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“Exciting & Unique”

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Zapata Ranch - A Nature Conservancy Preserve
Reviewed March 19, 2012

I went to Zapata Ranch for five days to photograph sandhill cranes with Michael Forsberg and David Showater. I didn't expect my ranch house room would be so comfortable plus having a view of the Great Sand Dunes. We were taken care of by the Phillips family and their staff like we were family. The meals were served buffet style and tasted like the best gourmet cuisine this side of Paris.

Room Tip: I was assigned my room. My friends had lovely rooms also. They have a hot tub, but no fitness cent...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank GrandpaGeorge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 - 93 of 101 reviews

Reviewed March 19, 2012

The Zapata ranch is everything you want it to be. A place to relax, or ride horses if you want to, learn about the Nature Conservancy, lots of photo opportunities, enjoy family and friends and eat outstanding food prepared by a chef. If you are there to reconnect with friends or family, or to make your soul whole again, or just to be there to have a short vacation, this is the place for you!

Room Tip: I would think every room was great
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Kitty C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2011

Zapata Ranch is a real, working bison and cattle ranch, 100,000 A. in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado, overlooked by the Sangre de Christo Range -- a truly beautiful setting. It is about 3 hours from Colorado Springs and 30 min. from Alamosa. Several cabins, one house-size for groups are scattered among a cottonwood grove. The central building houses a dining hall. Rooms are not fancy, but clean and comfortable. Food is excellent (BYOB). The guest area is separate from the corrals. You may participate in ranch activities and trail rides or explore the area on your own. Nature and birding trips available. Five miles from the Great Sand Dunes National Park and mountain trails. One hour south is the Cumbres & Toltec scenic railway. Recommended for singles, couples, or small groups, but not for families with children.
In summary, if you want to experience the West up close, this is the ranch vacation for you.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled solo
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6  Thank Outsider33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2011

I write this not because I want to but because I have too. This is a special place that needs to remain a secret but shared at the same time.

Firstly this is not a dude ranch. This is a piece of true outback that you get to visit leave nothing but tracks but take vistas and experiences that only special places, people and geography lend to you.

The sand dunes are truly great, the plains as open and arid as Australia or Africa with spectacular mountains and near as wild bison mixed in with coyotes, elk, deer, prairie dogs, scrub, wild flowers and a myriad of birds.

To come to Z Ranch for less than 3 days and miss the riding would be a real mistake. The horses are magnificent to ride, the wranglers will look after you - if you can't or won't ride the staff will look after you superbly.

Asta was the most delightful host, Hayden the most quietly spoken wrangler that mesmerized my son and Mike cooks the most amazingly hearty meals to keep everyone well fed. The accommodation is perfect for the purpose set amongst beautiful cottonwood trees.

Back to the dude ranch comment - if you want nose to tail riding, wild west extravaganzas, Starbucks and kids clubs please leave Zapata to the rest of us and head to Wyoming. If you want to learn, get dusty and work to see the best bits, meet interested and interesting people head to Mosca.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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2  Thank HughK1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2011

We visited Zapata Ranch for a week this past August. We were looking for a working ranch in Colorado where we could see some great scenery and go horseback riding every day. Zapata Ranch had the best website by far and they were really nice when we contacted them. As soon as we got to the ranch, we realized we made the BEST decision! The rooms were absolutely gorgeous...they had a rustic, log cabin feel but were still modern enough to feel luxurious. The scenery is breath-taking! Your placed in the valley with an incredible view of the mountains and the sand dunes nearby.

We also did some riding on the north side of the ranch where you get to see the wild bison and herds of elk. There are also coyotes and plenty of jack rabbits! Such beautiful riding! By the end of the week we were galloping as much as we could because we were just so comfortable and so happy to be in such a gorgeous spot!

Our main goal for the trip was to horseback ride. We were able to do that every day and had the opportunity to do as much or as little as we wanted. We were also given the choice of how fast, slow, intense, etc we wanted to go. The first day we participated with the other guests in a bison drive. It was so much fun! Naturally, a little nervous at first, but the ranch hands are so helpful and reassuring that the feeling went away so quickly. We were not experienced riders, but that didn't matter at all. We were given great horses and great instruction. And we felt comfortable asking any questions because the ranch hands were so willing to answer in full detail. We also had a great group of guests staying at the same time. Probably a max of 20 of us total. Again, you could socialize as much or as little as you wanted to.

The beauty of this ranch lies not only in the scenery. Every one of the staff members is so friendly and genuinely interested in providing you with the best experience they can offer. We were interested in horses, but there are a range of activities to choose from: hiking, photography, camping, and etc.

Also the food was INCREDIBLE! Three meals a day we were blessed with gourmet food that was not too fancy, but just fancy enough! Hearty meals gave you the perfect amount of energy and rejuvenation after a long day's ride.

We also did an overnight camping trip sleeping out under the stars which I highly recommend doing. And in the middle of the week we all hiked up to the bat caves (only about a 30-40 minute small hike) to see 250,000 bats that fly out of the cave every dusk! Again, breath-taking view!

I honestly just can't say enough about this ranch! We felt very blessed to have experienced such wonderful staff, horses and views! And we hope to return very soon!

Hope you can enjoy it too!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank LisaS_1140024
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2016
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  • Stayed: August 2016, traveled with family
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Thank Ulysse0357
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2016
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  • Stayed: August 2015, traveled with family
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1  Thank bernard z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Zapata Ranch - A Nature Conservancy Preserve

Address: 5305 State Highway 150, Mosca, CO 81146-9718
Location: United States > Colorado > Mosca
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Mosca
Hotel Class:3 star — Zapata Ranch - A Nature Conservancy Preserve 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spectacular setting. One of the most unique ranches in North America bordered by the Sand Dunes National Park and Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. 103,000 acres with bison and cattle. Excellent working ranch opportunities and educational, conservation and nature experiences. Be sure to ask about Branding Week, Sandhill Crane Photo Trip, Painting and Photography Workshops, Horsemanship & Roping Clinics and Corporate/Family Retreat Capacities. Gourmet Chef, 4-star rustic elegance, hot tub and walking trails on grounds. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Zapata Ranch - A Nature Conservancy Preserve Colorado/Mosca

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