Ted Turner Expeditions’ (TTX) adventures are unrivaled. Imagine summiting your own private mountain range, the Fra Cristobals, located on Ted Turner’s Armendaris ranch, where you just might run into some Desert Bighorn Sheep. Or hopping on TTX’s Santa Cruz full suspension Tall Boy bikes and touring your own, exclusive “national park.” All of our adventure tours are led by private guides, carefully trained to provide a tailored experience to allow TTX guests to enjoy properties that rival the size of Rhode Island.
Our tours range from half and full-day tours departing from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa onto the Ladder and Armendaris ranches, to particularly-tailored tours for those guests who opt for an all-inclusive experience staying at one of Ted Turner’s personal homes at Vermejo Park Ranch (in northern New Mexico) or the Ladder Ranch.
Below is a sampling of the tours currently being offered on our properties. Please visit www.tedturnerexpeditions.com or call 1.877.2TURNER for a full menu of tours and to learn more about our extraordinary tour offerings.
Cancellation Policy: We require cancellation notice at least 24 hours prior to your arrival at no penalty for all a la carte tour services. If cancellation occurs less than 24 hours prior to your arrival, you will incur a fee totaling the entire amount of the tour for which you registered. 7-day cancellation notice is required for tour packages.
HOT AIR BALLOON ADVENTURE
Guests participating in the new ballooning adventure will depart from their home base of Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa in Truth or Consequences (located between Ted Turner’s Armendaris and Ladder Ranches) in the early morning, arriving at Armendaris Ranch at dawn to view the first rays of sunlight strike the jagged Fra Cristobal crest, while the expert pilot and ground crew inflate the balloon and ready the gondola.
Float over the 360,000-acre Armendaris Ranch with only the occasional sound of the balloon burner lifting you skyward, while viewing the pristine earth stretching in all directions. Look down, spot a herd of bison, or skim the surface and survey the smaller details of desert flora and fauna. In the distance, you’ll find iconic sites like the historic El Camino Real Trail and Elephant Butte Lake.
After your flight, our crew will help you celebrate your voyage with the traditional champagne toast and light continental breakfast.
PALEONTOLOGY PROSPECTING TOUR
Easy Fitness Level
The Armendaris Ranch is home to an impressive cache of Late-Cretaceous Period dinosaur bones, including specimens that are currently on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. There are active paleontology digs underway on the ranch, resulting in the recent excavation of a Sauropod femur.
On this guided fossil “prospecting” tour you will travel on an easy 1.5-mile cross-country hike (requires climbing a gentle hill) in search of undisturbed dinosaur bone fields, learning to differentiate bone fragments from the surrounding rock and possibly help identify the next promising site for further investigation and research. This half day tour is a wonderful way to get out on the Armendaris and share in its rich paleontological legacy.
CAVE CANYON SCRAMBLE
Strenuous Fitness Level
Cave Canyon begins with a steep climb through limestone terraces that ascend a picturesque canyon overlooking the eastern grasslands of Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. A fortified entrance to a large alcove at the top of the canyon shows evidence of use as an ancient shelter by the region’s indigenous people. This tour is perfect for the experienced hiker who is adept at using their hands and feet to climb stair-step ledges, with a modest amount of exposure. The half-day Cave Canyon Scramble can be combined with Spellmeyer Canyon to create a full-day adventure with two remarkably diverse and untouched canyon hikes.
7TX BUBBLING SPRING MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR
Easy Fitness Level
Ted Turner Expeditions’ 7TX Mountain Biking Area offers experienced and beginner riders an opportunity to pedal for the first time on the Armendaris Ranch. Our Bubbling Spring ride is a gentle 6-mile out-and-back route, with a host of intriguing areas to explore – including Bubbling Spring, a historic well used by the Spanish as they passed through the area and Canon Del Muerto (Canyon of Death) a reference to the frequent attacks by Native Americans in this tight passage. This half day excursion is fun for the novice rider and can be extended into a full day for those looking for more of a challenge.
On a one to five scale (five being most difficult), this half-day tour is rated “2” for fitness level and ability.
FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT OVERLOOK MOTOR TOUR
Easy Fitness Level
Experience dramatic, panoramic views of Ted Turner’s 362,885-acre Armendaris Ranch on a compelling, guided driving tour to the summit overlook of the picturesque Fra Cristobal Range. Your excursion on the Armendaris provides you with a highly unique experience complete with stunning, desert landscapes and abundant animal and plant species.
