Experience a true family working ranch holiday in one of North America's most historic and dramatic landscapes. This historic cattle ranch was established in 1886 and has been in handed through the generations since 1920. Patti and Richard and their extended family will warmly welcome you. Patti, a retired teacher, is very well versed in local history and tells some fascinating tales. You will help move cattle to new pastures, fish some of the finest trout and enjoy the stunning scenic views and wildlife all around. This is the American West as it once was - rugged, friendly and unchanging.
Suitable for riders over 14 years old, each guest is allocated his or her own horse which is well mannered and ready to go at any time. You can take part in as much or as little of the ranch 'chores' as you like but daily life includes riding the herd, fencing, doctoring livestock and cutting and baling the hay. You can explore the remote reaches of the ranch or ride into the mountains and camp overnight under the stars. Accommodation is in modern and comfortable rustic cabins with private bathrooms, refrigerator and coffee maker. Home cooked meals are served three times a day at the big family table and an outside hot tub is available for all to enjoy after a day in the saddle.
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There is no scheduled itinerary on this ride. The ranch is open for guests from the 1st June to the 1st October which is when most of the cattle work takes place.
The ranch runs 460 cow/calf pairs on 1800 scenic acres and summer pastures high in the Bighorn Mountains at an altitude of 5,000ft. During the season you will be riding with the herd everyday, moving to new pastures and checking the condition of the animals. When you are not in the saddle, you are welcome to help with "doing chores": fencing, doctoring livestock, cutting and baling hay and irrigating pasturelands. Around 90% of the cattle work is done from the back of your horse and you'll also get to help with the saddling up and care of your horse as well as the ranch activities. Under the guidance of the wranglers you will learn how to rope, herd cattle and repair wire fences in now time and have a blast doing it!
Early/mid June some cattle work is done for the neighbours and some team penning on request. Then between 25 June and 10 July there are 2 days cattle drives to gather the herd and transport them by trailer to the mountain pastures. The exact date varies from year to year, it is done when the ground is dry and larkspur (a poisonous bulb) is gone, the forestry service makes the call. Once in the mountains the cattle are moved from pasture to pasture regularly to maximise use of the grazing until September. August can be hot and the riding is usually done early in the morning followed by town visits, alternatively we head up into the mountains to Cow Camp (see below). When the grazing season finishes in mid September a few weeks of intensive cattle gathering is undertaken to bring the cattle back down to the ranch. All cattle must be off the mountain by 25 September.
Overnight Cow Camps
This is a favourite adventure on the ranch; enjoy 1 or 2 nights camping in the rugged beauty of the Bighorn Mountains at 7,500-8,500ft altitude. Half of the cow herd is on 35,000 acres of forestry permit land in 2 mountain pasture up in the Bighorn Mountains during the summer months. These are mixed with other cattle belonging to 4 other ranches. To ensure their well being (and an amazing experience for you!) the wranglers head up the mountain, overnight at the cow camp and check cattle and fences weekly. The cattle are also sorted and moved from one pasture to another monthly. If you'd like to take part in this adventure you and your horse will be transported around 25 miles towards camp and then ride by horseback over the 5 remaining miles into camp. From there, you'll get set up in one of the bunk wagons or in a tent (whichever you prefer) for the overnight stay. At cow camp meals are often cooked over an open fire and coffee is brewed cowboy style. The “cow camp chef” is an amazing open fire cook and you’ll get to enjoy a culinary experience like you’ve never had. Although this is 'roughing it', the wranglers will take measures to ensure that you have a comfortable night’s sleep and even have a private outdoor bathroom facility.
After the first night the group will ride through all of the cattle, check fences and take care of any repairs or stewardship that may be necessary. You’ll get to be a part of all of this, with the added bonus of exploring and soaking in the magical atmosphere of the Bighorns from horseback. When it's time to head home you’ll have the opportunity to ride down through Crazy Woman Canyon to the ranch, where you’ll get to experience even more amazing scenery and breathtaking views from the face of the mountain. If you’d rather, you also have the option of riding out to the trailers and driving back down the mountain, whichever suits you best.
