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Bison and Cattle Working Ranch in Colorado


Itinerary for Bison and Cattle Working Ranch in Colorado




Our Ranch
Central to what we do is maintaining our ranching heritage while enhancing the natural landscape. Our philosophy maintains that a balance must be struck between the management of a healthy and vigorous ecosystem and a sustainable land-based business that supports the people living on the land. We feel that our ranching and conservation work in partnership with The Nature Conservancy is an important model for preserving large scale ranch lands in the western United States. Guests at the Ranch can choose from a wide range of activities and programs offered both on the ranch and at nearby locations. In addition to our full-slate of ranching and horseback activities, we offer gold medal fly fishing, nature hikes, birding, wildlife watching, rock climbing, photography tours, and more. No activities are held on the day of arrival or Sundays, however we are happy to arrange a fishing or rafting trip.

Check out the special Theme Weeks throughout the season.

Horseback Experiences
Come ride with us, work and drive cattle, ride through the bison herd, and explore the Sand Dunes National Park while we help you to focus on improving your horsemanship and riding skills. We invite you come and ride one of our ranch horses, or to bring your own horse. We welcome guests of all experience levels as we have a solid herd of horses and will take time to provide education opportunities based on a rider’s skill set. Formal instruction and horsemanship demonstrations from our expert wranglers are available at any point during your stay.

Ranching Experiences
While we try to use horses as much as possible in our ranch work (“use grass, not gas”), not all of a modern day cowboy’s work occurs horseback. For those interested in experiencing the full range of a rancher’s daily work, guests are invited to join our cowboys as they monitor herd health, check and fix fence, irrigate farmland, assess pasture conditions, and perform any number of other activities required on a working ranch. Guests will also learn about important land conservation management practices, grass-fed cattle and bison production, and our prescriptive grazing program. Our programs are designed to put guests safely in the middle of this work, allowing our visitors to contribute and learn by gaining hands-on experience.

Nature Experiences
Not all guests choose to be in the saddle each day. For those who want to learn about our majestic surroundings in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, we offer a full slate of nature experiences to ranch guests. Simply let our staff know your preferences, and we can organize hikes into the adjacent Great Sand Dunes National Park, the Medano meadows, or the many lakes that dot the ranch and the nearby mountains. These expeditions can be self-guided or led by a local guide knowledgeable in our area’s history, geology, bird species, and other native plant and animal life. We also offer photography-themed outings, interpretive nature walks, and informational tours of our bison herd.

Guided Naturalist and Birding Tours
Our guided outings are half-day or whole day, your preference, and are offered at no additional cost. These tours are a great way to learn about the San Luis Valley and local ecology. Tours are based on where you'd like to go and can include trips to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, our historic ranch headquarters and wild bison pasture, as well as other nearby locations and preferred hikes, where you will have opportunities to identify native plants and wildlife.

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Other Activities- available at additional cost

On Site Activities

Wildlife & Landscape Photography Tours with Professional Photographer Steve Weaver
Spend a day honing your skills and exploring the ranch and San Luis Valley. For beginners to pros, you'll learn everything from basic techniques to high-level skills and discovering more about your camera. What you'll learn is up to you and can be completely customized as you're out in the field with Steve. 
$150 pp (Please note there is a 50% cancellation fee).

Massage & Wellness Services
We offer a variety of massage and wellness services.
Starting at $85/pp.

Off Site Activities

Fly Fishing
Nearly half of the rivers that comprise Colorado’s gold medal trout waters are located within an hour’s drive of the ranch. With the Arkansas River to the north, the Rio Grande River to the west, and the Conejos River to the south, the Ranch's central location makes it a prime headquarters for trophy trout fishing. There are also several seasonal lakes closer to the ranch for those seeking a nearby outing. Guests are free to explore any of these waters on their own, or can schedule guided trips through local fly shops. Fishing trips are not included in our normal fee, but we are happy to help you book your trip with a high quality guiding service. We recommend scheduling prior to your visit in order to ensure availability. 
Ask for a custom quote.

Whitewater Rafting
Available May to Mid-August - For those with a thirst for adventure, whitewater rafting is available an hour north in Salida, Colorado. These trips offer a unique—and adrenaline-filled—way of viewing the scenic Arkansas River and the canyon that meanders with the river’s rushing waters. Whitewater rafting fees are not included in the price of a normal stay, but the Ranch staff is happy to assist you with your reservation. In order to ensure availability, we recommend you make arrangements before arriving for your stay.
Starting at $60pp/half day.

Rock Climbing
Renowned climbing and bouldering for beginners to experts. Available in two locations that climbers from around the world specifically seek out - Penitente Canyon outside of Monte Vista, Colorado, and Tres Piedras, New Mexico.
Starting at $30pp.

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We pride ourselves in being able to customize our itineraries based on our guests' preferences. Please note that the itinerary below is only a sample, and will be adjusted to fit your needs.

Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Sunday
Welcome! Take some time to walk around the grounds, explore the lodge and surrounding walking trails, and get settled. The Program's Manager will be in the office until 5:00pm to talk in more detail about your stay and to confirm what you would like to do for the week.
6:00pm: Appetizers and wine will be ready at the bar of the main lodge.
6:30pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room of the main lodge.

Monday
7:00am: Cold breakfast and coffee will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:00am: Hot breakfast will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:30am: A Wrangler will pick you up at the lodge and walk with you down to the corrals to meet your horse for the week and go over a quick riding and safety orientation. From the corrals, you will load up in truck and trailer to go for a ride on the Medano side of the ranch. Ride out from the Original Homestead and enjoy a ride among the wild bison herd, the spectacular scenery of the wetlands, and up Sand Creek bed towards the National Park boundary.
Enjoy your lunch out in the field and have a great ride.
3:00pm: If you are feeling up for it after your ride, head to the Great Sand Dunes National Park to hike, explore around Medano Creek, and possibly even go sledding down the steep dune cliffs.
6:00pm: Appetizers and wine will be ready at the bar of the main lodge.
6:30pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room of the main lodge.

