Locals and visitors alike in Kalispell would be hard-pressed not to agree that experiencing the landscape on horseback is a must.
Taking a day trip into the surrounding mountains can take you deep into the backcountry, which means you get to experience much more of the area’s fantastic terrain from the saddle than you might normally be likely to.
If you’re looking for a place in Montana to explore from the back of a horse, then Kalispell takes some beating. The impressive scenery and the climate make it a great choice, and on top of that, the number one thing to do in the city is horseback riding.
Along with the landscape, some of the best horseback riding in the country is available in and around the region of Kalispell. Whether you need to take a few lessons or spend a day out on a trail ride, you won’t be short of options.
Several ranches and outfitters offer both half-day and full-day horseback riding trips in and around Kalispell, which for many could turn out to be the experience of a lifetime.
So let’s take a closer look at some of the best options for horseback riding in Kalispell.
Horseback Riding in Kalispell
- Artemis Acres Paint Horse Ranch
- Western Trails Horseback Riding
- High Country Trails
- Montana Horse Works
Artemis Acres Guest Ranch is a Northwest Montana horseback riding operation and guest ranch with a strong western tinge.
Located along the foothills of the Salish Mountain Range, the ranch is home to Cecil and Isabel Noble, who have almost 50 years of experience between them when it comes to hosting backcountry horse trips.
Cecil had previously set up and run an outfitting business way back in the early 70s, with the main emphasis being on hunting.
It wasn’t until the early 90s that Isabel joined him and the pair added summer horse pack trips to their itinerary. In 2006 though they decided to call it a day on the other outfitting activities and focus on providing an authentic Western experience through a guest ranch.
The residence is smaller than most “dude” ranches at 80 acres, but this allows a somewhat more intimate setting.
Guests can enjoy the warm hospitality and laid-back vibe that attracts so many visitors to the region, and the endless trails that are used for horseback riding by the ranch connect to thousands of acres of Forest Service land.
Visitors commonly report an outstanding and authentic Montana experience after a stay at the ranch.
Western Trails provides visitors with the opportunity of a 2-hour ride along an incredibly picturesque trail in the Kalispell area. Anyone from 8 to 80 can find a horse to suit, and the outfit has draft horses that can easily manage larger or heavier riders if necessary.
When you arrive at the facility, park, and fill in the required paperwork, your wrangler will be selecting and saddling up the most suitable horse for the ride soon after.
The horses are gentle and experienced and are unlikely to be phased by anything. They are all well looked after and the tour guides are reportedly attentive and personable throughout the whole experience.
The trails that the horses take are well-maintained and easy enough to navigate, with amazing views the whole way. This is the way to leave the madness of the city behind and get reacquainted with nature Kalispell style. Quiet, beautiful, and fair-priced are some of the descriptions left by visitors.
The place is also easy enough to find and access, and as the rides are fairly short the whole affair is pretty straightforward, including the setting up and preparation.
Individuals and groups are catered to and this is a great place overall to indulge in a spot of horseback riding when in the region of Kalispell.
High Country Trails is situated in a ranch setting just over 5 miles southwest of Kalispell The ranch offers guided trail rides around the private, family-owned land, which covers an extensive 800 acres of amazing scenery.
The rides can be between 1.5 hours and a half day and feature impressively panoramic views of the Flathead Valley and the Rocky Mountains.
The operation offers lessons for inexperienced riders either individually or in groups. Customized trips are available according to requirements, and the property allows riders to head up into the mountains.
The outfit’s owner Donna grew up on the family ranch and thus knows the region like no one else. She keeps an amazing team of horses that allow everyone to be paired with the right one according to age and ability in the saddle.
All riders are catered to, from rank beginners to the more experienced. Riders can also get involved in the process of grooming, saddling, and watering the well-trained horses before and after the ride.
The rides typically operate from May 1st through September and can accommodate between two and ten riders per outing, which is why reservations are a necessity. Visitors can take a two-hour horseback tour of the ranch mid-morning or in the evening ride.
You can get to High Country Trails along Highway 2, heading south from the intersection with Meridian Road.
Montana Horse Works is a horseback riding and natural horsemanship instruction center in Kalispell. The operation caters to anyone upwards of 2 years of age and the activities offered include trail riding, weekly group rides, and both private and semi-private (2 people) lessons.
This is a very family-friendly operation and visitors report extremely knowledgeable and accommodating staff. The scenery involved in the rides is typically beautiful, and the entire experience is handled by what is clearly a safe and professional operation.
Take a ride down the trail with one of the experienced Wranglers and experience large open pastures complete with huge trees, permeated with wildlife amidst some stunning Montana views.
Montana Horse Works caters to riders with anything from zero experience all the way up to advanced riders, and the horses at the center are well-trained and easy to ride.
The services are typically offered year-round, and reservations are the best way to guarantee your ride.