Smith Fork Ranch

Needle Rock in Crawford Colorado
Staff at our Cookout with the Horses
Wrangling Staff
Fall Valley
Friday Night Cookout with Staff and Guests
Breakfast Ride
Guide Staff
Night Sky from Smith Fork
Mounting Block at Sunset
Deer by the River Pond
Line Dancing
Fishing the Gunnison in the Black Canyon
Hiking the Black Canyon
Trail Riding
Archery Competition
Safari Club
The North Fork Valley
Buck on Smith Fork Ranch
Rainbow Near the Black Canyon
Horses in the Pasture at Fall
View of the Ranch from the Ditch at Fall
Finding Snow in June
View from Azura Cellars Patio
The Aspens up Virginia Creek
Local Rodeo

Come join us in our magnificent corner of the Rocky Mountains where our passion and mission is to preserve and nurture the authentic western lifestyle and experience.

Straddling the Smith Fork River valley, midway between Aspen and Telluride, Smith Fork Ranch is an outpost of luxury tucked away in the beautiful Colorado mountain wilderness. Come call Smith Fork Ranch home for the summer and leave with memories, experiences and friends for a lifetime.

About Smith Fork Ranch

Altitude 7100 ft ––– Latitude 38° 42' 90" ––– Longitude 107° 30' 45"

Smith Fork Ranch provides luxurious guest accommodations in the rustic tradition, breathtaking views in every direction, highly acclaimed cuisine using our own organically grown vegetables, fruits, poultry and regional game, an award-winning wine cellar, outstanding fly fishing on miles of private waters, a stable of well-trained riding horses, expert guides for fishing, riding, hiking, sporting clays, mountain biking and other outdoor activities including a very active children's program. Our passion and mission is to preserve and nurture the authentic western lifestyle and experience, and to share it with guests at Smith Fork Ranch here in our magnificent corner of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

With a capacity of 26 guests per week and a staff of approximately 28, SFR employs energetic, hardworking, flexible individuals who understand the main goal is to give guests a wonderful and memorable vacation. Versatility and flexibility are important qualities in all SFR staff. We are looking for happy, motivated, charismatic individuals that have a love for the outdoors.

Ideal Candidate

Working at a guest ranch is fun and fulfilling, but it’s not a vacation. Staff members can expect long days, to work hard and expend lots of energy with enthusiasm. Smith Fork Ranch has a commitment to excellence throughout the ranch including high employee standards. Our goal is to provide our guests with an amazing and memorable ranch vacation and each department works together to do this. Each staff member can expect to help in different areas of ranch operations at some time or another such as housekeeping, waiting tables, dishwashing, clearing trails, and grounds keeping.


Smith Fork Ranch Staff:

  • Communicate effectively and sensitively
  • Are attentive to the needs of others
  • Enjoy working with people and genuinely care about their well-being 
  • Have high self-esteem and a positive outlook on life
  • Are honest, responsible, and conscientious with a desire to carry out work assignments to the best of their personal ability
  • Are flexible and easygoing – even when the unexpected occurs
  • Have a good sense of humor and the ability to have fun in many different settings
  • Have the ability to do the work to which they are assigned with efficiency, safety, and enthusiasm
  • Are positive role models for others and take their responsibilities seriously
  • Get along with, enjoy being with, and respect people of different ages and backgrounds
  • Are team players
  • Appreciate the outdoors

Room and Board

Since we are in a remote location, staff lives on the property in shared bunkhouse-style, two-story buildings. There are separate living quarters for male and female staff, adjoining the staff living quarters is a recreation room with a small kitchen, satellite T.V., limited wi-fi, foosball table, a Ping-Pong table, as well as a campfire available for staff.

Meals are provided for staff to enjoy both on their working days and days off.  We do our best to cater to food allergies and reasonable dietary preferences. 

Housing is provided at a nominal fee and we do provide basic furnishings, linens, towels, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent to our seasonal staff.

Due to our staff size and location we cannot allow seasonal staff to have pets on any of the SFR property.

Employee Perks

We offer competitive compensation along with room and board, 3 prepared meals a day. All seasonal members of SFR staff are included within the shared ranch tip pool, which accumulates all tips left behind by our generous guests.

