As seasoned travellers look for the unique and glamorous, whilst the pandemic turns them inwards within safer resort grounds, traditional hotel lodging options are swiftly being replaced by castles, cabins, chalets, cottages and, certainly within the US, ranches.
The Canyon Madness Ranch opens its doors to guests for the first time in April 2021 to offer unparalleled luxury and a five-star outdoor adventure paradise for up to 16 guests a time. LLM – Luxury Lifestyle Magazine U.S. writer James Wong previews New Mexico’s most anticipated launch of the year.
A staggering 14,000 acres of space
Whilst just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Santa Fe, Canyon Madness Ranch is a world away from modern city life. In fact, with limited cell service you have a good excuse to unplug and switch off completely to focus on fun, rest and relaxation. The ranch boasts 14,000 acres of adventure amongst the geographic majesty of north-eastern New Mexico, with land encompassing Enciero Canyon, a box-canyon with seas of red clay interrupted by giant twenty-foot deep crevices.
Whilst the photos are breath-taking, they don’t quite do it justice. You need to see these landscapes with your own eyes and immerse yourself to soak in the benefits. Wandering through, the scale and grandeur of the landscape is overwhelming, and nature enthusiasts will appreciate abundant and diverse flora and fauna, as well as the indigenous wildlife that’s free to roam, from elk to bears. With such vast space, social distancing is a breeze, too. Stress doesn’t exist here at Canyon Madness Ranch.
A luxurious lodge
The 18,000 square-feet main house at Canyon Madness Ranch, known as Teepee Lodge, is brand-new. It was designed by Mexican Baja architect Alejandro Uribe, who brings a feel of resort residences in Cabo San Lucas over with a local touch. His concept involves two teepee-shaped structures connected by a grand living space suitable for living and dining, relaxation, and entertainment. The second-floor has a pool table, foosball table, air-hockey tables, and lounging areas (plus a ping pong table on its way).
Interiors have a striking blend of Asian and Western influences and the owner’s incredible art collection is enough to rival that of many museums. In terms of suites, there are eight contemporary styled suites with private living rooms, ensuite baths, king beds, innovative tech such as touch-lamps, and sliding doors that access a balcony with river canyon views. Each suite has a unique and personalised feel, with distinct art and layout, it’s like checking in to a private lodge of your own.
World class sport shooting
Similar to the Scottish Highlands where game resorts are frequented by the royal family, Canyon Madness Ranch has a sophisticated firearms program designed to appeal to a full range of amateur and hobby users to professional or expert firearms enthusiasts. The ranch’s twelve-station championship quality sporting clay course was designed by Pete Blakeley, a pre-eminent course designer in the U.S.
At the end of this course is an installation called the Covey Rise where five clay-throwing machines eject a myriad of clays randomly and in multiples, suitable and fun for many shooters engaged in shooting these ‘birds’ at one time. In close proximity, there is also an independent trap shooting course for those interested in another dimension of sport shooting. The team cater to all tastes and abilities, so even if you just want to give the very basics a try, expect a comprehensive and enjoyable experience.
Horse and equestrian challenges
There is no better place than here to take a ride with a beautiful horse with a cowboy companion (at my time of visit, I met with the dream team consisting of Dusty, Bryce and Colin). Trail rides follow around canyon edges, the river, or even out to old nineteenth century Indian and homestead sites (you can even go inside them).
Not to worry if you’re new, testing new skills or the weather doesn’t allow; there’s a large, covered arena for focused training and lessons in disciplines like English cross-country trails and jumping or Western-style reining, cutting, cow herding or barrel-racing for beginners through to expert-level riders. The ranch has over thirty high-quality and well-trained horses, including quarter-horses, paints, Gypsy Vanners and Gypsy Crosses in order to give guests a range of riding experiences. Tip: don’t forget to bring boots.
Soothing water and land activities
Those who like to get wet are in for a treat. Seasonal activities include kayaking and canoeing depending on runoff in the Canadian River. There is also fishing for small catch such as crayfish in the waters. On land, the adventure extends to ATV, archery, climbing and wildlife watching/photography. Expect a vast land with both scenic and thrilling turns for hikes and ATV/UTV, mountains and sandstone cliff faces for climbing and a plethora of wildlife waiting to be caught on camera. Again, activities are bespoke, so if there’s something you really want to try, let the team know and they will do their upmost to facilitate – for me it was driving a tractor.
Fresh, organic farm to table goodness
The kitchen has a refreshing approach to cuisine, with a focus on farm to table bounty. Chef Kevin Tung combines traditional organic, farm-raised produce with exotic meats including buffalo and ostrich. Expect delectable American dishes with an Asian or southwest influence rather than the common all-American food typical of most traditional ranches. There’s also a very extensive wine, beer, sake and spirits cabinet to pair your meals with.
Want to find out more about farming? Ask the ranch manager to let you join the team on their daily duties from feeding the cows to collecting eggs. The team are flexible and up for almost anything you fancy trying, so it’s completely possible to fill up seven days worth of outdoor fun for the first time or at least in a unique style. Now that’s VIP service.
Opening date: April 2021
Packages: Three to seven nights at $500-700 per person nightly, all inclusive (lodging, food, beverages incl. wine, beer and sake, and activities incl. guides, instructors and equipment) for non-exclusive use. Additional charges apply for ammunition, gratuity, and independent third-party transportation arrangements outside of Canyon Madness Ranch.
Address: Canyon Madness Ranch, 96 Famray Ln., Roy, New Mexico 87743, United States.
Phone: +1 617 816 4850
Images courtesy of Canyon Madness Ranch