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Resort Valley Ranch

· Conifer, Jefferson, Colorado
3600 acres hosted by Nancy & Thom H.
5 RV/tent sites
Private sites
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Historic Ranch Resort Valley Ranch was homesteaded mainly by the Corbin family starting.in 1884 They had moved their cattle here from nearby Pleasent Park during a particularly hard winter, as a "last resort", leading to the creeks being named Last Resort and West Resort. Hard times in the 1930's and drought conditions, convinced the Corbin's to sell out and move to lusher climes. Tom’s father, Dr. O.J. Butterfield was another doctor that invested his spare money in cattle ranching. Purchased mainly before. 1945, Tom's older brother Rupert tried to make a living raising trout on the Resort Creek property in the late '40's. Otherwise, the place was occupied by various old-timers who caretook the place until 1955, when Barbara and Tom moved here to oversee the cattle business. The second slope of the driveway frequently had to be dug out by hand for access. The years of drought had left the place overgrazed and barren. Times were hard, and the horses needed to work the cattle ate plenty. The opportunity arose to lease them out in nearby Foxton--Foxton Stables was born. An old livery and other outbuildings provided the facilities needed. Mutual benefit was derived from the business as customers to the general store also would take advantage of the riding horses just across the bridge. Workers and helpers came from off-duty air force boys, as well as volunteer children from the local summer cabins. Guided rides were offered, as well as moonlight rides when appropriate and by appointment. There were also "Chuck Wagon" cookouts which included a horse-drawn hay ride to and from. Tom and Barbara also put on a Trail Horse Trials which was an annual competition over obstacles, judged, set up to simulate obstacles a horse might encounter while out riding. This became more widely attended the second year, coming to the notice of horse breeders like Mary Woolverton, who competed in it for the first time in 1963. (That's when Nan first fell in love with Prince of Pride, a golden palomino Morgan stallion who always looked like the perfect horse showing how to do it perfectly.) 1963 is the last year this event, and the stable business, was held in Foxton. From then on, the stable was run from the barn at the ranch, and the Trail Horse Trials was not put on again until 1966, when it was sponsored by the 4-H Trail Dusters and put on in conjunction with the first annual Top of the World Competitive Trail ride which was head-quartered on the west end of the property. As the stable became busier, more horses were purchased or leased to meet the need. Many of these horse were grade individuals from known breeds. The better mares did double duty by raising foals each year, that would be sold or auctioned off. Some of the mares were bred to our Shetland pony stallion, Tarzan, he was called a chocolate-dapple. Several years we had Appaloosa offspring from a friend's stallion. For a short time, a Moroccan Paint stallion was used, but he tended to throw the lethal white gene, as well as breaking Tom Butterfield's knee with his bad behavior. He soon found his way back to auction! A couple of the leased mares were Morgans. They proved to be easy to work with as well as hardy individuals that kept well, and the foals proved easier to halter break than the other horses. They made a good enough impression that a young gelding was purchased, and one nice mare was bred to the Morgan stallion Julio--descended from Juzan. The resulting colt, Julian, was kept as stallion until age eight, before being gelded and living out his years as a family favorite. Julian did a lovely running walk. Unfortunately, none of his offspring were kept, including the two from the half Shetland mares kept for the family. It may seem that the cattle operation got dropped by the wayside. In actuality, that's not far from the truth. The fact that the registered Herefords purchased by Tom and Barbara, turned out to carry dwarf genes, which soon became apparent each calving season. This rather limited the value and productivity of the herd. Financial concerns brought on by Dr. Butterfield's death in 1967, subsequently led to the dispersal of the cattle herd. It was fortunate that the Stable had become established enough to become one of the mainstays of the family fortunes. Diversification was always a necessity. Horses were leased to the Forest Service when they needed them. The entire string would be utilized for company picnics, with the horses being brought to the site. Churches were sent flyers promoting group rides and hayrides. Boy Scout troops were welcomed to camp, ride and work on both Horsemanship and Conservation Merit Badges--which benefited in valuable erosion control work. Many times, ranch hands were obtained from these sources, both for fencing and Christmas tree cutting. There were many winters that the place carried over a hundred head of horses, as several