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Utah Backcountry Trails

Overview

Discover the Colorado Plateau on these multi-day trails through scenic southern Utah. Located in the middle of Utah's five national parks, there are trails that visit Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest, Fish Lake National Forest and the San Rafael Swell. Your hosts are owner-oper…

Highlights

  • Follow ancient trails established by Native Americans
  • Ride through glorious national parks and forests
  • Camp in remote, scenic locations with your horses
  • View petroglyphs and watch for wild mustangs
  • Ride with knowledgeable local wranglers and guides

Essential Facts

  • 5 itineraries available
  • Max 10 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 113kg / 250lbs / 17 stone 10 lbs

Description

Discover the Colorado Plateau on these multi-day trails through scenic southern Utah. Located in the middle of Utah's five national parks, there are trails that visit Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest, Fish Lake National Forest and the San Rafael Swell.

Your hosts are owner-operators of an active cattle ranch in southern Utah and share a passion for the cowboy lifestyle. Cattle ranching runs six generations deep in their family which ensures understanding of local landscapes and history. They have recently created these trails to share their enjoyment of the backcountry cowboy way of life with guests. Together they have over 35 years of equestrian background - training, competing and working as horse wranglers and guides - so you can be assured of great care throughout.

Each of the trails is unique and offers breathtaking scenery:

On the San Rafael Swell, you camp near deep canyons with high buttes and vast plateaux. You may encounter bighorn sheep and wild horses and will follow intricate trails established by Native Americans, herdsmen and outlaws.

On the Capitol Reef and Dixie trail, you start in Capitol Reef National Park and ride to the lower elevations of Dixie National Forest. This ride offers desert landscapes, red rock and sandstone canyons where you can view petroglyphs and waterfalls.

On the Dixie trail, you ride through higher elevations of Dixie National Forest, with most camps being around 8000ft. You'll see alpine lakes and meadows and be able to overlook the rugged landscape of Capitol Reef. Dixie National Forest is incredibly beautiful in the summer and autumn and Highway 12, which passes through this area, is listed as one of the top scenic drives in the USA.

On the Fish Lake National Forest trail, you ride in the vicinity of Thousand Lake Mountain with views across to Capitol Reef and Boulder Mountain.

On the Inn based trail, you trailer the horses each day to different locations within Capitol Reef, Dixie National Forest and Fish Lake National Forest.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Western saddles and bridles are provided. Your wranglers will tack up the horses but you are welcome to assist with grooming and watering the horses if you wish to.

Horses

Most of the horses are Quarter Horses with a few Thoroughbreds and Arabians. They are all familiar with the trails and range from 14hh to 17hh.

Riding

There are 5 itineraries:

  • San Rafael Swell Camping is a trail ride
  • Capitol Reef and Dixie Camping is a trail ride
  • Dixie National Forest Camping is a trail ride
  • Inn Based Trail is a based ride
  • Fish Lake National Forest Camping is a trail ride

Ages

8 years or older. Under 18's are required to wear a helmet

Health

General good health

Weight

113kg / 250lbs / 17 stone 10 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

On the camping trails, you are treated to a varied menu of fresh foods including beef from the owners' cattle ranch. The camp cooks can accommodate most special diets with prior notice. The cooks prepare fresh and locally sourced meals at all times. Drinks are not included and you can arrange to bring your own alcohol in the support vehicle.

On the Inn rides you have breakfast at each inn and then lunch on the trail. In the evenings you dine in local restaurants. Your guides will dine with you each evening. Drinks are available to purchase.

Accommodation

There is a choice of camping rides or Inn-based rides.

Each camping ride is unique and remote and they rarely cover the same ground twice or use the same camp more than once or twice a season. The camping rides are supported by 4x4 vehicles but are sensitive to the fragile environment and employ low-impact camping techniques. All camping equipment is provided - cots, mattresses and inflatable pads, freshly laundered sleeping bags, blankets, chairs and showers/commodes. Tents are available for single or double occupancy and have adequate standing room. You spend all nights at the same campsite.

On the Inn based trails, you stay in a quality hotel in Torrey and return to the same hotel each evening by vehicle. Rooms will be comfortable double/twin with private bathrooms. The trails move between Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest and Fish Lake National Forest.

Itineraries

San Rafael Swell Camping Tented accommodation.

Capitol Reef and Dixie Camping Tented accommodation.

Dixie National Forest Camping Tented accommodation.

Inn Based Trail Standard accommodation.

Fish Lake National Forest Camping Tented accommodation.

