About Our Tours

Cowboys Indians Magazine Featuring Ted Turner Expeditions

Ted Turner Expeditions’ (TTX) eco-conscious adventure tours are individually crafted and tailored to their specific locales; these unique adventures are intended to deliver an insightful and restorative experience, while also providing extraordinary guest service. Each well-appointed property reflects its surrounding geography and its area’s rich history. TTX is committed to making a difference by inspiring individual action to preserve the wonder of nature.

All of our adventure tours are led by private guides, carefully trained to provide a tailored experience to let Ted Turner Expeditions guests experience their own, exclusive “national park.” Our tours range from half and full-day tours leaving from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa onto the Ladder and Armendaris, to particularly-tailored tours for those guests who opt for an all-inclusive experience at Vermejo or the Ladder.

Below is a sampling of adventure tours currently being offered on our properties. Please contact 1.877.2TURNER to learn more about our extraordinary tour offerings.

For press inquiries, please contact CHREDO Hospitality for Ted Turner Expeditions at 828.362.9984 or email at info@chredo.com.

Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa

TOURS ON THE ARMENDARIS RANCH

(continue scrolling for Ladder Ranch tours)

PALEONTOLOGY PROSPECTING TOUR

FROM $200 PER GUEST

Easy fitness level

The Armendaris Ranch is home to an impressive cache of Late-Cretaceous Period dinosaur bones, including specimens that are currently on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. There are active paleontology digs underway on the ranch, resulting in the recent excavation of a Sauropod femur.

On this guided fossil “prospecting” tour you will travel on an easy 1.5-mile cross-country hike (requires climbing a gentle hill) in search of undisturbed dinosaur bone fields, learning to differentiate bone fragments from the surrounding rock and possibly help identify the next promising site for further investigation and research. This half day tour is a wonderful way to get out on the Armendaris and share in its rich paleontological legacy.

 

CAVE CANYON SCRAMBLE

FROM $200 PER GUEST

Strenuous Fitness Level

Cave Canyon begins with a steep climb through limestone terraces that ascend a picturesque canyon overlooking the eastern grasslands of Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. A fortified entrance to a large alcove at the top of the canyon shows evidence of use as an ancient shelter by the region’s indigenous people. This tour is perfect for the experienced hiker who is adept at using their hands and feet to climb stair-step ledges, with a modest amount of exposure. The half-day Cave Canyon Scramble can be combined with Spellmeyer Canyon to create a full-day adventure with two remarkably diverse and untouched canyon hikes.

7TX BUBBLING SPRING MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR

From $200 PER GUEST

Easy fitness level

Ted Turner Expeditions’ 7TX Mountain Biking Area offers experienced and beginner riders an opportunity to pedal for the first time on the Armendaris Ranch. Our Bubbling Spring ride is a gentle 6-mile out-and-back route, with a host of intriguing areas to explore – including Bubbling Spring, a historic well used by the Spanish as they passed through the area and Canon Del Muerto (Canyon of Death) a reference to the frequent attacks by Native Americans in this tight passage. This half day excursion is fun for the novice rider and can be extended into a full day for those looking for more of a challenge.

On a one to five scale (five being most difficult), this half-day tour is rated “2” for fitness level and ability.

 

FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT OVERLOOK MOTOR TOUR

From $200 per guest

Easy fitness level
Experience dramatic, panoramic views of Ted Turner’s 362,885-acre Armendaris Ranch on a compelling, guided driving tour to the summit overlook of the picturesque Fra Cristobal Range. Your excursion on the Armendaris provides you with a highly unique experience complete with stunning, desert landscapes and abundant animal and plant species.
At the summit, lofty views of Elephant Butte Reservoir and the Rio Grande corridor await – the prized pinnacle of this exceptional five-hour tour.

 

FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT TREK & GEOCACHE

From $200 per guest

Moderate Fitness Level
Summit your own private mountain range, the Fra Cristobals, and experience dramatic, panoramic views of the 362,885-acre Armendaris Ranch on an all-day adventure guided by a TTX team member.
The cross country passage covers just over three miles of ridge crest terrain with commanding views across the Chihuahuan Desert to the Continental Divide. At the summit, a bird’s eye view encompassing over sixty miles in every direction awaits. Stretching out before you will be the Rio Grande Valley, White Sands Missile Range, the Trinity Site, El Camino Real, Elephant Butte Reservoir, the Black Range, Ladder Ranch and the towns of Truth or Consequences and Elephant Butte.
Be among the few to sign the summit register and take part in a unique geocache experience- bring a small trinket for the geocache and plan on taking a small souvenir left by others who have summited.
This eight-hour tour is a great way to enjoy off-trail hiking and visit the highest point on the Armendaris Ranch, while experiencing the abundant animal and plant species. Your guide will be your escort to the top of the range.

