Horseback Trail Rides to 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 6, 13||Wildflowers & Springtime in the Slickrock country; Petroglyphs and Pictographs on Pleasant Creek Gorge|
|June 17, 24 & July 2||From 1000 Lakes Mountain— Northern Capitol Reef National Park|
|July 15, 22 & August 5, 12, 26||From Boulder Mountain—Southern Capitol Reef National Park|
|Sept 16,23||Fall Colors in Slickrock Country|
Detailed Itinerary Capitol Reef National Park Horseback Trail Rides
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 your motel which will be specified with confirmation of ride 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 8:00 PM we meet at the Inn 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 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 canyons, past the Pioneer register, and the old corrals and buildings 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’s 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. En route 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 Torrey late afternoon.