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Ranchlands is seeking a ranch or partnership with a ranch owner as a home for a herd of 1000+ buffalo. For details email We are also now accepting ranch management proposals/inquiries.

Ranchlands Stay

For More Information & Booking

Click here for the Ranchlands Stay PDF


anchlands Stay, including Ranchlands Camps and Ranchlands Experiences, began in 2000 on the Chico Basin Ranch, and today is available on three of six ranches that we manage across 295,000 acres in three states. Guests on our ranches have the opportunity to experience a number of activities ranging from small intimate homestays and upscale tent camps to simple and tasteful lodge settings. Ranchlands Stays offer opportunities to visit each ranch to learn about nature, ranching and the role it plays in protecting the ecosystem and wildlife that it sustains. Click here to view Ranchlands Stay pdf.

We are excited to offer you this rare chance to experience modern day working American Ranches.

Ranchlands Camps are based out of extraordinary tent camps that place you in the heart of each ranch. Experiences are singular to each location and focus on a special theme or features unique to that property, taking you into the core of ranch life. Our tent camps, complete with hot showers, beds, cook and specially prepared meals, travel to Ranchlands properties to provide you with an experience that explores ranching, one America’s oldest living traditions. Click here to learn more about the camps.

Ranchlands Experiences 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 ranches:

CHICO BASIN RANCH - Colorado - 90,000 acres

Chico vacations are rewarding because the intimate atmosphere allows guests to fully immerse themselves in ranch life. Guests head out at sun up to work on horseback gathering a pasture or moving a herd and in the afternoons, ride out for more horseback work, depending on livestock needs, or go out to check water, repair fence, work in the shops – every day is different. With only a handful of guests at a time – usually pairs and rarely more than six—guests are able to learn by becoming actively involved in the day’s work. And because the work that we do is essential to our operation, guests feel a strong sense of contribution at the end of their stay and become part of our community. Lodging is simple but comfortable in May Camp, a historic adobe building. Guests prepare their own breakfast and sack lunch to eat while out working, and join ranch crew in their homes for supper.

Adults: $1995/6 nights;  $350/3-5 nights
Children: $1596/6 nights; $280/3-5 nights

ZAPATA RANCH - Colorado - 103,000 acres

Zapata Ranch offers extensive programs based around horseback riding and nature programs, and also the opportunity to experience life on a working cattle and bison ranch while enjoying high-end amenities and gourmet food. Guests who desire a working ranch experience are welcome alongside our wranglers and ranch staff on various ranch projects. Or for those seeking to just experience the ranch and surroundings, horseback rides through the herd of 2,000 wild bison or the neighboring Great Sand Dunes National Park are favorites. The staff at Zapata specializes in creating tailored itineraries for each guest to ensure that each person has an exceptional stay.

Adults: $2765 / 7 nights;  $2670 / 6 nights; $2400 / 5 nights; $2000 / 4 nights; $1530 / 3 nights; $375 / night for 7+ nights

Children (6-8): $2212 / 7 nights; $2136 / 6 nights; $1920 / 5 nights; $1600 / 4 nights; $1224 / 3 nights

Special Events 2018

Sandhill Crane Photography Workshop

March 4 - 9, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Join long-time Ranchlands photographer Steve Weaver and naturalist John Rawinski for a photo workshop to document the spectacular spring migration of over 30,000 Sandhill Cranes across the ranch and San Luis Valley. In addition to capturing the cranes, spend time on the ranch documenting the resident bison herd, historic ranch structures and our daily way of life.

Cost: $2600 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

March Highlights:
30,000 cranes migrate through the San Luis Valley and across Zapata Ranch.

April Highlights: Calving begins across all ranches and the spring songbird migration begins at Chico Basin Ranch.

Horsemanship + Working Ranch Experience

May 6 - 11, Ranchlands Camp at Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado

A natural horsemanship experience with Ranchlands friend and renowned horseman, Cameron Schryver. Cam is two-time World Champion Extreme Cowboy and all those that have had the pleasure of riding with him know that his teaching methods are clear, practical and above all, fun. By applying working ranch horsemanship and riding by feel, you will leave the week feeling a deeper connection to the horse and will better understand how to communicate, developing a better handle. Days are spent with one-on-one horsemanship instruction, educational demonstrations, moving and working cattle on the ranch in accordance to the grazing plan. Spend the evenings in camp around the fire or dinner table on the prairie discussing the day’s experiences.

