Ecotours in Sierra County New Mexico
Ted Turner’s Expeditions 1-877-288-7637
Pioneering a Legacy
Founder of CNN and Turner Broadcasting media empire, philanthropist, sailing champion, professional sports team owner and enthusiast, self-made billionaire, environmentalist, conservationist, restaurateur – the words to describe Ted Turner are practically endless. Throughout the past several decades, Turner has proven himself to be a true, American renaissance man. However, these days, he prefers horseback riding and fly fishing to sailing and his focuses have shifted from cable ratings and baseball standings to species conservation and nuclear weapons eradication, among many other passions. Turner hopes for a simple, yet momentous legacy – “to leave this world a better place for future generations to come.”
Turner’s appreciation for our beautiful Earth and its creatures runs deep, compelling him to work tirelessly to protect and conserve our environment, as well as its animal and plant species. It is through his numerous foundations, including the United Nations Foundation, Turner Foundation, Nuclear Threat Initiative and Turner Endangered Species Fund, that Turner has advanced his conservation and philanthropic efforts. Among Turner’s various and considerable contributions, including his historic $1 billion gift to the United Nations, he has given over $374 million to programs for improving air and water quality, developing a sustainable energy future to protect our climate, safeguarding environmental health and protecting wildlife and habitats to maintain biodiversity.
Turner wishes to share his complete love of nature, wildlife and discovery in order to help all generations develop a keen appreciation for and awareness of what our Earth has to offer and just as importantly, a shared responsibility for the well-being of our environment. After much thoughtful consideration, Turner has established a way in which to achieve this through the launch of Ted Turner Expeditions. We invite you to see, travel, and explore his expansive properties, and experience wildlife and landscapes at their most vivid. Be a part of Ted’s expedition!
Resulting in the recent excavation of a Sauropod femur.
On this guided fossil “prospecting” tour, guests will engage on a 1.5-mile cross-country hike (requires climbing a gentle hill) in search of undisturbed dinosaur bone fields, will learn 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 explore the Armendaris and share in its rich paleontological legacy.
7TX BUBBLING SPRING MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR
Easy fitness level
Ted Turner Expeditions’ 7TX Mountain Biking Area offers experienced and beginner riders an opportunity to peddle for the first time on the Armendaris Ranch. Our Bubbling Spring Tour is a gentle, six-mile out-and-back route, with a host of intriguing areas to explore – including Bubbling Spring, an 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 great fun for riders of all levels, include novice, 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.
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 experienced hikers, adept at using their hands and feet to climb stair-step ledges, with a modest amount of exposure. A half-day tour, Cave Canyon can be combined with the Spellmeyer Canyon Tour (see below) to create a full-day adventure with two remarkably diverse and untouched canyon hikes.
FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT OVERLOOK MOTOR TOUR
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. Your guide will be your escort to the top of the range.
SPELLMEYER CANYON TOUR
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.
FRA CRISTOBAL SUMMIT TREK & GEOCACHE
Moderate Fitness Level
Summit your own private mountain range, the Fra Cristobals, and experience dramatic, panoramic views of the 360,000-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 home 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, as well as experience the abundant animal and plant species.
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 winter sunrises or 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.
This southwestern safari crossing of open grasslands on the Armendaris Ranch provides extremely unique opportunities to photograph bison and unparalleled wildlife. We look forward to developing an itinerary which best achieves your photographic goals and connects you with the remarkable history of the Armendaris Ranch.
TWO HOUR HIDDEN CANYON HIKE
Moderate to Strenuous Fitness Level
A perfect way to sample Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch, the Hidden Canyon Hike 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.
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 Operations Center (SOC), 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.
Armendaris Bat Flight
Please note this tour is only available between the months of June and September.
Experience a wonder of nature never before available to experience by the public. 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
LADDER RANCH BIRDING TOUR
Easy Fitness Level
Ted Turner’s 156,000-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. These habitats 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 serve as host for guests on this private tour. Guests’ experiences may also include viewing of bison, black bears and coyotes, as well as stops at petroglyphs (Rock Art) created by ancient indigenous people. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced birder, we can create a half or full day tour that 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.
Animas Creek / Ranch Heritage Tour
Take a step back in time onto the Ladder Ranch with our Animas Creek and Ranch Heritage Tour, guided by Ted Turner Expeditions. Experience the beauty of Animas Creek, historic Native American artifacts, ancient petroglyphs, and the photogenic ruins of a turn-of-the-century adobe home.
The pristine nature of the ranch also provides a unique opportunity to photograph the incredible and diverse wildlife from birds to bison that call Ladder Ranch home.
Choose from a three hour, or half-day (five hour) tour. Your guide will meet you at Sierra Grande Lodge and will be your host on Ladder Ranch.
Las Palomas North and South Loop Tour
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.
Ladder Ranch Native American Rock Art Tour
From $150 per guest
Easy Fitness Level
The lush and diverse environment of 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 the Native American Rock Art sites on the Ladder Ranch provide an unrivaled opportunity to step back in time and reflect on the former inhabitants of this magnificent landscape on this half-day or full day tour.
Both novice and seasoned rock art enthusiasts will enjoy the diversity of the petroglyphs and the unique locations including canyon walls, loose boulders and small outcroppings of rock that provided perfect canvases for the rock art. Your archeological tour will also include a brief stop at Ladder Ranch Headquarters.
Custom Itinerary Ladder Ranch Day Tour
Easy to Moderate Fitness Level
The 156,000-acres of the Ladder Ranch provide endless opportunity 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.
TED’S VISION QUEST HIKE
Moderate Fitness Level
A personal favorite of owner Ted Turner, this 3-hour guided hike leads you 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’s private residence, 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.
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 3-hour tour, you depart from Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa and be transported 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 off of the ridge into the lush Animas Creek drainage.
Riders will be provided with start-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.