HELMETS: WE DO NOT REQUIRE OR PROVIDE HELMETS FOR RIDING. Anyone who would like to use a helmet whilst riding, or would like their children to do so, will need to purchase them ahead of time and either bring or ship them to the ranch. There are many options out there although we can recommend Troxel. And be sure to have an experienced sales person help you with the fit.
BUCKAROOS (children 3-5 years) take counselor led horse rides in the arena and around the ranch.
COWPOKES (children 6-11 years) are assigned their own horse for the week and take trail rides with counselors and wranglers in the mornings. Children are welcome to ride in the afternoons accompanied by a parent or designated guardian. Parents can schedule an afternoon family ride anytime, please just talk to David or Jane.
ADULTS and TEENS (12 and over) break up into riding groups according to ability and type of ride. Teen rides will be posted on the chalkboard, or the counselor will check in with the teen group. Teens are welcome to ride with adults anytime.
We divide the rides morning and afternoon into various groups based on ability levels and preferences, and we do our best to accommodate requests. We want everyone, at every level, to have a great riding experience with us and not to be over- or under-challenged. Please understand that we will always cater the ride to the ability of the least experienced/comfortable rider; therefore, if you are more comfortable and choose to ride with less comfortable family members or guests, please keep that in mind as we will tone down the ride as needed.
Please note that we primarily offer wonderful trail riding not arena riding. Our wranglers are excellent teachers and we want you to improve as the week progresses. Although we do have an arena for team-sorting (working cattle on horseback in the arena), and the ranch rodeo, we prefer to teach out amid the spectacular scenery that surrounds us rather than in the arena. Our horses respond much better out on the trails than in the contained arena.
We offer team-sorting on Thursdays to teens and adults, and the Cowpokes will often work cattle as part of their rodeo practice. Please note that we limit team-sorting to one session per rider and that you use your ranch horse unless it is a non-arena horse in which case you will have a different horse assigned by Jane or David. Never, in any situation, switch horses around as this can be dangerous. Our horses are great trail riding horses but not necessarily team-sorting horses, and we ask that you be patient with your horse and just enjoy the experience of trying team-sorting rather than being too competitive.
We will saddle your horse for riding every day unless you tell us that you don't want to ride (if you sign up for rafting we will know that you aren't riding). Please let David, Jane or the office know, preferably the night before, if you don't want to ride the next day, although we certainly understand if you don’t know ahead of time. You are on vacation after all! You are welcome to come down and brush/saddle your horse in the mornings—just set it up with David or Jane in advance.
There is, of course, much more information about the riding program that we want to share with you. You will have printed material when you arrive and we have a "horse program” part of the main orientation on Sunday night plus a demonstration on Monday morning. We have a GREAT horse program here and look forward to riding with you soon!
If you have any questions about the Rainbow Trout Ranch riding program, please don’t hesitate to call or email Jane. 1.719.376.2440 or [email protected]
If you are sixteen or older and plan to fish, you need a Colorado fishing license, even on private waters. We suggest that you buy fishing licenses at one of the many locations that sell them in Colorado on your way to the ranch, or we can pick them up for you on our Monday town run. Everyone who purchases a fishing license in Colorado will need to bring a valid driver’s license with them.
2023 non-resident license costs are $19.01 per day and $7.50 for additional days, or $36.26 for five days. Colorado resident license costs are less, with special rates for seniors and youths 16-17. All licenses will require an additional fee of $11.50 for the Annual Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp. You can pre-purchase Colorado fishing licenses online here. This is a great idea if you know exactly who is fishing and for how long.
Conejos River: The Conejos River runs right through the ranch and is excellent for fishing with flies, bait or spinners although we highly encourage fly fishing. Please remember that the river is Colorado state water and that we are bound by state regulations. In order to preserve our excellent fishing for you now and for years to come, we strongly encourage catch and release. However, should you wish to eat your fish we ask that you limit yourself to one fish per day.
How your fish winds up on the dinner table: The fish that you catch are of excellent eating size and can be prepared for you by our cooks. Bring your cleaned fish to the kitchen to make the arrangements.
Cleaning fish: Part of the fisher person's responsibility is cleaning his or her own fish. It is mandatory that you clean your fish soon after they are caught! Our fishing guide will be happy to teach you how to clean your fish. And we do have a local taxidermist should you want to mount your fish.
Fly-fishing lessons and guides: We have fly-fishing guides on staff whose main job is to be available to give fly-casting group lessons for new or beginner guests, give advice, answer questions, explain the property and boundaries, and get guests set up with equipment if needed.
You can fish anytime on your own of course, or you can set up a time with one of the guides. You are welcome to arrange a time to go out once with a guide, and after that it is subject to availability.
The guides take guests out on our property at no extra charge and we also have access, through Rocky Mountain Anglers, to another two miles of river just upstream from the ranch. There is an additional rod fee for fishing the off-ranch section.
Should you wish to go further afield, we can recommend a local firm, Conejos River Anglers https://www.conejosriveranglers.com/home. And if you would like to do a ride/fish trip, we have a local outfitter, Wes Kahoe, who can take you, subject to availability. Please contact him directly to make arrangements through https://www.rainbowtroutoutfitters.com/
Fishing equipment: Fly-fishing rods, spinning rods and waders are available free of charge; however, you will be responsible for any damages incurred to equipment. We do have a limited supply of flies, lures, bait, stringers, bobbers and sinkers for sale in the Trading Post. You may also choose to ship your fishing equipment via UPS to the ranch ahead of time: Rainbow Trout Ranch, 1484 FDR 250, Antonito, CO 81120. Be sure to include your name on the box and keep your tracking info so you can make sure it has arrived before you get to the ranch. (And again, keep in mind that UPS service is much more reliable out here than FedEx.)
