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5 Best Horseback Pack-Trips in Northern America

Many riders consider a pack-trip as the ultimate horseback adventure. Sat up high off the ground your horse watches the path as you admire the rugged landscapes. Riders can cover more ground than hikers while still traversing paths less travelled and forging connections with nature and each other. Whether choosing to spend each night under canvas, or a combination of camping and lodge stays, each of the following rides embody the spirit of adventure that defines a great pack-trip.

Canada - Alberta Rockies Great Divide

Saddle up and prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking beauty of the Alberta – British Columbia border trail, known as the legendary Continental Divide. This exhilarating horseback riding excursion guarantees stunning vistas, challenging terrain, and abundant wildlife.
Explore hidden pathways that wind high above the timberline, drink from tumbling mountain streams and ride through vast stretches of untouched virgin timber. It is a heady combination that will take your breath away!
The trip is suitable for confident, intermediate riders upward. The stable includes quarter horses, appaloosas, paint, and draft crosses, all well-suited for the demanding trails, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
In the true spirit of adventure, riders spend all six nights under canvas in the heart of the wilderness sleeping a maximum of two people per tent. While the camping experience is basic, the dedicated team ensure your comfort by providing heated water for handwashing and the option for a warm basin bath. For those seeking a refreshing cleanse, solar showers are also available.
While the group are enjoying the ride, all camp gear and luggage is transported (Wild-West style) by horse-drawn wagons, so providing a seamless transition between campsites.
This seven-day adventure is an exhilarating blend of challenge and awe-inspiring landscapes - the true essence of exploration.
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Wilderness 10-day Pack Trip and 8-day option

Intrepid riders will enjoy this 8 or 10-day wilderness pack trip that leads through a diverse tapestry of Alberta's iconic landscapes. From the lush forested foothills to the majestic Rocky Mountains, the vast grasslands of Southeastern Alberta, and the high plateau of the Cypress Hills, this immersive horseback journey follows the paths of the earliest explorers.
Starting in the foothills and Rocky Mountains, the scenic trail winds through diverse topographies before loading the horses for a 350 km drive to the vast grasslands of Southeastern Alberta. Finally, the journey culminates on the high plateau of the Cypress Hills, near the Saskatchewan border.
The diverse terrain serves to both challenge and exhilarate riders, fostering growth in riding and outdoor skills. There is plenty of opportunity for trots and canters (where the footing allows) while traversing these captivating landscapes.
With over 300 km of trail at their disposal, the experienced team customizes each trip, considering factors like bear activity, river conditions, and snow depth in high passes. Due to the nature of this backcountry adventure, it is impossible to provide a detailed schedule beforehand.
This trip offers a mix of camping under the stars and the comfort of lodges. Camping in large wall tents capable of accommodating up to six people, or smaller tents for 2-3 people. On lodge nights the bunkhouse-style lodging accommodates 2-3 people per room  and provides a cozy bed and the luxury of a hot shower.
Embrace the untamed wilderness while unlocking your inner explorer on this once-in-a-lifetime journey through Alberta's richly storied landscapes
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Canada - Wilderness Longrider Pack Trip

Calling adventurous riders! This 10-day pack trip leads through the rugged mountain trails of Kananaskis Country and is an immersive adventure for advanced riders who crave the thrill of covering vast distances while camping in the heart of the wilderness. Get ready to create unforgettable memories in this untamed corner of the world.
Covering between 170 and 200 km of rugged mountain trails, riders will be challenged by the demanding terrain and rewarded with jaw-dropping vistas. Advanced riding skills are a must, as the trails can be tricky and the distances covered are substantial.
Beyond the thrill of the ride, this adventure offers a unique opportunity to learn the art of horse packing, wilderness horsemanship, and low-impact horse camping and wilderness survival strategies. Expert guides will share their knowledge along the way, allowing riders to master essential skills for the backcountry. This journey is as much about personal growth as it is about exploration.
The riding group camp in four different mountain wilderness locations during the adventure. This mobility allows the group to spend a few days at a time in some of the most picturesque valleys in the Rockies without having to move camp daily.
So, saddle up, embrace the wild, and embark on an extraordinary equestrian odyssey through the breathtaking landscapes of Kananaskis Country.
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Wildlife Research Pack Trips

This extraordinary adventure combines horseback riding, wildlife research, and conservation in the captivating Chilcotin Ark of British Columbia. Immerse yourself into the intricacies of the region's diverse ecosystem while learning about the instincts and behaviours of its remarkable wildlife, including bears, eagles, mountain goats, moose, cougars, and wolves.
The experienced guides ensure the rider’s active involvement throughout, from saddling the horse to identifying various tracks in the wilderness, every opportunity is taken to include the group in the experience, beyond simple wildlife viewing.  Actively contribute to conservation efforts and gain a deeper understanding of the fascinating ecosystem.
With a herd of 26 horses ranging from ponies to full-size Draft horses. Whether a novice or an advanced rider, all abilities are catered to. However, riders should be physically fit and prepared for approximately 6-10 hours in the saddle per day.
Campsites boast A-frame "Prospector" tents on wooden platforms, comfortably equipped to ensure a good night's rest after a day of riding. Flushing toilets are available in the outhouse.
These 5 or 7-day pack trips provides a true close-to-nature experience for those who truly want to connect with the wilderness. For those seeking a touch more comfort, the Ranch Stay with Wildlife Research holiday is also available, offering a blend of luxury and conservation activities.
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Yukon Mountain Explorer

Ride one of the few remaining pristine landscapes on Earth, the Yukon wilderness, on an adventure exploring majestic mountains and camping along ancient trails carved by wildlife over the years.
This 5-day, 4-night excursion is set at walking pace so as to fully absorb the serenity of a landscape that is only accessible via horseback. While on trail, riders are accommodated at the host’s base camps, eliminating the need to set up and strike camp daily. The camping experience is fairly basic, featuring a large cook tent with a wood stove and comfortable dome tents for sleeping. While there are no dedicated toilet or shower tents, the hosts can provide shower bags upon request.
The stable of 12 horses used on the trail comprise of Percheron and Quarter Horse crosses, allowing for heavier riders of up to 300 lbs (135 kilos) to be accommodated. Rides are tailored to suit the skills of the group, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, this short pack trip is the ideal way to delve into the heart of the Yukon while leaving time to partake in other activities in the area.
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Pack trips differ in challenge levels, camping experience needed and riding difficulty, so be sure to get some first-hand advice when choosing your adventure. Speak to one of the friendly knowledgeable Unicorn Trails consultants about your next horseback adventure. With over 250 packages available across 52 countries, there is bound to be the perfect adventure for you!

Unicorn Trails
Published on 26-07-2023
Unicorn Trails was created to hand-pick a selection of the best riding holidays with horses in excellent condition and to make it as easy as possible to ride abroad. We offer specialist horse riding holidays worldwide for all levels of riding, including everything from luxury safaris to short breaks. We also offer access to an extensive knowledge base of horse riding all over the world, which is continuously being updated and extended, and guarantees a knowledgeable service, happy horses in good health, small groups of riders and unspoilt natural environments.