The state of Colorado was named for the Colorado River, which early Spanish explorers named the Río Colorado for the red coloured silt the river carried from the mountains.

This equestrian vacation is based at an excellent family-run ranch, surrounded by millions of acres of wilderness and forest. Enjoy horseback riding on trails normally travelled by deer and elk, where each turn taken is different. Wind through stands of native aspen, lope over rolling hills of sage brush and cactus and meander across lush meadows ablaze with wildflowers - all the while, surrounded by endless vistas of the majestic Colorado Rockies that are simply spectacular.

The Ranch has around 100 Quarter Horse types, all Western trained and very responsive to heel and weight signals, each horseback rider will be assigned their own horse for the week.

Activities range from cattle work in the form of team penning, fly-fishing in stocked ponds, a full day of white-water rafting, guided hiking, 4WD back-country drives, great evening entertainment and a fully supervised children's programme. Adult only weeks in the first two weeks in September are great for a relaxing getaway.

Accommodation comprises of either a lodge with 8 bedrooms, all en suite, or family cabins. There is an outdoor heated swimming pool and a hot tub to relax in after an exciting day on the ranch.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from GG of NEWPORT on 23/08/2019

Ride Summary
Even though I wasnt a confident horse rider I still had an amazing time at the ranch and all the rangers were so helpful and patient with me
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
A lot of the trail rides are on mountains so some could be tricky if you weren't a confident horse rider
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

RIDING ABILITY
No previous riding experience is necessary and riders weighing more than 97kg (215lb/15 stone) may be limited to walking only rides due to the terrain.

HORSES
The horses are mainly Quarter Horse with some paints, appaloosa and draft crosses. They range in size from 15hh to 16hh. There are about 100 horses on the ranch at any one time. Some are real schoolmasters while others are more sensitive and respond to the slightest leg or weight shift. Everyone gets to do some cattle work on this ranch. Once a week there is a team penning session where everyone splits into teams and tries to separate a few cattle from the herd and take them across the coral and into a pen. This is usually fast and fun!

ACCOMMODATION
Authentic log cabins, some dating back 100 years, and a lodge house form the accommodation on the ranch. The lodge and cabins are scattered along a creek, some reached across a small bridge. The cabins have from 1 to 4 bedrooms for singles to families. The larger cabins with more rooms also have a private sitting room. The cabins are decorated in western style with carpeted floors and twin or double beds. Every booking group has their own shower and toilet en-suite. All have coffee making facilities and many have fridges. Each has its own verandah where you can watch the sunset or just watch life pass by. Wi-Fi is available in the communal lounge (next to the dining room). There is some mobile phone reception depending on network and also a landline for guest use.

FOOD
Sometimes the food is gourmet and sometimes western, but always delicious. There is an informal atmosphere and guests are always welcome to drop into the kitchen for a snack, a drink or just a chat. Vegetarians can be catered for as can other special diets with advance request. There is no alcohol served at the ranch due to the family atmosphere. Guests are welcome to bring their own, or the ranch staff will buy some for guests from the local store. This can be enjoyed in the cabins, sitting room or verandah. In the autumn, adult only when guests are welcome to enjoy alcohol on all parts of the ranch at any time.

OTHER ACTIVITIES
There is a huge variety of activities on offer and a programme is designed for each individual week. Non riders will not feel left out even if they do not intend to sit on a horse at all! Fly-fishing instruction and fishing for trout are available both in stocked ponds and on the Colorado River. On one of the days, an all day river-rafting programme is available on the Colorado River (float only in September). Mountain biking, guided hiking, 4X4 drive trips into the mountain, a hot tub, swimming in the heated pool, 4 nearby golf courses to choose from (only golf involves a fee), not to mention evening entertainment such as campfire sing-alongs, country and line dancing, old fashioned play acting and carnival nights.

CHILDREN
There are counsellor-led programmes for children from infants to teenagers. Activities include riding instruction, brushing the horses, river tubing on the Colorado River, mountain biking, nature hikes, story telling, fishing, crafts, heated swimming pool, cycling, hay rides and wagon rides to mention a few. The counsellors and programme supervisors are college students selected for their experience, attentiveness and interests in child development and recreation. They treat the children with understanding, patience, love and respect. The children very quickly feel at home and often make life long friends under these circumstances.

SHOP
There is a gift shop available on site that stocks western hats, souvenirs, crafts and postcards

Please note that all our ranch prices are fully inclusive of all taxes, charges and gratuities. Extras that are commonly charged on site at ranches which we include in our prices are: state taxes (2-8%), local town taxes (1-5%), accommodation tax ($1-5/night) and gratuities (12-15% is commonly expected as the staff are paid largely via tips). Our prices include all of the these and are guaranteed not to be affected by currency fluctuations once booked.

