Boulder's First and Voted BEST
Children's Summer Day Camp!
As the Camp Song says, "You're the Best in All the World!"
Welcome to The Colorado Mountain Ranch! For over 70 years, The Colorado Mountain Ranch has shared fun, laughter, and good old Western hospitality with countless happy people. Come discover the mountain magic!
Outdoor Adventures ... Located at 8500 feet elevation just above Boulder and near the historic mining town of Gold Hill, The Ranch offers majestic vistas of the Rocky Mountain Front Range in the day and the twinkling lights of Denver by night. The Ranch's 200 acres of wildflower meadows and pine and aspen forests become the perfect mountain setting for Mountain Events May through October. The Ranch is just right for children's summer camps, your outdoor wedding ceremony and indoor reception, company picnics, and team-building ropes course challenges for corporate groups, school classes, sports teams and families.
The Lodge ... Our rustic turn-of-the century log lodge exudes the ambience and hospitality of the old West. Our friendly staffmembers beautifully present plentiful and delicious cuisine, from kid-friendly and hearty Western-style to gourmet.
Features ... The Ranch is a songbird sanctuary with an outdoor amphitheatre overlooking Longs Peak, corrals and a barn with gentle Western riding horses, small farm animals to delight the children, gymnastic equipment and trampolines, a campfire ring, a crafts shop and tipi, the challenge ropes course, Frisbee golf course, mountainboarding terrain park, archery range, two nature huts, and four residential dormitory-style cabins. There are many horse and foot trails with magnificent vistas of the snowcapped peaks of the Continental Divide.
History... The members of the Walker Family of The Colorado Mountain Ranch have each been lifetime youth workers, beginning with Coach and Norma Walker, a gym coach and elementary teacher from Texas. They directed residential camps in the hills of Texas and Oklahoma, and at what is now the Y Camp of the Rockies near Estes before establishing their dream as Trojan Ranch in 1947 at today's location in the mountains west of Boulder. Boulder's original Day Camp was added in 1952. Since 1973, second generation Walkers - Gail, Mike and Lynn - have directed the Colorado Mountain Ranch Summer Camp, transitioning in 1997 to offering only the day camp to enhance the quality of outdoor camp experiences for Boulder youth. The founding principles of the Ranch still hold today as young people build skills and confidence through wholesome outdoor activity and a positive connection with nature, each other, their own mountain place, and Camp community.
More Recently...The Fourmile Fire... On September 6, 2010, the Fourmile wildfire burned about 30 of the Ranch's 160 acres, taking a number of buildings, vehicles, and trees, yet thankfully leaving the Heart of Camp - the Lodge and the Family Tree - and the children's and staff cabins and the Camp Office. The Walkers appreciate the resilience and tenacity it takes to respond to challenges, knowing first-hand that difficulties often provide opportunities for character growth. They have previously rebuilt better and stronger after wind whipped the roof off the Lodge in 1975 and snow load collapsed the barn a few years later. After the fire, the value of community moved to center as family, friends, camper and staff alumni, along with local mountain neighbors all came together to embrace the Ranch.
The Walker Family... Mike, Lynn, and Gail, the owners and administrators of The Colorado Mountain Ranch, are lifetime youth workers and educators who love children and live and work at the Ranch year-round. Lynn and Mike’s daughters Kate, Josie, and Rosie Walker, are part of the third generation work team. Basically, the Walkers always have been and continue to be dedicated to kids!
Gail Walker Grissom is known to spontaneously break out into song and knows every tune in the camp song book. When she’s not reminding everyone to drink more water and wear sunscreen, she’s leading the Camp office as Executive Manager and Director, Health Care Supervisor, and Supply Manager. Her laugh is contagious and her band-aids, hugs, and lively Camp stories come easily. Gail is usually found with her doggy sidekick Tika, a cute-as-can-be rescue, and spends her time with friends in Southern Colorado during Camp’s off-season. She is retired after many successful winters working with Boulder Valley Schools during the school year.
