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WY / CO / MT Yellowstone Vacation?

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  • WY / CO / MT Yellowstone Vacation?

    Hi All,

    I am currently looking to take my Aunt out West to trail ride sometime this summer. We are trail ride in the Appalachians and have never been out west. She is in her 60's and has always wanted to ride out west. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to take her? We have a week to spare. I would really like to experience as much as we can without have to travel (as in drive) from place to place. Ideally, we would like to fly in, and stay in that location but be able to ride out via horse every day and see numerous scenic views. We don't care for fancy meals or the fancy amenities that come with high end dude ranches. We want simply want to see and experience the best scenery we can. Thoughts or suggestions? I would like to make this trip happen before August.

  • #2
    Jackson Hole Wyoming
    Jenny Lake Lodge
    The Grand Tetons are spectacular from horseback

    Comment


    • #3
      Do keep in mind that Out West vacations of pretty much any kind are likely to involve a fair amount of driving in one way or another, either to get from your point of arrival to a home base of some kind, and/or between cool things of one kind or another you’d really not want to miss. That’s the price you pay for the wide open spaces. Heck, going to school in Socorro, NM (home of Mythbusters’ rocket sled experiments!), there’d be people drive an hour and a half to Albuquerque (one way, mind you) to get Taco Bell. The nice thing about that area, though, is the drives themselves are just beautiful with lots to see.

      We just came back from a vacation where we flew in to Billings, drove down into Yellowstone through the Beartooth Pass, spent two nights in Yellowstone at Canyon Lodge, then relocated to Flagg Ranch in Grand Tetons for three nights, drove out through the East entrance to Cody, visited the Buffalo Bill Center of the west, stayed the night there before driving back to Billings for our flight out. The parks each have several little “towns” with lodges, restaurants, general store, and like amenities. Most of the villages include a base of operations for trail rides, but as far as I could tell the ones in the park were of the one-to-two hour nose-to-tail walk along sort of thing. We did one and it was very enjoyable, but if you’re looking for more of a serious excursion with hours a day into the back country, I don’t *think* that is possible with those outfits based within the park.

      As part of the Teton trip we visited the Jackson area. I am sure that there are any number of the high end sorts of dude ranches that you say you don’t want, as that was kind of the original THING that got the area going, tourist-wise, but we didn’t specifically see any where we were, it was mostly shopping and ski-associated stuff.

      On the road out the East gate of Yellowstone towards Cody, though, it seemed like you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a sign for a ranch or “horse crossing” where a trail crossed the road. I don’t know anything specifically about any of them, but from looking at the gates/signs and the outbuildings, they seemed to be more on the down-to-earth side, the kinds of places with a Mr. Coffee in the feed room rather than an espresso machine a barista, you know? I’d look around in that area.

      Make sure you plan ahead and keep weather in mind. We booked months ago and weren’t able to stay all five nights in Yellowstone like we wanted because it was booked, even though we were traveling on the “shoulder” week for school (our system lets out a week before most). If you want to stay the full stay in the park, book way ahead, probably over a year ahead of time if you want to stay at Old Faithful (which I’m not sure I would, it was a zoo). Summer and opening of some of the roads and trails comes later than it does for most North Americans, we were lucky Beartooth had opened and stayed open by the first week of June (and there were skiers all over the place, many trying to hitch rides back up the mountain). Main roads within the park were open, but many of the smaller offshoots, picnic areas, and trails were still closed due to snow.

      Comment


      • #4
        Would you be interested in a pack trip? Thirty years ago or so, my husband and I did a six day pack trip out of Banff Alberta. Lots of riding every day, scenery that there was no other way to see, all meals provided and cooked for you. Amenities for sleeping, bathroom were very, um, rustic but something like this might be a great option rather than trying to cobble together multiple riding opportunities with convenient accommodations.
        https://www.banffadventures.com/Thin...ry-Lodge-Trips

        Comment


        • #5
          OP, are you looking for Trail Riding or multi day pack trips? How fit is your Aunt? Some of the high country riding is nothing like the Appalachians. Be specific in your search.

          You might check around Bozeman ( gateway to West Yellowstone) Good air service including mainline non stops. Variety of terrain, all gorgeous. Jackson Hole is also well served by major airlines although the airport itself is...rustic. Stairs or ramps, no heated jetways, airport is inside the Park and restricted to those building codes- no second story. There are many outfits around there. But be warned I was just through there and it’s been snowing. Also, even the airport is at a high altitude, 6500’ and some folks don’t handle it well.

          Other in and out options not requiring a lot of driving with good air service are Kalispell and Missoula. I’d suggest Denver but that’s going to involve more driving, might look at Colorado Springs though.

          Shoulder season rates as summer winds down start about the second week of August, most shut down by early October. Some places keep the rates high through Elk season.
          Last edited by findeight; Jun. 20, 2019, 04:04 PM.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

          Comment


          • #6
            Anything close to glacier national park, MT, Whitefish or Around flathead lake. We stayed at Bar W which is a dude ranch, but it was low key and super fun outside of whitefish. The park is 35-45 min away. If you can get into McDonald lodge at the park, inexpensive (compared to a dude ranch) and views for days. There are riding and rafting outfitters just outside the park.

            Jenny Lake at Yellowstone is gorgeous. So many places to stay around Jackson a Hole and Moose. Lots of outfitters all around.

            August Is high season still. If you can push into early September when all the kids go back to school, it cheaper and the horses haven’t gone away for the winter yet.

