horseback riding tripsThere are so many places to plan a horse back riding trip, it can be difficult to choose. Just about every region in the U.S. offers terrain and scenery that are best explored on horseback. From the alpine backcountry and high mountain lakes, to the desert and sandstone formations, high prairie grasslands and eastern mountains, there are trails to suit all preferences. So, here goes it, Vacation's picks for the best horse back riding trips:

The Wild West

Wyoming is the embodiment of the wild west. It has unpopulated terrain complete with working cowboys, ranches, mountains, rivers, and lakes. It's also one of the loveliest places to see on horse back riding trips. Base in Jackson Hole, which easily accesses all of the best riding areas; the quaint town sets the stage with its wild west atmosphere. Explore the Teton Mountains, on the border of Idaho and Wyoming, and ride through fields blanketed in wildflowers, with vistas of alpine lakes and the Grand Teton. Don't miss Teton National Park, where it's easy to get off the beaten path.

Head north to Yellowstone, and be sure to explore Harriman State Park along the way, an 11,000 acre wildlife refuge bordering the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. Yellowstone itself is, of course, a wildlife-viewing mecca, where you're likely to see moose, elk, bear, and wolves. While you're there, be sure to get a glimplse of Old Faithful, the park's famous geyser.

Big Sky Country

It's difficult to keep from gazing at Montana's enveloping big sky, day or night. Get lost in the wilderness in one of the best places in the west to plan a horse back riding trip. Head to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, offering up more than one million acres of mountains, glaciers, lakes and pristine beauty. There are a number of entrance points into the Bob Marshall, with several classic loops perfect for a horse back riding trip; some cabins are also available for rent. The area also has several outfitters who lead guided adventures into the backcountry.

Red Rock Rides

Explore Utah's slickrock wilderness by horseback. A great area to plan a horse back riding trip is in central Utah, on the northwest section of the Colorado Plateau. Consider including Capitol Reef National Park, the San Rafael Swell, Grand Staircase/Escalante Canyons National Monument, and the Boulder Mountain area, all with varying terrain and spectacular desert and mountain scenery. Many rides provide opportunities to view prehistoric rockart and wildlife, including wild horses, buffalo, bighorn sheep, and birds of prey.

Riding in the Rockies

Pagosa Springs, located in southwest Colorado's San Juan range of the Rockies, is an undiscovered outdoor playground. Just sixty miles from much-visited and busy Durango, Pagosa Springs has abundant wildlife, fishing, hot springs, and miles of trails perfect for horse back riding trips. The town is surrounded by many thousands of acres of Wilderness, BLM, and National Forest land, making it easy to get out on the trail for a relaxing ride. Head to Durango to get deep into the Rockies, and be sure to check out the Colorado Trail, which will get you up to more than 13,000 feet for stunning views of the mountains.

Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains

The Pocono Mountains are the Northeast's favorite mountain escape, and a scenic place for horse back riding trips. The trails meander through woods of rhododendron, laurel and freshwater springs and expansive valleys. Fields are full of wildlife, with plenty of vantage points for viewing. The Poconos are the place to be on horseback, spring, summer or fall!

Horse back riding trips are great for the whole family, and let you easily explore acres of terrain and see incredible landscapes. Consider planning one for your next vacation adventure!

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