Craig & Maybell: Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado

When Ryan accuses me of falling in love with every place we visit he’s not wrong. I tend to adore each place I visit and Northwest Colorado was no exception. I’ve had a special place in my heart for this place since I was a little girl.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (5)
The 60th Great American Horse Drive in Maybell, Colorado.

My grandfather used to tell stories of working on a ranch outside of Craig when he was a young man. He liked horses more than people, and I think this is why he loved the area so much. He grew up on a ranch in the shadow of Mt. Rainier and lived in Southern Oregon most of his life, but he had a fondness for Northwest Colorado until the day he died.

Duffy Mountains, Northwest Colorado. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer, HeidiTown.com

Craig is located in Moffat County, an area in the far west corner of Colorado that was populated by about 13,000 in 2017. I’m fairly sure that cows outnumber people here, especially during calving season when it seems every cow in the county dropped a calf.

RELATED: The Wild Horses of Northwest Colorado

We visited Moffat County to see the Great American Horse Drive that happened earlier this May. This horse drive has been happening for sixty years, and it’s the most western thing I’ve witnessed in Colorado.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (10)

Around 600 horses trot through Maybell, Colorado, just west of Craig. The horses belong to Sombrero Ranch, and this is part of the spring roundup. After the drive, the horses are sent to the various Sombrero Ranches around Colorado to work for the summer.

This is the biggest event that happens in the tiny town of Maybell. There is a Sinclair gas station and town park, but otherwise, Maybell is a quiet town much of the time, that is until the Great American Horse Drive.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (9)

We arrived early on Sunday to situate our lawn chairs in a good position for watching the drive. At this point, we got a couple of breakfast burritos from the fire department (yes, Maybell has a fire department), and listened to the singing from Cowboy Church. I am not particularly religious but I enjoyed the old-fashion hymns.

In the meantime, we browsed the vendors, buying a beautiful glass vase from Debby Locke’s Glass Art. This Colorado branded vase did very well on HeidiTown’s Facebook page. People loved it.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (4)

While people waited for the drive, they could browse vendors, eat from food trucks or the fire department, or ride in wagons drawn by draft horses.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (2)

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (1)

The horses came through town around 10:30 a.m. and instead of telling you about it in words, I’ll show you.

Like I wrote above, this is the most western thing I’ve witnessed and I grew up in the west!

The commentary from the children next to us was priceless. And if you have children, this would be a wonderful, free event to take them to next year.

Great American Horse Drive 2019 (5)

Great American Horse Drive 2019 (4)

After the event, we got some lunch, barbecue for Ryan and of course, tacos for me.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (3)

We stayed at the Candlewood Suites in Craig for three-nights during this visit. Our one-bedroom suite featured a living room and kitchen with a two-burner stove and a full refrigerator. This was our first experience at a Candlewood and our suite reminded me of many condos we’ve stayed at. The suites are roomy and perfect for staying more than a night.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (7)
The view from our suite at Candlewood in Craig.

We saw antelope and deer from our room and heard Sandhill Cranes roosting on the nearby Yampa River on our first night. I won’t lie though, our favorite place here was the hotel’s store which carried everything from beef jerky to Top Ramen to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream at super affordable prices.

Craig & Maybell Horse Drives & Tacos in Northwest Colorado. HeidiTown (8)

Next up: A hot springs in Craig? You bet.

Thank you to Candlewood Suites Craig and Visit Moffat County for hosting us on this trip.

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