Story Pitches

Story Pitch: Outdoor Adventures Beyond Colorado’s Backcountry: A Winter Horseback Ride in the Wet Mountain Valley

By June 1, 2021 No Comments

As predicted, Colorado’s backcountry is more popular than ever this winter. Free from the restrictions currently imposed upon Colorado’s ski resorts, the backcountry offers acres upon acres of powder for anyone willing to work for it. 

However, with the increase in backcountry touring comes increased danger. With so many newbies taking part, more users in general, and unsafe conditions, backcountry touring poses more dangers than in previous years. In fact, Colorado recorded four backcountry deaths in December alone. 

While the Colorado Tourism Office turns its marketing dollars toward backcountry safety campaigns, I invite you to write about great outdoor adventures beyond Colorado’s backcountry. As representative for the Wet Mountain Valley (Custer County), I recommend you experience the region’s rich ranching culture during a winter horseback ride. 

Horseback riding isn’t just for the summer. On a bluebird day, with snow capping the Sangres to the west and the Wet Mountains to the east, there’s hardly anything as magical as exploring the landscape of the Wet Mountain Valley from horseback. 

Known for its immersive ranching experiences, the Wet Mountain Valley offers multiple options for anyone wishing to live the Colorado life of yesteryear… winter included!

I’m happy to arrange a horseback ride and lodging for you to experience winter in the Wet Mountain Valley and suggest to your readers they go beyond Colorado’s crowded backcountry and partake in this Colorado tradition. Just let me know if you’re interested and I’ll get in touch with local outfitters and lodging owners. 

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Custer County’s first cattle arrived in the late 1800s, creating an industry that would define the region.

With thousands of acres still dedicated to hay and cattle, ranching is as key to the county as ever. Our ranchers are leaders in our community, offering venues for events, horseback riding, educational opportunities, and more.

Music Meadows Ranch as been in the Parker family since 1968. The 4,000 acre cattle ranch is located at the base of the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo Mountain range where you can encounter a hands-on Colorado working ranch experience. Enjoy horseback riding, cattle drives, hiking and simply waking up each morning looking out at the mountains.

Trailblazer Gary Ziegler bought Bear Basin Ranch in the 1970s and has since added many firsts to his resume. Ziegler was not only one of the first to use his personal property for outfitting and outdoor education, he was also the first to run a paddle rafting company on the Arkansas River. Though he continues to lead horse and mountain bike trips around the world with Ziegler’s Adventure Specialists, the 4,000-acre ranch is his home as well as home to one of southern Colorado’s most popular outfitting businesses, Bear Basin Packtrips.

Ralph and Donna Hood first came to Westcliffe in 1998. Captivated by the Wet Mountain Valley’s scenic landscape, they purchased A Painted View Ranch and committed themselves to honoring the ranching lifestyle. Through equestrian events, music, and community service, they continue to fulfill their mission while creating a ranch the entire community can be proud of. A Painted View Ranch also hosts private events like weddings and reunions, and offers riding lessons and boarding services.