Devil’s Thumb Ranch, a complete resort |

Devil’s Thumb Ranch, a complete resort

Diana Lynn Rau

Nestled in the shadow of the Continental Divide near Tabernash, Devil’s Thumb Ranch has over 6,000 acres of sweeping meadows and meandering creeks. Devil’s Thumb Ranch is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Since 1938, cowboys, poets, ranchers, city folk and Nordic skiers have escaped to Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Today the Ranch offers a classy and upscale get-away that continues to make its mark as one of Colorado’s most environmentally friendly destinations.

The Main Lodge offers cozy single rooms and multi-room suites, a cafe, pub/bistro, fitness center, theater, a six-sided, three-story fireplace constructed from stones gathered from a rockslide near the Ranch, and even a miniature bowling alley. The cabins range in size from one-bedroom lofts to spacious four-bedroom cabins with full kitchens and two baths and many are dog-friendly. The original Elk Lodge at Devil’s Thumb Ranch was moved down the road a couple of miles and has been re-purposed as the Bunkhouse designed for the budget-conscious travelers including nine rooms with private bath, four rooms with a shared bath, and two small common areas. Both Heck’s Tavern and the Hallowed Grounds Coffee Shop are open daily while the Ranch House Restaurant (dinner only) is open Wednesday through Sunday and has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence among other awards.

The High Lonesome Lodge, Barn & Pavilion opened in early winter 2014. Nestled in the hillside overlooking the Ranch, the new 50,000 square foot Lodge includes 35 guest rooms, four guest suites, wine grotto, and meeting and event space for groups of up to 350 people. The centerpiece of the Lodge is the High Lonesome Barn – a Civil War-era structure moved piece by piece from Ohio, with a wall of windows providing unparalleled views of the Continental Divide and Ranch Creek Valley.

Since 1938, cowboys, poets, ranchers, city folk and Nordic skiers have escaped to Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Today the Ranch offers a classy and upscale get-away that continues to make its mark as one of Colorado’s most environmentally friendly destinations.

Nordic trails

The Resort currently has about 35km of trails open with about 22km set up with classic tracks. More trails should be available this weekend. Five-day individual punch cards and transferable 10-day punch cards are available. Business passes are all available by calling the Activities Center at 970-726-8231. The current promotion of 15 percent discount for all passes and rentals effective Nov 15 – Dec 19 celebrates the 15th anniversary of Bob and Suzanne Fanch taking ownership and developing Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa to its present day state.

Benefits to Devils Thumb Season Pass holders include: Monday- Wednesday Lodging at Bunkhouse starting at $75 per night, Monday- Wednesday stay at the Lodge for $125 per night, one group ski lesson, and 15 percent discount on full price shop merchandise.

Ski shop

The Ski Shop has the latest in clothes, cross country ski equipment and other gear with lessons and rentals available including snowshoes, ice skates, skijoring harnesses and leashes as well as sleds to trailer toddlers on the ski trails and Fatbiking. Fat Tire Snow Bikes utilize oversized front and rear tires with aggressive treads for riding on packed snow and can be rented at the Nordic Center for use on limited trails. The use of the tubing hill and ice rink are both $10 for guests not staying at the Ranch. Sleigh rides are available in winter and horseback riding year-round. In summer fly fishing, hiking, zip lining and mountain biking are available for everyone. And to end your day, relax in the hot tub or massage out the kinks at Ranch Creek Spa.

training days

The National Ski Center for the Disabled has Cross Country Ski days every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Most Saturday afternoons at 2:30 p.m., from mid December to mid March, the Devil’s Thumb Junior Nordic Team hopes to instill a passion for the sport in our young skiers within a supportive and fun team environment. Every month there are Skijoring Clinics to learn to ski with your dog – equipment available. For a special touch, sign up for the Women’s Ski Sip and Spa Feb. 12.


Returning this year is the Stagecoach Classic Point-to-Point Cross Country Race and Tour on Jan. 21, 2017 with 15km and 30km classic only options with a recreation-minded 15km tour as well. The race and route pay homage to the area’s Nordic history and the former Idlewild Nordic Center, with the course starting at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, traversing along the Idlewild Trail System that connects Tabernash, Fraser and Winter Park, where the course finishes. A portion of the race and tour proceeds go to benefit Trout Unlimited.

The Tommelfest is the season’s grand kickoff December 10 complete with free lessons with high quality coaching, free demos, and Sleigh rides available on a first come basis. Grand Nordic members additionally receive free Nordic equipment and trail pass if needed for the lessons. Watch the Viking Hat Competition or the keg toss, have grog and beer and BBQ, take advantage of retail specials and win prizes. For more information or to reserve your free lesson call 970-726-8231 or visit

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