Travel After 50: Enjoy a sleigh ride in Colorado

Colorado sleigh rides mean warm, snuggly blankets, crisp, winter air and the gentle jingle of bells tinkling to the rhythmic stride of strapping horses. They also mean elegant dinners, lush local Colorado wines, convivial conversation, roaring fires and decadent desserts. Sleigh rides in Colorado are much more than circling around a track, they’re fodder for vacation-defining moments and stories to share back home.

Consider these horse-drawn sleigh rides to inspire your Colorado winter vacation:

ELK RIVER GUEST RANCH: NOT YOUR ORDINARY TEEPEE
Hands needn’t touch even a steering wheel when you book a sleigh ride dinner with Elk River Guest Ranch near Steamboat Springs in Clark. They’ll pick you up from your hotel and chauffeur you to their Silhouette Saloon, where the night begins with appetizers, drinks and conversation as you meet fellow travelers under the flicker of candlelight. The ranch gives visitors the option of a sleigh built for two, as well as a version that can hold larger parties.

After 30 minutes of skimming through snow-white bliss with the jingle of bells as your soundtrack, guests arrive at fire-warmed and furnished teepees, where a four-star-quality dinner is served. After senses are sated with dishes such as teriyaki salmon filet or roasted duck, the sleigh returns to the saloon, where aperitifs are served.

BEAVER MEADOWS RANCH: COOKIES, ANYONE?
Sleigh rides at Beaver Meadows Ranch in Red Feather Lakes near Fort Collins are imbued with a delicious touch. Offering hot chocolate-and-cookie rides through fairytale-like country, horse-drawn adventures here are far from ordinary. You’ll be tucked into cozy blankets as horses pull the sleigh through still forests and open meadows. A 20-minute sleigh ride brings you to Homestead Cabin, where a warm fire, treats and a craft table for kids await. The ranch also offers a cowboy-lunch ride and a cut-your-own-Christmas tree excursion.

CO_PhotoProject2007_0337.jpgSOMBRERO RANCH: APRÈS-SKI SLEIGH RIDES
Sombrero Stables at Snow Mountain Ranch, located near the ski lifts of Winter Park, puts an old-fashioned spin on après-ski dining. After a day of skiing or snowboarding on the soft white slopes of Winter Park Resort, let Sombrero Ranch’s sleighs escort you through soothing winter scenery. Take in the sights as snow hangs from pine bows and animal footprints track into the forest. After a 40-minute ride, riders indulge in a cowboy-cooked meal in a welcoming and warm dining hall. If dinner doesn’t fit into your schedule, make reservations for their marshmallow roast rides, where, after a brisk sleigh ride, a marshmallow-ready bonfire blazes and steam wafts from cups of hot apple cider. This trip is especially popular for families with a range of age groups.

2 BELOW ZERO: SLEIGH RIDE & A SHOW
At 2 Below Zero in Frisco, mule-team-driven sleigh rides come with a chuckwagon dinner (think soup, sirloin, baked potato and apple pie) at a backcountry camp and hot cocoa followed by live music performances. 2 Below has been run by the same family for 30 years, serving Frisco, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Dillon and Keystone. In the summer, the same mule team pulls guests via wagon to the backcountry camp for a Wild West show and barbecue dinner.

OTHER COLORADO SLEIGH RIDES

This article originally appeared on Colorado.com. Visit the site to learn more about things to see and do around Colorado.

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