Unlimited riding is offered every day of the week except Sundays and for all levels of rider. Rides usually take place twice a day (morning and afternoon or evening) but there can be more if desired. There is at least 1 all-day ride during the week. Trail cattle drive is more demanding and suitable for riders comfortable in all paces on a good horse and children over 14 years old.
There are 17 well schooled and gentle horses of all levels on the ranch.
The cabin accommodation is modern and comfortable with an added rustic charm. All cabins have a private bathroom, comfortable bedding, towels, private porch and deck furniture, refrigerator & coffee maker. Some cabins have small kitchenettes if preferred as well as living areas. There is a TV/VCR in the rooms for entertainment on the odd rainy day. Enjoy a wonderful view of the Big Horn Mountains from your cabin as the ranch is just 4 miles from the face of these beautiful peaks. There is no single supplement and solo travellers will have a cabin to themselves at no extra charge.
There is a main lodge where the meals are served and guests dine as part of the family around the table. Outside there is a covered hot tub with stunning views, perfect for relaxing after a day in the saddle.
Three meals daily are served featuring traditional homemade food. Eggs, bacon and pancakes for breakfast will set you up for the day and lunch may be a packed lunch if you are on a trail for the day. Dinner consists of a meat with vegetables and a dessert - all served family style and all you can eat! Vegetarians can be accommodated at the ranch. Alcohol is not provided but guests are welcome to bring their own.
There is plenty to do both on the ranch and in the nearby town of Buffalo. The setting in which the ranch is located gives endless opportunities for connecting with nature. Amongst the options are:
Sky watching and star gazing: The skies offer a nightly celestial spectacle of stars, constellations, meteors and other objects, including the Milky Way, seldom visible in urban settings.
Fishing: there is excellent fishing for rainbow and German brown trout in the scenic Crazy Woman Creek. This lovely water is a real American trout stream. The creek and private stocked ponds offer memorable fishing experiences. Don’t let the size fool you, the smaller fish are sometimes bigger fighters than the large ones! The ranch supplies fishing equipment at no extra charge.
Wildlife viewing and photography: the ranch is home to whitetail and mule deer, antelope, bald eagles, coyotes (and the occasional rattlesnake!). In the Bighorns you may see elk, moose, beaver, porcupine, and a tremendous variety of colourful birds. Gorgeous canyons, creeks and scenic vistas also offer amazing photo opportunities, be sure and bring your camera!
In the nearby towns you can go on numerous historical tours and the ranch itself offers a historical tour starting at the TA Ranch, the site of the shootout during the Johnson County Cattle Wars. You'll then move on to the Jim Gatchell Museum in Buffalo and from there head to the Sheridan County Museum, the Kendrich Mansion, King Ropes & the Don King Museum. You can also visit the famous "Outlaw Cave" featured in the classic motion picture, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". Visiting this hideout of the notorious Hole-in-the-Wall Gang is a spectacular adventure.
Through the summer season, rodeos are a popular activity and there are professional rodeos in Sheridan, Buffalo, and Kaycee offering exciting competitive action featuring stars on the national rodeo scene. Equally enjoyable and every bit as impressive are local rodeos with local ranch families participating. Transport is provided to the rodeos.
In Buffalo (around 25 minutes drive) there is a large swimming free pool and an excellent golf course.
If you are considering a fly drive, the ranch is about 400 miles from Denver and 180 miles from Billings (Custer's battlefield is a good stop en route from Billings), 190 miles from Cody and 200 miles from Yellowstone Park. The drive is very scenic from either and well worth the journey, flight prices to Denver are reasonable as are car rental prices from both locations.
Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower
If you have a rental car, Mount Rushmore is 185miles away, a good day trip.
We have an extensive range of Western Riding holidays across the world. Please click on the link below to go to our Ride Categories 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.
There are 17 well schooled and gentle riding horses of all levels on the ranch - there are Quarter horses, Appalosas and Draft crosses. The horses are all well-mannered and ready to go at any time. Some of the horses have been bred on the ranch and they are of all ages, from very young to around 15 years old.
Each guest has his or her own horse assigned to them upon arrival giving the opportunity to enjoy and bond with a new friend for the week. Riding is Western style and the horses are neck-rein trained. You do not need previous experience of riding Western style as you will be shown and have wrangler help if required. Water bottles and horn bags are provided and rain slickers can be loaned if required.
