BackCountry Blog

Bring the Flavors of Fall Into Your Home

You may already have your pumpkins carved and candles lit, but nothing truly makes a home feel like fall without the harvest season foods we know and love: apples, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and — of course — pumpkin. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite fall recipes that celebrate autumnal flavors, so get ready to dig into these hearty, warming meals as you bring the tastes of fall into your home.

Sweet Potato Pancakes for Breakfast

Get your day started off right with a flavorful combination of sweet, savory, and spicy. Sweet potato pancakes are part pancake, part hash brown, and all delicious. Your home will smell absolutely scrumptious with the pancakes’ tart blend of sweet potatoes, apples, and onions. Top with cinnamon and brown sugar cream for a truly easy-yet-decadent fall brunch side –– or make it the star of the meal, we won’t judge!

Mushroom Crostini for Appetizers

If you’re looking for an easy last-minute savory appetizer that truly embodies the flavors of fall — and doesn’t star pumpkin or nutmeg — try a mushroom, blue cheese, and thyme crostini. Mushrooms bring out all of our favorite autumn feelings with their earthy, rich flavors, and creamy, tangy blue cheese is the perfect pairing. Crostini makes a simple-yet-sophisticated base for all of the rich flavors.

Short Rib Pot Pie for the Main Course

It’s finally cool enough to turn your oven on for a few hours, and what better way to welcome it back into your cooking routine than with a flaky, rich short rib pot pie? This meal is sure to impress with its complex herby flavors and homemade pastry, but there is no shame in using your favorite store-bought crust if you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Short ribs, onions, thyme, garlic, rosemary, red wine –– the base of the meal is simple, but together the flavors combine to make a rich and decadent pie that we can guarantee will have people clamoring for seconds. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll for Dessert

We couldn’t make a list of our top fall meals without including pumpkin! A pumpkin cheesecake roll looks much more complicated than it truly is. Don’t be fooled by the more impatient contestants of Great British Bake Off — roll the cake when it’s warm, don’t frost it before it’s completely cool, and you’ll have a beautiful pumpkin roll that will impress your guests as you slice into it.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies with the Little Ones

If baking with the youngsters in your life is part of your fall routine, we suggest stepping up your sugar cookie game by adding pumpkin to the recipe. A touch of glaze on top takes your basic sugar cookie to the next level. They’re easy to make and use common pantry ingredients, the flavor is just the right amount of spicy and sweet, and they stay soft for days –– if they can even last in your home that long!

Put on the fuzzy socks, flip on the fireplace, and enjoy the harvest flavors with all of the smells and tastes of fall that you know and love. What better place to celebrate the cozy season than in a home you love in our BackCountry community? We want to see what autumnal dishes you end up serving! Tag us in your foodie pictures on Facebook and Instagram with @BackCountryCo.

Fall In Love With Highlands Ranch

BackCountry is a master-planned community tucked into the south of the Denver metro area. You’ll fall in love with everything the community  has to offer this time of year — more than 70 miles of hiking and biking trails, neighborhood parks, farmers’ markets, and charming local features like the Highlands Ranch Mansion.

Here are a few autumn best bets!

Backcountry Wilderness Area: Fun Close To Home

The Backcountry Wilderness Area borders our BackCountry community, with 8,200 acres of open space dedicated to recreation, preservation, and wildlife habitat conservancy. In fact, the South Rim area of the Backcountry Wilderness Area has been set aside for the exclusive private use of BackCountry neighborhood residents! With regional trails and loops, you can spend the day hiking and biking close to home.

Highlands Ranch Mansion

Step back in time at the historic Highlands Ranch Mansion. The majestic stone exterior of the Mansion is truly breathtaking, and the inside is just as dazzling. Explore the interior during free open hours each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and take a guided or self-guided tour depending on your preferred pace. The harvest season is a particularly interesting time to wander through the 250-acre Historic Park, which includes a working ranch, period-accurate barns, and an iconic windmill. 