Other Activities

Non-Riders can be accommodated and will be transferred to the camp in the support vehicle. Depending on logistics it may be possible to arrange guided hiking from camp. Otherwise, non-riders are free to explore the area surrounding the camp at their own pace.

Travel

The closest airports are Salt Lake City or Las Vegas.

Transfers are available from either airport between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm only. Transfers are an additional cost - see each itinerary for pricing details.

Alternatively, you may wish to hire a car and we can send driving directions.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in scenic Torrey and check into your hotel. Torrey is a small town located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 7pm you meet for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader. Dinner is to your own account this evening.

Day 2 - Ride to Base camp

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you are transferred a short distance to the ride headquarters which are located in the middle of downtown Torrey. Here you'll pack your gear into the camp 4x4 and meet the remainder of the crew. Depart Torrey at 9am for the trailhead near to Penitentiary Canyon or the Head of Sinbad.

From the Penitentiary trailhead you'll ride wild horse trails to the mouth of the Red Canyon, past Tomsich Butte, by Hondoo Arch and on to your base camp at the old mining camp on Muddy Creek.

Alternatively, from the Sinbad trailhead you'll visit Locomotive Point, Devil's Race Track, Twin Priests and the Golden Gate before arriving at basecamp in Cold Canyon.

NB. Exact camps and trail routes are decided at the time, depending on local conditions - there are many to choose from and each is unique.

Day 3 - Full Day ride

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast and preparing lunch, from the Muddy Creek camp you'll visit Red Canyon Narrows, Courthouse and Family Buttes or The Chute and Penitentiary Canyon before returning to the camp situated under majestic cottonwoods along the picturesque stream.

From the Cold Canyon basecamp, you'll ride through Golden Gate to Bullock Canyon and the Blue Man pictograph panel. ~You will then onto the South Fork of Coal Wash and the pictograph panel there before returning to the hot showers and cold drinks at the Slickrock canyon basecamp.

Day 4 - Full Day ride

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

From the Muddy Creek camp, you'll explore the upper reaches of the Muddy Gorge where it meanders through the splendidly coloured slickrock of Triassic sandstones. Mustangs are numerous along the stream where they come for water from their pastures in the deep-sided canyons.

From the Cold Canyon camp, you'll ride to the Longneck for views of Swasey Arch, Saddle Horse Canyon and upper Cold Canyon. After lunch, ride up the McCarty Canyon trail to the head of the Mesquite Canyon where a promontory point will provide a striking vista encompassing all the country you've covered during your trip.

You will always arrive back at camp with plenty of daylight and time to clean up and enjoy hors d'oeuvres before dinner.

Day 5 - Return to Torrey

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After packing personal gear and breaking camp you'll ride to McKay Flat via Red Canyon and the Grey Breaks. This route takes you to a favourite watering spring of the wild horses and provides breathtaking panoramas of the country you've visited on your trip. At the end of the trail, you'll exchange your saddle for the cushioned comfort of a vehicle ride over the San Rafael Swell to Torrey, arriving in the late afternoon.

Accommodation is not included tonight but we can assist with booking it if required - please enquire.

Accommodation

One night in a hotel in Torrey and then three nights camping

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated. Time and logistics permitting they will split into two groups to enable experienced riders all the pace and challenge they desire whilst also giving inexperienced riders the patience and instruction they need.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

April 18, 2022 - April 22, 2022

April 25, 2022 - April 29, 2022

Sept. 19, 2022 - Sept. 23, 2022

Sept. 26, 2022 - Sept. 30, 2022

Pricing

2022
Rider, sharing
£1585 $2120 €1870
Included Four nights accommodation (first night in a hotel and then three nights camping); all meals from breakfast on day two until lunch on day five; four days riding, 6% Utah Sales Tax
Not included Flights, transfers, dinner on day one, dinner and accommodation on day five, drinks (BYO), tips, insurance, personal expenses

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £445 $600 €530
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Las Vegas airport transfers per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Airport Transfer £370 $500 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Salt Lake City airport transfers per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Single Supplement £159 $210 €187
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone in a single room/tent
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in scenic Torrey and check-in at your hotel. Torrey is a small town located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 7pm you meet for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader. Dinner is to your own account this evening.

Day 2 - Ride to Base camp

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you are transferred a short distance to the ride headquarters which are located in the middle of downtown Torrey. Here you'll pack your gear into the camp 4x4 and meet the remainder of the crew. Depart Torrey at 9am for the trailhead near Notom, just east of Capitol Reef. From the Notom trailhead you'll ride up Pleasant Creek, passing through canyons where petroglyphs and historical inscriptions from early settlers can be viewed, before reaching your base camp at Pleasant Creek Falls.

