Outdoors

Get Outside: Ten Best Horseback Riding Tours in Colorado

Horseback riding in the Ten Mile Range near Breckenridge.
Horseback riding in the Ten Mile Range near Breckenridge. Unsplash/Colin Lloyd
With shorter days and cooler nights, summer fun on mountain beaches and whitewater rivers is coming to a close. In a few months, most ranches and stables will wind down the season, too. Before they do, book a memorable excursion on one of the ten best horseback riding tours in Colorado.

Ten Mile Range
Breckenridge
On this ninety-minute ride with Breckenridge Stables, visitors will explore Peaks 9 and 10, the highest numbered mountains within the Ten Mile Range. Trip highlights include historic Breckenridge Ski Resort sites, creek crossings, and panoramic views of the Continental Divide. Trail tours continue through the end of September, with scenic sleigh rides available from November through April.

Rusty Spurr Ranch
Kremmling
At Rusty Spurr Ranch, you’ll find one- to three-hour trail rides, but what makes this destination particularly special is its cattle drives. On these tours, you ride alongside skilled ranchers who will teach you how to round up the herd. Some previous horseback riding and physical fitness is required, as you’ll be in the saddle for several hours. But time will fly as you navigate this unique Western experience, all while taking in mountain views. Tours are available through the end of September.

Bridge of Heaven
Ouray
Action Adventures Trail Rides hosts a variety of experiences, but for the trip of a lifetime, tour the Bridge of Heaven. This six- to seven-hour trip doesn’t require you to be an experienced rider, but you must be fit and up for adventure. The trail is narrow, exposed and gains 3,000 feet of elevation. As you ride along the summit’s ridge, jaw-dropping views are seen in all directions. If you want to book a tour this season, hurry! Closing date is August 27, though 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 as one of the most popular. It offers a large variety of tours ranging up to five hours in length. Depending on the route you select, you may witness wildlife, wildflowers and some of the best waterfalls in Colorado. Three-hour tours may also involve some trotting, which is fun for those seeking more adventure. Meanwhile, those with children will enjoy Jackson Stables’ pony rides and hayrides. Tours are available daily through the end of October.

Browns Creek Falls
Salida
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 excursion takes riders further along to Browns Lake, found at the base of the scenic Sawatch Range. The three-quarter tours run through the end of the year, while full-day outings are only available through September 30. Book soon if interested, and after your ride, don’t miss soaking at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, some of the best hot springs in Colorado!
Huge slabs of red sandstone at 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 of the park. Unlike most horseback riding tours on this list, these one- to two-hour excursions are available year-round. Trip highlights include views of dramatic red rock formations, along with natural and historic insights from your knowledgeable guide.

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

Chatfield State Park
Littleton
A hub for outdoor enthusiasts, Chatfield State Park is home to some of the best tubing, paddleboarding and horse riding near Denver. As long as weather allows, 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 further explore the State Park, book a waterfront campsite at one of the most scenic campgrounds under an hour from Denver.

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

Maroon Bells
Aspen
For good reason, Maroon Bells is famed as the most photographed destination in Colorado. Those horseback riding in this region are guaranteed incredible views, accessible with Maroon Bells Guide and Outfitters. One-hour tours to multi-day pack trips are available through the end of September. Those seeking a unique experience should consider their overnight ride into Crested Butte. Or come next season, and book a five-day tour to Willow Lake to experience the Perseid Meteor Shower in one of the best places to stargaze in Colorado.
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