Now that Fall is peeking around the corner, horseback riding is the perfect outdoor adventure. Whether you live in Colorado or are just visiting our beautiful state, frolicking in the mountain air can be just the cure for whatever ails you. There are quite a few horse ranches scattered around the Western Slope and the Front Range, but you’ll want to be picky about where you choose to ride as not all facilities will give you a ride worth the money. Booking your equestrian journey as far in advance as possible is recommended, but you’ll need to be flexible to some extend for weather-related delays that can arise.
One of the best five-star Southwest Colorado options for horseback riding offers trips around Ouray, just south of Montrose. Action Adventures offers multiple rides ranging from one hour for riders as young as 5 to a four-hour trip for those 11 and older. At a very reasonable $50 for one hour to $175 for four hours, you will see incredible mountain scenery in the Switzerland of America and around Red Mountain. Some of their extended trips include dinner in the mountains or even overnight trips camping in yurts on a mountain top. For those adventurous, outdoorsy people, the longest trip is 7 days and 6 nights at $1,825 per rider, exploring 14,000-foot mountains with incredible wildlife viewing.
For a family friendly stable, SK Horses offers over 40 years of experience to guide your smallest rider around Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Pony rides for your littles 50 pounds or under can last up to 30 minutes for a reasonable $30. One hour rides are $60 and six hour rides are $240 for the 2020 season. Longer full-day rides are also available across mountain streams at higher elevations.
An award-winning ranch, the Rusty Spurr is just north of Vail in the little town of Kremmling at an altitude of just over 7,300 feet. With over 2,000 acres, the ranch takes pride in healthy horses that roam free when not hoofing it on scheduled rides. Not your average riding stable, this facility offers cattle drives for riders 12 and older that last up to four hours across 10,000 acres for a reasonable $170 per rider with lunch included. Morning and afternoon trail rides are also offered for 1-3 hours for riders 8 and older. Another fun option is their Saddle & Paddle trip for an all-day adventure that includes two hours of riding, lunch, and an afternoon float trip on the Upper Colorado River. 2-3 hour private rides are also offered at $340-$500 for two riders with room for additional riders.
Whatever your Colorado destination, there are many more ranches throughout the state that can give you many scenic memories. While horseback riding can be a memorable adventure, you will want to be in good physical condition for extended rides. Most stables do have a weight limit for riders to avoid undue strain on their horses, so it is a good idea to ask when making your reservations. Make sure to wear long pants and close-toed shoes or boots preferably with a heel, and bring a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, windbreaker, and a brimmed hat. Reservations are strongly encouraged, and helmets are provided at most stables if requested. As with all Colorado outdoor adventures, a lightweight camera or your phone is a good item to bring to capture endless scenery. And don’t forget that selfie with your four-legged buddy you’ll surely bond with on your Colorado equestrian journey!
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