Science Ranch 2018

Registration is now open for Science Ranch 2018.

Stunning views of the Rockies from Latigo Ranch

Recreational Science is still legal in Colorado! 

At Science Getaways, our mission is to offer fun, relaxing vacations with the added bonus of science and learning. We lovingly call it “nerd camp” and it is awesome! Your intrepid Science Getaways hosts and organizers are Phil Plait and Marcella Setter. We pick an amazing location, with just the right venue for the group, then we bring along real scientists to add education and exploration to the week. This June, we’ve got a Getaway for the whole family that’s all about the great outdoors: Science Ranch 2018 will be held Sunday, June 10 to Saturday, June 16, 2018 at the Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado. Phil Plait, PhD – astronomer, author, and well known science communicator, is half of the duo that runs Science Getaways, and he’ll be there with you all week as your personal ambassador to the stars. Holly Brunkal, PhD is an instructor at Western Colorado State University, an expert on Colorado geology, and a Science Getaways veteran geologist. She’ll be along as well to be your guide to the planet beneath your feet — at Science Getaways we bring you the Earth and stars!


The pond at Latigo makes for great fishing.

Outdoor dining is one of the best parts of a ranch vacation. You will not go away hungry!











About Latigo Ranch

Latigo Ranch is high up in the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 9,000 feet. Located in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, the ranch offers stunning views of three different mountain ranges – the Gore Range, the Rabbit Ears Range, and the Park Range. Holly will teach us all about the different geological histories of these different ranges, and you’ll walk away knowing what “orogeny” means.

If you’ve never stayed at a dude ranch, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. A dude ranch vacation is fantastic, whether you’re vacationing alone or with a large family, and whether or not you like to ride horses. “What makes it so great?” you ask – it’s the sense of connection to the group that you can only get at an all-inclusive, comfortable, homey resort like a dude ranch. We all eat 3 meals a day together, ride horses, play games, go white water rafting, fishing, or hiking, participate in hands-on science exploration, and listen to fascinating talks by actual scientists. By the end of the week you’ve not only had a fun, science-filled vacation, you’ve made a bunch of new, close friends with similar interests. Latigo Ranch’s owners and hosts Lisa and Randy George take great pride in making every guest feel like part of the family. If you want to read more about the excellent food and hospitality at the ranch, check out their outstanding Trip Advisor reviews.


Camping in the mountains is a special experience.

Why not try fly fishing?












Latigo Ranch offers all the activities you’d expect to find at a dude ranch, like horseback riding, fishing, swimming, archery, and rock climbing, plus an optional overnight campout for everyone, an optional whitewater rafting trip, and a children’s program to give parents some free time to enjoy the peace and quiet. On top of all that, the food is excellent, with gourmet plated dinners that you won’t believe you can get at a dude ranch, and a hearty Western breakfast that will leave you begging for mercy. When we stayed at Latigo to check it out we were blown away by the quality of the food! There’s also a 24/7 snack corner that’s always stocked with fruit and other goodies, and a bottomless (very yummy) cookie jar. The cabins are very comfortable, with coffee makers, a refrigerator, a living room with fireplace, and well-appointed bathrooms. It’s like a nice hotel room… if hotels had big windows opening up into aspen groves and clean mountain air.


The never-ending cookie jar of deliciousness.

Your host and guide to the cosmos Phil enjoys a gourmet chocolate lava cake – a gastronomical event.











Your Science Getaways Week

Science Ranch 2018 at Latigo Ranch will include everything that makes a western dude ranch an incredible vacation, and we’ll throw in science and exploration too! Of course, it’s the West, so horseback riding is a part of the vacation, with lessons and a variety of trail rides for all different skill levels. The riding at Latigo Ranch is phenomenal, with lots of different landscapes to gawk at – rivers, waterfalls, high plateaus, lush meadows, and snowy peaks. You’ll be given your own horse for the week, and by Saturday you’ll have a new equine best friend. If you’re a beginning rider, the wranglers will teach you the basics and help you advance your skills during the week. If you’ve spent some time in the saddle, they’ll arrange more challenging rides suited to your skill level.

Marcella Setter (one-half of your hosting duo) loves to ride, and raves about the trails at Latigo.

