Saddle Up for the Spa at the Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch :: Parshall, CO

Visitors to the Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch near Parshall, Colorado, can make sure their muscles appreciate a good long soak or soothing massage by hopping in the saddle for trail rides that end at a hot springs spa a few miles away.

Guests head out on horseback for a couple-hour ride to a jaw-dropping scenic lunch spot at the top of Byers Canyon, through which the Colorado River roars below. A short ride down to the river on the east side of the canyon brings guests to the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa and its 22 natural hot springs, thermal pools and baths. The ride includes free soaks, and guests often also book treatments such as facials and massages.

Upon arriving at the spa, Bar Lazy J guests are greeted by a ranch trailer that takes the horses and gives visitors their pre-packed bags of swimsuits, towels, toiletries and other items. After a couple hours of soaking and treatments, the ranch staff takes guests back to the Bar Lazy J.

“Our head wrangler, who’s married to our head chef, came up with the spa ride idea five or six years ago,�? said Cheri Helmicki, who owns and runs the ranch with her husband Jerry. “She worked as an aesthetician in the winter and thought riding horses to a spa would be fun for our guests. It’s turned out to be very popular.�?

The Bar Lazy J also has a massage therapist on site if a week’s worth of horseback rides, jeep rides, mountain bike rides and fishing in the Rocky Mountains takes its toll.

Guests’ muscles also are restored by good nutrition as found in meal after meal of fine restaurant- quality dishes. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner is prepared with local produce and other fresh ingredients by a chef who trained in Connecticut restaurants and has run the ranch kitchen for eight years.

A recent Friday night dinner started with Thai-inspired — or perhaps Elvis-inspired — appetizers combining peanut butter and bacon. A fresh salad of local greens followed with fist-sized biscuits served in an upended cowboy hat. The entrée consisted of prime rib cooked to order, king crab legs, wasabi mashed potatoes and crisp snow peas picked at a farm just up the road. A strawberry dessert floated in on a mound of whipped, sweetened, frozen cream cheese and whipped cream.

Don’t expect to lose much weight at the Bar Lazy J. That evening meal followed by just a few hours a lunch of grilled skewered shrimp and sliced pork loin (each meal includes a non-meat option). A bottomless cookie box by the main ranch house front door is constantly replenished with chewy cookies made fresh daily.

The Bar Lazy J has no liquor license, but welcomes BYOB and will even take orders and make runs to the closest liquor store for guests.

Cabins just a few feet from the Colorado River are cozy and comfortable. The whole ranch is outfitted in appropriately western décor, including some Thomas Molesworth leather and wood chairs and sofas. The Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch is open only in the summer. Children’s activities and meals are available through the end of August. The month of September is adults only.

Ranch activities, including the spa ride, and the restaurant, are available only to ranch guests. Bar Lazy J does not, at this time, offer activities for day visitors. For details about the ranch, rates and activities, go to Information about the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa can be found at

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