 

SPELLMEYER CANYON TOUR

From $200 PER GUEST

Moderate Fitness Level
Ted Turner Expeditions leads you back in time on a 5-hour hike in Spellmeyer Canyon.
The pristine nature of Spellmeyer Canyon exemplifies undisturbed beauty – a hallmark of Ted Turner’s ranches.
Your guide will help you locate marine fossils from an ancient seabed and navigate the rock scrambles you will encounter on this hike.

This five-hour tour provides a platform to contemplate the ever-changing environment of our home planet.
As with all tours to Ted Turner’s ranches, wildlife and Bison encounters are a very real possibility.

 

TWO HOUR HIDDEN CANYON HIKE

$200 (for up to four guests)

Moderate to Strenuous Fitness Level
Hidden Canyon Hike is a perfect way to sample a guided tour on Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. The trailhead is a brief, 15-minute drive from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa. On this superb, guided two-hour loop, experience the diversity of terrain and natural beauty that sets the Armendaris apart, including several rock scrambles into pristine canyons and dramatic views of the Chihuahuan desert and the town of Truth or Consequences.

 

ARMENDARIS HERITAGE & PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

From $200 per guest

Easy Fitness Level
Spend the day exploring the undisturbed beauty of the vast Armendaris Ranch grasslands and desert mountain range, in pursuit of the perfect compositions and light on our Heritage and Photography Tour. This majestic landscape has seen the passage of countless Spanish pioneers along the Jornado Del Muerto section of the historic El Camino Real.

Your exclusive photo tour unfolds at your own pace to allow for the study of large scale landscapes and textural desert details. The unmatched long shadows and dramatic light of the southwest sunrises and sunsets are the ideal subjects for a photographer’s dream. Picturesque stops such as Lava Station, Lava Camp, Casa Grande and the Fra Cristobal Canyons are always guest favorites.

Spaceport America and Armendaris Expedition

From $900 PER GUEST

Experience a full day of adventure, gazing into the future and discovering the past, while exploring two of New Mexico’s inspirational landmarks: Spaceport America and Ted Turner’s historic, 363,000-acre Armendaris Ranch. Our exclusive Spaceport America Immersion Excursion is a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX) guests receive access to the inner workings of this futuristic facility, including the Spaceport Command Center (SCC), home to Mission Control. Guests have the opportunity to interact with Spaceport America crewmembers while touring the 18,000-acre campus.

TTX guests are then escorted a short distance by vehicle to Ted’s Armendaris Ranch for a customized tour. There, guest will have opportunities to encounter 300-million-year-old marine fossils, Cretaceous period dinosaur bone fields, exciting wildlife, commanding views from the summit of the Fra Cristobal Mountains, and other points of interest. For an additional landing fee, guests with private aircraft can opt to land on Spaceport America’s two-mile-long Spaceway.

Rates: $900 for first guest. $475 each additional guest.

 

TOURS ON THE LADDER RANCH

LADDER RANCH BIRDING TOUR

From $200 per guest

Easy Fitness Level

Ted Turner’s 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch is considered one of the finest birdwatching sanctuaries in North America. The Ladder offers exquisite and diverse habitats, from lush riparian zones to arid, rocky slopes and cliffs; which host a large number of species who migrate through the region and many species who call the ranch home year-round. Its location is a magnet for spring and fall migrations.

One of our seasoned birding guides will be your host for this private tour. Your experience may also include viewing of bison, black bear and coyote; as well as stops at petroglyphs (Rock Art) created by ancient indigenous people. Whether you are a beginner or advanced birder we can create a half or full day tour which will surely add new species to your Life List.

Our birding tours are limited to four guests, offering an intimate and low-impact birding experience.

 

Palomas Creek Native American Rock Art Tour

From $200 per guest

Easy Fitness Level
The lush and diverse environment of Palomas Creek on the Ladder Ranch, once provided a home to several indigenous cultures. Most prominent, are the ancient remnants of the Mimbres and Apache tribes that can be found throughout the ranch in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs. The tranquil settings of these two Native American Rock Art sites on Palomas Creek provide an unrivaled opportunity to step back in time and reflect on the former inhabitants of this magnificent landscape on this half day tour.

Both novice and seasoned rock art enthusiasts will enjoy the diversity of the petroglyphs and also enjoy an opportunity to engage in a short hike with their guide.

 

CREST TO CREEK MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE

From $385 per couple

Moderate Fitness and Riding Level
This guided, moderately difficult mountain bike ride covers 6.5 miles (10.46 km) of backroads and historic old wagon trails. For this 3-hour tour, you depart Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa to the staging area atop a ridge near the Ladder Ranch Headquarters. The first leg of the ride traverses the ridgecrest with incredible 360-degree views of the Chihuahuan desert, Ladder Ranch, Armendaris Ranch, the Black Range of the Gila National Forest, the Caballo Mountains, and much more. After taking in these expansive, stunning views, you then descend the ridge into the lush Animas Creek drainage.

Riders will be provided with start-of-the-art, full suspension Santa Cruz “Tall Boy” bikes, helmets and riding gloves.

