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Spring Photography Tour

Reserve Your Spot

Zapata Ranch

March 6-11, 2022

 

Join us for a weeklong tour exploring the landscapes and wildlife of Zapata Ranch. Photograph bison, the migrating Sandhill Cranes, horseback riders at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and more.

The Program

Sandhill Cranes

About the Zapata

Photos

Rates

The Program

Each day is spent photographing at different locations around the San Luis Valley, including at Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge, the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and our favorite locations on the Medano-Zapata. In addition to witnessing the stunning vision of the crane migration, you will also have the opportunity to photograph our resident bison herd, mountain landscapes, the daily morning horse wrangle, and horseback riders at the Dunes.

Reserve Your Spot

Sandhill Cranes

One of the oldest species of birds still living, the Sandhill Crane undertakes an epic migration every spring and fall between their wintering grounds in Mexico and the American Southwest and breeding grounds throughout the Rocky Mountains, Canada, Alaska, and even across the sea to Siberia. With an unmistakable call that can be heard from miles away, the Rocky Mountain population of these beautiful birds converges every March in Colorado’s San Luis Valley for several weeks. Enormous groups of cranes, numbering in the tens of thousands, create one of the most remarkable wildlife spectacles in North America.

This special week at the Zapata Ranch includes guided tours from Ranchlands photographer Madeline Jorden to the nearby Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge and exclusive access to the Medano side of our ranch, where you might see cranes mingling and grazing amongst our conservation bison herd. The breathtaking sight of these two species together brings to mind a pre-human era when both of these animals would have roamed North America together.

Reserve Your Spot

About the Zapata Ranch

Set back in a shady cottonwood grove beneath the majestic 14,000-foot peaks of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains lies the historic Zapata Ranch headquarters and lodge, which was established in the late 1800’s. Elk, mule deer, migratory birds, eagles, and black bear also call this area home. The ranch is owned by the Nature Conservancy and managed by Ranchlands in a one-of-a-kind partnership.

The rooms are beautifully furnished and have an elegant southwestern decor that gives them the feel of home. All rooms have individual tiled bathrooms and views that are private, peaceful, and beautiful in any season.

Learn More About the Zapata
SAMPLE ITINERARY

Sunday, March 6
Arrive at the ranch and settle in to your rooms. At dinner, we’ll get to know each other and go over each participant’s goals for the week.

Monday, March 7
Grab a hot coffee or tea at the Lodge, then depart to the Medano side of the ranch for sunrise photography of the bison and other wildlife. We’ll return to the Lodge for a hot breakfast, then spend the morning and afternoon looking at photos and editing techniques. Later, depart to the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge to see and photograph the flocks of migrating cranes at sunset, then return to the Lodge for dinner.

Tuesday, March 8
Grab a hot coffee or tea at the Lodge, then depart to photograph the horse wrangle at sunrise. Return to the Lodge for breakfast, before departing on an optional day ride on the Medano side of the ranch, where you’ll see herds of conservation bison, elk, and sandhill cranes. After a lunch in the field, return to the Lodge in the afternoon and relax in your room and on the grounds. At dusk, depart for the horse pasture to photograph horses in the field, then return to the Lodge for dinner.

Wednesday, March 9
Grab a hot coffee or tea at the Lodge, then depart to photograph the horse wrangle at sunrise. Return to the Lodge for breakfast, before departing to the Medano, Great Sand Dunes National Park, or Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge to photograph. Return to the Lodge to look at photos and editing techniques and eat lunch. In the evening, depart for the Dunes to photograph horseback riders at sunset, then return to the Lodge for dinner.

Thursday, March 10
Grab a hot tea or coffee at the Lodge, then depart for the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge to photograph the sandhill cranes at sunrise. Return to the Lodge to look at photos and editing techniques and eat lunch. Sunset photo session wherever the group would like to return — the Medano, horse pasture, Dunes, or Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge.

Friday, March 11
We’ll spend the morning photographing wherever the group would like, then return to the Lodge for a send-off breakfast.

Rates

$2600 per person includes all lodging, meals, and activities. Tax and gratuity not included.

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