Day 3 - Full Day Ride

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast and preparing lunch you'll ride from the Pleasant Creek basecamp to visit Tantulus Flats and Tantulus Canyons, Lower Brown's historical reservoir seated in the desert overlooking Capitol Reef National Park.

NB. Exact camps and trail routes are decided at the time, depending on local conditions - there are many to choose from and each is unique.

Day 4 - Full Day Ride

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Setting off again from Pleasant Creek camp you'll visit ancient petroglyphs, slickrock mountains, slot canyons and Tantulus canyon on horseback.

Day 5 - Return to Torrey

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast, pack your belongings into the 4x4 to be transported back to Torrey. Mount up and ride back to town. After saying goodbye to the horses you'll be transported back to the headquarters in Torrey to collect your belongings. Accommodation is not included tonight but we can assist with booking it if required - please enquire.

Accommodation

First night in a hotel and then three nights camping

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated. Time and logistics permitting they will split into two groups to enable experienced riders all the pace and challenge they desire whilst also giving inexperienced riders the patience and instruction they need.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

May 16, 2022 - May 20, 2022

May 30, 2022 - June 3, 2022

Pricing

2022
Rider, sharing
£1585 $2120 €1870
Included Four nights accommodation (first night in a hotel and then three nights camping); all meals from breakfast on day two until lunch on day five; four days riding, 6% Utah Sales Tax
Not included Flights, transfers, dinner on day one, dinner and accommodation on day five, drinks (BYO), tips, insurance, personal expenses

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £445 $600 €530
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Las Vegas airport transfer, per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Airport Transfer £370 $500 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Salt Lake City airport transfer, per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Single Supplement £159 $210 €187
Paid to Far and Ride
payable by anyone in a single room/tent
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in scenic Torrey and check into your hotel. Torrey is a small town located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 7pm you meet for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader. Dinner is to your own account this evening.

Day 2 - Ride to Base Camp

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you are transferred a short distance to the ride headquarters which are located in the middle of downtown Torrey. Here you'll pack your gear into the camp 4x4 and meet the remainder of the crew. Depart Torrey at 9am for the trailhead where you'll ride to base camp.

Days 3 to 4 - Full Day Rides

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Full days of riding in and around Dixie National Forest and Capitol Reef National Park.

Boulder Mountain, part of the Colorado Plateau consists of alpine meadows and forests that overlook the picturesque red rock and rugged canyons of Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. You'll enjoy riding through aspen and conifer trees and across mountain meadows, stopping to picnic at beautiful high-elevation fishing lakes. You'll explore intricate trails established by native Americans, herdsmen and outlaws through history and hear stories about these trailblazers whilst relaxing around the campfire at night.

NB. Exact camps and trail routes are decided at the time, depending on local conditions - there are many to choose from and each is unique.

Day 5 - Return to Torrey

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast, pack your belongings into the 4x4 to be transported back to Torrey. Mount up and ride back to town. After saying goodbye to the horses you'll be transported back to the headquarters in Torrey to collect your belongings. Accommodation is not included tonight but we can assist with booking it if required - please enquire.

Accommodation

One night in a hotel in Torrey and then three nights camping in the forest.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated. Time and logistics permitting they will split into two groups to enable experienced riders all the pace and challenge they desire whilst also giving inexperienced riders the patience and instruction they need.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

June 13, 2022 - June 17, 2022

July 25, 2022 - July 29, 2022

Aug. 8, 2022 - Aug. 12, 2022

Aug. 22, 2022 - Aug. 26, 2022

Pricing

2022
Rider, sharing
£1585 $2120 €1870
Included Four nights accommodation (first night in a hotel and then three nights camping); all meals from breakfast on day two until lunch on day five; four days riding, 6% Utah Sales Tax
Not included Flights, transfers, dinner on day one, dinner and accommodation on day five, drinks (BYO), tips, insurance, personal expenses

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £445 $600 €530
Paid to Far and Ride
Round-trip Las Vegas airport transfers, per person. Discounts available for a group of 5+
2022 - Airport Transfer £370 $500 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
Round-trip Salt Lake City airport transfers, per person. Discounts available for a group of 5+
2022 - Single Supplement £159 $210 €187
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone in a single room/tent
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in scenic Torrey and check into your hotel. Torrey is a small town located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 7pm you meet for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader. Dinner is to your own account this evening.