Mike Walker is referred to by many as “the best horseman” they know and manages the Ranch facility and horses year-round. One of Mike's special gifts is his affable manner with campers, sharing his gentle way with horses both when riding and working with the animals from the ground. Growing up on the Ranch, he's become a fine craftsman, learning how to make things work from materials on hand. Mike can fix anything from electrical to plumbing, construct with wood and metal, and is no stranger to a shovel! He is always on-the-go with a positive, fun-loving attitude, impressing the value of a hard day’s work on all who meet him. If you’re lucky enough to be the subject of one of Mike’s poems, you’ll feel like you’ve starred in your own personalized Western ballad. While he’s not working on Ranch projects from sun up to sun down, he’s playing with his beloved Grandchildren.
Lynn Walker (bottom middle) is “The Camp Mom,” making the Ranch feel like home to everyone, always pulling up a chair for a heart-to-heart chat to offer words of support. She strives to remember every camper’s name, appreciating the uniqueness and strengths in every individual. Lynn was first hired by Coach Walker in 1970 as a camp counselor, fell in love with Camp and then Mike Walker, and soon officially became part of the Ranch family. Today she leads staff and program development for the Ranch. Lynn holds degrees from CU in Psychology and Sociology and an American Montessori Directress certificate. Lynn loves the refreshing feel of her feet in a cool mountain stream and has a deep love for all children.
Kate Walker (top right) feels at home in the kitchen, cooking for family, friends, and Ranch events every chance she gets. When she’s not looking up recipes, she’s crunching numbers in the office or on a supply run, and if that’s not enough she also drives Camp busses..
Josie Walker's (lower right) unique connection to children and all things in nature has guided her to carry the Camp Spirit in all she does. When not playing with the kids or discovering new insects, she’s operating heavy machinery for Ranch projects, counseling teen leaders (CITs), and driving Camp busses. In the off-season, she helps with all things in the office and ensures that all the horses get fed and that their water is ice-free twice a day.
Rosie Walker's (lower left) love of horses since she was a small child led her to apprentice with Mike as horse manager and Western riding instructor with the Horse Focus campers. She also established the Colorado Mountain Horse Rescue and is passing on her passion for horses to her daughters, Jade and Alanah.
Jade & Alanah ("Laney") are the Ranch’s liveliest and youngest Walker family members, helping everyone remember one of Coach Walker’s favorite messages: “Stay with youth, and it will keep you young.”
Andrew Cook joined the Ranch family as Kate’s husband and is an invaluable asset with his IT knowledge. He builds and manages the Ranch computers and keeps the internet up and running.
JoJo Morrison fancies herself a bit of a nomad, calling Australia a second home and traveling the world at every opportunity. Yet she always finds herself called back to her roots in Gold Hill with the Ranch family where she grew up as a camper, teen leader (CIT), and Camp staff at the Ranch. JoJo’s driving forces are learning and teaching primitive and ancestral skills, offering team-building facilitation, and training Camp staff in her role as the Ranch’s Program Director. Challenge her to dance off and you’ll find a fast friend! JoJo is always up for a good dance party and wins costume contests galore. She holds a Masters in Organizational Leadership and utilizes her education to support the Ranch’s mission.
The Ranch Season ... Mid-May through the
first of November. Summer Day Camps June through August.
Directions ...Access to the Colorado Mountain Ranch is through Boulder. VERY IMPORTANT
If using GPS or Google Maps from any point east of the mountains, you
must first go to 400 Mapleton Avenue in Boulder, Colorado 80304. This gets
you to the bottom of Sunshine Canyon. Once you are there, then go to 10063
Gold Hill Road, Boulder, CO 80302
In Boulder, go west (toward the mountains) on Canyon Blvd. to 9th Street. Turn north (right) on 9th to Mapleton Avenue. Turn left on Mapleton, which becomes Sunshine Canyon. Go 10 miles (6 miles paved and 4 miles dirt road), then through the town of Gold Hill. The Colorado Mountain Ranch is 1/4 mile west of Gold Hill.