Glamping in Vail: Part 1

Five Nights at a Working Ranch in Colorado

Article by Andrea Larson

Photography by Andrea Larson

My husband and I had the most amazing time on our first glamping experience! The alone time, the scenery, the adventure and the memories made are held tight to my heart. 

Five days and nights together on a ranch in Colorado is hard to beat!

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Steve found the place we stayed via Twitter. Collective Vail offers high-end camping, or "glamping," in locations throughout the U.S., with more opening all the time. He booked the trip without my knowledge as a surprise getaway! 

We live in Kansas City, so the Vail location was drivable for us, which is also part of the fun and adventure. I grew up camping with my parents and I love being outside, having new experiences and exploring new places. I also love aesthetics and appreciate the details. Steve knew this looked like a place that was right up my alley. He booked the trip in April and we traveled there in late July. 

This is us just a little excited to be without our kids on a new adventure!

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Road Trip

We ended up driving to Denver from Kansas City and stayed overnight. We got up the next morning and made a pit-stop in Frisco, Colo., which is about an hour and 15 minutes from Denver. 

Oh my gosh, Frisco is the cutest little mountain town! We had breakfast outside at Butterhorn Bakery & Cafe. Mountain scenery, crisp air and delicious food … we were in heaven. 

Afterwards, we walked the streets of Frisco then drove about 30 minutes to Vail. Neither one of us had been there before, so we walked around Vail Village and popped in and out of stores before driving about 20 miles to our destination in Wolcott, Colo. 

Collective Retreats is located on 4 Eagle Ranch, which is a working ranch. If you have never been to Colorado, it is a true gem of the United States. And summers in Colorado are amazing! 

This is a view from our tent, and Steve enjoying his breakfast. 

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We arrived at the ranch in the late afternoon and "checked in” to our tent. The fanciest and most rustically beautiful tent you have ever seen. Ours was complete with a step-up front porch. 

The coolest part is there are only six tents on the whole property, making it a very intimate experience. They’re located a good distance from each other, but everything is walkable on the property. 

The tents are decorated and the beds are plush and comfortable. The details were spot on. I wanted to bring everything home with me. There was also a wood-burning heater inside the tent that we only had to use one night. Otherwise, we slept well in the fresh, cool air.

Outside our tent was a fire pit and grill that gets shared among the people staying in the three tents in our little area. Every night, a bonfire was started, homemade s'mores ingredients were delivered to our tent, and you could meet the other people staying at Collective Vail. Such a cozy way to end the night!

The tee-pee behind the tent is the working bathroom. Yes, you have to leave the tent, walk two feet, and enter the tee-pee to shower and use the restroom. Inside is a toilet, sink and shower. It's pretty basic, but it's so awesome having working plumbing right outside your door. You are camping, remember! 

It takes a little while to get used to feeling "exposed," even though you are not exposed at all. It's just different, especially in the shower. They provide robes in the room, which was helpful, and a lantern to take in the bathroom at night. It was chilly at night when we were there (in late July), so we made sure to shower when it was warmer outside. 

The Ranch

On the property of 4 Eagle Ranch is a pasture full of horses. They host a rodeo, adventure sports, and there is a winery on site. Although C is its own separate entity, you have access to the ranch while staying there. 

Every morning the horses are let out to pasture, and every night they are brought back in. It's a beautiful sight and was a pleasant surprise for us on our trip. The horses would come right up to the fence by our tent—not a bad way to start the morning! 

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RELATED: Glamping in Vail: Part 2

Follow Andrea Larson at @lifelovelarson 

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