Every state boasts horse trails that promise beautiful views and challenging terrain. These are our picks for the top 10 trails in the United States to take your horse on vacation, or just on a quick ride.
Canyon de Chelly, Ariz.
Channel your inner John Wayne and trek through the wild West with Navajos as your guide. "On a longer ride into the canyon through small forests of Russian olive trees and across streams, you reach Spider Rock, an 800-foot sandstone spire," Newman says. "You might feel dwarfed by the high cliff walls, some of which reach 1,000 feet, as you ride inside one of the largest sandstone canyons in the United States." 928-220-5524; totsoniiranch.com
Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm
Explore the country lanes of the Mad River Valley on an Icelandic horse. This breed is good for beginners because its "smaller stature makes them less intimidating to many riders," Newman says. "Icelandic horses have been bred over the centuries to conquer the elements and terrain in Iceland, so riding year-round in Vermont is not a problem for the horses." 802-496-7141; icelandichorses.com
This working ranch in Northern Virginia, owned by the Marriotts of hotel fame, is about an hour from Washington, D.C. Newman recommends this riding experience to East Coast families craving a Western-style ranch without the cross-country travel. "The ride to Paradise Valley, a favorite spot for the ranch's exotic longhorn cattle to graze, passes quiet country streams and rolling hills in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains," Newman says. 877-278-4574; marriottranch.com
Bardy's Trail Rides
Scope the serene sights of this Alaskan harbor town by horseback with a local guide. "View wildlife like bald eagles and arctic tern as you ride through forests, across rivers and even on an Alaskan beach with snowcapped peaks in the distance," Newman says. "On this trail ride, your guide will recount stories of what happened during the devastating 1964 earthquake." 907-224-7863; sewardhorses.com
"Over 80 miles of equestrian trails wind through wooded Appalachian forests surrounding America's largest home," Newman says. She suggests this spot for those traveling with non-riding companions, because there's plenty to do in the area. "Combine a short ride with a tour of the 250-room French Renaissance-style chateau and a trip into charming downtown Asheville," she suggests. 800-411-3812; biltmore.com
Sure-footed horses carry riders into the mountains of the San Juan National Forest just outside the Old West town of Durango. "The full-day Engineer Mountain ride is for true adventure seekers, winding through a sub-alpine forest, past wildflowers and high above timberline, where, on a clear day, you can see all the way to New Mexico." 970-247-8454; rappcorral.com
Big Island, Hawaii
"A steep road that requires four-wheel drive makes getting down to this valley an adventure in itself, and one that your rental car agreement may not cover," Newman warns. "Don't be alarmed if your horse whinnies and shakes, calling to his wilder friends who roam the back of the valley," Newman says. "He's just saying hello."808-775-0419; naalapastables.com
Triple Creek Horse Outfit
Napa Valley, Calif.
"Learn about the 19th-century Native Americans and ranchers who lived in the fertile valleys as you ride through golden meadows surrounded by tree-covered mountains." Brace yourself for the views from the summit of Bald Mountain, where on a clear day, you might see San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. 707-887-8700;triplecreekhorseoutfit.com
Big Red Stables
Derby fans can get time in the saddle riding Tennessee walking horses through Kentucky bluegrass at this family farm, about an hour's drive southwest of Lexington. "Natural-born jockeys and amateurs alike can ride with ease with this gaited breed," Newman says. 859-734-3118; bigredstablesky.com
Canyon Trail Rides
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
"Descend into the canyon on horseback or mule among a sea of pink and red hoodoos, bizarre rock spires that have been eroded into peculiar formations," Newman says. "Cowboy guides will tell you about the history and unique geology of this park." 435-679-8665; canyonrides.com
This article was originally from USA Today. To see the original article, click here.