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Lower Lake Ranch

For the past one hundred and fifty-eight years, Lower Lake Ranch has been running as a place of lodgement and a cattle farm. The ranch is located in Pine, Colorado, with part of the two hundred and thirty acres being a part of the Staunton State Park. The property has a total of ten individual rooms, one lodge, one cottage, and two-family cabins. There are fourteen buildings on the property; some buildings serve the purpose of catering to the many events hosted at the property. Events offered on-site include family gatherings, weddings, and corporate events. Groups and individual guests have access to three lakes fully stocked with fish, as well as outdoor activities such as hiking and outdoor sports.

About

Lower Lake Ranch is located in Pine, Colorado, and is the oldest lodging ranch in the state, being in business for the last one hundred and fifty years. The ranch's location is in the mountain ranges of Colorado, which provides views of the mountains and trees from the lodges on the property. Seasons of operation for the business lie between May 1st through October 31st, and the owners of the property report that they are "busy" during the entirety of that time. The current land is now a part of the Staunton State Park; the area also includes three fishing lakes with two and a half miles of running water. The ranch sits on two hundred and thirty acres of land, with a total of fourteen buildings which all have a variety of uses. The buildings are all styled and themed differently, making each one individual. Due to age, the structures have undergone renovations, but the exteriors have been preserved with minor changes to maintain their appearance.

The units that are available for visitors to use when staying at the property include independent cabin rooms, lodges, cottages, and two family cabins. Both of the family cabins have the capacity to accommodate ten guests. The Minor Family and The Gold Nugget are the names of the two available family cabins. Each room on the ranch has an individual bathroom and includes basic amenities such as towels, shampoos, and soaps. The ranch does not have Wi-Fi for guests, and reception is limited based on the phone provider. The lodge houses have kitchens with appliances and cooking pans, while the other units just have coffee bars. 

The business is most commonly used for group reservations such as parties, business destinations, weddings, etc. The banquet halls can be rented for use, but there are no common areas for guests to visit inside the buildings. Activities offered to groups and individual guests include fly fishing in their lakes, cooperate events, and hiking trails that go through the property apart of the Staunton State Park. The ponds and lakes on Lower Lake Ranch are kept fully stocked with rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout. Those who are experienced and inexperienced are welcome to fish at these ponds but must provide their own gear. LLR's Fly Fishing Club members are often found fishing there, and some are considered old-timers because they have been fishing at the ranch for over sixty years. Other activities included are picnics, baseball, horseshoe throwing, and volleyball. Horseback and mountain biking trails are also an option, but the guests must provide their own horses and bikes.

Lower Lake Ranch is not only a place of lodgement but also a cattle ranch. Cows are grass-fed and hormone-free, with a free range of grazing the fields. The cows are raised to be harvested for beef and sold to customers. The beef is USDA certified, processed, and produced without GMOs, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides. The company says that "you can taste the difference" in their grass-fed beef compared to grain-fed cows. The option is available for the meat to be bought in the form of sirloin steak, ground beef, beef tip, stew meat, chuck roast, pot roast, and New York strip steaks. Meat is sold there for customers' use, but the ranch does not provide any meals for its patrons. The guests can watch the cows but are not permitted to interact with that part of the ranch. Patrons can also have the opportunity to see wildlife grazing the property. Such wildlife includes elk, families of deer, Canadian geese, foxes, coyotes, and bald eagles.

Culture

Most people who stay at the Lower Lake Ranch come in groups for weddings, family reunions, and corporate events. However, there is always the option to go and stay just in one room if desired. The environment that the business tries to create is one where patrons can come and feel like they are home, away from the city, and can come and relax while making memories. The strategies used to accomplish this are through the many activities offered as well as being surrounded by mountains—often with no cell phone service. One guest said, "We were all able to stay in cabins there for the entire time. The food was fantastic, and the staff was very efficient and professional. I would highly recommend Lower Lake Ranch for any large event, or even if you just want a little getaway for a few days."

The workers describe the natural atmosphere of Lower Lake Ranch to be outdoors, disconnected, and mountain casual. Most guests who visit the property are those who are fond of enjoying the outdoors, including the nearby mountain range. The venues offered at the Lower Lake Ranched are particularly popular for weddings and are often rented out for that purpose. Guests have reported being a fan of the "clean environment" that makes for grand gatherings or getaways. This "clean environment" can be attributed partly to the policies given by the business of no pets, no smoking in cabins, and the staff members who work to keep it clean. 

It isn't uncommon for guests to come back and stay at Lower Lake Ranch. Many patrons have established traditions with family and friends to come back each year to the ranch. Some of the guests who visit the premises have been coming for generations already, and a few of them have reported that they plan on continuing to visit for years to come. The draws to the ranch include all the activities offered on the property to the activities in the surrounding area. There are more areas in the Staunton State Park to hike and explore than where the property sits. The ranch recommends places to eat at, such as JJ Madwell's, Crossroads Pub and Grill, and Zoka's Restuarant and Bar.

History

Lower Lake Ranch is 158 years old and is the oldest ranch in the state of Colorado. The land has a deep history dating back to the early pioneers of the area. The ranch is located on two homesteads that were originally settled by Samuel Cunningham and Anton Glasmann in 1863; the Cunningham Homestead is the oldest structure still standing on the property. Cunningham eventually abandoned the homestead, which led the neighbors next to them, Jon Jensen and his wife, to operate the property for five years. During that time, homesteaders were required by the Homestead Act of 1863 to develop, settle, and cultivate the land for five years. Eventually, Anton Glasmann passed away, which led the Jensens to buy Anton's property and combine the two homesteads into one ranch. The history of the Jensen family is considered to be a fulfillment of the "American Dream" since they came from Norway and owned 3,500 acres within the span of 30 years. 

The land was passed onto Jensen's daughter, Alice, who managed the property on her own for a time. Newspapers reported that "No man can outride Alice Jensen; she rides her horse like she is part of her horse." She eventually met her husband, Elmer Berg, who helped build the business to what it is today through building more cabins, hosting some of Colorado's oldest company's annual picnics, forming organizations, and building the banquet hall. Lower Lake Ranch has been known by multiple names throughout the years and has had a total of three different owners.

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Established
1863
Location

11883 South Elk Creek Rd
Pine, Colorado 80470
United States

Type

Bed and Breakfast

Owners

Alice Jensen Berg

Owned Since
1921
Previous Owners

Jon and Elizabeth Jensen

Phone
303-838-6622
Reviews
4.23 (88 Reviews)
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4.5/5 23 Reviews
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4/5 9 Reviews
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