10 things you can do on a ranch that you NEVER would back home!

Published by Jody on March 13 2015 21:05 in Canada | Cattle drives | Children's Programs | Cowboy Culture | Montana | Ranching First | Relaxation Ranches | Shopping | United States | Wildlife | Working Ranches | Yoga Ranches
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  1. Let the kids out of your sight

After all, you know they’ll be in good hands at a family ranch, especially ones with outstanding childrens’ programs – check out Latigo Ranch in Colorado, Lone Mountain Guest Ranch in Montana, and Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge, also in Montana.

  1. Leave your front door unlocked at night

There ain’t no one around for at least 40 miles, and it saves remembering where the heck you put your keys.

  1. Swap hairspray for bear spray

An hour in the saddle under your Stetson, and no amount of hairspray is going to fix that chignon. Stock up on bear spray instead, especially if heading to mountain ranches where bears are known to roam. Ranches such as Triple Creek Ranch in Montana and Siwash Lake Ranch in BC offer safari tours, giving you ample opportunity to spot elusive bears – just be careful not to get on the wrong side of a protective mom!


Ranch holidays double as wildlife vacations

Published by Jody on April 26 2013 12:45 in
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Ranch holidays give you the opportunity to commune with nature in a way that many other vacations can not. Defined as a 'large farm' in many dictionaries, a key aspect of a ranch is great, big and beautiful, open space. On this land, mostly free from human influence, animals, birds and reptiles thrive. They are free to live as animals were born to, roaming in natural habitats.

Photo: Lone Mountain Guest Ranch, Montana, USA.

From the ordinary to the extraordinary

From working ranches to luxury getaways, every one of the Top50 ranches has something to offer the nature-loving holiday maker.

Photo: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Choose a nature walk in a national park to seek out your furry neighbours or take to the water for a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching trip. You are only limited by your imagination, because sightings at ranches have ranged from elk to mountain lions, golden eagles to black bears.

Photo: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia, Canada


Culinary Vacations with Zapata Ranch

Published by Jody on January 25 2013 20:04 in Culinary Vacations
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Butcher, Baker, Ice Cream Maker

with Zapata Ranch in Colorado

An Exotic Culinary Vacation to engage your senses like Never before.

When: July 7-14, 2013

Instructors: William Werner of Craftsman & Wolves,  Hank Shaw  of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and Kitty Travers of La Grotte Ices.

Join renowned food artisans for this week-long unique culinary experience in the stunning setting of Zapata Ranch, Colorado.

About your stay: Kitty Travers, Hank Shaw & William Werner will guide you on your culinary adventure.

During your stay you will explore the ranch on foot and horseback foraging for herbs and edible plants, learn how to butcher different cuts of meat including ranch raised bison, and create  Fabulous gourmet dishes.

From herb infused breads and pastries, slow cooked meats and prickly pear ice cream you will leave Zapata with a greater understanding of how our natural food philosophy can work in any meal and every kitchen.

culinary vacations with Zapata Ranch

Buffalo direct from the Ranch

About the ranch: One of the most unique ranches in North America. Bordered by the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Sangre De Cristo Mountain
Range Zapata is a stunning 103,000-acre working bison and cattle ranch, it is owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed by third generation
ranchers the Phillips family. The 4 star lodge is built on the original Zapata Homestead and is nestled amongst an ancient Cottonwood grove.

Buffalo butchering

Your talented instructors….

William Werner of Craftsman & Wolves, San Francisco
Previously the executive pastry chef at Quince and the Ritz Carlton, and then Tell Tale Preserve Company, Werner’s avant-garde baked goods like his signature The Devil Inside—a foi gras and caramel filled chocolate cake— promise to ignite the foodie in all of us. William has garnered national praise for his pastries in publications including Food & Wine, New York Times, and Wallpaper, which awarded him “Best High Tea, Confections.”

