Lone Ranger holidays: Ride 'em, cowboy!

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From Arizona to Australia, there are plenty of ways to sample the Lone Ranger lifestyle (with or without Tonto). Aaron Millar heads off into the sunset

What's the attraction?

The Lone Ranger, released in cinemas on Friday and starring Johnny Depp as the Native American warrior Tonto, may well increase our interest in the notion of the Wild West. The film was shot in locations across the western United States, from New Mexico to Utah, an area that is particularly evocative of the frontier period in the late 19th century.

For tourists, it's still possible to get a flavour of that fabled era today – cowboy (and cowgirl) holidays are available here and further afield, catering for a range of abilities and interests. So from cattle drives in Arizona, to getting your hands dirty at an Australian cowboy school, or learning to ride Western-style across the vineyards of southern Tuscany, now's your chance to saddle up.

Horsing around

Help Icelandic farmers bring their horses down from the mountains for winter on a new trip from Regent Holidays (020 7666 1290; regent-holidays.co.uk). Experienced riders can join local farmers on a spectacular three-day ride, driving hundreds of horses down from the upper highland moors to the milder valleys and glacial lakes of the wild north-east. Accommodation is at family-run farms and rural hotels where you can enjoy a traditional rettardansleikur each evening: eating, dancing and singing Icelandic songs to celebrate a successful day's round-up. The seven-day Iceland Horse Round Up costs £1,415pp including flights from London, accommodation, most meals, equipment and guides. Departs 1 October.

Spaghetti Western

The Western style of riding developed on working ranches is taught at the Castellare di Tonda 800-acre wine estate and quarterhorse stud farm in Tuscany. Enjoy rides through vineyards and medieval villages, stopping for lunch and a gelato on the way. The trip by In the Saddle (01299 272 997; inthesaddle.com) also enables you to soak up the history of nearby Florence and Siena, book a spa treatment or just relax by the pool after a hard day's ride. The eight-day trip starts at £828pp and includes half-board accommodation, 12 hours' riding and equipment, but not flights. Weekly departures from February to October.

Rodeo finals

The Wrangler National Rodeo Finals (prorodeo.com) is the pinnacle of cowboy sports and a new trip from Ranch Rider (01509 618811; ranchrider.com) will take you to the heart of the action. Get in the mood with four nights at the luxurious White Stallion Ranch, near Tucson, Arizona – the setting for many a Hollywood Western including the 1940 Oscar-nominated Arizona – and four nights helping to herd cattle at Williams Working Family Ranch. The group then heads up to Las Vegas for the big event: bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and more. The 10-day trip departs 26 November and costs £1,329pp including accommodation, most meals and activities, and a one-day ticket to the Rodeo Finals. Flights and transfers not included.

Cowboy college

Learn real cowboy skills on an authentic Australian "Jackaroo" holiday. Immersed in the daily life of a working ranch at Bingara, near Sydney, guests will spend a week learning to shear sheep, muster cattle, break horses and ride the Australian way. A certificate is provided on completion and there are opportunities after the trip to find employment as a qualified stockman or an Australian cowboy.

Beginner riders are welcome and the minimum age limit is 18 years old. Go Learn To (0845 625 0445; golearnto.com) offers the week-long Jackaroo trip for £644pp, including accommodation, all meals and training, but not flights. Weekly departures until 28 September.

Ranch holidays

Ride with the Argentine gauchos at Caballadas (00 39 0471 840 005; caballadas.com), a new luxury ranch in a private 55,000-acre estate in northern Patagonia. The price of US$650pp (£433) per night includes half board and daily rides.

Badger Creek Ranch (001 719 837 2962; badgercreekranch.com) in Colorado offers simple, hard-working holidays helping to manage the estate's 100 to 200 cattle, high in the Rocky Mountains for $200pp (£133) per night, all-inclusive.

For a Native American take on the classic ranch experience, Hualapai Ranch (001 928 769 2636; www.hualapaitourism.com) in Peach Springs, Arizona, is owned and operated by the Hualapi tribe. Doubles start at $302 (£201), half board, including activities.

Insider information

"It's always best to bring a hard hat with you and most people like to buy a pair of Western riding boots, too. The maximum weight of any rider should be about 230lbs. First-time riders are always welcome, but will reap rewards from taking a few lessons before the holiday." – Tony Daly, managing director of Ranch Rider (01509 618811; ranchrider.com).

Bull rustling

For experienced riders, there is perhaps no greater thrill than rounding up wild bulls in the Avenue of the Volcanoes, Ecuador. Ride for two days around the dramatic Cotopaxi volcano to reach the mountain moorlands where the bulls graze. Then, in the company of the chagras – horsemen of the Andes – help to isolate the bulls and drive the cattle down from the high plains to corrals in the valleys below. Evenings are spent camping with the Ecuadorian cowboys and staying in haciendas along the trail. Unicorn Trails (01767 600606; unicorntrails.com) offers the 10-day Cotopaxi Cattle Round Up for £1,985pp including accommodation, all meals and equipment, insurance and an expert guide. Flights not included. Departs 10 November.

Wild West

An escorted cowboy experience is offered by Trafalgar (0800 533 5617; trafalgar.com) on its eight-day Pioneer Adventures of the Old West trip. It visits many of The Lone Ranger locations from Arizona to Utah, stopping along the way to explore The Grand Canyon, the Native American cliff-dwelling Montezuma Castle and the dramatic sandstone pinnacles of Monument Valley. It ends with a Wild West party. The price of £2,425pp includes flights, accommodation, most meals, tours, transfers and guides. Departures on 22 and 29 September.

Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own