Build your own website. Do it yourself websites.
Ranchlands is seeking a ranch or partnership with a ranch owner as a home for a herd of 1000+ buffalo. For details email We are also now accepting ranch management proposals/inquiries.

Fall....and Winter!
Category: Live from the Ranch
Each year we're always surprised by how quickly the seasons change. One day we have 20 people out riding in 80 degree weather in as few clothes as possible, and the next they're asking us to tie coats onto their saddles. 

The mornings over the past week have been chilly and the planters at the lodge have already begun to fade. It might be my imagination, but it seems like a few of the cottonwoods around the lodge are starting to change color! Typically the first snow comes in October, wonder when it will be this year?
Posted by Tess L. on 08/29/2013

Bison Rut
Category: Live from the Ranch
The bison rut (mating season) begins in late July and goes through August. During this time, bulls display their dominance by bellowing, wallowing and fighting other bulls for the choice females. Typically the older bulls (7 or older) are the dominant ones.

The rut is the only time of year when the old bulls come in with the rest of the herd, so it makes for some great rides and bison tours! Here's a link to a male bison showing off.

Posted by Tess L. on 08/29/2013

Ride Through Medano Meadows
Category: Live from the Ranch
Last Thursday, after spending the morning foraging with Hank for our Butcher, Baker, Ice Cream Maker Workshop, a group of us headed to the Medano to take a ride. David and I took a group who wanted to go faster to Sand Creek. To get there we rode through the meadows by the Wedding Trees and came upon a HUGE herd of elk. As we rode on, we kept crossing paths with the elk herd all the way to Sand Creek. 

I snapped this picture of Kitty, our ice cream maker, taking in the view in the meadows. 
Posted by Tess L. on 07/19/2013

Great Plains Toad
Category: Live from the Ranch
Each summer between late June and mid July, the Great Plains Toads appear out of no where. If there's a rainstorm, their numbers seem to quadruple. They're found in such large numbers near the wetlands-- especially Dollar and Cotton Lakes-- that it's actually hard to walk without stepping on one. They hop around all day, some just the size of a penny, looking for insects in the grass.

Here's a great photo of one taken by Patrick Myers of the Great Sand Dunes NP&P.

Posted by Tess L. on 07/15/2013

Flowers & Swallowtails
Category: Live from the Ranch
Each year around June 1 we pick up our flowers from a local greenhouse. We drop them off there in March and they pick the plants based on the look we're after, and nurture them throughout the winter. 

This year we went for all white, or mostly white flowers. Besides really putting the finishing touches on the buildings, they bring in a whole rabble of Swallow Tail butterflies, and charm of Hummingbirds. I know, super geeky. (Thanks to google for the proper lingo).

Posted by Tess L. on 06/17/2013

Berry Galette
Category: Live from the Ranch
Mike's dessert is one of the highlights of any meal at the lodge. This Berry Galette that he whips up is one of our favorites! Here's how to make it:

1 pie crust (Mike makes his from scratch, but the store bought kind work well)
1 cup of your favorite jam-- raspberry is great!
3 cups of assorted berries
2 TBS of raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle sugar across the bottom of a cookie tray. Roll the pie crust into a rough circle and press down onto the sugar. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork-- not too many! Spread the jam across the bottom leaving the about 1 inch around the edge bare. Evenly distribute the berries across the top of the jam, again leaving about an inch around the edges bare. Fold the edges in over the berries. Bake at 350 for :30 minutes, or until just brown. Drizzle with chocolate if you'd like or just enjoy!  
Posted by Tess L. on 05/15/2013

Horny Toads
Category: Live from the Ranch
While riding out last week to the branding (see Jeff's post for more details on that!) I spotted 4 Horned Lizards, which we usually call Horny Toads. We grew up scouring the ground for them while we were riding, as they're slow enough for you to get off your horse and catch.  In reading up on them today, I learned that if scared enough, they can shoot an aimed stream of blood from the corners of their eyes!

Luckily this little guy wasn't scared....
Posted by Tess L. on 05/13/2013

Guest Post: Kim Gold
Category: Live from the Ranch
My first visit to Zapata was in April 2009 as a guest with my mom and grandma. We discovered the ranch online and thought it sounded particularly interesting being that it’s a nature conservancy that sustains a very healthy and 97% pure bison heard. We instantly fell in love with the area, horses, and staff at the ranch.

