The Colorado experience comes at a price - at least $400 a night per person - but there are apparently enough people willing to pay for a slice of paradise.

Bookings for The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley, which opened Aug. 1, have exceeded initial projections, according to officials from the 3,000-acre resort.

"Occupancy for the opening weeks has surpassed all projections. Emerald Valley is a real gem," Broadmoor President Steve Bartolin said in a statement.

The nine-cabin, 14-bedroom rustic ranch in the Pike National Forest is about 30 minutes west of The Broadmoor hotel, off Old Stage Road, and was once a getaway for Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose.

The Broadmoor leases the land from the National Forest Service and spent $4 million remodeling the complex, which was opened to a media tour on Tuesday.

Ranch guests, who pay more than $400 a night per person for a cabin or $13,000 for the entire ranch, can hike, bike or fish, ride horses from The Broadmoor stables and participate in archery or horseshoes.

The property was first used as a saw mill in the late 1800s. Grace Episcopal Church built a large cabin on the property in 1904, using it as a recreation center or retreat. The Girl Scouts of America took over the building in 1911. Penrose bought the cabin eight years later and constructed additional buildings on the site, which he used as a retreat called Camp Vigil for himself and friends.

After Penrose died, the ranch was donated to city of Colorado Springs and used by the YMCA, the Boy Scouts and other groups.

A San Antonio oilman acquired the property, renamed it Emerald Valley Ranch and turned it into a dude ranch in 1946. The property was used for educational programs from 1963-82, when it was acquired by Mike and Katie Turley, who last operated the ranch in 2011 and sold it last year to The Broadmoor.

The ranch revamp is just one of several projects the hotel is undertaking for 2013-14 at a cost of $90 million. Other projects include expanding the Golden Bee pub in the International Center, creating a dining and entertainment center with a six-lane bowling alley and building Cloud Camp, an 8,000-square-foot lodge and up to 20 cabins on the top of Cheyenne Mountain that will open in May.

The Broadmoor is owned by Anschutz Corp., whose Clarity Media Group owns The Gazette.


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