The ranch isn’t just about being on horseback though. If you prefer not to ride, there is still a lot to do. We’ll have daily hikes both to explore the gorgeous scenery as well as the geology with our scientist Holly. After a hike, you might want to  fish in the pond right outside the lodge, or swim in a heated pool with one of the best mountain views money can buy. You can also try your hand at shooting, archery, tomahawk throwing, and rock climbing. There’s a rec center dedicated to fun with ping pong, a pool table, foosball, and a hot tub. This building also has a living room with a big stone fireplace, super comfy leather couches and chairs, game tables, and a loft library full of books and stunning mountain views. Of course, you can always opt to just sit on a porch and read a book. Many of our guests do, and they say having the time and the peace to just read was one of the best parts of their vacation!


Latigo has a spacious and comfy commons area.

Phil enjoys a game of pool that far exceeds his ability to win.












The skies are gorgeous during the day and night.

The library loft












“How is there any time left for science?” you might ask. Well, we cleverly add science talks by our scientists Holly and Phil almost every day after dinner. Phil will dazzle you with presentations about the cosmos around you and Holly will bring it back to Earth by talking about, well, the Earth. Phil will also set up his 8″ Celestron telescope every clear evening to take you on a guided tour of the universe as it can only be seen from 9,000 feet above the light pollution of civilization. Latigo Ranch is one of the few remaining truly dark regions of the U.S. If you’ve never experienced stargazing in a dark site, you’ll be awed by the glory of the Milky Way overhead; a stargazer can’t ask for a better guide or experience. We’ll also have a solar telescope or two set up to watch our nearest star during the day as well.

Geologist and longtime Getaways scientist Dr. Holly Brunkal.

On top of that, Holly will guide you on hikes in the area and answer all your questions about the regional geology. If you find an interesting rock (and you will) Holly will employ her rock hammer and hand lens to tell you all she can about its origins, history, and composition. Cries of “Hey Holly, what’s this one made of?” will be  frequently heard. Past Science Getaways guests have found beautiful minerals, petrified wood, and even plant and animal fossils on these hikes!

After an excellent dinner and a science presentation, a lot of Science Getaways guests like to take over the dining hall to play games. If you’re a tabletop game or cards enthusiast, you’ll find a ready and willing bunch of people to play with.

With hikes, talks, and stargazing, we do something sciencey every day. And night! After a week you’ll know a lot more about the planet you live on, and its place in space.





Lodging is in comfortable cabins with separate bedrooms, cozy living rooms, and wood burning stoves. Up high in the mountains evenings are chilly in June, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy a wood fire, either in your cabin or in the Rec Center living room. All cabins also have wifi and modern bathrooms. Please be aware that this ranch has 10 cabins and most of them have 3 bedrooms, so some guests will have to share cabins. Each guest will have a private bedroom, the shower and toilet will be shared. There’s no better way to become fast friends!


The cabins are well-appointed with great views of the trees and mountains.

Care for a dip?












If you’ve never joined us on a Science Getaway, here’s how it works. There are 2 costs to join a Science Getaway – the Science Getaways registration fee of $500 per person and the lodging rate. First, email us to tell us you want to register. Once we reply to confirm your spot, we’ll work out payment of your registration fee by check or PayPal. Then you’ll contact the ranch to make your lodging reservation and book your own travel to get there.

Latigo Ranch charges an all-inclusive rate. These prices include all taxes and gratuity, meals, lodging, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, overnight campout and all the other ranch activities. Unlike many other ranches, Latigo Ranch does not charge a resort fee, so this is a total out-the-door price. Weekly all-inclusive ranch rates are as follows:

Adults: $2900
Youth 6-13:  $2190
Kids 3-5:  $1705

These rates DO NOT include the Science Getaways registration fee of $500 per person. Once we hear from you we’ll email you to arrange separate payment of the registration fee.

Travel is not included in the lodging or registration rates and you’ll need to arrange your own air and ground transportation.

The ranch is at about 9,000 feet, so if you have health problems at high altitudes, you should talk to your doctor first.


Getting There

The best airports to use are Denver or Steamboat Springs. If you choose to rent a car, the ranch is about an hour’s drive from Steamboat Springs or about three breathtakingly beautiful hours from the Denver Airport. There is also a shuttle you can hire to take you from the Denver Airport to Kremmling, where someone from the ranch will pick you up free of charge.

Alcohol Policy

Alcohol is BYO in cabins. There is beer and wine available for purchase in the lodge during the evenings.


We hope to see you at Science Ranch 2018!

And hey! If you’d like to be added to our mailing list to be informed of future Getaways, please send us an email
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