4UR Offers Over 100 Years of Colorado Dude Ranch History
For over a century, this property has lured guests with the cool, enchanting seductions of the mountains and deep roots in Colorado dude ranch history. The ranch was originally the Wagon Wheel Gap Hotel, named for the narrow slip of maneuverable land between the palisades to our north and the banks of the Rio Grande – “Just wide enough to squeeze a wagon wheel through.” – it was said. One hundred years ago the railroad dropped visitors at the bridge across the Rio Grande where they were shuttled to the hotel. What drew them here? The same hot soda springs that bubble on our property today. These were considered “healing waters,” and the hot springs building that housed soakers from back east still stands on the ranch, shaded under massive cottonwood trees. Guests soak in the ranch hot springs yet today, and our water is heated geothermally. Across the stream are the mines that were busy in their heyday seeking feldspar and other minerals. Charming and rustic telltales of the storied history of the America West, both recent and distant, are easy to find here.
The ranch changed hands several times over the last century, belonging for many years to the Phipps family of Denver fame and fortune. Over 40 years ago it passed to the Leavell family from El Paso, Texas, who have maintained it continuously as a guest ranch during all of the interceding years. Already a prime fishing area, improvements to Goose Creek were undertaken by the Leavells that made this little stream one of the most remarkable trout fishing locations in all of the west. Stream management continues today to keep the fishery strong and healthy.
While improvements are being made constantly to the ranch buildings and facilities, we keep a keen eye on the accuracy and preservation of our Colorado dude ranch history. Several of our lodges have been rebuilt and remodeled, but to the eye still match the exact look and feel of their predecessors years ago. In this way, time stands still at the 4UR.