Angeles National Forest, located in the San Gabriel Mountains of California, is a paradise for horse enthusiasts seeking breathtaking trails and scenic horseback riding experiences. With its diverse landscapes, from towering peaks to tranquil meadows and cascading waterfalls, the forest offers an array of exciting trails suitable for riders of all skill levels. Here, we present a list of the best horse trails at Angeles National Forest.
1. Mount Waterman Trail: If you're up for a challenging adventure, Mount Waterman Trail is perfect for you and your horse. This 13-mile trail, which starts at Chilao Visitor Center, leads you through stunning vistas of the San Gabriel Mountains. The path winds through lush meadows, wooded areas, and offers panoramic views from the summit of Mount Waterman. Be prepared for steep inclines and rugged terrain that will test your riding skills.
2. Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Falls: For a more leisurely ride with beautiful sights, the Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Falls trail is a must-try. This 8-mile trail is known for its peaceful ambiance and picturesque surroundings. Starting at Chantry Flat, it takes you through shaded canyons and along a lovely creek that eventually leads to Sturtevant Falls, a stunning 50-foot waterfall. Enjoy the soothing sound of rushing water as you and your horse navigate the well-maintained path.
3. Islip Saddle Trail: If you're seeking a thrilling horseback riding experience with stunning views, the Islip Saddle Trail is an excellent choice. This 7-mile trail offers breathtaking vistas of Mount Islip, deep canyons, and expansive valleys. Starting at Islip Saddle, the trail takes you through shady pine forests and open meadows, providing an unforgettable equestrian adventure in the heart of the national forest.
4. Devils Punchbowl Loop: Known for its unique geological formations, the Devils Punchbowl Loop offers a distinctive horse riding experience. This moderate 6-mile loop trail offers a blend of stunning desert landscapes and picturesque mountain views. Ride through sandstone formations and dramatic canyons, basking in the beauty of the Mojave Desert. This trail is a hidden gem within the Angeles National Forest, offering a memorable ride through diverse terrain.
5. Switzer Falls Trail: For riders seeking a more intimate connection with nature, the Switzer Falls Trail is a delightful choice. This 5-mile trail, located near the Angeles Crest Highway, takes you by Switzer Falls, cascading over 50 feet into a serene pool below. The trail follows a lovely creek, meandering through dense forested areas and open canyons. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and the refreshing sound of water as you explore this beautiful trail.
Before embarking on any horseback riding adventure in Angeles National Forest, it's essential to prepare adequately. Ensure your horse is in good health, fit, and well-shod. Wear proper riding gear, including a helmet, and carry essential items such as water, food, a first aid kit, maps, and a GPS device. Always check the weather conditions and trail availability before setting off.
Angeles National Forest offers a plethora of horseback riding opportunities for riders of all levels. Whether you seek exhilarating rides through challenging terrains or peaceful journeys amidst stunning landscapes, these five trails provide some of the best equestrian experiences in the forest. So saddle up, embrace the spirit of adventure, and set off to explore the majestic beauty of Angeles National Forest on horseback.