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Ranchlands Stay

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Special Events 2017


Join long-time Zapata Ranch photographer Steve Weaver and naturalist John Rawinski for a photography workshop to document the spring migration of over 30,000 Sandhill Cranes across the ranch and San Luis Valley. In addition to capturing the cranes, spend time on the ranch photographing bison, historic ranch structures and our ranching way of life.
Cost: $2,100 pp includes all meals, activities and lodging.

March Highlights: 30,000 cranes migrate through the San Luis Valley and across Zapata Ranch.

April Highlights: Calving begins across all ranches and the spring songbird migration begins at Chico Basin Ranch.


Take part in ranching’s oldest tradition and learn to wrestle a calf, vaccinate, ear tag and gather. This is a hands-on, team-oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action.
Cost: $2,750 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging.


Another opportunity to take part in ranching’s oldest tradition and learn to wrestle a calf, vaccinate, ear tag and gather. This is a hands-on, team-oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action.
Cost: $2,750 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging.

May Highlights: Bison calves are born and the wild rises bloom across Zapata Ranch. Sand Creek flows through Zapata Ranch with runoff from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. New foals are born at Chico Basin Ranch. Cattle branding begins.


For the third year at Zapata Ranch, Dr. Bonney MacDonald will lead a special womens retreat that focuses on literature, horsemanship and the land. Each day you will read and discuss stories that are written about the land, experiences in the west and horsemanship techniques penned by some of the leading horsemen and women of our time. Participants will also have opportunities to horseback ride through our 2,000 head wild bison herd, through the Great Sand Dunes National Park and amongst the cattle herd.
Cost: $2,750 pp includes all meals, activities and lodging.


Join us for our annual weeklong natural horsemanship experience with 27-year director of the Thacher Riding School, Cameron Schryver. Cam is invited to clinics around the country on horsemanship and is a two-time World Champion Extreme Cowboy. By applying working ranch horsemanship and riding by feel, you will leave the week feeling a deeper connection to the horse and will better understand how to communicate with them, developing a better handle. Days are spent with one-on-one horsemanship instruction, educational demonstrations, rides throughout the surrounding meadows and sand dunes as well as opportunities to work cattle and ride through the conservation bison herd.
Cost: $2,970 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging.

June Highlights: Medano Creek flows through the Great Sand Dunes National Park, (Zapata Ranch), and Prickly Pear Cactus bloom across Chico Basin Ranch. Branding continues.


Join us for this special opportunity with Cam Schryver to learn traditional ranch roping techniques and instruction on positioning, throwing a loop, cattle handling as well as ranch horsemanship techniques. The week will end in a traditional branding where you can be involved on the ground with calf wrestling, vaccinating, and ear-tagging. Intermediate to advanced horsemanship is required.
Cost: $3,200 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging in the new Ranchlands Camp.


Stay in our new Ranchlands camp in the middle of our 50,000-acre wild bison pasture. Spend your days exploring Sand Creek and the Medano Ranch, riding with our 2,000 head of bison and resident elk herd, and through Great Sand Dunes National Park. Photograph the old homesteads and learn about the ecology and history of the landscape. Take hikes to Zapata Falls, up Mosca Pass and across the wild bison pasture. Spend time with our naturalist or enjoy an in-camp massage. In the evening, enjoy a meal by the camp chef and then relax around a fire while enjoying the night sky, recently noted as one of the darkest in the world.
Cost: $3,200pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging in the new Ranchlands Camp.

July Highlights: Cholla Cactus bloom across Chico Basin Ranch and cattle herds are monitored for late season calves.


Join renowned artist Jill Soukup for the fifth year of her painting workshop focusing on drawing and painting horses. Discussions and exercises will cover the importance of understanding equine anatomy, what makes a good drawing, composition and color. Activities will include photo opportunities of horses running, a bison tour, sketching and studying corralled horses, demonstrations and critiques. Space is limited to 12.
Cost: $2,200 pp includes all meals, lodging, and instruction.

September Highlights: The fall colors begin to turn and days begin to shorten. Cattle works across Chico Basin Ranch and Monte Prieto Ranch.


