The Best Horseback Riding in Whitefish, Montana

Mark Barnett
Last Updated: February 24th, 2023

Many outdoor lovers with previous experience of Whitefish in Montana will likely report the destination as a scenic, world-class ski resort town. On top of that, it also happens to be a great location for a spot of horseback riding.

More than just a few scenic horseback riding trail adventures have set out from Whitefish and in particular from the Bar W Ranch. No matter if you have equestrian experience or not—there’s every chance you’ll be able to find some top guidance and the right horse to boot here.

Riders looking for photo opportunities couldn’t wish for more from the Whitefish terrain which features snow-capped mountains and rolling ridges in abundance.

This kind of scenery is just about as far removed from the chaos of any city environment as anything you might care to imagine.

horse riding in whitefish

It has to be said that exploring Whitefish’s irresistibly-picturesque surroundings from the saddle is a tough one to beat when it comes to authentic, unforgettable Montana experiences.

Options typically range from a fairly straightforward 1-hour trail ride right up to a whole day in the saddle at a local ranch some of which offer full-day tours topped off by dinner.

Aside from that, Whitefish is rather close to another destination with an even more extensive range of adventure options by way of Glacier National Park.

So with that in mind, let’s have a closer look at a couple of options for exploring the landscape from a saddle with the best horseback riding in Whitefish.

Horseback Riding in Whitefish

  1. Bar W Guest Ranch
  2. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

bar w guest ranch

1. Bar W Guest Ranch

The Bar W Ranch is the name you’ll be most prone to hearing on the lips of Whitefish locals. In terms of them being asked about any outstanding horseback riding nearby, that is. You could say the ranch has the horseback riding out of the town pretty much sewn up.

The ranch operates horseback rides in and around the town and especially across the mountainous terrain and landscape around Whitefish.

You can count on included features like the Stryker Range and Swisher Lake and on top of that is a whole list of other avenues offered by the ranch—joining a cattle drive on the wide open prairie of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, for instance.

The entire experience at Bar W is largely focused on riding and the various programs that go along with it. The wranglers are informative and attentive, the terrain varied, and the ranch’s fair-sized herd of impressive mountain horses all make the Bar W an exceptional and authentic Montana experience.

Trail ride adventures get going after a short orientation and once the most suitable horse has been matched with the rider according to age, size, and level of experience. As with all the best Montana riding experiences, there is a strong emphasis on safety for both the horse and rider at Bar W Ranch.

The trail rides are the ‘nose-to-tail’, walking-only kind of horseback riding offered at the ranch as the mountains tend to contain largely single-track routes, which are walking only.

Children over seven years of age can join the trails, and other weight limits will be assessed first. You can see the complete details about the rides and programs offered at Bar W Ranch HERE.

2. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

the lodge at whitefish lake
Image: Roy Luck

The lodge is one of the prime spots to stay in the area for anyone with a love of lakes, mountains, open scenery, and a multitude of outdoor options.

The lodge and its surroundings are an ideal spot from which to get that feeling of freedom from the saddle amidst some stunning scenery and echoes of the Wild West.

Whether you are an experienced rider or this is your first time on horseback, you are sure to have an unforgettable and scenic horseback riding adventure from this location.

If anyone wants to repeat the experience for a few more days it won’t prove too difficult to secure some of the lodge’s rustic-chic deluxe accommodation, although pre-booking is recommended on that one.

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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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