My grandmother worked on a ranch in Prescott, AZ and my mother was introduced to riding at a fairly young age. I have had an obsession with horses since before I took my first steps, and riding continues to be a passion of mine. After visiting a second time in June 2011, I knew this was a place I would enjoy working, and would do just about anything to have an opportunity to do so.

Six months ago I decided to take a break from my pursuit of a degree in biological sciences and apply for an internship here at Zapata, in hopes that fate would step in. When I found out that I had been chosen I was absolutely ecstatic, and left everything I knew and loved in California to come out to Colorado and be a part of the amazing team here at Zapata. Nothing brings a smile to my face quite like this beautiful place and unique group of wonderful people. There really is something special about Zapata that, unlike other ranches I have visited, feels like home.  
Posted by Tess L. on 04/23/2013

Photography at Zapata
Category: Live from the Ranch
We began working with Colorad-based photographer Steve Weaver in 1999 when we started managing the Chico Basin Ranch. When we launched our partnership with The Nature Conservancy and started managing the Zapata in 2004, Steve was one of the first photographers to join us on the ranch to explore. Over the past 8 years, Steve has spent countless hours photographing the landscape, the bison and the people and has created a portfolio and knowledge of the ranch that is unparalleled. 

This year, we have partnered with Steve to offer our guests the opportunity to spend a day photographing the ranch. If bison are your thing, Steve can find them. If you'd prefer lakes below amazing cloud formations, Steve can give you a choice of two (and force the weather to cooperate). And if you really want action, he can set you up to shoot the wranglers bringing in the horse herd, aglow with the morning light. Ask us how to set up a day with Steve on your upcoming visit to Zapata.

Take a look at Steve's site for more information:

Posted by Tess L. on 04/09/2013

Haiku #1
Category: Live from the Ranch
Haiku #1

Sands whip, cranes fly north.
Snow capped peaks watch quietly.
Trees yearn for spring green.

Posted by Tess L. on 02/28/2013

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013
Category: Live from the Ranch
It's been exceptionally beautiful on the Zapata Ranch over the past week. I'm not sure if it's the late winter snow we got in Colorado over the weekend or the full moon that reached it's zenith last night. Kate thinks it's that spring is really trying to come through. One day we wake up and it's winter: snow capped peaks with wind rushing through the cottonwoods. The next it's bluebird skies and 70 degrees. Whatever it is, we feel quite lucky to live here.
Posted by Tess L. on 02/26/2013

Sandhill Crane Workshop
Category: Live from the Ranch
There are just over three weeks left until one of our favorite workshops of the year-- the Sandhill Crane Photo Trip! For the third year, professional photographers Mike Forsberg and Dave Showalter will join us at the ranch to lead a group of students on a photo-excursion across the valley to capture the 27,000 cranes that migrate through our area annually.

We've just had a last-minute spot open up so give us a call if you want to join us! March 11-15, 2013. Call 719-378-2356 x110 to reserve your spot today.

Here's one of my favorite photos from the first year, taken by Dave Showalter.

Posted by Tess L. on 02/08/2013

Did you know: Cougars.
Category: Live from the Ranch
We don't see a lot of cougars at Zapata, in fact I haven't heard of anyone seeing one on the ranch. However, they do live in the mountains just above us and in the National Park. A while ago I was talking with Jeff and the subject of what a cougar eats came up. I was shocked to learn that second to deer and elk, porcupines make up a large part of their diet! Another interesting fact about cougars (aka: mountain lion, puma, panther and catamount) is that their hind legs are longer than their front legs, which makes it so that they can leap up to 35 feet.

Posted by Tess L. on 07/13/2012

Category: Live from the Ranch
After months without a single drop of rain, three days ago we had a nice afternoon storm. The clouds started forming over the mountains around 3pm, and rain started falling around 4. It fell for just about 30 minutes, but was a soaker and left the ground quenched after so many dry months. Maybe it was because of Connor's rain dance?

Posted by Tess L. on 07/05/2012

Category: Live from the Ranch
During our staff ride last week, we found the first blooming irises of the year in the Trujillo meadows. Typically the irises don't bloom until mid-late May, so I was surprised to see them. Actually I wrote these few flowers off as early bloomers, in a meadow full of water. Well, now the meadows all the way along the road from Lane 6 to my house, in the middle of the Medano side of the ranch, is dotted by irises. It seems like there aren't quite as few as in years past, but they're still beautiful. 

Below this is the iconic image of the iris-blanketed meadows taken by Steve Weaver 2 years ago. 

Posted by Tess L. on 05/17/2012

Subscribe to Feeds
CONTACT US 719.378.2356