Best Places to Go Horseback Riding
From the coast of Hawaii to the mountains of Chile, explore our list of best places to go horseback riding.
Cappadocia, TurkeyIn Cappadocia, also known as the “Land of Beautiful Horses,” a horseback ride is a must. Riders can saddle up on Arabian or Barb horses, both native to the area, and meander along trails that wind through ancient Turkish villages past underground cities and Byzantine-era churches, to valleys surrounded by orchards and the region’s famous fairy chimney rock formations. 960 1280
Masai Mara National Reserve, KenyaKnown as one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves, Masai Mara is home to the largest quantity of big cats in the world. A part of the Serengeti National Park, Masai Mara, located in southwest Kenya, provides horseback riders with the ultimate safari experience as they get close-up views of the wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs and zebras that roam the park. 960 1280
Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NCNovice and experienced horseback riders alike can experience the majestic beauty of the chateau-inspired Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Guided private and group trail rides explore some of the property’s 80 miles of estate trails, meadows and brooks, which are often graced by wildlife of the Appalachian Mountains. 960 1280
Loire Valley, FranceA World Heritage Site located in central France, the Loire Valley is known for its historic towns, chateau-inspired architecture and vineyards. Trail rides wind through the French countryside and forests, providing riders with stunning landscape views of rolling hills and castles that make for a riding experience that’s straight out of a fairytale. 960 1280
Haleakala National Park, HawaiiKnown as the “House of Sun,” Haleakala National Park is the highest peak on the island of Maui. Horseback riders can experience the Hawaiian culture as they travel across a tropical, volcanic landscape that’s surrounded by lush forests, waterfalls and streams that stretch out to the coast. 960 1280
Torres del Paine National Park, ChileWhile horseback rides through Torres del Paine may be for the more experienced rider, the surrounding views of the Andes Mountains and Patagonia are ones you won’t want to miss. Trails winding along the rugged mountain peaks, colorful meadows, streams and glaciers provide riders with a breathtaking view of scenery you won’t get anywhere else. 960 1280
Bryce Canyon National Park, UtahLocated in southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon is known for its unique and colorful rock formations called “hoodoos.” Horseback rides descend 2,000 feet into the canyon where riders can experience breathtaking panoramic views with up to 200 miles of visibility, rock formations, forests and wildlife. 960 1280
Banff National Park, CanadaLocated in the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park. Mountainside or riverside trail rides provide novice and experienced riders alike with breathtaking mountain views and scenery as they wind through lush forest, past rivers, and the park’s historic sulfur hot springs. There’s even a good chance to spot some of the park’s wildlife, including black bears and elk. 960 1280
Donana National Park, SpainDonana National Park, located on the Atlantic coast of Spain in Andalusia, is a World Heritage Site, one of Europe’s largest parks and the site that prompted the creation of the World Wildlife Fund in 1961. Riders can saddle up on majestic Andalusian horses and explore the Mediterranean region’s vast marshes, forests and sand dunes that are home to hundreds of species of wildlife, including the endangered Spanish lynx and Adalbert’s eagle. The sound of ocean waves crashing on the nearby shore, coupled with the scenery, make for an unforgettable horseback riding experience. 960 1280
10: SkydivingWe don't need to tell you what an amazingly scary experience skydiving is; if you're looking to inject your vacation with pure adrenaline, this is the extreme. The weather is Thailand is good 365 days a year, so that means there is jumping every single day. Strap yourself to a jumpmaster, and experience the thrill of a lifetime. 960 1280
9: Zip LiningFrom the sea to the sky, our next adventure takes you through the canopies of the Chiang Mai rainforests. You'll ride in your single-person swing and cruise a cable suspended through the 1500-year old Thai rainforest. Upgrade from a single swing to the complete adventure package offered by Flight of the Gibbon, and you can rock climb, mountain bike and stay in authentic Thai village home stays. 960 1280
