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Astonishing Wildlife You Can See on Horseback

Guided nature horseback ride spotting native Colorado wildlife

As the golden hues of the early morning sun draped over the vast Colorado landscape, I found myself astride Bravo, a gentle gelding with a coat that shimmered like the surrounding sunshine. We weren’t alone. A small herd of mule deer grazed nearby, their ears twitching towards the soft creak of our saddles. At that moment, with the crisp mountain air filling our lungs, we were not just spectators but part of the scene, an unforgettable encounter on a wildlife spotting ride at Rusty Spurr Ranch.

Wildlife spotting rides at the ranch are a passage into the heart of nature. Each journey is a unique narrative written by unpredictable encounters with the wild residents of Kremmling’s backcountry. As we ride through the backcountry, the rustling whispers of the forest hint at the presence of its inhabitants. Every ride a chance to witness the untamed majesty of the natural world.
There’s a profound significance in exploring these wonders on horseback. It’s a tradition as old as the hills, a quiet communion with nature that allows you to glide through the wilderness with a primal grace. Here, you’re not just a visitor; you’re a part of the ecosystem, connected to the web of life that thrums beneath the hooves of your trusty steed. It’s in this bond with your horse and the land that the true essence of wildlife spotting rides comes alive.

1. The Beauty of Horseback Riding for Wildlife Spotting


Why Choose Horseback?

When it comes to wildlife spotting, horseback riding offers an unmatched advantage. Imagine gliding silently through the landscape, the soft thuds of hooves a mere whisper on the earth. It’s this stealthy approach that sets horseback riding apart. Unlike the noise and disruption of motorized vehicles, horses move in harmony with the environment. This natural presence allows us to draw near to wildlife in their natural habitat without alarming them. Horses also have a keen sense of awareness, often noticing animals that we might overlook. They become our partners in discovery, guiding us through Colorado’s countryside, offering moments of connection with creatures great and small that remain undisturbed by our passage.

The Rusty Spurr Ranch Difference

At Rusty Spurr Ranch, we take wildlife spotting to extraordinary lengths by inviting our guests to veer off the beaten path. With us, you don’t just follow a trail; you create your own. Our off-trail adventures lead you into the untapped wilderness where every turn can reveal a new encounter. Here, each ride is as unique as the wildlife you spot. We pride ourselves on creating memorable experiences where the crisp morning air might carry the sound of elk bugling in the fall or a quiet afternoon ride provides a glimpse of a fox slipping into the brush. Our experienced guides know the land like the back of their hand. They’re skilled at spotting signs of wildlife, ensuring that our guests don’t miss a thing. It’s these immersive, off-trail experiences that define the Rusty Spurr ranch difference—adventures that etch themselves into your heart, long after the ride is over.

2. Preparing for Your Wildlife Spotting Ride

Majestic pronghorn antelope seen on horseback wildlife tour at Rusty Spurr Ranch

A herd of pronghorn antelope runs across the trail on a horseback ride at the Rusty Spurr Ranch


What to Expect

When you set out on a wildlife spotting adventure at Rusty Spurr Ranch, you’re stepping into the daily lives of Colorado’s native fauna. The mornings are a great time to spot mule deer grazing in the meadows, their soft brown eyes alert and watchful. In the brush, you might notice the subtle twitch of a jackrabbit’s ear or the quiet rustle of a ground squirrel darting to safety.
Look upwards, and you’ll likely see a red-tailed hawk circling gracefully in the blue expanse, scanning the ground for its next meal, or a group of magpies chattering among the pine boughs. The presence of birds is a good indicator of the overall health of an ecosystem, and here, the skies and trees are full of them. Listen for the distinct calls of the mountain bluebird or the drumming of a downy woodpecker in the distance.

Our trails can cross paths with the stately mule deer, their impressive antlers rising like natural crowns. These magnificent creatures, while more elusive, can be seen in the cooler hours of the morning. Moose, with their long, gangly legs and massive bodies, are a rarer sight but can be spotted in the quieter, more secluded areas of the ranch, often in cooler shaded spots during warmer days. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see a black bear, which actually comes in many different shades of brown, red, and blonde.
Amidst the underbrush, the stealthy movement of a bobcat might catch your eye—a thrilling glimpse into the life of one of Colorado’s most adept predators. Even the small animals, like chipmunks and ground squirrels, add to the variety of wildlife encounters you’ll experience on horseback.

