Frequently Asked Questions
All of our trips are horseback, whether it be a two-hour horseback ride on our 1200 acre private Quarter Horse Ranch, a day ride into the San Juan National Forest, a five day basecamp pack trip or an extended expedition on the Continental Divide Trail. All of our hunts are horseback as well. We are fortunate in that we have the most beautiful place in the world in which to base all of our adventures.
Horses are living, breathing animals and are the lifeblood of our business. In order to protect their health, we must limit the weight of the people (and cargo) that we put on them.
Typically, a pack animal can carry up to 150 pounds of gear as they travel through the rugged, mountainous trails that we cover.
Depending on the type of trip that you are on, we have the following limits:
Ranch Rides: 210 pounds if height is less than 6’0″, 240 pounds if height is greater than 6’0″
High Country Rides: 200 pounds if height is less than 6’0″, 225 pounds if height is greater than 6’0″
Continental Divide Ride: 190 pounds if height is less than 6’0″, 210 pounds if height is greater than 6’0″
We recommend that all clients purchase a Colorado Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card BEFORE coming on a trip. The purpose of this card is to assist in the costs associated with a backcountry evacuation should the situation arise (hopefully not!). If you purchase a hunting or fishing license, it is included.
Purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card:
Locally, CORSAR cards can be purchased at the following businesses:
Why Buy a CORSAR Card?
Colorado residents and visitors are well served by dedicated volunteer search and rescue teams, but mission costs are often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund, which will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue. Funds remaining at the end of the year are used to help pay for training and equipment for these teams. Anyone with a current hunting/fishing license, or boat, snowmobile, ATV registration is already covered by the fund.
The CORSAR Card Is Not Insurance
The card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Medical transport includes helicopter flights or ground ambulance. If aircraft are used as a search vehicle, those costs are reimbursed by the fund. If the aircraft becomes a medical transport due to a medical emergency, the medical portion of the transport is not covered.
The CORSAR cards are available for $3 for one year and $12 for five years, and can be purchased at over 300 retailers in the state. You may also purchase cards online. For the cost of the card, you have helped ensure that trained and well equipped search and rescue teams will respond should you become lost or in need of rescue. Furthermore, volunteers will not have to incur undue expense due to your emergency.
Note: much of the above information was taken from the La Plata County Search and Rescue Website:
On all horseback trips you will need the following:
- Reservations (required for all trips)
- Long Pants
- Closed Toes Shoes
- Cowboy Hat, Ball Cap or Visor
- Bottled Water
- BRING A CAMERA!
- NO FLIP FLOPS
You will also need some specific gear depending on what trip you are joining us for. To determine what you need, consult the Equipment Lists page.
Three USGS topo maps cover most of our permit area. To download these maps, visit the Maps & Equipment Lists page.
You will enjoy all of our trips most if you are in good physical shape. Plan ahead, train for your trip and get ready to enjoy one of the best trips you can have anywhere. Hunting is especially demanding. Big game live in the hard to access wild places and if you want to hunt them, that’s where we have to go. You will get out of your hunt what you put into it!
Modern in-line muzzleloaders are legal in Colorado. We recommend 50 caliber or larger. Site in at 100 yd. 500 sq inches of blaze orange including a hat are required.
We recommend a minimum draw weight of 50 pounds. Mechanical broadheads are discouraged because of their inherent unreliability. Be confident shooting to 50 yd.
The most important thing is to practice! Almost any rifle will kill with a good shot. Site your rifle in at 250 yards and know how it shoots from 50-400 yards. Popular guns are 30/06, 7mm mag, 270, 300 and 338 mag. We recommend bullet weight between 150-180 grains. 500 sq inches of blaze orange including a hat are required.
We welcome non-hunting guests in our camps for an additional fee to cover use of horses, camp and food and staff support. Consult the Rates and Dates page for the fee.
You may be concerned about the service that comes with a drop camp from an outfitter who also does fully-guided hunts. We assure you that you will have staff dedicated to your service. Our drop camps are in very productive areas- the same areas that we guide in. Often times, our drop camps are more successful than our guided hunters. That’s hunting. We can’t control where the elk go. We promise you that your drop camp will have the best equipment and we will give 100% effort to make your hunt the best that it can be. Packing of one big game animal included. Additional animals packed for fee.
Our guided hunts are the best anywhere. Everything that we do is first class. All of our equipment is in top condition. Our hunts are all 1:1 to give you the best opportunity for success. Keep this in mind when comparing our hunts with other outfitters, as most advertised hunts and their prices are NOT 1:1.
We hunt wild elk in the wild. We hunt elk the hard way, the way that they have been hunted for hundreds of years. We can’t guarantee that you will shoot an elk. We can guarantee you that we will do our best to have an opportunity for an elk and that we will never, ever give up. We guarantee that you will have a world class hunt.
Cost based on number of animals required for your trip. Weight limit for pack animals is 150 pounds. Oversized or bulky items may require more animals.
