The ultimate cowboy adventure in the heart of the Croatian Velebit Mountains.
Amidst the foothills of the Velebit Mountain lies a hidden valley full of natural beauty, horses, culture and endless adventures, home to a private and unique guest ranch: Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch, Croatia’s premier horse and riding destination.
This “Ultimate Cowboy Adventure” is a carefully tailored 7-day program to liven your spirit and engage your body. Come and ride in pristine nature, cross the mountains on horseback and indulge in tasty cuisine. Experience frontier life in this heart-changing adventure. You will come as a city-slicker and leave as true and tried cowboy and cowgirl.
Day 1 - Arrival in the afternoon. Explore the Ranch and meet the horses.
Day 2 - After breakfast, you will participate in a natural horsemanship session led by Linden Tree founder Bruce Yerkovich. After lunch, we tack the horses and go on a trail ride for a couple of hours to put into practice what you learned in the morning and to make sure we are ready for the adventure.
Day 3 - After breakfast we set out for our first day-ride. Our goal for this day is to reach a high mountain plateau, where the Linden crew has set up our base camp. On the way we will cross hidden springs and watercourses. This is an intensive ride, covering some rough terrain, often going through unmarked territory. Accommodation will be in our safari-style tents on comfy beds and proper mattresses and duvets.
Day 4 - Good cowboy breakfast will be served in the morning. On this day we will traverse an old Roman road that leads to the seaside of the mountain. We will stop for the rest and lunch break at the Ranger’s station, before heading back to base camp.
Day 5 - The ride on this day takes us over the mountain to a valley where several movies were made and which is a popular brown bear habitat, so there is a high probability of spotting these majestic animals on this day. We will eat our lunch out of the saddlebags. In the afternoon we will circle back to the base camp riding on a dirt road. Favorite place to try some galloping.
Day 6 - Day of return to the Ranch using high altitude switchbacks, popular during middle-ages with outlaws and renegades. Lunch out of the saddlebags near the animal watering hole, so very likely we will run into forest critters there. In the evening, a feast will await us at the Ranch, after which a soak in a hot tub will feel extra special!
Day 7 - Departure after breakfast.
The price includes: Activities as outlined in the trip itinerary, three meals daily from dinner on the first day until breakfast on the last day, horse and gear, use of all facilities, nature park riding permit, national park entrance fees, bar drinks while on the trail.
Not included: Alcoholic beverages. Flights. Transfer from airport/train station to Linden Tree Retreat&Ranch (link). Insurance and personal extras. Bar drinks at the Ranch, environmental fee (5%) and occupancy tax (€5).
What to bring: We recommend you to dress in layers. Hiking shoes, sun hat, water bottle, daypack, long pants, jacket, raincoat or poncho, sun protection cream, and non smelling mosquito/tick repellent. Binoculars, personal toiletries/medicines and a sense of adventure!
Age and weight restrictions: The minimum age is 13 years. Anyone under 18 should be a regular and enthusiastic rider, have a keen sense of adventure and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We ask that you judge yourself (and your children) honestly in this regard, as we will take your word for it and plan the trip accordingly. It is important that you feel fit and healthy before going on the trail. We are traveling in the wilderness, where medical services (beyond first aid) are not readily available. The maximum weight for riders is 100 kg (220 lbs US). Exceptions may be made for very experienced/athletic riders. No prior riding experience needed.
Rewilding Europe Levy: 5% of your booking sum goes to the local Rewilding Europe organization.
Due to the huge growth in coastal tourism in Croatia over the last 10-15 years, many local inhabitants have moved out of the Velebit area towards the coast. As a result, many areas of this beautiful region are now characterised by land abandonment, rural exodus and fading cultural tradition. Rewilding Europe is working with local partners to transform these challenges into opportunities. This has seen the establishment of the 23,000-hectare Velebit Nature Reserve.
A new wildlife watching venture saw the construction and opening of two wildlife hides in this reserve in 2016. These will benefit the local community through job opportunities and boosted tourism income. They represent the first step in developing the area’s vast potential as a sustainable nature tourism destination.
Two unique forests in the Rewilding Velebit area were recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Rewilding Europe is working to promote this model across Europe.
Bruce worked both in the corporate and academic environment until 2008, when he founded Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch, a guest ranch on the slopes of Velebit Mountain in Croatia.
Dr. Bruce Yerkovich, American-Croatian entrepreneur and scientist received his doctorate in the United States in the field of Quantum Biophysics. Subsequently, he specialized in bioinformatics and human genomics.
As a part of his research efforts, Dr. Yerkovich pioneered CIDER
(Community, Integrity, Development, Evolution and Responsibility), a multidimensional tool to serve as a guide in developing sustainable and ethical business practices.
In 2016 the Ranch was listed as one of The Top 10 Luxury Camps in Europe by DK Eyewitness Travel Magazine.
Bruce lives at the Ranch with his wife Megi, where he trains horses and takes guests on horseback expeditions.
Dr.Yerkovich is an author and serves as a guest speaker and lecturer in the field of sustainable development and his services are sought after both by private and government sector.
Dr. Bruce Yerkovich
Owner and cowboy, Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch