Project Description

Exploring the Trail of the Ancients

This rare experience is available through private bookings only.  If you are interested, please contact me to talk about available dates.

Get ready to step back into time and explore the lands, pathways, and ancient dwellings of the People.  We will travel on foot and by horse through remote canyons to  rarely visited cliff dwellings and ceremonial sites. Chances are we will be the only ones in the Park during the entire visit!  Every where you look there is evidence of a long-ago culture that thrived in these lands for over 700 years.  Pottery chards, mano and metates, ancient stone tools, corn cobs, petroglyphs and other artifacts abound. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Southwest, step into an ancient piece of history and refresh your spirit.

  • Picture yourself walking in the footsteps of the Ancient Ones of the Southwest.  Pick up the one of thousands of pottery chards scattered around camp and imagine the feel of sculpting and painting the clay with your hands.

  • Hear the wind whisper through the canyon walls, carrying the stories and the secrets of a culture that once thrived in these lands.

  • Tour the sophisticated cliff dwellings in a way that they were meant to be seen, with reverance and in deep solitude and quiet.  This is one of the few places in the Southwest where you can stand in these sacred places without crowds of people.

  • Let your horse carry you to secret places and know that you are traveling on the ancient paths and byways of many explorers and native people that have come before.

  • Leave your phones behind as you share in the ceremony of telling your stories and sharing in music around the campfires as the light dances off of the cliffs behind you.

Trip Highlights:

  • 2 days of getting to know your horses, connection and equine coaching at a luxury ranch just north of Durango, CO

  • 4 days to leave the world behind and immerse yourself  in the solitude and sacredness of the Tribal park

  • A ride and hike up to Two Story House where the mud and wooden beams hold together an amazingly perserved ancient dwelling.

  • A step back into time in a place of complete solitude.  The night lights are the stars and the moon.  The sounds are of the river, the trees rustling, the horses quietly eating their hay, the whispers of ancient voices, and maybe the howling of a pack of coyotes.

  • See the FULL moon rising above the canyon walls and come on a night hike only with the light of the moon.

  • Feast on healthy and local foods as our spectacular camp chef will astound you with what she can do with a campfire and a couple of pots

Trip Includes:

  • Your own horse for the trip selected for your riding style, personality and preferences

  • 2 days at the barn and riding corral to meet and get to know your horse. We will focus on relationship building and communication, basic riding lessons both on and off of the trail, and a chance to get a better understanding of basic horse psychology. Accommodations are at an exclusive ranch 2o minutes north of Durango and will give you a chance to soak in some luxury before “roughing it”

  • Amazing guides and facilitators that know the land, the horses and the history of the area

  • Riding instruction and horsemanship lessons from Anne Rapp and equine guided coaching instruction from Trish Lemke

  • Daily park permits to go towards supporting the upkeep of the Tribal Park

  • Camping gear to include tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and a camp chair

  • 2 month of bi-monthly phone calls (4 total) prior to our trip to discuss what you hope to discover and gain from the adventure

  • 1 month of bi-monthly phone calls (2 total) after our trip to continue the process of self-discovery and mindful living

The area:

The Ute Mountain Tribal Park, all 125,000 acres of it,  is located adjacent to Mesa Verde National Park.  Whereas Mesa Verde is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Southwest with over 1/2 million people visiting a year, the Tribal Park is an undiscovered gem. Free of paved roads, lines of tourists, streams of cars and buses; chances are we won’t see any other people for the duration of our stay, although we may see some wild horses along the way!  Be prepared to leave modern day society behind and travel back in time to explore the stories and mystery of the Ute Mountain Tribal Park.


The horses:

Picture the horses of the old Western movies – dependable, strong, stoic, kind… the go anywhere, do anything kind of horse.  These are the horses that will be joining us for this adventure.  Owned, trained and cared for by Anne Rapp, they have the experience to partner with every rider from beginner to advanced.


This is remote canyon country of Southwestern Colorado.  It is camping at it’s best – tranquility and peace combined with gourmet food and roaring campfires.  The Mancos River runs right by camp so you can refresh yourselves in the cool river waters, or rinse off with a solar shower.  If you prefer to bring your own personal camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags and pads, we will transport it all to camp, or we can provide all of the camping gear you will need.

The first two nights will be spent with in luxury at an exclusive ranch just north of Durango.  Have a chance to settle in after your travels with some pampering, mindfulness and horse play.  Wake up to the morning sun, maybe take a nice walk or have a morning yoga session and watch the horses peacefully grazing from your own private deck.


Riding level ~ beginner through advanced. If you have only ridden a few times, we highly encourage you to take 2-3 riding lessons before joining us on this trip. If in the Durango area, lessons are available through Joy Rides.

Fitness level ~ intermediate. We will be hiking every day and will be climbing some moderately steep terrain. We suggest that you get on a fitness routine 3-4 weeks before joining us.


Words from a guest!

The horse trip to the Ute Mountain Tribal Park with Joy Rides was truly transformational. Having been so incredibly fortunate to enjoy many great spiritual and adventure retreats over the years, from surf camps and yoga retreats, to Active New Zealand… I do think what Joy Rides is offering is something really special! Anyone who enjoys adventure, freedom and expansion into the best of life and self-knowledge, will love these trips! This excursion offered the ideal mix of sacred space; freedom and mystery combined with the strength and wisdom of confident, beautiful and supportive women. In our busy lives, with so many responsibilities and so much doing, it was wondrous to have the chance to reflect and be among like-minded people. Trusting the great staff to plan when and where we would eat, guiding us in horse relationship and riding and facilitating guided mindfulness activities, was truly a gift in itself. The time in nature alone was transformational, and the magic of the horses and participating in unique and once in a lifetime pursuits such as silent rides, and hiking to cliff dwellings among ancient pottery shards with NO other people in sight for 3 days have left me with this sacred space within myself forever. I am eternally grateful to Joy Rides for this experience and look forward to the chance to attend a future ride!

~ Jackie

$4100 per person

All prices are based on double occupancy.  Single occupancy rates are available upon request.

Not Included:

  • Airfare

  • Transportation to and from our meeting points north of Durango and to the Ute Tribal Mountain Park.  A rental car is recommended for convenience, but carpooling is recommended and Joy Rides will assist you in the organization.

Cancellation policy:

If you have to cancel, costs are fully refundable up to 90 days before the start of the trip. Between 30 and 90 days before the trip, 50% of the costs are refundable. If you have to cancel 30 days before the trip, the costs are nonrefundable, but are transferable to another person. The $500 deposit is nonrefundable. However, this deposit amount may be transferred to another excursion if space is available.