These fishing trips are based on our pack trips. We recommend five days or more, giving you three days of fishing. There is exciting stream fishing on the Florida River flowing next to camp. We can ride or hike to two other fabulous streams, each of which can be fished for multiple days. High mountain lakes are where the largest fish are found. Lakes are more temperamental, but the scenery is spectacular and if you hook one of the lunkers, it’ll be something that you never forget. Brook trout, native cuthroat, rainbows and cutbows are what we catch. Our guides are knowledgable. We provide casting lessons, are knowledgable in entomology, and provide advice on fishing. We know how to fish our streams and can maximize your fishing experience. We rent fishing equipment if you do not have your own.
We provide riding instruction and all tack. For a two hour ride, bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and possibly a snack. Rain gear is nice to have in July and August when thunderstorms become active in the afternoons.
Progressive trips are very demanding. Accommodations are sparse so that we can pack up quickly and cover the miles with light weight equipment. The amount of labor required is tremendous, hence their greater cost. In return, the rewards are high with new scenery everyday, a variety of camps and the satisfaction of an outstanding adventure.
Includes guides, saddle horses or mules, pack stock, tack. We provide riding instructions and encourage guests to get as involved with the handling of the horses as they wish, within reason. Gourmet meals, snacks, soft drinks and purified water are provided (bring your own water bottle). Lodging is in wall tents. Cots and pads are provided. We have separate sleeping tents for each group of a mixed group trip. Clean latrine tents are near camp. When the weather is warm enough, a warm shower is available.
The staff of Over the Hill Outfitters works hard to make your experience the best you can possibly have. They have put in many hours learning their trade and greatly appreciate tips. Guests always ask how much should I tip? That is entirely up to you, but typically it it between 10% and 20%, similar to other service industry tipping rates.
We do not provide alcohol on any of our trips. We will pack in a beverage of your choice (within reason). Since the effects of alcohol are multiplied at altitude, please use common sense. Under no circumstances will anyone be allowed to ride a horse or hunt under the influence of alcohol.
A Colorado fishing license is required and available at most sporting goods stores in addition to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. You are required to purchase your own fishing license prior to trip departure.
Final payment is due 45 days prior to trip departure date. Final payments can be in the form of check, money order or Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
A 50% nonrefundable deposit is required to secure a slot on a trip. Deposits can be in the form of check, money order or Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
We suggest you make reservations early. Many or our trips are popular and fill up quickly. All of our trips are limited to eight guests and we have a high rate of return clients. We are fully licensed and all or our trips are backed by a written contract and secured with a deposit.
Weather is unpredictable. Daytime temperatures in the fall can range from 20o-60o with nights in the -0o-30o range. Rain and snow are always possible. Bring a sleeping bag rated to -10o-20o..
June through September typically have warm days with highs in the 70os and 80os. June usually has sunny afternoons while July and August often have afternoon thunderstorms. The possibility of light snow always exists in the higher elevations, even in July and August. Expect cool nights with lows in the 30os to 50os. For summer trips, bring a sleeping bag rated at 10o-20o. Upon booking a trip, we will send you a recommended equipment list appropriate to your trip.
You are responsible for your lodging in Durango. We can provide a list of recommended lodging in the Durango area.
There are daily flights directly into Durango via Denver (United) and Phoenix (American). If you choose to fly directly to Durango, you will need to arrange for transportation from the aiport to your hotel. Many hotels offer this service. You can also rent a car which is a good option if you plan to arrive in Durango a few days prior to your trip so that you can acclimate to the altitude (and take advantage of all of the other great things to do in the area). Unfortunately, we cannot offer tranportation because insurance costs have become prohibitive for tranporting guests. The morning of your trip, if you do not have tranportation, we will assist you in arranging to have you picked you up at your hotel and brought to our ranch where we will weigh and pack your gear before going to the trailhead and on to our basecamp. You can also fly into Albuquerque and rent a car. Durango is approximately a three and a half hour drive on mostly four lane highway. Another option is to fly into Denver, which is a six hour drive.
All of our adventures take place between 7,000-14,000 ft. We advise arriving in Durango two or three days ahead of your departure date so that you can acclimate gradually. Drink lots of fluids as hydration is one of the best defenses to altitude sickness. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine to minimize dehydration.
The most important consideration when booking with an outfitter is knowing what type of trip you want. Find as many outfitters providing the type of service as you can and compare among them. Ask for references and call them.
We believe that we offer the finest in horseback adventures and that our prices reflect our commitment to quality and service that our clients have come to expect from Over the Hill Outfitters. There are many expenses for a top-notch outfitting company. We have one of the best areas in the Western United States and operate under a special use permit issued by the United States Forest Service. A portion of all of our revenue from operations on public lands is returned to the government. We pay our guides as much as we can. Our outfit has 40-50 head of horses that must be fed and cared for year round. As a professional outfitter, we are bonded insured and licensed in the state of Colorado under the Department of Regulatory Agencies. It takes 3 4WD trucks and trailers to transport our stock and equipment to the trailhead daily. You can see that when you get a bargain price for a trip, something must be compromised.
To better understand what goes into a quality progressive pack trip, click here for a detailed cost analysis for our Continental Divide Trail Horseback Adventure.