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Horsemanship Education Vacations for 2010

Wilderness Trails Ranch teams up with Erika Roberts for an exceptional horse-centric week in 2010. We offer real riding with real purpose in one of the finest and stunning "classrooms" on the planet, complete with outstanding dining, evening entertainment, and classy log cabin lodging. Saddle up with Erika for a ranch horsemanship clinic geared to all levels of riders. Cattleworking and Roping Clinics culminating in a spectacular setting! Join WTR and Erika for cowgirl camp!

Erika will return for the third annual cowgirl camp, August 29-September 4 --the ultimate getaway for riding, learning, and relaxing!  All skill levels are welcome.

Ultimate Vacations: WTR's Magical Fall Weeks

We can't help it--late August, September, and early October are our favorite weeks at Wilderness Trails Ranch! All adults weeks feature a customized riding menu, plenty of cow working, ideal weather, and the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.

Cowgirl up August 29-September 4 for Cowgirl Camp with guest clinician and horsewoman, Lee Smith.   

Dreaming of the peak of color of Colorado's high country? Then, saddle up and soak in the famous hues of fall's peaking color change during Caballeros: Ride the Colors of the Fall, September 26-October 2. Click here for more information!

WTR in June: A Perfect Start to Your Summer!

Travel to Wilderness Trails Ranch in June and experience the incredibly lush Colorado early summer.  This is the most exciting time to visit for whitewater rafting and ideal temperatures with very little precipitation.  We offer $200-$400/person discounts at this time, and our staff is energized and enthusiastic to serve up the ultimate ranch vacation! 

May 23-June 5 is reserved for adults onlyJune 6-26 is available for B&B, 3, or 6 day stays.  Most guests will be families or couples.  We are offering $150-$300/person discounts for these weeks, so don't hesitate to take advantage this great value!

Erika Roberts appears on Today Show

Tune into NBC on Monday April 14 for the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford, Martin Short, and WTR's own Erika Roberts!  Erika spent several days in New York city representing the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association for an interactive event, Experience the Four Seasons of Colorado.  The event was held on April 11 in Madison Square Park and received media attention from all of the local New York television stations.  Erika Roberts and David Brittain from Wilderness Trails Ranch and Tom Murphy and Randy Barnharrt from Elk Mountain Ranch demonstrated roping and taught locals to rope or "lasso" steer roping dummies on Friday.

NBC invited Erika and Randy to stay an extra few days in the Big Apple to appear on the Today Show.  The segment will air between 9-10 am on Monday, April 14, 2008.

WTR featured in Appaloosa Horse Journal

If you would like to view or download a PDF version of this article, just click here: Wilderness Trails Ranch, Appaloosa Journal, March 2008.  Also, Erika Roberts and Jan's horse, Piper aka Pinen Music Mister, are featured on the July 2008 cover of the Appaloosa Journal and their national show poster!

Adults Only Weeks for Summer and Fall

Experience the best of WTR amongst the relaxed and intimate company of our adults-only weeks: May 24-30, May 31-June 6, and August 23-October 3.  Take advantage of our shoulder season rates, saddle up for a specialty riding week or horsemanship clinic, and sink into the solace of the stunning Pine River Valley. 

Visit the Adults-Only or Horsemanship Vacation pages (under Vacation Packages) for details.

Elk and Deer Hunting Fall 2009

The “House Shoe Hunt:” A Rare Opportunity in Southwest Colorado

Gene Steele sunk deeper into the leather sofa as the glow of the fire danced in his eyes.  “For us, this is the ideal hunt.  This is our ‘house shoe’ hunt.”  Gene, Emory, and David shared a gloating smile and raised their glasses to an exceptional opening day.  Wafts of Chef Michael’s prime rib and chocolate raspberry cheesecake floated into the Waterin’ Hole intermittently.  It had been a very good day: one trophy bull and another 5-by, both taken before noon.

Nestled in the San Juan Mountains near Durango, Wilderness Trails Ranch ( rests in the stunning upper Pine River Valley.  This secluded hide-a-way is tucked against the Piedra and Weminuche Wilderness Areas, Colorado’s largest roadless enclave.  The ranch offers a rare value for an exceptional hunt during first and second rifle seasons.  WTR operates as a top-notch dude ranch from late May-September, so hunters enjoy the same plush cabin accommodations as guests during the peak summer season.

