Colorado Timberline Academy is proud to have served students for more than 45 years!


Colorado Timberline Academy, a nonprofit co-educational boarding school, opened its doors in September of 1975. During the four years prior to 1975, our basic philosophy was implemented in another school, Buckingham Academy, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. When Buckingham closed its doors, a small group of dedicated teachers, parents and students sought to find a new school location in order to continue that unique educational experience initiated at Buckingham.

Durango, Colorado was chosen because of its small-town atmosphere, convenience to a local college, proximity to both mountains and desert, and possibilities for numerous outdoor educational facilities. We rented a popular local dude ranch during the winter months for our first three years of operating as a school in Durango.

Initially, many of our ideas could have been considered experimental. Our first year of operation provided a stern test of our ideas. Only through a remarkable degree of cooperation and dedication were we able to survive. The spirit of mutual support developed that first year has become a key ingredient in determining the quality of each successive school year.

Our second and third years were spent refining and expanding our ideas and programs. As our experiment continued to provide successful results, we began to realize that in order to become more stable and permanent, we needed to own our facility.

In the fall of 1978, we moved to our present location. Operated as a dude ranch and a resort since the 1930s, and known variously as Pinkerton Hot Springs, El Rancho Encantado, and the Golden Horseshoe, our facility has rustic charm and a long history. We have been renovating the various buildings since 1978 and are still in the process of tailoring the entire complex to our needs and desires.