Get Out: Ten Best Horseback Riding Tours in Colorado

With shorter days and cooler nights, summer fun on mountain beaches and whitewater rivers is coming to an end. In a few months, most ranches and stables will also end the season. Before they do, book a memorable excursion on one of Colorado’s top ten horseback riding trails.

Ten mile range
During this ninety-minute ride with Breckenridge Stables, visitors will explore Peaks 9 and 10, the most numbered mountains in the Ten Mile Range. Highlights of the trip include the historic sites of Breckenridge Ski Resort, creek crossings, and scenic views of the Continental Divide. Trail tours continue through late September, with scenic sleigh rides available from November through April.

Rusty Spur Ranch
At Rusty Spurr Ranch, you’ll find hikes lasting one to three hours, but what makes this destination particularly special are its cattle drives. On these tours, you ride alongside skilled herders who will teach you how to round up the herd. Some riding experience and physical condition is required, as you will be in the saddle for several hours. But time will pass quickly as you navigate this unique Western experience, while admiring the mountain views. Tours are available until the end of September.

sky bridge
Action Adventures Trail Rides offers a variety of experiences, but for the trip of a lifetime, visit the Sky Bridge. This six to seven hour trip doesn’t require you to be an experienced pilot, but you should be fit and ready for adventure. The trail is narrow, exposed, and gains 3,000 feet in elevation. As you ride along the summit ridge, breathtaking views are seen in all directions. If you want to book a visit this season, hurry up! The closing date is August 27, although other routes with Action Adventures are available through mid-October.

Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park
Several outfitters are available near Rocky Mountain National Park, and Jackson Stables ranks among the most popular. It offers a wide variety of tours of up to five hours. Depending on the route you choose, you can see wildlife, wildflowers, and some of Colorado’s best waterfalls. Three-hour tours can also involve trotting, which is fun for those looking for more adventure. Meanwhile, those with kids will enjoy the pony rides and wagon rides of Jackson Stables. Tours are available daily until the end of October.

Browns Creek Falls
To reach Browns Creek Falls on horseback, book a tour with Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Stables. The three-quarter day tour includes a short hiking break, while the full-day tour takes cyclists further to Browns Lake, located at the base of the scenic Sawatch Range. Three-quarter tours run until the end of the year, while full-day tours are only available until September 30. best hot springs in Colorado!

Huge slabs of red sandstone at the Garden of the Gods.

Unsplash/Rosie De La Cruz

Garden of the Gods
colorado springs

From rock climbing routes to some of Colorado’s best hiking trails, Garden of the Gods offers an abundance of outdoor recreation. Horseback riding is no exception, thanks to Academy Riding Stables, located just outside the park. Unlike most of the horseback riding tours on this list, these one- to two-hour tours are available year-round. Highlights of the trip include views of dramatic red rock formations, plus natural and historical insights from your knowledgeable guide.

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Hands down, Zapata Ranch offers some of the best horseback riding in Colorado. A three-night stay at this 100,000+ acre property includes meals, nature programs and outdoor activities, with horseback riding at the forefront. Drive through the nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park or past the working ranch’s herd of 2,000 bison. You can have these memorable experiences and more from March to October.

Chatfield State Park
A hub for outdoor enthusiasts, Chatfield State Park is home to some of the best tubing, paddleboarding and horseback riding near Denver. Weather permitting, Chatfield Stables is another outfitter that operates year-round. Here, visitors of all skill levels can book a one- to two-hour tour, while experienced riders can take a five-hour ride to nearby Waterton Canyon. To explore more of the state park, book a waterfront campsite at one of the most scenic campgrounds within an hour of Denver.

Cascade Creek Falls
San Juan Sky Outfitters offers a two-hour trail tour, taking riders through the beautiful San Juan Mountains and past a sixty-foot waterfall. It’s a great option, but weather permitting, the train and trail tour is well worth booking. On this unique tour, you’ll board the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and disembark at Elk Park. Here in the Weminuche Wilderness, your guide will take you to iconic Molas Lake and along one of the most breathtaking sections of the Colorado Trail. Both experiences are available until October.

Brown bells
For good reason, Maroon Bells is renowned as Colorado’s most photographed destination. These horseback rides in this area are guaranteed incredible views, accessible with Maroon Bells Guide and Outfitters. One-hour tours to multi-day trips are available through the end of September. Those looking for a unique experience should consider their overnight ride to Crested Butte. Or come next season and book a five-day tour to Willow Lake to experience the Perseid meteor shower in one of Colorado’s best stargazing locations.

Clyde P. Johnson