Please note that as this ride has been classified “moderate” in difficulty, riders should be prepared to utilize some technical skills to negotiate uneven terrain.

 

Ladder Ranch Sunset and Sunrise Motor Tour

From $200 per guest

Easy Fitness Level
A fantastic way to acquaint oneself with the picturesque Ladder Ranch, the “Sunset and Sunrise Half-Day Motor Tours” are timed perfectly in order to seize the “magic hour” lighting, primed for exceptional photographic moments. The Ted Turner Expeditions motor tour departs from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, located approximately a half-hour drive from Ladder Ranch. Once on the Ladder, you’ll traverse the ranch’s riparian habitats and pristine grasslands, with the likelihood of encountering bison and other wildlife. You’ll also stop along the tour at certain vantage points on the property, including a Native American rock art site, to observe magnificent views in day’s fading or dawn’s golden light.

A Sunrise Motor Tour is especially rich in wildlife, providing the highest probability of encountering elk, deer, javelina, and a wide range of avian life.

 

Lower Animas Creek and Chavez Home Mountain Bike or Motor Tour

From $200 per guest

Easy to Moderate Fitness Level – depending on guided transportation preference. Guests can either choose an easy mountain bike ride along quiet ranch roads, or a leisurely motor tour
Animas Creek is an iconic desert stream which flows from the southernmost end of the Rocky Mountains (Black Range), through Ladder Ranch and into the storied Rio Grande river. Its perennial waters and rich biodiversity have attracted ancient peoples, native cultures, Spanish settlers, modern day ecologists and a working bison ranch. The massive cottonwood tree canopy along Animas provides stunning colors in spring, summer and fall, as well as a nesting site and migration corridor for numerous bird species and active wildlife that includes deer, elk, turkey, javalina and bison. This half-day tour also affords interpretation of two different periods of human habitation, artifacts of the Mimbres people (A.D. 1000-1150) and the Chavez family’s turn-of-the-century adobe home site ruins.

 

Ladder Ranch Heritage Tour

From $200 per guest

Easy Fitness Level
An immersive introduction to the stunningly beautiful and biologically diverse 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch, this half-day tour promises breathtaking views, a unique mix of ecosystems, ancient petroglyphs, and turn-of-the-century adobe ruins. First, stop at the southern end of the Ladder Ranch, where Ash Canyon and Seco Creek converge to create a dramatic slice of paradise and home to both native Mimbres people (A.D. 1000-1150) and turn-of-the-century Spanish homesteaders. Then, head out on a short walk up a winding Ash Canyon through towering sedimentary rock walls where you’ll attempt to picture exactly what life was like in this desert environment over a thousand years ago. Afterward, travel a short distance to Seco Creek and step back to a more recent past. Explore an adobe ruin used by one of the many goat farmers who called the Ladder Ranch home in the early 1900’s.

 

Las Palomas North and South Loop Tour

From $200 per guest

Moderate Fitness Level
Join us for a tour of the pristine riparian habitat of Palomas Creek on Ladder Ranch, and experience why we at Ted Turner Expeditions feel that this is the perfect picture of the ecological conservancy that is the foundation of the Turner Ranches.

You’ll have the opportunity to hike through scenic rugged back-country that’s in a completely unaltered and natural state. The stunning scenery alone is a photographer’s dream, and you may even encounter fascinating wildlife along the way including Bison, Elk, Deer, Peccary (Javelina), and a host of other animals that call Ladder Ranch home.

Please note that the hike includes some off-trail sections and requires a moderate fitness level for this five-hour tour.

Your guide will meet you at Sierra Grande Lodge and provide transportation to the Palomas Creek trailhead.

 

TED’S VISION QUEST HIKE

From $200 per guest

Moderate Fitness Level
A personal favorite of owner Ted Turner, this half day tour includes a 2-hour guided hike along a unique path once used by ancient Native Americans cultures for their sacred vison quest ceremonies. The hike begins close to the Ladder Ranch Headquarters and Ted Turner’s Ladder House, recently opened for luxury overnight accommodations, before ascending to the top of a bluff overlooking breathtaking views of the riparian area of Animas Creek, Ladder Ranch HQ and the surrounding Chihuahuan desert (an entertaining anecdote about this path is recounted by Ladder Ranch Manager Steve Dobrott, in Ted Turner’s 2013 biography, Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet; pgs. 35-36). Along the way, your guide will provide you with fascinating information on the desert vegetation, the animals who call Ladder Ranch home and Ted’s vision for the Ladder Ranch.

Please note that this hike includes some exposure along ledges and steeper terrain.

