Trail ride through the old Wild West America

Bitterroot Ranch

This guest ranch is beautifully situated in a remote valley between the Wind River range, the Absaroka Mountains, and the Shoshone National forest, just a stone's throw from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Bitterroot Ranch is the ideal place for those who want to experience the dramatic scenery of the west, with a chance to ride quality horses and enjoy excellent hospitality. Simply a wonderful ranch holiday to suit all.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Ranches and Cattle Drives
9 Days/ 6 days riding
From £2,750
Family holidays
from 6 y.o
Open to non-riders

From the horse’s mouth

  • Bitterroot Ranch
    August 2018 Charles aged 75
    This was a wonderful riding holiday - lovely people, excellent horses, delicious food and drink and marvellous scenery. Altogether a special week
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    Trail riding through beautiful Wyoming
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    The contrasting landscapes of Bitterroot Ranch
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    Cantering through the Aspens through the colours of autumn
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    A canter with a loose herd of horses at Bitterroot Ranch
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    Learn the ropes of cattle work at Bitteroot
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    Crossing a river with the cattle and horses
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    Checking on the cattle at Bitterroot in Wyoming
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY
    Yellowstone National Park is just north of the Ranch

Itinerary

Highlights

- Authentic "Little House on the Prairie" atmosphere in one of the finest ranches in the West for a real ranch experience
- Stay in the unspoilt mountain wilderness, bordering the Shoshone Forest
- Outstanding horses - one of the best Arabian stud farms in the country
- Ideal for families and /or beginners as the instruction is both professional and reassuring
- Authentic, comfortable accommodation (the ranch was built in the days of the pioneers and has been renovated)
- Excellent home cooked meals using the produce from the ranch coupled with a selection of the best Chilean, Australian and Californian wines to accompany every meal
- Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are only a c.1h 30 drive away and offer a convenient extension to your stay
- Staying in a ranch is ideal whether you are travelling alone or with your family
- Both a guest ranch and a working cattle ranch and on some specific weeks you can try your hand at cattle work
  • Day 1 1 : LONDON - JACKSON HOLE - DUBOIS - No riding

    Bitterroot ranch
    International flights to Jackson Hole Wyoming (flights not included but we are happy to help with this on request). Your flight should arrive early in the morning.

    You will be driven to the ranch - with transfers payable locally (see dates and prices for details) - which will take around 2 hours. Settle into your room and relax. This evening you are invited to a wine tasting and to meet the ranch team.

    If you want to extend your trip after your stay at the ranch, you can hire a car in Jackson for more autonomy. The Yellowstone National Park is only 1hr 30 drive from the ranch.

    THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMME IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE BUT REFLECTS ALL ACTIVITIES WHICH YOU ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE IN.

    The activities of the ranch are devoted largely to riding in the mountains. The wranglers take you out each morning and afternoon and sometimes a picnic is carried in the saddlebags.

    It is possible to arrange, in advance, pack trips of 2 to 5 days with horses for a minimum of 4 riders (maximum 6 riders). A surcharge applies, please see dates and prices.

    From July through September, the cattle go up to the summer pastures high above the ranch. During this period, besides riding, time may be occasionally spent working cattle (gathering, cutting etc). Cattle work is not guaranteed every week as it depends on what needs doing, although on a Friday afternoon you are able to practice your cutting skills with a dozen cows in the arena!
  • Day 2 2 : DUBOIS - 5-6 hours riding

    Bitterroot ranch
    Your stay will begin with a short test in the saddle in the equestrian yard. This will be to assess the ability level of each rider and to demonstrate the techniques used at the Ranch.

    The ranch's team mixes western roots and strong European influences. Riding is essentially English and special attention is paid to the horses' welfare - you will be required to ride at a rising trot or gallop in a forward seat in order to minimise the pressure put on the horses back throughout the long days in the saddle. The horses respond to neck reining.

    There are a wide selection of horses at the ranch and you will be carefully assigned a horse to ensure your safety and maximum enjoyment throughout your stay.

    The experienced guides will lead out small groups (which are divided by riding ability) for 2-3 hours in the morning. After a short loop, you will return to the ranch for lunch and a short siesta!

    In the afternoon, you will ride out once more to explore the surrounding areas and test your horse during the first canters of your stay. In the evening you will be able to relax and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal, accompanied by excellent wine.
  • Day 3 3 : DUBOIS - 5-6 hours riding

    Bitterroot ranch
    Several rides are available at the ranch: you can ride in every direction with no roads in sight!

