page contents

Hi there!  Tanya here. 

Looking for fresh vacation ideas? You're in the right spot!

Recess. Adventure. Discovery. 

Trail West - a Young Life family camp

Trail West - a Young Life family camp

Better than Disney

A week at Trail West is one of the best bang-for-your-buck all-inclusive, inspirational, encouraging family vacation packages.  We've been to Disney World and yeah, we liked it.  But we LOVE Young Life's Trail West Lodge in Buena Vista, Colorado!  It is one of our family's all-time favorites.  We know many families who return summer after summer.    Upon arrival, your entire week is pre-planned with plenty of time for fun, relaxation, spiritual encouragement, family time, kid time, and adult time.   A full staff is at your service, from housekeeping to dining, and as you'll you soon see, adventures abound.   

No brainer lodging 

Classy rustic charm.  All of the rooms inside the lodge itself were just completely renovated in 2014.  For larger families, there are a handful of condos and chalets just steps from the lodge.  Seeing as so much fun waits for you outside your room the lodge rooms were re-designed very muck like cruise ship family cabins.  Our room in the lodge fit our family of six perfectly.  We slept soundly in a wonderful queen bed while our kids had the two sets of comfy Murphy-style bunk beds.  A thick curtain was available to partition off the queen bed from the bunk beds; this aided greatly when we all needed to get dressed in the mornings!  There were plenty of drawers and a closet for storage, as well as a clean, neat full bathroom plus a second sink across the entryway.

We were on the ground level which provided us with a beautiful mountain view and grassy lawn right outside our patio door.  Upper level rooms have just-as-sweet balcony views.  Our family appreciated the cozy, budget-friendly room, especially since we really didn't spend much time in there other than for sleeping, showering, or changing clothes.  If your family desires more space, you can upgrade to the family suite option.  

Family style dining 

No buffet lines here.  Four-star family style meals served up in the lodge's dining room with love and affection.  An entire week of not planning meals, grocery shopping, cooking or cleaning?  SIGN. ME. UP.  Outdoor BBQ dinners and hamburger lunches are served in the beautiful Aspen Grove.  Wrangler breakfasts of hot french toast right off the camp fire, personalized omelettes, hot cocoa / coffee and more.  Every bit of it dreamy and delicious.  Dietary restrictions are attended to and no one ever goes hungry here!  (And in case you do get the afternoon munchies, there is a snack bar open in the afternoons!)

High ropes course and climbing tower

Get an adrenaline high on the Trail West ropes course nestled in the aspen grove!  THis course boasts a multi-vine bridge, Burma bridge, two-line bridge, and ends in an exhilarating ride on the double zip-line.  It is a challenging experience for young and old and a great way to encourage and cheer for each other.  The 35-foot climbing wall was especially a big hit for our 12 and 11 year old kiddos, who found themselves there nearly every day.

Saddle up your horses

Hitch a ride to Trail West's Rancho Caballo and enjoy a gorgeous, relaxing afternoon trail ride through the Colorado wilderness.  This was my 8 year old daughter's favorite experience!  We also signed up for a well-worth-it early sunrise trail ride that included an entertaining and scrumptious wrangler breakfast. Even if you're not a morning person, IT'S WORTH IT.  More experienced riders can sign up for a Western Horsemanship rides and take their skills to the next level by learning from the Trail West horse wranglers. They are excellent teachers and more than happy to help you learn.

NOTE: Children must be 8 years old or older to ride horses.  On the morning of the wrangler breakfast, my 5 year old and I simply rode the truck down to the wrangler breakfast site and met the rest of our family there.

Whitewater rafting with Noah's Ark 

This is one activity you will definitely want to add to your Trail West package.   Located right in Buena Vista, Noah's Ark offers guests with unforgettable Colorado whitewater rafting.  Noah's Ark launches rafting trips through Browns Canyon, Colorado's #1 stretch of whitewater!  For ages 8 and up.  (BONUS: Trail West offers Kids Club programming for the little ones while you hit the whitewater with your older kids!)

Jeep ride to St. Elmo

Personally drive a jeep into the San Isabel National Forest.  Visit St. Elmo, one of the best preserved ghost towns in Colorado.  Kids and adults love this, making it a great add-on to your Trail West vacation package.

Gunsmoke bb gun range and trout pond

Our family had a blast shooting BBs at the western ornaments hanging from the windows of the western store fronts on the range.  Guest services provides the BB guns as well as fishing poles for the trout pond.  Of course you can bring your own fishing gear and saunter up to the trout pond any ole' time you like.  Finally, for those under age 8, two ponies are available for afternoon rides in their corral on the edge of the Aspen Grove.

Aspen Grove

GIANT FORT (pictured above), children's playground, basketball court, tennis court, Ga-Ga Ball, 18 hole frisbee golf, horseshoes, nature walks, volleyball court, and the ropes course/climbing wall... you can see why we spent a lot of free time in the Aspen Grove.  

More ways to laugh and play

Hot Tub & Heated Outdoor Pool,Game Room, Bead Shack, Snack Shack, All Camp Hike, Bible Study, Evening Firesides/Camp Fireside, Family-Inclusive Programming, Family Rodeo, Golf (at nearby course), Hiking, Inspirational Speaker, Kids Programming, Nearby Shopping, Nursery, Parents Night Out, Square Dancing, Teen Programming, Theme Nights, and Family-style Young Life club every night! 

Quick tips

Trail West is up in the mountains, so pack accordingly.  Trail West's guest services can send you a suggested pack list.  Be sure to pack comfy clothes you can easily layer and be active in.  Again, Trail West is in the mountains, so pack a bit for all seasons.  Bring your tennis shoes, cowboy hat and a rain jacket too.  Definitely bring your camera to capture all of your favorite family moments.

Zion National Park - family biking and hiking

Zion National Park - family biking and hiking

Yellowstone for all ages

Yellowstone for all ages