 

Custom Itinerary Ladder Ranch Day Tour

From $200 per guest

Easy to Moderate Fitness Level
The 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch provides endless opportunities to explore and photograph its exquisite wildlife, as well as hike its unbelievably vast terrain while experiencing the Ladder’s fascinating history. The Ladder Ranch is a private working bison ranch focusing on habitat conservation and wildlife management. With a diversity of formations and ecosystems including the Chihuahuan Desert, riparian habitats, open grasslands, volcanic cones, Rocky Mountain vegetation, adobe ruins, Apache battle sites and other ancient points of interest; there are endless opportunities for private guided expeditions for a wide range of interests, ability levels and ages.

Your tour can be custom tailored to fit your ultimate Ted Turner Expeditions experience. From searching for bison or the incredibly diverse wildlife on the Ladder (elk, deer, antelope, mountain lions, bears, etc.) to customized motor tours, mountain biking or hiking with your choice to focus on areas of interest such as photography, botany, biodiversity or archeology. The Custom Ladder Ranch Day Tour is the perfect way to relax and allow maximum flexibility in your itinerary to experience all this majestic property has to offer.

Half and full-day touring options are available.


SEASONAL TOURS

ARMENDARIS BAT FLIGHT

From $275 per guest

Please note this tour is only available between the months of June and September.
Experience a wonder of nature on Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. The Jornada Bat Cave, a complex of two massive lava tubes, serves as a temporary home to an estimated 1.6 million bats (principally Mexican Free Tail) that emerge each evening at dusk to feed in what appears to be a “river of bats” on Ted Turner’s private Armendaris Ranch. This spectacle of nature, which occurs most every evening from approximately June to September, has been compared to the great animal migrations of Africa.

Your expedition departs Sierra Grande Lodge at 4:30 p.m.* for a six‐hour, roundtrip journey to the bat caves. The tour takes you through Ted Turner’s stunning 360,000 acre Armendaris Ranch, allowing you the opportunity to encounter a vast Chihuahuan desert landscape with the possibility of viewing bison, pronghorn and oryx, as well as other desert‐dwelling animals and birds.

*Please keep in mind that the bats’ emergence is not on a set schedule. Recent research suggests that they fly when the temperature inside the cave comes into balance with the outside temperature. Soak in the spectacular sunset Armendaris has to offer, while waiting for the bats to emerge for their flight. Tour departure times from Sierra Grande Lodge will be adjusted to an earlier departure time as the daylight hours shift.

Armendaris Ranch

PALEONTOLOGY PROSPECTING TOUR

Easy Fitness Level

The Armendaris Ranch is home to an impressive cache of Late-Cretaceous Period dinosaur bones, including specimens that are currently on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. There are active paleontology digs underway on the ranch, resulting in the recent excavation of a Sauropod femur.

On this guided fossil “prospecting” tour you will travel on an easy 1.5-mile cross-country hike (requires climbing a gentle hill) in search of undisturbed dinosaur bone fields, learning to differentiate bone fragments from the surrounding rock and possibly help identify the next promising site for further investigation and research. This half day tour is a wonderful way to get out on the Armendaris and share in its rich paleontological legacy.

 

CAVE CANYON SCRAMBLE

Strenuous Fitness Level

Cave Canyon begins with a steep climb through limestone terraces that ascend a picturesque canyon overlooking the eastern grasslands of Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. A fortified entrance to a large alcove at the top of the canyon shows evidence of use as an ancient shelter by the region’s indigenous people. This tour is perfect for the experienced hiker who is adept at using their hands and feet to climb stair-step ledges, with a modest amount of exposure. The half-day Cave Canyon Scramble can be combined with Spellmeyer Canyon to create a full-day adventure with two remarkably diverse and untouched canyon hikes.

 

7TX BUBBLING SPRING MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR

Easy Fitness Level

Ted Turner Expeditions’ 7TX Mountain Biking Area offers experienced and beginner riders an opportunity to pedal for the first time on the Armendaris Ranch. Our Bubbling Spring ride is a gentle 6-mile out-and-back route, with a host of intriguing areas to explore – including Bubbling Spring, a historic well used by the Spanish as they passed through the area and Canon Del Muerto (Canyon of Death) a reference to the frequent attacks by Native Americans in this tight passage. This half day excursion is fun for the novice rider and can be extended into a full day for those looking for more of a challenge.

On a one to five scale (five being most difficult), this half-day tour is rated “2” for fitness level and ability.

 

FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT OVERLOOK MOTOR TOUR

Easy Fitness Level
Experience dramatic, panoramic views of Ted Turner’s 362,885-acre Armendaris Ranch on a compelling, guided driving tour to the summit overlook of the picturesque Fra Cristobal Range. Your excursion on the Armendaris provides you with a highly unique experience complete with stunning, desert landscapes and abundant animal and plant species.

At the summit, lofty views of Elephant Butte Reservoir and the Rio Grande corridor await – the prized pinnacle of this exceptional five-hour tour.

