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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.

Reservations & Questions

719.378.2356 | 888.5.Zapata (toll free)

For airport info and how to get to Zapata visit our contact page.

Banner photo 2 by Ben Murphy

n addition to our working ranch and nature vacations we offer several special weeks throughout the year. These weeks range from photography workshops and specialty food courses to our annual brandings and horsemanship clinics.

To view all Ranchlands Stay opportunities, click here.

Sandhill Crane Photography Workshop

March 4 - 9

Join long-time Ranchlands photographer Steve Weaver and naturalist John Rawinski for a photo workshop to document the spectacular spring migration of over 30,000 Sandhill Cranes across the ranch and San Luis Valley. In addition to capturing the cranes, spend time on the ranch documenting the resident bison herd, historic ranch structures and our daily way of life.

Cost: $2600 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

Branding Week

June 10 - 17

Take part in ranching’s oldest tradition and learn to wrestle a calf, vaccinate, ear tag and gather. This is a hands-on, team-oriented experience that puts you in the center of the action. Through the week explore the ranch and the Great Sand Dunes National Park on horseback, help check fence, water and herd health while moving and gathering cattle ending the week in a full day branding. Also available are interpretive hikes with a naturalist, fly fishing, rafting, roping and leather working sessions as well as massage to assist with those activity filled days.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging.

Women, Horses and the West

June 17 - 24

For the fourth year Dr. Bonney MacDonald will lead a special workshop focusing on literature, horsemanship and the land. Emerson wrote that many adults don’t truly see the natural world, but that nature shines into the eyes and heart of a child. Dive into the literature of nature and animals, and discuss when and how young people develop a sympathy for and a connection to the natural world. Talk about great books of our childhoods – Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty and more – and consider the non-fiction work, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Syndrome, and other works about learning from the natural world through exploration, imagination, and immersion. Enjoy horseback rides each morning and discussions around the table each afternoon. Participants will also have opportunities to ride through our 2,000 wild bison, through the Great Sand Dunes National Park and with the cattle herd.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, and lodging.

Bison + Wildlife Photography Workshop

July 22 - 27

Join award-winning nature and wildlife photographer Jason Savage on a photographic journey exploring the landscape of the San Luis Valley, its wild inhabitants, and iconic ranch life. Learn the art of composition, lessons in natural light, and techniques in wildlife photography. Zapata is home to elk, bison, coyotes, deer, cattle and many resident migrating birds and the Great Sand Dunes National Park is the backdrop. You’ll stay in the historic lodge and meals are cooked from scratch. Spend time discovering the art of nature photography in group sessions that allow one-on-one lessons devoted to each individual’s needs. Days will include early morning sessions in the field, afternoon classroom time, and evenings photographing golden light in the valley. Classroom sessions will cover digital workflow, post processing, and lessons in professional editing. Jason’s work has been featured in National Geographic Traveler, Time, Outside, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, The Nature Conservancy and many others.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

Trek the Sangre de Cristos and Beyond

August 12 - 19

Zapata Ranch sits in one of the most unique landscapes and ecosystems in North America. A hikers paradise, you have access to hundreds of miles of backcountry trails. Join Ranchlands team member and Zapata Ranch leader Emily Paxson on this challenging and explorative hiking week. The week will include hiking to pristine high alpine lakes and meadows, exploring the Great Sand Dunes wilderness, along with summiting one of the 14,000-ft peaks surrounding the ranch. Sit back and relax between excursions in the Zapata lodge nestled in a historic cottonwood grove and enjoy home cooked meals made from scratch. Emily is an experienced hiker and mountain biker and will share her knowledge of the history, flora and fauna and the diverse ecology that you’ll be surrounded by.

Cost: $2,950 includes meals, activities, and lodging.

Cam Schryver Horsemanship Clinic

September 16 - 23

Join us for our annual weeklong natural horsemanship experience with 27-year director of the Thacher Riding School, Cameron Schryver. Cam is invited to clinics around the country on horsemanship and is a two-time World Champion Extreme Cowboy. By applying working ranch horsemanship and riding by feel, you will leave the week feeling a deeper connection to the horse and will better understand how to communicate with them, developing a better handle. Days are spent with one-on-one horsemanship instruction, educational demonstrations, rides throughout the surrounding meadows and sand dunes as well as opportunities to work cattle and ride through the conservation bison herd. This week typically sells out very fast with return participants, so please book early.

Cost: $3,150 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.


Fall Colors Photo Workshop

September 30 - October 7

Enjoy the breathtaking colors and wildlife of fall at Zapata Ranch with a unique photo workshop led by nature photographer Stephen Weaver. Experience the ranch like never before against the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains while scouting for wildlife among the gold and auburn’s of the Aspen and Cottonwood trees. Head out for early morning shoots, and return to the lodge for midday editing, critique sessions and technical advice plus afternoon and sunset shoots. The ranch is home to bison, elk, antelope and many bird species that you’ll find among the autumn colors.

Cost: $2,950 pp includes all meals, activities, instruction and lodging.

Painting Horses with Jill Soukup

October 7 - 12

Join renowned artist Jill Soukup for the sixth year of her painting workshop focusing on drawing and painting horses. Long time friend of Ranchlands, Jill, among other accolades, was the Featured Artist at Coors Western Art Sale and Best of Show for Cowgirl Up!, Caballeros Western Museum 2017. Discussions and exercises will cover the importance of understanding equine anatomy, what makes a good drawing, composition and color. Activities will include photo opportunities of horses running, a bison tour, sketching and studying corralled horses, demonstrations and critiques. Space is limited to 12.
Intermediate to advanced skill level is suggested.

Cost: $2,600 pp includes all meals, instruction and lodging.

CONTACT US 719.378.2356