Durango, CO, Blue Lake Ranch

From the June, 2002 issue
30 Great Inns

Searching for that perfect hideaway? We combed the nation for the best undiscovered inns and B&B's, and found something for every taste. From mountaintop lodges to beachside cottages, desert oases and wine-country manors, here are 30 of our new favorites…



Blue Lake Ranch
Durango, CO

At this ranch, 15 minutes west of Durango, Colorado, you could be fooled into thinking you have 200 acres of Four Corners Country all to yourself. Owners David and Shirley Alford designed the inn's 16 cottages and Southwest-style casitas with solitude in mind. But you're far from alone: the La Plata Mountains keep watch at nearly every window, and in the spring, heirloom flowers bloom everywhere. Wander through a field of 10,000 irises or shoulder-high hollyhocks. Even as you sink into the outdoor whirlpool tub, tendrils of sweet peas float across the water. Ponderosa pine ceiling beams and oak furniture made by local artisans give the interiors a quiet mountain-lodge allure. After a breakfast buffet of green-chile stew, tamales, breads, and homemade preserves, Blue Lake's staff will arrange for an Indian guide to tour the ruins with you at Ute Mountain Tribal Park.