Sand Dune Park Ride

Colorado USA: (RTCO08)

Colorado USA
The Great Sand Dunes National Park is the United States newest National Park, which officially came to be in September 2004. They are North America’s highest and tallest dunes, with the tallest one, Star Dune, reaching 750 feet above the valley floor.

This wilderness journey is for both experienced and beginning riders. The horses are sure-footed, no nonsense and willing. Mountain riding techniques are taught as we travel. Our philosophy is simple; the more you know about your horse and equipment, the more you will enjoy your vacation.

Although the distance we'll travel is not excessive, the riding is adventurous along steep trails with spectacular scenery. We'll share our extensive knowledge of geology, plants, wildlife, and history of the area. Those who have less riding experience particularly enjoy this trip as an excellent learning experience. Advanced riders enjoy the additional hands-on experience and scenic country of this little known area of Colorado.
You will see a unique sight in North America - the largest sand dunes in the Western Hemisphere! In addition, we'll take you to remote mountain valleys, ride past old west ghost towns, and allow you time to play in mountain creeks and waterfalls. Maybe we'll even see some Bison!

The route begins at Music Pass and then over the top of the range into the wilds of the Sand Creek drainage. We work our way down Sand Creek to a little known route at the base to join a trail heading to the Sand Dunes. We'll camp close to the Sand Dunes and enjoy a day riding on sand mountains. Then we exit out Madano Pass to our trail head once again on the eastern side of the Sangres.
The group works as a team. Everyone participates in saddling, care of horses and in setting-up/breaking-down camp. The staff cook, clean up, and pack horses. This is an expedition, lightweight and mobile, utilizing all hands towards the ultimate goal of reaching the next pass, or catching sight of the moving forest of elk. Doing it simply. Responding to the call.


This is a progressive ride where nights are spent at different locations.

The first night is spent at a hotel and the remaining 4 nights are spent camping.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Radisson Inn Colorado Springs Airport
Night 2-5: Camping

Radisson Inn Colorado Springs Airport
This hotel provides a free transfer service to the airport as well as free Wi-Fi and a hot breakfast buffet.
The rooms are modern and include a flat-screen TV, microwave, min-fridge and a private bathroom. You can also relax in the hot tub, sun terrace or indoor pool.

Guests stay in two- to four-person wall tents with comfortable foam beds.The camp is equipped with a propane-fired camp shower and a wood-stove heated sweat lodge that is a great place to work out your cares and worries after a hard day of horseback riding.
The group will work as a team. Everyone participates in the care and saddling of their horses and the setting up and breaking down of personal tents. The staff cooks, cleans and pack the horses.

We can supply saddlebags, sleeping bags, ground mats, and duffel on request for additional fee.

Room Occupancy
Single tents can be requested at no extra fee but a single supplement applies for the first night at a Colorado Springs hotel.

All meals are included (from breakfast on day 2 to lunch on last day) except in Colorado Springs. Meals on the first day are not included but we offer 20% off for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant in Colorado Springs.

Dietary Restrictions
We have experience with and are happy to accommodate special dietary needs such as Kosher, vegetarian, and lactose-free. Just let us know when you make your reservations of your special needs.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


The ranch owns 60 head of Appaloosa and Paint horses. The horses are sure-footed, no nonsense and willing. We will assign you your own horse and teach you how to saddle, picket and care for it.

Riding Experience
Our trip begin with hands-on instruction on saddling and care of your mount. At the same time, our program allows for diversity to accommodate and challenge the advanced rider as well. Our philosophy is simple; the more you know about your horse and equipment, the more you will enjoy your vacation.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
Arrival in Colorado Springs and transfer (shuttle) to your Hotel near the airport. Dinner is not included but you have a 20% discount at the restaurant.
Overnight at Hotel in Colorado Springs

