Horseback Rides in Zion


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Before the big cities were built and National Parks were mapped out, the west was home to wild, untamed beauty. Cowboys explored and marveled at the vast unsettled territory. They rode on horseback with only their most prized possessions. They rode all day and night, moved herds of cattle, and fought to live in this amazing area known as the Wild West. Though the saloons and gunslingers are things of the past, you can put yourself right back into old times with the rustic adventure of horseback riding in Zion National Park.

Horseback riding is an incredible experience for people of all ages and interests. Low-impact and not physically demanding, horseback riding is the perfect activity for every visitor. From horseback, you will get an up close and personal view of the Zion landscape. Let your horse do the hard work while you enjoy the view and explore like a true pioneer.

Before the big cities were built and National Parks were mapped out, the west was home to wild, untamed beauty. Cowboys explored and marveled at the vast unsettled territory. They rode on horseback with only their most prized possessions. They rode all day and night, moved herds of cattle, and fought to live in this amazing area known as the Wild West. Though the saloons and gunslingers are things of the past, you can put yourself right back into old times with the rustic adventure of horseback riding in Zion National Park.
Horseback riding is an incredible experience for people of all ages and interests. Low-impact and not physically demanding, horseback riding is the perfect activity for every visitor. From horseback, you will get an up close and personal view of the Zion landscape. Let your horse do the hard work while you enjoy the view and explore like a true pioneer.

What to know

Since horseback riding is generally safe and not very physically demanding, it is a great activity for nearly everyone. However, there are some things to know before setting off on your adventure.
The age limit for horseback riding is around seven years old at most stables. Well-trained and docile horses are available for kids seven and up so that they will have a safe experience. If you’re traveling with a child under seven call ahead to see what accommodations can be made.
In addition to age, physical wellbeing should be considered closely before riding. If you have chronic pain or cannot tolerate low-to-medium impact activities, then you may want to consider a more suitable activity.
When all guidelines and rules are followed, horseback riding can be a safe and exciting adventure for the whole family.

Types of rides

Horseback riding in Zion can take as much, or as little, time as you would like. If you are new to horseback riding, you may want to start off with small rides and work your way up. Your comfort and experience with riding will not only dictate how long you will ride, but also where you will ride. Since Zion has such a diverse landscape, you have many options as to what kind of terrain you will be riding on.

Short Rides

A short ride is usually around one hour long and is a great option if you are just starting out or don’t have a lot of time to ride. If you aren’t sure if you like horseback riding it would be ill-advised to go on an hours long trip for the first time. These shorter trips are more focused on moving at a slow but steady pace and seeing as much of your surroundings as possible. Short trips won’t give you a lot of time to practice your horse riding skills, but they are a great option if you are just looking for something quick and fun to do.

Long Rides

Most riding companies also offer longer rides that are around three hours long. These are wonderful trips and are just enough time feel like you’ve gotten the full horse riding experience without getting worn out. These rides can be on flat or rough terrain depending on where you would like to go and how experienced you are. By taking a longer trip you can get a good feel for what horseback riding is really like. Practice walking, trotting, and even galloping through Zion National Park. You’ll truly feel immersed in nature as you take in the sights on horseback.

Freestyle Rides

With some horse riding companies, they offer the chance to head out on your horse and return when you are ready, just get back before nightfall! These freestyle riding opportunities are reserved for riders that are more advanced and comfortable on horseback. Once your guide feels that you can stay safe as you ride throughout their designated area you may be free to roam as the settlers did.
Always inquire about the types of rides you will be able to take. These details vary with each company, so if you are set on a certain duration or type of ride you should always investigate those details as a part of your travel plans.

Routes to take

While there are many areas to ride throughout Zion and the surrounding areas, there are a few places that are ideal for horseback riding in Zion National Park. The path along the Virgin River and Sand Beach Trail are two incredible options for riding.

Virgin River

One of the more popular areas to ride is on the flat land along the river. You can follow the Virgin River which runs through Zion National Park. This route gives you great opportunities to see all the best rock formations and scenic views. You will also be able to ride your horse through the smaller bodies of water that lead to the Virgin River. There is something about leading your horse through water that is exhilarating. Experience this, and so much more, as you ride along the Virgin River.

Sand Bench Trail

If staying on flat land isn’t exciting enough for you, there are options that take you to new heights. The most popular route is the ride along Sand Beach Trail. This ride will require you and your horse to slowly ascend a slight incline to raise more than 500 feet above the flats. Horses can easily traverse this rocky area and bring you to an elevation that offers incredible views. Seeing the perfect landscape of Zion while sitting atop a horse is a humbling and magnificent experience.

What you’ll need

When going on horseback rides in Zion there are very few things you will need to supply for yourself. Most things that are required will be supplied by the stable. However, there are a few things that you will want to be sure to take along with you.

Proper clothes

Generally, yoga pants or sweatpants are not acceptable clothing for horseback rides. You will want tougher but comfortable pants, like denim or canvas, and a shirt that covers your skin.

Sensible shoes

While you don’t need a real pair of cowboy boots to saddle up, you certainly won’t want to be wearing sandals. Shoes that cover your feet, are comfortable, and won’t snag on the stirrups.

Patience and an open mind

Horseback riding is unique in that it requires you to have a connection with another being to succeed. If don’t trust your horse or are anxious around him your trip will not go as planned. Have an open-mind and be patient to get the most out of your horseback ride in Zion National Park.

When to ride

Unlike other activities, there are certain times of the year that you can take horseback rides in Zion. Stables are closed to rentals during the cold winter months. Horseback riding during these times would not be very enjoyable, anyway.
From March to October, you will able to take a horseback riding journey. There are still different seasons within these months that will alter your trip.
Horseback riding in spring provides a great opportunity to view the gorgeous flora and fauna of Zion National Park. You will also be more likely to come across wildlife in the spring.
Summer time horseback rides in Zion may be too hot for some guests to handle. If you are up for the challenge or you enjoy the warmer weather, this is a great time to experience all Zion has to offer. The warmth and light of the sun provide a different perspective of the geological formations you pass along the way. It’s also a great time to take a horseback ride that leads through a refreshing waterway.
The fall in Zion is truly beautiful. As the leaves change and the wildlife prepares for winter you will have many opportunities to see new aspects of nature. The weather is cool and comfortable which allows for a better experience as well. No matter what time of year you choose to take horseback rides in Zion National Park, you will be exploring nature in an exciting and unique way.

Trot through Zion

If you are interested in getting a close-up view of the scenic Zion landscape, a horseback ride is a terrific way to do it. Whether you want to mosey along the river or scale the rough terrain you will enjoy your trip immensely. You will form a bond with your horse that you will look back on and smile about as you remember your fantastic vacation. Horseback rides in Zion National Park are perfect for everyone, so git along, little doggies and go on an adventure unlike any other.