Hitting the trails on horseback in Bryce Canyon Country is a fun and memorable adventure. A variety of equestrian trails for horseback riding lead through diverse landscapes and scenery, from groomed paths to remote backcountry. Outfitters throughout Bryce Canyon Country can assist with guided half, full, or multi-day excursions for a true Wild West experience on horseback.
Kodachrome Basin’s 2.9-mile Panorama Trail leads through the state park’s spectacular rock formations. There are 67 of these multi-hued sandpipes, or chimney rocks, throughout the park. Exploring the Panorama Trail on horseback is one of the most enjoyable ways to discover Kodachrome Basin’s fascinating landscape. The trail initially follows an old wagon route on the ascent to Panorama Point. From your perch, you’ll have a view of the vivid red, yellow, orange, pink, and brown sandpipes nestled beneath brilliant blue skies that inspired 1948 National Geographic Society photographers to nickname the park after Kodak’s then-new film. Spur trails to the Hat Shop, White Buffalo Loop, Shakespeare Arch, or Big Bear Geyser Trail offer scenic side trips. Riding the Panorama Trail takes about two hours, longer if you ride the Big Bear Geyser Trail. Local outfitters and a seasonal vendor inside Kodachrome Basin State Park offer guided equestrian tours. Kodachrome Basin State Park is located near Cannonville, about nine miles south of Scenic Byway 12.
The town of Tropic, near Kodachrome Basin and Bryce Canyon, is located along Scenic Byway 12 and is a great starting point for equestrian trips. A local outfitter offers guided horseback rides through the Dixie National Forest. Shorter equestrian trail rides along Scenic Byway 12 lead to Tropic Reservoir and the bristlecone pines.
The Escalante River Trailhead runs through the heart of the Escalante Canyons section of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. There’s nothing quite like exploring this unspoiled wilderness on horseback. Just west of Scenic Byway 12 the popular equestrian trail gives access to Pine Creek, Death Hollow, Sand Creek, The Gulch, and Boulder Creek for a variety of ride options, even a short ride in/ride out. Explore this sheer-walled, red sandstone sanctuary on horseback amongst the cottonwood trees, ponderosa, sagebrush, and wildflowers that dot the riverbanks and side canyons. Highlights along the trail include the 130-foot high Escalante Natural Bridge, a petroglyph panel and Anasazi ruins, Escalante Natural Arch, and Skyline Arch. Sections of the trail require crossing the Escalante River so know your horse’s abilities.
Escalante and Boulder
Escalante and Boulder are great base camps for hitting the high-altitude equestrian trails. Part of the Dixie National Forest, there are endless opportunities for exploration around the many alpine lakes that dot Boulder Mountain. Thousand Lake Mountain, near Capitol Reef National Park, has red sandstone canyons at its lower slopes and wide, open meadows and ponderosa pine forests at its higher altitudes, all perfect for exploring on horseback. Capitol Reef National Park offers horseback riders unbridled beauty and adventure along diverse terrain, from the rugged slickrock of the Waterpocket Fold to the alpine lakes and remote sandstone canyons. Colorful mesas, spires, and other rock formations set the stage for a rugged equestrian adventure in Capitol Reef’s remote backcountry, while unmarked paths and groomed trails inside the park allow riders of all skill levels a chance to experience the Wild West on horseback. Check with park rangers for equestrian trail guides and conditions.