Getaway: Fly-Fishing and Five-Star Fare at Three Forks Ranch
by marcia frost
The words “all-inclusive vacation” conjure visions of cruise ships, buffet lines, and self-service frozen margaritas. The exception? Three Forks Ranch, an “all-inclusive” luxury resort situated on 200,000 gorgeous acres of Colorado/Wyoming border property that boasts a diverse roster of activities, top-notch spa, and thrice daily gourmet dining service.
Nestled beneath the Sierra Madre range, the property is owned by David Pratt, chairman of Gander Mountain and part owner of the St. Louis Cardinals. Shortly after purchasing the ranch in 1999, Pratt completed the largest privately financed river restoration in the history of the United States with his agricultural revamp of Wyoming’s Little Snake River. (Changes made dramatically decreased erosion and enhanced the habitats of indigenous trout.)
Your Three Forks experience begins before you even set foot inside the resort’s 35,000 square-foot lodge. A pre-stay questionnaire addresses everything from robe size to activity preferences to the type of wine you like. Air transportation is provided for those guests staying a week or more, and all guests receive airport pick-up from Hayden, Colorado or Dixon, Wyoming.
Once at the Three Forks Ranch Lodge, which is sits 7,200 feet above elevation amid the rolling hills of Wyoming, you’ll be one of less than 30 guests. The peaceful lodge comprises 11 rooms and four suites, with suite amenities including Jacuzzis, heated floors, fireplaces, and hot tubs. In addition, the lodge itself is full of exquisite art, from Ming Dynasty bowls to works by Western artists such as Craig Tennant.
A savvy guest’s first order of business is to pay a visit to the Roaring Forks Spa, specifically the relaxation room and its incredible mountain views. The 6,000 square-foot spa includes steam baths, hot tubs and an indoor/outdoor infinity pool. Four rooms are available for as many spa treatments as your heart desires. Treatments range from standard facials and massages to the specialty Rosebud Cocoa Scrub.
Fancy a ski? The Three Forks Ranch offers alpine skiing on 20 runs. These slopes are only for lodge guests, so you will never have to wait on any lines. You can also enjoy snowmobiling, sledding, cross-country skiing, and sleigh-riding. Come summer and fall, activity options include fly-fishing on the Little Snake River, hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife tours. As Three Forks is a working cattle ranch, city slickers can even participate in cattle drives. Experienced guides are available for all of the resort’s activity options.
Dining is simple: guests are served three delicious and customizable gourmet meals a day. Whether you prefer lamb chops with housemade mint jelly or a more vegetarian-friendly option, the chef is at your service. One of our favorite Three Forks traditions is its evening cocktail hour, where staff and guests mingle around a roaring fire while hors d’oeurves are passed and libations flow. It’s the perfect time to chat up wrangler Ciara Pares about her horseback riding lessons, set up a mountain top snowcat tour with recreation director Levi Kempf, or learn more about the Aroma Head to Sole spa ritual from lodge manager Jenn Brenneman. The ratio of staff to guests—100 to 30, respectively—means that your desire to be completely catered to or left alone is always fulfilled.
Aspen Peak editor in chief Erin Lentz goes behind the scenes at the annual charity race.