Daily Trail Rides
Ride back in time and experience our ranch and the untouched backcountry by way of one to two and a half-hour trail rides. We have 14 trail accessed through the Smith Fork Ranch property and with the Gunnison National Forest as our backyard we have access to many more hours of rides. Our Ranch Reservationists and Wranglers will ensure that your are comfortable no matter your ability level.
Before heading our on the trail, all guest’s riding skills will be assessed through a brief orientation, verbal and practical. All guests planning to ride must attend our orientation to understand the rules of the Smith Fork’s Riding program. Our verbal orientation will cover: Barn rules; What to Wear; What to Bring; Horse Vision/Mindset; Rider Mindset; Mounting and Dismounting; Rein and stirrup lengths; Starting, steering, stopping and reversing; Trail ride rules and guidelines.
Breakfast Horseback Ride to Creekside Cafe
Ferrier Ditch Loop | .75 Miles to Creekside Cafe | Dismount & Campfire Breakfast | Ferrier Ditch Loop or Willow Bend
Experience our Creekside Cafe Campfire Breakfast Ride on Wednesday mornings mid-June through August. Rise a with the sun bit early and saddle up for a morning horseback ride (or ranger ride through the river for the young ones) and stop at the Creekside Cafe off the Smith Fork for breakfast cooked over campfire. A traditional cookout breakfast is prepared with a buffet of fresh ranch made pastries and baked goods, ranchmade granola and local fresh fruits as well as eggs, dutch oven fried potatoes, ranch cured and smoked bacon, ranchmade pork and chicken sausage, and our much anticipated ranchmade biscuits and sausage gravy. All is served with smile by a roaring fire with “Cowboy Coffee” or hot cocoa.
All-Day Backcountry Ride to Little Elk Basin with Fly Fishing
Gunnison National Forest Access | USFS Trail Throughline & Little Elk Basin Trails | Picnic Lunch | 1.5 hr Horseback Ride, 2hrs Fishing & Lunch, 1.5 hrs Horseback Ride
For guests looking for the ultimate ranch adventure opt for this unforgettable Horseback & Fly Fishing adventure. This ride is offered to riders of a moderate riding ability that also want to participate in some back country high-altitude stream fishing. Our wranglers will be responsible for saddling & packing horses for guests, our fishing guides will ensure that all necessary fishing equipment makes it into the saddle bags. Accessing the Gunnison National Forest you will be traveling the USFS Throughline Trail #860 and following it for approximately 2.7 miles to the intersection with the USFS Little Elk Basin Trail #892. Settle into the Little Elk Basin around lunch time and recharge yourself with a picnic lunch that rivals our plated lunches on the Pavilion deck, it’s hard to compete with the virtual untouched (by humans) surroundings of the Little Elk Basin. In the meantime, our guides will be tying one on, that is flies! After you have finished lunch fishing guides will take you out onto the Smith Fork of the Little Elk basin where you will be catching (and releasing) trout that live at an elevation of 8,369′. We’ll hope the fishing (and catching) of the day is good for you and once you are done, head back to the ranch for a relaxing evening of dinner and stories of the day in the Elk Lodge Pavilion.
Please refer to the USFS information for the Little Elk Basin for more information.
Cocktail Ride to the West Elk Watering Hole and then to the Pasture Pavilion Cookout
Needle Rock Pass | 1.5 Miles to Cocktail Site | Mountain Top Hors d’oeuvres & Cocktails | Needle Rock Pass to Pasture Pavilion Cookout
This adult’s only ride is an escape to a mountain top cocktail experience.
Saddle up in the afternoon for a trail ride up Needle Rock Pass to stop at our West Elk Watering Hole, a mountain top meadow where we have set up a bar complete with hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy each other’s company resting assured that the children are entertained. With a selection of beer, wine and a specialty cocktail for the evening you can relax and take in the views of the Smith Fork Valley accompanied with good cheer. Fear not, the kids have been enjoying a good ol’ water balloon fight with our Youth Counselors and they’ll be meeting up with you down at the Pasture Pavilion Cookout after a immersive scavenger hunt. A 45-minute trail ride to the Pasture Pavilion with leave you hungry for the fare and maybe a game of corn hole!