The 'New West' – a lot like the Old West, but a whole lot more comfortable! Our historic working horse and cattle ranch has been in operation since the 1920s, and is a little piece of heaven tucked on the quiet side of Eagle Ridge, on the banks of the Big Thompson River.
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch invites you to disconnect from your every day life, and settle back and gain a fresh perspective. Discover new adventures in the beauty of our valley. Reach beyond your comfort zone. Interact with friends, family and associates.
You’ll find both comfort and convenience in our gathering rooms, and lots of room to roam in our outdoor gathering spaces.
Our cozy cabins and friendly guest houses promise a good night’s rest, and our indoor and outdoor dining facilities complement our homemade Colorado cuisine.
A ranch vacation to Sylvan Dale will help you and your family and friends create memories that will last a lifetime!
Check out our Cattle Drive week or our Native American Living History week for special programming, meals, activities and lodging are included in our package pricing.
Good time to go
Between April and November
Children at the Ranch
Great for children aged 6 and over
We offer a kids' program each morning, from 8:30am-12pm. Kids age 3-12 can join in on the fun! Always led by a wrangler and kid counselor.
Minimum age children can ride
3 and over
hiking, outdoor play area, cookouts, petting zoo
board games, horseshoes, volleyball, ping pong, pool table
Environmental & Social Practices
Most of the ranch property is under Conservation Easement.
Sylvan Dale Ranch has a rich history: The Jessup family has owned and operated the Colorado ranch since 1946!
However, it all started out in the early 1900s. Mr. and Mrs. Frend Neville owned a small cattle ranch at the mouth of the Big Thompson River, and wealthy doctors from St Louis came to the area to hunt deer.
They liked it so much that they wanted to bring their families, so the Nevilles built some cabins and a lodge along the river, and planted apple trees in the yard.
Years later, the facilities were sold to Cotner College, a Christian Church school in Lincoln, Nebraska, but during the Depression of the ’30s, Cotner College closed and Sylvan Dale was leased out as a youth camp.
Maurice Jessup, then a college kid in Oklahoma, overheard a conversation about Sylvan Dale Ranch and asked for a summer job. He hitchhiked to Loveland and caught a ride with the mail carrier, and when he arrived, was overwhelmed with the beauty of the mountains and the rushing water.
He immediately told Camp Director JB Weldon" “You know, I just love this place. Someday I’m going to own Sylvan Dale.” – That was in 1934.
Twelve years later, the Sylvan Dale Ranch was for sale and Maurice Jessup was in the Army Air Corps. He received special permission to go and bid on the property. After scratching his bid on a piece of paper, he and his wife Mayme 'Tillie' were awarded the 125-acre run-down property.
Through a lifetime of hopes and dreams solidly based on faith, dedication and hard work, the Jessups and their two children, David and Susan, increased the 125-acre ranch to a 3,200-acre working guest ranch.
The Big Thompson flood of 1976 threatened to put an end to the dream, but reconstruction efforts were successful and what was once a summer guest ranch became a year-round facility, loved by many.
Your Manager, Karen Burbank
Karen was born and raised in Massachusetts. Having grown up schooling in dressage, jumping, and competitive trail, her interests eventually led her Colorado, where she earned a B.S. in Equine Studies from Colorado State University. Over the years, Karen has managed two dressage facilities, wrangled at three guest ranches, been a small and large animal vet tech, and has taught countless lessons to aspiring equestrians. Most recently, for the past thirteen years, Karen has been the Head Instructor, Lesson Program Coordinator, and Dude Ranch Vacation Specialist for Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. She's the one who coordinates your vacation, assigns your horse for the week!