Mosca, Colorado Dude Ranches
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The Zapata Ranch is owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed through a one-of-a-kind partnership with the Duke and Janet Phillips family - a third-generation ranching family. The ranch is a 103,000-acre real, working bison, cattle and guest ranch located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado. It borders the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the newest National Park in the United States. The high desert grasslands, alpine forests, wetlands, sand dunes, creeks and lush meadows offer one of the most scenic and ecologically diverse landscapes in the United States. The ranch and surrounding valley is a wildlife mecca and is home to thousands of elk, bison, deer, coyotes, birds and many other species.
Join us March through October and immerse yourself into day-to-day life on a real, working ranch and experience the outdoors. Each experience is customizable and trips can consist of activities from both our Ranching with Nature and Great Outdoors Experience programs. For our corporate and group retreats, we offer year round access to our educational center and lodge.
Ranching with Nature - move bison from one pasture to a fresh one (rotational grazing for conservation), help maintain irrigation flow in our pivot fields, monitor water levels and grass growth, participate in a traditional branding, have 1-on-1 horsemanship instruction, fix barbed wire fence or stretch electric fence to prepare for bison moving pastures and much more...
Great Outdoors Experience - ride through our wild herd of 2,500 bison that roam in one 50,000-acre pasture, summit any 1 of the 6 bordering 14,000-foot peaks (trail heads just 5 minutes away), take a leisurely horseback ride and picnic through the Great Sand Dunes National Park, rise before dawn and photograph the sunrise over one of our lakes, go on an interpretive walk through our grasslands and learn about bison as a conservation species, spend the morning hiking up to a high mountain lake and fish for the afternoon, white water raft down the Arkansas river out of Salida*, fly fish on some of the nation's best rivers nearby* and much more... (*these experiences incur additional cost)
Conde Nast Traveler Magazine: 1 of 3 Best Ranches in America for a Real, Working Ranch Vacation
Western Horseman Magazine: 1 of 15 Best Holidays and Riding Vacations to Book Today; Described as "one of the world's most spectacular and diverse landscapes."
Conde Nast Traveler Magazine: The Best Ranch Lodging and Dining in Colorado
America's Heartland TV Show: Featured as an Unforgettable Experience in the World of Agriculture
CBS Denver News: 1 of 5 Top Ranches in Colorado
Ranchland stays 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:
Utilizing our own grass-fed beef and bison, along with local San Luis Valley produce, our style is down home gourmet with meals served family-style in our dining room. We use only the best ingredients and prepare them with creativity and respect.
Two programs, Ranching With Nature and The Great Outdoors Experience, give you the opportunity for a one-of-a-kind, fully customizable vacation. Whether you want to help move cattle from one pasture to the next, monitor water levels and grass growth, participate in a traditional branding, rise with the sun for a ride through the Sand Dunes Nation Park or go on an interpretive walk through grasslands and learn about bison as a conservation species, the staff is here create a perfect vacation.
Each guest room is equipped with either two double beds or a single king and its own private bathroom. Wifi is available in the main lodge sitting area. The guest facilities are built on the original Zapata homestead with buildings that date back to the 1800's. The buildings are all restored chinked log and boast high comfort and rustic elegance. Daily maid service and laundry facilities are included.
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If reservation is canceled outside of 30 days, 50% deposit returned. If canceled within 30 days, no portion of deposit is returned. Any retained portion of your deposit may be credited towards a future stay within 2 years from cancellation date.