Horseback riding in Montana is considered by many as the only authentic way to take in the local scenery. Better yet, imagine horseback riding in Yellowstone National Park and its surrounding regions like West Yellowstone and the views from the saddle. Now we are talking about some seriously unforgettable Montana memories.
There are various options for checking out the Yellowstone area from the back of a horse, whether you prefer to head into the national park itself or not. As with the majority of horseback riding in Montana, employing either the services of a local outfitter who knows the ropes or heading out to one of the local ranches is the best route to take.
Yellowstone National Park does permit private and licensed outfitters with authorization the opportunity to operate guide trips. Some outfitters typically offer half or full-day trips along with overnight backcountry trips for those with advance planning. Some of the operations even work out of lodges in the park, as will be revealed here.
Certainly, planning and preparation are necessary for any successful horseback riding trip in Yellowstone, along with a few good ideas about your own requirements. The entire Yellowstone region is diverse enough to offer a wide range of activities that can easily be combined or complemented with a spot of horseback riding.
So let’s take a closer look at some of the options related to the best horseback riding in Yellowstone.
The Best Horseback Riding in Yellowstone
- Diamond P. Ranch
- Canyon Horse Corral
- Parade Rest Guest Ranch
- Yellowstone Wilderness Outfitters
- Yellowstone Mountain Guides
1. Diamond P. Ranch, West Yellowstone
Diamond P Ranch in West Yellowstone operated Horseback riding trips in and around the region between May and September when they are open 6 days a week.
This is the only ranch offering horseback riding services around the West Yellowstone area and the operators are authorized to ride into the Gallatin National Forest which overlooks the national park.
The ranch offers 2 or 3 ride options throughout September from Monday to Saturday. These come by way of a 3-hour morning ride and a 2-hour afternoon ride. On top of that, there’s actually another 2-hour evening ride that sets off around 4.30 pm, Monday-Saturday. For full details of all rides as well as rates click HERE.
Group rides are conducted for anyone over the age of 6 years old and the guides come equipped with saddle-horn bags for your belongings which eliminates the need for any heavy backpacks. The rides all start out and finish up at the ranch so there’s no chance of not finding your way home.
2. Canyon Horse Corral, Yellowstone National Park
Canyon Horse Corral operates out of a Yellowstone National Park lodge and offers one and two-hour canyon rides in the park, as well as trips to Roosevelt Park. These are provided throughout the summer season from the lodge where the horse riding trips are based.
The hour-long and two-hour-long horseback rides are offered throughout summer and feature open meadows around the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area (which is not actually visible from the trail). The ride heads through wooded areas and follows Cascade Creek before returning to the corral through more meadows as well as pine forests.
The 2-hour ride actually exits the corral and heads in the direction of thick timber and large meadows. It continues along the Cascade Canyon rim along with Cascade Creek before returning to the corral through a series of meadows.
This is as good as it gets from the back of a horse in the vicinity of Yellowstone National Park and echoes the Old West.
3. Parade Rest Guest Ranch, West Yellowstone
This ranch is located just 10 minutes from the national park’s West Entrance, making it the closest guest ranch to the nation’s first National Park and its famed attractions like Old Faithful Geyser. Parade Rest is an authentic Yellowstone guest ranch providing guests with the opportunity to indulge in some authentic western horseback riding.
The rides are available 7 days per week during the summer season and are accompanied by experienced wranglers familiar with the horses’ temperaments as well as the surrounding trails of the ranch.
Any level of rider is catered to here, including rank beginners and experienced participants, and all trips start out from the corrals before heading up to the vicinity of towering pines and mountain meadows.
Guests can choose ride durations of anything between one and four hours, with the riding locations typically covering the Gallatin Foothills and featuring mountain lakes. These can be reached on both mid-day and evening excursions every day.
Children under 8 years of age can be catered to with wrangler-led rides in the corral pasture, and anyone interested in longer and more adventurous guided rides can arrange this in advance—check HERE for full details on rates & reservations.
4. Yellowstone Wilderness Outfitters, Yellowstone National Park (Mammoth)
If you fancy a horseback riding outing in Yellowstone National Park with a licensed Yellowstone outfitter, try enlisting the services of Wilderness Outfitters and Guides. Everyone involved in the operation is pretty much a lifelong horse affiliate and guide who knows the region like the back of their hand.
The team operates out of Gardiner and caters to horseback riding in the Yellowstone backcountry regions, including any specific remote area you may long to visit. If that sounds a little long-winded then half-day, and full-day rides are offered in the national park’s northern section, while the pack trips cover the whole park.
These trips are designed to introduce some of the landscapes as well as the park’s amazing features. This is a combination of riding and sightseeing in some of the most scenic sections of the park.
Combination trips are also a specialty of the outfitters, including the Paddle and Saddle which features a spot of Yellowstone River rafting to boot. Anyone wanting to dive into a Yellowstone Pack Trip gets to see many important yet little-seen features related to the establishment of Yellowstone National Park.
Rides typically set out at 9 am from Mammoth Hot Springs and take the same trail in and back out again. All horseback rides have strict age and weight requirements at a minimum of 8 years old and maximum of 250 pounds.
Horses and saddles alike are chosen according to the size and experience of the rider, which for many equals memories that will last a lifetime.
You can Email the team in advance with any questions and or preferences you may have regarding a riding trip.
5. Yellowstone Mountain Guides, West Yellowstone
Yellowstone Mountain Guides is a family-owned and established outfitter and guide service in West Yellowstone. The company has more than a quarter-century’s worth of experience in providing outfitting services in Yellowstone and surrounding wilderness regions.
Half-day and full-day rides both inside and outside of the national park are provided with lunch if required. Guests can choose to ride all day or customize a tour to include a combination of activities such as riding along with a spot of Yellowstone fly fishing.
The stock used for trail riding is reportedly gentle and safe as well as being familiar with the terrain. The trails and the horses are selected to accommodate all levels of riders from beginners to experts.
All trips require advanced reservations to ensure the best experience for participants, not to mention safety. The horses are usually responsive and sure-footed on the trails, and the guides are patient and knowledgeable.
The trail routes are typically gorgeous and feature various elevation changes with amazing views and the odd water crossing.