Living in Clark Colorado

I moved out to Clark Colorado to a ranch called Vista Verde Ranch. They advertise as being in the more infamous Colorado mountain town, Steamboat Springs. But in reality the ranch was about 30 minutes from Steamboat and only 5 from Clark. I had been to Steamboat a couple of times in college before moving to the ranch so I knew I loved the area and Steamboat town. I had never been up the 30-45 minutes north to the tiny 'town' of Clark.

Clark is basically just 1 general store, called the Clark Store, and a resort called the Glen Eden Resort with a good restaurant. The area is on Elk River Road which follows the Elk River north before going over a small pass to head to Hahn's Peak Village. The road is relatively flat and winds through beautiful open ranch land through the smaller hills through big fields full of cattle, tractors, elk, deer, and occasionally people see mountain lions.  

Our BIG backyard: Mt. Zirkel Wilderness

What isn't more 'Colorado' than having a massive backyard of public land, how about  almost 160,000 acres of Wilderness area?

At the Clark store and Glen Eden there is a junction to continue following Elk River  toward Vista Verde Ranch. Vista Verde Ranch sits on a beautiful green lush valley where their horses roam in the valley fields. Past the valley you continue through a dirt road canyon toward Mt. Zirkel Wilderness. There are lots of off-roading options here, roads that lead to different hiking areas and dispersed camping spots. The main dirt road ends at the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness parking area where many hiking trails leave from.

Andrew and I did a lot of hiking back in the wilderness area. There are several easy peaks to hike up in this area, such as Mt. Zirkel, Little Agnes, Big Agnes, and many high alpine lakes that are gorgeous. There is a famous loop hike called "The Zirkel Circle" which takes you over a pass and through several beautiful lakes. 

And who would've thought bears would be up this high? At almost 12,000 feet on a rocky mountain pass with 80mph winds knocking us off our feet. Thank you bear, for not running toward us weak humans on a mountain pass. 


Horses, ranches, and lots of trails 

Of course, being way out in the country side with lots of trails to explore and working at a guest ranch as a horseback riding guide...naturally my time in Clark was mainly spent on a horse. There are trails, or at least a forest road, going through ever piece of public land here.

One all-day ride stands out to me as we rode nearly 30 miles out and back to 'Pearl Lake'. During the summer, temperatures can reach 90 degrees of dry high altitude heat. It was kind of brutal on that all-day ride because we rode on a lot of dirt forest roads getting sunbaked. 

Anyways, the horseback riding and trails are priceless in this area...With few people, lots of trails, lots of rivers and streams to cross, it's a fun one in the summer. The wildflowers also stood out to me this summer as incredible! 

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Hahn's Peak Village

After a debacle at Vista Verde Ranch, I moved to Hahn's Peak Village to work at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse. The Roadhouse as we called it, was nothing short of what you would expect from a Roadhouse 25 miles from the 'biggest' town (still small Steamboat Springs).

A little bit about the Roadhouse, it's a country restaurant during the day with activities such as horseback riding and ATVing, it's a lodge with cabins and motel rooms for rent, and it's a rowdy roadhouse bar after 4pm with drunkards and employees getting wild and having a good time all in the name of fun. It's also a 'basecamp' for hunters in the fall and for snowmobilers in the winter.

The slogan is "Where The Fun Never Ends!" which is definitely true.

We lived in an old 'Inn' of the historic gold mining town of Hahn's Peak Village, situated right across the road from Steamboat Lake. It was truly beautiful. The area that is, not the house we lived in. 

Hahn's Peak Village has a local community that is like no other. It's small, full of history, and everyone that lives there lives there for one reason, its where the fun never ends! There is really endless outdoor opportunity from summer and winter. The summer hiking trails disappear in the winter under tons of feet of snow and the entire outdoor landscape turns into endless possibility for exploration on a snowmobile. Surrounding the Roadhouse is all national forest. You can ride for days, go up to Wyoming, go up several mountains, and ride in endless meadows of powder. 

The locals are hilarious, unique, creative people. They are all as real as it gets! From the old hippie that looks like Willy Nelson who plays bass in the local band, to the couple who built their home entirely from mud and weed thickets (I think..?? some kind of bush stuff...). It's an incredible place that attracts a type of person, festering creativity, adventure, and connection between everyone. I loved living here and interacting with the locals. I feel like you can't truly know what a place is like without getting to know the people who live there. The locals made Clark, 1000x more special. 


Fall Colors - The Magic of Clark

Around September, magic comes to Clark. Gold sprinkles the hillsides and you can be transported into a world of yellow and oranges, Your eyes will never have seen something so beautiful. It's a temporary hold of time, where everything seems to stop to admire the magic taking place. 

Riding horses through the fall colors, incredible. Transported to another world of gold and magic.


Winter in Clark

They call it the 'Clarktic Circle'. A foot of snow falls in Steamboat,  3 feet in Clark. The snow thaws out and spring starts in March in Steamboat, drive up to Clark and you are back in winter with 5 foot berms! 

Clark is a snowmobiling spot. The Roadhouse hosts snowmobilers from December through March, sometimes even April! The national forest hills surrounding the roadhouse and Steamboat Lake make for perfect snowmobiling. Steamboat Springs is known for "Champagne Powder". Snow so fine, light, and fluffy, easy to ski and cut through from being in a high altitude, dry desert mountainous landscape.

Clark gets A TON of snow. Living in Hahn's Peak Village over the winter, was SNOWY, but also very sunny. And when that sun is out, you can be in a T shirt when it's 30 degrees out. It was a beautiful winter. With lots of powder, backcountry skiing, Roadhouse-ing (new verb...AKA shenanigans), snowmobiling, and sleigh rides and winter horseback rides for me. 

Cold, YES.

VERY COLD, YES. 

It was the coldest I've ever been in. I had a sleigh ride one evening, a 7pm sleigh ride in the dark (WHY), and the temperature when I got in my car to leave was -20. NEGATIVE 20. Wind chills got down to -30 in Clark. This is in fahrenheit. SO cold.

That's why when the sun was out and it's 30 degrees, you are outside in your T shirt sunning. And I'm so thankful we did have a lot of those sunny days. Bless you Colorado! 

Oh, and the sunsets....and frost...Ok, winter is alright in Colorado. 


The Fishing! 

I caught the best catch of all, an amazing boyfriend named Andrew who is also a fly fisherman/ fish whisperer. He taught me to fly fish and took me to some amazing spots! Steamboat and the Clark and Hahn's Peak area have awesome streams, the Yampa River, the Elk River, and beautiful lakes all over to fish in. 


I'll end with this...

Clark forever has my heart, it's a wild place just south of the Wyoming border. You can get there by driving some dirt roads. Watch out for the Peruvian sheep herders on your way though. Take your horses and fly rod as you will have endless trails to ride through streams filled with trout. After a good day of fun, go catch happy hour at the Roadhouse for some fried pickles and beer, then go watch the sunset at Steamboat Lake. 


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