Day 2 (Monday): Ride to Basecamp
Full hot breakfast the next morning starting at 6 AM.  7:30 Am, pick up and transfer to trailhead. We'll drive 2 hours to the Ranch where we'll rendezvous with those who've chosen to meet us there. Traveling by van we drive south to the trailhead on the eastern side of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Range. On the way, we drive past the five 14,000 ft. peaks which sit together in a towering cluster in the heart of the Sangres - Humboldt, Kit Carson, Challenger, and finally Crestone and Crestone Needle, some of the most difficult 14ers in the state.
Arriving at the trailhead, as our pack string is loaded with duffels and supplies, one of your two wrangler-guides will give you and your friends or family detailed instructions on riding, saddling and the care of your mount. When all is ready, we pack up our gear and head out for our camp in the National Park.
Traveling further south along the Rainbow Trail we work our way down to Medano Pass, where we travel over the pass via a rough and rocky 4-wheel drive road. According to legend, this is the pass reportedly used by one-time residential candidate Captain John Fremont in his ill advised foray into the San Luis valley where he lost over half his men in the bitter winter passage and just before he was captured by the Spaniards. Hoping to fare better than Capt. Fremont, we travel over and down the West side of Medano pass until we reach one of our several high camps, which will become our home for the next three days. While some help water and picket the horses, others help set up the kitchen and personal tents. Soon we are indulging in favorite beverages around the campfire and thinking about tomorrow while waiting for a sumptuous meal cooked cowboy style.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping

Day 3 (Tuesday): Ride to sand Dunes Monument
The next morning, we awake to cowboy coffee and a hearty breakfast before saddling our horses and riding down to the Dunes, located along the western base of the Sangre's. Riding in to the Monument Portion of the park we turn south to ride along Medano Creek to the highest dunes. In the middle of the day, we are all free to explore the mysterious and overwhelming sand dunes, check out the visitors center and splash around in Medano Creek. Later, we'll enjoy lunch amongst the ancient pines and cottonwoods. Leaving the Monument and re-entering into our alpine preserve we return to our comfortable camp for another evening of tall tales around the campfire under the brightest stars you've ever seen..
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping

Day 4 (Wednesday): Ride to Medano Lake
Again, we start the day with unlimited cowboy coffee and a hearty breakfast and then it's off to the high timberline section of the Park. Today we ride to Medano Lake which sits at 11,750’ and is nestled in an Alpine Cirque, right below 13,297 ft. Mt. Herald. Here we will have lunch and spend the afternoon hiking, fishing, climbing or just relaxing.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping

Day 5 (Thursday): Ride along Sand Creek
By now we are old hands at saddling and handling our horses. Riding back to the Monument this time we turn our horses north along the Sand Creek Trail. Passing through Heavenly Valley, we cross Cold Creek on our way to Sand Creek and the Star Dune Complex. Returning to Camp for our last night we are tired but find ourselves already reminiscing about our adventurous past few days.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping

Day 6 (Friday): Departure
Reluctantly departing our peaceful camp, we climb out over Medano Pass once more, looking back over our shoulders at the top for one last look at the mysterious Sand Dunes, and the wide, shimmering San Louis valley. Descending down the pass, we soon meet the waiting van and the end of our mountain odyssey. We are back at the road too soon, and talk and reminisce about our adventure as we our horses neigh softly, awaiting transport home. We drive you back to Colorado Springs in time for late evening flights or for a restful evening in a hotel (not included).
At the end of your trip you will be brought back to Colorado Springs sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 pm. We recommend making prior lodging reservations if you plan to spend the night. If you must fly out that evening, please do not schedule a flight before 8:30 pm, to make certain you can make your flight. 
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Rates and Dates for Sand Dune Park Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations, Meals from breakfast on day 2 to lunch on last day, 5 riding days & Transfers
Saddle bags provided
Sleeping bags, ground mats, and duffel can be provided on request for additional fee ($35US per item)

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    20216 day trip, AP$1850

Tax 1: 3 % * prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
Tax: 3 %  

Transfer and Other Charges:

2021 Transfer to/from Colorado Springs Airport is included by hotel $0
2021 Single supplement for the first night at hotel $100
2021 Extra night at hotel, per room incl. tax
This is a "Group Rate"
2021 Sleeping bag and mat rental -- please inquire
- to be paid locally
2021 Small group supplement (3 pax only) PP $335

