The experiences guest ranches provide can offer you the space and tools to contribute positively to your worldview, your perspectives toward nature and other people. I’ve outlined below several steps that demonstrate the process that I’ve witnessed through our guests over the years. This process of transformation has, to my knowledge, not been outlined within the guest ranching industry but is a strong component of many of the ranches that exist today.
Setting the Stage
Before 'agritourism' was a word, ranches across the West were offering a place for guests to stay and experience the lifestyle of cattle ranchers and farmers. An industry that originated by family and friends visiting this wild world of cowboys, changed quickly to a method for providing a supplemental income for ranchers as popularity spread and more ‘city slickers’ journeyed to these far out places.
And now, as many guest ranches rely more on tourism than cattle or crop productions, the focus of a ‘guest ranch’ has and should evolve to meet the needs of current travelers.
Family vacations have the potential to be rewarding, exciting, and just plain fun. But, as you begin the process of planning out your grand adventure, your pursuits start to become frustrating. With so many personalities, sports schedules, and conflicting ideas, the process turns grim and, if you don’t pull your hair out by the end, you’ve decided to consider that a success.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way. With just a few simple strategies, you’ll be ready for your Thanksgiving get-together and go home having put together the vacation of a lifetime. Here’s how:
Recently, we trailered our entire herd of horses down to the western slope of Colorado for winter pasture and care. Through that process of working with the horses, getting them loaded, and hauling them 5 hours away, I began to think about what guests enjoy most about the ranch and the western experience we offer.
While many activities and adventures come to mind, one in particular kept reoccurring in my thought processes but not for the reason you might think. In the eyes of a 'transformational traveler' (one searching for a more immersive experience in culture and place that challenges and inspires on a more deeply, personal level), trail riding may very well be at the heart of what’s so appealing about the Elk River Guest Ranch.
Yes, going on every trail and reaching every destination Elk River Guest Ranch offers would take quite a bit of time and horseback stamina. The diversity of trails we have to ride, from long to short, steep to mellow, and advanced to beginner, offers a little bit for everyone, and there's no need to feel like you have to fit it all in in one week--just gives you even more reason to come back to visit us!
For most guests, we suggest fitting in at least one of these epics into your vacation. However, if you're only with us for a three or four night stay, it may be worth saving these for your longer vacation trip to the ranch as there are lots of other adventurous activities worth partaking in in addition to horseback riding.