In this tour, explore the extensive stream restoration project on lower valley ranches. After a long history of bending nature to meet mankind’s needs, we are realizing that nature is designed to work in the most efficient manner all on its own. As we begin to understand the importance of native habitats, restoration work is springing up all over the country. The Madison Valley is no stranger to the concept. Several ranches throughout the valley are working to restore natural habitats. A plethora of bird life thrives within the restored stream habitat and beckon visitors with their calls.
Price: $87 per person.
Click here to watch a video on this restoration project.
Tours available May 1 through October 10.
Tours leave Ennis in the morning at 9:00 and return at noon. Afternoon tours leave Ennis at 1:00 and return at 4:00.
Riding for the Brand
Learn to be a cowboy just like in the old west. . . or just like many ranchers are still doing it today. The face of ranching has changed drastically in the past century, but traditional practices surrounding herding cattle and general care out on the range still remain. Spend three days learning about horsemanship, roping, herding cattle, and everything necessary to be a cowpoke. This includes sleeping out in tents near the cattle and helping local ranchers move their herd. The soaring mountains and sprawling valley provide a spectacular setting that takes you back in time to the wild west.
Dates & Price: Call for more information
Day 1: Begin your cowboy training with a day becoming acquainted with your horse and learning a few new skills to help you work the herd. This is a day of learning to ride, rope, and generally gain an understanding of the logic behind herding cattle using both horses and dogs.
Day 2: Wake up bright and early and scope out the game plan for the big cattle move. Then it’s up in the saddle and on the trail. Enjoy the rest of the day moving the herd along the trail with local ranchers. In the evening enjoy your meal camp side telling stories under the stars.
Day 3: Start the day at camp with cowboy breakfast and get ready to continue along the trail. Move with the herd to their final destination whether it be summer pasture or the home ranch for the winter. Now it’s time to shake off the dust from the trail, hang up your hat, and head on home!
Wildlife on the move
Wild critters need to move. Whether from the high country in Yellowstone to the Madison Valley floor, or from Yellowstone to Idaho’s wilderness areas, the Madison Valley hosts abundant movements of wild animals. Much of this movement occurs through corridors, or open areas where wildlife pass. This tour features the Madison’s abundant wildlife migration corridors and linkages. Travel private ranches and see firsthand how ranchers are protecting their land with conservation easements and removing/modifying hundreds of acres of fences to allow increased movement opportunities for the region’s abundant big game animals.
Price: $175 per person.
Tours available year round.
The journey begins with a quick drive up to a vista overlooking the entire valley. See pronghorn migration trails meandering through the valley floor and get an idea of the size and scope of the area. Next head back down into the valley and travel onto private ranchlands away from any large crowds. We’ll journey through ranchlands and visit with ranchers regarding their management practices and how they enable the movement of wildlife across the ranch. We’ll work our way up the valley to see the points where wildlife move from Yellowstone National Park and the high elevation Forest Service lands above the Madison and work their way toward the large wilderness areas in Idaho. Then, we’ll return to Ennis to complete the journey by afternoon.
Ranching with Wolves
Shhhhh. . . Listen. In the distance a lonely howl pierces the air and the hair rises on the back of your neck. Across the table a rancher shakes his head. Since the west was “settled” by Europeans hundreds of years ago the battle between carnivores and stockmen has raged. The controversy surrounding the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 still burns. Confront the issue head on in its real life setting. Visit a rancher and learn their side of the story. Discuss the scientific facts behind the reintroduction and current reality of wolf numbers with a naturalist. Seek majestic views of herds of elk and possibly even that lone wolf.
TBD January -May 1st in 2010
Day 1: Begin the journey bright and early in Ennis with a cup of coffee and a pastry from the coffee shop. Head out to a local ranch and meet the people. View ranching operations such as caring for cows and calves or feeding hay to the herd and learn about the challenges and joys of living on the ranch. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the valley and hear a bit more about the reintroduction of the grey wolf to Yellowstone Park. After lunch search for elk and wolves in the southern end of the valley while enjoying the sweeping landscape. At the close of the day enjoy an interactive discussion concerning issues confronting ranchers and wolves over dinner.
Day 2: Spend the morning seeking wildlife viewing opportunities with your guide on private ranches throughout the valley. Observe potential impacts from wolf activity throughout the valley. Are the elk skittish? Closely gathered? Or is all calm? Keep your eyes open for elk, wolves, coyotes, deer, antelope, moose, and various bird species.