    This morning, you may ride out to see one of the old historic haunts of Butch Cassidy, this is in the north of the ranch and is hidden away in a narrow canyon.

    If you are joining one of the working cattle weeks, you may be part of a cattle drive, the cattle have to be moved to allow the pastures to recover from heavy grazing. This requires spending several hours on horseback due to the vastness of the pastures. You will have to be on the ball and not leave any of the cattle behind! Please note: cattle work is not guaranteed and will depend on the weekly needs of the ranch.

    For beginners wishing to improve their riding, you will be able to schedule filmed lessons in the yard and then be helped in correcting your seat and technique. Lessons are available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. A cross country course of 70 jumps is an option for more advanced riders.

    In the late afternoon, you will return to the ranch for an early evening drink at around 18:00 and an early dinner.

    In July and August, on Tuesday evenings, the small town of Dubois comes to life with country music and line-dancing! (own transport necessary)
  • Day 4 4 : DUBOIS - 5-6 hours riding

    Bitterroot ranch
    In the morning, you may ride out through the vast open spaces of Wyoming where at the edges of the woods you are likely to spot a herd of Wapiti, a variety of moose.

    In the afternoon, you could ride out into the mountains looking out for traces of grizzlies or wolves... Or perhaps spot one of the bands of wild horses that roam the area!

    Or if you prefer to stay at the ranch, you could organise a lesson or spend some time with Bayard learning the art of fly-fishing.
  • Day 5 5 : DUBOIS - 5-6 hours riding

    Bitterroot ranch
    Depending on the season and the needs of the ranch, you could choose to ride out to explore a new part of the property or go to work herding the cattle and driving them back to the ranch.

    Working with the cattle requires you to separate the animals based on their brandings as well as their calves, corral any escapees and sort them from the animals that need to stay out in the pastures. Not such a simple task over uneven ground with often uncooperative cattle!

    For beginners wishing to improve their riding, you may choose to have a lesson in the yard to work on correcting your seat and riding technique.

    Several times a week, Hadley will offer yoga lessons in the yurt: everyone is welcome to join, even if you don't have any previous yoga experience.
  • Day 6 6 : DUBOIS - 5-6 hours riding

    Bitterroot ranch
    On a morning ride through the beautiful countryside, you may to be able to spot moose, wild geese and maybe, if you are very lucky, a puma. You will have the chance to enjoy fantastic canters along the high plateaus.

    In the afternoon, with a buzz in the air, you will be able to practice your cutting-in skills with a dozen cows in the arena. In teams, riders will compete in a - friendly! - sorting competition to see who make the best cowboys!

    From mid-June to the beginning of September, in the evening, you'll have an early dinner so you can make the most of the Dubois rodeo from 20:00 onwards. Break out your cowboys hats!! (own transportation necessary)
  • Day 7 7 : DUBOIS - 5-6 hours riding

    Bitterroot ranch
    Enjoy a great day's ride with a picnic lunch carried in your saddlebag meaning you can stay out all day making the most of the landscape, vastness of the area and the varied wildlife - with not a soul in sight within 80km!

    In May and June, there are still snowcapped peaks, in July and August the grass is long and wildflowers colour the landscape, while in September the trees are beginning to change colour and welcome the fall.

    You will then head back for your last night on the ranch.
  • Day 8 8 : DUBOIS - LONDON - No riding

    After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in Jackson Hole. You will catch your flight back to London.

    For trip extensions to the Yellow Stone National park, accommodation or hire car advice, contact us for more information.
  • Day 9 9 : LONDON - No riding

    Arrive in London.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights are not included in this price. Rates are per person, based on two people sharing.

- Gratuities and taxes are included in the listed rate (10%).

- Children aged 4-5 yo get a 25% discount, while children under 4 year old come at a reduced rate of $300 (£250)

- If you wish to travel as a single rider, a single supplement applies ($300/€285/£250).

