Whichever outdoor adventure you seek, from hiking rugged mountain terrain to a horse ranch vacation that includes tours through our property’s spectacular canyons, allow our professional guides to create the ideal itinerary to satisfy your desire for something different. Our seasoned guides are well-versed in Vermejo’s land as well as its creatures, and will tailor your expeditions based on skill level, ability and desire to optimize your stay and outdoor experience at Vermejo. Truly special western vacations are borne from authenticity, a quality Vermejo offers in spades.
Winter weather at Vermejo can bring a variety of temperatures and conditions. One can expect temperatures anywhere from below 0 to the high 50’s. We suggest clothing items that are easily layered to accommodate for cold mornings and evenings yet warmer afternoons:
Vermejo Park Ranch supplies gear for all activities with the exception of Nordic Skiing. Guests who wish to ski must bring their own equipment. Ice cleats, ice fishing rods, an assortment of jigs and spoons, tubes, snowshoes and trekking poles are all provided, however guests are encouraged to bring any personal gear, should they so desire.
Our Company Store does have a small selection of personal care items and medications, however we do suggest you bring any items that you need regularly.
In the winter months, luxury resorts in New Mexico offer incredible snowshoeing. Vermejo’s high country contains many tucked away trails, laced with wildlife and incredible views. Suitable for all ages, our snowshoes are designed to fit a variety of sizes, male and female. Never been snowshoeing? No worries! From novice to expert, we have numerous trails that range in difficulty and our staff is ready to accommodate all skill levels. With close to 30 miles of mapped snowshoeing trails, possibilities are numerous. Listed below are our top four:
Beginner, Varied Length
The length of this trail can be tailored to suit guest interest and skill level. Tucked above the north side of the Costilla Vega, this trek follows a narrow road free from obstacles due to past logging activity. Deeply colored conifers surround and protect you on this low impact trail.
Beginner – Intermediate, 4 Miles
Now known as 7 Lakes, historic Long Canyon hosts a series of small, yet scenic lakes northeast of the Costilla Reservoir. This lakeside trail is a series of stone and tree, ending at an incredible canyon rockscape. Slight inclines provide an intermediate challenge.
Intermediate, Varied Length up to 4 Miles
This once-was road holds deep snow, and veiled glimpses of Stateline Peak. An inclined loop, this trail provides a slight challenge for beginners or those sensitive to altitude. Length of trail can be tailored to guest preference.
Advanced, 6 miles, All Day Trip
Designed for the extreme outdoor enthusiast, this snowshoe adventure is not short on scenery or exercise. Stateline Peak blesses your journey as you incline through deep snow to our most scenic destination, alpine Glacier Lakes. Lunch is packed with you for this all day adventure and is highly weather dependent.
Most of these trails are located in the high country, an hour’s drive from lodging. Often guides will pack picnic lunches, which can be enjoyed at a number of scenic locations.
En-route, guests will enjoy opportunities to view a variety of wildlife and learn more about the unique history of our expansive Ranch. Weather permitting, tracked-Suburban rides through high country Aspens transport guests to trailheads.
When blessed with high snow levels, cross-country skiing opportunities are endless. For those looking for an incredible backcountry adventure, this is the place to be. Interested guests should call ahead to determine availability and snowfall. This activity does require guests to supply their own gear. Downhill skiing is not available at Vermejo.
Mention ice fishing and one often conjures the image of wheeled ice shacks full of football-watching, “Grumpy Old Men”. Vermejo redefines the sport. In the Land of Enchantment, you can expect sun nearly every day, providing solar-heated adventure in unbeatable landscape. We host Rainbow, Brown and Brook trout, with a 2016 season catch of 28 inches, 7lbs.
Although the frequent winter breeze may chill your bones, our guides are always ready with warm beverages or protected seats in our premium ice shacks. Boxed lunches are served at the lakes and catch-of-the-day is often enjoyed for evening appetizers, prepared by private chef. Believe us when we say, you can’t get this experience anywhere else in New Mexico, maybe even the U.S.
Our Icing Fishing venues:
Bartlett Lake – At ~75 acres Bartlett is VPR’s largest ice fishing venue. Formed by wind, this sandstone bowl-turned lake is by far a guest favorite and beautiful to boot.
Bernal Lake – Don’t let the size of this 11 acre lake fool you- over 20 inch monster trout have been caught in this tucked away gem. Historic Bernal Cabin provides a hint of history.
Adams Lake – Close to 60 acres in size, our catch records dating back to the 1970’s show it to be one of guest’s favorite angling spots. Our winter season proves no different. Known for beautiful “browns and brookies” large rainbow are also frequently hooked.
