Big Horn Cattle Drive | Horse Riding Holidays in the USA | Globetrotting

Big Horn Cattle Drive, USA

5-6 NightsBeginner to AdvancedFrom $4,495 USD?Tour costs $4,495 USD which is approximately $6,763 AUD

If you’re up for an adventure and feel that you’ve missed your calling as a cowboy or cowgirl, you MUST experience the Big Horn Cattle Drive.

If you’re up for an adventure where you can channel your inner cowboy or cowgirl then you need to sign up for this ride. There is nothing staged about this cattle drive, run by the Kerns family, who have been grazing cattle in the Big Horn National Forest for generations. Every year from June through to September they move their herd of cattle (up to 648 cows and calves) from one pasture to the next. It’s remote, staggeringly beautiful, rugged and not for the faint-hearted.

As we say, it’s legitimate, so it’s long hours in the saddle, a bush toilet, no showers, sleeping in tipis and unpredictable weather. BUT if you’re up for a once-in-a-lifetime, authentic riding adventure, THIS is the ride you’ll remember on your death bed!

There is no denying that you’ll be fed like kings and queens on this ride. Considering that it’s all camp oven cooking, you’ll be astounded at the calibre of food dished up around the campfire. As for the horses, they’re a nifty mob of tough Quarter Horses born and bred to keep shifty cows in line. You’ll learn the tricks of the trade alongside tobacco-chewing, wrangler-clad cowboys who can rope a steer quicker than you can blink. This is the real deal, globetrotters – there is no molly-coddling on this ride. That said, all riders are welcome, from beginner to advanced. There are plenty of opportunities for experienced riders to canter after a breakaway beast, and for the not-so-confident to notch up plenty of hours in the saddle and go at a pace that suits them.

If you love the idea of roughing it and getting back to nature, then sign up for this authentic 1880s cattle drive. You won’t regret it!

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:Quarter Horse and Quarter Horse cross.
  • Pace:Variable depending on the terrain. You will spend a lot of time walking behind the cattle, but there will be opportunities to chase after a breakaway beast.
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 102kg / 224lbs.
  • Type of tack:Western saddles and bridles.
  • Seasons:June through to September/early October. The temperature can vary greatly in the Big Horn Mountains and in September it can snow.
  • Group size:A maximum of 20 guests.
  • Time in Saddle:On average 6 to 10 hours a day, sometimes 11, depending on the cattle.
  • Riding Ability:Caters for all riding abilities.
    *As a beginner, you need to be physically fit and be prepared to spend up to 11 hours in the saddle when required.
    PLEASE NOTE: If you suffer from vertigo or are terrified of heights, this is NOT the ride for you.
     Not sure what your riding ability is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:You'll stay in two-man teepee tents throughout the cattle drive. Tents are shared unless a single supplement has been purchased. Long drop toilet facilities are available, but there are no showers. On the last night, you will stay in cosy lodge accommodation and welcome a comfortable bed and a hot shower (excluding some rides - see 'Itinerary' section for details).
  • Ride Length:There are 5 day, 5 night and 6 day, 6 night itineraries available.
  • Inclusions:

    The ride price includes ground transportation to and from Sheridan, all food, soft drinks, saddle, tack, horse lease and guide service.

  • Exclusions:

    Prices do not include alcohol (BYO is welcome), international flights, travel insurance, transfers to and from the ride and tips. The recommended tip is $125 US per person.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

NEW! Secure your saddle seat NOW with a 10% deposit - as part of our 10x 10% payment plan!
Departing AvailabilityTotal

July Cattle Drive 2024

June 30 to July 6, 2024

SOLD OUT!
From: $4,840 USD ?Tour costs $4,840 USD which is approximately $7,282 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $5,240 USD ?Tour costs $5,240 USD which is approximately $7,884 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

Early August Open Range Cattle Drive 2024

August 4 to 9, 2024

SOLD OUT!
From: $4,495 USD ?Tour costs $4,495 USD which is approximately $6,763 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $4,895 USD ?Tour costs $4,895 USD which is approximately $7,365 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

Late August Open Range Cattle Drive 2024

August 18 to 23, 2024

SOLD OUT!
From: $4,495 USD ?Tour costs $4,495 USD which is approximately $6,763 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $4,895 USD ?Tour costs $4,895 USD which is approximately $7,365 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

