Bear Basin Packtrips, LLC
473 County Road 271
Westcliffe, CO 81252
719-783-2519 (phone)
866-244-4691 (fax)
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Details 3day Horsetrip


An introduction to mountain camping and travel on horseback in Colorado’s remote and newest wilderness area!
For beginner to experienced riders.


This wilderness journey is for both experienced and beginning riders. The horses are sure-footed, no nonsense and willing. We’ll assign you your own horse and teach you how to saddle, picket and care for it. Mountain riding techniques are taught as we travel. Our philosophy is simple; the more you know about your horse and equipment, the more you will enjoy your vacation.

Although the distance we’ll travel is not excessive, the riding is adventurous along steep trails with spectacular scenery. We’ll share our extensive knowledge of geology, plants, wildlife, and history of the area, as well as teach you minimal impact camping skills. Those who have never ridden before particularly enjoy this trip as an excellent learning experience. Advanced riders enjoy the additional hands-on experience and scenic country of this little known area of Colorado.

Participants should be in good physical condition. Base camps are located between 9,000-10,000 feet with and day rides can take you as high as 13,000 feet or more.


Day 1: Meeting at the Colorado Springs Hotel at 7:30 a.m., we’ll drive two hours to a trailhead on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. As our pack string is loaded with duffels and supplies, one of your two wrangler-guides will give you and your friends or family detailed instructions on riding, saddling and the care of your mount.

Setting out around midday, we’ll wind up through Aspen groves, Gambel Oak and Lodgepole Pine, up and into a long glaciated valley. We then work around Englemann Spruce, fording the tumbling stream that gurgles down toward the Arkansas River and eventually the Mississippi. A dark Tassel-eared Squirrel chatters indignantly as we pass. Higher up, a cow elk with ungainly calf in tow ambles across a meadow lush with purple larkspur and yellow composites. We set camp near a meadow surrounded by high ridges and glacier chiseled summits towering skyward above. The horses are picketed out. The tents are up in carefully selected flat areas well away from each other and the small campfire is glowing cheerfully as we sip hot drinks while awaiting dinner.

Day 2: The aroma of brewing coffee and the fluttering of Steller Jays signals the start of the day. Some will be up to greet the rising sun, others enjoy the leisure of a no-stress morning, awaiting the enticing smell of a traditional cowboy breakfast to tempt them from the warm comfort of bedroll and tent. Following the second pot of coffee, we saddle up for a day of exploration. Leaving camp and pack horses behind we may ride up the valley in search of an emerald green lake above or, perhaps, we press on over a barren high pass, beyond the last wind-twisted Bristlecone Pine for a breathtaking view of the great San Luis valley to the west.

DAY 3: Up early, we help break camp, catch the horses, and pack loads. Now a seasoned, trained outfit, we are soon moving across the meadow and down the valley. Thunderclouds threaten so we hasten along, stopping only to check chinches and loads. Dropping into the heavily timbered low country, we continue onward as the high ridges erupt in claps of rolling thunder and electric display. We are back at the road too soon, and talk and reminisce about our adventure as we our horses neigh softly, awaiting transport home.

** THIS IS A SAMPLE ITINERARY. Based upon guests’ needs and experience, we have designed custom programs to offer more intensive instruction, additional days, more difficult routes, etc. We have designed programs for many groups and organizations and would be happy to work with yours. (PLEASE SEE CUSTOM TRIPS).

* Due to factors beyond our control, we occasionally find it necessary to change the order or the route of these activities.

At the end of your trip you will be brought back to the hotel sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. We recommend making prior lodging reservations if you plan to spend the night. If you must fly out that evening, please do not schedule a flight before 8:30 p.m. to make certain you can make your flight.

Rates: Three-Day Pack Trip – $1,375 ($250 per person surcharge if only 1 or 2 people are signed up by launch date) – trip minimum 3 people
Includes horses, guides, meals, tents, & instruction.
A 3% Forest Service Use fee will be added to the cost.

Start Dates: Every Monday, June 3 – September 23. Other dates may be available upon request.

Phone: 719.783.2519
Fax: 866.244.4691

Items listed on the equipment list, alcoholic beverages, and tips are excluded. Tipping is at your discretion, of course. Please direct your tip to the lead guide. Standard in the industry is 10-15% of the trip cost. We now require all guests to leave their pets at home for their safety and the safety of other guests.


