A Horseback Trail Ride
Can be a Horse Lover's Gift Long Remembered

A horseback trail ride makes a great gift, especially for the horse lover whose experience has been confined to lessons in and around the arena.

    You can -
  • spend a few hours riding along a local bridle path, a half to full day supervised ride at a guest ranch, or a trip led by an outfitter lasting several days.
  • ride along a woodsy trail, in the mountains, along the seashore, through rolling countryside, or in a national park or wilderness area.
  • go by yourself, with a friend or lover, with several friends, or with an organized group.
  • make a horseback trail ride the centerpiece of a vacation or a part of a vacation dedicated to touring, relaxing, or other activities.
  • spend a few bucks on a short ride or a thousand or more on a week long excursion with luxury accomodations.

Bryce Canyon Trail Ride Destination

In short, there's no limit to horseback trail ride possibilities - there's Bryce Canyon as one good example. A comprehensive listing of trail riding opportunities is well beyond our scope. What you'll find here however is a few excellent resources to help you find something in your area or destination plus a couple of suggestions on areas we particularly like. Fair enough?

Bringing Your Own Horses?

A website with a wealth of information in The Horse Trails and Campgrounds Directory (open new window). I've watched John's website grow from a few dozen entries to hundreds.

The trails and campgrounds are rated by the users and if you happen upon a trail or campground not listed you're encouraged to add to their list. Most states in the USA and several countries are represented, so this is worth checking out to see what might be available in the area you're planning to visit. This is obviously a labor of love and a very useful source of information. Most of these horseback trail rides are of the bring-your-own-horse-variety but several campgrounds with horses to rent are found among the listings.

Organized Trail Rides - Try The AQHA

American Quarter Horse Association You'll find these at most vacation and dude ranches, or you can sign up on a horseback trail ride sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association. This highly respected organization annualy sponsors 90 or so trail rides in the US and Canada, plus a few in other countries. Since 1997, more than 46,000 riders have participated in AQHA's Ride Program.every year.

To view the particulars and schedule of the AQHA trail riding program you can visit their site by clicking on their banner above or clicking here. (Once at the home page put your cursor on Event Schedule and click on Trail Ride Schedule in the drop-down menu).

Trail Rider

What to Bring?
This depends of course on where you're heading to and for how long. As a minimum you'd want clothes for riding, a hat (recommended for anything longer than an hour or two) and of course boots with a defined heel for safety's sake.

For longer trips check our list of things to take along and pick and choose what you beleive you might need.

If you're going on an organized ride hosted by a guest ranch or an outfitter, they'll usually tell you what you need when you contact them.

Of course if you're bringing your own horse you likely already know what to bring along (for the horse anyhow) but again, if it's an organized event someone can tell you what you'll need.

Clicking on the Guest ranches banner below gives you with a variety of options, primarily trail rides from a vacation ranch as your headquarters. This is a great way to go if you want to ride for several days but would like something other than primitive accomodations between trips.

Guest Ranches and Ranching Vacations


Great Destinations for a Horseback Trail Ride or Two
Here's a handful of destinations we're particularly fond of and believe you would enjoy as well.
  • Western Alberta - famous for the beautiful Canadian Rockies, Banff, and Calgary - home of the Calgary Stampede. This is also cowboy and horse country. Starting with a trip from British Columbia over Crowsnest Pass and the Continental Divide and then on Highway 22 to Calgary you'll find farms and ranches galore, all sorts of riding possibilities with the ever present Rockies in the background. Banff, Alberta Horseback Paradise
    In the Banff area there's the Holiday on Horseback ranch offering short or all day trail rides, breakfast rides, covered wagon cookouts, and for those looking for more adventure, 2-6 day packtrips to tent camps and backcountry lodges. (Roughing it the civilized way). You'll find Canadians to be about the most hospitable hosts you can imagine. That's always been our experience.

  • The Lewis and Clark Trail - while extending from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, interesting segments to travel on horseback include the Bitterroot Range (Montana/Idaho - be prepared for extremes in climate on this segment, even in late summer), the upper Missouri and the Missouri Headwaters, and along the Yellowstone River (Montana/North Dakota). There are numerous guest ranches and outfitters in these areas offering short or extended trail rides.

  • You'll find hundreds of miles of horseback riding in and around the Black Hills of S. Dakota.

    There's the Custer State Park/Black Hills National Forest for example with the gentleMickelson Trail to the more difficult Centennial Trail which winds thru Custer State Park.

  • Half Moon Bay - in northern California if a little seashore riding along the Pacific appeals to you. You can watch the surfers from the comfort of your saddle!

  • Bridle Creek Trails inside the Jefferson National Forest along the 67 mile long Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. Also, The Iron Mountain Horse trail, Creeper Trail, and many more.

  • The Bob Marshall Wilderness in Western Montana offers great pack trip eperiences. There are outfitters along both the west and east boundaries of the wilderness area. This is grizzly bear habitat (the area to the north is called the Great Bear Wilderness) but you could ride for a year without seeing one. It's a big place!

  • The Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwestern Montana (near Libby) is a beautiful and seldom visited area. It's a rugged area with plenty of wildlife and superb fishing.

  • Being around horses is good for us. We know that. Ride The Sunshine Glow is a web site devoted to anti-aging through skin care, taking supplements and exercising including a special horseback riding experience at the Makarios Ranch in New Mexico. You'll find helpful hints for keeping your horse in good health here as well.

A couple of other websites providing a variety of horseback trail ride vacation opportunities:

A good resource for adventure travel including horseback vacations, dude ranches, and horseback trail rides is Gordon's Guide.

Real Adventures offers exciting destinations, relaxing getaways, unique vacations, cool adventures, once in a lifetime trips and great accommodations & resorts with plenty of vacation opportunities on horseback.


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