A luxury resort opening in Nevada this month is putting a new twist on adventure and ecotourism.
The Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort opens June 15 on philanthropist and animal welfare activist Madeleine Pickens' 900-square-mile wild mustang reserve in northeastern Nevada.
The ranch is a glamping and dude ranch rolled into one, offering both cottages with private decks and 300-square-foot, hand-painted tepees with king-size beds, fine linens, hardwood floors, handmade Native American rugs, 24-hour butler service and adjacent luxury bathroom cabins.
The all-inclusive resort is located on Pickens ranch in the Nevada plains just outside Wells, where the Humboldt Mountains meet the Nevada desert. The closest major airport is Salt Lake City, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive.
While the resort offers many amenities like other Western dude ranches, it also offers a unique opportunity to see and interact with the wild mustangs that are synonymous with the Wild West and to learn about Native American culture.
Pickens and her ex-husband, the Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, opened the sanctuary and created the Saving America's Mustangs Foundation in 2008 after the federal government announced plans to euthanize or have slaughtered tens of thousands of wild horses in the West.
She calls the resort her "pride and joy," giving guests "the most incredible opportunity to experience the Wild West at the height of back-to-nature luxury whilst supporting the preservation of my beloved wild mustangs."
"Preserving the wild mustang is my passion," she said. "Developing Mustang Monument to achieve that goal whilst teaching our guests about and introducing them to the wild horses that helped the original pioneers to settle the Wild West is both a pleasure and a privilege."
Pickens says the resort offers the only opportunity in the U.S. to see mustangs in their natural habitat, while also being cocooned in modern comfort.
"The surroundings are gloriously scenic," she said. "The accommodations, unusual; our gourmet dining, delicious. The whole experience of riding out, enjoying the wildlife and the wilderness, learning about the history and heritage of the West and interacting with the mustangs is unforgettable. That's all pretty lavish in my book.'
Activities at the ranch include horseback riding, calf-roping, exploring original gold mine shafts, horse-drawn and off-road 4x4 Western safaris, archery, hiking and leaning the arts of moccasin making and beading.
There will also be will be electronic classrooms and educational seminars about the wild horses and Native American history as well as lessons on the science of the land and caring for the horses.
The resort offers a variety of customizable packages for families, groups, even honeymooners, starting at $1,000 a night per couple in the tepees and $1,500 a night in the cottages.