Gather Together in Local Parks

Highlands Ranch is known for its extensive park system. From popular neighborhood parks to larger community spaces, you’ll always find fun things to do. Splash and cool off in outdoor fountains and streams, spend the day relaxing and fishing at Redstone Pond, play sports on dozens of athletic fields and courts, or simply walk the winding paths to enjoy the gorgeous Rocky Mountain views.

Highlands Ranch Farmers’ Market

Support local vendors and find gorgeous artisanal foods and crafts at one of Denver’s best local markets, the Highlands Ranch Farmers’ Market. You’ll find the best of autumnal produce, homemade pastas, locally-grown flowers, freshly-baked breads, and more. We suggest bringing your own bags and comfortable walking shoes so that you can peruse stalls and talk to vendors at your leisure.

Events Around Highlands Ranch

Whether you’re looking for puppy yoga, local marathons, or beer festivals, you’ll find it in Highlands Ranch! The local entertainment scene is always bustling with fun activities, with more than 100 family-friendly community events each year — such as the upcoming Highlands Ranch Pioneer Days or Oktoberfest Celebration.

When you own a home at BackCountry, you’re sure to be smitten with the Highlands Ranch community — especially during the coziest season of them all. Better yet, take advantage of one of our currently-available homes so you can get in on the action and festivities right away!

Last-Minute Colorado Adventures

Now that the end of summer vacation is looming, you’ll probably want to squeeze in as many outdoor adventures as you can before the kids go back to school.

While you have plenty of hiking and biking adventure available right outside your back door in the BackCountry community and next door at the Backcountry Wilderness Area, you may be up for more challenging and Instagram-worthy experiences to get your thrill on.

So pack your gear, throw in extra water and sunscreen, and head to the highway — these adventures are calling.


Are you into the heart-pounding and adrenaline-fueled rush of a kayaking or whitewater rafting venture? Even if you’d rather float serenely in a canoe across tranquil waters, we’ve found these amazing trips around Colorado and parts of Utah that will give you the adventure you seek. Whether you’re a rafting rookie or a paddle sport expert, these group activities will provide an outdoorsy, get-back-to-nature experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Be sure to check with the experts before you go, because the heavy snow pack has made the waterways much more ferocious than in previous years.

Stand Up Paddleboard

Speaking of paddling, have you tried stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) yet? SUP is becoming an increasingly popular water sport and, lucky for you, Colorado is home to more than 2,000 reservoirs and lakes. Some of the more popular SUP destinations include scenic areas like Dillon Lake, Grand Lake, and Lake San Cristobal. If you’re pressed for time and can’t go too far, you can always SUP the day away at nearby Chatfield State Park.

Via Ferratas

Via ferratas are protected climbing routes that use a system of steel cables, iron rungs, ladders, and other hardware attached to a rock face. These routes are typically led by guides, so you won’t need much technical skill or experience to get across the route. Although they might be scary, if you’re all about conquering fears you’ll find several via ferrata locations around Colorado — including the Royal Gorge, Arapahoe Basin, and Mount Evans.

The Continental Divide Trail

Are you looking for the satisfactory feeling of accomplishment or doing some mid-life soul-searching? If so, maybe a long weekend or week-long hike along a revered trail is the perfect note to end your summer. The popular Continental Divide Scenic Trail (CDT) brings people of all walks of life together and serves as a living museum of the American West. While it traverses 800 miles across the Rockies, you can find the section you want to conquer and hike your way into the 3,000 milers club.

Isn’t this why you live in a beautiful place like Colorado? We hope you have time to take advantage of as many of these outdoor adventures as you can. And when you do, be sure you tag us in your pictures, so we can be inspired too!

Summer Fun for the Whole Family

Now that school is out and you have a whole summer vacation ahead of you, it’s time to take advantage of these long, sunny days and create wonderful family memories that will last for years to come.