Novice riders and children over 14 years old are welcome to stay at the ranch. Riders participating in cattle drives must be comfortable in all paces and have a good level of fitness, although no previous knowledge of western riding is required. The riding is not nose to tail and the horses are all happy to take their own line.
Riders are welcome to help with the saddling and general care of their horse although this is not mandatory.
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
There are 4 comfortable cabins, all with private bathrooms. One cabin has 3 bedrooms, a living room with fireplace and a bathroom; one has 1 bedroom, a living room and bathroom; the remaining 2 each have 1 bedroom and private bathroom. All the bathrooms are equipped with bathtubs with showers over.
Included in the cabins:
•Warm, comfortable bedding, towels and washcloths
•Private bathroom and hand soap
•Private porch and deck furniture
•Refrigerator & coffee maker
There is no single supplement charged for solo travellers. Guests from different parties will not be accommodated in the same cabin. Washer & dryer facilities are not available on the ranch, but you can drive to Buffalo, which is only 25 minutes away from the ranch.
Homemade "all you can eat" meals are served three times a day at the big family table in the main lodge. A typical breakfast menu consists of pancakes, eggs and bacon; lunch is usually a meat, vegetables, salad and dessert (packed lunch on the trail or all day rides); dinner consists of a meat, vegetables and a dessert. Alcoholic drinks and canned drinks are not included or served but guests are welcome to bring their own.
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.
All travellers are required to provide details online 72 hours prior to travel. For more information, and to apply online please visit the following website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Electronic travel authorities once obtained will be valid for a period of two years, or the validity of the travellers passport (whichever is shorter). There is a $14 charge for this service (2015). Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely to be detained and sent home.
On 5 January 2004, the US Authorities introduced the US-VISIT Programme. This means that all those aged between 14 and 79 travelling to the US are now finger-scanned and digitally photographed on arrival at passport control.
There are British consulates at many locations in the US, please check with the Foreign Office website for your closest one. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 020 7008 0232/0233 or see www.fco.gov.uk
The weather varies in temperature during the summer months and it can be 20 degrees cooler at night than during the day so bring layers of clothing for any kind of weather.
No specific health precautions are required for visits to the USA.
Medical treatment can be very expensive; there are no special arrangements for British visitors. The British Embassy and Consulates-General cannot assist with medical expenses.
Comprehensive travel and medical insurance is essential; at least $1,000,000 cover, which includes hospital treatment and medical evacuation to the UK, would be wise. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake including horse riding.
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
A good, high factor sunscreen is suggested, especially at the higher altitudes in the mountains where the air is thinner and you are more likely to catch the sun.
The voltage is 110V in the USA and you will need a flat blade plug and possibly an adaptor depending on the appliance. Check the voltage input required for mobile phone and digital/video cameras before leaving.
Wi-Fi is available on the ranch but is not very fast so no movies or pictures. 3G GSM mobile phone coverage is available with good reception but is not always 'constant'.
The weather varies in temperature during the summer months and it can be 20 degrees cooler at night than during the day so please take layers of clothing for any kind of weather.
Suggested layers: warm coat, vest, sweatshirt (for the cooler morning & evening temperatures), jeans, t-shirts and/or sleeveless tops for warmer daytime temperatures, light wind-proof jacket.
Riding boots without laces are important for safety purposes; however, they are not mandatory. If you would like to buy some genuine boots the store in Caspar is open on Sundays and boots range in price from $150 - $1000!
Other comfortable shoes are nice to have when you are not riding.
Boot Socks – crew or knee high socks to prevent ankle blisters or rubbing on your calves
A cowboy hat and a baseball cap are both handy. Cowboy hats help you to not get sunburnt and baseball caps are great for windy days. We always recommend riding helmets, these are not compulsory and you need to bring your own.
Swimsuit for the hot tub at the ranch or if you’d like to go to the swimming pool in Buffalo.
Toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer etc.
Sunscreen and sunglasses are always good. Mosquito repellent and sleeping bags for the cow camps.
Camera and/or video camera.
The ranch is open from the 1st June to the 1st October. Arrival and departures are on a Sunday. Shorter stays available on request.
