Ranches and resorts known for great ridesScenery in the Pacific Northwest is beautiful from any vantage point, but there is something extra special about seeing this creation of Mother Nature from the back of a horse. So it's not surprising that many Northwest vacationers look for opportunities to include horseback riding in their getaways.
Here in the Northwest you can make it as simple or complicated as you like. You can go for a 90-minute guided trail ride or you can go on a week-long pack trip far into the wilderness. You can ride single-file on gentle horses with the kids, or you can participate in a cattle roundup at one of the area's guest ranches.
Here are five Northwest resorts and ranches known to offer excellent adventures on horseback.
Mountain Springs LodgeMountain Springs Lodge, near Leavenworth Washington, is a prime example. Guests are guided on horseback along an extensive trail system right on the resort property. The trails take riders to some beautiful vantage points and old-growth forests, and the rides are popular with all ages.
The horses are easy to ride. The lodge owners says that all their horses are gentle.
Riders are given basic instruction and the guides answer whatever questions you have before you head out on the trail.
The trail rides at Mountain Springs Lodge are offered in different lengths -- from two to 10 miles, and some are combined with meals. The horseback rides are just one of many outdoor activities at the resort including a popular zip line.
For more information, please visit www.mtsprings.com or phone 800-858-2276.
Bull Hill Guest RanchBull Hill Guest Ranch, near Kettle Falls Washington, is part of a large working cattle ranch that dates back to 1903. The terrain is beautiful and wide open in Northeast Washington where the ranch is located.
Families love Bull Hill because it's a great outdoor vacation that makes you feel like you are in the Wild West amidst the tall pines and cedars. The scenery at Bull Hill is magnificent -- you'll enjoy the beauty of the mountains, meadows, forests, river, lakes and streams.
At Bull Hill you can experience trail rides or even participate in a cattle drive. Then back at the ranch you can enjoy a typical evening of storytelling and conversation at the cookhouse or bar. A lot of folks enjoy soaking in the ranch hot tub after a few hours on the trail.
The food's always great at places like this, and Bull Hill is no exception. There are big helpings of homestyle ranch cooking, with beer and other drinks all part of your daily package rate.
For more information, please visit www.bullhill.com or phone 877-285-5445.
K Diamond K Guest RanchThe K Diamond K Guest Ranch is located in Republic Washington, near the Canadian border in North Central Washington.
There are lots of outdoor activities at the ranch. You can enjoy horseback riding, fly-fishing in nearby lakes or streams, hunting, trapshooting and you can even pan for gold, Visitors also mountain bike and float down the nearby river.
Guests stay in private guests rooms located in a beautiful handcrafted log lodge where you'll be served family-style meals. You can belly up to the bar in the ranch saloon or enjoy the large screen TV.
Of course the main attraction is the horseback riding with more than 60 horses ready to take you out on the trail. The ranch will accommodate all types of riders and first timers -- every guest gets personal instruction and orientation from experienced professionals.
For more information, please visit kdiamondk.com or phone 888-345-5355.
Icicle OutfittersOne place you can enjoy a great western style adventure is near Leavenworth Washington at Icicle Outfitters and Guides. These outfitters will take you way out into the mountain wilderness, far from phones, email and other modern conveniences.
The specialty here is taking guests on high-country horse-packing trips into the serene meadows and valleys and majestic peaks of the Cascade Mountains. You can take guided summer trail rides or overnight pack trips -- you can go just for the scenery, or do some fishing or hunting while you're traveling through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country.
The horses are gentle and trail-wise. They pretty much know where they're going and you get to come along for the ride. The outfitters bring along the food and they really know how to cook trailside.
These trips are especially great for photographers who always come back with spectacular shots to impress their friends.
For more information, please visit www.icicleoutfitters.com or phone 800-497-3912.
Sun Mountain LodgeSun Mountain Lodge located near the town of Winthrop in North Central Washington is a luxury resort that is perfect for couples as well as families. One of the most popular amenities offered at Sun Mountain Lodge is the horseback riding. The horses are said to be quite gentle and well-trained and the scenery near Sun Mountain Lodge is spectacular.
The lodge offers 90-minute trail rides, or longer if you prefer. Some of the most popular rides are the ones that combine the trail ride with a meal. For example, with the Cowboy Dinner trail ride, you ride about 45 minutes out to an old homestead where you're cooked a barbecue dinner of steak, chicken, beans, cornbread, baked potato, cole slaw and peach cobbler.
And once you've consumed all that, you'll hop on your horse and spend another 45 minutes enjoying the scenery on the way back to the lodge. It's the perfect way to really enjoy the incredible Methow Valley scenery.
For more information, please visit www.sunmountainlodge.com or phone 509-996-4735.
PHOTOS: Wrangler Erin Boyes at Mountain Springs Lodge
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