Come to the Bitterroot Ranch for an authentic week of ranch cattle work. This week is not a contrived cattle experience, instead it will be a glimpse into the realities of ranch life. The ranch runs 450 head of Black Angus and Scottish Highland cattle on their grazing allotment in the Shoshone National Forest. The cattle graze on vast open mountain pastures with never ending vistas and the work required to keep everything well organized seems to go on just as long as the views. In additional to the standard trail riding and lesson options, range riding activities will include fixing fence, searching for cattle killed by grizzly bears or wolves, putting out salt with pack horses and potentially herding cattle from pasture to pasture, depending on need.
There are over 120 riding horses on the ranch, consisting mainly of Arabians and Quarter Horse crosses (14-16hh). The Arabian horses are raised and trained exclusively for the use of the guests, who often like to visit the mares and foals. The ranch also has some excellent Welsh ponies for children.
The horses are trained western and are used to being neck reined; they do not go on contact. All guests are asked to post the trot and to stay in two point or galloping position for the canters and when climbing hills. This is important to us as it keeps the horses from getting sore backs.
Those who do not comfortably adapt to riding in this manner will be kept on slower rides.
Helmets are required, there are some available to borrow.
Quarter Horse, Arabian
Some long slow days in the mountains, and fast riding as well
Western or endurance saddles with curb or snaffle bits
There are no separate activities planned for non-riders, who can take advantage of this unique location to fly fish, hike and visit with the ranch animals. With a rental car the town of Dubois is about 40 minutes away.
Hadley teaches four flowing yoga classes a week in the ranch’s yoga yurt, Monday and Wednesday afternoons, Friday mornings, and Saturday afternoons. The classes are designed to stretch the muscles that typically become sore during riding. They are friendly for people without much (or any!) yoga experience, but they also offer something to the more experienced yoga practitioner.
At the ranch. We can provide details for services for transportation from the Jackson Hole airport or the Riverton airport.
Sunday: Arrive between 2 and 5 pm and settle into your comfortable log cabin. Join your fellow guests for cocktails on the porch at 6.30 followed by a BBQ and bonfire by the river (weather permitting).
Monday: After a hearty breakfast gather by the corral at 9.15 for an introduction to the wranglers and a short demonstration of the riding techniques used on the ranch. Mount up and ride to the ring for a brief evaluation to make sure you are well matched with your horse, tack, and fellow riders. Then it is off on your first trail ride of the week! Return in time for lunch at 12.30, have a bit of time to relax and you are back in the saddle at 2.45, exploring a different area of the vast empty spaces that surround the ranch. Return from your ride between 4.30 and 5.30, which will give you time to shower and change before cocktail hour.
Tuesday: Optional videotaped lessons in the morning. A longer ride into the National Forest for those who are now more comfortable in the saddle followed by a shorter, faster afternoon ride. Cocktails are at 6:00 pm and dinner today is at 6.30 in July and August to accommodate those who wish to join the weekly square dance in Dubois, which starts at 8.00.
Wednesday: Set off into the National Forest to the East Fork basin section of the allotment. Check the fence along the border with the Indian Reservation riding through groves of aspen, hidden meadows and open pine forest. Ride on into the Alkali section of the allotment.
Thursday: Check fences and cattle movements in the Alkali section, perhaps going up high near the base of Castle Rock. You will be riding through vast open meadows, interspersed with pockets of aspen and pine. The spectacular Wind River Mountain range is always in view on one side with the Absaroka Mountains on the other. Make your way back to the ranch in the afternoon.
Friday: A long ride in the morning is followed by a friendly team sorting competition in the afternoon (July, August and September). After gathering the cattle and driving them to the arena four team members attempt to drive ten Highland yearlings in numerical order from one end of the ring to the other in 4 minutes. You will find that the cattle never comply with the best laid plans! Cocktails are at 6:00 pm and dinner is again at 6.30 in July and August so that you can make it to Dubois by 8.00 to watch the local rodeo.
Saturday: An all day picnic ride that takes us high into the National Forest. There is often an opportunity to herd from pasture to pasture depending upon cattle movements.
Sunday: Departure after breakfast and a sad farewell to new found friends.
This itinerary is flexible and may be altered due to cattle's needs, weather, etc.
Trip Dates & Pricing
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Of all our ranch vacations, this one offered the most variety of terrains and rides. Every day a different surprise - Wind River and Absaroka ranges, Elk range, river canyons, volcanic ash hills, cattle driving, riding lessons, yoga, fly fishing, easy hikes to great scenery between rides, very well cared for horses,... Read more
The Bitterroot ranch in Wyoming offers excellent riding for a broad range of ability levels. Everyone can enjoy varied trail rides through stunning scenery, with options for lessons weekly... Read more