Lincoln National Forest, located in the state of New Mexico, offers some of the most breathtaking horse trails in the country. With its diverse terrain, stunning views, and well-maintained trails, it is a haven for horseback riding enthusiasts. Whether you are a beginner rider or an experienced equestrian, Lincoln National Forest has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore the best horse trails this forest has to offer.
1. Grindstone Stables Trail: This trail is perfect for riders of all skill levels. It is a 6-mile loop that takes you through lush meadows and serene forests, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You can pack a picnic and enjoy a peaceful lunch along the way. The trail is well-marked and maintained, ensuring a smooth ride for both you and your horse.
2. Dry Canyon Trail: For those seeking a bit more adventure, the Dry Canyon Trail is a must-visit. This 12-mile trail winds through the foothills of the Sacramento Mountains, providing riders with a challenging yet rewarding experience. As you navigate the trail, you'll encounter rocky terrain, narrow paths, and steep ascents, making it an exhilarating ride. The trail offers panoramic views of the desert landscape, creating a truly unique riding experience.
3. James Canyon Loop Trail: This trail is famous for its stunning views and diverse vegetation. The 7-mile loop takes you through a variety of landscapes – from open meadows to dense forests – making it a picturesque horseback riding adventure. The trail is well-shaded, offering cool relief during hot summer days. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species.
4. Three Rivers Trail: As the name suggests, this trail follows the paths of the Rio Bonito, Rio Ruidoso, and Rio Penasco rivers, offering riders the unique opportunity to ride alongside these beautiful water sources. The trail is approximately 17 miles long, taking you through lush canyons, past cascading waterfalls, and across wooden bridges. This scenic ride is a favorite among both locals and visitors alike.
5. Pine Lodge Trail: If you are looking for a shorter ride but don't want to compromise on breathtaking views, the Pine Lodge Trail is perfect for you. Only 3 miles long, this trail takes you through a dense pine forest, providing a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. The trail is well-maintained and relatively flat, making it ideal for beginner riders or those looking for a casual ride.
No matter which horse trail you choose at Lincoln National Forest, be sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and a map of the area. It is also recommended to bring your own horse, as rentals may have limited availability. Additionally, adhere to all trail etiquette, such as yielding to hikers, staying on designated paths, and cleaning up after your horse.
Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply someone who enjoys a leisurely ride, Lincoln National Forest has something for you. These five horse trails showcase the best this forest has to offer in terms of picturesque landscapes, thrilling rides, and diverse terrains. So, saddle up, and get ready to explore the wonders of Lincoln National Forest on horseback.