Exploring the Majestic Wilderness: Top Horse Trails in Tongass National Forest
Nestled in the heart of Southeast Alaska, Tongass National Forest is a sprawling expanse of breathtaking beauty and unspoiled wilderness. With its rugged mountains, towering coastal rainforests, crystal-clear lakes, and pristine rivers, this national forest is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Among the many ways to experience its wonders, horseback riding stands out as a truly special adventure. Let's saddle up and hit the trails to discover the top horse trails in Tongass National Forest!
1. Ward Creek Horse Trail:
Located just outside the charming town of Ketchikan, the Ward Creek Horse Trail is a four-mile loop that promises stunning views and close encounters with wildlife. As you ride through old-growth forests and along the banks of Ward Creek, keep your eyes peeled for deer, black bears, and even the occasional bald eagle soaring above. This scenic trail is perfect for riders of all skill levels and can be enjoyed year-round.
2. Mahoney Lake Trail:
For those seeking a longer, more challenging ride, the Mahoney Lake Trail is sure to impress. This grueling 19-mile trek is a true test of horsemanship and offers a fantastic opportunity for overnight camping. As you traverse through dense forests and cross babbling creeks, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of Tongass National Forest and the surrounding mountains. Keep a lookout for moose, too, as they are known to frequent the area.
3. Perseverance Trail:
Situated near Juneau, the Perseverance Trail is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Originally a mining route, this historic trail offers a unique experience filled with rich history and natural wonders. As you ride alongside waterfalls, through lush meadows, and past remnants of gold mines, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the region's heritage. And the best part? The trailhead is accessible from downtown Juneau, making it an easily accessible adventure for all.
4. Staney Creek Trail:
Heading further north to the town of Sitka, equestrian enthusiasts will find the idyllic Staney Creek Trail. This moderate four-mile route takes riders along tranquil streams, through moss-covered landscapes, and into the heart of Tongass National Forest's temperate rainforest. Listen to the symphony of bird songs, breathe in the fresh forest air, and immerse yourself in the serenity of this enchanting trail.
5. Beaver Lake Trail:
Located on Prince of Wales Island, a haven for outdoor recreation, the Beaver Lake Trail offers a delightful horseback riding experience through lush rainforest. This moderate six-mile trail loops around the picturesque Beaver Lake, offering stunning reflections and serene surroundings. Be prepared to share the path with hikers and mountain bikers, as it is a popular destination for all nature enthusiasts.
Before embarking on any horseback riding adventure, it's important to note that some of these trails may require permits or limitations on group size. Make sure to check with the local authorities or visitor center beforehand, and always follow Leave No Trace principles, treading responsibly to preserve the pristine beauty of Tongass National Forest.
When it comes to embracing the spirit of the Alaskan wilderness, horseback riding through the stunning trails of Tongass National Forest provides an unparalleled experience. Whether you're an experienced rider or a novice equestrian enthusiast, a journey through this ancient forest is sure to leave you awestruck. So, saddle up, grab your reins, and embark on an unforgettable exploration of the top horse trails in Tongass National Forest.