Dining at WTR is an occasion unto itself.  Hunters fuel up for the day on a made-to-order breakfast of eggs, pancakes, French toast, omelets, bacon, sausage, and potatoes with the company of their guides.  Over steaming mugs of coffee near the antique wood burning stove, guides and hunters plan their day.  Well before daybreak, wranglers prepare horses, and a brief ride of 45 minutes to an hour and ½ plants hunters deep into the national forest.  From there, a guide and 1 to 2 clients begin hunting on foot.

Evenings are spent fireside, swapping lies, enjoying appetizers, and sampling the full menu of WTR’s fully stocked bar.  The entire staff joins hunters for dinner, creating a truly warm and intimate atmosphere.  “This trip far exceeded our expectations.  The staff was just incredible, they made the trip.  We felt like family.” explained Gene Steele after the final breakfast. 

Although, evenings are leisurely, a hunt at WTR is a true mountain hunt.  Horses lessen the challenge of access, but hunters must have a solid level of fitness to be prepared for the altitude (9000-11,000 feet) and necessary hiking. 

Erika Roberts, born and raised at the ranch, runs the hunting program.  “Our goal is to provide a quality experience for our clients.  We only take four hunters for each season, and our guide to client ratio is 1:2.  I offer hunts because I believe it is a magical experience in a magical place.  We aren’t in this to make a bunch of money.  I know we offer a type of hunt that is unparalleled in this part of Colorado.” describes Erika.

Wilderness Trails borders a large private ranch on one boundary and national forest on the other.  Because of its location, WTR boasts exceptional access.  For the public to access the same hunting area, they must hike or ride for 4 hours.  No other outfitter in the area provides the ease of same-day access.  Therefore, no other outfitter offers the “house shoe hunt.”

For more information, visit the Wilderness Trails Ranch website at, email to, or call 1-800-527-2624.

Erika Roberts featured at Cowgirl Camp August 29-September 4, 2010!


Wilderness Trails Ranch Hosts Natural Horsemanship & Cattlework Clinic

with Lee Smith

It's often been said that "it's never too late to be a cowgirl!" Yup, there's a little bit of cowgirl in every woman, whether she wears high heels with a business suit or owns her own horse and saddle. Cowgirls exemplify strength with softness, skill with "smarts" and often, communication with horses that can outshine most cowboys. Both city slickers and ranch women love their horses!

Whether you are a working cowgirl or an aspiring cowgirl, a great opportunity for a dream vacation or holiday awaits at the 3rd annual Cowgirl Camp at Wilderness Trails Ranch , August 29 -September 4, 2010. Wilderness Trails is a family owned guest ranch located in the spectacular San Juan mountains near Durango, Colorado. They specialize in outstanding hospitality and horses, horses, horses!

Cowgirl Camp will feature instructor Erika Roberts. Erika's passion for horses is the central element in her life. She is an enthusiastic and talented horsewoman, who loves to share her knowledge and experience with horse enthusiasts.  Erika has shared her 33 years of dedication with horses at clinics as far as England and with hundreds of students across the United States and world.

Born on Wilderness Trails Ranch, she was raised horseback. Her varied experience includes show jumping, cutting, driving, ranch roping, and packing.  Erika won a world championship in 1981 in western equitation at the Morgan Nationals, and has competed in multiple disciplines across the Western U.S.

In 1997, she was exposed to the horsemanship tradition popularized by the Dorrance brothers, and carried on by great horseman such as Ray Hunt, Lee Smith, Tom Curtin, and many talented others.

Erika practices and teaches those principles, as she continues to adamantly pursue her own education.

Gals can either bring their own horse or use one of the excellent ranch horses. Erika will teach practical ranch, trail and recreational riding skills. Basic horsemanship and safety skills will be covered; such as the best way to bridle and saddle a horse, what knots are good to use, and common safety sense with horses. 

There will be some riding in the arena, but the most spectacular classroom for this clinic is in the mountains on trailrides or working cattle on the adjoining 250,000 acre grazing permit. Erika continues to teach as students ride into the Colorado high country around the ranch. Horses and riders learn to bond and communicate as they negotiate logs, streams, gates, and steep terrain. Narrow trails open into gorgeous high mountain meadows where riders can refine their skills in a natural environment.

Erika will also teach stock handling on the ranch's yearling cattle. The ability to quietly move your horse and effectively move cattle, is a fine art of communication between horse, human, and bovine. Skills learned from working cows can be applied every time you ride your horse, no matter the situation or riding style. Of course, the camp wouldn’t be complete without learning to throw a rope. From the basics of how to hold the rope to throwing "houlihans" and "hip shots," Erika teaches with skill and humor so even the novice cowgirl can make a "catch.”