Cost: $2,700 pp includes all meals, instruction, and private furnished tent.

Branding Camp

May 13 - 18, Ranchlands Camp at Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado

Chico Basin Ranch is home to Ranchlands’ largest herd of cattle. This is a busy time of year for the ranch crew: branding, processing and gathering cattle on a daily basis. Join the crew each day and become part of the working team: be part of the weekly plan, saddle your own horse, enjoy the long trot out at dark to see the sunrise over the prairie on your way to gather cattle. You’ll be given responsibilities to gather, check fence and water throughout the week, be part of the branding crew that will hold the herd, assist with vaccinations, and ear notching. You’ll work closely with your team to ensure one of the biggest events on the ranch calendar goes smoothly and get to experience what ranching looked like 100 years ago. Intermediate to experienced riding level required. At the end of the day, relax in camp with dinner on the prairie, practice roping or head down to the lake for a swim.

Cost: $2,700 pp includes all meals, activities, and private furnished tent.

Naturalist and Painting Workshop

May 20 - 25, Ranchlands Camp at Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado

This Spring 2018, artist Rachel Pohl and ecologist Charles Post will be leading an immersive workshop bound to their respective crafts and lenses through which they see the world. This workshop will begin with an introduction to the flora, fauna and landscapes of the Chico Basin Ranch. Here, attendees will develop a deeper understanding and knowledge of the landscape through trail rides and exploring the ranch. Charles will peel back the layers of the natural landscape so that - through Rachel’s guidance - you will develop sketches that will later inspire and inform a more detailed work of art bound to the rhythms of the ranch. An equipment list will be sent at time of booking.

Cost: $2,700 pp includes all meals, activities, and private furnished tent.

May Highlights:
Bison calves are born and the wild rises bloom across Zapata Ranch. Sand Creek flows through Zapata Ranch with runoff from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. New foals are born at Chico Basin Ranch. Cattle branding begins.

Branding Week

June 10 - 17, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Take part in ranching’s oldest tradition and learn to wrestle a calf, vaccinate, ear tag and gather. This is a hands-on, team-oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action. Through the week explore the ranch and the Great Sand Dunes National Park on horseback, help check fence, water and herd health while moving and gathering cattle ending the week in a full day branding. Also available are interpretive hikes with a naturalist, fly fishing, rafting, roping and leather working sessions as well as massage to assist with those activity filled days.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging.

Women, Horses and the West

June 17 - 24, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

For the fourth year Dr. Bonney MacDonald will lead a special workshop focusing on literature, horsemanship and the land. Emerson wrote that many adults don’t truly see the natural world, but that nature shines into the eyes and heart of a child. Dive into the literature of nature and animals, and discuss when and how young people develop a sympathy for and a connection to the natural world. Talk about great books of our childhoods – Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty and more – and consider the non-fiction work, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Syndrome, and other works about learning from the natural world through exploration, imagination, and immersion. Enjoy horseback rides each morning and discussions around the table each afternoon. Participants will also have opportunities to ride through our 2,000 wild bison, through the Great Sand Dunes National Park and with the cattle herd.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging.

Leather Workshop

June 25 - 28, Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado

For the first time ever, Ranchlands is opening up our leather shop for a 3 day workshop. Whether you are a beginner, enthusiast or a semi pro, join our leather team to create a product that you can take home with you. This could be a pair of chinks, a leather satchel or maybe a delicately tooled belt. Get creative and learn practical skills such as pattern making, tooling and all of the steps that go into finishing leather. All tools and instruction are supplied. Space is limited to 6 participants. This is a great opportunity to learn a craft that was born on the ranch out of necessity from a team that is now making products for international brands.

Cost: $1,750 pp includes meals, instruction and lodging.
Leather is priced separately

June Highlights:
Medano Creek flows through the Great Sand Dunes National Park, (Zapata Ranch), and Prickly Pear Cactus bloom across Chico Basin Ranch. Branding continues.

