The Best Horseback Riding in Livingston, Montana

Mark Barnett
Last Updated: February 24th, 2023

Montana’s Livingston is one of those places where many companies and businesses are still well and truly family-owned and operated.

This means for the most part the ranches and outfitters which cover the vicinity of Yellowstone take great pride in what they do. And this is the least you can expect from a town like Livingston that for many still personifies the Old West.

It’s not uncommon to encounter seasoned professionals with patience and encouraging approaches, particularly when it comes to novices or first-time visitors. This is great news for anyone on a 3-5 day visit to the area trying to get as much quality time in as possible, especially in the saddle.

Horseback riding in Livingston equates to beautiful scenery and terrain along with great conversations about Montana, wildlife, and local history. Many would agree that this is one of those truly memorable authentic Montana experiences.

Horseback Riding in Livingston

  1. Bear Paw Outfitters
  2. Erik’s Ranch
  3. Trail Ride Montana MAERA
  4. Flying Diamond Guide Services
bear paw outfitters
Image: Bureau of Land Management

1. Bear Paw Outfitters

Bear Paw Outfitters is an established operation in Livingston offering various trips throughout the region of Yellowstone National Park.  The company is owned and run by a 4th Generation Montanan family and is one the oldest trail riding outfits in the area.

Owner Tim personifies aspects of the rugged Montana horseman charm and is committed above all else to safety, as well as the proper care of the horses. He also knows a lot of the history of the area and has a few tales to tell along the way which adds to the unforgettable experience.

With a Bear Paw horseback riding trip participants get the safest and most picturesque trail riding experience. With an impeccable safety record, Bear Paw takes great pride in providing riders with a unique and professional experience, not to mention the unforgettable landscapes of Paradise Valley from horseback.

Paradise Valley is located south of Livingston and north of Yellowstone National Park and is a fantastic place for individuals, couples, and especially families to get involved in an awesome horseback and trail ride. If a 3-hour trip along the hillsides of the valley sounds like your thing, this might be right up your street.

The horses are well-trained and seem to know the way by themselves, and the 3-hour trip allows plenty of time to ascend the hillside and take in the spectacular views of Paradise Valley. The routes may even feature a small stream crossing or two.

2. Erik’s Ranch

erik’s ranch
Image: Ranch Seeker

A guided trail ride at Erik’s Ranch Experience allows participants to get a proper glimpse of some of the natural beauty of the Absaroka Mountains. The ranch offers various outdoor activities and programs, including two scenic horseback riding trails to choose from.

You’ll also most likely get to hear the odd folktales of the area, which happened to serve as the backdrop for the famed Montana-inspired epics “A River Runs through It” and “Horse Whisperer.” Erik’s offers some impressive accommodations as well, but you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the equestrian offerings.

The ranch’s gentle, intuitive, and experienced horses make it an ideal destination for riders of all ages and experience levels. You get to ride your own horse up a mountain trail with guides who are reportedly super-attentive, informative, and helpful.

Riders can discover the beauty of Paradise Valley from the saddle on this guided horseback trek through the Blue Flower Trail. There’s a good chance of spotting local wildlife like elk and golden eagles. If you are interested you’ll get a few insights into the region’s history, wildlife, ecosystem, and more on this trail ride.

The ranch also offers pony rides for younger participants. A staff guide accompanies the children as they enjoy a gentle pony walk. It’s a great introduction to riding in a safe and controlled setting for youngsters and may well create lifelong memories.

3. Trail Ride Montana MAERA

trail ride montana
Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture

MAERA stands for a non-profit organization known as Montana Awareness Equine Rehabilitation Association. The outfit has charged itself with a mission to provide the community with various programs and activities related to horses.

Interactive classes about horses and the surrounding Montana wilderness are provided at MAERA. The main purpose is to give out useful information and assistance to both students and families in the Livingston region. MAERA runs some great trail rides and backcountry trips in the Paradise Valley along with horse riding lessons.

The classes focus on various skills and education related to horses, and the trails mainly cover the scenic surrounding regions of the camp.

4. Flying Diamond Guide Services

flying diamond guide services
Image: ArtBrom

Flying Diamond Guide Service is a family-operated cattle ranch of 4 generations. The ranch has been in Paradise Valley for 50 years or more, in Stand’s basin is located in a mountain valley beside a small stream with the main line of business being the raising of cattle.

The horseback rides take place within the grounds of the working family ranch. Rides are under permit for the Gallatin National Forest lands in the vicinity of the Absaroka Range just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Horseback rides are available between June and September with Flying Diamond. Rides of various durations between 1-3 hours are offered, beginners and experts alike are all welcome. Anyone will be blown away by some of the scenery involved in the routes.

Every rider is matched with a horse considered the best fit for their age and riding ability. A day of riding is offered to more experienced riders and includes a cowboy lunch in the beautiful Stands Basin. For many, this is the day that typifies any lasting Montana memories.

The trip is customizable to individual requirements like the amount of riding involved and can be tailored to include a good few hearty meals. Participants get to ride up on nearby ridges with views that are sometimes hard to believe, with excellent horses.

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About The Author

Mark Barnett

Mark Philip is a writer and lifestyle enthusiast from the Midlands in the U.K. With a background in martial arts and fitness, Mark headed out to Bangkok, Thailand where he now lives and works. Mark has authored e-books, articles, and blogs across a wide range of topics for commercial, educational, factual, lifestyle and leisure-based purposes.

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