There is no better continent from which to snap autumn’s kaleidoscope of colours than North America. At this time of year, its larger-than-life landscapes bathe in a sea of fiery reds, brilliant oranges and shimmering golds, and there are plenty more options than Vermont. Best of all, you can take in these spellbinding 360-degree views from the saddle. Leading riding holiday specialist, Ranch Rider, has selected seven properties (the list includes working, guest, dude, and resort ranches) where you can savour the season either on a trail ride or cattle drive.
Visit Darby’s Triple Creek this autumn, the award-winning Relais & Chateau luxury resort ranch, set on 26,000-acres and located right in the heart of the Montana Rockies. Breathe in the crisp mountain air from atop your mount and gaze at the snow-covered peaks, the majestic mountains bounded by Ponderosa forests, all dressed in their golden finery. With the wildlife preparing for winter, there’s always something to discover on the trail, and the cross-country rides overlook the beautiful fall colors of the Bitterroot River. Once you’re on horseback, it’s like tuning into BBC Earth from the saddle, with deer, black bear, moose, mountain lion, and osprey found in this untamed wilderness; the ranch’s no-hunting policy resulting in large herds of elk and other game gravitating to the property. Six nights with Ranch Rider from £3,035pp (two sharing) including accommodation, all meals, most ranch activities, gratuities and taxes. Excludes transfers and return flight, prices available on request. Year round departures.
Wyoming’s Klondike Working Ranch stands beneath the towering Big Horn Mountains, and when autumn arrives the hillsides glitter like gold. The trails are canopied in bright yellow aspen leaves, the colours contrasting sharply against the evergreens. At this time of year, it’s cattle work all the way and, as you will be spending 90% of your time in the saddle, there will be plenty of time to savour the season in all its glory. Seven nights with Ranch Rider from £1,961pp (no single supplement) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and transfers. Excludes gratuities and return flight, prices on request.Departures May through September.
The foliage in and around the Colville National Forest is a spectacular sight to behold during the autumn months, and Washington state’s K-Diamond-K Guest Working Ranch backs onto its 954,409 acres. Simply hit the trail on a scenic ride or pony up with a purpose and help the wranglers round up the horses in the mornings and evenings. Alternatively, savour the season’s delicious hues while fly-fishing (lakes and streams wind their way through the ranch’s open meadows), trapshooting, gold panning or mountain biking. And, for a pursuit that sounds like it was made especially for this time of year, take an exhilarating buggy ride through the woods and fields. Seven nights with Ranch Rider from only £1,247pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities and taxes. Excludes transfers as car hire recommended and return flight, prices on request. Departures May through October.
Saskatchewan’s La Reata Working Ranch is surrounded by rolling prairies, open ranges, and canyons, and come autumn, the landscape basks in a glorious orange glow. In October, it’s round-up time, so expect to be pitching in with the real cowhands. When the day’s work is done, put your feet up and relax by the sandy shores of Lake Diefenbaker, the season’s colourful hues reflected in the water. Seven nights with Ranch Rider from £985pp (two sharing) at Saskatchewan’s La Reata Working Ranch including accommodation, all meals, most ranch activities including riding, use of ranch facilities, and taxes. Excludes transfers, gratuities and return flights, prices on request. Departures May through October.
Spend autumn in the Cariboo-Chilcotin wilderness and go cowboy up at British Columbia’s Big Creek Guest Ranch. With incredible views of dense forests, the changing colours of the season are always truly spectacular. For the ultimate display, check into the Chilcotin wilderness, the ranch’s remote cabin located near the mighty Anvil Mountain. Inaccessible by anything other than a horse, a 20-kilometer horseback journey winds its way through the Big Creek Provincial Park to the Fire Creek Camp. Seven-nights with Ranch Rider from £1,599pp (two sharing) including accommodation (six nights on the ranch), outdoor adventure camp (one night remote adventure camp), meals, most ranch activities and tax. Excludes gratuities left to discretion, transfers and return flights. Departures May through October.
At Colorado’s Vista Verde Luxury Guest Ranch, the months of September and October are reserved for adults and cattle work. During this period, guests and wranglers head out onto over 16,000 acres of forested land to find and gather the cattle before the winter weather sets in. Leaf peeping with a purpose, you won’t regret exploring the mountains against the backdrop of the fiery red quaking aspens. Seven nights with Ranch Rider from £3,506pp (no single supplement) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes car hire and return flights. Prices available on request Departing May to October.
Head for Montana’s Nine Quarter Circle Dude Ranch in autumn and experience the beauty of the Big Sky state as the aspens begin to turn and the air cools down. Elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears are often spotted on the horseback trails, as the ranch is only 30 miles shy of Yellowstone National Park. This is also fly-fishing season, the ranch close to the famous Gallatin and Madison Rivers, the waters calm and perfect for catching trout. Seven nights with Ranch Rider from £2,941pp (two sharing) including accommodation, meals, most ranch activities, taxes and gratuities. Excludes transfers and return flight. Departures June through September.