Our HistoryLost Valley Ranch — A Colorado Dude Ranch


The story of Lost Valley Ranch begins in the late 1800s, just as the West was starting to stir the imaginations and ambitions of gold rush miners looking to make their fortunes on the frontier. Once the need to feed these miners became apparent, places like Lost Valley Ranch became necessary to supply the demands for beef that increased with the number of people who populated the central mountains of Colorado. Right around 1878, an adventurous rancher named George Tarbell claimed ownership of Lost Valley by squatter's rights and established what would become a small working cattle ranch. In the early 1890s, Jim Graham, an immigrant from Scotland, and his wife Rhoda moved to Lost Valley, and, by 1900, Jim had registered the reverse LVL and began buying 160-acre parcels from the state. Jim supplemented the family's cattle income by working the mines in winter and taking in guests during the summer that he would pick up from the train station on his two-seat wagon. Early guests of Lost Valley Ranch were treated to breakfast by Mrs. Graham before spending the afternoon fishing or enjoying a ride on the ranch's horses. After Jim Graham passed away in 1934, Rhoda sold the ranch to Hugh Graham (no relation) from Denver, who embarked on an ambitious expansion program. In 1946, he built five cabins and began advertising "Graham's Lost Valley Ranch" featuring modern accommodations, family-style meals, fishing, and riding.

A new chapter in Lost Valley history began in 1961, when Bob and Marion Foster gave up years of business management to transform the ranch into a one-of-a-kind family destination with the staff and service to match. Big Bob, as he came to be known, and his son Bob Jr. spent the next four decades establishing Lost Valley Ranch as the premier working/guest ranch in Colorado. Lost Valley Ranch then found itself in the hands of Tony Warnock and his family, who continued the Fosters' legacy of providing AAA Four Diamond service and authentic Western adventures. Today, the Lost Valley Ranch Management team and staff are committed to providing the same AAA Four Diamond service and our special brand of Western hospitality to every guest that crosses our cattleguard.  

The Hayman Fire

In June of 2002, the largest forest fire in Colorado history at that time changed the landscape of Lost Valley Ranch for generations to come. Hundreds of firefighters fought the fast-moving fire, which spread across 138,114 acres, burned 133 homes, and forced the evacuation of 5,340 people. Smoke could be seen and smelled across the state. The fire was finally brought under control on July 18, 2002. The Hayman Fire had devastating impact, but from the ashes came new life.