Experience the daring spirit and wilderness-driven lifestyle of a dude ranch set 1,100m in the mountains of Canada which combines the friendly comfort of a ranch stay with a unique opportunity to discover and protect the wildlife around you. With wide-open skies, fresh mountain air and wild terrain guests can enjoy a connection to the natural world rarely available to the general public.
With a more relaxed schedule than the Wildlife Research Pack Trips, this is a great family option or for those travelling with non-riding companions. The trip is a mix of half and full day rides, always returning to the ranch in the evening. There are opportunities to try other activities on the ranch as well, but the focus is still on exploring the special animal and plant life in the Canadian wilderness. Learn to track animals and follow their trails into the stunning environment where motor vehicles simply cannot reach. The calm and sturdy horses also enable much closer encounters with the animals without causing alarm or damaging the habitat.
Ranch accommodation comprises of comfortable double rooms with en-suite facilities. Meals are all home-cooked using local ingredients and are based around being hearty and healthy! There is a big family atmosphere at the ranch with communal areas for eating and socialising, great for chatting about the day and sharing experiences with fellow nature-loving guests.
There are no reviews for this holiday at the moment
Please note: It is recommended that you arrive in Vancouver the day before your ride stars and spend the night in a hotel in Vancouver for the early morning pick-up. The shuttle will collect you from the Sheraton Guildford hotel at approximately 06:15.
You will be collected at approximately 06:15 from the Sheraton Guildford in Vancouver and transferred to the ranch in time for a hearty family lunch. The shuttle will stop on route to allow guests to purchase any extra supplies they need to look at points of interest along the route. There will be an introduction to the ongoing research projects currently active on the ranch as well as conservation activities and sustainable practices you will need to adopt during your stay. You will then meet the horses and learn the saddling and riding techniques used on the farm. An introductory trail ride will allow you to get comfortable with your horse and the style of riding, and start looking out for wildlife around the ranch. Over dinner your guides will give you an overview of the trip to come followed by a map orientation. They will show you which trails you will be taking and the best wildlife viewing locations along the route. You will then be provided with a mountain duffel bag to repack your personal items into (try to pack as lightly as possible but take all essential items!) before turning in for the night on the ranch.
Enjoy breakfast at the ranch and then ride out into the majestic mountain landscape for a morning ride. Return to the ranch for lunch. In the afternoon you can choose between taking a ride or hike to a Grizzly den, collecting any samples you discover along the way, or stay at the ranch for shooting or archery lessons. After dinner at the ranch there will be a chance to learn more about the conservation work undertaken by the ranch as you gather around the bonfire to roast marshmallows.
Fill up with a hearty breakfast before setting out on a full day of riding into the wilderness. Explore the mountainsides, meadows and forests looking for animal tracks. The guides will help you spot an array of wildlife along the quiet trails with the reliable and sure-footed Mountain Cayuse horses watching the trail. Every moment brims with the possibility of another breathtaking encounter, each more memorable than the last. Every evening you will return to the ranch for dinner and your accommodation, but take a moment to enjoy the sunsets and starry skies.
After breakfast you set out on a wildlife viewing expedition either on horseback or by truck, returning to the ranch for lunch. In the afternoon you stretch your legs on a hike along some of the mountain pathways. A hearty ranch dinner is followed by a bonfire to mark your last night on the ranch as you re-live your adventures.
After breakfast you finish your stay with a bareback horse riding lesson or a round of target shooting. A family-style farewell lunch is served before transferring back to Vancouver, arriving in the evening. Please do not book flights departing before 22:00.
Rider weight restrictions Please note that any rider over 230lbs (104kg) will be required to pay an extra charge for a spare horse. There may be restrictions on the activities available for riders over 260lbs (118kg).
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There are currently 29 horses available for riding, ranging from ponies to full-size Draft horses. The herd is made up of Draft X Mountain Cayuse (horses from the Cariboo-Chilcotin where the wild herds still roam) which makes for a great temperament - the Draft makes them calm and relaxed and the Cayuse makes them surefooted and gives stamina. They are patient and gentle with small children and adults alike and they know their job well.
The riding style is Western which you will be taught if you have never experienced it before. 'Mountain' style is used in the mountains and again, this will be shown to you during the mountain riding orientation. The horses are ridden on a loose rein and are neck-rein trained. Mountain trails are taken at a fast-paced walk - the goal is to travel long distances and reach the tops of the mountains rather than galloping around in the valleys. It is more about tackling rough, technically challenging trails instead of riding faster.
