Horseback Trail Riding in America’s National Parks
Writer & Traveler
Horseback trail riding is a great activity to enjoy in national parks, especially those in the American West. Connect with your inner John Wayne or Daniel Boone during your horseback riding vacation and satisfy any dreams you might have of feeling like a Western film star or great American pioneer. With the grandeur of impressive mountain ranges, magnificent rock formations, lush forests, and sprawling deserts as your backdrop, saddling up in US national parks will quench your thirst for adventure while traveling at a slower and more eco-friendly pace.
What to Wear Horseback Riding
Clothing recommendations for horseback riding vacations almost always include long pants and closed-toe shoes. Otherwise, what to wear horseback riding largely depends on the climate and weather. Layers are always a good idea as well as protection from the sun. Ensure that hats and items are secure so they don’t fall off mid-ride. Many trips will offer saddle bags which are a good place to store water and other small personal belongings during horseback riding excursions.
Where to Go Horseback Riding
The good news for equestrian enthusiasts is that most, if not all, U.S. national parks allow horseback trail riding. Be sure to check park rules and regulations before your horseback riding excursion. Some of the best and most popular places to go horseback riding in national parks are Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains. You might be surprised to find that some national parks also have horseback camping sites, like those found in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Other great options include Shenandoah, Cuyahoga Valley, and North Cascades national parks.
Horseback Riding Ranches
Looking to venture beyond the parks? Check out a horseback riding ranch. Most of them are not too far from the national parks and a great place to set up basecamp for your horseback riding vacation. Try running wild in Bar W Guest Ranch’s nearly one million acres by Glacier National Park in Montana. Alternatively, get your fill of stunning mountain vistas in Gros Ventre River Ranch near Wyoming’s Grand Teton. Other options include Colorado’s Drowsy Water Ranch near Rocky Mountain National Park and 4UR Ranch not far from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Many horseback riding ranches will offer guided horseback riding excursions, so you can get the lay of the land with a local expert.