Zapata Ranch scenery

Kitty Travers of La Grotta Ices, London

Kitty Travers is an ice cream queen. She learned to cook at the Institute of Culinary Education in NY, then worked in Cannes and Rome and after learning all there is to know about gelato, opened La Grotta Ices. Recognized as one of the “Spots to Eat” in London’s south side by Bon Appetit and described as “one of the culinary stars of the future” by The Guardian, Kitty’s creativity and knack for pairing the most uncommon of ingredients harmoniously will surely create masterpieces at Zapata

Kitty Travers


Hank Shaw of Hunter | Angler | Gardener | Cook, Sacramento
A former line cook, fisherman, clam digger and political reporter, His blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook was nominated for Best Food Blog by the James Beard Foundation for two consecutive years, and won the Bert Greene Award from the International Assoc of Culinary Professionals. Hank’s work has been published in Food & Wine, Field and Stream, Gastronomica and most recently in his  new book Duck Duck Goose, The ultimate guide to Cooking Waterfowl Both Wild and domestic

Cost: $2,995pp

Call 888.592.7282

Help Wanted, Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Published by Jody on December 8 2012 09:43 in
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Zapata Ranch, Colorado: Help Wanted


April - 31st October 2013

Zapata Ranch is a 103,000 acre working ranch and bison preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy, and managed through a one-of-a-kind partnership with Ranchlands www.ranchlands.com

The successful applicants will be outgoing, gracious, and highly guest oriented. Candidates should demonstrate an interest in ranching, conservation, and people.

Wranglers must be lifetime riders—english or western—who can demonstrate safe, effective horsemanship.

Previous experience or a demonstrated interest in natural science and environmental education is desirable, though a love of nature and desire to learn is just as valuable.

Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to the care of the ranch’s 50 horses, maintenance of the corral area and a variety of lodge duties.  Wranglers will also act as guides on hikes, bison tours, and other activities.

A valid drivers license is required. 

We’d also like to hear about any other skills you may have—leatherwork, mechanics, roping,  birding, etc-- that may enhance the guest experience and daily operations.

To apply, please send a photo, resume, and a cover letter detailing why you want to work for Zapata Ranch as well as an essay in your own words, minimum of two paragraphs, describing what is important to you in living your life to kate@zranch.org

A look into Zapata Ranch:

Ranchlands Artist Gathering Exhibition - Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado

Published by Jody on August 15 2012 13:04 in
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Ranchlands Artist Gathering Exhibition - You are Invited!

The Phillips Family and Ranchlands cordially invite you to...

The 12th Annual Exhibition
of work from the 2012
Zapata Ranch Artist Gathering

Saturday, September 1
1-4 PM, at Chico Basin Ranch
22500 Peyton Highway South
Colorado Springs, CO 80928

Artists will be present and light refreshments will be served.

The Ranchlands Artist Gathering was formed to support art and illuminate the important work that is occurring in land and wildlife conservation through ranching, creating a window into modern ranching through an artist's point of view.

The Medano Zapata Ranch is managed by The Nature Conservancy and Ranchlands in a unique partnership that stresses conservation and the establishment of a wild bison herd. This body of work represents the ranch's unique landscape, 2,500 head bison herd, the adjacent Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, Great Sand Dunes National Park and native wildlife and plant species.

Ranchlands' mission is working together to live with the land. Proceeds benefit these talented artists and the continuation of the Artist Gathering program.

Featuring work by William Alther, Duke Beardsley, Marianne Flenniken, Pam Holnback, JoAnne Lavender, Marty Mans, Karen Myers, Scott Parker, Duke Phillips, Dave Showalter, Nathan Solano, Jill Soukup, Steve Spellman and Stephen Weaver

Contact Tess, Kate or David at 719.683.7960 for more information.

About the author

Welcome to Top50's Ranch blog -The best way to stay current on the best ranch getaways, network with friends, and share stories about your ranch experiences.

Since this blog is largely driven by guest and ranch input and experiences, please contact us with your videos, photos, and stories about your ranch experience or for any story ideas you may have! 

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