To get the most out of your summer break, write down a list of activities and events you and your family members want to do in the next few months. That way, when boredom strikes, you can always refer to this “bucket list” to liven things up.

Here are some suggestions for your list:

Splash it Up at Chatfield Reservoir

Colorado may be landlocked, but you’ll still find plenty of places to engage in your favorite water sports. Activities at Chatfield Reservoir include boating, water skiing, sailing, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The marina also offers a rental fleet of power and paddling equipment. Check the website for rates, hours, or other information.

Park It at a Drive-In Movie

Have you ever taken your kids to a drive-in movie theater? Do they even know what a drive-in movie theater is? With only 330 drive-in theaters left throughout the U.S., Colorado is home to seven of them. Since the evenings are warming up, now is a perfect time to pile into the family-mobile, pack some homemade movie snacks, and watch the sunset before the movie begins.

Rough It Outdoors with a Camping Trip

Have you noticed that the western side of Colorado is essentially one giant camping playground? Whether your camping style is primitive or glam, you’ll find a campground to suit your needs. If you’re new to camping, here are some tips to help keep you from getting chased by a bear.

Hit the Trails for a Spectacular Hike

Every summer, hikers everywhere want to summit a 14er. Even if you’ve already climbed a few yourself, skip the tourist routes this year and seek out these gorgeous Colorado gems. Before embarking, make sure you research the level of difficulty involved in each hike, the best time of day to start, and how much water you should bring.

This list should help you get started on your upcoming summer adventures. You live in an amazing state that is loaded with all kinds of outdoor activities to take advantage of — hopefully the next three months will be full of celebrating and enjoying your summer vacation!

The Door is Closing on This Opportunity

Surrounded by so much natural beauty, BackCountry homes deserve to be exceptional. As the last chance to purchase a new home at BackCountry draws near, take note that a number of choice opportunities remain — including a few exquisite designs by Berkeley Homes.

For more than 30 years, Berkeley Homes has demonstrated a passion for their craft and the customers they serve, garnering a devoted clientele and numerous local and national awards. And now one of these exceptional Berkeley designs could be yours. The Milestone Collection is an intimate enclave of 36 Colorado-contemporary homes built on some of BackCountry’s final available home sites.

With three plans to choose from, these two-story homes range from 2,555 to 2,960 finished square feet and feature two-car or three-car tandem garages. Here you’ll be able to celebrate your Colorado setting with large outdoor living spaces, abundant windows to capture the natural light and views, and open plans for unforgettable entertaining. Several homes even offer garden level or walk-out basements for additional space.

Residence One

This fresh, contemporary two-story family home offers 2,555 finished square feet of bright living space. The open floorplan is suitable for family nights in or entertaining friends and guests. You’ll love the expansive windows, the downstairs study, the gourmet kitchen, and a private owner’s entry.

Residence Two

Revel in 2,846 square feet of loveliness. Walk in and you’ll be greeted with the warmth and spaciousness of the open-concept kitchen, dining, and living spaces. A study off to the side can be converted to an extra bedroom, and upstairs the master suite features a conveniently-located laundry room and the largest walk-in closet you’ve ever seen.

Residence Three

At 2,960 square feet, this floorplan is the most expansive option and it delivers in a big way. You’ll appreciate the enormous walk-in pantry and home center in the spacious kitchen. The upstairs features a large, luxurious master suite and two bedrooms with bath — and a loft area and additional bedroom can be added for more space.We invite you to come see these gorgeous homes for yourself. Reach out to us today and claim one of the most coveted homes in the BackCountry community before they’re all gone.

Get Ready For Your Best Summer Yet

Summer is here, which means pool days, slushie drinks, warm-weather outfits, and the anticipation of an unforgettable road trip. With so much to look forward to this season, you’ll have a hard time accomplishing everything you want to do. By the time September rolls around, you might wonder where all the time went.