September Cattle Drive 2024

September 15 to 21, 2024

SOLD OUT!
From: $4,590 USD ?Tour costs $4,590 USD which is approximately $6,906 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $4,990 USD ?Tour costs $4,990 USD which is approximately $7,507 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

July Cattle Drive 2025

**exact dates TBC

SOLD OUT!
From: $5,140 USD ?Tour costs $5,140 USD which is approximately $7,733 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $5,540 USD ?Tour costs $5,540 USD which is approximately $8,335 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

Early August Open Range Cattle Drive 2025

**exact dates TBC

SOLD OUT!
From: $4,795 USD ?Tour costs $4,795 USD which is approximately $7,214 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $5,195 USD ?Tour costs $5,195 USD which is approximately $7,816 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

Late August Open Range Cattle Drive 2025

**exact dates TBC

SOLD OUT!
From: $4,795 USD ?Tour costs $4,795 USD which is approximately $7,214 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $5,195 USD ?Tour costs $5,195 USD which is approximately $7,816 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

Globetrotting Exclusive Departure

September 3 to 9, 2025

- Guided!
10 spots left
From: $6,500 USD ?Tour costs $6,500 USD which is approximately $9,779 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same genderGuided RideGuided Ride! Click to learn more.
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

From: $6,900 USD ?Tour costs $6,900 USD which is approximately $10,381 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own roomGuided RideGuided Ride! Click to learn more.
Book

2.5% credit card surcharge

September Cattle Drive 2025

**exact dates TBC

SOLD OUT!
From: $5,190 USD ?Tour costs $5,190 USD which is approximately $7,808 AUD - Twin Share?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender
From: $5,590 USD ?Tour costs $5,590 USD which is approximately $8,410 AUD - Single Rider?Happy to pay a booking supplement for own room

Please note: with all the above dates, you MUST arrive into Sheridan the night before. Accommodation that evening will be at your own expense. You’ll then be picked up around 8am on day 1 to transfer to the cow camp.

**Unfortunately vegan dietary requirements cannot be catered for on this ride. We apologise for any inconvenience.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
Ride price includes ground transportation to and from Sheridan, all food, soft drinks, saddle, tack, horse lease, and guide service.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
Prices do not include alcohol (BYO is welcome), international flights, travel insurance, transfers to and from the ride and tips. The recommended tip is $125 US per person.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. Depending on the ride you choose to book and your country of residence, there will be a 1.2% to 2.9% surcharge.

Click HERE to read more about our fees and charges.
Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.
WHY IS THE PRICE QUOTED IN USD?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

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*Please remember, working with cattle and Mother Nature requires fluidity, so suggested itineraries don’t always go according to plan and are subject to change at the discretion of your guides.

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  • May Cattle Drive

    This first cattle drive of the year is a brand new offering, so those lucky enough to experience it in the debut season (2022) will enjoy a considerably cheaper price. Spring in the Big Horn Mountains is absolutely spectacular, with wildflowers carpeting the hills and antelope, moose, elk, eagles and all manner of other wildlife celebrating the approach of summer. For the Kerns family, spring is calving season, and you’ll be right on hand as the wranglers pull newborn calves out into the world and deal with the unique challenges that calving brings.

    Another fantastic part of this cattle drive is the glorious long hours spent in the saddle trailing new mothers and their babes to greener pastures, where the spring grass is still tall and tender. Words fail to describe the tranquillity of leaning against a shady tree watching eagles soar overhead, listening to your horse grazing contentedly beside you and playful calves bleating across the meadow.

    Like all of the Kerns’ cattle drives, on this one you can expect early mornings with breakfast cooked on the campfire and filling, saddlebag-packed lunches. This is a genuine part of the Kerns family’s cattle business and the need to get the job done and get back to camp can see you spending more than six hours in the saddle per day. Generally, you’ll ride back into camp in the late afternoon, unsaddle your horse and tuck into a wholesome dinner cooked over hot coals in a 16-inch cast iron dutch oven. The campfire banter will be a true highlight!

    You may or may not move camp on this ride: everything is dictated by the livestock and Mother Nature. The weather in May is unpredictable, typically ranging from 47°F / 8°C to 73°F / 22°C during the day, and at night it could get as cold as 25°F / -4°C – so don’t forget your thermals and a sleeping bag rated below zero!

    On the last day you’ll head back to Sheridan in the early evening, where the trip officially ends. We recommend booking a night’s accommodation in Sheridan on this last day, so that you’re not rushed to catch an evening flight.

