Holiday Homes in Custer County and Westcliffe

vacation home

Rancho Bendito

Designer Home   •   Private Observatory   •   450-Acre Land Trust Property

Bring together the people you love for an unforgettable experience of the great outdoors and the majestic night sky. Designed and built by a leading architect, this property boasts a private, university-grade observatory, along with a greenhouse, labyrinth and meditation chapel on a 450-acre property held in trust against development. You’ll find a perfect environment to recovery from noisy, busy city life. We recommend a minimum of three nights to for a healthy mental detoxification.

Rancho Bendito can be reserved through our Nightly Vacation Home Rental, or via the exclusive Two-Night Astronomer's Experience.


From $195 / night

Nightly Vacation Home Rental

Rest in this one-of-a-kind, three bedroom, one-bath, commercial-grade home with incredible views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and access to all the Wet Mountain Valley and the Royal Gorge Region offer.


  • The Milky Way like nowhere else!

    • Bring your own telescope or book our two-night Astronomer's Experience (details below) for a guided tour of the private university-grade observatory.

  • Broad, high plains and mountain wildlife.

  • Hiking, off-roading and snowshoeing in the Sangre De Cristos.

  • Fishing in high mountain lakes and streams.

  • Shakespeare, music and arts festivals.

The kitchenette is well stocked with staples and equipped for cooking. You’ll find ready-made entrees, coffee and tea to keep you going.


  • A well-stocked kitchenette with ready-to-heat meals and ample teas/coffee

  • Access to a 450-acre property that preserves antelope and elk migration patterns

  • A chapel/meditation room for contemplation, prayer or exercise

  • A labyrinth patterned after Chartes Cathedral (France)

  • A greenhouse with tropical plants, flowers and vegetables


Rancho Bendito is 13 miles north of Westcliffe, Colorado, a Dark Sky-certified Community with easy access to:

  • The Royal Gorge Region.

  • Monarch Mountain, Salida, the Collegiate Range.

  • Great Sand Dunes National Park.


From $350 / night

Astrophotography Experience

We reserve each month’s darkest nights for our exclusive Astrophotography Experience in the private, university-grade observatory at Rancho Bendito.

By day, wildlife and spectacular mountain views surround you. By night, can explore in the observatory, guided by an experienced amateur astronomer. Through various camera systems, you’ll see real-time images and photograph stars, planets, novae and other heavenly objects through telescopes as large as 17 inches.

For every three nights booked, your group can enjoy at least one captivating 90-minute tour and guided photography session. After your tour and tutorial on the equipment, the focus typically shifts to software that guides the telescope and manages the process of recording layered photographs depicting objects millions of light years away. (Link to pictures.)

We customize the observatory experience for all ages and knowledge levels. All you need is one budding or experienced astronomer in your group, and all will remember this unique time together. Afterward, we’ll send you up to five digital image files you may post to social media, print or otherwise use as you wish.


Another level of hospitality

Your stay includes breakfast fixings and ready-to-heat meals, allowing you to spend more time enjoying this unique property, its wildlife and educational experiences. Your host will make every reasonable effort to identify and meet any dietary preferences or restrictions.  


We set aside the darkest nights of each month for our exclusive Astrophotography Experience. This package includes:

  • Accommodation and meals at the three bedroom guest house.

  • A 90-minute educational experience in the observatory, using telescopes, cameras and sophisticated guided photography software.

  • Electronic copies of photographs captured during your or previous sessions.

Our package includes a three-day minimum stay, giving you access to:

  • A chapel/meditation room.

  • A European-style labyrinth.

  • A lush greenhouse with fresh salad greens and exotic tropical plants.

  • A 450-acre preserve (overseen by the San Isabel Land Protection Trust).


Rancho Bendito is 13 miles north of Westcliffe, Colorado with easy access to:

  • The Wet Mountain Valley.

  • The Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area.

  • The Royal Gorge and Arkansas River region.

  • Monarch Mountain skiing, Salida and the Collegiate Range.

  • Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve.


Observatory Technical Details

  • PlanWave, 17-inch, CDK Schmidt-Cassigrain telescope (an exclusive telescope with limited production and a very long waiting list).

  • Software Bisque Paramount ME mount, controlled by Software Bisque’s SkyX Professional Edition software.

  • SBIG 1001e camera.

  • Secondary telescope (140mm TEC Refractor).