At the summit, lofty views of Elephant Butte Reservoir and the Rio Grande corridor await – the prized pinnacle of this exceptional five-hour tour.
FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT TREK & GEOCACHE
Moderate Fitness Level
Summit your own private mountain range, the Fra Cristobals, and experience dramatic, panoramic views of the 362,885-acre Armendaris Ranch on an all-day adventure guided by a TTX team member.
The cross country passage covers just over three miles of ridge crest terrain with commanding views across the Chihuahuan Desert to the Continental Divide. At the summit, a bird’s eye view encompassing over sixty miles in every direction awaits. Stretching out before you will be the Rio Grande Valley, White Sands Missile Range, the Trinity Site, El Camino Real, Elephant Butte Reservoir, the Black Range, Ladder Ranch and the towns of Truth or Consequences and Elephant Butte.
Be among the few to sign the summit register and take part in a unique geocache experience- bring a small trinket for the geocache and plan on taking a small souvenir left by others who have summited.
This eight-hour tour is a great way to enjoy off-trail hiking and visit the highest point on the Armendaris Ranch, while experiencing the abundant animal and plant species. Your guide will be your escort to the top of the range.
SPELLMEYER CANYON TOUR
Moderate Fitness Level
Ted Turner Expeditions leads you back in time on a 5-hour hike in Spellmeyer Canyon. The pristine nature of Spellmeyer Canyon exemplifies undisturbed beauty – a hallmark of Ted Turner’s ranches. Your guide will help you locate marine fossils from an ancient seabed and navigate the rock scrambles you will encounter on this hike.
This five-hour tour provides a platform to contemplate the ever-changing environment of our home planet. As with all tours to Ted Turner’s ranches, wildlife and Bison encounters are a very real possibility.
TWO HOUR HIDDEN CANYON HIKE
Moderate to Strenuous Fitness Level
Hidden Canyon Hike is a perfect way to sample a guided tour on Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. The trailhead is a brief, 15-minute drive from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa. On this superb, guided two-hour loop, experience the diversity of terrain and natural beauty that sets the Armendaris apart, including several rock scrambles into pristine canyons and dramatic views of the Chihuahuan desert and the town of Truth or Consequences
ARMENDARIS HERITAGE & PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR
Easy Fitness Level
Spend the day exploring the undisturbed beauty of the vast Armendaris Ranch grasslands and desert mountain range, in pursuit of the perfect compositions and light on our Heritage and Photography Tour. This majestic landscape has seen the passage of countless Spanish pioneers along the Jornado Del Muerto section of the historic El Camino Real.
Your exclusive photo tour unfolds at your own pace to allow for the study of large scale landscapes and textural desert details. The unmatched long shadows and dramatic light of the southwest sunrises and sunsets are the ideal subjects for a photographer’s dream. Picturesque stops such as Lava Station, Lava Camp, Casa Grande and the Fra Cristobal Canyons are always guest favorites.
Armendaris Bat Flight
Please note this tour is only available between the months of June and September.
Experience a wonder of nature on Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch. The Jornada Bat Cave, a complex of two massive lava tubes, serves as a temporary home to an estimated 1.6 million bats (principally Mexican Free Tail) that emerge each evening at dusk to feed in what appears to be a “river of bats” on Ted Turner’s private Armendaris Ranch. This spectacle of nature, which occurs most every evening from approximately June to September, has been compared to the great animal migrations of Africa.
Your expedition departs Sierra Grande Lodge at 4:30 p.m.* for a six‐hour, roundtrip journey to the bat caves. The tour takes you through Ted Turner’s stunning 360,000 acre Armendaris Ranch, allowing you the opportunity to encounter a vast Chihuahuan desert landscape with the possibility of viewing bison, pronghorn and oryx, as well as other desert‐dwelling animals and birds.
Please keep in mind that the bats’ emergence is not on a set schedule. Recent research suggests that they fly when the temperature inside the cave comes into balance with the outside temperature. Soak in the spectacular sunset Armendaris has to offer, while waiting for the bats to emerge for their flight.
*Tour departure times from Sierra Grande Lodge will be adjusted to an earlier departure time as the daylight hours shift.