With each gentle step your horse takes through this wild country, you’re offered a window into the untamed world that thrives here. Our guides are adept at spotting the signs of wildlife, from the tiniest track to the warning call of a jay, ensuring that your ride is not just a journey through the landscape but a true adventure among the animals that call it home.
For more information on the types of wildlife you might see and the best times to spot them, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

How to Prepare

Dressing appropriately is essential. Layers are your best friend in the Colorado climate, where temperatures can shift unexpectedly. Sturdy shoes, long pants, and hats are advised, not only for comfort but also as protection against the elements and terrain. Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen; even on overcast days, UV rays can be strong at high altitudes. In your saddlebag, pack binoculars for a close-up view of distant wildlife, a camera to capture the moments, and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Check out our FAQs.
Behavior on the ride is just as important as what you pack. Being quiet and observant will increase your chances of spotting wildlife. Sudden movements or loud noises can disrupt wildlife and send them into hiding. Follow the lead of your guide—they’re experts at reading the signs of wildlife and can often predict where and when you’ll have the best chances of a sighting.

3. Conservation and Respect for Wildlife

Moose cows grazing near vibrant pine forests on a wildlife viewing horseback ride

Moose cows grazing near the Rusty Spurr Ranch headquarters.

Our Conservation Efforts

At Rusty Spurr Ranch, we hold a steadfast commitment to the land and the diverse species that inhabit it. Our conservation practices are a testament to our dedication to go beyond showcasing and to protect the natural beauty and balance of the local ecosystem. We manage our trails to minimize erosion and protect the integrity of the habitats we explore. Native plants are nurtured to ensure they continue to thrive, providing both food and shelter for the wildlife.

Water sources on the ranch are safeguarded, as they are vital not just to our horses but to all life here. We’re engaged in efforts to reduce invasive species, which threaten the native flora and fauna. It’s a circle of care that extends from the ground up to the sweeping skies – every aspect is considered and respected.

Through these actions, Rusty Spurr Ranch isn’t just a place to witness the beauty of wildlife; it’s an active participant in the preservation of these treasures for generations to come. Our guests become partners in this mission, experiencing firsthand the importance of environmental stewardship.

Respectful Wildlife Spotting

A mule deer herd grazes near the horseback riders at Rusty Spurr Ranch adventures

Mule deer bucks graze peacefully next to the horse corrals at Rusty Spurr Ranch

Experiencing wildlife in its natural setting is a privilege that comes with responsibility. At Rusty Spurr Ranch, we emphasize the importance of respectful wildlife spotting. This means maintaining a safe distance, to protect the animals and our riders. We follow guidelines that ensure our presence does not alter or interrupt the natural behavior of the wildlife.

We educate our guests on how to spot signs of stress in animals, which can indicate that we’ve come too close. Beyond the thrill of sighting—it’s about coexisting peacefully and leaving no trace of our passage. Our guides are trained to read the environment, leading by example and ensuring that we observe without impact.

When enjoying the wonders of wildlife spotting, it’s crucial to adhere to ethical practices. For a detailed guide on how to respectfully observe wildlife, The National Wildlife Federation provides valuable tips to ensure you’re doing your part to protect these magnificent creatures and their natural habitats.

When you ride with us, you’re not just passing through; you’re immersing yourself in an environment that demands respect. By following these principles, each guest becomes an advocate for wildlife conservation. They learn the importance of preserving the natural world not at the ranch and wherever their journey takes them.


When is the best time to go on a wildlife spotting ride?

The most magical times for wildlife spotting are morning and late afternoon. Many animals are most active during these cooler parts of the day. Seasons play a role too, with spring and autumn being especially lively due to migration and mating behaviors.

What should I do if we encounter wildlife on the ride?

Always stay calm and quiet, following your guide’s instructions. If we come across wildlife, we keep our distance, ensuring we do not disturb their natural behavior. Our guides will help you know how to act with each animal we might see.

How do I book a wildlife spotting ride?

You can book your adventure right through our website or give us a call. We’ll help you pick the right ride based on what you’re hoping to see and when you’d like to visit. Remember, there is no guarantee that wildlife will be seen on any activity; we are fortunate when we do get to see animals but we cannot predict their whereabouts.


The journey through Rusty Spurr Ranch on horseback is more than just a ride—it’s an intimate immersion in nature. Here, you become part of the landscape, moving in harmony with the silent stories being told in the rustle of leaves and the distant calls of the wild. As you witness the splendor of Colorado’s wildlife, you’ll find there’s no better place to connect with the land and its creatures.

Our commitment to conservation ensures that these experiences continue for years to come, safeguarding the habitats that make these encounters possible. We ride with respect, marveling at the beauty of nature without leaving a trace. This is the essence of Rusty Spurr Ranch—a place where wildlife thrives and guests leave with a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

Now, it’s your turn to step into this adventure. We invite you to book your wildlife spotting ride today and prepare to be awed by the tranquility and beauty that await. Come, connect with nature in a way that only the back of a horse can provide. Your seat in the great theater of the wild is waiting.