Big Horn Cattle Drive, USA

6 NightsBeginner to AdvancedFrom $6,200 USD?Tour costs $6,200 USD which is approximately $8,613 AUD

If you’re up for an adventure and feel that you’ve completely missed your calling as a cowboy or cowgirl, then you need to sign up for 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 join us, Kate and Steve {the original Globetrotting dream team, if we do say so ourselves} for the Guided Big Horn Cattle Drive in 2021. 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 & calves) from one pasture to the next. It’s remote, staggeringly beautiful, rugged and not for the faint-hearted. And on this guided ride, we’ll discover tracks and landscapes that no globetrotter has ever experienced before!

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!

As for the horses, they’re a nifty mob of tough Quarter Horses born and bred to keep shifty cows in line. We’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 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:Maximum of 102kg / 224lbs.
  • Type of tack:Western saddles.
  • Seasons:June through to September. The temperature can vary greatly in the Big Horn Mountains where in September it can snow.
  • Group size:A maximum of 20 guests.
  • Time in Saddle:On average 6 to 10, sometimes 11 hours a day, 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 experience is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:We’ll stay in two-man tipi 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, we will stay in cosy lodge accommodation and welcome a comfortable bed and a hot shower.
  • Ride Length:6 days, 6 nights.
  • 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 $100 US per person.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

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

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.

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. Photography and video package provided by GT and a stylish GT shirt, vest and cap.     

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 $100 US per person.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments. 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 is subject to change at the discretion of your guides.

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  • Day Before

    Today we’ll arrive in Sheridan and settle in to our accommodation (not included in the ride price). We’ll be arranging group accommodation so we can reduce the expense and stay together. Those of us who arrive early can opt to check out the local sights and enjoy our first taste of Western hospitality, or just take it easy after all that travelling. Either way, arriving a day ahead means we’ll be ready {minus any jet lag} to jump from the starting blocks tomorrow morning! Oh and of course we’ll enjoy a group dinner at a local hang out tonight to get to know one another ahead of the ride.

    *Please note, accommodation, dinner, tours, airport transfers and any personal expenses are NOT included on this day.

  • Day 1

    Yee-ha, Globetrotters, the moment has finally arrived! Bags packed and bellies filled, we’ll be ready for pick-up at 8am sharp. A staff member will drive us all far away from civilisation, bringing us to the starting point of the Big Horn Cattle Drive: our Kerns family ranch. Here we’ll be introduced to our amazing hosts, who have called this beautiful part of the world home since 1887.

    Once our gear is unloaded and we’ve had our first camp orientation, we’ll head straight to the corrals for a horsemanship clinic. This is a chance to get to know the smart, responsive Quarter Horses we’ve been matched with in a safe environment. Then, once we’re all comfortable with our pairings, it’s time to get out on the trails. Today we’ve got a nice short ride to help us get into the swing of things, covering six miles {ten kilometres} over two to three hours. This trail leads to the yards where we’ll leave the horses for the night. After unsaddling our steeds, we’ll take a transfer back to Cow Camp for an evening of good food and merry-making with our fantastic new group of Globetrotting compadres.

  • Day 2

    Waking at 4am to the scent of breakfast cooking on the campfire outside our tents, we’ll leave our cosy sleeping bags and greet the first of many full and glorious days in the Big Horn mountains. Once we’ve had a coffee and some hearty food, we’ll be transferred back to the horses. Saddling up and taking care of our own mounts will become a daily ritual that will help us form a deep bond with our equine partners.

    We’ll be in the saddle by 5am and our hosts will lead us as we gather the cattle and guide them to their next destination. This will take most of the day, and we’ll pass through some truly remarkable scenery as we journey through the foothills of the mountains. Along the way, the Kerns will reveal the tricks of the cowboy trade, and maybe even let us chase after a breakaway beast or two. Lunch will be enjoyed amidst the wildflowers and long grasses of the Big Horn’s rich pastures, and once we’ve got the cattle as far as they need to go, we’ll tuck our horses in for the night and again take a transfer back to camp.

    Another tantalising dinner will appear miraculously from the camp oven as the sun sets over the distant horizon.

  • Days 3-5

    For the next three days, we’ll trail the glossy black cattle over almost 160 kilometres of wilderness to their summer range at the top of the Big Horn Mountains, up Little Horn Canyon and through the National Forest. We’ll ride for between 6 and 12 hours each day, depending on how far we need to travel, the weather and the cattle. This ride is the real deal, Globetrotters, and the day’s work isn’t over until the cows (literally) come home. Once we reach the mountains, breakfast can be delayed to around 7:00am to allow us and the cooks to catch up on some much needed sleep, and to let the horses get a full belly of mountain grass.