Days 2 to 4 - Full day rides

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you are transferred a short distance to the ride headquarters which are located in the middle of downtown Torrey. Here you'll meet the guides and horses. Depart Torrey at 9am for the trailhead where you'll spend the day riding.

Each day you will travel to a different location chosen in Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest and Fish Lake National Forest. The routes are chosen depending on local conditions, for example, during fall foliage you'll spend time with scenic forest landscapes, whereas in hot weather you'll head to higher altitudes and alpine lakes and meadows. Each area is chosen for its remote location and scenic quality and you'll follow mostly inlaid paths pioneered by herdsmen, Native Americans and Outlaws.

A picnic lunch is provided during your ride. After your ride you are transferred back to Torrey and dropped at your accommodation to freshen up. Your guides will join you later for dinner, which will be in a different restaurant each night.

Day 5 - Final Ride

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Your final day of riding in another beautiful location before being transferred back to Torrey.

Accommodation and dinner is not included tonight but we can assist with booking it if required - please enquire.

Accommodation

All nights are spent in a comfortable hotel in Torrey

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated. Time and logistics permitting they will split into two groups to enable experienced riders all the pace and challenge they desire whilst also giving inexperienced riders the patience and instruction they need.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

May 9, 2022 - May 13, 2022

June 6, 2022 - June 10, 2022

July 4, 2022 - July 8, 2022

Aug. 1, 2022 - Aug. 5, 2022

Aug. 29, 2022 - Sept. 2, 2022

Oct. 3, 2022 - Oct. 7, 2022

Pricing

2022
Rider, sharing
£1985 $2650 €2340
Included Four nights twin/double hotel accommodation; all meals from breakfast on day two until lunch on day five; four days riding, 6% Utah Sales Tax
Not included Flights, transfers, dinner on day one, dinner and accommodation on day five, drinks, tips, insurance, personal expenses

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £445 $600 €530
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Las Vegas airport transfers, per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Airport Transfer £370 $500 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Salt Lake City airport transfers, per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Single Supplement £235 $315 €280
Paid to Far and Ride
payable by anyone in a single room
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in scenic Torrey and check into your hotel. Torrey is a small town located at the junction of highways 12 and 24 near the west entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. At 7pm you meet for an orientation and final packing session with your trip leader. Dinner is to your own account this evening.

Day 2 - Ride to Base Camp

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast you are transferred a short distance to the ride headquarters which are located in the middle of downtown Torrey. Here you'll pack your gear into the camp 4x4 and meet the remainder of the crew. Depart Torrey at 9am for the trailhead where you'll ride to base camp.

Days 3 to 4 - Full Day Rides

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Full days of riding in and around Fish Lake National Forest.

Located at the eastern region of Fish Lake National Forest, Thousand Lake Mountain overlooks the northern part of Capitol Reef National Park and Boulder Mountain can be viewed to the south. Camp is located near mountain meadows and streams. Daily rides take you through conifers, aspen trees and pinion and juniper trees at lower elevations. Thousand Lake Mountain is unique for its forested upper slopes and Red Rock in lower elevations.

NB. Exact camps and trail routes are decided at the time, depending on local conditions - there are many to choose from and each is unique.

Day 5 - Return to Torrey

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

After breakfast, pack your belongings into the 4x4 to be transported back to Torrey. Mount up and ride back to town. After saying goodbye to the horses you'll be transported back to the headquarters in Torrey to collect your belongings. Accommodation is not included tonight but we can assist with booking it if required - please enquire.

Accommodation

First night in a hotel and then three nights camping.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated. Time and logistics permitting they will split into two groups to enable experienced riders all the pace and challenge they desire whilst also giving inexperienced riders the patience and instruction they need.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

June 27, 2022 - July 1, 2022

July 11, 2022 - July 15, 2022

Sept. 5, 2022 - Sept. 9, 2022

Pricing

2022
Rider, sharing
£1585 $2120 €1870
Included Four nights accommodation (first night in a hotel and then three nights camping); all meals from breakfast on day two until lunch on day five; four days riding, 6% Utah Sales Tax
Not included Flights, transfers, dinner on day one, dinner and accommodation on day five, drinks (BYO), tips, insurance, personal expenses

Extras

2022 - Airport Transfer £445 $600 €530
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Las Vegas airport transfers, per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Airport Transfer £370 $500 €440
Paid to Far and Ride
Round trip Salt Lake City airport transfers, per person. Discounts available for groups of 5+
2022 - Single Supplement £159 $210 €187
Paid to Far and Ride
Payable by anyone in a single room/tent
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.