Holiday Homes in Custer County and Westcliffe

vacation home

Rancho Bendito

Designer Home   •   Private Observatory   •   450-Acre Land Trust

Bring together the people you love for an unforgettable experience of the great outdoors and the majestic night sky. This home was designed and built by a leading architect and boasts a private university-grade observatory along with a greenhouse, labyrinth and meditation chapel in a 450-acre land trust. Perfect environment for recovery from noisy, busy city life. We recommend a minimum of three nights to for a healthy dose of 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 3 bedroom, 1 bath commercial-grade home with incredible views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and access to all that the Wet Mountain Valley and the Royal Gorge Region offers.


  • Milky Way like nowhere else!

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

  • Broad array of high plains and mountain wildlife

  • Hike, ATV, Snowshoe the Sangre De Cristos

  • Fish high mountain lakes and streams

  • Shakespeare, Music and Art Festivals

The kitchenette is well stocked with staples and equipped for cooking.  Ready-made entrees, coffee and tea provided.


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

  • Access to 450-acre land trust that preserves antelope and elk migration patterns

  • Chapel / meditation room for contemplation, prayer or exercise

  • Labrynth patterned after Chartes Cathedral (France)

  • Greenhouse - tropical plants and flower


Rancho Bendito is 13 miles north of Westcliffe, Colorado,  a Dark Skies Certified Community with easy access to:

  • Royal Gorge Region

  • Monarch Mountain, Salida, Collegiate Range

  • 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, you will experience a university-grade observatory, with guidance from an experienced amateur astronomer. Through various types of cameras you 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 will be captivated by a 90-minute tour and guided photography session on at least one of those nights. 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 your group, and all will remember this unique time together. Afterward, we’ll send you up to five digital image files that 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 more spend 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.  


The darkest nights of each month are set aside for an 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 photos taken during your or previous sessions.

Package has a three-day minimum giving you access to:

  • Chapel / meditation room

  • European-style labyrinth

  • Lush greenhouse with fresh salad greens and exotic tropical plants.

  • 450-acre land trust (part of San Isabel Trust)


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

  • Wet Mountain Valley

  • Sangre de Cristo Range

  • Royal Gorge/Arkansas River Region

  • Monarch Resort, Salida, Collegiate Range

  • Great San Dunes National Monument


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)