Vail Valley: Cordillera’s Bearcat Stables a new riding experience |

Vail Valley: Cordillera’s Bearcat Stables a new riding experience

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyBearcat Stables at Cordillera in the Vail Valley offers four-day rides to Aspen in the summer.

Cordillera-based Bearcat Stables in the Vail Valley sees the coming riding season as a new beginning.

The stables, which host a variety of horseback and horse-drawn activities throughout the year, will soon operate out of its newly restored facilities at the historic Bearden family homestead at Cordillera.

Restoration work on the Bearden Cabin, built in 1915, was completed last year, and preservation of Bearcat’s Cabin, home to Ellis “Bearcat” Bearden until his death in 1993, is scheduled for completion this summer.

“We promised the Bearden family we’d restore the property,” Bearcat Stables owner Gavin Selway said. “That was our goal, to keep the ranch the way it was.”

Teams of horses from Bearcat Stables hit the trail year-round with rides for people of all ages and experience. Within the boundaries of Cordillera, Bearcat Stables has one-, one and a half- and two-hour rides through open meadows and groves of aspen trees with views of Bellyache Ridge and glimpses of New York Mountain and the Gore Range. For the more adventurous, backcountry rides of three and six hours allow guests to experience a part of the Rocky Mountains that few people see ” with a gourmet lunch along the way.

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“For people who are used to the hustle and bustle, these rides are very relaxing,” said Leeds Butcher, managing partner of Bearcat Stables. “A hundred years ago, horses did all the work. This gives a real sense of heritage.”

The outfitter also offers multi-day horseback trips, including a Vail to Aspen ride, a four-day trip from Bearcat Stables to Aspen. The ride covers some of the state’s pristine wilderness, with nights spent at 10th Mountain Division Huts and private guest ranches.

Backcountry rides are customized for every guest, and the number of guests is limited on every trip. Larger group rides are available by special request.

In the winter sleigh rides are available through Cordillera’s Ranch golf course ” and can include a gourmet dinner at the Timber Hearth Grille. Private, horse-drawn carriage rides are available for weddings and other special occasions.

For more information about Bearcat Stables, visit, or call Gavin Selway or Leeds Butcher at 970-926-1578. E-mail the stables at

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