The wonderful thing about summer is having so much family time, so it’s a good idea to make a plan for getting the most out of the next three months. Here are suggestions for ways you and your fam can have the most YOLO summer ever.

Sign up for Library Programs

Did you know that our local library system has a variety of free events for your kids? Think of it as a way to keep their brains from atrophying in the months away from the classroom. You can find all kinds of interesting programs and clubs, with topics ranging from arts/crafts and games to literacy and STEM.

Get Your House Summer Ready

Summer weekends include inviting over family and friends, grilling out in the backyard, sitting on the patio with a beverage, and playing outdoor games. Avoid nuisances by making sure all of your outdoor lights are in working order,  clearing debris out of your garden beds, and getting your lawn into shape. Be sure to give your patio grill a deep cleaning — you want those burgers and hot dogs to turn out perfect!

Go on Family Bike Rides

Group bike rides are an excellent way for your family members to bond — and introducing your children to biking at an early age can result in a lifelong healthy hobby.  Before you head out the door, make sure you’re using the proper biking gear and follow these tips for family biking safety.

Hit Several Farmers Markets This Year

Colorado hosts so many wonderful farmers markets around the state that it would be fun  to try and hit as many as possible this summer  to get a feel for your surrounding communities — and to help educate your kids about the benefits of freshly picked produce. Visiting multiple farmers markets also goes a long way in supporting local farmers.

Keep Allergies At Bay

Don’t let constant sniffling and sneezing ruin your summer. Keep your symptoms under control with a variety of tips, including nasal lavage, eating more fish oil, possibly avoiding dairy, and keeping your indoor air quality clean. When you feel at your best you can head outside and enjoy the outdoors all you want without consequence!

Are you ready to take on your summer? Make sure you get everything you can out of the next few months — and always remember to wear sunscreen.

Where Your Dream Home Meets Your Dream Community

If you’re searching for the right floorplan in the right community, you couldn’t pick a more perfect place. Richmond American Homes at BackCountry brings a personal approach to homebuilding to ensure that each new home has a one-of-a-kind look — not to mention our location in Highlands Ranch puts you close to everything that’s wonderful about living in Colorado.

It’s easy to see how Richmond American Homes has become so successful at BackCountry, since their plans appeal to homeowners with distinctive tastes and unique lifestyles, BackCountry’s gated community has many wonderful amenities to offer, including the award-winning Sundial House, which boasts an outdoor pool, a fitness studio, a demo kitchen, and an amphitheater. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the 8,200 acres of open space with trails and wilderness to explore, and parents will be happy about the proximity to Douglas County Schools. When you add it all up, it’s clear why BackCountry was named Community of the Year.

Inside each Richmond American Home you’ll spot quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, including the ever-popular open-space concept living. These ranch-style homes have been some of their most popular models, and each plan featured below comes with a two-car garage and a finished basement option:

The Garrison Plan

Greet guests with an inviting front porch that leads them to the center of the home. Here you’ll find the ultimate chef’s kitchen, with a large island, a walk-in pantry, and a double oven. The adjacent great room with fireplace and covered patio is ideal for gatherings of friends and family. The front-facing bedroom has a full bath and laundry room as well as a lavish master suite with private bath and an immensely large walk-in closet. If you need more sleeping space for guests, you have the option to add two bedrooms with bath and a rec room downstairs.

The Grady Plan

The Grady is a truly beautiful plan made for entertaining, boasting a gourmet kitchen with a large center island, a spacious dining area, and an adjacent great room with fireplace. Other highlights include a luxurious master suite with an attached bath and dual walk-in closets, as well as a spacious secondary bedroom with private bath. A covered patio and a convenient alley-entry garage are also featured. Need another guest room? Just add a third bedroom and bath downstairs, along with a rec room.

The Graham Plan (Available now!)