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 08/19 - 08/24 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired
A 2021 08/22 - 08/27 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired
A 2021 08/29 - 09/03 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired
A 2021 09/05 - 09/10 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired
A 2021 09/12 - 09/17 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired
A 2021 09/19 - 09/24 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Meals on first day (20% off for dinner at the hotel restaurant), Gratuities & Taxes

Other Info
Meeting: Colorado Springs
Airport: Colorado Springs
Transfer: Colorado Springs hotel 7:30 am on Day 2.

                                            Westcliffe area














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The weather is quite unpredictable; it can snow even in August, so be prepared for anything! Use the layer system of clothing, where items can be added or taken off with changes in temperature. On May, June or September trips snow and hail are common. The most important thing to bring is your cheerful acceptance of whatever surprises the wilderness may hold in store!

Colorado has 4 distinct seasons. Autumn brings unpredictable snowstorms, generally beginning in September, before relatively mild winters create a heaven for outdoor enthusiast. March is often the snowiest month, though the weather is notoriously undependable.

Summertime sees the temperature increasing, but it never gets too hot. It is usually dry at that time of the year; however, thunderstorms can happen anytime.

What To Bring:
Riding helmets are mandatory for riders 16 year and under. Riders over 16 yrs can sign a Waiver locally if they prefer not wear a helmet (always recommended). The ranch does have helmets available, but we recommend to bring your own for best fit. Saddle bags are available to borrow for the trip.

2 pr. long
2 pr. shorts

1 heavy long sleeve (cotton is cold when wet)
1 lightweight long sleeve
1 short sleeve
2 T-shirts or tank tops

Long underwear bottoms or biker shorts (to combat saddle sores)

Boots for riding (lightweight narrower hiking boots are more versatile)
Tennis shoes or something similar for around camp
Socks -- 4 or 5 pairs of heavy cotton or wool

Sweater (wool or synthetic)
Warm parka or jacket
Windproof outer jacket (optional)
Two piece rain suit (slicker with rain pants) NO PONCHOS PLEASE (essential!)
Gloves (for warmth)
Hat with brim (for sun, hail, and snow protection (must have some form of stampede string if worm while riding)
Wool hat (for warmth)

Other Items
Duffel bag or sea bag (to pack items onto packhorses -- (must be soft-sided))
Day pack or saddle bags (to carry things during the day- we have some to borrow, but please ask ahead of time)
Warm sleeping bag (good at least to 30° F.) (We can rent bags for you if told in advance.)
Foam pad or air mattress (such as a CampRest or ThermoRest)
Sunglasses (all glasses must have string/elastic strap)
Pocket knife
Canteen or plastic water bottle

Towel & washcloth
Biodegradable soap
Tooth brush and paste
Sun screen
Lip balm
Hand lotion
Shaving kit
Personal medication
Insect repellent

Candy, gum or tobacco items
Camera and extra film (you may wish to include a disposable waterproof camera for rainy days)
Note pad, guides & field glasses
Liquor / Alcohol (placed in unbreakable containers)
Cash for incidentals, tips, etc.
Fishing gear (collapsible rod is best)

Pack your gear into your duffel bag and day pack. The maximum weight allowable for your duffel bag is 40 pounds (for the sake of the pack horses.
Your duffel bag will not be available during the day. Your day pack or saddlebags should hold rain gear, water bottle, gloves and other items you will want during the day.
Your guide will show you how to best strap it to your saddle. Line the duffel and day bag with a garbage bag or zip lock.
The weather is unpredictable; it can snow even in August, so be prepared for anything. Use the layer system of clothing, where items can be added or taken off with changes in temperature.
On May, June or September trips snow and hail are common. The most important thing to bring is your cheerful acceptance of whatever surprises the wilderness may hold in store! 

We are able to sleeping bags, ground mats, and duffel on request for additional fee ($35US per item). Please inquire.