A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience Awaits at Zapata Ranch
If you’re planning a trip to Southern Colorado, there’s a little-known place near Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve that must be on your itinerary. The ranch is comprised of 103 acres on the southern border of the national park, 50,000 acres of which make the perfect place for a heard of about 2,000 bison to roam.
Picture this: you’re in an SUV with one of the knowledgeable ranch hands, driving off-road with the beautiful sand dunes and San Luis Mountain Range as your backdrop. Your eyes are coming the expansive range for bison. Suddenly, they come into view, moving in family groups to the west. You stop to take pictures as hundreds of bison pass your vehicle, then settle in to graze nearby. For the next 30 minutes, you are surrounded by one of the largest and purest bison herds in all of America. It doesn’t get better than this. (Unless of course, you’re a guest of Zapata Ranch and get to do this on horseback!)
Tips For The Tour
When driving to Zapata Ranch, follow the signs for Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Just about 3 miles south of the park (you’ll see the dunes ahead), a driveway will appear on your left with mailboxes and a sign that reads Zapata-Medano Ranch. Follow the road, keeping right unit you curve around to see a group of cabins nestled in a grove of trees. You’ll check in for your tour in the ranch offices – the small white building.
Make sure to bring bottled water and your camera for the tour. And as always in this part of sunny Colorado, wear sunscreen. You’ll get out of the vehicle to see the Medano Ranch and the Bison Barn, but you’ll be staying in the vehicle when you’re near the bison.
For More Information About Bison Tours
Bison tours depart Zapata Ranch twice daily on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Visit the website for details on making your reservation.
Zapata Ranch is owned by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with Ranchlands, both dedicated to preserving America’s natural lands and the bison population.
All Photos by Anne Sandoval, All Rights Reserved