Originally established as small working cattle ranch in 1878 by George Tarbell, as early as the 1900 the Lost Valley Ranch was being transitioned into a guest ranch. Scottish immigrant, Jim Graham and his wife Rhoda purchased the ranch in the early 1890s and added 160 acre parcels. As a means of supplementing the cattle business, the couple began hosting guests during the summers. In 1934, following the death of her husband, Rhoda sold ranch to Hugh Graham (no relation), who built five new cabins and began advertising “Graham’s Lost Valley Ranch” as a family destination for fishing and riding.
In 1961, Bob and Marion Foster acquired the ranch and soon transformed it into a one-of-a-kind guest ranch experience. The Foster family relocated from California in 1956 as Bob was offered employment in Colorado Springs. After a few years in Colorado, the couple decided to pursue their aspirations of running a dude ranch. Truly a family endeavor, Bob Jr. describes his “Dad was the face of the ranch, mom was the hands and feet.” Bob Jr. continued the family business while holding fast to its roots as working cattle ranch.
Hosting many families from all parts of the world, celebrities have also vacationed at the Lost Valley. Most notably, Walt Disney chose the ranch and the location for his family vacation in the 1960s. In June of 2002, the Lost Valley Ranch was changed forever as it was caught in the past of the Hayman fire that burned until July 19 consuming over 138,000 acres and 133 homes in the state. Fortunately, most of the structures were saved and while all the cattle were lost the landscape was altered, the ranch survived the disaster. Bob Jr. describes the fire as having a “profound impact” exposing rock formations previously hidden, transforming forests into to rolling hills and rocks. A silver lining to fire was the new growth of grass for grazing that has led to increased numbers of elk in the area and cattle production. Today, Tony and Brooke Warnock and their family are continuing the Foster’s legacy.