Exploring the Great Outdoors: Top Horse Trails in Thunder Basin National Grassland
Nestled in the rolling plains of northeastern Wyoming, Thunder Basin National Grassland is a hidden gem for equestrian enthusiasts. Covering over 550,000 acres, this vast grassland offers a myriad of stunning horseback riding trails that allow riders to immerse themselves in the untamed beauty of the American West. Whether you're a seasoned rider or an eager beginner, here are the top horse trails in Thunder Basin National Grassland that will take you on an unforgettable adventure.
1. Mule Creek Trail:
Starting at the Mule Creek Trailhead, this scenic trail spans approximately 22 miles and is ideal for intermediate to advanced riders. As you traverse the trail, you'll be captivated by the panoramic vistas of rolling grasslands, towering buttes, and expansive blue skies. The Mule Creek Trail is also popular among wildlife enthusiasts as it provides opportunities to spot pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and a variety of bird species.
2. Terry Bison Ranch Trail:
For those looking for a shorter ride, the Terry Bison Ranch offers a 12-mile loop trail that showcases the breathtaking landscapes of Thunder Basin National Grassland. Beginning at the ranch, riders can enjoy views of vast prairies, gentle streams, and even encounter a herd of majestic bison along the way. The Terry Bison Ranch Trail is an excellent option for riders of all skill levels, including families with younger riders.
3. Devils Tower National Monument Trail:
While not located within the grassland itself, Devils Tower National Monument is just a short drive away and features a fantastic horse trail. This 8-mile loop around the iconic Devils Tower offers a unique experience, allowing riders to witness the towering monolith up close while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding Black Hills. Riding along this trail provides a sense of tranquility and awe-inspiring beauty that is hard to replicate elsewhere.
4. North Blacktail Trail:
Situated in the heart of Thunder Basin, the North Blacktail Trail system offers a variety of routes catering to riders of all skill levels. From short and leisurely rides to longer, more challenging journeys, this trail system has something for everyone. The trail winds through sprawling grasslands, luscious prairies, and quiet pine forests, providing riders with an opportunity to connect with nature and escape the bustling world.
5. Orin Division Trail:
For those seeking an adventure, the Orin Division Trail is a must-try. Spanning approximately 30 miles, this trail encapsulates the rugged beauty of Thunder Basin National Grassland. Riders will encounter diverse terrains, including open plains, steep slopes, and rocky canyons. As you navigate through the landscape, keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and other wildlife species that call this area home.
When embarking on a horseback ride in Thunder Basin National Grassland, it is important to remember a few key tips. Always check the weather conditions and trail status beforehand, as conditions can change quickly in this region. It is also advisable to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent, as the grassland can get hot and bugs may be present during certain seasons.
Additionally, it is essential to respect the delicate ecosystems and wildlife that inhabit the grassland. Stay on designated trails, pack out any trash, and refrain from disturbing or approaching the animals you encounter. By adhering to these guidelines, you will contribute to the preservation of this pristine wilderness for generations to come.
Whether you are a local equestrian or a visitor seeking a unique riding experience, Thunder Basin National Grassland offers an array of exceptional horse trails. From its awe-inspiring landscapes to its abundant wildlife, this vast grassland will leave riders with memories that will last a lifetime. So, saddle up, explore the trails, and reconnect with nature in this captivating slice of Wyoming's wild frontier.