Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is a hidden gem nestled in the northeastern corner of Utah and the southwestern corner of Wyoming. Known for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife, it offers an abundance of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most popular recreational pursuits in this area is horseback riding, and there are several incredible horse trails that showcase the natural beauty of the region.
1. Greendale Overlook Trail: This trail is perfect for riders looking for a breathtaking view of the gorge. Located near the Greendale Campground, the trail winds through a picturesque mix of aspen and pine forests. As you ascend, the trail opens up to reveal stunning vistas of the flaming red cliffs rising above the Green River. This trail offers riders an opportunity to witness the dramatic landscape that gives the recreation area its unique name.
2. Indian Canyon Trail: For those who seek a longer ride, the Indian Canyon Trail is an excellent choice. This scenic route stretches for nearly 20 miles, guiding riders through diverse terrain and vegetation. The trail starts at the Little Hole Trailhead and meanders along the Green River before ascending into beautiful Indian Canyon. As you ride through the lush vegetation and towering cliffs, keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species.
3. Greendale-Big Bend Loop: This trail combines the beauty of the Greendale Overlook Trail and the solitude of the Big Bend Trail. It offers riders a more challenging experience with its hilly sections and elevations. Start at Greendale and follow the trail through mixed forest, then head towards Big Bend, where you can experience stunning views of Red Canyon and the surrounding mountains. This loop is perfect for riders who enjoy a longer ride with varying terrain.
4. Mustang Ridge Trail: If you are looking for an adventure on your horse, the Mustang Ridge Trail is not to be missed. This trail takes riders along Mustang Ridge, offering panoramic views of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Uinta Mountains. You may ride through open meadows, stands of aspen, and evergreen forests. The trail also provides opportunities to see wildflowers in the spring and fall foliage during autumn.
5. Rim Trail: For riders seeking a thrilling and challenging ride, the Rim Trail is an excellent option. Beginning at the Red Canyon Visitor Center, this trail follows the rim of the Flaming Gorge for approximately 8 miles. As you ride along the narrow path, you'll be treated to stunning views of the deep canyon below, the sparkling waters of the reservoir, and the rugged landscape beyond. This trail is not suitable for beginners due to its steep sections and narrow stretches, but it offers a rewarding experience for more experienced riders.
Before embarking on any of these horse trails, it is essential to obtain trail maps and check trail conditions with the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area Visitor Center. Guides and outfitters are also available in the area for those who prefer to have an expert lead their riding adventure. Remember to bring plenty of water for both yourself and your horse, as well as sunscreen and insect repellent.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area's horse trails offer riders a chance to immerse themselves in the stunning natural landscapes of northeastern Utah and southwestern Wyoming. From picturesque overlooks to thrilling ridge rides, this area provides something for riders of all experience levels. Whether you're a local or a visitor, exploring these trails on horseback will undoubtedly create lifelong memories of the breathtaking beauty found in this hidden gem of the American West.