Vail, CO

Piney River Ranch Opens for the Summer

Piney River Ranch offers views of the Gore Range from Piney Lake.(Photo by Liana Moore.)

One of the most beautiful spots in Vail, Colorado is just a few miles outside of town. A bumpy dirt road leads you to a pristine lake with refections of the Gore Mountain Range at Piney River Ranch. This beautiful place opened for the summer season earlier this week.

Piney River Ranch operates a restaurant, horseback riding, a pier with canoe rentals, as well as cabins and tents, all located right on the shoreline of Piney Lake.

Piney River Ranch is a popular location for weddings. The weekends often book up here for these special celebrations.

Hiking, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing, paddle boarding and just taking in nature are just some of the ways to enjoy the area’s beauty. The Upper Piney Lake Trail is very popular with hikers.

This summer Piney River Ranch is also offering yoga classes. These kick off this Sunday at 10 am. Arrive early to allow time to register and pay the $30 class fee. Contact for details and to reserve your spot.

You can also rent a cabin or glamping tent and almost have the place to yourself.

Piney River Ranch Glamping Tents

Our family has had the opportunity to stay in one of the glamping tents. The tents are rustically charming. They offer wood floors and a wood burning fireplace for heat. There’s a basic table for four and a wooden rocking chair. I really enjoyed reading to my kids in the wooden rocking chair to the light of a lantern. It is hard to capture their attention so intently at home. And, it just felt old fashioned.

The tents have a queen bed and two twin beds with bedding. We brought along extra blankets. But it was so nice to not have to worry about packing sleeping bags or camping mats or air mattresses.  A night stand is on one side of the bed with a lamp. And there’s an overhead light at the top of the tent.

The tents have screens so that you could open them up on warm days. Though the evenings can always get a little chilly at this mountain altitude. There’s a front deck to the tent with two chairs and end tables made of sawed up logs.
Cabins dot the shoreline of Piney Lake.(Photo by Liana Moore.)

Piney River Ranch Cabins

The cabins are right on Piney Lake. They offer a similar layout in the front with a fire pit and gas grill, and parking right next to the cabin.

For early or late season, in hindsight, I’d go book one of these. While there’s no heat in the cabins they are much better insulated than a tent. I’d imagine that works for noise too. Our neighbors were all quiet so noise wasn’t an issue. But in the tents you can even hear the crunching of footsteps on the gravel outside.

Most importantly, the cabins are truly lakefront. While the tents are only a few steps to uninterrupted fabulous views. The cabins are on the lake. Just open the front door to see the Gore Range reflected on the still lake.

We loved spending the night at Piney River Ranch. It was so quiet in a special place that can be very busy on the weekend.

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Insider Families is a Colorado-based family travel publisher. We love the great outdoors. We feel grateful to live in the mountains of Colorado and see first hand how climate change is impacting our winters. It is important to us that we share with our readers and followers how they can help preserve what makes a place special. We make a point to learn about the local history and environment of the places we visit. When we visit the Golden Isles of Georgia you will find us making a stop at the Sea Turtle Sanctuary and learning about this endangered species. We return home with books on the subject and a desire to share that knowledge. We love nature and like to spend as much time in it as possible whether hiking a mountain, riding the BMX track, soaring down an alpine coaster or trying a new sport at the beach or lake.

Vail, CO

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