Bearcat’s Cabin keeps local history alive
Ryan Summerlin March 22, 2014
CORDILLERA — Dashing through the snow never seems to go out of style — even in the early spring. As winter starts to come to a close, Cordillera’s Bearcat Stables is in the final weeks of offering its horse-drawn sleigh and dining experience. While the ranch offers guided horseback rides and overnight hut trips throughout the warmer months of the year, there’s something truly special about a snowy, moonlit sleigh ride.
Bearcat’s Cabin is the original cabin of the Bearden family, who laid homestead on the land in Cordillera’s Squaw Creek Valley during the early 20th century. Sleigh driver Jason Brown shared the history of the family and their ranch on recent trip, guiding a pair of draft horses as they pulled our group of across field blanketed in white.
“When they built Bearcat’s Cabin, they did it all with horsepower,” Brown said. “Draft horses would bring logs down from up Squaw Creek, where they had a saw mill.”
Today, the stables still hold true to the spirit of the West, honoring Colorado heritage amidst the peace and beauty of a mountain meadow.
“This all goes back to the original homesteaders and ranchers who lived here,” Brown said during a peaceful pause in the ride. “This is how they went about their daily lives.”
The original family cabin is 15 minutes west of Beaver Creek and has been protected by the Cordillera Preservation Foundation and Bearcat Stables, standing now as a historic place to enjoy a Rocky Mountain retreat.
A glowing fire and hot drinks kept us warm prior to loading the sleigh, and a multi-course menu welcomed our group back to the rustic cabin for dinner. Food selections are prepared by Collin Smelser, executive chef of Mirador Restaurant of the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera.
A soup and salad course is followed by an array of hearty entree choices — including braised roasted free-range chicken with lemon thyme pan jus and Colorado beef chuck roast — along with side options of mashed potatoes, truffle cream sauce gnocchi and green beans. A children’s menu is also available upon request.
Just make sure you leave room for mixed berry cobbler with house-made vanilla ice cream — delectable alongside a dram of whiskey.