Staff get at least one day off a week. We encourage you to take advantage of all on-ranch activities and amenities on your days off. Please note that this is dependent on how many guests go on a ride, go shooting, go fishing, etc. and may not work out on your specific day off. There are lots of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as thousands of acres to explore within the Gunnison National Forest. There is a reservoir about 10 minutes away from the ranch that has a small beach and is great for swimming or BBQ’s. A lot of times we can help you arrange a float or rafting trip down the Gunnison River which is nearby.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is nearby and is great for camping, hiking, exploring, and fishing. 

Getting Here and Getting Around

Smith Fork Ranch is located in the West Elk Range of the Rocky Mountains, 11 miles east of the small town of Crawford. We are about 20 minutes from Hotchkiss and 30 minutes from Paonia, two other small towns that offer some restaurants, a local brewery, live music in the park, little shops, grocery stores, orchards & wineries, fruit stands in the summer and a lot of character.

The Western Slope area where we are located is an ideal place to spend the summer and explore a part of Colorado that is virtually undiscovered. With that said, the North Fork Valley (the valley we overlook) is not a place where you are going to find a big nightlife scene. If you are looking for an area of Colorado to fuel the inner party animal, the North Fork Valley may not be your place.

We are about 1 ¾ hours from Grand Junction, CO and 1 1/4 hours from Montrose, CO.  Both towns have commercial airports.  We’re 2 ¼ hours from Aspen and 2 ¾ hours from Telluride.

All employees are welcome to bring their own vehicles and we encourage it. If you do not have a personal vehicle SFR will arrange for staff members to be picked up at either Montrose or Grand Junction airports and transported to the ranch. Once you are here rides with other employees can be arranged and shared on your days off.

For Fun

A most spectacular natural backdrop, the Gunnison National Forest, surrounds us and it offers countless outdoor opportunities. On the ranch enjoy hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, archery, sporting clays, mountain biking, swimming and frisbee golf, to name a few. Spend your time off the ranch exploring the areas around us with back country camping, visits to the Black Canyon National Park, rafting or kayaking, rock climbing, local Colorado wine tastings & tours, visit the galleries and workshops of exceptional local artists and craftsmen, learn to blow glass or make pottery. There is something for everyone!

Check us out on:

Our Jobs

Our 2017 Season is from May and runs through the end of October our Peak Summer Season ends in August. Applicants must be able to stay from mid-May through the end of August and preference will be given to those who can stay through the remainder of the season until October 29, 2017.

The following are our available summer opportunities at Smith Fork Ranch for the 2017 Season:

Dining Staff

Food And Beverage

The Dining Staff is responsible for the enjoyment of each dining experience of our guests. SFR’s chefs prepare gourmet meals each day, from special local ingredients of Colorado’s North Fork Valley – Lamb, Beef, Game, Fish, and some of the countries best locally grown organic fruits and vegetables. A full ranch breakfast is served in the Dinner Bell Cookhouse, and for lunch, each family, group, or individual picks up a picnic basket with their pre-selected lunch items for a picnic streamside, on a cabin porch or next to one of our many private ponds. Dinner is a special event and is served on the pavilion of the old Elk Lodge in full view of the Mountains. Other specialty meals during summer season include breakfast cooked over a campfire during an early morning trail ride and a weekly cookout at a site near the stream. The service and execution of each meal is of utmost importance to the overall guest ranch vacation experience, so superior customer service skills, the ability to communicate effectively, and keen attention to detail are vital to the success of Dining Staff and our overall Culinary Experience.

Ranch Hand


This position encompasses a large variety of tasks from basic ranch duties such as fence building, irrigation, mowing and pasture work; as well as maintenance and upkeep of buildings. This person will be responsible for daily chores and troubleshooting as well as repair of basic electrical and plumbing systems


Horses and Barn

This is not a job about horses; this is a job about people. First and foremost wranglers at SFR must be people persons who are outgoing, engaging, and who genuinely care about people and their western ranch experience. Secondly wranglers at SFR must be equestrians. Wrangler days are spent tacking, grooming, cleaning stalls, feeding, doctoring, pruning trails, guiding rides, assisting guests, aiding in overall communication between rider and their animal, and setting up and supervising arena activities. Days are long, physically and mentally taxing, and filled with interesting guest and animal experiences.

How to Apply

Visit our website to learn about us and download an application. You can email, mail or fax your completed application, resume and cover letter to us. So we can put a face to a name, please send us a photo if you'd like! Please know that we cannot consider you for employment until a complete application has been received. 

Smith Fork Ranch
Attn: General Manager
45362 Needle Rock Road
Crawford, CO 81415
Phone: (970)921-3454     Fax: 970-921-3475