The counselors will meet with parents and children in each age group Sunday night after the main orientation to discuss the daily schedule and the week’s activities and to answer questions. Please note that we may change the tentative schedule below but it will give you a general idea.
*Monday: Riding orientation at 8:30 a.m. on the lodge porch. Horseback riding with family for everyone 6 and older. Check the chalkboard for riding times. The 3-5 year olds will meet their counselor before the horse orientation for activities and riding until their parents return from the morning rides.
*Tuesday through Friday noon
9:00 a.m. Meet counselors on the lodge front porch
11:45 a.m. (or whenever morning rides return) Meet parents at the barn or on the lodge front porch
1:45 p.m. (or whatever time the counselor designates) Meet counselors on the lodge front porch
2:10 p.m. Family rides if previously arranged with Jane.
4:30 p.m. (or whenever afternoon rides return) Meet parents in the lodge
Children eat all meals with parents unless they are away on an all-day ride or trip in which case counselors will also take care of the children during lunch.
*Thursday: Cowpokes (6-11) will meet the counselor as usual on the front porch at 9:00 a.m. They will have rodeo practice and possibly work cows in the arena and then leave for the PB&J Lunch ride that gets back around 3:30 p.m. Be sure to pack a hoodie or fleece. The counselor will make sure that they have their lunches, water, and raingear. Thursday is a truly favorite Cowpoke day!
Friday afternoon: Ranch rodeo - family activity. Afternoon rides available to those who choose not to participate or watch the rodeo.
Buckaroos (children ages 3-5): This program varies each day, with counselor led rides, hiking, swimming, crafts and other activities throughout the week. The counselor will keep you informed about each day’s activities. Please note that all children in this program must be potty trained.
Cowpokes (children ages 6-11): This program includes arena and trail riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, sports, games and crafts. Children ride with the program each morning and enjoy non-horseback activities in the afternoon. Should children want to ride in the afternoons, they must be accompanied by at least one parent or designated guardian. The counselor will keep you posted about activities. Cowpokes can also participate in the raft trip depending on the water level and minimum age.
Please be sure to pick up your children immediately after riding or afternoon activities (usually around 4:30pm.)
Teenagers (12 and up): This program includes teen rides, hikes, Mountain Frisbee Golf, trapshooting/archery, possible day trips, basketball and other activities as they and the cool teen counselor decide. Teens are always welcome to participate in all activities with the adults.
**WHITEWATER RAFTING: Our whitewater rafting is done through an independent outfitter (New Wave Rafting Co.) on Wednesday, and the trip takes place on the Rio Grande River south of Taos, New Mexico. Time on the river is about two hours--actual time will vary with the water level. Minimum age for children is 6-8 years, depending on the water level and at the discretion of the rafting company. This is really a great trip and we highly recommend it. Water level is generally the highest in June; it will steadily decrease through the summer and while August rafting trips are slower, they are still awesome. We do not provide transportation, but we do provide a map, and you convoy down with other guests. We can pack you a lunch before you leave, and you can meet for a picnic at Kit Carson Park, or you can explore Taos on your own. River rafting trip starts at 1:00 p.m. sharp. Dinner is at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday to allow you plenty of time to get back to the ranch.
Rafting is not offered during our adult-only time as the water levels are generally too low.
Please note that you must let us know for sure if you plan on rafting by lunch on Tuesday so that we can give the correct number to the rafting company. If you have signed up but do not cancel by then, you will be responsible for the cost unless they can fill your space. However, if you do not sign up but decide you would like to go after the deadline, we can contact the outfitter to see if they have availability.
**HIKING: There are many beautiful trails around the ranch. The varied terrain provides hiking for all ages and ability levels. We will have organized hikes throughout the week but you are welcome to hike on your own as well. Please check with the office and take a radio with you. Hikers will need to bring good hiking boots as tennis shoes can be dangerous on the steeper trails, and please note that we do not provide ponchos for hiking.
**TRAP SHOOTING & ARCHERY: Both trapshooting and archery are available for guests 12 and older one afternoon later in the week. Teens under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or counselor.
You will need to bring your own car or hire a car for your stay at the ranch. If you are flying into Alamosa, there is currently a Hertz Car Rental at the airport, but it may not be open on Sundays. Please check directly with them: 719.589.6138. Apparently if you are a Hertz Gold Member, you can make arrangements to have them leave you a vehicle even if they are closed. We have been told that there may not be rental car options available in Alamosa this summer. The other option in Alamosa would be Little Stinkers Taxi Cab service – 719.589.2500.
**CUMBRES AND TOLTEC SCENIC RAILROAD: This very scenic and worthwhile trip is one of America’s most authentic steam railroads. Due to the fact that this is an all-day trip, the younger children might want to stay with the counselors for the day’s activities. You may also choose to take the train trip before or after your stay at the ranch. For more information on the train, check out their website at http://www.cumbrestoltec.com or call them at 1.888.Cumbres.