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Horseback Riding at State Parks
Horseback Riding at State Parks

Horseback RidersMany Colorado State Parks provide the perfect scenery for a spring, summer or fall horseback riding adventure. Choose the perfect landscape for your rideā€”from the 19 miles of scenic trails against the mountain backdrop at Mueller State Park to the 8.8 mile trail surrounding the peaceful waters of Barr Lake State Park.

State Forest State Park, Vega State Park and Golden Gate Canyon State Park offer public corrals for those camping with horses. If you don't own a horse, the stables at Chatfield State Park  and  Mueller State Park offer horse rentals for your riding pleasure.

Horseback RiderMore Trail Riding Options...

Equestrians who are interested in visiting Navajo State Park, Ridgway State Park, Steamboat Lake State Park and Trinidad Lake State Park, please contact the park directly for more information.

Sharing Trails Safely With Horses

Horseback RidersTrails are one of our Colorado State Parks' most valuable assets. A positive trail experience requires cooperation, understanding and courtesy by all trail users. In general, all users should yield to horseback riders and bicyclists should yield to all users.

If you encounter a horse on a state park trail, be sure to make yourself visible and keep calm--sudden movements can startle a horse. Allow the animal to be on the uphill side of you and the trail, where it may feel safer. Something unfamiliar from above a horse may trigger fear of a predator. Be alert from instructions from the equestrian and speak to the horse in a normal tone, which identifies you as a human.

Tips for trail users:

  • Hikers: When approaching a horse, do so from the front. When passing the horse from behind, call out to the rider and horse to let them you know you are going to pass. Allow as much room as possible when passing a horse to avoid being kicked or spooking the animal. Proceed slowly and steadily while passing, and talk to the horse to help it relax. If an equestrian gives you the right or way, wait until you receive a signal that it is safe to pass.

  • OHV Riders: The sound and vibration of off-highway vehicles can spook a horse. Therefore, it is a good idea to shut off your engine when passing a horseback rider. Removing your helmet can also calm a horse by showing the animal that you are human.

  • Bicyclists: Because bikes are swift and low to the ground, they often resemble a horse's natural predator. This means that bikes can trigger a flight response the may occur, despite years of training. Bicyclists should always yield to horses and foot traffic. When you encounter a horse, do not let your brakes skid; pass slowly and only after a rider has given you the OK.

  • Equestrians: It is the equestrian's job to let others know if special care is needed to pass your horse safely. Slow your horse to a walk and make your horse feel safer on the high side of the trail. You may want to leave the trail briefly, facing oncoming traffic.