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Saddle Up to the Best Horseback Riding in the U.S.

Seeing the countryside on horseback is a wildly memorable experience. Whether you prefer a relaxing, scenic trail ride, or an overnight campout under a starlit sky, experiencing views from the saddle is a rewarding and life-changing adventure.

From the picturesque landscapes of New England to the vast coastline of the Pacific Northwest, make plans to saddle up and set eyes on the most spectacular U.S. destinations in a new and exciting way.

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01Vermont

Most people have heard about the magnificent vistas in New England, but seeing them from horseback changes everything. The Icelandic Horse Farm in Fayston, just an hour south of Burlington, has been providing riding packages since 1988. You’ll tour the meadows, forests, and mountains surrounding the farm and inn on an Icelandic Horse. One of the oldest horse breeds in the world, they were first brought to Iceland by the Vikings. The farm provides horses for all levels of rider, from beginner to best in show.

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02Hawaii

While the beaches are what draw millions of visitors to Hawaii each year, the lush landscape across the islands is just as beautiful. Visit the 12,000-acre Kahua Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii, one of the oldest working cattle and sheep ranches in the state. Enjoy the serene trails through tropical rainforests, alongside clear, sparkling streams and breathtaking waterfalls cascading off 2000-foot cliffs.

You’ll be matched up with one of the ranch’s native Hawaiian horses, descendants from herds that have run wild through the valley for generations.

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03Colorado

Explore the mountainous terrain and awe-inspiring views in the Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs, just 90 minutes south of Denver. The Academy Riding Stables provides knowledgeable guides to lead you on a relaxing ride through the stunning vistas and ancient red rock formations.

Riders over the age of 8 can enjoy a one or two-hour trail ride. For the younger set, ages two through seven, the stable offers pony rides so no one misses out.

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04Wyoming

If you’re seeking a more immersive, extended horseback riding holiday, one that takes you far from civilization so that you can witness life on a family-owned ranch, head to northwest Wyoming.

The Bitterroot Ranch sits on the East Fork of the Wind River, at the foot of the Absaroka mountains, surrounded by the 52,000-acre Shoshone National Forest. The wildlife is abundant here, and the air is crisp and clean. You’ll ride one of the ranch’s well-trained Quarter Horses, the working cowboy’s steed of choice. The massive trail variety means you won’t travel the same route twice, no matter how long you stay.

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05North Carolina

One of the most diverse natural environments in the country, the Appalachian Mountain range extends from Alabama to Canada. The smaller Blue Ridge Mountains on the eastern side surround the city of Asheville, which is home to the famous Biltmore House, a historic chateau.

The Biltmore Equestrian Center provides 80 miles of riding trails through pristine forests and breathtaking woodlands, with the option of private, two-hour trail rides and carriage rides. Because it is a full-service equine boarding facility as well, visitors can bring their own horses and enjoy access to outdoor and indoor arenas, jump areas, and trails.

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06Arizona

Certain landscapes conjure up the iconic symbols of the classic Western, and Arizona is an excellent example. Arizona Horseback Adventures is a stable located about four miles north of the town of Cave Creek, near the edge of the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. Join a sunset trail ride into the Sonoran Desert just as the vast, open sky explodes into vibrant shades of purple and orange.

The sienna-colored rock environment has remained virtually undisturbed, much like it was in the heyday of the Old West. Many of the horses on the ranch are rescues, which makes it even more memorable.

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07Alaska

For equine fans who love an adrenaline rush, there’s no better way to see Alaska than on horseback. Parts of the state, like Seward, aren’t accessible any other way.

This is the home of Bardy’s Trail Rides, where the summer temps seldom get above 63 degrees, but the winters are long, cold, and snowy — so don’t plan on a trail ride until the spring. The stables are about a two-hour drive southeast of Anchorage. Ride along rugged trails, through an array of diverse landscapes and wildlife habitats, including rainforest, grasslands, and beaches.

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08California

When it comes to sensational coastal and panoramic views, Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon displays some of the most spectacular, no matter what time of year you visit. In the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country, the Triple Creek Horse Outfit provides guided trail rides across bubbling creeks and golden meadows into Jack London State Park, then on to a private ranch in Bennett Valley, where guests can check in overnight if they wish.

Opt for a relaxing sunrise, sunset, or full moon ride. Private trail rides are also available.

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09Kentucky

Fans of the Kentucky Derby know the Bluegrass State is famous for its horse breeding and training traditions. People who seek an exciting equine getaway should make sure the Big Red Stables in Harrodsburg are high on their bucket list. The family-run farm is only about an hour’s drive from Lexington, amid lush, green grasslands and forests. Guests can saddle up a Tennessee Walking Horse, an elegant but large breed — they stand between 59 and 69 inches at the shoulder — revered for its gait and its flashy movement. It’s a unique and exciting opportunity for anyone who loves horses.

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10Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most varied scenery in the country, and there’s no better way to see it than on horseback.

The Williamette Coast Ride in Carlton is an equestrian holiday for intermediate and advanced riders. The trail ride covers an array of terrains, including majestic coastlines and picturesque agricultural lands. This is an English riding adventure, so you won’t see any cowboys around here. But for those who are ready to immerse themselves in a days-long, dressage riding encounter, this is it.

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