Horseback Riding in Wyoming

Bitterroot Fall Cattle Drive


The Bitterroot cattle spend the summer grazing on the adjacent national forest land the last week of September is spent gathering the herd before the winter arrives. This cattle drive in Wyoming is challenging work since the cows are scattered over a 50 square mile area of aspen & pine forests and small clearings.  Groups of riders with a wrangler set off from the ranch, taking a picnic lunch each day and driving back whatever cattle they encounter.  These are counted out of the forest and by the end of the week we are often following difficult tracks through rough country as we try to find the remaining elusive cows. This is a true adventure and there is a feeling of great satisfaction for a job well done as the cattle are loaded onto the semis that will take them to the lower ranch for the winter.

Click here for other cattle drives and horseback riding vacations in Arizona and Utah. 

Guests stay in comfortable log cabins on either side of the river which are situated for privacy and to afford magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.

Meals are taken in the main lodge and particular attention is paid to the cuisine and wines served.

  • Overview:
    There are over 120 riding horses on the ranch, consisting mainly of Arabians and Quarter Horse crosses (14-16hh). The Arabian horses are raised and trained exclusively for the use of the guests. The horses are trained western and are used to being neck reined; they do not go on contact. All guests are asked to post the trot and to stay in two point or galloping position for the canters and when climbing hills. This is important to us as it keeps the horses from getting sore backs. Some of the days this week can be long and hard and it's important that participants be riding fit. Western and endurance saddles are used because we have found them to be the most suitable equipment for this mountainous terrain.
  • Equipment Required:
    Helmets are required, there are some available to borrow.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Quarter horses, Arabians
  • Trip Pace:
    Mostly slow, sometimes challenging
  • Tack:
    Western and endurance saddles
  • Weight limit:
    The ranch has a limited number of horses for riders over 180 lbs.

There are no separate activities planned for non-riders, who can take advantage of this unique location to fly fish, hike and visit with the ranch animals. With a rental car the town of Dubois is about 40 minutes away.

Hadley teaches four flowing yoga classes a week in the ranch’s yoga yurt, Monday and Wednesday afternoons, Friday mornings, and Saturday afternoons. The classes are designed to stretch the muscles that typically become sore during riding. They are friendly for people without much (or any!) yoga experience, but they also offer something to the more experienced yoga practitioner.

At the ranch. We can provide details for services for transportation from the Jackson Hole airport or the Riverton airport.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive at Bitterroot Ranch in the afternoon. Meet your fellow riders. Dinner and overnight.

Day 2

Start the day with orientation and an evaluation of riders before enjoying a short morning trail ride. This afternoon guests are encouraged to participate in team sorting in the arena. This helps riders become acquainted with some of the techniques used in working cattle.

Day 3

Take a picnic lunch and go looking for cows in the East Fork Basin area of the national forest above the ranch. They could be anywhere in this area of about 15 square miles. The terrain is comprised of the wide, grass covered valley of the East Fork Basin as well as forests hiding many large and small clearings which must be checked. Riding will be at 8,500 to 10,000 ft. elevation.

Day 4

Today’s ride will cover the Castle Rock section of the allotment. Castle Rock will be towering above all day. Far across the valley riders will see the perpetually snowcapped Wind River Mountains forming the Continental Divide. Stop to enjoy a saddle bag lunch. The elevation today will be over 9,000 ft. with riding through forests and open meadows rounding up any strays.

Day 5

Set off with a picnic lunch and head into aspen-clad Alkali basin. This area is comprised of many small drainages, where cows can be hidden away.

Day 6

The challenge today will be locating pockets of cows that have not been gathered in the previous days.

Day 7

The morning will be spent gathering, loading and shipping cows. In the afternoon ride back into the forest and search for any missing cows.

Day 8

Depart after breakfast.

Itinerary Addendum

The itinerary for this ride is subject to change and totally dependent upon the location of the cattle. Riders participate in the routine of a working cowboy gathering scattered cattle, driving them down from summer pasture, and sorting animals. This routine is varied and unpredictable but requires long hours in the saddle. Please note that weather, unexpected movements of cattle or Forest Service instruction could change plans.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Sep 24, 2024
Oct 1, 2024

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $2,900

  • Single Supplement
  • $300
Additional Pricing Information:
A 10% gratuity charge and 10% taxes and fees will be added to the total. Rates include accommodations, all meals, fishing and daily riding except for the first and last days. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.

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Contact Hadley Fox

The reason I chose Bitterroot was I wanted to become comfortable on a horse and ride most of the time. Each horse offered a new challenge, but provided a feeling of safety. The lessons were excellent and instructions simple. All the different abilities in the family were catered for.

Maxine and Mike Hill