Grand Nordic Corner: Devil’s Thumb Ranch — a complete resort |

Grand Nordic Corner: Devil’s Thumb Ranch — a complete resort

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand Nordic president
USA Today has rated Devil’s Thumb the no. 1 Nordic Center five years in a row.
E. Brumm/Courtesy photo

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 getaway that continues to make its mark as one of Colorado’s most environmentally friendly destinations. USA Today has rated Devil’s Thumb the number one Nordic Center five years in a row. 

The resort is open to the public with 120 kilometers of trails groomed. The early season rates for Devil’s Thumb Nordic Center have ended, but they currently offer individual season passes for $300. Trail passes to use the extensive Nordic or snowshoe system are $30 to $40 per day. Check online for family passes which are priced according to how many children are included. Special pass pricing applies for kids and seniors. Five-day transferable punch cards and 10-day transferable punch cards are also available. Business passes are all available by calling the activities center at 970-726-8231. Season pass holders also get 10% discount on full-price shop merchandise.

Returning this year is the Annual Stagecoach Classic on Jan. 21, 2023, with 15K and 30K classic only options as well as a recreation-minded 15K. All of the races are on Devil’s Thumb property with a celebration afterwards including food and beer! Full schedule details are on the Devil’s Thumb website. Registration can be found at the Devil’s Thumb website or through the Grand County Nordic Race Series at

The National Ski Center for the Disabled has cross-country ski days every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from January through March. Skijoring clinics are offered periodically to learn to ski with your dog, with equipment available.  For more information on these and other events, call the activities center 970-726-8231 or visit

The ski shop has the latest in clothes, cross-country ski equipment and other gear, with lessons and rentals available including snowshoes, skijoring harnesses and leashes as well as sleds to trailer toddlers on the ski trails and fat-tire biking! 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 including fat-tire specific trails. 

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 repurposed 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. The Hallowed Grounds Coffee Shop is open daily while the Ranch House Restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner only and has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence among other awards.

The High Lonesome Lodge, Barn and 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, a 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.

 Backcountry danger is high

Severe danger of avalanches is everywhere in the High Country right now. Think of your family and friends and postpone that back country trip for another time. The odds are against you.

Devil’s Thumb Activity Center staff contributed to this column.

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