Enjoy the breathtaking colors and wildlife of fall at Zapata Ranch with a unique photo and nature workshop led by nature photographer Stephen Weaver. Experience the ranch like never before against the snowcapped Sangre de Cristo mountain range while scouting for wildlife among the gold and auburns of the Aspen and Cottonwood trees.
Cost: $2,600 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

October Highlights: Fall colors are in full swing and vibrancy. Fall cattle works at Monte Prieto, Chico Basin and Zapata Ranches.


anchlands Stay, including Ranchlands Camps and Ranchlands Experiences, began in 2000 on the Chico Basin Ranch, and today is available on three of six ranches that we manage across 295,000 acres in three states. Guests on our ranches have the opportunity to experience a number of activities ranging from small intimate homestays and upscale tent camps to simple and tasteful lodge settings. Ranchlands Stays offer opportunities to visit each ranch to learn about nature, ranching and the role it plays in protecting the ecosystem and wildlife that it sustains. Click here to view Ranchlands Stay pdf.

We are excited to offer you this rare chance to experience modern day working American Ranches.

Ranchlands Camps are based out of extraordinary tent camps that place you in the heart of each ranch. Experiences are singular to each location and focus on a special theme or features unique to that property, taking you into the core of ranch life. Our tent camps, complete with hot showers, beds, cook and specially prepared meals, travel to Ranchlands properties to provide you with an experience that explores ranching, one America’s oldest living traditions.

Ranchlands Experiences invite you to live and work on one of our ranches and join the ranch crew in daily work. It is a chance to join in gathering a pasture, moving a herd, branding, checking fences, welding in the shop or helping in the leather room. It is a rare opportunity to go beyond being merely an observer of real life ranching and to join in and be part of it.

Ranchlands Stays are currently available on the following three ranches:

CHICO BASIN RANCH - Colorado - 90,000 acres

Chico vacations are rewarding because the intimate atmosphere allows guests to fully immerse themselves in ranch life. Guests head out at sun up to work on horseback gathering a pasture or moving a herd and in the afternoons, ride out for more horseback work, depending on livestock needs, or go out to check water, repair fence, work in the shops – every day is different. With only a handful of guests at a time – usually pairs and rarely more than six—guests are able to learn by becoming actively involved in the day’s work. And because the work that we do is essential to our operation, guests feel a strong sense of contribution at the end of their stay and become part of our community. Lodging is simple but comfortable in May Camp, a historic adobe building. Guests prepare their own breakfast and sack lunch to eat while out working, and join ranch crew in their homes for supper.

Adults: $1995/6 nights;  $350/3-5 nights
Children: $1596/6 nights; $280/3-5 nights

MONTE PRIETO RANCH - New Mexico - 70,000 acres

Hosted by the Ranch Managers and small crew, guests are invited to the Monte Prieto for a vacation that revolves around the operation of a large-scale working ranch in an isolated ranching community, much like it was 100 years ago. Working alongside the ranch crew to tackle every day ranch duties like fixing fences, moving cattle on horseback, checking water and doctoring sick cattle, we have found that guests leave the MP feeling like they made a contribution and a difference, and with a feeling of accomplishment. There are just two rooms, both in a traditional southwestern hacienda enabling a maximum of four guests at a time. Breakfast and lunch are prepared in the common kitchen by guests, and dinner is cooked by and enjoyed with the ranch crew.

Adults: $1995/6 nights;  $350/3-5 nights
Children: $1596/6 nights; $280/3-5 nights

ZAPATA RANCH - Colorado - 103,000 acres

Zapata Ranch offers extensive programs based around horseback riding and nature programs, and also the opportunity to experience life on a working cattle and bison ranch while enjoying high-end amenities and gourmet food. Guests who desire a working ranch experience are welcome alongside our wranglers and ranch staff on various ranch projects. Or for those seeking to just experience the ranch and surroundings, horseback rides through the herd of 2,000 wild bison or the neighboring Great Sand Dunes National Park are favorites. The staff at Zapata specializes in creating tailored itineraries for each guest to ensure that each person has an exceptional stay.

Adults: $2195/6 nights;  $1380/3-5 nights
Children: $1755/6 nights; $1100/3-5 nights

CONTACT US 719.428.5006