Tuesday
7:00am: Cold breakfast and coffee will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:00am: Hot breakfast will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:30am: A wrangler will pick you up at the lodge with truck and trailer to go for a spectacular ride through Great Sand Dunes National Park—up the creek bed, along the dunes, all through the ponderosa pine forest, and up into the mountains behind the dunes.
Enjoy your lunch out in the field and have a great ride.
3:00pm: Hike up to Zapata Falls, a .3 mile scenic hike up to a stunning waterfall with spectacular views of the San Luis Valley and the Great Sand Dunes.
6:00pm: Appetizers and wine will be ready at the bar of the main lodge.
6:30pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room of the main lodge.

Wednesday
7:00am: Cold breakfast and coffee will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:00am: Hot breakfast will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:30am: Walk down to the corrals to meet your wrangler and horses. From the corrals, you will ride out from the Zapata side of the ranch to explore the ranch’s meadows, canyons, and cottonwoods. You might even discover on your ride that there are cows & calves that will need to be moved to new pasture.
Enjoy your lunch out in the field and have a great ride.
4:00pm: Head down to the Mercantile for appetizers, refreshments and a leatherworking session with the Wranglers. Learn some basic repairs and perhaps purchase a belt, bracelet or keychain to personalize with stamping and tooling to take home with you.
6:30pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room of the main lodge.

Thursday
7:00am: Cold breakfast and coffee will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:00am: Hot breakfast will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:30am: A wrangler will pick you up at the lodge with truck and trailer to return to the Medano side of the ranch, this time to explore the ranch’s hidden lakes and then up Sand Creek, a sandy creek bed surrounded by cottonwoods, and up into small, surrounding sand dunes.
Enjoy your lunch out in the field and have a great ride.
3:00pm: If you are in the mood for a more intensive hike, head up Mosca Pass, a longer, but fantastic hike with wonderful views of the Valley. Otherwise, you let us know what you might prefer to do with your afternoon.
6:00pm: Appetizers and wine will be ready at the bar of the main lodge.
6:30pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room of the main lodge.

Friday
7:00am: Cold breakfast and coffee will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:00am: Hot breakfast will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:30am: Walk down to the corrals to meet your wrangler and horses. From the corrals you will ride out to further explore the Zapata side of the ranch. If there any riding techniques you’d like to learn more about or perhaps head out to the cattle herd to practice sorting, just ask your wrangler!
Enjoy your lunch out in the field and have a great ride.
4:00pm: Head to the Mercantile lawn for appetizers, refreshments, and a roping demonstration led by the Wranglers. Learn to coil and throw a rope using a roping dummy.
6:30pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room of the main lodge.

Saturday
7:00am: Cold breakfast and coffee will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:00am: Hot breakfast will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:30am: A wrangler will pick you up at the lodge with truck and trailer to return to the Great Sand Dunes. Spend some more time exploring Medano Creek or perhaps ride up into the Preserve amongst the Pines and Aspens for a beautiful ride.
Enjoy your lunch out in the field and have a great ride.
3:00pm: Free afternoon! Take some time to explore the ranch or relax in the hot tub, if there is anything you’d like to see or re-visit on your last afternoon, just let us know!
6:00pm: Appetizers and wine will be ready at the bar of the main lodge.
6:30pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room of the main lodge.

Sunday
7:00am: Cold breakfast and coffee will be ready in the lodge dining room.
8:00am: Hot breakfast will be ready in the lodge dining room.
10:00am: Checkout, but please feel free to stay and relax or explore once you’ve checked out of your room.
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Bison and Cattle Working Ranch in Colorado
Tour Code: WRCO01
8 days / 7 nights ~$2,765.00
Dates : March-October, custom dates possible with 3+ nights

Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
ABeginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
BNovice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
CIntermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
EAdvanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handlinga spirited horse in open country.
Lodging: Standard
Lodging Level Explained
   
= Facilities in lodges, estancias, haciendas, resorts, etc.
   
Basic lodging - some with shared bathroom facilities, usually no AC or room service.
Regular standard room - usually with private bath.
 Accommodations with superior comforts.
   
 = Trips with nights in tent camps. Sometimes the first and last night are in hotels.
   
Basic tent camping - everyone helps out with camp chores.
Regular standard with some camp amenities and camp cook.
Camping facilities with superior comforts like camp shower, bathroom facility..
   
 = Trips that combine nights in hotels and camping.
   
Basic accommodation and basic camping facilities can be expected.
Regular standard with some nicer amenities.
Only assigned to hotel and camping facilities with superior comforts.

Online Reservation


Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 03/01 - 10/31 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - Ranch Week,... 1 /15 Reserve
B 2019 03/01 - 10/31 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP - Ranch Week,... 1 /15 Reserve
C 2019 03/01 - 10/31 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP - Ranch Week,... 1 /15 Reserve
D 2019 03/01 - 10/31 5d / 4n 5 day trip, AP - Ranch Week,... 1 /15 Reserve
E 2019 03/01 - 10/31 4d / 3n 4 day trip, AP - Ranch Week... 1 /15 Reserve
Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Accommodation
Themed Weeks
Tack: Western
Horses: Quarter, Paint
Pace: All paces, riding from 4 to 10 hours a...
Walk, Trot, Canter,
Airport: San Luis Valley Regional Airport (ALS)
Location on Google Map
Image Gallery
Image Slide Show
Customer Trip Rating
Climate
What To Bring
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