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Historic Milestones & Fun Facts

Timeline of C Lazy U Ranch History

    • 1900-1910

      The Dexter House, currently used to house staff, served as a post office and stagecoach stop.

    • 1917

      Wilson Smillie purchases the ranch on Willow Creek and sends his brother Aubrey Fenton “Jack” Smillie to run it as the F Slash.

    • 1919

      Jack Smillie marries Gertrude Mildred McQueary.

      First guest houses built on the property when known as the F Slash Ranch.

    • 1920

      Jack Smillie buys the F Slash from his brother Wilson.

    • 1922

      The Smillies build the initial barn and several other structures to accommodate two dozen guests.

    • 1945

      The Smillies sell the guest ranch in the late summer.

    • 1946

      Dick and Katie Schoenberger purchase the ranch and rename it C Lazy U.

    • 1947

      Construction of the Lodge begins.

    • 1948

      Two wings are added to the Lodge to welcome the arrival of guests in the winter.

    • 1949

      Marion Palmer arrives at the ranch and establishes the children’s program.

    • 1955

      Head wrangler, Dawn Cone starts working at the ranch until his retirement in the mid 1990s.

    • 1957

      The Patio House and swimming pool are built.

    • 1958

      Clark and Peg Murray visit the ranch for the first time.

    • 1963

      Dick Schoenberger dies suddenly.

    • 1973

      Katie Schoenberger sells the ranch to George and Virginia Mullin who met at the ranch while on their honeymoon.

    • 1988

      Clark and Peg Murray purchase the ranch.

    • 2008

      Clark and Peg Murrays’ son, Brian, announces a new, extended partnership of families who have a collective commitment to preserving and revitalizing the C Lazy U as one of the last great American western experiences.

  • 2011

    Jacobs and Murrays sell their ownership interest to the Singleton and Bailey/Stanford families.

  • 2019

    The C Lazy U Ranch celebrates 100 years in operation!

  • 2020

    East Troublesome Fire of 2020 – The ranch lost the iconic horse barn, Evergreen Cabin, Birds Nest staff cabin and Dexter House staff cabin.

Fun Facts About the Ranch

The C Lazy U Ranch first became a guest Ranch in 1919.

The State of Colorado proclaimed July 24, 2019 as C Lazy U Ranch Day to celebrate our 100 years of operation!

Luis’ Old Place Store was originally a donkey barn many years ago.

The ranch is home to two Sicilian Donkeys: Tilly and Petey. Petey is quite famous, making frequent appearances in Las Vegas, Denver, and for the Colorado Rockies’ annual season opener baseball game. Tilly currently acts as Petey’s understudy, learning the tricks of the trade.

Petey is more than a cute face, he has a very important job at the ranch…protecting the herd. That’s right, little Petey helps keep the horses safe by braying and kicking at any predators that might threaten the herd.

David Craig, our General Manager, wrote the children’s book “Petey & Wolf” which is a story about Petey and several horses in our herd.

Our original marketing slogan was “Horseback riding, Bear Hunting, and All You Can Eat Steak and Apple Pie.” Not much has changed!

C Lazy U Ranch has access to more than 8,500 acres of private land, and is the ultimate mountain getaway, sitting at 8,200 feet in elevation.

All remodeling projects on the ranch are completed using Beetle Kill wood that has been cut down from standing dead timber and milled right here at the ranch.

We are an Orvis-endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge, and offer instructional and guided fishing trips on and off the ranch.

In Colorado it is illegal to ride a horse while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Dexter Meadows still has the remnants of an old stagecoach turnaround.

All horses move naturally with four basic gaits: the four-beat walk, which averages 3 miles per hour (mph); the two-beat trot or jog, which averages 8 to 12 mph; the three- beat canter or lope, which averages 12 to 15 mph, and the gallop which can average up to 25 to 30 mph.

Six days each week during our summer season, in the morning and evening, our entire herd of 200 horses “jingles” in and out of the pasture. The name “jingle” comes from a time when ranchers would put cow bells on their horses so they could find them in the early morning hours.

Bill Fisher, Head Wrangler, first started working at the ranch in 1962, yet began vacationing here with his family in 1957 when he was just ten years old.

More than a vacation destination, the C Lazy U Ranch is an authentic working ranch:

  • Producing approximately 300 tons of hay per year.
  • Irrigating our hayfields and pastures.
  • Caring for almost 200 horses, 30 cows, and 2 donkeys.
  • Using traditional ranch equipment including a variety of trucks, tractors, and implements.

The C Lazy U is the only Ranch in the world to have ever achieved both the “Five Star” and the “Five Diamond” Resort designations from Mobile and Triple A respectively and to do so for 25 consecutive years.

The Town of Granby is the most populous municipality in Grand County, Colorado. Granby is situated along U.S. Highway 40 about 85 miles west of Denver, Colorado and southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park. The town was founded in 1904 along the route of the Denver, Northwestern, and Pacific Railway.

On July 1, 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt established the Arapaho National Forest. Almost totally encompassing the town of Granby.

Follow C Lazy U on social media to learn more about the ranch and maybe even see your photos shared!

Rocky Mountain National Park was established by Enos Mills on January 26, 1915, and proclaimed the tenth national park by President Woodrow Wilson.

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Ranch Blog

Embark on a journey unlike any other at C Lazy U Ranch, where horseback riding isn't just an activity — it’s a breathtaking opportunity to connect with nature and the authentic spirit of the American West. While there are numerous dude ranches across the country, few match the dedication and care we put into our…

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From the Horse's Mouth

Julie's first Horsemanship Immersion clinic was excellent. The structure of the days and content of materials was on-point. For me personally, I got to work with horses I did not know and use my horsemanship skills to help the horses work through various exercises that they don't normally do. That was my goal for the clinic. The workshops were perfect topics, and the vet workshops were great information. There is so much to talk about and the team remained flexible to everyone's interest but kept on schedule. Julie's team is always able to work with everyone and help us grow our horsemanship skills with quick evaluation of our skills and encouraging reminders. That is what it is all about!

~ Andrea D., 10-25-2021

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