Nestled in the picturesque landscape of northeastern Wyoming, Crook National Forest is a hidden gem for horse enthusiasts. Spanning over 1.2 million acres, this stunning forest provides an abundance of horse trails that cater to riders of all experience levels. From towering pine forests to expansive meadows, there is something truly magical about exploring Crook National Forest on horseback. In this article, we will explore some of the best horse trails that this magnificent forest has to offer.
1. Sundance Horse Trail: Starting near the town of Sundance, this trail is perfect for riders looking for a scenic and leisurely ride. The trail meanders through rolling hills and dense woods, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area. It is approximately 13 miles long and offers a variety of terrain, making it suitable for riders of all skill levels.
2. Bear Lodge Horse Trail: Located near the town of Sundance, this 29-mile trail is a must-ride for experienced adventurers. Winding through the Mount Moriah Wilderness, this trail offers stunning vistas of the Bear Lodge Mountains and Bear Butte. Riders will also come across pristine alpine lakes, making this trail a favorite among nature enthusiasts.
3. Keyhole State Park Trail: Situated near Moorcroft, Wyoming, this trail offers a remarkable ride around Keyhole Reservoir. Clocking in at around 22 miles, this trail is ideal for riders seeking tranquility away from the crowds. Riders will be rewarded with panoramic views of the reservoir, and may even spot wildlife such as deer, elk, and various bird species along the way.
4. Inyan Kara Creek Trail: Located near the town of Carlile, this 9-mile trail follows the path of the historic Bozeman Trail. As riders traverse through vast grasslands and rolling hills, they will be transported back in time to the era of the Old West. This trail offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty, making it a memorable experience for all riders.
5. Keyhole Ostrander Trail: For those seeking an extended adventure, the Keyhole Ostrander Trail is a 71-mile loop that will truly test a rider's endurance and horsemanship skills. This challenging trail takes riders through diverse landscapes, from thick forests to open meadows. It offers numerous opportunities for camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing, making it the ultimate horseback exploration in Crook National Forest.
Before embarking on any trail in Crook National Forest, it is crucial to prepare accordingly. Ensure that you bring enough food, water, and supplies for both you and your horse. Familiarize yourself with the forest's regulations and always practice Leave No Trace principles to keep the trails pristine for future riders.
In conclusion, Crook National Forest offers a plethora of horse trails that cater to riders of all levels. From the breathtaking Sundance Horse Trail to the challenging Keyhole Ostrander Trail, the forest provides an unparalleled equestrian experience. So saddle up, breathe in the fresh Wyoming air, and embark on an unforgettable horseback adventure through the stunning landscapes of Crook National Forest.