US Trail Riding Destinations

that should be on your bucket list!

Admit it, you’ve caught yourself daydreaming at work about trail riding your horse in some gorgeous, faraway place. Maybe along the sunny shore of an endless beach, hacking the dunes and splashing in the waves of the ocean. Or the adventure of winding trails and breathtaking views as you ascend a mountain. Or maybe it’s the scorched beauty of the Southwest with its hidden splendors, just waiting to be discovered from the back of a horse. Whatever you may wish to experience, these six destinations will have you routing your next vacation with horse and trailer in tow.

Beach Trail Riding Destinations

Beach Trail Riding Destinations

Beach trail riding is what equestrian dreams are made of. Scenes from the Black Stallion have inspired entire generations of horse lovers to pack up and head to the nearest coastline. The following two destinations are just a small taste of the variety of options that the U.S. coasts offer for horseback riding on the beach.

Bob Straub State Park, Oregon

This 484-acre state park is a hidden gem. Off the beaten path, this park has trails that are exclusively for hikers and equestrians. Visitors often note the beautiful and clean white sand beach, diverse wildlife, rolling dunes and breathtaking view of the largest haystack rock on the Oregon Coast. Bonus, a horse hotel is only 10 minutes away! If you’re looking for a relaxing trail ride on the beach with your horse, start planning your trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Myrtle Beach State Park, South Carolina

This 312-acre park features white sand stretches and horse trails that are easily accessible. It is available to horse lovers from the third Saturday in November and continues through the last day of February. If you wish to camp on the beach and make new trail riding friends, the American Heart Association hosts the Annual American Heart Association Beach Ride in November. Support a great cause and take home the memories of a lifetime!

Mountain Trail Riding Destinations

Mountain Trail Riding Destinations

Horseback riding in the mountains is not for the faint of heart, terrain can quickly change from flower filled valleys to climbing elevation on twisting, rocky paths. Below are two destinations where you can experience an adventure like no other while trail riding through a diverse landscape.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

If endless riding and backcountry camping is a journey you are ready for, then you need to head to this national treasure. 260 miles of trails include everything from meadows with pristine streams, treed mountain sides with rushing rivers, and otherworldly views from high trails in the alpine tundra. This park is geared for horse enthusiasts, so start planning your adventure.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina & Tennessee Borders

Misty blue ridge mountains with lush green forests and soft waterfalls encompass the 550 miles of trails at this park. Trail riding is made especially accessible with five drive-in horse camps that provide access to backcountry trails within the park. Enjoy a traditional Appalachian experience in the Smoky Mountains!

Desert Trail Riding Destinations

Desert Trail Riding Destinations

The American Southwest is the land of legends, deep with history and mystery. Trail riding in the region is surprisingly diverse, from arid deserts with canyons, caverns and blooming cacti to volcanic formations that create land unlike anywhere else in the country. The two that make our list take those opposites to the extreme.

Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

Unlike the stereotypical parched images of the southwest, this 88,000-acre park is a surprising gem at the top of the Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico. The land is a distinct topographic mosaic of expansive valley meadows, lush forested volcanic domes, meandering valley streams, and old-growth Ponderosa pine groves. If you’re looking for something different, Valles Caldera should be on your list!

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

If backcountry roads through canyons, buttes and primitive desert land sounds like the time of your life, then Canyonlands is right up your alley. Rivers divide the park into four districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. Plan a trip to Horseshoe Canyon to be awestruck by wondrous rock formations. Be prepared to research desert horse riding, as water is scarce and the heat is scorching!

Trail riding in a new place is no easy endeavor. Be prepared to research the climate, environment, geographical region, wildlife and any other factors you should expect on the trail. Always be sure to triple check all hauling equipment and acclimate yourself to longer trail rides at home first. Connect with other trail riders from the region and make sure you have the right gear to keep you and your horse comfortable while out in the wilderness.

The United States is a vast country with an abundance of geographical ranges. For all those equestrians who love trail riding, it is a land of endless opportunities and hoof pounding freedom. Many local, state and national parks offer similar adventures as those listed above. So, load up, trailer out and tell us about the parks near you that trail riders should be exploring!