Capitol Reef Utah Horseback Riding Vacations: Camping Trail Rides
Capitol Reef National Park Horseback Trail Rides:
Capitol Reef is a landscape where thousands of feet of layered sediments, deposited over three-hundred million years of geologic history, have been thrust skyward by faulting of the earth’s crust. Eons of water and wind have then carved the jagged, multi colored spectacle you see today. It is little wonder the Ute Indians called Capitol Reef and environs: “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow”. To stand on the breaks of Thousand Lakes Mountain or Boulder Mountain and take in the panorama of Capitol Reef and beyond, is indisputably an opportunity of a lifetime.
A deluxe basecamp will serve as your home for daily forays deeper into the wilderness. Exploring a new trail each day, you’ll visit ancient petroglyphs, slickrock mountains, slot-canyons, rock arches, buttes and spires. Experience Cathedral Valley, Paradise, Hell’s Hole, The Golden Throne, Pleasant Creek Gorge, Deep Creek Gorge, Tantalus Canyon, and more.
|May 26||Capitol Reef National Park: Springtime in the Slickrock country|
|June 9, 16||Red Rock Canyons, Spring in Capitol Reef and beyond|
|June 30, July 7||The Great Western Trail: High Plateaus/Canyon lands views|
|July 21, 28||High Plateaus: Capitol Reef views above the Park|
|August 11, 18||High Plateaus above Waterpocket Fold & Circle Cliffs|
Detailed Itinerary: Capitol Reef National Park Trail Rides
Note: Trail riding destinations will vary according to the season of the year and the area featured. Those areas featured are Capitol Reef National Park (May and September), a mix of National Park and the U.S.Forest Service lands on the High Plateaus of Boulder Mountain or Thousand Lake Mountain. These three areas are contiguous to each other with the towns of Torrey and Boulder in their midst.
First night lodging in Torrey, Utah; complete outfitting including all meals from lunch on day two through lunch on day six; ground transportation from Torrey to trailhead and return; canvas tents for cooking, dining, showering and sleeping (single, double or family occupancy); sleeping bag, pillow, blanket and sheet, cot, foam mattress and inflatable thermal pad; camp chairs; waterproof gear bags; water bottles; saddle bags and tack; seasoned mountain horses; guides, cook, camp-jack, wranglers, and interpretative specialist well versed in both social and natural history.
This is a sample itinerary of several trails we may use. Each trail is unique and we’ll highlight the best trails for the conditions.
Note: Hondoo Rivers and Trails is committed to maintaining the highest standards of low impact, back-country camping technique. Consequently, campsites are seldom used more than once or twice each year. This practice is especially critical in the semi arid tablelands and narrow canyons you’ll visit. Furthermore, this allows each group to experience the campsite as if they are the first. Higher elevation campsites are used in mid summer and lower elevation campsites are used earlier and later in the season. Itineraries vary accordingly.
Day 1 Arrive scenic Torrey, Utah and check into your assigned lodge.. Torrey is a town of a little over 200 residents located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 7:00pm participants will meet in 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. Transfers will be provided as needed. 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 our trailhead. The 25 mile ride through the Reef whets your appetite for riding through the seemingly impassible slickrock canyons. From the trailhead you’ll ride past a 4th generation farm along Pleasant Creek, through a labyrinth of variously colored cliffs and canyon, past the Pioneer registers, and the old corrals and building that are all that’s left of the Sleeping Rainbow Ranch. Ponderosa pines, Navajo sandstone domes and a frosty drink welcome you at the basecamp.
Day 3 You awaken to the sound of the Pleasant Creek waterfalls and the aroma of breakfast cooking. After preparing lunch, you’ll start along the sheep trail to the head of Tantalus Creek crossing the bare slickrock, gaining elevation throughout the morning. Lower Bowns Reservoir provides a welcome rest before resuming your discovery of prehistoric sites while returning home to a hot shower and cold drinks.
Day 4 With a hearty breakfast under your belts and an early start, you’ll gradually leave Pleasant Creek, pass through Tantalus Flats and over the divide into Sheets Gulch, traipsing where prospectors from the ’50 hoped the needles on their Geiger counters would signal a lucky strike. Once we make our way into the gulch, we’ll be rewarded by the shady cottonwoods and monkey flowers. The route back will allow us to relish the backlit pink and purple hues on the Chinle and Navajo cliffs. A welcomed meal and relaxation around the evening campfire round out the day.
Day 5 After finding your way through the labyrinth of canyons which comprise the tributaries of Pleasant Creek we’ll have the opportunity to see the eroding pictographs and Fremont pit houses of Spring Canyon. Enroute back to camp you’ll have numerous opportunities to imagine the challenges that faced 19th century pioneers at stops at the Nixon canyon and Miner’s mountain cabins.
Day 6 Departure day. After packing personal gear and breaking camp, you will ride the length of the Sulfur Creek to the Slickrock trail. Rendezvousing with our vehicles at Grover, you’ll exchange your saddle seat for the cushioned comfort of a short vehicle ride along highway 12. You’ll arrive in Torrey mid-late afternoon.