Unbridle your Spirit... and Rein in the Memories!
As Colorado's highest guest ranch at 9,600 feet elevation, the views are awe-inspiring! Here we have the largest collection of peaks over 14,000 feet in the lower 48 states. Elk Mountain Ranch has been the Murphy's home and passion since 1985. We take great pride in offering memories to last a lifetime - for guests and staff.
Remotely located in the heart of the Rockies, adjacent to the Browns Canyon National Monument. Secluded within the San Isabel National Forest near Buena Vista, Colorado. A pleasant two hour drive from Denver or Colorado Springs brings you to the heart of the Rockies. Our quaint, local town of Buena Vista is the "White Water Capital of Colorado".
About Elk Mountain Ranch
Elk Mountain Ranch is a first class guest ranch with off-the-beaten-path charm. Our weekly guest package is inclusive of meals, lodging and activities ~ riding, rafting, shootings sports, van trip to Aspen or excursion to ropes course, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, children's program, hayride, square-dance, evening entertainment and more.
Our guests are not just customers, but members of our ranch family. We want our employees to work hard, have fun, enjoy the ranch and its facilities on their time off, take a staff raft trip and build relationships to last a lifetime.
The Employee Experience
As we enter the phone interview process, we would be happy to give you references of past staff. We will do our best to describe the ranch, the job, and the rewards during this process.
You will work hard, alongside co-workers and the Murphy's, as we strive to provide our guests with the most incredible experience possible. This takes a special person with a selfless and serving attitude.
The friendships you form, the skills you learn, and the memories you make will last a lifetime.
Applicants for employment at our Colorado dude ranch must be at least 18 years of age and willing to live on the ranch. Modest housing and meals are supplied as part of our employment package. Please expect to have roommates. No smoking or drug use is allowed. A neat, clean appearance is necessary. We search for staff who are mature self-starters, who have strong communication skills and are team players. Our staff appreciate nature and have the mental and physical stamina for ranch life. The ranch is an extension of our home and we expect our staff to share our standards and moral conduct while at the ranch. Respect for fellow staff members is paramount.
Our staff consists of 14 employees. Everyone is given specific job duties but is expected to help out wherever and whenever needed.
If you have a ready smile, are honest and willing to work long hard hours, love the outdoors and enjoy working with people, we may have the job for you! Staff members must be at least 18 years of age and, ideally, have spent some time away from home.
We are looking for employees who are available for Colorado dude ranch employment from mid-May to mid/end of August. Some positions extend through the end of September. The exact dates that you are available to work are VERY important. The employment dates agreed upon become part of a signed agreement if hired.
Room and Board
Modest housing and meals are supplied as part of our employment package. Please expect to have roommates.
Washer and dryer are provided at no charge. Two employees are assigned an evening to share the machines.
Employees receive a bi-weekly paycheck with the rate being established when a job offer is made. Everyone works 6 days a week and all positions are over 40 hours per week. Tips are earned by going above and beyond. Tips are prorated among the staff based on the number of days worked.
Room and board are provided. Average compensation is approximately $2000 per month plus room and board. Most cell phones do work in our area and wireless internet is available.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Transportation is recommended but not required. We will be happy to pick you up at either Denver or Colorado Springs airport, with arrangements made in advance. You will need to arrange your own transportation on days off, as ranch vehicles are not to be used for personal purposes.
Staff participate in evening activities (hayride, square-dance, volleyball, games and socializing). A staff raft trip is planned prior to season's opening. Hiking and mountain biking trails abound right out your front door. Our area is home to the largest collection of peaks over 14,000 feet - a challenge to summit, but well worth the effort. Many beautiful areas to explore are within a few hours drive - Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail, Salida, the Royal Gorge, the Great Sand Dunes, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado Springs. Staff are welcome to participate in guests' activities on day off.
We expect our facilities to be kept spotlessly clean, meals excellently presented, activities to be led with safety and professionalism, and our guest services and relations to be outstanding.
You will find our job list and complete job descriptions on our website.
Note that everyone is given specific job duties but is expected to help out wherever and whenever needed.