 

FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT TREK & GEOCACHE

Moderate Fitness Level

Summit your own private mountain range, the Fra Cristobals, and experience dramatic, panoramic views of the 362,885-acre Armendaris Ranch on an all-day adventure guided by a TTX team member.
The cross country passage covers just over three miles of ridge crest terrain with commanding views across the Chihuahuan Desert to the Continental Divide. At the summit, a bird’s eye view encompassing over sixty miles in every direction awaits. Stretching out before you will be the Rio Grande Valley, White Sands Missile Range, the Trinity Site, El Camino Real, Elephant Butte Reservoir, the Black Range, Ladder Ranch and the towns of Truth or Consequences and Elephant Butte.

Be among the few to sign the summit register and take part in a unique geocache experience- bring a small trinket for the geocache and plan on taking a small souvenir left by others who have summited.

This eight-hour tour is a great way to enjoy off-trail hiking and visit the highest point on the Armendaris Ranch, while experiencing the abundant animal and plant species. Your guide will be your escort to the top of the range.

 

SPELLMEYER CANYON TOUR

Moderate Fitness Level
Ted Turner Expeditions leads you back in time on a 5-hour hike in Spellmeyer Canyon. The pristine nature of Spellmeyer Canyon exemplifies undisturbed beauty – a hallmark of Ted Turner’s ranches. Your guide will help you locate marine fossils from an ancient seabed and navigate the rock scrambles you will encounter on this hike.

This five-hour tour provides a platform to contemplate the ever-changing environment of our home planet. As with all tours to Ted Turner’s ranches, wildlife and Bison encounters are a very real possibility.

 

TWO HOUR HIDDEN CANYON HIKE

Moderate to Strenuous Fitness Level

Hidden Canyon Hike is a perfect way to sample a guided tour on Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. The trailhead is a brief, 15-minute drive from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa. On this superb, guided two-hour loop, experience the diversity of terrain and natural beauty that sets the Armendaris apart, including several rock scrambles into pristine canyons and dramatic views of the Chihuahuan desert and the town of Truth or Consequences

 

ARMENDARIS HERITAGE & PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Easy Fitness Level

Spend the day exploring the undisturbed beauty of the vast Armendaris Ranch grasslands and desert mountain range, in pursuit of the perfect compositions and light on our Heritage and Photography Tour. This majestic landscape has seen the passage of countless Spanish pioneers along the Jornado Del Muerto section of the historic El Camino Real.

Your exclusive photo tour unfolds at your own pace to allow for the study of large scale landscapes and textural desert details. The unmatched long shadows and dramatic light of the southwest sunrises and sunsets are the ideal subjects for a photographer’s dream. Picturesque stops such as Lava Station, Lava Camp, Casa Grande and the Fra Cristobal Canyons are always guest favorites.

 

Armendaris Bat Flight

Please note this tour is only available between the months of June and September.

Experience a wonder of nature on Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. The Jornada Bat Cave, a complex of two massive lava tubes, serves as a temporary home to an estimated 1.6 million bats (principally Mexican Free Tail) that emerge each evening at dusk to feed in what appears to be a “river of bats” on Ted Turner’s private Armendaris Ranch. This spectacle of nature, which occurs most every evening from approximately June to September, has been compared to the great animal migrations of Africa.

Your expedition departs Sierra Grande Lodge at 4:30 p.m.* for a six‐hour, roundtrip journey to the bat caves. The tour takes you through Ted Turner’s stunning 360,000 acre Armendaris Ranch, allowing you the opportunity to encounter a vast Chihuahuan desert landscape with the possibility of viewing bison, pronghorn and oryx, as well as other desert‐dwelling animals and birds.

Please keep in mind that the bats’ emergence is not on a set schedule. Recent research suggests that they fly when the temperature inside the cave comes into balance with the outside temperature. Soak in the spectacular sunset Armendaris has to offer, while waiting for the bats to emerge for their flight.

*Tour departure times from Sierra Grande Lodge will be adjusted to an earlier departure time as the daylight hours shift.

 

Spaceport America and Armendaris Expedition

Experience a full day of adventure, gazing into the future and discovering the past, while exploring two of New Mexico’s inspirational landmarks: Spaceport America and Ted Turner’s historic, 363,000-acre Armendaris Ranch. Our exclusive Spaceport America Immersion Excursion is a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX) guests receive access to the inner workings of this futuristic facility, including the Spaceport Command Center (SCC), home to Mission Control. Guests have the opportunity to interact with Spaceport America crewmembers while touring the 18,000-acre campus.

TTX guests are then escorted a short distance by vehicle to Ted’s Armendaris Ranch for a customized tour. There, guest will have opportunities to encounter 300-million-year-old marine fossils, Cretaceous period dinosaur bone fields, exciting wildlife, commanding views from the summit of the Fra Cristobal Mountains, and other points of interest. For an additional landing fee, guests with private aircraft can opt to land on Spaceport America’s two-mile-long Spaceway.

Rates: $900 for first guest. $475 each additional guest.

