Tuesday ยท July 11, 2023
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests: Top Horse Trails | July 2023
Author: Admin

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado offer some of the most breathtaking horse trails in the country. With diverse landscapes that range from alpine peaks and dense forests to pristine lakes and wildflower-filled meadows, these national forests provide an unparalleled experience for horseback riding enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore some of the top horse trails in these spectacular forested regions.


1. Crystal Lake Trail:

Located in the Grand Mesa National Forest, the Crystal Lake Trail is a popular choice among horseback riders. The trail starts near Mesa Lakes and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, meadows, and lakes. Crystal Lake itself provides a serene spot to rest and take in the scenic beauty. This trail is approximately 9 miles in length and is suitable for riders of all skill levels.


2. Raggeds Wilderness Loop:

For those seeking a more challenging and longer horseback riding adventure, the Raggeds Wilderness Loop in the Gunnison National Forest is an excellent choice. This 18-mile loop trail takes riders through the heart of the wilderness, where towering peaks, wildflowers, and crystal-clear streams will accompany you along the way. Riders can witness the rugged beauty of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and maybe even spot some wildlife like elk and mule deer.


3. Lost Lake Loop Trail:

Situated in the Uncompahgre National Forest, the Lost Lake Loop Trail offers horseback riders an enchanting journey through lush meadows, dense forests, and babbling creeks. This 12-mile loop trail starts at South Mineral Campground and takes you to the picturesque Lost Lake, surrounded by towering peaks and dotted with colorful wildflowers. The trail is relatively easy, making it enjoyable for riders of all experience levels.


4. West Fork Trail:

The West Fork Trail is a beautiful horseback riding trail that winds along the West Fork of the Cimarron River in the Uncompahgre National Forest. This scenic trail takes riders through dense forests and offers panoramic views of the stunning San Juan Mountains. With its gentle gradient and well-maintained path, this 8-mile trail is perfect for riders looking for a leisurely ride while basking in the natural beauty surrounding them.


5. Mesa Top Trail:

Located in the Grand Mesa National Forest, the Mesa Top Trail is an excellent choice for horseback riding enthusiasts seeking diverse landscapes. This trail showcases the contrasting beauty of aspen groves, wildflower meadows, and serene lakes against the backdrop of the majestic Grand Mesa. The trail extends for approximately 15 miles, offering riders ample opportunities to appreciate the unique flora and fauna that thrive in this area.


Before embarking on any horseback riding adventure in these national forests, it is essential to be well-prepared. Make sure to check local regulations, acquire the required permits if necessary, and be equipped with proper safety gear and navigation tools. It is also crucial to have a well-trained and well-cared-for horse and to practice Leave No Trace principles to protect these pristine environments.


With a plethora of stunning sights and diverse terrains, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests offer horseback riders unforgettable experiences. So saddle up, explore these top horse trails, and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of Colorado's wilderness.