It’s not just for the kids! A great activity for all ages, we provide slick-bottomed sled tubes for the ultimate winter playground adventure. We have several designated sledding hills, and when snow conditions are right, we can really catch some air. We’ve entertained all ages- from 5 to 70- so strap on your goggles and get ready for gravity influenced fun. Like all great New Mexico ranches, it’s our goal to include your entire family in the business of adventuring.
RELAX & UNWIND
Enough adventure for the day? Vermejo Park Ranch’s premiere guest estate, Casa Grande, is the ideal location for tucking oneself away from the winter elements. This historic home hosts a number of reading nooks and sun rooms. Enjoy either with a good book, brandy, or house-made hot cocoa.
Casa Grande’s Great Room (below) boasts a beautiful marble fire place perfect for warming one’s bones, cocktails and conversation. We also offer in-room massage services, perfect for a stress-free Escape. Massages are booked prior to arrival and occasional last minute weather does prevent this amenity.
Spring weather at Vermejo Park Ranch can be quite unpredictable with possible bouts of rain and snow, and temperatures dipping into the low 30’s. During the day the sun can warm things up into the 50’s or 60’s. Dressing in layers, and having a wind and waterproof outer layer is key to staying comfortable. Layers under the outer shell need to be synthetic fabrics; cotton is not ideal. Also recommended are waterproof boots.
Summertime at Vermejo is beautiful! Expect temperatures to range between 50 and 60 degrees overnight, warming up to approximately 80 degrees during the day. In July and August it can sometimes get as warm as 90 degrees, but cool evenings provide a nice balance.
Lightweight clothing with ample sun protection is recommended as UV rays are strong at elevation. A rain jacket and fleece for the cool mornings and afternoon showers. If people plan on hiking and getting out to explore the wilderness, we advise lightweight pants instead of shorts to protect legs against tree limbs, briars etc.
With 920 square miles of private land to explore, the hiking possibilities at Vermejo Park Ranch are immense. Differing ecosystems with varied terrain, presents myriad hikes fit for hikers of all levels and interests. Whether a short stroll beside a meandering stream or an intense trekking adventure, our seasoned guides can lead the way!
Hikes are rated in difficulty on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the most difficult). From low country to high country, each hike includes beautiful scenery and plentiful wildlife. There’s truly something here for everyone!
Even on the hottest summer day this hike is nice and cool.
At the base of Ash Mountain are some beautiful meadows with incredible views.
A more extreme hike with rock scape views, steep grades and ends tucked away in high country meadows.
For your safety, Vermejo Park Ranch requires that all hikes outside of our main complex area be guided- it is easy to get turned around in 920 square miles! For guests who prefer solo adventure exploration, there are some select hiking trails within a few miles of the main complex that may be trekked unguided. We ask that those wishing to explore these trails schedule their trips through the Front Desk, where guests will receive a localized map and hand-held radio. Front Desk staff keep track of all solo adventures in the unfortunate case of emergency.
Horseback riding vacations are an excellent way to discover some of Vermejo’s most magnificent terrain. Available from mid-May until September, corrals are located in Vermejo’s high country. Rides depart from the #2 Camp corrals at 9:00 am and average between 1 to 1.5 hours in length. Other ride types are listed below.
1-2 Hour Morning Rides
• Depart at 9:00 am
• Depart at 11:00 am
4-5 Hour Ride with Picnic Lunch
• 7 Lakes Trail
• County Line Trail
All Day Ride
• Behind “the Wall” with picnic lunch.
• 4 riders max, 16 years of age and up.
Each of the longer rides leave at 9:00 am, includes a picnic lunch, and generally returns at approximately 1:00 pm, with the exception of the All Day Ride, which returns at approximately 3:00 pm. The All Day Rides (4-5 hours in length) are dependent on the rider’s skill level. We do not recommend this ride option for beginners and young children.
Wranglers can safely take 1-6 riders together. For safety purposes, there is a weight limit of 250 lbs. per horse.
All age groups are welcome! Children under 5 years of age must ride with an adult. Children older than 5- years-old can ride by themselves.
Groups larger than 6 are divided between two rides.
Occasionally, last minute cancellations of scheduled rides take place due to heavy rain or other inclement weather conditions. This is often determined by our Horseman the evening prior to a scheduled ride.
In addition to horseback riding, mountain biking can be a wonderful and exciting way to explore Vermejo. With over 10 miles of trails around Ranch Headquarters, guests can simply grab a map and radio from the Front Desk, hop on a bike, and go!