Spaceport America and Armendaris Expedition
Experience a full day of adventure, gazing into the future and discovering the past, while exploring two of New Mexico’s inspirational landmarks: Spaceport America and Ted Turner’s historic, 363,000-acre Armendaris Ranch. Our exclusive Spaceport America Immersion Excursion is a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX) guests receive access to the inner workings of this futuristic facility, including the Spaceport Command Center (SCC), home to Mission Control. Guests have the opportunity to interact with Spaceport America crewmembers while touring the 18,000-acre campus.
TTX guests are then escorted a short distance by vehicle to Ted’s Armendaris Ranch for a customized tour. There, guest will have opportunities to encounter 300-million-year-old marine fossils, Cretaceous period dinosaur bone fields, exciting wildlife, commanding views from the summit of the Fra Cristobal Mountains, and other points of interest. For an additional landing fee, guests with private aircraft can opt to land on Spaceport America’s two-mile-long Spaceway.
Rates: $900 for first guest. $475 each additional guest.
LADDER RANCH BIRDING TOUR
Easy Fitness Level
Ted Turner’s 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch is considered one of the finest birdwatching sanctuaries in North America. The Ladder offers exquisite and diverse habitats, from lush riparian zones to arid, rocky slopes and cliffs; which host a large number of species who migrate through the region and many species who call the ranch home year-round. Its location is a magnet for spring and fall migrations.
One of our seasoned birding guides will be your host for this private tour. Your experience may also include viewing of bison, black bear and coyote; as well as stops at petroglyphs (Rock Art) created by ancient indigenous people. Whether you are a beginner or advanced birder we can create a half or full day tour which will surely add new species to your Life List.
Our birding tours are limited to four guests, offering an intimate and low-impact birding experience.
Palomas Creek Native American Rock Art Tour
Easy Fitness Level
The lush and diverse environment of Palomas Creek on the Ladder Ranch, once provided a home to several indigenous cultures. Most prominent, are the ancient remnants of the Mimbres and Apache tribes that can be found throughout the ranch in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs. The tranquil settings of these two Native American Rock Art sites on Palomas Creek provide an unrivaled opportunity to step back in time and reflect on the former inhabitants of this magnificent landscape on this half day tour.
Both novice and seasoned rock art enthusiasts will enjoy the diversity of the petroglyphs and also enjoy an opportunity to engage in a short hike with their guide.
CREST TO CREEK MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE
Moderate Fitness and Riding Level
This guided, moderately difficult mountain bike ride covers 6.5 miles (10.46 km) of backroads and historic old wagon trails. For this half-day, you depart Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa to the staging area atop a ridge near the Ladder Ranch Headquarters. The first leg of the ride traverses the ridgecrest with incredible 360-degree views of the Chihuahuan desert, Ladder Ranch, Armendaris Ranch, the Black Range of the Gila National Forest, the Caballo Mountains, and much more. After taking in these expansive, stunning views, you then descend the ridge into the lush Animas Creek drainage.
Riders will be provided with state-of-the-art, full suspension Santa Cruz “Tall Boy” bikes, helmets and riding gloves.
Please note that as this ride has been classified “moderate” in difficulty, riders should be prepared to utilize some technical skills to negotiate uneven terrain.
Ladder Ranch Sunset and Sunrise Motor Tour
Easy Fitness Level
A fantastic way to acquaint oneself with the picturesque Ladder Ranch, the “Sunset and Sunrise Half-Day Motor Tours” are timed perfectly in order to seize the “magic hour” lighting, primed for exceptional photographic moments. The Ted Turner Expeditions motor tour departs from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, located approximately a half-hour drive from Ladder Ranch. Once on the Ladder, you’ll traverse the ranch’s riparian habitats and pristine grasslands, with the likelihood of encountering bison and other wildlife. You’ll also stop along the tour at certain vantage points on the property, including a Native American rock art site, to observe magnificent views in day’s fading or dawn’s golden light.
A Sunrise Motor Tour is especially rich in wildlife, providing the highest probability of encountering elk, deer, javelina, and a wide range of avian life.