Ladder Ranch

LADDER RANCH BIRDING TOUR

Easy Fitness Level

Ted Turner’s 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch is considered one of the finest birdwatching sanctuaries in North America. The Ladder offers exquisite and diverse habitats, from lush riparian zones to arid, rocky slopes and cliffs; which host a large number of species who migrate through the region and many species who call the ranch home year-round. Its location is a magnet for spring and fall migrations.

One of our seasoned birding guides will be your host for this private tour. Your experience may also include viewing of bison, black bear and coyote; as well as stops at petroglyphs (Rock Art) created by ancient indigenous people. Whether you are a beginner or advanced birder we can create a half or full day tour which will surely add new species to your Life List.

Our birding tours are limited to four guests, offering an intimate and low-impact birding experience.

 

Palomas Creek Native American Rock Art Tour

Easy Fitness Level
The lush and diverse environment of Palomas Creek on the Ladder Ranch, once provided a home to several indigenous cultures. Most prominent, are the ancient remnants of the Mimbres and Apache tribes that can be found throughout the ranch in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs. The tranquil settings of these two Native American Rock Art sites on Palomas Creek provide an unrivaled opportunity to step back in time and reflect on the former inhabitants of this magnificent landscape on this half day tour.

Both novice and seasoned rock art enthusiasts will enjoy the diversity of the petroglyphs and also enjoy an opportunity to engage in a short hike with their guide.

 

CREST TO CREEK MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE

Moderate Fitness and Riding Level
This guided, moderately difficult mountain bike ride covers 6.5 miles (10.46 km) of backroads and historic old wagon trails. For this 3-hour tour, you depart Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa to the staging area atop a ridge near the Ladder Ranch Headquarters. The first leg of the ride traverses the ridgecrest with incredible 360-degree views of the Chihuahuan desert, Ladder Ranch, Armendaris Ranch, the Black Range of the Gila National Forest, the Caballo Mountains, and much more. After taking in these expansive, stunning views, you then descend the ridge into the lush Animas Creek drainage.

Riders will be provided with start-of-the-art, full suspension Santa Cruz “Tall Boy” bikes, helmets and riding gloves.

Please note that as this ride has been classified “moderate” in difficulty, riders should be prepared to utilize some technical skills to negotiate uneven terrain.

 

Ladder Ranch Sunset and Sunrise Motor Tour

Easy Fitness Level
A fantastic way to acquaint oneself with the picturesque Ladder Ranch, the “Sunset and Sunrise Half-Day Motor Tours” are timed perfectly in order to seize the “magic hour” lighting, primed for exceptional photographic moments. The Ted Turner Expeditions motor tour departs from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, located approximately a half-hour drive from Ladder Ranch. Once on the Ladder, you’ll traverse the ranch’s riparian habitats and pristine grasslands, with the likelihood of encountering bison and other wildlife. You’ll also stop along the tour at certain vantage points on the property, including a Native American rock art site, to observe magnificent views in day’s fading or dawn’s golden light.

A Sunrise Motor Tour is especially rich in wildlife, providing the highest probability of encountering elk, deer, javelina, and a wide range of avian life.

 

Lower Animas Creek and Chavez Home Mountain Bike or Motor Tour

Easy to Moderate Fitness Level – depending on guided transportation preference. Guests can either choose an easy mountain bike ride along quiet ranch roads, or a leisurely motor tour
Animas Creek is an iconic desert stream which flows from the southernmost end of the Rocky Mountains (Black Range), through Ladder Ranch and into the storied Rio Grande river. Its perennial waters and rich biodiversity have attracted ancient peoples, native cultures, Spanish settlers, modern day ecologists and a working bison ranch. The massive cottonwood tree canopy along Animas provides stunning colors in spring, summer and fall, as well as a nesting site and migration corridor for numerous bird species and active wildlife that includes deer, elk, turkey, javalina and bison. This half-day tour also affords interpretation of two different periods of human habitation, artifacts of the Mimbres people (A.D. 1000-1150) and the Chavez family’s turn-of-the-century adobe home site ruins.

 

Ladder Ranch Heritage Tour

Easy Fitness Level
An immersive introduction to the stunningly beautiful and biologically diverse 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch, this half-day tour promises breathtaking views, a unique mix of ecosystems, ancient petroglyphs, and turn-of-the-century adobe ruins. First, stop at the southern end of the Ladder Ranch, where Ash Canyon and Seco Creek converge to create a dramatic slice of paradise and home to both native Mimbres people (A.D. 1000-1150) and turn-of-the-century Spanish homesteaders. Then, head out on a short walk up a winding Ash Canyon through towering sedimentary rock walls where you’ll attempt to picture exactly what life was like in this desert environment over a thousand years ago. Afterward, travel a short distance to Seco Creek and step back to a more recent past. Explore an adobe ruin used by one of the many goat farmers who called the Ladder Ranch home in the early 1900’s.

 

Las Palomas North and South Loop Tour

Moderate Fitness Level
Join us for a tour of the pristine riparian habitat of Palomas Creek on Ladder Ranch, and experience why we at Ted Turner Expeditions feel that this is the perfect picture of the ecological conservancy that is the foundation of the Turner Ranches.