  • June/July Cattle Drive

    During this trip, you’ll trail the mother cows and their calves high to their summer range at the top of the Big Horn Mountains, up Little Horn Canyon and through the National Forest. The ride begins with a horsemanship clinic which allows your guides to make sure they have you mounted on a horse that fits your skill level.

    There are generally three different camps throughout the week ranging in elevation from 4,200 feet to over 9,000 feet. The camp will have to be taken down and set back up at the next campsite. You’ll ride your horse close to 160 kilometres throughout the week. It’s a saddle-up, rain, hail or shine scenario and the day ends when you get to the destination for the day with the cattle.

    Breakfast for the first couple of days is generally around 4:00am and you’re in the saddle by 5:00am. Since there is no electricity in the camps to cook with, the cooks generally start preparing breakfast at around 2:30am. You won’t have a day of less than 6 hours in the saddle and could spend as many as 12 hours in the saddle. Once you’re on the mountain with the herd, breakfast can be delayed to around 7:00am to allow you and the cooks to catch up on some badly needed sleep, and to allow the horses to get a full belly of mountain grass. It will be much cooler on the mountain, so layers are highly encouraged.

    Come Friday, you’ll be exhausted, dirty, exhilarated beyond comprehension and desiring a hot shower and a real bed. You’ll head to Bear Lodge for the last night’s celebration. The following morning you’ll be transferred back to Sheridan for onward travel.

  • August Open Range Cattle Drives

    These Open Range cattle drives take place entirely on the mountain and are one day shorter than all the other trips. The main emphasis is on moving the cattle to the next pasture in the rotation. This sounds pretty simple, but with just seven pastures covering over 60,000 acres of canyons, timber, high alpine meadows and countless rivers, finding the cattle is a huge challenge in and of itself. On one of the Open Range trips, a GPS reading was taken at the point where they started gathering cattle and then again at the destination where they arrived four days later. As the crow flies, it was 6 kilometres / 4 miles from point to point to point, but because of the impassable canyons they had to swoop around, they had ridden over 40 kilometres / 25 miles to get to the next pasture.

    These trips start out at Lake Creek cow camp, where there is a morning horsemanship clinic to get you paired with a horse suitable for your ability. Your luggage will be picked up at that point and transported to the camp where the cattle are grazing. After the horsemanship clinic you’ll ride your horse to the camp, which is about a 4 to 6 hour ride. The following morning you’ll enjoy breakfast at around 7:00am and then start gathering the herd. Your riding posse will head in different directions with the idea of gathering the cattle in a common place for the following day’s push.

    On all of the trips, you’ll have a saddlebag-packed lunch and if you’re lucky you’ll get a chance to get off your horse and sit among the wildflowers to eat it. However, on some days there is no time to stop, so you’ll eat as you ride. Again, this is a real cattle drive and work needs to be done and completed. You’ll generally ride back into camp sometime in the late afternoon with a wholesome dinner waiting for you. All of your meals are cooked in a 16-inch cast iron dutch oven, using the hot coals for heat. The food is excellent and there will be plenty of it, as hard working cowboys (and globetrotters) work up a real appetite. You’ll generally move camp once during the week, but again, everything is dictated by the livestock and Mother Nature.

    In the evenings after dinner it’s great to sit around the campfire and listen to fellow riders yarn about the day. There is a tonne of laughter shared as the challenge sets in. These two rides in August are the most popular for riders who re-book. The reason? The weather is the most stable and the riding is very real. On the mountains you’ll generally have highs of 30 degrees C and no humidity, so there really is no summer heat to talk about. The trip finishes with a hot shower, a real bed and lots of laughter at Bear Lodge before you’re transferred to Sheridan the following day.

  • September 3-9 Cattle Drive (2025)

    This Globetrotting-exclusive departure takes the Big Horn Cattle Drive to the next level. Just for you, the Kerns family are reviving their super remote campsite, Rock Cabin Park. No globetrotter has ever stayed here before! To get there, you’ll ride through Little Big Horn Canyon, one of the most stunningly beautiful canyons you’ll ever set eyes on. With five hours in the saddle climbing 3000 feet, there’s time to absorb every facet of its majesty. Seeing those rocky rims towering far above and knowing that few people have ever stepped foot in this wilderness is a feeling you’ll never forget. Finally, you’ll emerge at Rock Cabin Park, with the aptly-named Leaky Mountain spilling crystal-clear springwater down its slopes across the canyon from your campsite. You’ll most likely stay here two nights, during which time you’ll visit Leaky Mountain, tethering the horses at the base and hiking up to the mouth of the falls, where the water cascades explosively out of the rocks. Then you’ll follow the Kerns Joslyn Trail 2,000 feet higher up the canyon rims to Lake Creek Camp, where you’ll stay for three nights while helping the Kerns family work their cattle. On the last night you’ll have a hot shower, a huge meal and a proper bed at Bear Lodge, and celebrate riding almost 100 miles in six days!

