Finding a ranch to call home in Granby, Colorado

By: Casey Chapman Ross
June, 2021

Reminiscing on our time spent at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch makes me want to pack up the car and head north again.

The thing we love most about this spot, located on over 5,000 acres in Granby, Colorado, is that it feels like we are back at summer camp. Our time together there as a family is always fun-filled and effortless, which, let’s face it, is often hard to accomplish when planning for kids’ activities. You can have this campy feeling with different seasonal programs, workshops, and activities happening all the time—YMCA Snow Mountain has everything set up for you to be able to relax and be present.

YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch is a wonderful place to explore as a family. Photo by Casey Chapman Ross

Last fall, we flew kites, hiked, ziplined at the playground, shot arrows, went roller-skating, built forts in the woods, went rock climbing, played mini-golf, did arts and crafts and went exploring with our adventure packs, which are available to check out at the programs building. We also spent lots of downtime and virtual learning in our cabin by the fire and occasionally playing a good old-fashioned game of Bingo which, simple as it is, is always a top kid request.

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YMCA Snow Mountain is near Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake and so much more. They offer horseback riding, biking (electric bikes included), canoeing, fishing, boating and rafting. They also have one of the most expansive trail systems in the United States for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and dog sledding.

We stayed in a two-bedroom cabin with a gas fireplace (which can be helpful in wildfire season when it’s chilly enough for a fire but wood burning is not allowed). The property has 56 cabins, nine reunion cabins, 24 yurts and three multi-unit lodges with a variety of price ranges. Based on the amount of programming offered with your stay, the pricing can be extremely reasonable.

The Colorado vistas can’t be beat at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch. Photo by Casey Chapman Ross

Another wonderful thing about YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch is that it draws inspiring young people from all over the country to work there. Some are there for a month or two while others stay for years, and they always have interesting stories from their travels. One of our favorite couples we met spent about six months at the Y but was heading off to work at a coastal conservation camp in Alaska next.

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As a parent, it’s great to see my kids light up when interacting with the Y employees. They ask questions and talk to the big “kids” about all the possibilities, from studying forestry to wildlife conservation and learning marine biology. They get the added benefit of connecting with others, spending time in nature and, most importantly, learning about themselves so they may find their own spark one day and write their own inspiring stories.

There’s fun for all ages at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado. Photo by Casey Chapman Ross

At the end of the day, whether traveling solo or with a family, arriving in the heat of summer or the chill of winter, the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch is a national treasure to call home for a short spell or extended stay.

Tie-dying is among the activities offered at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado. Photo by Casey Chapman Ross

Follow along with Casey Chapman Ross’ family adventures on Instagram @caseychap.

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