Bison + Wildlife Photography Workshop

July 22 - 27, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Join award-winning nature and wildlife photographer Jason Savage on a photographic journey exploring the landscape of the San Luis Valley, its wild inhabitants, and iconic ranch life. Learn the art of composition, lessons in natural light, and techniques in wildlife photography. Zapata is home to elk, bison, coyotes, deer, cattle and many resident migrating birds and the Great Sand Dunes National Park is the backdrop. You’ll stay in the historic lodge and meals are cooked from scratch. Spend time discovering the art of nature photography in group sessions that allow one-on-one lessons devoted to each individual’s needs. Days will include early morning sessions in the field, afternoon classroom time, and evenings photographing golden light in the valley. Classroom sessions will cover digital workflow, post processing, and lessons in professional editing. Jason’s work has been featured in National Geographic Traveler, Time, Outside, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, The Nature Conservancy and many others.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

July Highlights:
Cholla Cactus bloom across Chico Basin Ranch and cattle herds are monitored for late season calves.

Trek the Sangre de Cristos and Beyond

August 12 - 19, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Zapata Ranch sits in one of the most unique landscapes and ecosystems in North America. A hikers paradise, you have access to hundreds of miles of backcountry trails. Join Ranchlands team member and Zapata Ranch leader Emily Paxson on this challenging and explorative hiking week. The week will include hiking to pristine high alpine lakes and meadows, exploring the Great Sand Dunes wilderness, along with summiting one of the 14,000-ft peaks surrounding the ranch. Sit back and relax between excursions in the Zapata lodge nestled in a historic cottonwood grove and enjoy home cooked meals made from scratch. Emily is an experienced hiker and mountain biker and will share her knowledge of the history, flora and fauna and the diverse ecology that you’ll be surrounded by.

Cost: $2,950 includes meals, activities, and lodging.

Cam Schryver Horsemanship Clinic

September 16 - 23, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Join us for our annual weeklong natural horsemanship experience with 27-year director of the Thacher Riding School, Cameron Schryver. Cam is invited to clinics around the country on horsemanship and is a two-time World Champion Extreme Cowboy. By applying working ranch horsemanship and riding by feel, you will leave the week feeling a deeper connection to the horse and will better understand how to communicate with them, developing a better handle. Days are spent with one-on-one horsemanship instruction, educational demonstrations, rides throughout the surrounding meadows and sand dunes as well as opportunities to work cattle and ride through the conservation bison herd. This week typically sells out very fast with return participants, so please book early.

Cost: $3,150 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

Sorting + Weaning Cattle Works with Cam Schryver

September 23 - 29, Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado

By Fall each year, our calves are branded and grown and it’s time for them to be weaned. Become a part of the ranch crew through this busy time of gathering, sorting and working cattle in the corrals. Use your horse to help sort cattle or maybe help run gates and sorting pens. This is an intimate opportunity to take part in a fundamental element of the ranch operation, with plenty of riding and corral work. Be prepared for early mornings, sometimes beginning in the dark, and long fulfilling days. When there’s a chance, relax by or go fishing in one of the ranches 5 springfed lakes. Prepare your own breakfast and lunch with food supplied and then enjoy dinner with the ranch crew. Bunk style lodging and bath.

Cost: $2600 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

Fall Colors Photo Workshop

September 30 - October 7, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Enjoy the breathtaking colors and wildlife of fall at Zapata Ranch with a unique photo workshop led by nature photographer Stephen Weaver. Experience the ranch like never before against the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains while scouting for wildlife among the gold and auburn’s of the Aspen and Cottonwood trees. Head out for early morning shoots, and return to the lodge for midday editing, critique sessions and technical advice plus afternoon and sunset shoots. The ranch is home to bison, elk, antelope and many bird species that you’ll find among the autumn colors.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

September Highlights:
The fall colors begin to turn and days begin to shorten. Cattle works at Chico Basin Ranch.

Painting Horses with Jill Soukup

October 7 - 12, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Join renowned artist Jill Soukup for the sixth year of her painting workshop focusing on drawing and painting horses. Long time friend of Ranchlands, Jill, among other accolades, was the Featured Artist at Coors Western Art Sale and Best of Show for Cowgirl Up!, Caballeros Western Museum 2017. Discussions and exercises will cover the importance of understanding equine anatomy, what makes a good drawing, composition and color. Activities will include photo opportunities of horses running, a bison tour, sketching and studying corralled horses, demonstrations and critiques. Space is limited to 12.
Intermediate to advanced skill level is suggested.

Cost: $2,600 pp includes all meals, instruction and lodging.

October Highlights:
Fall colors are in full swing and vibrancy. Fall cattle works at Chico Basin and Zapata Ranches.

CONTACT US 719.428.5006