Trail Rides to Utah’s High Plateaus
When summer’s heat in the slickrock country becomes oppressive for both horse and rider, the lure of glacial lakes and lush meadows beckons. These horseback trail rides explore the plateau tops and canyons where the San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument make their dramatic break towards the Colorado River. From a deluxe basecamp you’ll make daily rides into this alpine wilderness. Always a favorite feature of this ride are the lakes, wildflowers, elk, deer, and other wildlife, as well as the spectacular vistas of the 4-Corners region where ten or more National Parks and Monuments may be seen in a single panorama.
The Colorado Plateau is shaped by the Colorado River system as it runs from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California and was the last explored region of the continental United States. This broad expanse of rugged, colorful tablelands encompassing much of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona (the 4-Corners area) is bounded by the Grand Canyon on the south and Uintah Basin on the north.
To overlook the canyonlands from Utah’s High Plateaus is a remarkable experience where the phrase “I can see for two-hundred miles” is not a figure of speech.
|June 26||Wildflowers & Wildlife/Elk along the “Great Western Trail”|
|July 3||The Great Western Trail (Canada to Mexico) over 1000 Lakes Mt|
|July 10 July 24||Alpine Ecosystem & Views of Redrock Canyons and Slickrock Mountains|
|July 31 Aug 7||Alpine Lakes of Boulder Mt. with Canyonlands Views & Wildlife/Elk|
|Aug 21 Aug 28 Sept.6||Alpine Lakes of Dixie NF, Ponderosa Pines, Slickrock Trails, and Wildlife|
|Sept 25||Fall Foliage Headwaters of the Escalante Canyons/ Boulder Mt.|
|Oct. 2||Fall Foliage on Boulder Mountain|
High Plateaus Trail Ride
Note: This is a sample itinerary for two of several camps we may use. Each camp is unique and often offers more trails to explore than time will permit.
Day 1 Arrive scenic Torrey, Utah and check into specified lodging which will be confirmed with reservation. Torrey is a town of a little over 200 population which is located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 8:00pm meet at the lobby for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader and the trip’s interpretative specialist.
Day 2 After breakfast, you’ll travel a short distance down the road to Hondoo’s headquarters. Hondoo’s headquarters are located on highway 24 in the middle of downtown Torrey. At Hondoo’s office and gift shop, we’ll pack your gear in the camp 4X4, meet the remainder of the crew and your horse, then depart (9:00am) for the Slickrock Trail ten miles southeast of Torrey, or the Great Western Trail two miles north of Torrey. The Slickrock Trail leads to Happy Valley, Golden Throne overlook, Wildcat Gorge then to your basecamp on Pleasant Creek. The Great Western Trail will take you up Sand Creek to the Velvet Ridge, then to Hells Hole, Sand Creek Falls and your camp at Wiff’s Pasture.
Day 3 After breakfast and preparing lunch, from the Pleasant Creek basecamp you’ll ride to Meeks Lake, Pleasant Creek meadows and the Boulder Top at Behunin Point before returning to a hot shower and cold drinks. From the Wiff’s Pasture camp you’ll ride to Snow Lake and the Flat Top on Thousand Lakes Mountain where the views of the canyonlands are indescribable. As always, you’ll return to camp in time to relax and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before dinner.
Day 4 Daylight at the Pleasant Creek camp brings the prospect of visiting Scout Lake, Long Lake and spectacular Bowns Point via the Elderberry Trail. From the Wiff’s Pasture camp you’ll wind your way into Paradise in Capitol Reef National Park. After lunch you’ll return to camp via Billings Pass and the Cathedral Valley overlook.
Day 5 Riders at the Pleasant Creek camp will follow Keller’s Trail to the breath taking vista on Chokecherry Point, then across the Terrace to Pleasant Creek Falls. After a hearty breakfast, riders at the Wiff’s Pasture camp will spend their final full day on the Saddle Pass Trail with it’s stunning views of Hell’s Hole, Sand Creek Gorge and the Fremont River Valley.
Day 6 Departure day. After packing personal gear and breaking camp, riders will use the Slickrock Trail and return among the multi-hued Navajo sandstone domes littered with volcanic boulders where you’ll exchange your saddle seat for the short drive back to headquarters. From the Wiff’s camp you’ll take the Sulfur Basin trail to Torrey Knoll and the Bingo and Torrey town overlooks. After a short drive you’ll arrive Torrey late afternoon.