Smith Fork Ranch

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

Now Hiring for our 2019 Season for Employment May-October

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.

We are located in the North Fork Valley of the Western Slope of Colorado. The 3 towns nearby are: Crawford with 2 restaurants a gas station and Crawford State Park with a Reservoir Hotchkiss which includes a grocery store, restaurants, gas stations and some local shops Paonia with a local brewery, restaurants, orchards and a health food store

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.

The Employee Experience

Being a member of the Smith Fork Ranch team might be the most difficult job you have ever had.  It can also be the best job you have ever had! Employees of the Smith Fork Ranch family share our philosophy and values;  having an exceptional character, a commitment to classic hospitality and are eager in helping to create our little sanctuary with a profound sense of place.  Our employees are always of colorful personalities and come from a variety of different backgrounds but all share a common interest in serving those around them. We believe our staff is the single most important factor in our guest’s vacation experience.  Hard work while having a great time is our goal.

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 live on the property in shared bunkhouse-style, two-story buildings. There are several separate living accommodations and your placement will be determined on a number of factors. Typically all staff who share the work shift of 8am-5pm are house at Safari Club and staff who have differing schedules, 6am-3pm or 2pm-11pm, are housed in staff house. Creek House is a shared 3 bedroom house that is reserved for returning staff members that have completed at least one season with us.

  • Safari Club is 3/4 mile down the road from the main ranch property and provides some privacy from our guest areas. Safari is comprised of 4 buildings, 2 shared bunkhouse-style living quarters that are separate for male and female staff with up to 3 staff members per each living space and a capacity of 12 staff at Safari. Adjoining the staff living quarters is a two-sided bathhouse each side has two full bathrooms and a laundry facility equipped with washers & dryers. Also on the Safari Club property there is a recreation room with a small kitchen, satellite T.V., limited wi-fi, a Ping-Pong table, as well as a campfire outdoor area that is available for all staff use.
  • Staff House is a 4-bedroom house on our main ranch property, each bedroom can house 2 staff members with a lofted bedroom area in each room for additional privacy. There are two bathrooms, a kitchen and living room with satellite T.V. wifi and a back porch for relaxing on. 
  • Creek House is a 3-bedroom house on our main ranch property, each bedroom can house 1-2 staff members and offers a bit more privacy. There are two bathrooms, a kitchen and living room with satellite T.V. wifi and a back porch overlooking Second Creek with a fire pit area. 

All 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 the SFR property.

We do not have co-ed housing for couples and we are not able to accommodate families in housing.

Employee Perks

We offer competitive compensation along with room and board, 3 prepared meals a day, basic toiletry amenities wifi and television. 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 and a half days off each week with some weeks having 2 days off. 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:

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

Contact Smith Fork Ranch