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.
We invite you to browse our new 2017 Activity Guide to start planning your Vermejo experience.
With the differing ecosystems and varied terrain found here at Vermejo, we’re able to create excursions fit for hikers of all levels and interests. Whether a short stroll along the Vermejo River, or an intense trekking adventure across Devil’s Bluff, our seasoned guides can lead the way.
There are over 12 miles of hiking trails that can be accessed directly from Ranch Headquarters, and are offered as a guided or unguided hike. Our front desk team can provide maps, water bottles and directions, or will be happy to schedule time with one of our private guides to make sure you get the most out of our beautiful property. For your safety, we ask that those wishing to explore these trails on their own, check in with our front desk staff prior to departure, where we provide all un-guided hikers with a radio, and monitor all solo adventure departure and return times.
For the very best hiking experience we recommend that all our guests use our complimentary itinerary building service by talking with our front desk team, so we can be sure that your hiking experience is nothing short of amazing.
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, our 4 Peaks in 5 Days Tour is perfect for those looking for a bit more adventure. This once-a-year hiking 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.
On the day of arrival, guests will have plenty of time for acclimation and rest. Orientation and soft tours will be offered on the evening of check-in, with guided hiking commencing the following day with a pre-sunrise departure. Participants will summit one peak each day of their stay, apart from the third day, which is designed to be a day of rest. On this day, participants may create their own agenda and enjoy any of our great activities such as fishing, sporting clays or skeet shooting, horseback rides, historic tours, a massage or good old fashioned relaxation. Each evening, guests will return to the Main Lodge for fine dining and rest.
Due to the physical nature of this program, we require guests to submit a Pre-arrival Hiking History & Health Questionnaire at the time the reservation is made.
At Vermejo Park Ranch our equestrian trail system is one of the largest in the United States. With famous trails, such as “Seven Lakes”, “Casias Creek”, “Behind ‘the Wall’” and the “Bernal Trail Ride”, horseback riding is an excellent way to discover some of the Ranch’s most magnificent terrain. Riding is available year-round from different locations on the Ranch and is included with your room rate. Guests can sign up to participate in our weekly scheduled group rides and enjoy getting to know other guests, or, if you prefer a private wrangler, guests can do so at the private guide rate. Our front desk team will be happy to create custom rides that include picnic lunches, or allow for a stop along the way for guests to take advantage of some hiking or fishing.
Weekly Ranch Group Rides
• From Headquarters: 1-hour rides depart twice daily, winding along the Vermejo River
• From the High Country: 90-minute rides depart twice daily, rotating between the Casias Creek and Beaver Lakes trails
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.
A great way to explore the Ranch on two wheels! With over 10 miles of single track trails around Ranch Headquarters, guests can simply grab a map and radio from the front desk, hop on a bike, and go! We recommend scheduling your ride with the front desk whether guided or not so that we can ensure we have the right size bike set up and ready to go.
For those who seek an accelerated biking adventure, arrange to have one of our mountain biking guides escort your group through backcountry on our endless miles of two-track roads.
A modern, high-tech treasure hunt, geocaching is a fun way to get outdoors and exercise both mind and body. Using a GPS receiver, guests follow the map to a specific set of coordinates, where you can find caches that have been hidden around Vermejo’s many historical sites. It’s a great family activity, and guests of all ages have fun learning the history and hunting for the prizes!
Our front desk team will set you up with your geocaching kit, or schedule a private guide to help you along this outdoor treasure hunt.
Located near our fitness trail within our Headquarters complex, is a sprawling 18-hole disc golf course. Disc golf is played much like traditional golf; however, instead of a traditional golf ball and clubs, players use a flying disc. The object of the game is to complete each hole in the fewest number of throws.
Our course is set up among rolling hills and forest, providing a great opportunity for guests to enjoy a walk in the woods and across the hills for an afternoon. Our front desk team can provide you with everything you need to play on your own or with a group. It’s a great game for all ages!