It is possible to stay the Saturday night after the week long program, to make up a stay of 7 nights. Please enquire for costs. This is booked on a B&B only basis.

We have an extensive range of Western Riding holidays across the world. Please click on the link below to go to our listings page:

Western Riding Holidays

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.

Horses & Riding

The horses are mainly Quarter Horse with some paints, appaloosa and draft crosses. They range in size from 15hh to 16hh. There are about 100 horses on the ranch at any one time. Some are real schoolmasters while others are more sensitive and respond to the slightest leg or weight shift.

Riders are separated in groups according to ability and ride at appropriate speeds with plenty of loping for experienced riders where the terrain permits. There are lessons for all levels, also in the art of western riding. The horses are ridden in western tack and the western riding style is utilised.

Children from 6-13 have their own riding programmes which adults may join on request. Children under 6 are only led on the horses. Riders can opt to join a slower group to ride with a friend or family member.

Everyone gets to do some cattle work on this ranch. Once a week there is a team penning session. Here everyone splits into teams and tries to separate a few cattle from the herd and take them across the coral and into a pen. This is usually fast and fun! On some days the owner may invite advanced riders to visit neighbouring ranches and ride over really rough terrain doing more cattle work. This is a long, slow and hard day.


Rider requirements

No previous riding experience is necessary to ride on the ranch. Riders weighing more than 102kg (225lb/15 stone) may be limited to walking only rides, which is easy to understand when seeing the terrain and high altitude (2,400m). The rides gradually increase in difficulty and time so no training is needed before coming out. There is tuition in western riding available on the ranch.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 215 lb/98 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Authentic log cabins, some dating back 100 years, and a lodge house form the accommodation on the ranch. The lodge and cabins are scattered along a creek, some reached across a small bridge. The cabins have from 1 to 4 bedrooms for singles to families.

The larger cabins with more rooms also have a private sitting room. The cabins are decorated in western style with carpeted floors and twin or double beds.

Every booking group has their own shower and toilet en suite. All have coffee making facilities and many have fridges. Each has its own verandah where you can watch the sunset or just watch life pass by.

Wi-Fi is available in the communal lounge (next to the dining room). There is some mobile phone reception depending on network and also a landline for guest use. Guest laundry is available for about $5 / load.

The food is lovingly prepared often from recipes handed down for generations. Sometimes the food is gourmet and sometimes western, but always delicious. There is an informal atmosphere and guests are always welcome to drop into the kitchen for a snack, a drink or just a chat. Vegetarians can be catered for as can other special diets with advance request.



Breakfast: Guests can turn up to breakfast anytime from 8-9am. Breakfast is a hearty full western breakfast with hot pancakes, sausages, eggs, French toast as well as the usual cereal, yoghurt, juice, coffee, bagels, toast, jam, tea, hot chocolate.

Lunch: This is usually a lighter affair with for instance a Mexican buffet with tacos, nachos and burritos or salads and quiches. On picnic days a selection of ingredients is put out and riders choose their own pack lunches to put in the saddle bags. Various meats, subs, cheeses, condiments and pickles, juices, crisps, chocolates and fruit are available.

Dinner: Usually consists of a starter, main course and desert and can be a barbeque special or open fire cookout in nature.



Once a week the children under 18 leave on a wagon ride and cookout while their parents are treated to a gourmet style dinner served at the table.



There is no alcohol served at the ranch due to the family atmosphere. Guests are welcome to bring their own, or the ranch staff will buy some for you from the local store. This can be enjoyed in the cabins, sitting room or verandah. In the autumn, adult only weeks guests are welcome to enjoy alcohol on all parts of the ranch at any time.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures

You will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need.

You should be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen on or after 1 March 2011, you are normally not eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa.

Passport and Visa 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 should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/united-states

Climate Summary

Typically the night time temperatures drop to the low 40s F and daytime temperatures are usually in the 70'sF but can reach the 80'sF in July and August. This means it is cool enough to sleep under a blanket and pleasant to ride in during the day. The ranch is situated in a deep valley, so it takes a while to heat up in the morning once the sun hits.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.

BE AWARE: There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the US. The USA Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA.

Medical treatment is expensive and there are no special arrangements for British visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

You should take suitable steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks. There are occasional outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.

Health authorities have classified the USA as having a risk of Zika virus transmission in Florida and a few parts of Texas

You can contact the emergency services by calling 911.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in the USA and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Electricity

In the USA the supply voltage is 120V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 120V).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Camera with plenty of film – it is nigh impossible to video, ride and carry out cattle work simultaneously! Wi-Fi is available in the ranch living room. There is intermittent mobile signal at the ranch, the best carrier is Verizon. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.