This stunning home will impress friends, families, and neighbors alike. Get ready to entertain in style — both indoors in the generous great room with contemporary fireplace and outside on the covered patio. The gourmet kitchen offers ample countertop and storage space, as well as a large walk-in pantry and a sprawling center island. A sophisticated master suite boasts a private bath with a walk-in shower and rain showerhead, while downstairs you can add two bedrooms with a bath and a rec room. It’s spring time — prime season for home shopping — so we hope you’ll stop by and see these gorgeous homes in person. No matter what your style is, Richmond American Homes and BackCountry are here to meet your needs. We’d also love to take you on a tour of the Sundial House and pool, which opens on May 24. Contact us today for a showing!

Best Trails Around South Metro Denver

Spring has sprung! If you’ve noticed the warmer temperatures and the chirping of birds, chances are you probably want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Dig your hiking gear out of the back of the closet, grab the kids (or a buddy), and make your way to one of these nearby trails to enjoy the change of seasons.

Waterton Canyon

This flat, out-and-back hike for all ages allows you to choose your own distance — plus it’s stroller-friendly. If you arrive early enough, you might spy a few bighorn sheep or even catch the sight of an eagle soaring overhead! You can hike, bike, and fish on this winding dirt trail, but unfortunately your pooch needs to stay at home.

Helen Hunt Falls

Choose your own adventure at this gorgeous landmark — enjoy the gorgeous view either from the base of the falls next to the visitor center or from a bridge across the falls. For a longer and demanding hike, pick the 4-mile trail that goes from the bottom of Cheyenne Canyon up to the falls.

Roxborough State Park

This is a popular hike for family and visiting friends, as the trails are ranked from easy to moderate. Willow Creek is an ideal beginners trail that features views of the striking red rock formations that make this park truly spectacular. For more of a challenge, the Carpenter Peak Trail offers a strenuous 6.2 mile out-and-back trip that will get your heart rate going!

Chatfield Park

This park with a reservoir offers 10 miles of paved trails for strollers and skaters and 16 miles of non-paved trails for hikers and mountain bikers. All trails are rated easy to moderate, so they’re safe for young children and flatlanders. Even though dogs have to be leashed on the trails, you will find an off-leash area where your pup can roam free.

Don’t these trails sound perfect for an outdoor excursion? Before you head out, make sure you’re carrying your10 essentials; There’s more to hiking than comfortable boots and energy bars, so make sure you’re carrying enough water and the necessary gear, even for a short day hike.

In addition, you’ll want to check trail conditions ahead of time. Even though the snow may have melted around your neighborhood, you could still encounter ice, snow, and mud on the trails. Check trail reports online, but always bring traction gear and hiking poles just in case.

Happy hiking!

Get The Best of Both Worlds with the Shadow Walk Collection

One world offers access to top-rated schools, fantastic shopping, fine dining, and so much more. The other shares a border with the serene and picturesque Colorado wilderness. What if you could have the best of both worlds in a single gated community?

This is what makes BackCountry such a distinctive and sought-out neighborhood — it seamlessly brings these two worlds together. You’re close to the conveniences of the thriving Highlands Ranch scene, and even closer to the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area.

On April 13, you can make this combined world a reality as Shea Homes opens sales on their model homes in the Shadow Walk Collection at BackCountry. This collection features one ranch and three 2-story homes for sale, each with stunning designs and curb appeal. Ranging from 2,875 square feet to 4,396 square feet, these plans offer open-concept living, gourmet kitchens, soaring ceilings, and lots of outdoor spaces to enjoy our 300 days of year-round sunshine.


This two-story home is made for a large, active Colorado family thanks to 3,357 square feet of living space, five bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and a two-bay plus one-bay garage. You’ll feel right at home as soon as you walk into the great room with its brick fireplace, and turn to see a spacious designer kitchen with large island and built-in refrigerator. Upstairs, a roomy loft gives everyone a space to gather for reading, studying, or socializing, and the second-floor laundry room makes clean-up so much easier. The 1,361-square foot basement can be finished for additional living space.