If you seek accelerated adventure, arrange to have one of our mountain biking guides escort your group through backcountry on our endless miles of two-track roads.
SUMMER 2017 RANCH TOURS
Imagine hikes in high mountain meadows with incredible scenery, tours through long-abandoned village sites, wildlife viewing and endless opportunity for rest & relaxation. Our wildlife is just that “wild”. With 920 square miles of property, Vermejo Park Ranch uniquely provides dynamic habitats for more than 76 mammals and 200 bird species. While we can never promise a sighting of a specific species, we can ensure abundant opportunity.
Mule deer, elk, prairie dogs and even porcupines are frequently spotted within a few yards of the Main Lodge.
An assortment of native wildlife make Vermejo one of the best vacation ranches in the U.S. to spot local fauna. Species such as Rocky Mountain elk, North American bison, pronghorn, and mule deer can regularly be seen on the Ranch. The entire spectrum of colors for black bear, as well as rarely seen mountain lions and bobcats, also roam the Ranch. In addition, the high country is home to Big Horn Sheep, Pika, the occasional marmot, and the endangered Rio Grande cut throat trout.
For bird enthusiasts, our five distinct ecosystems create the perfect chance to encounter a wide variety of bird types, from the colorful Western Tanager to the more elusive Mountain Plover.
Scattered across the property are abandoned turn of the century coal mines and logging operations with remnants of the communities that worked them. Guests can visit adobe ruins, pit houses, charcoal kilns, and other encampments along with some of their artifacts. The ranch possesses a rich cowboy history as well, with cowboy camps and abandoned cabins built in the 1920’s still visible on the property.
BABES & BLOOMS TOUR
Summer is a special time in the Rocky Mountains. Seasonal rains bring to life brilliant flora and freshly born wildlife roam the landscape, testing their legs and bounding with life.
Led by renowned photographer, Sean Fitzgerald, the “Babes & Blooms” tour is centered around prime wildflower season, an excellent time for macro photography. There are also an abundance of wildlife offspring (think bison calves, elk calf nurseries, and mule deer fawns) which will make the toughest of grown men smile with affection.
Babes & Blooms is a three day, four-night package event you won’t want to miss! Call 1-877-288-7637 for more information.
4 PEAKS IN 5 DAYS – TREKKING TOUR
Whether you’re a new visitor to Vermejo Park Ranch or a returning guest looking to replicate a previous experience at arguably the best ranch New Mexico has to offer, our 4 Peaks in 5 Days Tour is perfect for those looking for a bit more adventure. This program is designed for the outdoor enthusiast accustomed to high elevations and rugged terrain.
As the name suggest, participants will ascend four signature Vermejo peaks, over the course of five days; one each day of their stay, with a day of rest scheduled between the second and third hike.
Guests check in Sunday, June 25th at noon for a day of acclimation and rest. Orientation and soft tours will be offered that evening with guided hiking commencing the following day (pre-sunrise departure). Participants will summit one peak each day of their stay, with the exception of June 28, designed to be a day of rest. On this day, participants may create their own agenda: massage, fishing, sporting clays or skeet shooting, horseback rides, historic tours or good old fashioned relaxation. Each evening, guests return to the ranch for fine dining and rest.
Due to the physical nature of this program, interested participants must submit a Pre-arrival Hiking History & Health Questionnaire. Reservations are confirmed after the submission and evaluation of each questionnaire. This screening process is for the safety and enjoyment of all involved. Please contact us for a form. Participants must be at least 16 years of age to participate.
WILDLIFE, GHOST TOWNS AND NIGHT SKY TOUR
Vermejo Park Ranch truly has it all! Filled with rich history from the pioneer era, settlements, and mining operations, Vermejo is a magnificent place to explore.
On this four day workshop, photographer, Sean Fitzgerald will show us the way, as we focus on the gems of these historic prairie sites and amazing ghost towns as well as our abundance of wildlife. This is an excellent opportunity for landscape photography during both day and night, as August brings extremely dark skies, perfect for photographing the Milky Way! This workshop has an optional two day extension, from August 16-18.
AUTUMN ELK AND ASPENS TOUR
Fall at Vermejo Park Ranch is truly something special. From the vibrant colors of the aspen trees, to the incredible show of elk during their rut, it is a photographer’s dream! This amazing photography workshop is a rare and unique opportunity to photograph the elk and aspens as well as the abundance of wildlife found at Vermejo. Guests of the workshop will stay in Casa Grande–it’s an experience not to be missed!