When 500 wild mustangs were at risk of being slaughtered, businesswoman and philanthropist Madeleine Pickens jumped into action. She immediately rescued the horses and transported them to a private sanctuary in northeast Nevada. Now, the 900-square-mile property, spread over the wide-open plains, is home to more than 1,000 wild mustangs and welcomes guests for stays in 10 safari cottages and 10 luxury tipis, providing a one-of-a-kind setting for ecotourists to experience an American safari.
The idea of glamping is hardly new to the American West, but Mustang Monument is unique. First, the proceeds from the philanthropic venture go entirely to rescuing the horses and funding the refuge. Second, the exclusive experience is only open from June through September, when the weather is perfect (typically ranging from 50 to 80 degrees) for its range of outdoor activities and experiences. Guests of all ages can ride ATVs; learn to cook; head out for remote picnics; take full-day horseback trail rides; feed and interact with the mustangs; have an overnight sheep wagon experience with Native Americans; visit local hot springs; and enjoy archery, baseball, rappelling, and wagon rides.
Accommodations are intentionally in tune with the rugged landscape, but hardly short on comfort. The 10 luxury cottages feature their own design schemes inspired by the American Southwest. Every 550-square-foot independent structure includes king size beds, en suite bathrooms, heat and air conditioning, walk-in closets, and bathrooms with separate showers and soaking tubs. Complementing these freestanding structures are 10 tipis, each constructed for the season and measuring 26 feet wide by 26 feet tall. Furnishings include leather chairs, hardwood floors, and Native American textiles. Additionally, each has its own detached bathroom with full amenities.
Elsewhere on the property, wellness activities like yoga are available, as are massages and facials (although not this season due to COVID-19), which are held in a treatment tipi or underneath shaded trees. Dining is overseen by chef Peter McQuaid, who worked at Daniel (with its three Michelin stars) and now creates one-of-a-kind culinary experiences on property, to enjoy in your own tipi or underneath the stars. Ruby’s Restaurant serves three meals a day, as well as cocktails and fine wines, and hosts culinary classes. The property has decided to only open for exclusive buyouts during the pandemic, making it the perfect summertime, camp-like retreat for families and close friends to enjoy together.
From $1,660 for tipis or $1,800 for cottages. mustangmonument.com
Getting There: The property is in Wells, Nevada, about a 2.5-hour drive from Salt Lake City International Airport. Those flying private can land at the Wells Municipal Airport/Harriet Field (LWL), which is about a 25-minute drive away.