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“Extraordinary experience in an exceptional place”

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Zapata Ranch - A Nature Conservancy Preserve
Reviewed 28 August 2016

I spent three days at Zapata ranch in August 2016 with my husband, our 21 year old daughter and our 16 year old son. We all have enjoyed horseback riding for many years, and we treasured the chance to ride in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, on the Medona section of the ranch--seeing hundreds of wild bison and a herd of elk, and on the Zapata section of the ranch, with a chance to help push cattle from one section to another. The lodgings were extremely comfortable and the food was absolutely delicious. The staff could not have been more helpful, from the office staff in planning our trip to the wrangler who rode with just our family group each day. This was a magical, unforgettable experience. I hope that we can return soon.

  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
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    • Rooms
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1  Thank Lorna610
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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16 - 22 of 101 reviews

Reviewed 21 August 2016

We wanted to see the sand dunes and only by coincidence found this Nature Conservancy owned ranch that is right there. Not luxurious or "dude ranchy" but very much like a working ranch with cattle and also a 2000 head bison heard. If you are a horse person this is the place for you--60 horses and tremendous wranglers, absolutely outstanding . There were 8 guests and we were the only Americans --Norwegians, Dutch, English and French. ---all delightful, serious horse people and fun.
Food was first rate---straightforward as it should be in a place like this but fresh local ingredients all expertly prepared. Rooms are basic ranch accommodations that are very clean and cared for daily---again , all consistent with the property and experience. We went with John, a local naturalist one day---he knew the area intamently having worked for the forest service. An excellent and engaging teacher. Finally, everyone working at the ranch was a delight --as one of the guests said, " I don't think anyone here knows the word "no"". We did not go there for the riding as everyone else did---they were all very accomplished---but we had a tremendous time none the less.

  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Shelley B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2016

We were for 4 days at Zapata in Summer 2016. I had a beautiful 3,5 hours ride in the Great Sand Dunes NP (through sand, river & woodland) - the first time in my live on horseback. All the Wranglers are very helpful, qualified and friendly, the food tasted "home made" and we liked it, the athmoshere at the homestead (with guest rooms log cabins) was peaceful (nature all around), we had the chance to have very kind guests with us the time we were there, and the ranch-program was very interesting (in very small Groups). You get a lot for the relatively high price.
Alex from Basel/Switzerland

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank M7648UIalex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2016

My wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary at Zapata Ranch and could not have been more pleased with everything about the experience. If you want to get a taste of ranch life on horseback, go here. If you enjoy mountains, incredible scenery, unique range land and hiking, go here. If you enjoy wildlife go here. If you want to meet some of the best people, go here.

I learned so much by spending a day with professional photographer Steve Weaver, who gave me more than my money's worth. He gave me valuable tips on how to improve and showed me how to take some INCREDIBLE photos. A naturalist, John, gave us more than a guided hike, he connected us to the land, its wildlife and its past. Trail rides on horseback were so much fun, not just into the Great Dunes National Park, but perhaps the highlight of the trip was the work experience of helping to move about 50 head of cattle from one grazing area to another. In the process, we learned about how Zapata protects the land through natural approaches to raising its cattle and buffalo herds and its horses. Really learned a lot.

Our accommodations were clean and comfortable, and the food--emphasis on locally grown--was incredible, but I can't say enough about the management and staff. Hard working and considerate, everyone from the manager, Kate, to the wranglers bent over backwards to make sure we had a great time. So patient with those of us with limited horse riding experience. They were just the best and I would go back in a heart beat. I highly recommend Zapata Ranch.

Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Rob K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2016

This is an amazing place to unplug. The pack trip took us into the Sangre de Cristo mountains with amazing scenery. The ranch itself is beautiful on its own and we plan on visiting again. The food was excellent and we loved the atmosphere in the family style dining area.

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled with family
    • Service
Thank cpicou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2016

My husband and I visited Zapata Ranch for our wedding anniversary and had a wonderful time. Even though we did not participate in the horseback riding or range hand activities, the location is perfect for those of you, like us, we are hikers. The sand dunes and Blanca Peak are just minutes away. In addition, there are countless other hiking trails in the Sand Dunes National Park. Zapata Ranch accommodations are perfect and the food is outstanding! Everyone we were in contact with were not only very professional but full of life and personality. We will definitely visit again -- and will not wait for another anniversary. Perfect for a weekend trip, family reunion, or a family vacation.

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank teriswitzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2016 via mobile

Mornings come early at the Zapata Ranch. The smell of coffee and bacon cooking starts the day out right. The cook puts on a spread of home cooked meals, buffet style. The food is yummy! Horseback riding daily is a big treat and the horses are well behaved and a pleasure to ride. The girl wranglers are quite talented at horse chores and tack adjustments. The wranglers are pleasant cowgirls always willing to help. The ranch is a 20 minute pickup ride to the National Sand Dunes. The horseback riding expeditions include the dunes as well as seeing the herds of buffalo and cattle on the working Zapata Ranch. The cabins and rooms are not air conditioned, but comfortable with a breeze blowing thru and fans in the rooms. The beds are so comfortable with beautiful bedding that is lovely to sleep in. I recommend this to families, friends and groups. A ton of fun!

Stayed: June 2016, travelled with friends
Thank 73,945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Zapata Ranch - A Nature Conservancy Preserve

Address: 5305 State Highway 150, Mosca, CO 81146-9718
Region: United States > Colorado > Mosca
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Mosca
Hotel Class:3 star — Zapata Ranch - A Nature Conservancy Preserve 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spectacular setting. One of the most unique ranches in North America bordered by the Sand Dunes National Park and Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. 103,000 acres with bison and cattle. Excellent working ranch opportunities and educational, conservation and nature experiences. Be sure to ask about Branding Week, Sandhill Crane Photo Trip, Painting and Photography Workshops, Horsemanship & Roping Clinics and Corporate/Family Retreat Capacities. Gourmet Chef, 4-star rustic elegance, hot tub and walking trails on grounds. ... more   less 

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