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Ranch History

The prime grasslands of Fishhole Valley have provided a living for many families over the centuries. The remains of tepee rings and scattered arrowheads show that the meadows were once the hunting grounds of Native Americans.

Frames of old barns and houses from the homestead of the community of
Vistillas stand as reminders of the past. As the ranch changed hands over the years, each new owner made a contribution; Fishhole is a collage of hard work and love.

Our Story

We’d like to introduce ourselves. We are Steve and Karen Simmons, your hosts at Aspen Ridge Resort and Fishhole Creek Ranch.

As you explore our website, we hope you’ll see that this is our ranch, our home, and our life. It is our pleasure to share it with you.

Our love affair with Fishhole goes back to the first day that we saw it, in 1975. Fresh out of college and newly married, we dreamed of raising quality cattle on our own place. In a hidden mountain valley we found 14,000 acres of lush grasslands, forests, and rangeland. Strong, native grasses grew without need for commercial fertilizers or mechanical irrigation equipment. Cattle grazed in high-mountain meadows studded with wildflowers. The “headquarters” was a tiny homesteader’s cabin with a view of the surrounding pastures and the open sky. It seemed to be a place where one man with a horse, a good dog, a shovel, and a little help from Mother Nature, could accomplish wonders. It was, in fact, love at first sight.


  Looking back, it is hard to believe that thirty-some years have passed. We raised two daughters in the little ranch cabin. It was a life full of the satisfaction of hard work and simple pleasures. Our girls learned to ride as soon as they could sit on a horse, catch trout in the creek, collect rocks and wildflowers, and play Old Maid by candlelight.

Over the years we made the kinds of changes that humans can make. We implemented better grazing practices and protection for the riparian areas on the creek. We built a new corral system, stronger fences, better roads, and a system that supplied hot-and-cold running water to the ranch cabin. But the essence of the ranch, the slick cattle grazing in the meadows, has remained as it was for generations. In many ways we continued the lives and work of those that were here before us.

In 1989, after years of entertaining friends and family in our primitive accommodations, we began construction of Aspen Ridge Resort. To be sure, it was a crazy, far-fetched idea. “You’re doing what, where?” was the incredulous response of more than one person who heard of our plans. But the dream took shape and the cabins, lodge, and all supporting systems were completed and open for business in January, 1992.

The years, and thousands of guests, have proven what we felt the day of our first visit. There is magic in this place. In the eighteen miles between the highway and the ranch, the rest of the world slips away. We invite you to come share our home. This may be the place you’ve been dreaming of too.