Autumn Haven

If you like lots of elbow room then this is the home for you — the Autumn Haven offers 2,875 square feet, four bedrooms, and 3.5 baths. You’ll love the open-concept downstairs, featuring a large dining area that opens to an expansive covered patio, a huge great room, and an enormous laundry room with a project desk. Upstairs, you’re greeted by a loft with built-in bookshelves and bench, plus a spacious master suite with a sitting area and two walk-in closets.


This ranch plan has everything you need on one level, with loft upstairs and a finish basement for more space. Picture what your life would look like across 4,396 square feet, four bedrooms, and 3.5 baths of gorgeous space. The great room impresses with its vaulted ceiling, fireplace, and built-in cabinetry, and the morning room off the kitchen opens to a covered patio. The main floor master suite features a tub and walk-in shower, while a second-floor loft can be used as your own personal craft room.


Welcome to a home that embraces the contemporary but still maintains classic touches. This 3,594-square foot, five-bedroom, 4.5 bath home features modern conveniences like stainless steel appliances and a large walk-in pantry, as well as a formal dining room and plantation shutters. The morning room off the kitchen opens to a covered patio and the main floor library is complete with built-in cabinetry and shelves. Upstairs, you have the luxury of a second-floor laundry room with sink. Downstairs, you have a 1,569-square foot unfinished basement.

We invite you to visit BackCountry on April 13 so you can explore the Shadow Walk Collection and learn more about the available houses for sale — plus our wonderful community amenities.

Become Enthralled With the Water Dance

Beginning in March,Shea Homes will release the model homes from the Water Dance Collection, offering the best of both worlds: convenient, amenity-rich living in south Denver plus adventure right outside your back door.

You’ll find these homes inBackCountry, which was named the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver’s Community of the Year in 2011. This premier gated master-planned community is surrounded by shopping, dining, and much more, including the stunning 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area adjacent to the neighborhood.

The Water Dance Collection at BackCountry includes one spacious ranch plan and five inspired two-story plans with gourmet kitchens, three- and four-bay garages, and spectacular outdoor living spaces perfect for soaking up that Colorado sunshine. These homes range from 2,830 to 3,908 square feet and offer a variety of design options.

Northern Sky

This single-familyhome offers two stories and 3,439 square feet of elbow room. With four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and a three-bay garage, you’ll love how this floorplan flows effortlessly across an open concept kitchen and great room to the outdoor dining terrace with fireplace. Upstairs, you’ll appreciate a laundry room between the bedrooms and an optional loft space for reading, crafting, or studying.

Serenity Star

Imagine walking out of your gorgeous 4,924 square-foothome and into your covered outdoor great room, complete with fireplace. Why settle for a simple porch when you can have a wraparound living space with open views of your beautiful surroundings? The high ceilings, large kitchen, and formal dining room make this home the perfect place to entertain. Upstairs, the enormous master suite features an optional fireplace, two large walk-in closets, and a spacious master bath with a walk-in shower. Downstairs, you’ll find a finished basement with a wet bar and built-in media center.


Spread throughout this 3,795 square foothome are spacious rooms, unique amenities, and features you weren’t expecting. Step across hand-scraped 6” Amish hickory wood floors. Enjoy an outdoor wraparound greater room with optional fireplace. Impress guests with your wine room and walk-in beverage refrigerator. Watch the sun rise from the outdoor sky terrace off your master bedroom


Our most spaciousfloorplan may be large — measuring 5,136 square feet — but still feels intimate at the same time. Abundant windows around the great room let in Colorado’s natural light, while a hearth room with fireplace warms up the open concept kitchen on cold mornings. A formal dining room with wine reserve lends elegance to every dinner party, and the upstairs master suite features the largest dual walk-in closet you’ve ever seen. You’ll appreciate the finer touches including Caeserstone countertops in the master bath and custom built-ins in the master closet.

Call 720.344.2900 today to schedule a visit.