Walks Around the World to Vermejo!

Aug 16, 2021

Based in Colorado, we have visited our share of National Parks on road trips throughout the West and we think this place is something special! In February, at five months pregnant, my husband and I left the Littlest Travel Advisor at home and escaped for a few days on the ranch and we were blown away!

 

The Landscape and Property

The ranch is over 550,00 acres of unspoiled terrain with beautiful grounds and a stunning natural landscape from lakes to plains to mountains. The vastness and scale of the property are hard to comprehend at first. When you first arrive, you drive 30+ minutes on the ranch’s property before you even reach the front gates. All of that land and more is full of rich history and wildlife. We were extremely impressed by Ted Turner Reserves and their conservation efforts with attention to the entire ecosystem. They are doing some very cool things! A stay at Vermejo helps fund these conservation programs and contributes to the feeling of a private “National Park.”  Since the property is large and secluded, it does require some effort to get there. It’s a little over a 4-hour drive from the Denver or Albuquerque airport to the ranch. Or, arrange a charter flight into the Raton Municipal Airport located just off the ranch and the ranch staff will pick you up. Due to the travel logistics and the wide diversity of activities on the property, we would recommend at least a four-night stay to fully explore everything this place has to offer.

 

Year-Round Activities

Vermejo has a wide array of activities for you allowing you to explore your inner adventurer! With two daily activities, pick from hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, 3D archery, shooting sports, geocaching and disc golf. A private guide is also available to book for a range of additional activities, which we definitely believe is worth it to explore all the ranch has to offer. There is something for everyone of all ages to enjoy. A highlight of our trip was ice fishing on an alpine lake, one of the seasonal activities in winter. As we strapped on our crampons, our guide set up a warming hut out on the ice with a bonfire and apple cider to keep us warm. Blocking out the sunlight, we could see the fish swimming beneath our feet and ice. Now, to get them to bite! We also went skeet shooting, had fun with some archery and learned some history of the property while visiting the brick kilns remaining from one of the old settlements. The St. James Hotel and Saloon, located just off the ranch, is also worth a visit. The hotel has been around since 1872 and on the National Register of Historic Places. It is filled with history and the embodiment of the Wild West (it feels like a living museum). We learned stories about how many of the infamous sharpshooters of the time, including Jessie James, made the hotel their home while they were tasked with keeping squatter off the ranch. Bullet holes grace the ceiling leaving evidence behind. Back on the ranch, horseback riding is available year-round from the barn, which is fabulous and a perfect spot for private events. However, perhaps the most unique experiences is an “American Safari” with a private guide. We saw a ton of elk and bison as well as deer, wild turkey, and pronghorns. The experience was unreal; a herd of bison surrounding us and less than 50-feet away from our cars. 

 

Gourmet Dining

Refuel and relax with top-notch meals after a long day of activities or start the day off with a hearty breakfast in preparation for the day of exploring ahead. The chef excels at local cuisine and cooking game meats but also delicious fish and vegetarian options as well. Every bite we had was amazing; our favorites were the elk, antelope, and bison. They also had superb craft cocktails and mocktails. All with a stunning presentation. Gourmet dining in the wilderness!

 

The Staff!

Everything about the experience at Vermejo is enhanced by the outstanding service and knowledgeable staff. With a maximum occupancy of 67 guests and a staff of approximately 100, they strive to make every detail of your stay personalized and perfect for you. It’s those little touches that make lifelong memories. Everyone knew us by name by the end of the first day. There were surprise and delight moments at every turn – welcome notes on arrival, hot chocolate waiting for us after a chilly horseback ride, and cocktails ready upon returning to the lodge at the end of the day. The guides were personable, helpful, professional, patient, and fun. They truly love what they do and it shows! They cater to the specific guests on the property at the time and work to make requests happen for activities outside their standard offerings. The people at Vermejo make the place even more special than it already is. 

 

The Accommodations 

There are quite a few different accommodation options on property that range from a romantic room to a full buyout for a family reunion. Turner House was recently renovated with traditional guest rooms and a contemporary feel. It offers connecting rooms, double queen rooms, and family suites. Casa Grande, the historic but renovated turn of the century homestead, transports you back in time with its grand hall and historic furnishings. There are also guest cottages perfect for families or groups of friends. Costilla Lodge, which is a secluded mountain lodge about 45 minutes from the Main Lodge, is great for groups that love fishing and direct access to the wilderness. All of the options are unique but quite comfortable. Ask us about which is the best fit for your trip!

Tips for Vermejo

  1. Take advantage of the activities! It was the highlight of our stay.
  2. The staff is there for YOU – they thrive on assisting guests of the ranch and sharing this special place!
  3. Make a plan on how to get to Vermejo. There is a private airport off the ranch where Vermejo will pick you up. But if you don’t fly directly there, plan on a 4+ hour road trip from one of the other airports in the area. We can help you find fun stops along the way, especially if you are traveling with your family.
  4. Bring shoes/boots that will keep your feet dry and don’t mind getting dirty! It is the Wild-Wild West…
  5. Pack layers! Even in the summer. The ranch sits at 7,500 ft of elevation and it’s mountainous. The weather changes quickly!
  6. No need to bring dress clothes! You may want a clean pair of boots and perhaps a shower before dinner (depending on the day’s activities) but no need to get dolled up.

If a Vermejo adventure intrigues you, reach out to Walk Around the World for more information.

We are here to help you create your perfect trip itinerary! Walks Around the World Clients receive the following complimentary Virtuoso amenities:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary buffet breakfast daily (included in rates)
  • $100 USD Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay 
  • Castle Rock Sundowner: includes cocktails for up to 4 guests at Castle Rock viewpoint
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

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