You’ll have the opportunity to hike through scenic rugged back-country that’s in a completely unaltered and natural state. The stunning scenery alone is a photographer’s dream, and you may even encounter fascinating wildlife along the way including Bison, Elk, Deer, Peccary (Javelina), and a host of other animals that call Ladder Ranch home.

Please note that the hike includes some off-trail sections and requires a moderate fitness level for this five-hour tour.

Your guide will meet you at Sierra Grande Lodge and provide transportation to the Palomas Creek trailhead.

 

TED’S VISION QUEST HIKE

Moderate Fitness Level
A personal favorite of owner Ted Turner, this half day tour includes a 2-hour guided hike along a unique path once used by ancient Native Americans cultures for their sacred vison quest ceremonies. The hike begins close to the Ladder Ranch Headquarters and Ted Turner’s Ladder House, recently opened for luxury overnight accommodations, before ascending to the top of a bluff overlooking breathtaking views of the riparian area of Animas Creek, Ladder Ranch HQ and the surrounding Chihuahuan desert (an entertaining anecdote about this path is recounted by Ladder Ranch Manager Steve Dobrott, in Ted Turner’s 2013 biography, Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet; pgs. 35-36). Along the way, your guide will provide you with fascinating information on the desert vegetation, the animals who call Ladder Ranch home and Ted’s vision for the Ladder Ranch.

Please note that this hike includes some exposure along ledges and steeper terrain.

 

Custom Itinerary Ladder Ranch Day Tour

Easy to Moderate Fitness Level
The 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch provides endless opportunities to explore and photograph its exquisite wildlife, as well as hike its unbelievably vast terrain while experiencing the Ladder’s fascinating history. The Ladder Ranch is a private working bison ranch focusing on habitat conservation and wildlife management. With a diversity of formations and ecosystems including the Chihuahuan Desert, riparian habitats, open grasslands, volcanic cones, Rocky Mountain vegetation, adobe ruins, Apache battle sites and other ancient points of interest; there are endless opportunities for private guided expeditions for a wide range of interests, ability levels and ages.

Your tour can be custom tailored to fit your ultimate Ted Turner Expeditions experience. From searching for bison or the incredibly diverse wildlife on the Ladder (elk, deer, antelope, mountain lions, bears, etc.) to customized motor tours, mountain biking or hiking with your choice to focus on areas of interest such as photography, botany, biodiversity or archeology. The Custom Ladder Ranch Day Tour is the perfect way to relax and allow maximum flexibility in your itinerary to experience all this majestic property has to offer.

Half and full-day touring options are available.

Vermejo Park Ranch

WINTER 2016

WEATHER
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. Clothing items that are easily layered to accommodate for cold mornings and evenings yet warmer afternoons, are suggested. Here are some recommendations of what to bring:

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.

SNOWSHOEING

In the winter months Vermejo is superb snowshoeing country. Our 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:

Contour Trek: 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.

Long Lakes: 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.

East Fork Ridge: 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.

Glacier Lakes: 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 of the history of our expansive ranch. Weather permitting, tracked-Suburban rides through high country Aspens transport guests to trailheads.

NORDIC SKIING

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.

ICE FISHING

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 2015 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.

TUBING

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.

RELAXING

Enough adventure for the day? 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.

 

SUMMER 2016

WEATHER
Spring weather at Vermejo Park Ranch can be very 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.

HIKING

With 920 square miles of private land to explore, the hiking possibilities at Vermejo Park Ranch are immense. Differing ecosystems with varied terrain, presents a multitude of hikes fit for hikers of all levels and interests. Whether a short stroll next to 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 include beautiful scenery and plentiful wildlife. There is something here for everyone! Hiking include:
Leandro Creek (2)
Even on the hottest summer day this hike is nice and cool.
Ash Mountain Meadows (3)
At the base of Ash Mountain are some beautiful meadows with incredible views.
Devil’s Bluff (5)
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 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

Horseback riding is a good way to see some of the best country at Vermejo Park Ranch. Available from mid-May until September, corrals are located in Vermejo High Country. Rides leave from the #2 Camp corrals at 9:00 am and average 1 to 1.5 hours long. 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, include a picnic lunch, and generally return around 1:00 pm, with the exception of the All Day, which returns around 3:00 pm. All Day rides (4-5 hours) are dependent on the rider’s skill level. We do not recommend this ride option for beginners and young children.

Group Size, Age & Safety
Wranglers can safely take 1-6 riders together. There is a weight limit of 250 lbs per horse for safety reasons.
All age groups are welcome! Children under 5 years-of-age need to ride with an adult. Older children 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 the evening before a scheduled ride by our Horseman.