8: Sea KayakingSince you're having so much fun enjoying Thailand's scenery and wildlife, why not do a little to preserve it? And, of course, still have fun. Sea Canoe is an eco-friendly company that has operated in Southern Thailand for over 18 years. With offices in Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samuir, Sea Canoe can offer adventures in Khao Sok, Trang and Tarutao. Their staff is knowledgeable, and they offer a multitude of locations for kayaking adventures, ranging from a few hours to over six days. 960 1280
7: SnorkelingDive into the marine life just off the coast of Thailand. Similan Diving Safaris offers a full range of diving programs that will teach you how to explore reefs or get lost in the blue during an open-water dive. Located in Phang-Nga, you'll peacefully roam the underwater beauty of Similan and Surin Marine National Islands. 960 1280
6: Mountain BikingGive the elephants a break and hit the Thai wilderness on two wheels. Mountain biking is supremely popular in this country and there are many different tours from which to choose. M.T. Hill Tours offers rides lasting from a few hours to a full day, but one of their more interesting tours takes place at night. Explore the bustling Bangkok City on a three-hour bike tour; the ride ends relatively early, so you can hit the town once you've turned in your bike. Just promise us you'll change out of your bike shorts. 960 1280
5: Whitewater RaftingRelatively new to the Thai tourist market, whitewater rafting is quickly being added to many adventure trek itineraries. Rush the rapids in Southern Thailand's Phang Na province, and you're guaranteed an exhilarating ride. Book with Phuket Tours, and you'll score a visit to the Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary and an elephant ride through the jungle. 960 1280
4: Waterfall AbseilingNumber 7 is perfect for those who find regular rock climbing or repelling to be a bit mundane. Throw in the force of a waterfall, and now you're talking adventure. Many hotels and travel guides have programs that allow you to abseil, or repel, down Thailand's beautiful and powerful waterfalls. You'll feel your heart in your chest as you lean over the edge of a 35-foot waterfall and the ground slowly slips beneath your feet. Find out more about waterfall abseiling at Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai. 960 1280
3: Elephant RidingTaking an elephant ride through local Thai villages and surrounding forests is an experience no visitor to Thailand should miss. The type and length of the ride can be catered specifically to you: a half-hour ride through a local village or a five-day trek through the jungles of Northern Thailand. Those with the endurance and the daring can even incorporate mountain biking and rafting into the trek. 960 1280
2: Jungle TrekkingGet intimate with the wilds of Thailand by hitting the unmarked trails. We recommend at least a three-day trek to see mountain ridges, rainforests and experience camping in the beautiful Thai wilderness. The folks at Active Thailand will provide an informed English-speaking guide who will pick you up at your Chiang Mai City hotel and arrange all your food and camping needs. You just need to bring dry socks, SPF and a sense of adventure. 960 1280
1: CavingGet to the heart of Thailand by exploring ancient caves and tremendous caverns like those in the Pang Mapha District of the Mae Hong Son Province. Here you can venture underground and discover wildlife, history and geology. Expert guides, like those at Cave Lodge, will escort you through geologic labyrinths, vertical caves and collapsed caves. Combine your journey with forest hikes or rafting to see even more of the Thai landscape. 960 1280
Yaki PointWithin the Grand Canyon take in the view from Yaki Point. From an elevation of 7,000 feet, you’ll see the rocky terrain dotted with pinyon pines and junipers -- trees with nuts that sustain wildlife such as deer, squirrels, ringtail and birds. 960 1280
Hopi HouseArchitect Mary Colter designed Hopi House in 1905. Today, this Pueblo-style building is the Grand Canyon’s largest gift store; it features a large selection of authentic Native American art and craftwork. The building is located in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 960 1280
Pacific Northwest TrailThe Pacific Northwest Trail spans 1,200 miles -- including 3 national parks and 7 national forests. To tackle this route, which runs through Montana, Idaho and Washington, you'll have to keep a pace of 20 miles per day. That'll get you to the trail's end in about 60 days.
