Sandy and Laura Sanborn founded Big Spring Ranch for Boys in the central Colorado Rockies in 1948. In 1962, they built High Trails Ranch for Girls a mile from the Big Spring site. The Sanborn Junior program for children 7-10 started in 1989. Tens of thousands of young people have participated in our Colorado summer camp for girls, boys, and teens over the last 60 years. Request our catalog and DVD and learn more about the outdoor adventure and fun-filled community at Sanborn Western Camps today!
As leaders and innovators in the fields of youth development and environmental education, the Sanborns started the High Trails Outdoor Education Center program in 1967. Elementary students from many schools in Colorado attend a 3-5 day residential program which provides classes in the natural sciences, local history, and resource use and protection. The High Trails Outdoor Education Program has served over 100,000 students during its 40 years of operation and continues to provide outstanding experiences each Spring and Fall.
Based on the concept that adults, like children, benefit from time spent in the natural world, The Nature Place Conference Center was conceived as a center where adults could experience the joys of continuing education and reignite their connections with the natural world. The Nature Place has created exciting programs for groups interested in natural history, for businesses which wish to expand perspectives and for reunions. Today, The Nature Place is primarily known for its world-class programs in leadership and team development.
Since 1999, Sanborn Western Camps, High Trails Outdoor Education Center, and The Nature Place have operated under the umbrella of Colorado Outdoor Education Center, our non-profit educational institution founded in 1973. The diversity and year-round nature of our programs allows us to retain dedicated staff, maintain our outstanding facilities and 6000 acre land base, develop programs with depth and consistency, and stay on the cutting edge of youth development research and practice.