The term “horsepower” comes from the chant that horses used to shout at engineers working on the newfangled railway system. Befriend trailblazing stallions and mares with today's Groupon to Sombrero Ranches in Estes Park. Choose from the following options:
- For $35, you get a one-hour guided trail ride for two (a $70 value).
- For $45, you get a two-hour guided trail ride for two (a $100 value).
- For $70, you get a one-hour guided trail ride for four (a $140 value).
- For $90, you get a two-hour guided trail ride for four (a $200 value).
Nestled in a pastoral mountain community set betwixt two mountains, Sombrero Ranches has welcomed equine-topper amblers to traverse the tranquil trails of this 1,000-acre ranch since 1958. After saddling up atop one of the ranch's gentle steeds, groups of two or four are led on the private paths by a knowledgeable guide well-versed in every twist, turn, and pastoral on-ramp. Sweeping mountain vistas, verdant forests, and scattered wildlife including deer, bobcats, and longhorn cattle await explorers and their equine companions, who retain the coolness of a hoofed cucumber as their riders "ooh" and "aah" uncontrollably at the surrounding sights.
The one-hour outing provides a great introduction to horseback riding and the surrounding scenery, and the two-hour journey ventures further into the mountains, affording riders spectacular views of the Great Divide and Roosevelt National Forest. All of Sombrero Ranches' horses are carefully trained to suit riders of all experience levels, and the guides painstakingly pair each horse and rider based on riding skill, temperament, and taste in foreign films.
Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures. Cody distinguishes the Continental Divide ride as one of the most awe-inspiring; it begins at Bear Lake at 6 a.m., wending across the Continental Divide and to Grand Lake during a nine-hour stretch.