub.
- Limber up together with yoga class. The studio has incredible mountain views.
- Challenge each other to a game of checkers in the Game Room.
- Snowshoe under the full moon along any of the groomed paths. Not there during full moon? About 2.5 miles of pathways are lit, including those between cabins and the dining areas and activity centers.
- Cuddle in front of the fireplace (built of stone from mountain rock slides) in your room or private cabin. The chimneys are EPA-certified to emit 60 percent less smoke pollution.
- Watch a film in the 37-seat movie theater in the Main Lodge.
- Race each other down the sledding hill or twirl on the outdoor ice-skating rink.
- Get married. Devil’s Thumb is an incredible winter or summer wedding venue. Your wedding party can enjoy a romantic getaway, complete with horseback riding or sleighing, skiing or hiking, and rejuvenating spa treatments.
—Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor
Photos courtesy Devil’s Thumb Ranch