Located in Wyoming and Colorado, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest offers breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, and a wide range of recreational activities. One of the best ways to explore this expansive forest is on horseback. With miles of well-maintained trails, riders of all skill levels can experience the beauty and serenity of the forest. Here are the top horse trails in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.
1. Continental Divide Trail: Stretching over 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico, the Continental Divide Trail is a bucket-list experience for many horseback riders. In Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, the trail passes through stunning alpine meadows, scenic mountain ranges, and crystal-clear streams. The Rawah Wilderness segment, located in the northern part of the forest, is particularly popular, offering breathtaking views of North Park and the surrounding peaks.
2. Wapiti Trail: For those seeking a challenging adventure, the Wapiti Trail is an excellent option. This 12-mile trail cuts through the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, offering stunning vistas of meadows, lakes, and rugged peaks. Riders can witness abundant wildlife, including elk, deer, and even the occasional moose. The trail offers a rewarding experience for experienced riders due to its steep sections and rocky terrain.
3. Silver Lake Trail: Nestled in the Sierra Madre Mountains, the Silver Lake Trail is a scenic ride that takes riders through aspen groves, lush forests, and culminates at the tranquil Silver Lake. At just under 10 miles in length, this trail is perfect for a day trip. Riders can relax alongside the lake, enjoy a picnic, or try their luck at fishing for trout. This ride is family-friendly and ideal for beginners.
4. Sand Lake Trail: Located near Saratoga, Wyoming, the Sand Lake Trail is a popular destination for riders looking for a more relaxed experience. This gentle 10-mile loop takes riders through diverse landscapes, including thick forests, open meadows, and alongside beautiful Sand Lake. Wildlife is abundant along the trail, making it a great spot for birdwatching and wildlife photography.
5. Platte River Wilderness Loop: Situated in the northern part of the forest, the Platte River Wilderness Loop offers a multi-day horseback adventure. This 22-mile loop explores the rugged and remote Platte River Wilderness Area, which showcases panoramic views, deep canyons, and pristine alpine lakes. Riders will need to be self-sufficient, as there are no amenities along the trail, but the solitude and beauty make it worth the effort.
Before embarking on any horseback riding adventure, it's essential to be prepared and follow Leave No Trace principles. Ensure that you have the necessary permits, bring enough water and food for both you and your horse, and always stay on designated trails to protect the sensitive ecosystem. Additionally, be aware of any seasonal closures or restrictions that may apply.
Whether you're a seasoned equestrian or a novice rider, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest offers a wide variety of horse trails to suit all skill levels. From breathtaking mountain ranges to serene alpine lakes, exploring this national forest on horseback allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of the area. So saddle up and embark on an unforgettable adventure through the breathtaking trails of Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.