HOUSE ON THE RANGE
Near Ridgway, CO
Just west of Ridgeway are three great dirt roads that take you through some of the most beautiful ranch lands in southwest Colorado. County road 5, 7 and 9 are public access roads that run through the majestic 16,000 acre Double RL Ranch (owned by Ralph Lauren) up to the Uncompahgre Plateau.
This spot takes you back to an earlier time, when the Colorado ranges were wild, open and free.
Trail Difficulty (3 out of 5)
I would rate the difficulty of this trail between 3 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). The drive is for 4.1 miles on a narrow dirt road (with several bumps and holes) winding through the Colorado countryside. Upon your arrival at the location the shot is an easy 50ft walk off the road.
Important to note: There are several places on the road that are not wide enough for oncoming traffic. There are 2 places where you will be making a blind curve in a very narrow section and is oncoming traffic may cause a head-on collision. It is best to be very cautious on this road and greatly reduce your speed on turns. It should only be traveled with a 4-wheeel drive vehicle.
If the road is wet or muddy – don’t attempt to drive the road as you are almost guaranteed to get stuck and it is a 10 mile walk back to Ridgway.
Please note, the dirt road that is county road CR9 is public property and can be used for taking pictures and traveling through the ranchland. However, the land on either side of the dirt road is private property and the owner, Ralph Lauren (Double RL Ranch) takes this seriously. I have been reminded of this by ranch hands many times.
GPS Coordinates & Elevation
8,645 Ft. Elevation
Google Maps Birds-Eye-View
Click link above to view location in Google Earth
CLICK HERE to get driving directions the House On The Range parking area.
The following directions are from Ridgway, CO (which is a small town in Southwest Colorado). The closest larger towns are Montrose, CO (about 25 miles north of Ridgway) or Durango, Co (about 80 miles south of Ridgway).
From Ridgway, travel west on CO HW62 for approx. 5.2 miles and look sign that says ”National Forest Access – West Dallas Road”. This is between mile marker 17-18 (closer to mile marker 17). Once you reach CR 9, turn left (south) and drive through the entrance of the Double RL Ranch. At this point set your car trip recorder - continue on this dirt road for 4.1 miles.
Once you reach 4.1 miles on the dirt road, on your left you will see the wonderful red ranch house with Mt. Snuffles in the distance. There are many compositions with the ranch house, the Aspens and the mountains. I would suggest walking around the area to find the composition that is right for you.
Best Time of Day to Shoot
For me, the best time for this shot is just before sunset. At that time, the lower sun creates a nice soft glow on the ranch house and on Mt. Snuffles. The soft glow only last for a few moments before sunset, so make sure you are setup and ready before the sun goes down.
Best Time of Year to Shoot
This location is very nice during the spring and summer. However, for me the best time of year is during the fall color season (depending on the year – this ranges between mid Sept to the first week in October). The VERY BEST time to capture this spot would be: 1) just before sunset 2) during peak fall colors and 3) with snow on the distant mountains.
The above shot was taken on October 1st
What Lens(es) Do You Need
For me, this shot is more of a compression of the ranch house, the Aspens and the mountains. For this reason I would suggest a 35-50mm lens. The shot above was done as a 3 horizontal pano stitch with a 75mm lens to capture as much detail as possible.
There are no permits required – as long as you stay on the road side of the fence. There are several “no trespassing” signs along the road and the owner, Ralph Lauren (Double RL Ranch) takes this seriously.
Direction of the Shot
The shot from the road is south by southeast @ 145°
Special Nuances of Shot
This is mainly a straight forward shot, but there are different views based on where you stand along the road. I would suggest scouting the location well before sunset to find your composition(s).
Special Equipment Needed
Other than a tripod, there is no need for any special photography equipment unless you plan on doing a panoramic shot.
Number of Other Photographers to Expect
This spot is far off of the beaten path for most photographers and it would be rare to see anyone else at this location.
The weather in Colorado is normally mild in the summer and cold (lows in the 20’s) in the spring and fall. Having never been to this location in the winter, I am not sure the road is open or maintained that time of year.
I use Verizon and there was NO cell service at this spot. However, cell service improves on the CR9 as you travel back toward CO HW62.
As far as I know, there are 2 hotels in Ridgway (they usually fill-up quickly in the fall, so make sure you plan ahead). Also, Ridgway State Park is approx. 4 miles north of Ridgway, and there are also several other hotels and lodging in Ouray, CO (approx. 10 miles south of Ridgway).
Ridgway State Park is a VERY NICE state park with lots of campsites ($20 for tent only and $30 for full hook ups) and includes pay showers, laundry, vending machines, and flush restrooms.
Nearby camping and lodging
Camping - click on the campground below for directions
Ridgway State Park (4 miles north of Ridgway)
Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review
Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa
304 S Lena St, Ridgway, CO
Ridgway-Ouray Lodge & Suites
373 Palomino Trail, Ridgway, CO
Ridgway is a GREAT little town to stay at, visit and eat. When in town, I always try to visit Kate's Place and the The Grit Cafe.
Kate's Place has a GREAT breakfast/brunch and I always try to stop there after my morning shoot. True Grit Café has a nice selection of cold adult beverages and a good menu. Ridgway was the location of the original True Grit movie with John Wayne and the True Grit Café was part of the opening scene.
I have also enjoyed a very good pizza and a cold brew at the Colorado Boy and in town, the Adobe Inn is a nice Mexican restaurant.
Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review
615 W Clinton, Ridgway, CO
True Grit Café
123 N Lena Street, Ridgway, CO
Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery
602 Clinton St, Ridgway, CO
The Last Dollar Laundromat is located at 357 Sherman St. in Ridgway. There is also a laundry mat at the Ridgway State Park.
Other Photography Opportunities Around
The closest airport is in Montrose, CO (MTJ). It is a nice regional airport that services: American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.
Area Guides and Workshops