The Clearwater National Forest located in northern Idaho is a pristine wilderness area known for its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife. With over 1.8 million acres of land, it offers an array of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most popular activities is horseback riding, and the forest is home to some of the best horse trails in the region.
Whether you are an experienced rider or a novice looking for a scenic adventure, Clearwater National Forest has trails to suit all levels of equestrians. Here are a few of the best horse trails that are worth exploring:
1. Kelly Creek Trail: This 12-mile trail is considered one of the best in the forest. It follows the picturesque Kelly Creek, providing riders with spectacular views of the creek's crystal-clear waters and lush forests. The trail is moderately challenging, with some steep sections, but rewards riders with glimpses of cascading waterfalls and glimpses of wildlife along the way.
2. Lolo Motorway: Offering a unique blend of history and natural beauty, the Lolo Motorway is a 120-mile trail that follows an old historic route. This trail allows riders to explore the diverse landscapes of the Clearwater National Forest, from dense forests to open meadows. Along the way, riders can see remnants of the historic motorway, such as old ranger stations and fire lookout towers.
3. Lochsa River Trail: For riders looking for a more relaxed and scenic journey, the Lochsa River Trail is a perfect choice. This easy 8-mile trail offers stunning views of the picturesque Lochsa River, which is famous for its pristine waters and exciting rapids. Riders can enjoy the peaceful sound of the flowing river as they traverses through a beautiful coniferous forest.
4. Fish Creek Trail: This trail is a hidden gem in Clearwater National Forest. Stretching over 15 miles, it winds through an enchanting old-growth forest, offering a tranquil and serene riding experience. The trail follows the scenic Fish Creek, a great spot to rest and enjoy a picnic lunch. It is a favorite among experienced riders looking for a quiet escape into nature.
5. Powell - Keuterville Road: For those looking for a leisurely ride with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, the Powell-Keuterville Road is a great option. This gravel road offers several miles of easy riding through rolling hills and panoramic vistas. It is a perfect trail for riders who prefer a more laid-back experience or want to take their time to enjoy the stunning landscapes.
Before embarking on any ride in Clearwater National Forest, it is essential to check the current trail conditions and be prepared with appropriate gear and supplies. In addition, it is important to remember that horses are not allowed in designated wilderness areas within the forest.
Overall, Clearwater National Forest offers a wide range of horse trails that cater to all skill levels and preferences. From rugged backcountry to serene river valleys, the forest provides a diverse and unforgettable riding experience. So, saddle up and explore the best horse trails at Clearwater National Forest for an adventure that will leave you in awe of nature's beauty.