After a long day in the saddle Wilderness Trails Ranch provides the ultimate in cowgirl relaxation. Hot showers accompanied with fluffy bathrobes and aromatic soaps. Rinse off the trail dust with a dip in the swimming pool or hot tub and indulge in yoga classes and tailored massage therapy. Each evening cowgirls are treated to gourmet meals and entertainment. Singing cowboys croon around an open firepit one evening, or you can learn how to line dance as lessons are offered. Dance and stomp to a live cowboy band or take a hayride pulled by giant Belgian draft horses. The intimate Waterin' Hole bar in the main lodge is furnished with cold drinks and a large stone fireplace where you can prop up your boots. Above all, the spectacular scenery and incredible views from the deck of the lodge or any of the cabin porch provides what could be the most relaxing spot on Earth.

The Roberts family, owners of Wilderness Trails Ranch, truly makes you feel at home. Located among the spectacular San Juan mountains near Durango, Colorado, their staff is warm, friendly and well-trained to ensure that you have all that you need during your visit. Filled with expert instruction, endless scenery, laughter, friendships and horses, Wilderness Trails Ranch invites YOU to their Cowgirl camp August 29-September 4. What more could a cowgirl want?

Please see the Specialty Weeks and Events page for details.

Candlelit Dinner now Paired with Wine

We're excited to offer wine pairing with our Thursday night, gourmet, multi-course meal. Enjoy several glasses of wine individually paired with each course. Truly an exceptional dining experience!

Saddle Up and Enjoy the Ride

Whether you want to get your hands dirty or enjoy the serenity of open pastures and the great outdoors, Wilderness Trails Ranch (WTR), invites you toexperience one of Colorado’s most beautiful, secluded hideaways.

Wilderness Trails Ranch has a perfect blend of Western flavor with modern comforts, a combo that attracts not only the horse-minded, but urbanites who want a taste of the ranch life with their family and friends.

The first week of June is reserved for adults only ($1,995/pp). For those singles, couples or groups of friends, this is the week to experience the ranch and all of its activities and amenities. Three or six day stays are available for families and couples, June 8th -28th. Take advantage of WTR’s discount, ($300/pp) offered for the month of June.

Choose from 10 private cabins, comfortably furnished in mountain-rustic motif. Located on 160 acres of wilderness, each cabin has its own character and private deck where guests can experience stunning views. With a choice between two or three bedroom/two or three bath accommodations, these cabins are ideal for couples or families of 4-6 people.

“Dude ranches are an excellent value for the amount of activities you can pack in one week," explains Erika Roberts, Operations Manager and daughter of Jan & Gene Roberts owners of the ranch.

Multi-activity days can be easily accomplished at the ranch. As an all-inclusive, no gratuity added package, activity choices include: Waterskiing and tubing, hiking, yoga, hayrides, roping lessons, whitewater rafting, guided fly-fishing, and Natural Horsemanship clinics.

If parents want to explore on their own, WTR offers an excellent youth program for the smallest of wranglers (ages 3-5 and 6-10) or tough-to-please teens (11-12 and 13-17). For those in a creative mood, arts and crafts activities are available. Or, they can splash in the lake, ride their own horse for the week, fish, or take advantage of the secret kid’s Hide Out.

If that’s not enough, enjoy the use of the on-site facilities: Lap-sized, heated swimming pool and hot tub. End the day with a hot rock massage and other spa services that are also available at the ranch.

Purchased in 1970 by the Roberts family, the ranch has been a working ranch as well as a place for visitors to enjoy for the past 38 years. Jan and Gene Roberts have dedicated themselves to designing what Jan says to be, “a carefully tailored experience for our guests.”

Thanks to old fashioned values, the Roberts have demonstrated exceptional western hospitality throughout the years, helping to create lifelong memories and life changing experiences one week at a time.

Bordering the Piedra and Weminuche Wilderness areas, Colorado’s largest roadless wild places, WTR is situated in the Upper Pine River Valley, just upstream from Vallecito Lake. WTR is secluded yet easily accessible with the historic mountain community of Durango, just 35 miles away.

If you are looking for modern amenities combined with ranch-style cookouts, family dances and cattle round-ups, saddle up for the ultimate guest ranch experience.

For more information regarding rates and availability, please contact, Wilderness Trails Ranch, 800-527-2624 or 970-247-0722. Or visit the website,

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