            Comment


            • #7
              Google Bitterroot Ranch in Wyoming. Its not too far from Jackson, ( right by shoshone national forest.) much longer to Cheyenne, but once you are there, you dont leave. We rode different routes every day, most day a 3 hour trail ride, back for lunch, 3 hours in the afternoon, back for dinner. I think there were two all day rides, brought sandwiches. Great horses. Good people. Stunning scenery and some time to play at team penning, lol. Nice cabins, good food, etc. They have access to 52000 acres of Federal land. Divide guests (about 30) into several smaller groups depending on whether you want fast, medium or slow pace. Sometimes the terrain dictates pace as we went well up into the mountains. I'd like to go back one time before I'm too old to climb into the saddle.

              I did a pack trip out of Banff; it was quite fun and beautiful but rustic and we went out and back the same route.

              Comment


              • #8
                I did this ride in 2001: redrockride.com
                It's Utah and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are places to ride in and around Yellowstone and Glacier, with varying lengths of rides. You could just get your own lodging and take a few different day rides in one of the parks. I suggest Glacier as the area of Yellowstone that has most of the horse outfits is not the prettiest part of the park, but it is in wolf territory, so there is a plus to that side as well.


                  There are both short couple hour trail rides and much longer trips available. Swan is the outfit that operates inside Glacier and they even have overnight rides into the mountains.

                  I love both parks and have spent extended amounts of time in both, so they would absolutely be at the top of my list.
                  Rhode Islands are red;
                  North Hollands are blue.
                  Sorry my thoroughbreds
                  Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    https://cmranch.com/activity/horseback-riding/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RacetrackReject View Post
                      .... I suggest Glacier as the area of Yellowstone that has most of the horse outfits is not the prettiest part of the park,...
                      .
                      Ummm. Glacier National Park is not in Yellowstone National Park. They are a 6-8 hour drive apart on opposite sides of Montana.

                      OP did say they didn’t want to drive too much. Yellowstone is most easily reached by flying into Jackson Hole and driving a couple of hours north or flying into Bozeman/ West Yellowstone, despite the airport name it’s driving a couple hours south . More driving to get around in the Park, it’s huge.

                      Glacier would be flying into Kalispell and...more driving but don’t remember how much. There are many outfits in the Jackson Hole area that would be easier if they don’t want to drive much. Some even pick you up at the airport. Some of the resort hotels will too as well as arrange your riding tours if you are staying there, Snow King for example. Would really look around Bozeman too, thats Lewis and Clark country, seen adds for guest ranches offering trail riding options within an hours drive.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by findeight View Post

                        Ummm. Glacier National Park is not in Yellowstone National Park. They are a 6-8 hour drive apart on opposite sides of Montana.
                        .
                        I didn't read what she wrote in the way that you did. She's saying "Roosevelt is not THAT pretty, and the riding at Canyon isn't great either. You'd get better riding IF you went to Glacier INSTEAD of Yellowstone"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          .... but she didn’t say Roosevelt or Canyon so easy to read it just as what she wrote. Text has its shortcomings when it comes to clear communication.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            . Ummm... I suggest Glacier BECAUSE the area of Yellowstone that has most of the horse outfits is not the prettiest part of the park,...


                            let's try that.
                            .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TMares View Post
                              . Ummm... I suggest Glacier BECAUSE the area of Yellowstone that has most of the horse outfits is not the prettiest part of the park,...


                              let's try that.
                              .
                              Very good, we’ll go with that.
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by findeight View Post

                                Ummm. Glacier National Park is not in Yellowstone National Park. They are a 6-8 hour drive apart on opposite sides of Montana.

                                OP did say they didn’t want to drive too much. Yellowstone is most easily reached by flying into Jackson Hole and driving a couple of hours north or flying into Bozeman/ West Yellowstone, despite the airport name it’s driving a couple hours south . More driving to get around in the Park, it’s huge.

                                Glacier would be flying into Kalispell and...more driving but don’t remember how much. There are many outfits in the Jackson Hole area that would be easier if they don’t want to drive much. Some even pick you up at the airport. Some of the resort hotels will too as well as arrange your riding tours if you are staying there, Snow King for example. Would really look around Bozeman too, thats Lewis and Clark country, seen adds for guest ranches offering trail riding options within an hours drive.
                                I didn't say it was. I said that I suggested Glacier {because} "AS " the area in Yellowstone where the horse riding outfits are is not the prettiest part of Yellowstone. I've been to both, I know where they are. lol

                                Kalispell is not far from the West Glacier entrance. It's about 46 minutes to West Glacier. I usually stay in Whitefish which is about 28 miles from Kalispell and we go to Kalispell for The Event at Rebecca Farm. I believe the stables are near Lake McDonald, which is not far from the West Glacier entrance on Going To The Sun Road, if I remember correctly. Ironically, you drive through an odd town named Hungry Horse that has depictions of starving horses everywhere on the way to West Glacier.

                                Jackson Hole is more expensive than the areas around Glacier. That actually goes for pretty much everything around Yellowstone to be honest.
                                Rhode Islands are red;
                                North Hollands are blue.
                                Sorry my thoroughbreds
                                Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I grew up in Montana and I second the Glacier option. There is a ton to do and while you'll have to drive some, you don't have to go too far. While both parks (Glacier and Yellowstone) have lots of tourists in the summer, there are SO MANY at Yellowstone that it just isn't fun sometimes. Glacier is a bit more "real". Added bonus, one of the only rain forests north of the equator is in Glacier. I've ridden through it a few times. My grandparents met while working in Glacier.

                                  Comment

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