The terrain on the trails ranges from flowering alpine meadows to mountain tops with stunning views, and a number of viewpoints with 360 degree vistas guaranteed to take your breath away!
All abilities of rider are catered for, from novice rider to advanced. The minimum age is 7 years old and the maximum age is 89 years old. The weight limit is 260lbs - there is an extra charge for riders over 230lbs as 2 horses will be used.
Riders should be physically fit and ready to spend up to 8 hours in the saddle per day, although the average riding time will be 2-3 hours on half-day rides and 4-6 hours on full day rides. Yours hosts are passionate about bringing nature closer to the people, and living in Grizzly country, lay great emphasis on stewardship and conservation. Guests are included in the research projects, such as collecting Grizzly hair or Mountain Goat hair.
There may be times where riders will be required to dismount and walk besides their horse. This is usually done when walking steeply downhill and can be for around 1 hour, but is limited on the routes around the ranch. Steep 'drop-off's' may also be encountered en-route.
The ideal group size is 7 riders with 2 guides. Riders are matched according to similar abilities, age and interest to create a atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement. Families get matched with other families, couples with couples and young travellers with young travellers. Making new friends is often one of the highlights of the trips.
The weight limit for this ride is 230 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The bedrooms are situated in the main ranch house and have either queen beds and en-suite bathrooms or twin beds with shared bathrooms. Full bathrooms are shared between 2 or 3 bedrooms. The maximum capacity at the ranch is 30. The bedrooms are comfortable with down duvets and fantastic views. There is a communal dining room/living room space where meals are served and guests can relax.
Meals are served at 08:30am, 12 noon and 18:00pm. There is a set menu and all guests and staff sit around the dining table together. All meals are homemade including the breakfast granola and various types of bread and cakes. The meals are healthy and hearty and include mains such as lasagne, shepherd's pie, BBQ chicken and roast beef. Vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free diets can be accommodated with advanced notice.
A typical menu might consist of:
Breakfast: granola, yogurt, fruit salad, blueberry pancakes, fried eggs, toast
Lunch: turkey soup, rye bread, cheese plate, vegetable plate, dip. Dessert: cranberry loaf
Dinner: lasagne (meat and vegetarian), Greek salad, chick-pea salad, monkey bread. Dessert: lemon bars
Water, tea and coffee is provided. Guests are welcome to take along their own alcoholic and soft drinks.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request. General information: All travellers are required to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel.
Visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa.
To visit Canada, you will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:
• have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
• be in good health,
• have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
• convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
• convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
• have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)
Citizens of a few countries may also need a:
• medical exam and
• letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.
For further information please visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp
The Canadian High Commission in the U.K is at Macdonald House, 1 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 4AB. Telephone: (020) 7258 6600. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The British Consulate in Canada is at 80 Elgin Street, Ottawa, K1P 5K7. Telephone: + (1) (613) 237 1530. Email: generalenquiries@BritaininCanada.org.
The South Chilcotins lie within a transition zone between the Coast Mountains and the Chilcotin Plateau. This favoured leeward position produces a rainshadow which means sunny skies and a dry climate with an environment that is almost bug-free.
With spring comes warmer days (10 to 15C) although the nights still cool down to freezing temperatures. The ground is wet from the melting snow so this is when the few mosquitoes and ticks come out. Although there are some rainy days, the weather patterns clear through quickly to give sunny skies.
The summers get quite hot in the mountains, with temperatures around 22-28C and the odd spike to over 30C in August. The skies are usually clear, giving fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. Nights can still get quite cool, so a good sleeping bag is a must.
In the autumn, the 'Indian Summer' lasts into October, with warm days (10-20C) and clear skies. Freezing temperatures at night bring on the foliage colour in the trees and meadows.
The winter gets cold around the ranch, with temperatures ranging from –8C to –12C and the occasional dip to –20C. Days are mostly sunny, although most of the precipitation comes as snow at this time of year. The snow pack at the ranch is normally about 2 feet deep.
Giardiasis is present so do not drink water from streams. Tap water is safe to drink. Rabies is endemic in Canada, do not approach stray dogs. Lyme disease can be a risk in wooded regions; it is a rare tick borne disease. Check with your doctor for details but apart from general precautions against tick bites no prophylaxis is usually required.
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org and the Deprtment of Health also gives medical advice on their web site at www.dh.gov.uk
There are no specific health recommendations but please do take along all your necessary medications and health-related personal supplies. We also suggest a high factor sunscreen as, due to the altitude, it can be very easy to get burnt!
