Must Love Horses

An unforgettable destination: Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

One of the most wonderful things about Must Love Horses and this blog is that we get to learn about people and places we have not been exposed to before. A highlight for us is learning about the great opportunity to ride in one of our favorites states, New Mexico. 

We asked Kelly Burns from Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch located in Winston, New Mexico to give us a better insight. Below is the result! If it doesn't make you want to travel to New Mexico and get on horse back, we are not sure what will! :) Enjoy!

There is very little awareness of dude ranches in New Mexico since the common misconception is that the entire state is a desert. At Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, we are working hard to change that perception. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary and want to share with you what makes our New Mexico dude ranch so unique.

First, a little bit of background about our small, family owned ranch. Harry and Diana Esterly own the ranch and their daughter, Meris Esterly Stout, and her husband Seth Stout conduct the day-to- day operations. Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch offers a relaxed and personal atmosphere with 4 rooms and a maximum capacity of 12-16 guests. The ranch is situated west of the Continental Divide in southwestern New Mexico. We are in the mountains of the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest. Our name comes from being located just off the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway.

So what makes Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch unique? It is our main focus on trail riding and seeing the beautiful scenery by horseback. Due to our small size, there are no lines or schedules here. Guests can ride as much as they want. After a while, our guests often lose track of the date…and find they don’t care anymore. As has often been observed, "it is hard to have a bad day on the back of a good horse."

Another unique advantage of our ranch is our location. 85 miles from the nearest stoplight, evidence of the intrusion of modern man is virtually absent. Our setting is truly unspoiled, secluded, and serene. We are off the power grid; electricity comes from solar arrays (supplemented by generators) and our water comes from stream fed wells. For those looking for a"digital detox", cell phone coverage stops 70 miles away; your stay will be undisturbed.

Furthermore, the best part about being located in New Mexico is the unique and varied topography of the Gila National Forest. On horseback, you will venture through incredible deep canyons, across crystal clear spring fed streams, to high mountain overlooks, across open meadows and through Ponderosa forests. As well, numerous Native American ruins are in the immediate vicinity of the ranch, including cliff dwellings, caves, and pictographs dating from 200-1150 AD.  This is also the land Geronimo was born (in 1829) and grew up in and the homeland of the Chiricahua Apaches who entered this area around 1400.

Most of all, horses are our passion and livelihood. Our horses are the foundation of our business, and as such are very important. We have spent a great deal of time finding gentle yet responsive and rugged mounts for our guests. We take great pride in owning well-trained, responsive horses. Our loved and well-cared for horses will allow you to build confidence in your riding skills and enjoy the magnificent scenery on horseback. They are well accustomed to covering the vastly different terrain you will experience. In addition, we make every effort to avoid ‘nose to tail’ trail riding! We are very skilled at matching riders to horses. We want you to be comfortable yet find your horse enjoyable and challenging to ride.

Finally, are you ready to plan your visit to New Mexico yet? Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is open March through mid-November. Due to being at 6,500 feet elevation, we enjoy very temperate weather year-round. Summer days are pleasantly dry (low humidity!) and comfortably warm, while mountain evenings are cool and crisp. Spring and fall days are mild and sunny. If you are looking for all adult times, we recommend the months of May, September, October or November when the kids are likely to be in school. 

If you'd like to learn more about our ranch, please visit our website at In conclusion, it's been a pleasure to share more about our New Mexico dude ranch with the Must Love Horses community. We hope you have enjoyed learning about our ranch and the scenery and history that await you in New Mexico!

We would like to thank Kelly and Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch for sharing with us. We are finding ourselves day dreaming about riding in the beautiful countryside of New Mexico. If you haven’t already, head over to their website and plan a trip!

ALL PHOTOS CREDIT: Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch.

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