    By September, the weather has generally cooled off to highs of around 15°C, with nights sitting around 1°C, so you must come prepared for cold weather. It’s highly recommended that you bring a sleeping bag that is rated below zero!

  • Mid-September Cattle Drive

    This trip is wide open as to the plan of attack. By September the weather has generally cooled off to highs of around 15 degrees C, with nights sitting around 1 degree C. The trip starts at Lake Creek, which is above 9,000 feet, so you must come prepared for cold weather. It’s highly recommended that you bring a sleeping bag that is rated below zero! It’s not at all uncommon to have a day of snow. Past trips have generally been very lucky with the weather, but there have also been three different days over a period of 20-odd years when, due to white-out blizzard conditions, the group had to sit in camp all day as the visibility just wasn’t high enough to safely go out in.

    Like all the rest, this cattle drive starts with a horsemanship clinic. You’ll be in two different camps throughout the week, and the ride will probably involve gathering a herd of cattle on the mountains before trailing them down to the valley. Grazing conditions on the mountain and in the valley determine the number of cattle that you’ll take.

    Although the riding on this trip can be the most hazardous, it is one of the most popular cattle drives and sells out first. The leaves are all changing and the wildlife is rutting, which makes for great viewing opportunities. By this time of year the days are noticeably shorter, so it’s not uncommon to ride into camp just ahead of dark. At 9,000 feet, you’ll notice a shortness of breath as the air is much thinner. If you are a heavy smoker or have any breathing issues, this elevation might be more than you can handle, depending on the elevation you normally live at. The promise remains: you’ll not be disappointed with the riding hours or challenges on this trip.

  • Clean Up Ride

    On the last trip of the season, you’ll be riding the entire mountain allotment, bringing any remaining cattle back down to the valley. You’ll start the ride above 9,000 feet and end up in the valley at around 4,200 feet. You’ll generally ride the entire 60,000 acres during this week
    – that means lots of saddle time. Just like the September trip, you need to be prepared for snow, with highs of around 10 degrees C and lows below freezing each night.

    There can be as many as three different mountain camps on this trip, often centred around the Kerns family’s historical log cabins. The history and stories entwined in these places will transport you to a bygone era. As with all of the cattle drives, you will be sleeping in tents every night, but the smaller group size allows for a faster pace during the week. Each day you’ll head in different directions in order to cover all the areas that might hold stray cattle.

    On the last day you’ll head back to Sheridan in the early evening, where the trip officially ends. We recommend booking a night’s accommodation in Sheridan on this last day, so that you’re not rushed to catch an evening flight.

  • Transfer Information

    We recommend international guests fly into either Cody, Wyoming or Billings, Montana a day or two before the ride begins so you’re not suffering from jet lag when it comes time to throw a leg over the saddle. If you’re happy and comfortable to hire a car (driving on the right side of the road), it’s a straightforward two hour drive from Billings to Sheridan, or a three hour drive from Cody to Sheridan.

    Guests can also fly to Sheridan via Denver (Denver Air Connection) and if you have a spare few days you can hire a car and visit Yellowstone National Park or drive east to visit Mt Rushmore and the Black Hills.

    Please note, all guests MUST arrive and stay in Sheridan (at their own expense) the night before the ride begins, so that you’re ready to be picked up around 8am on day 1 and be transferred to the cow camp.

What our valued Globetrotters say about The Big Horn Cattle Drive

Big Horn Cattle Drive, Wyoming, USA, Globetrotting Horse Riding Holidays

Mady W

‘I mean where do you start? The Kerns family is as genuine and authentic as they come. Nothing about this trip was sugar-coated, and I have more respect than I could ever say for that. Their love for their family and their cattle is unparalleled. If you don’t walk away from this trip with a greater sense of understanding about what it takes for us to eat and the passion it takes to keep it going for generations, something is wrong! It was so fun getting to see the youngest family members tagging along and growing up in such a unique environment. The patience and kindness they have with folks who have never even been around cattle or understand the process is mind-blowing. It was a pleasure to watch and be a part of. The world needs more cowboys (and girls)!’

