The ranch is owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed through a one-of-a-kind partnership with Ranchlands who’s ethos is preserve the ecosystem and the ranching heritage. This 103,000-acre bison and working guest ranch is located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado. It borders the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the newest National Park in the United States. The ranch is home to working bison and cattle operations that are managed separately on different areas of the ranch.
The bison herd is maintained as a “conservation species,” roaming freely in a 50,000 acre pasture much as they did for millennia before being hunted to near extinction in the nineteenth century.The ranch offers an extensive program for guests to experience life on a working cattle ranch while enjoying high-end amenities and gourmet food. Horseback activities can include working and moving cattle, riding through the large herd of Bison (around 2000 head), exploring the surrounding San Luis Valley.
Other non-horse activities include interpretive nature hikes, fly-fishing the local streams, birding, wildlife watching, art tours, hot-tub and more. Guests who desire a true working ranch experience are welcome to work alongside the wranglers and ranch staff on various ranch projects. The ranch offers various upscale accommodation options each beautifully furnished, having an elegant south-western decor and their own private facilities.
The dining experience at the Zapata is second-to-none, each meal features freshly-prepared, gourmet offerings. Breakfasts of eggs made to order, warm pancakes, cereal, and fresh fruit are followed up by homemade lunches eaten on the trail or in our dining room. Dinners are expertly prepared each evening and presented with a flair for the guests to enjoy in the lodge-style dining room. ranch_raised bison meat is a common feature, along with other fresh, often local meats and produce.