Lower Animas Creek and Chavez Home Mountain Bike or Motor Tour
Easy to Moderate Fitness Level – depending on guided transportation preference. Guests can either choose an easy mountain bike ride along quiet ranch roads, or a leisurely motor tour
Animas Creek is an iconic desert stream which flows from the southernmost end of the Rocky Mountains (Black Range), through Ladder Ranch and into the storied Rio Grande river. Its perennial waters and rich biodiversity have attracted ancient peoples, native cultures, Spanish settlers, modern day ecologists and a working bison ranch. The massive cottonwood tree canopy along Animas provides stunning colors in spring, summer and fall, as well as a nesting site and migration corridor for numerous bird species and active wildlife that includes deer, elk, turkey, javalina and bison. This half-day tour also affords interpretation of two different periods of human habitation, artifacts of the Mimbres people (A.D. 1000-1150) and the Chavez family’s turn-of-the-century adobe home site ruins.
Ladder Ranch Heritage Tour
Easy Fitness Level
An immersive introduction to the stunningly beautiful and biologically diverse 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch, this half-day tour promises breathtaking views, a unique mix of ecosystems, ancient petroglyphs, and turn-of-the-century adobe ruins. First, stop at the southern end of the Ladder Ranch, where Ash Canyon and Seco Creek converge to create a dramatic slice of paradise and home to both native Mimbres people (A.D. 1000-1150) and turn-of-the-century Spanish homesteaders. Then, head out on a short walk up a winding Ash Canyon through towering sedimentary rock walls where you’ll attempt to picture exactly what life was like in this desert environment over a thousand years ago. Afterward, travel a short distance to Seco Creek and step back to a more recent past. Explore an adobe ruin used by one of the many goat farmers who called the Ladder Ranch home in the early 1900’s.
Las Palomas North and South Loop Tour
Moderate Fitness Level
Join us for a tour of the pristine riparian habitat of Palomas Creek on Ladder Ranch, and experience why we at Ted Turner Expeditions feel that this is the perfect picture of the ecological conservancy that is the foundation of the Turner Ranches.
You’ll have the opportunity to hike through scenic rugged back-country that’s in a completely unaltered and natural state. The stunning scenery alone is a photographer’s dream, and you may even encounter fascinating wildlife along the way including Bison, Elk, Deer, Peccary (Javelina), and a host of other animals that call Ladder Ranch home.
Please note that the hike includes some off-trail sections and requires a moderate fitness level for this five-hour tour.
Your guide will meet you at Sierra Grande Lodge and provide transportation to the Palomas Creek trailhead.
TED’S VISION QUEST HIKE
Moderate Fitness Level
A personal favorite of owner Ted Turner, this half day tour includes a 2-hour guided hike along a unique path once used by ancient Native Americans cultures for their sacred vison quest ceremonies. The hike begins close to the Ladder Ranch Headquarters and Ted Turner’s Ladder House, recently opened for luxury overnight accommodations, before ascending to the top of a bluff overlooking breathtaking views of the riparian area of Animas Creek, Ladder Ranch HQ and the surrounding Chihuahuan desert (an entertaining anecdote about this path is recounted by Ladder Ranch Manager Steve Dobrott, in Ted Turner’s 2013 biography, Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet; pgs. 35-36). Along the way, your guide will provide you with fascinating information on the desert vegetation, the animals who call Ladder Ranch home and Ted’s vision for the Ladder Ranch.
Please note that this hike includes some exposure along ledges and steeper terrain.
Custom Itinerary Ladder Ranch Day Tour
Easy to Moderate Fitness Level
The 156,439-acre Ladder Ranch provides endless opportunities to explore and photograph its exquisite wildlife, as well as hike its unbelievably vast terrain while experiencing the Ladder’s fascinating history. The Ladder Ranch is a private working bison ranch focusing on habitat conservation and wildlife management. With a diversity of formations and ecosystems including the Chihuahuan Desert, riparian habitats, open grasslands, volcanic cones, Rocky Mountain vegetation, adobe ruins, Apache battle sites and other ancient points of interest; there are endless opportunities for private guided expeditions for a wide range of interests, ability levels and ages.
Your tour can be custom tailored to fit your ultimate Ted Turner Expeditions experience. From searching for bison or the incredibly diverse wildlife on the Ladder (elk, deer, antelope, mountain lions, bears, etc.) to customized motor tours, mountain biking or hiking with your choice to focus on areas of interest such as photography, botany, biodiversity or archeology. The Custom Ladder Ranch Day Tour is the perfect way to relax and allow maximum flexibility in your itinerary to experience all this majestic property has to offer.
Half and full-day touring options are available.