The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in Idaho provide a stunning backdrop for equestrians to explore the beauty of nature on horseback. With miles of well-maintained trails and breathtaking scenic views, horse enthusiasts are in for a treat. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a beginner, here are the top horse trails in Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests that you won't want to miss.
1. Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness:
The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is a stunning area known for its rugged mountains, pristine rivers, and abundant wildlife. This wilderness offers several trails that are perfect for horseback riding, such as the Moose Creek Trail and the Blacktail-Red Ives Trail. These trails wind through beautiful meadows, towering forests, and crystal-clear streams, providing an unforgettable experience for riders.
2. Lochsa River Trail:
Following the mighty Lochsa River, this trail offers picturesque views and a chance to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the forest. The trail begins at Wilderness Gateway Campground and stretches for 15 miles, showcasing the beauty of the Lochsa River Canyon. With relatively flat terrain, it's suitable for riders of all skill levels.
3. White Sand Creek Trail:
For those seeking a more secluded and challenging adventure, the White Sand Creek Trail is a perfect choice. Located near the small town of Elk City, this trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. As you ascend, you'll be rewarded with panoramic vistas and a chance to spot local wildlife. The trail is approximately 12 miles long and is best suited for experienced riders and well-conditioned horses.
4. Kelly Creek Trail:
The Kelly Creek Trail is renowned as one of the most scenic trails in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. This 22-mile trail takes riders through lush meadows, old-growth forests, and along the sparkling Kelly Creek. The trail is dotted with many camping spots, making it perfect for multi-day trips. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife, including elk, deer, and even a chance to spot a black bear.
5. Lolo Motorway:
The Lolo Motorway, also known as the Nez Perce Trail, offers riders a unique opportunity to explore a historic route through the forest. Following the path used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, this 100-mile trail offers stunning views, historical sites, and a chance to retrace the footsteps of early explorers. The trail can be challenging and rugged in places, so it's advisable to plan for a multi-day trip and ensure you and your horse are well-prepared.
Before embarking on any trail, it's essential to check with the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Visitor Center for trail conditions, permits, and to obtain any necessary information. Ensure your horse is in good health and properly equipped for the journey. Additionally, remember to pack plenty of water and food, as well as a map, compass, and first aid kit for any unexpected circumstances.
With these top horse trails, equestrians can experience the majesty of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests from a unique perspective. So saddle up, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and enjoy a memorable adventure on horseback in this pristine wilderness.