Assistant Cook/Swing: Assistant cook will prepare meals on the Cook’s day off. Also, “team” cooks on most days. Because we are a smaller ranch, this Cook/Swing position will fill in with housekeeping and serve meals - see the Housekeeper/Waitstaff/Dishwasher/Food Prep position for details.
Cook: This person is responsible for preparing meals for 50 people each day. Three meals a day are served with the cook mainly being responsible for breakfast and dinner. The workday begins at 6 a.m. most days with a break in the afternoon and returning to the kitchen for dinner preparation. Our weekly meal schedule does not change. Person must enjoy working in the kitchen, be organized, maintain a clean work area, and supervise five employees. Able to control food storage and inventory. Must be able to follow instructions and have knowledge of basic cooking. Although experience is preferred, the right person can be trained.
Children’s Counselor: Responsible for children 7 and under. High level of energy, enthusiasm, and genuine love of children required. Must have the ability to lead children through a variety of planned activities including horseback riding, fishing, hiking, arts and crafts, treasure hunts and swimming at hot springs. Willing to get “down and dirty” with the kids. Ideally, 21 years of age with an excellent driving record, as will be responsible for transportation of children to hot springs in town. Will accompany children to lunch sites. On certain days, you will not have the children as long as others and will be expected to help out in other departments. Will participate in guided hike & evening activities. See the Housekeeper/Waitstaff/Dish Washer/Food Preparation description for an idea of responsibilities for days without children.
This person is responsible for preparing meals for 50 people each day. Three meals a day are served with the cook mainly being responsible for breakfast and dinner. The workday begins at 6 - 7 a.m. most days with a break in the afternoon and returning to the kitchen for dinner preparation. Our weekly meal schedule does not change. Person must enjoy working in the kitchen, be organized, maintain a clean work area, and supervise five employees. Able to control food storage and inventory. Must be able to follow instructions and have knowledge of basic cooking. Although experience is preferred, the right person can be trained.
Four employees share and rotate the four positions. Looking for conscientious individuals with excellent attention to detail. General housekeeping is shared with one other person for 7 cabins and 3 lodge rooms. The day also includes doing ranch towels, watering flowers and picking up the grounds. Waitstaff will work hard as a team and interact with guests. Able to serve 40 people eating family style, setups, clearing, cleaning, serving desserts and beverages. Also food storage and inventory control. Maintain a clean work area. Rotate dish washing, preparing packouts, and food preparation (salads, appetizers, etc.). Also participate in guest entertainment, such as a guided hike, hayride, volleyball, and square dance.
Experience preferred in several skills such as basic carpentry, plumbing, electrical, vehicle maintenance and general ranch operations. Ability to be flexible and act immediately as circumstances arise. Also responsible for grounds maintenance, firewood, trash. Will conduct safe archery, marksmanship and trapshooting tournaments. Possibly drive to Aspen, ropes course, and airport. Insurance requires the driver to be 21 years of age with a good driving record. Will help at the barn in a.m. feeding and saddling horses and may also need to work with children in riding arena. Experience with horses not required but a willing attitude a must, plus excellent people skills working with adults, teens, and children. Will eat many meals with the guests and may be required to cook and serve some outdoor meals. Will be responsible for one hayride a month and weekly square dance and volleyball with guests.
Wrangler: Horse experience required. Must be safety conscious, have the ability to instruct guests and have strong communication and interpersonal skills. Responsible for conducting safe trail rides for groups of 4-7. Feed and care for herd of 50 horses. Maintain and repair tack. Clean barn and arena area daily. Willing to perform other maintenance duties as assigned – trail maintenance, stocking wood, fencing, etc. – and willing to work long hours. Shoeing and veterinary knowledge a plus. CPR and First Aid required (class will be provided at beginning of season). Must have good driving record as may be driving guests to Aspen or airports. Required to have neat and clean appearance, and dress in western style. Cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and collared shirts required. Wranglers will eat many meals with the guests and may be required to cook and serve some outdoor meals. Will be responsible for one hayride a month and weekly square dance and volleyball with guests.
How to Apply
We are currently accepting applications for the 2018 season. We will begin conducting phone interviews in January. Please have job and reference contact information available prior to beginning this process. If you are unable to travel to Colorado for a personal interview, please email us a photo.