 

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Mountain biking can be a wonderful way to explore the Ranch. With over 10 miles of trails around the headquarters area guests can grab a map, a radio, hop on a bike, and go.
For those seeking more adventure, arrange to have one of our guides to take your family and friends riding in the backcountry on our endless miles of two-track roads.

 

FISHING

Fishermen and sportsmen alike have been coming to this haven for wildlife & fisheries for over 100 years. Visionary owner, William Bartlett, constructed many of our well-known trout fishing venues in the early 1900’s, which continue to provide unparalleled excitement for anglers of all types.

Our diverse property currently boasts 16 trout-rich lakes, great for any style of fishing: walk the banks and sight cast to rainbows, browns and brookies, enjoy world-class dry fly fishing and deep nymphing; or cast from one of our many boats.

If moving water is your game, our 30 miles of stream provide isolated adventure in varying terrain. Reel in wild trout in either high country meandering waters or our iconic southwest setting on the Vermejo River.
At 585,000 acres, Vermejo’s fishing venues are spread far and wide, however most of them are accessible by vehicle and range from 20 minutes to an hour from lodging.

Lower country lakes include Munn, Bartlett, Adams and Bernal ranging from 11 to 75 acres in size and each with their own historic character. A guest favorite, Munn Lake often features lakeside bison, bald eagles and incredible views of iconic Vermejo mountain peaks. Our waters host large populations of rainbow, brook, brown, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Most fish average one to two pounds in weight, but numerous three to nine pound fish are caught annually. Ever heard of fly fishing for carp? When you tire of trout, Munn is the perfect location for stalking these freshwater submarines!

A tucked away gem, Bernal Lake is a bit smaller in size and home to some of the ranches larger trout and historic Bernal Cabin provides a hint of history. Located 15 minutes from any of these venues lies the Vermejo River,
one of the greatest and under-fished Rio Grande cutthroat trout venues in the West- a great opportunity for solace.

High country fisheries include two main streams, Costilla & Casias Creeks, as well as a series of lakes: Glacier Lakes, 7 Lakes, Costilla Reservoir, No. 1 Lake, and our favorite, Casias Lakes. Casias is four kettle lakes nestled at tree line that offer wild Rio Grande Cutthroat and alpine beauty. While it is just under a mile to hike to this venue, many consider Casias Lakes the “Jewel” of Vermejo. Whichever your preference, high country or low, all provide outstanding wildlife viewing, incomparable scenery, and world-class fishing adventures.

 

SHOOTING

All shooting must involve a guide and guests must be 12yrs old to participate. Please feel free to bring your own shotguns, bows, and rifles. The ranch provides everything you need to shoot sporting clays, archery, and rifles.

Sporting Clays are designed to simulate “real hunting” scenarios to improve hunter skill and have fun with friends. Vermejo Park Ranch provides three sporting clay games: skeet, sporting clays, and 5 stand.
Skeet includes clays coming from a high house and low house.
Sporting Clays includes walking to 10 different stations, each station with a different configuration.
5 Stand includes a variety of shots from 5 different shooting stands.
If you prefer bow and arrow, try out our new 3D archery range. Archery includes 8 stations of 3D targets depicting different types of animals. Each station has 3 different shooting placements depending on skill level.
The rifle shooting provided is with .223 and .17 caliber rifles at our designated rifle ranges.

 

SUMMER 2016 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 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

July 10 – July 14, 2016
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.
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!

 

4 PEAKS IN 5 DAYS – TREKKING TOUR

June 26 – July 2, 2016
Whether you’re a new visitor to Vermejo Park Ranch or a returning guest looking to further explore the property, 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, 26 June at noon for a day of acclimation and rest at Casa Grande, where all participants will be lodged. 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 29, 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 found on the website. 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.

 

LIFE ON THE PRAIRIE TOUR

August 12 – 15, 2016
Vermejo Park Ranch truly has it all! Filled with history from the pioneer era, settlements, and mining operations and to the historic Vermejo Park Lodge. Photographer, Sean Fitzgerald will show us the way, as we focus on the gems of these historic prairie sites as well as our abundance of wildlife. This tour also includes an optional two day “Ghost Town” tour, available August 15- 17. We will adjust the itinerary depending on the weather and those serendipitous opportunities that will likely present themselves.

 

ELK RUT & ASPEN TOUR

September 23 – 28, 2016
The Elk Rut & Aspen tour is unlike any photography experience we know of. Enjoy the annual elk rut up close and personal, just as archery hunters do (just leave the bow behind and be sure to pack your best wildlife lens). Our well-trained guides can provide incredible advantages for those looking to capture spectacular wildlife images, allowing one to relive the drama, again and again. This tour is sold as a 2:1, photographer : guide ratio. All single photographers will be paired with another guest during the photo outing.

Click Here for more information regarding 2016 Vermejo Park Ranch Tour Offerings.

Ted Turner Expeditions – Contact

Please contact Ted Turner Expeditions Reservations for more information or to inquire about booking. We look forward to hosting you on the ranches!
1.877.2TURNER