    We’ll get to enjoy two more spectacular campsites before this wild west adventure reaches its end: one at the very bottom of Little Big Horn Canyon and one at Rock Cabin Park, which is only accessible by foot, horseback or helicopter. On days when we move camp, we’re expected to help take down the camp and set it back up at the next location. And before trailing the cattle up Little Big Horn Canyon on day four, we’ll also need to sort through our luggage and pack what we need for the next two nights into a duffel bag provided by our hosts. These bags will be loaded onto mules, so please pack sparingly! Our remaining luggage will be locked up securely to await our arrival at Bear Lodge in two days’ time.

    One of the most memorable parts of this journey into the mountains is our crossing of Little Horn Canyon, which sees us climbing up the side of the canyon in single file for 12 miles {20 kilometres}, leading our horses on foot over the most challenging sections. Trust us: the breathtaking views along the way and the incomparable sense of accomplishment when we reach the top make it worth every step! Seeing those rocky rims towering far above our heads and knowing that few people have ever stepped foot in this wilderness is a feeling we’ll remember forever. This will also likely be our longest day in the saddle thanks to the long and difficult route, so brace yourselves for eight to 14 hours’ riding, {don’t forget the emergency chocolate}. Finally, Rock Cabin Park will appear before us, with the aptly-named Leaky Mountain spilling crystal-clear springwater down its slopes across the canyon from our campsite. We’ll set up camp from scratch as our amazing cooks rustle up another drool-worthy dinner.

    The following morning we’ll finish up the cattle work, then reward ourselves with a trip to Leaky Mountain, cantering our trusty horses over the prairie and ride alongside the shimmering falls. Here, weather and time permitting, we’ll be able to tether the horses and hike up to the mouth of the falls, where the water cascades explosively out of the rocks. While the whole trip promises to have us picking our jaws up off the ground regularly, this will be the cherry on top of our Big Horn adventure. Returning to camp, we’ll gobble up some dinner as our hosts spin stories across the blazing campfire, then collapse into our tipis one last time.

  • Day 6

    After our last camp oven breakfast, we’ll break the camp down and load everything back onto the mules. Today’s journey begins with a ride to Lake Creek Cow Camp, which should give us six more precious hours in the saddle. Along the way we’ll stop in an alpine meadow to enjoy our saddlebag-packed lunches, absorbing sweeping views of the untamed mountains and far-away plains. There will be plenty of opportunities to let our Quarter Horses stretch out into a long, free canter before we lope victoriously into camp.

    Then comes the hardest part of the trip: saying goodbye to our horses. Thanking them for their incredible courage, strength and spirit, we’ll say our farewells then take a transfer to Bear Lodge. Exhausted, dirty, and exhilarated beyond comprehension, we’ll arrive in time to clean ourselves up before our final meal, a lavish banquet prepared by the staff at the lodge. A hot shower and a warm bed will never seem more heavenly!

  • Day 7

    The following morning, we’ll return to Sheridan, where our Globetrotting posse will part ways, forever changed by our time in the mountains.

  • 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. Otherwise, there is an airport pick up and drop off service available from Billings for $275 USD per person, round trip. This service is only available one day before the trip and one day after the trip.

    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, 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.’

Catherine Garrard

‘I don’t even know where to begin, what an absolutely amazing adventure! Words or photos don’t even do it justice – just breathtaking. I’m 100% booking in again for next year. The food is absolutely amazing, and your hosts Dana and Alice and their family are just beautiful. I honestly had the time of my life.
Things I’ll take next year: my own Drizabone, two thermal water bottles as it’s quite hot, chaps, riding gloves, and three back-up battery phone chargers because I love taking photos!’

Big Horn Cattle Drive - Globetrotting horse riding holidays

Greg & Jane Teakle

This ride is every thing you imagine it to be. Starting at about 9,000 feet up in the mountains, we were tasked with gathering the cows and calves from their summer pastures and moving them back down off the mountain so they could be better tended to over the winter. We teamed up with keen riders from Israel, Austria, Norway, and the U.S. Our horses were tough and surefooted, well adapted to the altitude and terrain. The level of service from our hosts was first class. The wranglers were friendly and knew their trade, and a warm and friendly atmosphere pervaded for the entire week. The evenings were always full of shenanigans and merriment and, on our trip, a colourful exchange of accents. For me, the highlights were the full days of riding along pine tree ridge lines, across lush valley floors and flowing streams, filling our water bottles up from icy cold springs, descending steep mountain trails and enjoying the novelty of riding in the snow.
This has been our first Globetrotting adventure and I can guarantee it won’t be our last.’

STORIES FROM THE SADDLE

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