Big Horn Cattle Drive, USA - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Melissa Brooks

‘I would definitely recommend this cattle drive! All of the horses on this trip were very fit for this type of mountain riding. I rode Cobb, and he was great. Very reliable and sweet. Our guides were the best riders I have ever seen, and all the staff were very knowledgeable. Every meal was excellent! Cowboys definitely know how to cook. This trip was definitely out of my comfort zone, but the guides made it look so easy! My favourite part was when I got to give a sick calf a shot of antibiotic after a cowboy roped it. I’m a nurse, so I’m used to giving shots, but this was not my typical patient! A very exciting moment.’

Big Horn Cattle Drive, USA - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Ellen Comfort

‘I wanted an authentic cattle drive and that is exactly what I got! I particularly enjoyed watching the wranglers, their experience with riding, and the love they obviously have for their animals and their way of life. I rode Quickdraw and he was the perfect choice for me. I especially loved riding through the Little Horn Canyon – the views were spectacular. I would definitely recommend this trip if you want to experience the real deal, the spectacular scenery, and meet some new interesting and fun people.’

Big Horn Cattle Drive, Wyoming, USA - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Lucy Regan

‘The perfect adventure escape! The best part was just being in the middle of nowhere (with no cell coverage), surrounded by amazing mountain terrain (the real deal). You could go as hard as you wanted or sit back and chill.
Our hosts were the most lovely family and wranglers. Accommodating, warm, helpful and fun. They had amazing food and accommodated my dietary requirements as best they could.
I had the most amazing horse – he listened super well, wasn’t spooked easily, was quiet when you wanted him to be, yet could go when you asked. I felt so at ease, even in the times when we covered some pretty rough terrain. I would definitely recommend this ride!’

Big Horn Cattle Drive, USA - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Nichola Horton

‘Do this ride, it’s amazing! The scenery was breathtaking and the company was even better. If you are prepared to rough it a little, it’s an experience you will never forget and one you will want to do over and over again.
The Kerns family made us feel like part of the team and that really made the experience great. Dana and Alice, their sons and partners all accompanied us on the trip. You could see their genuine love of the animals and the area, and many stories where shared. The meals served by Alice were amazing and well beyond expectations. All of the horses where fantastic. Each had their own personality and Titus in particular was so surefooted and gentle on the ride down the canyon.
My favourite day was riding down through the Bighorn Canyon – the scenery was spectacular. We picked up cattle about halfway down and there was a great sense of camaraderie. It all finished off with a night in the Double Rafter barn due to the snow setting in on the mountain.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and was well worth the price. It’s definitely not a standard one-behind-the-other ride and each trip will present different opportunities and activities.’

Big Horn Cattle Drive - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Alecia Wandel

‘I was matched to a high energy horse named Crackerjack, and we had a fantastic time going up and down the mountain. He looked after me and our match up was perfect. I got to see different animals native to Wyoming, and it wasn’t too cold. There were laughs around the campfire at night and I stayed in a tent with two other girls which quickly become known as the party tent due to all the laughing. The Kerns were very accommodating and I had a once in a lifetime experience.’

Big Horn Cattle Drive - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Liz Gaffney

‘Recently I was lucky enough to go on the Big Horn Cattle Drive in Wyoming, USA and it was, simply put, magical! I fulfilled a childhood dream of driving cattle, cowboy style, through Wyoming. The scenery, the horses, the people and the experience will be etched on my heart for the rest of my life.’

Alyssa Brugman

‘This was the trip of a lifetime. The scenery was stunning, the horses were spectacular, the cattle work was challenging and exciting, but what made it really special was the people. They were the most gracious and patient hosts full of stories and jokes. Everyone was made to feel welcome and valued. This was a special place on the planet and one of the best experiences in my life. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.’

Diane Atwood

‘The special beauty of Wyoming and the Big Horn Mountains are showcased in an unforgettable way on this ride. You will be challenged to the max with long days in the saddle, and learn a lot about the American West. The Kerns family is very hospitable and does a great job of weaving in storytelling about the history of the area. The campsites showcase some of the most beautiful spots in Wyoming, as well as some of the most historic. The other riders and professional wranglers make the trip a real bonding experience – and the sturdy horses really earn your trust in the mountains.’

STORIES FROM THE SADDLE

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