Enduring images from Western movies of horses galloping between the red rock mesas, cliffs, and buttes of the West bring tens of thousands of visitors to Colorado and the region every year to see where the West was won. But mounting one of these majestic steeds is an altogether different way to experience Colorado. Here are a few places where you can do just that.
Sable Mountain Outfitters, Meeker
In Meeker, in Rio Blanco County, Sable Mountain Outfitters offers guided rides in the White River National Forest and Flat Tops Wilderness areas with fall being a particularly beautiful time of year thanks to the quaking aspens. Depending on your experience, you will be paired with a horse that is best for you, whether that is sure-footed and gentle to somewhat more spirited horses.
Action Adventure Trail Rides, Ouray
Action Adventure Trail Rides offers a range of rides including trail rides and wilderness pack trips that can be as long as seven days and six nights. Through Oct. 15, Action Adventure Trail Rides offers the chance to explore the alpine landscape above Red Mountain Pass.
Triple G Outfitters, Vail
The oldest family-owned and operated horseback riding stable in the Vail Valley, Triple G offers rides for everyone from beginners to experienced equestrians while the ranch setting offers breathtaking views of the Sawatch Range, Castle Peak and Red and White Mountain.
Breckenridge Stables, Breckenridge
Breckenridge Stables offers visitors the chance to explore the Ten Mile Range and experience incredible, panoramic views of the Continental Divide. In operation since 1976, they have over 100 horses to choose from. Breckenridge Stables leads rides until Sept. 30.
Long Ridge Outfitters, Creede
Long Ridge Outfitters at Freemon’s Ranch just outside Creede offer one- and two-hour rides as well as day and overnight trips to the high country for fishing and sightseeing. Depending on the weather, trips are typically available through most of October.
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Stables, Nathrop
For trail rides in the Salida and Buena Vista area, there is Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Stables. Offering trail rides for children as young as five (those younger can take a pony ride at the stables) through meadows and past creeks, options range from an hour to a multi-day pack trips that take guests deep into the mountains.
Buck’s Livery, Durango
Down near Durango, Buck’s Livery sits right on the edge of the spectacular San Juan mountains. Offering rides from an hour long to full day as well as a special “proposal” ride, there are also several different kinds of pack trips, too. The trail riding seasons at Buck’s runs through September.
Telluride Wranglers, Telluride
Telluride Wranglers offers a variety of trail rides that take guests up into the mountains. For something more involved, the Cowboy Camp Cattle Push offers guests the chance to learn basic horsemanship as well as roping, cowboy shooting and how to round up cattle. Telluride Wrangles also offers trail rides through September.
Colorado is also home to wild horses. Managed by the BLM, there are four wild horse herd management areas on around 400,000 acres.
Totaling 812 animals, the BLM routinely removes horses as part of an effort to maintain healthy horses and burros on healthy public rangelands. Since 1971, the BLM has removed nearly 4,400 animals from public rangelands which are offered to the public for adoption. Unadopted animals are cared for on open pastures for the rest of their lives.
A great place to see these magnificent beasts in their natural habitat is the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area eight miles northeast of Grand Junction. Encompassing more than 36,000 acres of rugged canyons and plateaus, the area is beautiful in its own right, but to see wild horses running free is real treat. The other three herd management areas are Sand Wash Basin, which is about 48 miles west of Craig in Moffat County, Spring Creek Basin between Norwood and Dove Creek, and Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area southwest of Meeker.