The voltage is 110-120V, 60Hz in Canada as in the USA and you will need a flat blade plug and possibly an adaptor depending on the appliance.
Please bring plenty of batteries for electronic equipment, and a charger for when you are at the ranch.
There is no mobile phone reception at the ranch or on the trails. There is wireless satellite internet available at the main house and in the guide cabin. Payphones are available but only accept credit cards or phone cards. The guides will carry a satellite phone with them on the trails.
• Practical clothing - expect to get dirty!
• Western hat, with brim
• Bandana for dust
• Toque (knitted cap) and/or headband to keep your head warm at night. The headband should fit under your hat for cold days.
• Jeans or comfortable riding pants
• Gloves for riding. Lighter in the summer, insulated other times of the year
• Sleeping bag. It can get quite cold at night, so a 3-season sleeping bag (rated to –10C) is recommended if you’re staying at a camp.
• Rain pants and jacket. No ponchos. Sturdier is better so it doesn’t get ripped when riding through trees.
• Rubber boots. Should be mid-calf height.
• Practical footwear. Hiking or work boots is fine, you want good support above the ankle for riding. The saddles all have tapaderos ('bucket' or hooded stirrups) for safety, so you don’t need a heel.
• Personal toiletries. Biodegradable soaps and shampoo are required for use at camps.
• Empty pillow case. To make a pillow of your jacket at camp
• Bug repellent. There are not many bugs, but the first few days after a rain there can be a few around.
• Water bottle. No more than 650ml.
• Extra batteries for any equipment you bring that takes them
There is a small amount of rental supplies for sleeping bags, rubber boots and gloves but the supplies are limited. Bringing your own gives you the chance to get the right size and increase your comfort.
If you have any medications, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your stay. This would include vitamins, allergy medication, asthma puffers, epi pens, etc.
If you prefer to ride with a helmet please bring one. Binoculars and/or a spotting scope and cameras are not necessary but are nice
to have for the obvious reasons. For those new to riding, a pair of lycra shorts or padding bicycle shorts can help to prevent chaffing and saddle sores.
A western theme for clothing is encouraged. There is a “no boots in the house” policy, so please take house shoes or slippers if you’d like. There is no smoking in the Ranch House.
This is a 4 days/3 nights or 7 days/6 nights programme available from May to October.
2020: 1 May to 31 October. 4 day programmes start Mondays or Thursdays. 7 day programmes start on Sundays
Your hosts have several websites which you may be interested in reading:
At the ranch there are lots of activities on offer which are included in the holiday cost: these include riding lessons, target shooting, lasso throwing, bareback riding, grizzly den viewing and bear defense orientation.
Also available, at an extra charge, is guided fishing, archery, off-road driving and various horse-related lessons such as long reining, logging and shoeing.
As you might expect, the wildlife is abundant on these trips. In the summer there are bears (black and grizzly), eagles, mountain goats, deer (some of the female deer like the human protection and raise their kids at the ranch), grouse (blue-, rough- and spruce-), sheep and moose - to name but a few!
Within the area you might come across Indian pow-wows and villages as well as cattle ranches. The ranch is around a 20 minute drive to the nearest town which has a post office, general store and a hotel. There are small town rodeos that take place every weekend during the summer season which you are welcome to visit if you are staying at the ranch and have rented a car.
The area has over 100 years of history from the gold rush and is now an adventure tourism paradise, largely undiscovered from the masses who visit Whistler every year.
People migrating from Asia crossing the Bering Strait first settled the North American continent. They formed a number of tribes that can be distinguished by language: the Algonquian in the eastern sub-arctic and maritime areas spreading into the prairies and plains of the mid-west; the Iriquioian speaking tribes mostly in the St Lawrence Valley and around Lakes Ontario and Erie; the Salishan, Athabascan and other linguistic groups lived along the rivers and coastline of British Columbia. Small, isolated Inuit bands developed a unique culture in the harsh environment of the Arctic.
John Cabot, a Venetian working in the service of the English sailed to Newfoundland in 1497. This and later explorations formed the basis of the English claim to Canada. The Frenchman Jacques Cartier undertook a series of explorations, mainly along the route of the St Lawrence River during the 1530s and 1540s and he claimed the land for France.
It's the edginess between Canada's indigenous, French and British traditions that gives the nation its complex three-dimensional character. Add to this a constant infusion of US culture and a plethora of traditions brought by migrants, and you have a thriving multicultural society.
Canada is between 3.5 and 8 hours behind GMT depending on where you are in the country. They use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
The international dialling code is +1.