Tucked away in the stunning beauty of the Rocky Mountains, Targhee National Forest offers equestrians some of the most picturesque and diverse horse trails in the United States. With its sprawling meadows, dense forests, and majestic peaks, this 2.63 million-acre forest is a paradise for horseback riders who long for an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner, Targhee National Forest has trails suitable for all skill levels. In this article, we will explore some of the best horse trails that this enchanting forest has to offer.
1. South Fork Trail:
As one of the most frequently ridden horse trails in Targhee National Forest, the South Fork Trail provides an awe-inspiring glimpse into the forest's natural wonders. This 15-mile trail takes riders through dense pine forests, open meadows, and along the crystal-clear South Fork of Teton River. Not only will you have the opportunity to witness abundant wildlife, including elk, deer, and various bird species, but you'll also be treated to breathtaking views of towering peaks such as Mount Jefferson and Monument Peak.
2. Caribou-Targhee National Forest Horse Trail:
Connecting with the South Fork Trail, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Horse Trail offers an extensive network of trails that covers over 3,000 miles. With varying difficulty levels, riders can choose from a multitude of loop options or create their own personalized trail ride. The forested trails wind through meadows bursting with wildflowers in the summer, alongside sparkling creeks and provide glimpses of the awe-inspiring Caribou Mountain Range. Remember to obtain a trail map or engage a knowledgeable guide to navigate this expansive trail system effectively.
3. Canyon Creek Horse Trail:
For riders seeking a more challenging and thrilling trail experience, the Canyon Creek Horse Trail is a perfect choice. As Targhee National Forest's highest trail, reaching an elevation of over 9,000 feet, it guarantees breathtaking panoramas that will leave you in awe. With a round trip distance of approximately 19 miles, this trail takes riders through densely wooded areas, opens up to vistas overlooking vast valleys, and treats them to majestic views of the Teton Range. This trail is best suited for intermediate to advanced riders due to its steep inclines and technical sections.
4. Green Kiln Trail:
If you prefer a shorter, yet equally stunning trail ride, the Green Kiln Trail is a hidden gem within the forest. Covering a round trip distance of approximately 11 miles, this moderately challenging trail passes through richly diverse vegetation, including towering lodgepole pines, delightful aspen groves, and vibrant wildflower meadows. Along the way, you'll encounter numerous streams and enjoy glimpses of the beautiful Palisades Reservoir. This trail is ideal for riders who want to experience the serenity of Targhee National Forest in a shorter amount of time.
5. Sawtell Peak Horse Trail:
For those who crave an adventure beyond traditional trails, the Sawtell Peak Horse Trail provides a thrilling off-road experience. This trail is not for the faint of heart, as it challenges riders with its steep and rocky terrain. However, the reward is well worth the effort. Upon reaching the summit of Sawtell Peak, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, including the magnificent Grand Teton Range, the Snake River Valley, and even glimpses into Idaho. This trail is best suited for experienced riders and requires careful navigation due to its technical aspects.
Whether you prefer a leisurely ride through tranquil meadows or seek the thrill of conquering more challenging trails, Targhee National Forest has an equestrian adventure to suit everyone. The horse trails within this magnificent forest offer an opportunity to escape the noise of modern life and immerse yourself in nature's splendor. So saddle up, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and embark on an unforgettable horseback riding experience through the expansive beauty of Targhee National Forest.