Best times to hike:Year-round at lower elevations, summer and fall at higher elevations. 960 1280
Appalachian TrailThe famed Appalachian Trail spans more than 2,180 miles. A thru-hike usually takes between 5 and 7 months, cutting through 14 states between Georgia and Maine. Along the way, enjoy views of pink rhododendrons along the trail’s Tennessee-North Carolina state line and in southwest Virginia, from late spring to early summer.
Best times to hike: Spring to fall. 960 1280
John Muir TrailNaturalist John Muir loved this area of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Today, the trail named in his honor runs 211 miles, from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney (the highest point on America’s mainland). Most hikers start their trek at Yosemite’s Happy Isles or Tuolumne Meadows.
Best times to hike: Generally July to September. 960 1280
Hayduke TrailUber-hiker Andrew Skurka calls Hayduke Trail “one of the finest ways to discover the Colorado Plateau … and get away from it all.” No wonder. The 800-mile trail running through Utah and Arizona covers the area’s big national parks: Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches.
Best times to hike: Spring and fall. 960 1280
Pacific Crest TrailThe massive Pacific Crest Trail covers more than 2,600 miles, from California, Oregon and Washington to British Columbia. The trail is among the “Big 3”: If you hike the Pacific Trail, as well as the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail, you’ll get the American Long Distance Hiking Association’s Triple Crown Award.
Best times to hike: Late April to late September. 960 1280
Sierra High RouteThe Sierra High Route is one of pro hiker Andrew Skurka’s favorite trails. The 195-mile trail in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains offers amazing views of meadowlands, lake basins and mountain peaks. Keep a pace of roughly 20 miles per day, and you’ll complete the trail in a little over a week. Also, keep in mind logistical considerations.
Best time to hike: Depends on skill level. 960 1280
Arizona TrailThe 800-mile Arizona Trail runs north and south through the state, and showcases some of the region's most unspoiled terrain: ridges, mountains and wilderness areas that have remained untouched since Arizona became a territory in 1863. That remoteness also means hikers must stay current on Arizona Trail conditions.
Best times to hike: Year-round at lower elevations, summer and fall at higher elevations. 960 1280
Long TrailKnown simply as the Long Trail, this route runs 273 miles through Vermont -- the whole length of the state. The trail also happens to be America’s first long-distance hiking trail. Construction began in 1912 and continued for nearly 20 years. Today, hikers can enjoy short day hikes and extended treks (including to Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain).
Best times to hike: Late spring through late fall. 960 1280
Continental Divide TrailAt 3,100 miles, the Continental Divide Trail is not for the faint of heart: Only about 25 people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, which runs between Mexico and Canada. Some areas can only be traveled by bushwacking, aka make-your-own-trails, and roadwalking.
Best times to hike: April to October. 960 1280
Superior Hiking TrailEveryone loves Superior: Hiker Andrew Skurka ranks the trail among his 10 favorite US hikes, Readers Digest ranks it among its top 5. The 275-mile footpath showcases scenic views -- boreal forests, rushing waterfalls and the 30-mile-long Sawtooth Mountains are among the attractions -- as well as 81 campsites for a little R&R.
Best times to hike: Late spring to early fall. 960 1280
Florida TrailAlligators are among the wild critters that hikers can encounter along the Florida Trail. The 1,400-mile trail starts at Big Cypress National Preserve (about 45 miles west of Miami) and ends in the Pensacola, FL, area. And if you see a gator along the way? Give it space, circling around its tail end so it doesn’t feel threatened.
Best times to hike: Year-round. 960 1280
Colorado TrailHikers, horse riders and bicyclists, the Colorado Trail is calling your name. The 486-mile trail runs from the Denver area to Durango, CO, with some of Colorado’s most beautiful scenery in between: wildlife (marmots, deer, sheep and more), as well as wildflowers, forests, lakes and streams ideal for fishing. A thru-hike generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete -- a feat accomplished by roughly 150 people per year.
Best times to hike: Primarily July and August. 960 1280