Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a heritage of the Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s not just a pastime here in Estes Park, it’s a way of life. Since the first explorers arrived in the area, horse riding has been the preferred mode of transport, allowing residents to travel around the park and reach even the remotest of areas.
Visitors to Estes Park can enjoy over 260 miles of trails. It’s the perfect place to fall in love with horseback riding; whether you’re a beginner or confident rider, and whatever your age, horse riding is the perfect way to enjoy the scenic landscape of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Guided Horseback Trail Rides
Most visitors choose to book a guided trip around the park and there are several good outfitters and stables in and around Estes Park who offer guided horseback trail tours. These companies know the best routes based on your level of experience and of course you just have to turn up, get fitted out and they will do the rest.
Guided tours generally last from one to four hours and are done at walking pace, so you don’t have to worry if you haven’t ridden before or you are coming with children. Before you start out you’ll get partnered with the right horse for you – level and temperament and given a masterclass in basic riding technique.
During the trail your professional guide will describe the route as you go along, calling out the key point to ensure that you don’t miss anything along the route. They will point out monuments, wildlife and the best view points, and you’ll also get to stop along the way to
Horseback riding stables & outfitters
Horseback riding tours from Estes Park into the Rocky Mountain National Park will take you through alpine meadows blanketed with wildflowers, through glacier country with incredible 14,000-foot peaks as a backdrop.
SK Horses in collaboration with Cowpoke Corner Corral and the National Park Gateway Stables offers scenic horseback rides through the Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as mountain routes through Roosevelt National Forest. They also offer pony rides for the littlest of riders.
Estes Park Outfitters offer the ultimate horseback riding experience in Estes Park. They will teach you how to handle a horse on the best stock in the business. The experience is not a nose to tail tour, they are the only outfitters permitted to take riders into the remote historic homestead meadows area, rarely seen by the public and where you can see homesteader cabins dating back to the 1800s.
Sombrero Stables have a great interactive quiz on their website that lets you find out which horse is most suited to you! They offer one and two hour rides, and they also offer a ride and steak dinner, plus a wagon ride back to town!
Tips for enjoying your horseback riding experience
Wear appropriate clothing: this is the most important recommendation we can make when taking a horseback riding tour. You will be an hour or more astride a horse, so shorts or skirts, or any clothing that has your legs uncovered is a no. Firstly because your legs will rub against the horse which will be uncomfortable, both you and the horse will likely be sweating which will also cause discomfort. If you are riding in the summer, you’ll also be in danger of sunburn. Ideal leg wear are leggings, rather than uncomfortable stiff trousers – unless you’re a cowboy!
Bring snacks and water: when you book a tour you’ll probably be given some water, however, it’s a good idea to also bring your own water and some snacks to keep you going, especially if you have booked a longer route. You can keep it in a rucksack on your back for when you stop.
Relax and enjoy: horses are extremely sensitive creatures and if you are nervous, they will also be nervous. Try to relax, you’re in good hands with a professional guide, and you should be partnered with the right horse for you. When you relax you can start enjoying the ride and the incredible scenery.