Packing List

- Riding Helmet – We strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384 (there are none available to borrow on site)
- Gloves
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
- Jacket
- Riding Boots/ Cowboy Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
- Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
- Long sleeved shirts
- Casual dinner wear
- Short sleeved shirts
- Sweater
- Fleece
- Sneakers or soft shoes
- Rain gear (no ponchos)
- Cowboy hat
- Flip/flops
- Swimsuit
- Sunscreen
- Chapstick
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
- Day pack

Guest laundry is available for around $5 / load.

Programmes

This is a 7 day/6 night programme starting Sundays available May to September. You can also stay the Saturday night at the ranch, a good way to visit the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park by car the next day. If staying for two weeks the middle night is included free and you are part of the family, visiting the local rodeo if one is on, taking a ride to town and eating round the table with the staff and family.

Departure Dates

2024: Sunday arrivals from 2 June - 14 Sept.
15% discount for weeks starting 1st and 8th Sept (Adults Only)
10% discount for weeks starting 2nd June and 25th Aug
2023: Sundays from 28 May to 16 Sept

Pricing
A single room can be booked for no extra supplement when available.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5double pp2,455
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5non-rider sharing2,035
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5double pp2,319
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5Extra night (Sat after ride only)99
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5double pp2,925
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5non-rider sharing2,425
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5double pp2,765
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5Extra night (Sat after ride only)119
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5double pp3,285
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5non-rider sharing2,719
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5double pp3,099
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5Extra night (Sat after ride only)135
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5double pp33,635
2024 10% Special 2 Jun and 25 Aug7d/6n5non-rider sharing27,875
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5double pp31,779
2024 Adults Only Week: 15% disc 1st and 8th Sep and 7d/6n5Extra night (Sat after ride only)1,365
Recommended Reading

E. Annie Proulx’s three books of Wyoming short stories (“Close Range”, “Bad Dirt”, “Fine just the way it is”)

Mary O’Hara’s “Flicka” triology.

The Virginian” by Owen Wister (a classic one) and

Zane Grey’s Western novels.

C.J. Box (i.e. “Open Season”) and

Craig Johnson (i.e. “The Cold Dish”).

Cowboy poet Baxter Black 

“Where Rivers change Direction”, a memoir by Mark Spragg about life on an early dude ranch.

Where the Rivers Run North” by Sam Morton, a historical novel.

“The Meadow” by James Galwin.

Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans by by T. Fehrenbach 

Discovering Natural Horsemanship: A Beginner's Odyssey by Tom Moates.

.Monty Roberts books, particularly ‘The Horse Whisperer’

Notes From A Big Country by Bill Bryson and

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck.

For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com 

Also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com


Other Activities

There is a huge variety of activities on offer and a programme is done for each individual week. Non riders will not feel left out even if they do not intend to sit on a horse at all!
Fly fishing instruction and fishing for trout are available both in stocked ponds and on the Colorado River. One day an all day river rafting programme is available on the Colorado River. Mountain biking, guided hiking, Four-Wheel drive trips into the mountain, a hot tub, swimming in the heated pool, 4 nearby golf courses to choose from (only golf involves a fee), not to mention evening entertainment such as campfire sing-alongs, country and line dancing, old fashioned play acting and carnival nights.

Children:
There are counsellor led programmes for children from infants to teenagers. Activities include riding instruction, brushing the horses, nature hikes, story telling, fishing, crafts, heated swimming pool, cycling, hay rides and wagon rides to mention a few. The counsellors and programme supervisors are college students selected for their experience, attentiveness and interests in child development and recreation. They treat the children with understanding, patience, love and respect. The children very quickly feel at home and often make life long friends under these circumstances.

Wildlife

Like to see some wildlife? The ranch and its surrounding area have quite a selection. Keep your eyes open for elk, moose, deer, badger, mountain lion, coyote, beaver, fox, antelope, wild turkey, eagles and more, whether you’re on foot or on horseback.

Other Country Information

The USA has 4 main times zones - Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST) and Pacific Standard Time (PST). Vermont is on EST, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah are all on MST, California is on PST. Weights and measures are imperial although weight is always expressed in pounds, not stone. The US gallon is 3.8 litres in contrast to an imperial gallon which is 4.2 litres. Mobile telephone: 4G and 5G is widely available throughout the US in cities, towns, villages and along main highways with AT&T having the best overall coverage and T-mobile offering better speeds in cities. There is NO cell reception at the ranch, but there is WiFi in our saloon and office. There are still a few rural areas which have the older CDMA telephone networks. To be able to call from these areas we recommend buying a cheap Verizon phone from eg Walmart (from $13) and topping up with credit. Almost all hotels and airports offer free wifi connection.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Granby, Colorado. Closest Airport is Denver Airport (DEN)
Transfer:
2024: Included from meeting point. A shuttle runs from Denver to Granby and can be booked online (approx. $80pp) and there is also an AMTRAK. Private transfers can also be arranged - please enquire. Car hire is another option. (prices subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London - Denver (DEN) from £400pp return. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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