Rita Blanca National Grassland, located in the Texas Panhandle and the northeastern corner of New Mexico, boasts breathtaking landscapes and an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. One of the most popular activities in this natural treasure is horseback riding. With its vast grassy plains, rolling hills, and scenic overlooks, Rita Blanca offers equestrians a multitude of opportunities to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. In this article, we will explore some of the top horse trails in Rita Blanca National Grassland.
1. Lake Etling Trail:
The Lake Etling Trail is a must-ride for equestrians looking for a scenic experience. This 13-mile loop takes riders around the picturesque Lake Etling, offering stunning views of the water and surrounding grasslands. The trail is marked and relatively easy to follow. Riders can expect varying terrain, including grassy areas, sandy stretches, and some rocky spots. With its wide-open spaces and tranquil atmosphere, Lake Etling Trail is perfect for riders seeking a peaceful ride.
2. Kanada Trail:
For those in search of a longer ride, the Kanada Trail offers an extended adventure through the beauty of Rita Blanca. This 28-mile trail meanders through grasslands, valleys, and canyons, providing riders with striking panoramic views and incredible photo opportunities. The terrain varies, with portions that are more difficult and steep. Riders should be prepared for sandy and rocky sections, as well as creek crossings. The Kanada Trail is an immersive and rewarding experience for horse enthusiasts.
3. Airport Pit Trail:
Located near the Rita Blanca Lake Recreation Area, the Airport Pit Trail is a family-friendly option for riders of all skill levels. This 5-mile loop trail takes riders through grassy plains, providing beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. With its well-maintained paths and gentle slopes, the Airport Pit Trail is a great option for beginners or a leisurely ride. It's also conveniently located near amenities such as picnic areas and restroom facilities.
4. South Canyon Rim Trail:
For breathtaking canyon views, the South Canyon Rim Trail is a must-ride. This 6-mile loop takes riders along the southern rim of Rita Blanca Canyon, offering stunning vistas and a chance to see wildlife such as deer, hawks, and even golden eagles. The trail consists of both flat and hilly sections, making it suitable for intermediate riders. The South Canyon Rim Trail is a great opportunity to experience the unique beauty of the grassland's canyons.
5. North Canyon Trail:
The North Canyon Trail is perfect for riders seeking a more challenging and technical ride. This 10-mile trail takes riders through narrow, rocky passages in the northern reaches of Rita Blanca Canyon. With its rugged terrain and breathtaking views of the canyon walls, this trail is recommended for experienced equestrians. Riders should be prepared for steep ascents and descents, loose rocks, and potentially tricky footing. However, the rewards are well worth the effort, providing riders with an exhilarating adventure through the heart of the grassland.
Before embarking on any horse trail, it is important to check for any trail closures or restrictions and ensure you have the necessary permits, such as a grazing or horseback riding permit. Additionally, always be mindful of the environment, pack out any trash, and leave no trace. Rita Blanca National Grassland offers a unique and unforgettable experience for horseback riders, with its diverse landscapes and stunning vistas making it a must-visit destination for any equestrian enthusiast.