camps in the area would winter their horses here. Dad would haul them back and forth, pull their shoes, etc. Our pinto line originated with Barbara's mare Calico, a pinto mare of unknown breeding, though Tennessee Walker was suspected due to her gaits. Having been diagnosed with Navicular disease, she was bred to the Shetland, Tarzan, a chocolate-dapple--producing the mare Feather (Nan's pony). This line has been bred only to Morgans since '66, when Feather was bred to General James, producing the mare Calico Doll, granddam to our stallion RV Eagle Feather. Doll was only 14.2, but she had heart, stamina and intelligence. Having learned much at the knee of the Shetland, Feather, Nan began training Doll in 1970. This mare was just four years old when she took the High Point Champion in the '71 Trail Horse Trials, over some tough competition, including Mary Woolverton's Prince of Pride. She could side-pass, two track, drag a log, pull a cart without blinders, open gates, work livestock and run all day. She also would gait occasionally, a trait that skipped a generation. Calico Doll was bred to Prince of Pride five different times, prior to his death in 1973(?). She would get in foal but never carried to term. Nan did some riding for Mary in exchange for these breedings, working Victory Vagabond. Finally the arrangement was settled by getting Calico Doll in foal to her stallion, Great Hills Richmond. Calico Doll's brown colt from this cross was sold on to the Tumbling River Ranch for cattle work. In the 1970's, a local breeder came to our attention with her stallion, Topside Midnight, when she competed him in the Top of the World Competitive Trail Ride. The crossing of Calico Doll with Midnight produced the black 3/4 Morgan stallion, Jaspar, in 1974. He was used for breeding four or five years, overlapping the transition to pureblooded Morgans in 1977. I always thought it unfortunate that he wasn't pure-blooded as he had wonderful manners, was very solid and typey and a generous sire. We sold his offspring until 1985 and still have a great-granddaughter. He was gelded in '81, and sold in '82. A few of the solid colored part-bloods come down from this line of the family. One of his daughters has competed as a grade horse in Competitive Trail riding for the past ten years. Three major land sales were required for operating expenses during the late '60's and early '70's. The Indian Park Ranch was decreased to 280 acres, Resort Valley Ranch decreased from 5,000 acres to its present 4,000. The Camp Fire Girls purchased the property adjacent to the driveway, leading to their utilizing horses from our string for their horse program. As the Camp increased its horse program, the public stables was gradually phased out. This freed up the Butterfield's lifestyle enough for them to focus on starting raising the pure-blooded Morgans, beginning with their purchase of SH Crescent in 1976.
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815 ratings · 358 reviews
Eleanor C.recommends
June 25, 2024
Site 1 - Resort Valley Ranch Camp 1
Great campsite!
Great, large campsite! Sites far apart from one another. Picnic table provided. Directions are clear to get to campsite.
Greg W.recommends
June 24, 2024
Site B
Great place to camp. Enjoyed the peaceful, quiet location.
Heidi K.
June 22, 2024
Site 1 - Resort Valley Ranch Camp 1
Expensive but pretty ranch
Pros: close to denver, beautiful ranch Cons: picnic table wobbly, horrible horse flies (it’s a ranch, so we should have expected this I guess), next to the road, a bit difficult to find at first, too expensive to pay per person
Gideon B.recommends
June 21, 2024
Site 3 - Resort Valley Ranch Camp
Beautiful escape from the city!
My husband, 2 dogs and I loved staying at Site 3 at the Ranch. Site 3 is the farthest from the house so you have complete privacy. There was plenty of room for our camper (19 ft.) and jeep. The dirt road to get to the site is long and a little bumpy but there is good signage! We also appreciated the water fill area! The dogs loved running around free and we enjoyed walks on the dirt roads. There were a lot of flies when we got there but they decreased in the evening. There are also mosquitos so bring bug spray! This is a great escape from the city because it's not too far and provides wonderful serenity. We will def be back! :)
Deb F.recommends
June 17, 2024
Site 1 - Resort Valley Ranch Camp 1
We camped in spot #1. We really enjoyed the spot, right by the creek, very private and secluded.
Greg M.
June 17, 2024
Site B
Overall, had fun. Site is right off the road so some limited traffic from other campers but otherwise very quiet and private. Pretty flat, nice views. Very buggy. Eaten alive by mosquitoes.
Conifer, Jefferson, Colorado, United StatesTraditional, ancestral territory of Tséstho’e (Cheyenne) and Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) First Nations according to To respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Nancy & Thom H.Joined in January 2019
Response rate: 100%Response time: Within an hour
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