Cowboy Up! Rugged Western Trips for Office Drones

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Holly Griswold

Hondoo Rivers & Trails guides riders through the red-rock canyons of Utah's San Rafael Swell

Travel news, deals and updates for the week of June 15, 2009


Asia for Cheap. Singapore Airlines is offering economy-class fares from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and New York City (JFK only) at three price levels: round-trip tickets to Moscow, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul cost $599; to Singapore, Bangkok, Bali and other cities in Southeast Asia, $699; and to Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi, Sydney and Perth, $899. Book by June 28 for outbound travel from July 1 through Nov. 30. All travel must be completed by Jan. 31, 2010.


Welcome, City Slickers. Each summer, Hondoo Rivers & Trails, an outfitter in southern Utah, offers the Inn to Inn horseback-riding package, which includes three days' ride in Capitol Reef National Park and two days in Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. You'll have fun on the trails by day, and relaxation in a proper bed at a B&B by night. Rates start at $2,250 per person for six nights and include outfitting, lodging, all meals and transportation (for a limited time, Hondoo is offering a 15% discount on reservations for two or more, dropping the price to $1,925). If you prefer to camp, six-night camping trips are on sale for $1,275 (down from the usual $1,495). And if you're not a great rider, don't worry — you can request a gentle horse for novice riders. 800-332-2696

Dude-Ranch Lite. The five-night package at the Tamaya stables in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M., includes horseback-riding lessons from owner Connie Collins — she'll teach more experienced riders western rodeo — and guided treks along the cottonwood trees that line the Rio Grande and Jemez rivers. The package has a camp-for-grown-ups feel, with Collins and her guides mixing margaritas on the ranch porch, and a rodeo (guests can take part) and an awards ceremony at the end of your stay. The stables are partnered with the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, where you get lodging and two 60-min. spa treatments. The Sunday-through-Thursday package also includes a $100 credit at the local western outfitting store. Prices start at $3,495 per person for five nights, including meals and transportation, through Sept. 28 (excluding the weeks of July 6 and Aug. 3). 1300 Tuyuna Trail, Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.; 505-867-1234

Calling all Anglers. The remote Lodge at Jackson Fork Ranch, which occupies six miles along the Upper Hoback River in Wyoming, challenges anglers to come catch four native species of the Wyoming cutthroat trout. It's said you can find any kind of trout within an hour of the lodge, and the lodge's Cutt-Slam package takes you to all four habitats of native trout. Rates start at $4,225 for six nights, including all meals and a local guide. 866-953-1290

Brad Pitt Was Here. The Resort at Paws Up, on the banks of Montana's Blackfoot River, has a little something for everyone: trail-riding, mountain-biking, river-rafting, birding and, as depicted in Robert Redford's A River Runs through It, fly-fishing (the movie was filmed on the Blackfoot River). Right now, the resort has a four-day package, including two full days of fly-fishing, a box of customized Paws Up flies, two Montana State fishing licenses, half a day of any adventure activity, plus a copy of A River Runs through It in paperback and on DVD. Rates start at $4,158 for four nights, including all meals, through Oct. 31. 800-473-0601

Outdoor Bonanza. Located in Washington State's Cascade Mountains, the Salish Lodge & Spa (just 40 minutes from the Seattle airport) offers fishing, horseback-riding, hiking and whitewater-rafting, along with rooms with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. The hotel has a package with Emerald Water Anglers, offering a half-day fly-fishing trip for native trout and steelhead in the Snoqualmie River. Fly-fishing-package rates start at $649 per night, including guides, transportation and equipment rental, through Sept. 15. Horseback riders will be set up with Tiger Mountain Outfitters (425-392-5090), which charges $60 for a two-hour ride through valleys and forests. For a room only, rates start at $259. 800-272-5474

Western Wildlife Safari. The 1,000-acre Spring Creek Ranch resort, located on a butte in Jackson Hole, Wyo., near Grand Teton National Park, has luxurious log-cabin-like rooms with stone fireplaces and views of the Teton Mountains. Right now, the resort is offering a Summer Adventure package, which includes a guided horseback ride, a whitewater-rafting trip, a dawn or dusk wildlife safari (on which you may spot antelope, mule deer, elk, bison, coyotes or wolves) and two massages. Package rates for five nights start at $1,218 per person, based on double occupancy, including breakfast. Book by July 1, for travel through Sept. 17. 1-800-443-6139

Summer Camp for Big Kids. "Camp Not Exactly Roughing It" at Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colo., is a deluxe three-night getaway, with unlimited fly-fishing casting clinics, Frisbee golf, boccie and hiking, plus two lift tickets for scenic chairlift rides up Beaver Creek Mountain and lunch at Spruce Saddle. There are summer-camp-themed treats, like s'mores cocktails, granola parfaits and ants on a log served up (that's celery sticks filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins). You can also connect with your dedicated "counselor concierge" before you arrive to schedule horseback rides, whitewater-rafting, zip-lining, mountain-biking and more for additional discounted fees. Nightly rates start at $262 (that's 50% off usual prices) per person, based on double occupancy, and include breakfast; the package is available June 13 through Sept. 7. Click here to book (scroll down). 800-752-7920

Endangered Forests. See California's state parks before they succumb to the state's budget crisis. Molera Horseback Tours will guide you through ancient redwood groves or for an amble along the beach at sunset in Big Sur's Andrew Molera State Park. You can stay nearby at Big Sur River Inn, where residents lounge in the shallows of the Big Sur River in comfy wicker chairs. Trail rides start at $40; room rates start at $125. Highway 1 at Pheneger Creek, Big Sur, Calif.; 831-667-2700

Mongolian Passage. If you'd like to ride horseback where you've never ridden before, try Nomadic Expeditions' eight-day trek through the forests and meadows of Hovsgol province in Mongolia. The Northern Mongolia on Horseback odyssey takes place Aug. 10-24 and is designed for the more experienced horseback rider. It includes visits with nomadic families and with Tsaatans — members of the Turkic-speaking Tuvinian ethnic group known as Dukha, who herd reindeer. Rates start at $3,415, including meals, guides, horses and ground transportation. 800-998-6634

For Your Loyalty. Joining hotel loyalty programs is a no-brainer: you get free room upgrades, free breakfasts, better service and other perks. Members of Omni Hotels' Select Guest loyalty program, for example, receive complimentary pressing and shoe shines.

Perks for Beltway Regulars. Got sticky long-term business on the Hill? The Sofitel Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., is offering patrons free chauffeured Town Car service to morning appointments downtown and complimentary long-term storage of personal belongings, like clothes, toiletries and documents, which will be placed in your room ahead of each arrival. If you tell the hotel the brand of your electronic devices prior to your visit, Sofitel will even provide power cords and accessories. Rates start from $295 to $510. 806 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.; 202-730-8800


Take Me Fishing!, a website run by the nonprofit Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation, serves as a fishing-resource mega-aggregator. Click on any state and find out where you can fish, what species you can catch, and what fishing outfitters and guides are available; you can also buy fishing licenses online. The site allows you to narrow your search to fishing areas that are family friendly, have a marina or are home to a particular species of fish.


Lady Liberty's Head Reopens. Tickets to climb to the crown of New York City's Statue of Liberty, which has been closed since 9/11, went on sale last weekend. The $3 tickets can be reserved up to one year in advance and can be combined with ferry tickets, which cost $12 for adults and $5 for children. Buy them through the ferry operator, Statue Cruises or call 877-LADY-TIX (877-523-9849). Be aware that no elevator was added to the site, so get ready to climb those 354 steps on your own.