- Non rider rate: starting from $2250/€2045/£1860 per person

- You may wish experience a 2 -3 day pack-trip expedition in the mountains from mid July to the end of August. This has an extra cost depending on the season. Min : 4 riders, Max : 6 riders. On request only

PLEASE NOTE - Some weeks are priced at a special rate (please contact us):

Fall Cattle Round-up: September 24 – October 1
Cattle Range Rider Weeks: July 28 – August 4, September 1 – September 8

- Transfers to and from Jackson Hole airport are payable locally at around $280 (approx. £240) each way for groups of 1-5 riders

- An electronic travel authorisation (ESTA) is required to enter the USA. It is your responsibility to organise this. Please visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ and contact us if you need help.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

Ranch team

Logistics

3 horses equipped with saddle and bridle per rider

Accommodation

Single, double, twin room or duplex (4 people) for families in log cabins located eitehr side of a stream. Private bathroom and electricity.

Meals

Full board from dinner on day (depending on your arrival time) to breakfast on day 8

Extras

Gratuities and taxes

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras
Meals in Jackson Hole are not included in the price

Transports

International flights
Visa fees (ESTA) which must be arranged in advance

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement

Extras

See optional pack trip price details
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    26/05/2024 03/06/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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    09/06/2024 17/06/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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    28/07/2024 05/08/2024 £2,850 €3,278 $3,534
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    04/08/2024 12/08/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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    11/08/2024 19/08/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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    18/08/2024 26/08/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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    25/08/2024 02/09/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    01/09/2024 09/09/2024 £2,850 €3,278 $3,534
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    08/09/2024 16/09/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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    15/09/2024 23/09/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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    22/09/2024 30/09/2024 £2,750 €3,163 $3,410
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Equestrian info

Horses

There are over 120 riding horses on the ranch, consisting mainly of Arabians and Quarterhorse crosses (14-16hh). The Arabian horses are raised and trained exclusively for the use of the guests, who often like to visit with the mares and foals. The ranch is also home to some excellent Welsh ponies for children.

The horses are trained western and are used to being neck reined; they do not go on contact.

Guide & local team

Not your usual cowboy, Bayard is a Yale graduate who lived for years in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the South Pacific, while Mel was brought up on a farm in Tanzania and spent some time working with wildlife in East Africa. They have been running the ranch together for more than thirty years.

Richard returned to the ranch after graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine. He and his wife, Hadley, now manage the pack trips, cattle and farming operations. Hadley, also a Yale graduate, was born and raised with horses in North Carolina. The atmosphere at the ranch reflects the melding of their eclectic backgrounds.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

Open to all levels from beginners to experienced riders. It is not necessary to have a high technical level of riding but you must be physically fit to be able to spend between 3 and 6 hours on horseback every day.

Nothing is mandatory, so you can ride as much or as little as you want. Each rider will be allocated a horse that matches their ability as well as riding in groups with riders with a similar level.

There is a maximum rider weight of 90kg/ 14st/ 198 lbs.

Pace

Pace of the ride is determined by rider abillity, riders will be put into groups of similar ability.

Tacking ability and participation

Caring for the horses is carried out by the ranch staff. Each horse is tacked and untacked by the wranglers - it is not possible to participate for safety reasons.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You need to be physically fit and in good condition to ride for 7 days as there is the opportunity to spend 3 to 6 hours in the saddle each day.

Love of exploring and life outdoors is also a must!!

Equestrian equipment

Endurance saddles.
Saddlebags provided on request.

Helmets are mandatory at the ranch. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit. Helmets are mandatory.

Travel info

Comfort

Accommodation at the ranch is in comfortable log cabins each with private bathroom and electric heat, some also have wood burning stoves. The cabins are well separated to ensure maximum seclusion and some have wonderful mountain views and a wooden veranda to relax on. Evenings are spent at the main lodge where meals are served. The lodge has a large dining room, sitting area with comfortable sofas and chairs set around a large open fireplace. There is a library and a games room with pool table. There is a fridge where you may store alcohol if you want to bring your own (wine is offered at cocktail hour and dinner only).

There are no TVs or telephones in the cabins and only one telephone line is available to the guests in the lodge. Due to the remote area and surrounding mountains, mobile phones often do not work well at the ranch. WIFI is available in the main lodge for guests with their own laptop.

Meals

High quality meals, prepared with imagination, are all served buffet style in the dining room where you will eat together with your hosts. Enjoy their own ranch raised Scottish Highland beef and lamb, salads come fresh from the garden and bread is baked in the kitchen. Most special dietary requests can be met; please provide us with this information prior to your arrival.

The ranch water is monitored by the EPA and it is not necessary to bring a supply of plastic bottles. Since the ranch does not have a liquor license, please bring your own hard liquor, beer and sodas. Wine is provided at cocktail hour and with dinner.