Our passion is connecting people with nature, and helping to restore wellness and balance. As opposed to a traditional indoor fitness center, we’ve created unique and different ways to bring the gym outside and provide various exercise options for our guests who wish to stay active during their stay.
We offer complimentary fitness classes daily, available each morning at 8am. Guests can participate in group yoga or pilates classes, or take a turn on our brand-new fitness trail, located close to the Main Lodge. Our adventure fitness trail is a challenging one mile loop that boasts 5 fitness stations, great views and will be sure to get you burning those calories, all while immersed in nature. Guests are free to use it at any time or join the daily group.
Looking for a private one-on-one class? Our certified and skilled instructors are available and can be scheduled through the front desk, for an additional cost.
No need to worry about a selfie stick while you’re out and about on the Ranch! Let our very own professional Vermejo Park Ranch photographers accompany you on your adventures to ensure you don’t miss a moment. Whether you’re fly fishing with your family, or enjoying a retreat with friends, our on-site photography services are available to capture your once in a lifetime experiences during your visit at Vermejo.
All sessions can be booked through our front desk and include a disc of enhanced images, with an average of 50-80 images per hour. Single, hourly rates as well as custom-designed packages and albums are available upon request.
SEASONAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS
For guests looking to focus on the art of photography during their vacation, we work with renowned professional photographers to offer seasonal photography workshops that are centered around the most picturesque times of the year on the Ranch.
Each season brings out very special characteristics of Vermejo’s landscape. From the abundance of wildlife offspring roaming the Ranch and prime wildflower season during the summer months, to the brilliant colors of the Aspen trees and exciting wildlife displays of elk during their rut in fall, these are the prime opportunities to capture Vermejo at its finest. Below are our current 2017 workshops available. Packages range from 3-4 days and include all accommodations in the rates.
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.
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!
PRIVATE RANCH TOURS
Booking a tour of the Ranch with a private guide creates unlimited possibilities and options for guests to forge their own path to experiencing Vermejo. You and your private guide will plan your desired itinerary together. Whether you wish to drive to the far corners of the Ranch, or stop to do a little fishing or hiking along your journey, each tour is uniquely tailored to suit guest needs.
With 585,000 acres of property, Vermejo Park Ranch provides dynamic habitats for more than 76 mammals and 200 bird species. Our wildlife is just that: “wild”. With an elk herd of almost 9,000 head, mule deer, bison, pronghorn, wild horses, and an array of predators, makes Vermejo one of the best vacation ranches in the U.S. to spot local wildlife. The entire spectrum of colors for black bear, as well as rarely seen mountain lions and bobcats, also roam the Ranch, and the High Country is home to Bighorn Sheep, Pika, the occasional marmot, and the endangered Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. You never know what you will spot along your journey!
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.
CONSERVATION AND ECO-TOURS
We do more than facilitate bucket list-worthy western vacations, we also dedicate countless hours and resources to preserving our land and its inhabitants. Vermejo Park Ranch is known for being economically self-sustaining while remaining ecologically sensitive and conserving native species and their habitats. Become a part of the action by volunteering to participate in one of the ongoing conservation projects happening within the Ranch, and see how everything is balanced in order to create a beautiful picture of ranch sustainability.
We have several Natural Resources Specialists on staff that are eager to teach and share with guests their passion for the work they are doing at Vermejo. Guests can schedule a special educational session with specialists such as our Bison Manager to learn about the incredible efforts Ted Turner has exercised to save our National Mammal, or perhaps spend an afternoon with our Forestry Manager, to gain an understanding of how we responsibly care for and protect our forests and prairies.
To learn more about the conservation projects and efforts happening on Vermejo Park Ranch, and all of Ted Turner’s properties, we invite you to explore the Turner Endangered Species Fund.
Vermejo Park Ranch is rich in ancient history dating back to the earliest settlers from centuries ago. 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 standing on the property. From shortgrass prairie to alpine tundra the incredibly diverse ecosystems of Vermejo Park Ranch provide an unparalleled experience while exploring cultural history.
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.
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.