INDICATIVE ITINERAY *
With nearly 65,000 hectares to explore, you ride between vast prairies and mountain peaks, from alpine forests to the red rock country of Sedona.
July to mid-September is the best time: your treks will take you from high desert grasslands surrounded by the beauty of colorful hills, through hidden trails between shale cliff pines, through vast mountain meadows. It is quite common to see an amazing variety of wildlife including elk, deer and moose.
TRAIL RIDES :
The daily rides are varied and personalized according to the equestrian skills of the group.
High Desert and Canyons in the Shell Valley Rides:
Ranging in elevation from 4,200 – 5,400 feet, these rides are mostly in the valley riding through the wide-open prairies, juniper trees, and rocky hidden canyons. In the hidden canyons, refreshing creeks flow with century old cottonwood trees offering you and your horse well-deserved shade.
Mountain Pastures & Alpine Meadows Rides:
You will see a variety of terrain above 7,500 feet riding through sage brush and high grasses imagining you are one of the cowboys in the movie Open Range or Lonesome Dove.
High Mountain Alpine Country Rides:
Elevations in these high-altitude areas range from 8,500 to 13,200 feet. The High country offers alpine forests, mountain lakes, streams and granite rock formations. Area’s above 8,000 feet are usually snow covered from the end of September to mid-June depending on weather conditions.
Devil’s Leap Ride:
This ride features undulating red clay hills capped by wild grasses, sage and cactus. This intermediate ride culminates in a breathtaking vista from atop the famed Devil’s Leap, which drops 800 feet beneath you. Dare to take a look over the edge …
White Creek & Trapper Creek Canyon Rides:
Step back in time 100 years. Your ride winds through a picturesque tree canopied path, past old timber corrals, over a wooden bridge and opens into a wide-open lane perfect for an easy lope. These trails are half-day rides and they let you snake through the canyons with several crossings of White and Trapper Creeks.
Willet Lake Ride:
A breathtaking high-altitude full-day day ride in The Big Horn National Forest which takes you through open alpine meadows and pine forests to a picturesque mountain lake surrounded by a gorgeous alpine meadow. This is a ride you will not want to miss.
Copman’s Tomb Ride:
This spectacular rock which you can see every day from the lodge, is one of the most popular rides for its million-dollar view and scenic picnic. Looking up from the valley you would never think you could make it there on horseback. On a clear day you can look from the top of Copman’s Tomb across the Big Horn Basin to other ranges of the Rockies and Yellowstone National Park.
The Painted Hills Ride:
This half-day ride wanders among mounds the Indians called The Painted Hills, which are hills wwith beautiful colors due to the vibrant, ancient minerals mixed with Bentonite. We reach these hills riding through the sage brush and grass prairies in the valley.
The Sedona Ride:
This area near Trapper Creek Ranch, offers a ride which feels like you are in the red desert of Arizona due to the red, exposed Chugwater formations and half-desert prairies – cactus, coyotes and rattle snakes included.
The Five Fingers Ride:
This popular and thrilling valley ride takes you through rocky canyons with juniper trees and high desert while traveling along the slopes of the Big Horn Mountains, which rise 2,000 feet along your trail as a huge granite wall. Some of the exposed Precambrian rock is over a billion years old.
McCullough Peak Mustang Country:
During fall, winter and spring some of our cattle graze in a 100,000-acre pasture which is a high desert area shared with the McCullough Peak Mustangs. When riding through this country, you will probably be able to see wild horses grazing alongside antelope.
CATTLE WORK :
The ranch work is unpredictable and difficult to plan depending on weather and weather conditions, among other things.
When working cattle, we adopt the principles of low-stress husbandry using the methods of Bud Williams, Curt Pate and other animal husbandry experts. As with any equestrian activity, it's all about pressure and release. To teach these principles we keep a small herd of yearlings at or near the ranch for our riders to enjoy and learn the basics of the job. A typical day involves learning the techniques of moving cattle around the arena, then going out to round up the cattle, leading them across the stream and uphill through the woods. After that, riders can enjoy team paddock, sorting, and other "games" on horseback. It is an ideal controlled setting. Livestock movements are slow and smooth.
From April to May, you can take part in the branding of cattle.
Late May to June: After the snow melts, we round up the foals and young cows in the mountains. The mountains are covered in the beautiful colors of spring flowers.
In July: the cows and calves must be grouped together and taken on horseback to their summer pastures. Your journeys will take you from high desert grasslands surrounded by the beauty of Painted Hills, up jagged trails hidden between pinon pines and shale slides, through vast open mountain meadows and nestling you amid cradles of tall pine forests. . It is quite common to see an amazing variety of wildlife including elk, deer and moose. Spontaneous fishing breaks have been known to occur on the mountain.
Mid-September through October: Enjoy the cool fall mornings, marvel at the brilliant rainbow of colors as the aspens turn from green to gold, and of course prepare to bring down mountain cattle. You will have plenty of opportunities to see elk and other wildlife as they descend from the high country.