Gunnison, Colorado 303.691.1849

Our Favorite Trails

Colorado is home to some of the best trails. Period! But they also have some of the best riding experiences in the world. A few members of the equine club took an informal member survey and put together this top 3 for anyone looking for some of the best trails the state has to offer. By riders, for riders.

Sometimes you just need a break. Horseback riding is one of the most pleasant activities you can enjoy. The breathtaking scenery, the joy of taking a four-legged buddy on wild (or not so wild) trails and simplicity of mountains are all waiting for you in our great state. There is no doubt that the Colorado horse trails will provide that fresh air you’ve been looking for. So get out of the city (or live out of the city like most of us) and join us in an unforgettable experience.

The Rocky Mountains have been providing excellent horse trails for years. It’s not every day you see nature at its very best. But for us in the Western Slope, we do get to see nature every day. And in the summer, the weather is perfect.Not too hot, but not too cold either. It’s ideal for horseback riding. For you, as well as for the horse.

So let’s get right into it. These are the top trails as voted on by the members of the Western Colorado Equine Club. They aren’t all in the Western Slope but they’re available by a decent drive from the Gunnison area or from the Denver/Aurora metro area.


1. Monarch Lake Trails, Indian Peaks Wilderness

Number one on our list are the Monarch Lake Trials in the Indian Peaks Wilderness range. These trails are ideal for people who like to combine horseback riding with trout fishing. If you want the full experience of the wild west lifestyle, then one of these trails is designed for you. Leave at dawn so you can reach the lake just in time for lunch. But don’t go thinking that there is a chef there waiting for you. You have to catch your meal first. But that makes the experience even better. Lake Monarch is filled with trout so even inexperienced fisherman shouldn’t have too much trouble.
While you are there, circle the lake, take in the scenery and the fresh air. You don’t know what fresh air is until you go there- even the air of the mountains around the slope can’t compare. But don’t just take our word for it. Get out there! Also, the tall pines are the home for our famous osprey so these trails are also quite popular with bird watchers. You can also climb and check out the Indian Peaks Wilderness, right under Caribou Pass.


monarch lake colorado horse riding trail
The view is spectacular!


2. Byers Peak Trail, Arapahoe National Park

If you are more adventurous and want to go where no man has gone before, then this trail is waiting for you. There are still untouched places. You will find nothing but nature there, and no trail of humans. The location is so remote that some people get a bit scared. But there is no cause for worry if you prepare appropriately!

colorado peaks in araphoe national park
Peaks of the beautiful Arapahoe National Park in summer.

Silence is the predominant characteristic. If you enjoy solitude, this is the place to go. It will take you about a day because, as I said, most people simply don’t go here. You will need to be able to trailer your horse or horses. The tall stands of the forest, combined with the elevations of Byers Peak will make your journey difficult. But at the end of the day, you will be watching over the Indian Peaks and the Rocky Mountain National Park. All that day’s horseback riding will be completely worth it.


3. East Inlet Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park

This is the trail to take if you want the full Rocky Mountain National Park experience.  It’s also one of the most popular, so don’t expect to find as much solitude as on the others. It’s very easy to find and more family-oriented. Great for younger riders or less experience horses. This is also our newest member’s favorite trail!

rocky mountain national park mountain and lake view
This is the kind of scenery that has made Colorado famous!

The good news is that you will be able to enjoy the view of Adams Fall, a beautiful, tumbling waterfall that is less than a quarter mile from where the trail starts. That is the hot spot, so to speak, but the rest of the trail is relatively quiet. Along the trail there are other waterfalls, seven to be exact. Eventually, you will reach Lake Verna, but you must first climb past Lone Pike Lake. The shoreline of Lake Verna will make the entire ride worth your while. However, you must know that horseback riding is not allowed beyond the lake.
There you have it. Three of the most beautiful locations that you will ever experience in your life. Great for experienced rides or new riders alike.

Let us know what you think!