2020: Sunday arrivals between 24 May to 30 September
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2020 - 7 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,799|
|2020 - 14 days||15d/14n||12||double pp||3,439|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2020 - 7 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||2,089|
|2020 - 14 days||15d/14n||12||double pp||3,989|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2020 - 7 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||2,359|
|2020 - 14 days||15d/14n||12||double pp||4,499|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2020 - 7 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||22,529|
|2020 - 14 days||15d/14n||12||double pp||43,005|
Johnson County Cattle War books
Malcolm Campbell County Sheriff books
Custer's Last Stand about the Arapahoe Indians
Professional rodeos in Sheridan, Buffalo, and Kaycee offer exciting competitive action featuring stars on the national rodeo scene. Equally enjoyable and every bit as impressive are local rodeos where local ranch families compete.
There is excellent fishing for rainbow and German brown trout in scenic Crazy Woman Creek. This lovely water is a real American trout stream. The creek and private ponds produce memorable fighting fish up to 23 inches.
The skies offer a nightly celestial spectacle of stars, constellations, meteors and other objects, including the Milky Way - seldom visible in urban settings.
There are numerous historical sites and museums in the area and the ranch offers an historical tour - see 'Other Information' below.
In the Bighorn mountains you may see elk, moose, beaver, porcupine and a tremendous variety of colourful birds. In scenic Crazy Woman Creek you can see rainbow and German brown trout and the ranch itself is home to whitetail and mule deer, antelope, bald eagles, coyotes and the occasional rattlesnake!
History Tours: Reliving the History of the American Frontier
Johnson County, Wyoming has been called the crucible of America’s frontier history. A number of the pivotal events in the settling of the West took place within a few miles of the ranch; they offer an in-depth tour of major historical sites in the area.
History Tour Itinerary:
The history tour offers an amazing inside look at the Old West. Besides the large amount of history, you’ll get to hear about the ranch and its role in the settling of the area as well as taking you to a number of sites as well.
TA Ranch: the tour starts at the TA Ranch, the site of the shootout during the Johnson County Cattle Wars, then move on to the Jim Gatchell Museum in Buffalo, Wy. From there we head to the Sheridan County Museum, the Kendrich Mansion, King Ropes & the Don King Museum, all the while Patty tells the stories of these amazing places. More info about some of these sites are below:
The TA Ranch
The tour starts at the TA Ranch. In the late 1880s and early ’90s, the Johnson County Cattle War dominated the local stage. A classic confrontation between large cattlemen and small ranchers, it climaxed at the TA Ranch, just five miles from the ranch. Here, a band of armed Buffalo citizens, led by Sheriff Red Angus, surrounded 40 gunmen hired by big cattle interests. The outnumbered “Invaders” were rescued and taken into custody by a troop of cavalry from Fort McKinney.
The Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum
This remarkable “window on the past” offers a unique portrait of the people and events of America’s frontier era. In 1900, Jim Gatchell opened a little drugstore in Buffalo, just as the period was drawing to a close. His customers included famous scouts, cowboys, lawmen and cattle barons. He was a trusted friend of the region’s Native Americans, many of whom fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The “Old Timers” gave Gatchell thousands of priceless artefacts of the vanished frontier era.
After Gatchell’s death in 1954, his family generously donated the collection to the people of Johnson County. The museum houses one of the richest collections of frontier artefacts in the Rocky Mountain West. Fascinating displays feature items from the Johnson County Cattle War, the Dull Knife Battle, the Battle of the Little Big Horn and every other significant event in local history.
Hole in the Wall Country
The “Outlaw Cave” (featured in the classic motion picture, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”) is a favourite tour site for ranch guests. Visiting this hideout of the notorious Hole-in-the-Wall Gang is a spectacular adventure. This tour is not a part of the regular history tour, but is available by special arrangements.
Fort Phil Kearny
In 1866, the Army constructed and garrisoned Fort Phil Kearny, a few miles north of the ranch. The fort was built on the Bozeman Trail to protect travellers headed to Montana’s gold fields. Two famous battles (the Fetterman Fight and the Wagon Box Fight) are associated with the fort. In 1868, after several violent clashes with Indians, the Army closed the fort. Sioux warriors burned it to the ground before the cavalry was out of sight.
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: In 2015 3G 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. 4G is beginning to be available in cities. There are still a few rural areas which have no GSM reception but do 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.