Without the horse, the expansion of the early settlers to the west coast from Europe would have taken much longer. Huge swaths of ranchland and farmland dominate much of the American West. Even in these days of Segway scooters and private jets, horses are still the best way to get around the Rocky Mountains and parts of Canada. Backcountry riding is incomparable here. John Wayne type cowboys and wildlife packed national parks. Enough said.
- Ranches and Cattle Drives, Wyoming
This sparsely populated state is dominated by equestrian culture. This is Marlboro country where the Great Plains and the Rockies meet, leaving vast expanses of backcountry. Dozens of world class ranches are here, as are a large selection of cattle drives.
- Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Utah
Utah’s south is full of breathtaking scenery of red hills and geological formations that would make Salvador Dali jealous. Sagebrush trails, twisting gorges, and sandstone cliffs make a perfect place to ride.
- Black Hills, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the battlefields if the Lakota Sioux are among the attractions of South Dakota’s vast Black Hills. You’ll still run into Native Americans, even the stray Bison and wild horse on occasion.
- Haleakala Crater, Hawaii
This is one of the most popular day equestrian tours in the United States. You’ll ride from the 9,423-feet high rim of Maui’s extinct volcano at to the Mars like landscape of the floor of the crater.
- Tucson, Arizona
The Sonoran desert surrounding Tucson is the archetypal wild west. Towering cacti and rolling tumbleweeds sit beside dude ranches and ghost towns. Posh spas, resorts, and even rugged dude ranches are more common than Holiday Inns here.
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
While the rest of the world drives through the park, you’ll be riding through the desolate backcountry trails with the majority of the wildlife such as bears, moose, elk, deer, and gray wolves.
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
Numerous trails explore both the North and South rims of this natural wonder. You can venture out for just a few hours or even a few weeks.
- Canadian Rockies, Alberta
The Canadian Rockies are home to an equally as impressive number of ranches as their American counterpart. This wide open expanse of backcountry is some of the most pristine mountain wilderness you will ever experience. Whether you come to take a week of lessons or spend several months riding through the untouched terrain, you won’t be disappointed.
- Mammoth Lakes, California
One of the most impressive areas of wilderness in the western United States, this region is dominated by several national parks that were staples on Ansel Adams route. Steep trails touched by the good graces of alpine forests and mountain lakes beckon even the non-rider to this backcountry paradise.
- Napa Valley, California
California’s wine country is simply littered with horse trails and stunning dude ranches. Redwood forests and vineyards fill the sunny landscape, while wine and cheese await you at every pit stop.