Breakfasts are composed of eggs, bacon, toast, fresh fruit, muffin, cereals and juice.

Wine is provided at cocktail hour and with dinner.

Climate

The climate in Dubois is semi-arid. It is a mountainous zone with distinct season with weather that can be changeable and unpredictable due to the high altitude (7,500ft). The 'hot' season is therefore quite short. The days in May, June and September are sunny but are prone to showers. The majority of rain in the region falls from March to May.

During the 'mid-season', temperatures are mild ( 15°C) and the evenings cool (5°C).

Summer, July and August, are sunny and rain is rare. The average temperature is between 20-25°C - with the temperature reaching 30°C at their peak. Nights remain cold, around 10-12°C on average.

Tips

Tips are compulsory in USA. In all restaurants (except certain self-service restaurants), it is customary to leave a 10-12% tip. In certain tourist spots, the tip is added before you receive the bill.

It is also customary to leave a 1 or 2$ tip to taxi drivers.

Gratuities (obligatory tips included in the salary of employees on the ranch) are included in the price of the trip but you can leave an additional tip if you wish.

Packing list

Head
- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable. You also have the option of buying protective shells to go under your hats (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western hat helmets (Troxel)
- Sunhat (indispensable especially during the mid and sunny seasons)
- High-protection sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind, dust or rain

Upper Body
- Informal evening wear
- T-shirts in cotton and long-sleeved shirts (to provide protection from the sun) or t-shirt made from a material that wicks away moisture
- Casual clothes for the evening
- A lightweight fleece or equivalent
- A warm fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold
- Waterproof jacket (waterproof and breathable in a Goretex-type material) OR a long, thigh-length waterproof. DO NOT bring a poncho

Legs
- 2 pairs of jodhpurs or riding appropriate jeans
- A change of trousers (riding trousers, jeans or equivalent)
- Pyjamas
- A swimming costume may come in useful (swimming in the lake, washing in the river)
- Underwear in cotton of synthetic non-irritant material

Hands and Feet
- 1 pair of comfortable riding boots. We recommend short riding boots with half chaps OR cowboy boots - possible to buy them in Dubois
- 1 pair of trainers or lightweight shoes for the evening
- Several pairs of thick socks
- A pair of sandals or flip-flops
- A pair of gloves - to protect your hands for the sun, cold and chafing from the reins whilst riding

Other useful items
- Travel bag 60-80 litres (hold luggage)
- Travel bag 25-30 litres (cabin bag)
- Toiletries
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

General information
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Hand luggage mustn't contain any sharp objects (knives, scissors, nail file or nail scissors, etc.) and the quantity of liquid allowed per passenger is limited to 100ml per container.
- Travel with a copy of your passport and insurance policy.

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- If you wish to travel light and wash your clothes throughout the trip, please think to take ecological washing powders/ soaps/ shampoos etc.

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If you are planing a packtrip in the mountains additional items to bring:

Head
- Warm hat for cold nights when camping

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)

Legs
- Thermal trousers
- Waterproof over trousers

Nightwear
- Sleeping bag. You need at least a comfort factor down to minus 5 celsius, but we would recommend at least minus 8 or 10 celsius
- Sleeping bag liner - silk, cotton or fleece - adds an extra layer
- Even if foam mattresses are provided, you may pack your inflatable mattress for comfort sake.

Other useful items
- Towels - camping ones will both dry and pack more easily
- Swiss army knife (to be carried in your hold luggage!!)

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Guest and dude ranches

On a working ranch, guests are expected to help out with cattle work and general duties. These are reserved to experienced riders with reasonable levels of fitness.

On the other hand, guest ranches (also called dude ranches) are open to everyone. The riding programmes are usually very flexible and you can do as much or as little riding as you like, often with the option of non-riding activities. They welcome most riding abilities, and are perfect for families with children or non-riders.

Guest ranches are perfect for those wanting to experience the fantastic scenery of the United States on long trail rides, and maybe do the occasional bit of cattle work, in a relaxed atmosphere and a safe and friendly environment. 

On the blog

Read about Equus' team member Iris' stay at Bitterroot Ranch in June 2019: 
https://blog.equus-journeys.com/en/post/29/iris-ranch-adventures-in-the-us

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Charles aged 75 SHERBORNE 1 trip
    August 2018
    This was a wonderful riding holiday - lovely people, excellent horses, delicious food and drink and marvellous scenery. Altogether a special week
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide