Falling for Fall at Vermejo — Ted Turner Reserves
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Falling for Fall at Vermejo

Photo by Amanda Howell

By Deann McBride

Every season at Vermejo is spectacular in its own unique way, but Fall might just be the most magical. There is nothing quite like listening to the eerie wail of a bull elk calling out in the early morning mist under a forest of richly scented pine and golden aspen trees. The animals are active and abundant, a testament to Ted Turner’s work to create harmony and balance on the land. It seems that nature is speaking to the wild places inside each of us, inviting us to reconnect with our primal beginnings and remember our place in the wonder of the natural world.

Elk in mist

Crisp Mornings and Afternoons

Autumn mornings sparkle with a coat of frost on the grass that quickly melts in the bright sun.  Comfortable mild days are perfect for a gentle hike or a meandering horseback ride, and the fish are plentiful in the lakes. Mellow golden afternoons beckon you to take a breath and get a fresh perspective by finding yourself in nature.

Fall Mountain Biking

One way to be immersed in nature’s luxury at Vermejo is spending the day in our high country among the changing leaves. On your fall mountain biking tour the morning begins with a winding UTV ride up the mountain, perhaps spotting a group of deer or pronghorn grazing in the field along the way. At the top of the trail, your guide will help you gear up on a custom-sized mountain bike for a gentle downhill ride on a trail lined with crunchy leaves, a trickling stream, and forests dotted with elk and deer. Take a break along the way for a hearty boxed lunch and stop by a lake to fish or simply take in the view.

Back at the lodge, the fireplaces are crackling with a bright blaze; a hot cup of cider is the perfect accompaniment to watching the sun sink into the horizon. On a lucky afternoon, silhouettes of bison grazing in the field will be part of the view.

Fall Flavors in the Lodge Dining Room

Executive Chef Giovanni Lanzante says fall is the season of forest and game as he curates menus filled with flavors that warm and nourish both body and soul. Some favorites include, elk and bison steaks sizzling on hot stones and comforting squash, pinion, and kale from the autumn garden that tempt the fall palate. The warm trout salsa is served over smoldering juniper chips, imparting a woodsy, smoky flavor to the dish, and antelope comes on a bed of goat cheese ravioli, with fresh greenhouse veggies lightly dressed with a white wine and butter sauce.

Fall flavored S'mores and stargazing


Autumn Celebrations and Events

In the midst of autumn’s glory, we kick it up a notch and host special celebrations and events tailored to the season. From photography tours to wine and whiskey tastings, October Harvest Celebration, and finally Thanksgiving, there is something for everyone to enjoy during sweater season at Vermejo.

Photo by Amanda Howell

Elk and Aspens Photography Tour

September brings a riot of color and activity to Vermejo as the aspens and cottonwoods turn amber and the bull elk tussle in an effort to court the ladies. Join our Elk and Aspens Photo Tour to have an expert photographer guide you to the best locations and share techniques and timing to capture majestic images of wildlife during the fall elk rut against the backdrop of the golden-hued foliage of the season.

October Harvest Celebration

In October, bring the family for a fun-filled week celebrating earth’s bounty. Hike through falling leaves on a crisp morning and then return to the lodge for pumpkin carving, harvest crafts, and games. Search for remnants of the history of our land on a morning geocaching expedition, then enjoy a fall-themed paint-n-sip or cooking class in the afternoon. In the evenings, sink your teeth into a caramel apple while cuddled up under a wool blanket watching a movie on the lawn, or tell stories and sing songs around the campfire while roasting the perfect marshmallow s’ more.



Since all of the work is taken care of, our Thanksgiving gatherings provide time to truly reflect on life’s gifts and the abundance of nature. November at Vermejo headquarters feels like stepping back to simpler times, relaxing in stone buildings from the early 1900s, and wandering down to the Activity Barn for a horseback ride through the hills.

On the big day, enjoy breakfast bites while watching the Macy’s Day Parade and then get active with a lighthearted Turkey Trot on our Fitness Trail or a game of football on the sprawling lawn in front of the lodge before sitting down for the feast. Thanksgiving dinner is filled with traditional foods including turkey, bison, steaming mashed potatoes, and apple pie. Specialties like smoked salmon, a raw oyster bar, and flaming bananas foster make the meal one you’ll tell your friends about.

The Friday after Thanksgiving rings in the beginning of our holiday season with a tree lighting celebration and cocoa around the campfire. After a few days roaming on acre after acre of rewilded land, learning the history of those who were here before us whether human, plant or animal and basking in the bounty of Vermejo’s food and hospitality, gratitude just comes naturally.