    Time: 7:30 am on the first morning of the trip
    Radisson Inn, Colorado Springs Airport – 1645 N. Newport Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80916
    Please meet in the lobby with your duffel bag, and with your day pack or saddlebags packed.
    Transportation to the Ranch: Travel to and from the Ranch in our van
    Time: 9:00 am on the first morning of the trip
    Bear Basin Ranch; 473 County Road 271; Westcliffe, CO 81252
    Please meet at the ranch with your duffel bag, and with your day pack or saddlebags packed.
    Transportation to the Ranch: Drive to the Ranch in your car


Hotel: We recommend the Radisson Inn – Colorado Springs Airport on 1645 N. Newport Rd. in Colorado Springs.
719.597.7000 or 800.333.3333
Mention you are with Bear Basin Ranch to receive the special discount rate!

Or, if you would like to stay somewhere locally in Westcliffe, we recommend the Westcliffe Inn
Phone: 719.783.9275
( or there are several other hotels and Inns if you go looking!) Westcliffe is 11 miles west on Hwy 96 from the Ranch.

Air: Most major airlines serve Colorado Springs daily.

Car: You can drive to the Radisson Inn – Colorado Springs Airport and, with prior notice, leave your car in the parking lot while on the trip. Arrangements can also be made to drive to Bear Basin Ranch outside of Westcliffe, CO. Let us know and we will send you details and a map.

Directions: Bear Basin Ranch is approximately 65 miles southwest of Colorado Springs.
Head south on Interstate 25 to the Tejon/Canon City Exit in Colorado Springs.
urn left from the exit over to Nevada Avenue (Hwy 115) and then right on Nevada heading south to Florence (about 35 miles).
In Florence turn left at the light (Carl’s Jr.) onto Hwy 67 again heading south to Wetmore.
At Wetmore turn right at the T-intersection onto Hwy 96 heading west.
Watch the mile markers. Our turn is at the 11 mile marker, turn right (north) onto County Rd 271.
Go one quarter mile to Bear Basin Ranch on the left. Check in to the office (first log cabin on the right).

** Map to Bear Basin Ranch.

Bus: Greyhound serves Colorado Springs on a daily scheduled basis.
Phone: 719.292.6111

TRAVEL INSURANCE: We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance when you book a trip. This can reimburse you if you need to cancel last minute due to sickness or other trip emergencies.

___ 2 pr. long
___ 2 pr. shorts
___ 1 heavy long sleeve (cotton is cold when wet)
___ 1 lightweight long sleeve
___ 1 short sleeve
___ 2 T-shirts or tank tops
___ Underwear
___ Long underwear bottoms (to combat saddle sores)
___ Boots for riding (lightweight narrower hiking boots are more versatile)
___ Tennis shoes or something similar for around camp
___ Socks — 4 or 5 pairs of heavy cotton or wool
___ Bandana
___ Sweater (wool or synthetic)
___ Warm parka or jacket
___ Windproof outer jacket (optional)
___ Two piece rain suit (poncho or slicker with rain pants – essential!)
___ Gloves (for warmth)
___ Hat with brim (for sun, hail, and snow protection (must have some form of stampede string if worm while riding)
___ Wool hat (for warmth)
Other Items:
___ Duffel bag or sea bag (to pack items onto packhorses — (must be soft-sided))
___ Day pack or saddle bags (to carry things during the day)
___ Warm sleeping bag (good at least to 30° F.) (We can rent bags for you if told in advance.)
___ Foam pad or air mattress (such as a CampRest or ThermoRest)
___ Sunglasses (all glasses must have string/elastic strap)
___ Pocket knife
___ Flashlight
___ Canteen or plastic water bottle
___ Towel & washcloth
___ Biodegradable soap
___ Tooth brush and paste
___ Sun screen
___ Lip balm
___ Mirror
___ Comb
___ Hand lotion
___ Shaving kit
___ Personal medication
___ Insect repellent
___ Candy, gum or tobacco items
___ Camera and extra film (you may wish to include a disposable waterproof camera for rainy days)
___ Note pad, guides & field glasses
___ Liquor / Alcohol (placed in unbreakable containers)
___ Cash for incidentals, tips, etc.
___ Fishing gear (collapsible rod is best)

Pack your gear into your duffel bag and daypack. The maximum weight allowable for your duffel bag is 40 pounds (for the sake of the packhorses.) Your duffel bag will not be available during the day. Your daypack or saddlebags should hold rain gear, water bottle, gloves and other items you will want during the day. Your guide will show you how to best strap it to your saddle. Line the duffel and day bag with a garbage bag or ziplock. The weather is unpredictable; it can snow even in August, so be prepared for anything. Use the layer system of clothing, where items can be added or taken off with changes in temperature. On May, June or September trips snow and hail are common. The most important thing to bring is your cheerful acceptance of whatever surprises the wilderness may hold in store!