Pack trips on horseback – Top50 uncovers the best horse trekking holidays

BY Jody Dahl | Tue 13 Mar, 2012

Pack trips are one of the best ways to discover remote and untamed landscapes on horseback, combining traditional western horseback riding with wilderness adventures. Whether you’re looking to ‘rough it’ on a week-long horseback pack trip or you’d rather have a little more luxury on a shorter horse riding adventure, Top50 brings you the very best horseback pack trips… 

Top50's Kate Matheson on a pack trip adventure at Estancia Ranquilco

Estancia Ranquilco Pack trips at this Argentina horse riding ranch are great for experienced and novice riders alike. There’s great flexibility on pack trips at Ranquilco, as the working Argentine estancia tailors rides to individuals’ abilities and wishes. Whether you prefer to base your stay at the beautiful estancia and take day rides, choose a longer pack trip into the mountains, or base a portion of your stay from the estancia and then book a few days on a spectacular pack trip, Ranquilco will accommodate. For the keen and experienced riders, a 10-day mountain pack trip takes you up to the Chilean border, where along the way you’ll negotiate technical mountain passes in single file, and pick up the pace as in more open spaces. This is a real hands-on experience, where you’ll be responsible for your own horse and really getting in touch with nature. If you don’t mind giving up your creature comforts, one of these longer pack trips is an unmissable experience.

Snowy River Horseback Adventure Undoubtedly the king of horse treks, this Australia horse riding holiday is totally dedicated to day-long pack trips. From October through May, the ranch leads small groups on 2-5 day horse treks across the snowy river countryside, where you’ll explore bush trails, old stock routes, fire and brumby trails as you meander through forests of majestic snowgums and mountain ash, covering around 30km a day on horseback. With varying terrain and scenery and a whole host of wildlife waiting to be spotted, each and every day in the saddle interesting and different on Snowy River’s horse treks. Forget living out of your saddle bags, as nights are spent back at the lodge where a comfortable bed and hearty meals await. This is a great one for those who want the daytime pack trip experience but aren’t so keen on ‘roughing it’ overnight – the emphasis here is on comfort!

Estancia Huechahue Argentina horse riding holidays at this estancia offer up the chance to take 3-5 day pack trips into the heart of the high Andes, amidst the dramatic scenery of Lanin National Park where the magnificent snow-capped volcano Lanin dominates. Explore forests home to the world’s only indigenous Monkey Puzzle trees and across lunar landscapes of black volcanic ash, a legacy of the volcanic region. A warming mug coffee brewed over the fire will be waiting for at your picturesque campsite by the lake shore or stream edge. Kick back and relax as the camp staff set up camp, cook up a hearty meal and take care of all the horses. All that’s left to do is retire to your comfy down sleeping bags under the shelter of your expertly-pitched tent, ready for tomorrow’s adventures. A great pack trip for those wanting the full overnight camping experience, but with a hint of luxury.

Latigo Ranch in Colorado offers pack trips for all ages

Latigo Ranch Once a week at this Colorado dude ranch, pack trip guide Jim Yost leads guests into the mountains for an overnight pack trip. After a pit-stop for lunch on the trail, you’ll reach one of Latigo’s 30 overnight camping spots in the afternoon, where you’ll set up your own tent. Meanwhile, Jim personally prepares a tantalizing dinner to set you up for a night in the wilderness. Next morning, enjoy a hearty outdoor breakfast – including the likes of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, hash browns and steak! Then saddle up your horse and head back to the ranch on another breathtaking trail. This is a great option for families – Colorado dude ranch offers pack trips for children aged 6-8, where kids take shorter trail rides and stay in camps set up with permanent teepees. Everything is provided here, including raincoats – all you need to bring is a change of socks!

Best of the rest

Sweet Grass Ranch This Montana guest ranch offers 1-2 night pack trips for groups of 3-10, if guests request in advance. July and August are the best times to go, with pack trips venturing into beautiful alpine lakes set amidst the awe-inspiring peaks of the Crazy Mountains. June pack trips stick to the meadows closer to the ranch, ideal for children looking to take their first pack trip. A great option for families looking for shorter pack trips as part of their dude ranch vacation.

Zapata Ranch This Colorado guest ranch plans pack trips for specific dates during the year, but can arrange additional pack trips for groups of 5 more wishing to take a 3 to 5 day horseback riding trip.

Estancia Los Potreros Take your horse riding holidays in Argentina at this estancia and enjoy pack trips through the beautiful terrain of the south Americas. The estancia will arrange overnight pack trips if you’re staying 7 nights or more if you give sufficient notice, or book in for one of the Argentina guest ranch’s fixed date, week-long trips which run throughout the year.

Pack trips The Hideout RanchRide through beautiful Wyoming country as you pack trip at The Hideout Ranch

The Hideout Ranch This Wymoing guest ranch offers luxury overnight stays in their remote mountain lodges for those who are interested – enquire on booking to register your interest.

Lone Mountain Guest Ranch Dude ranch vacations in Montana don’t get much more exciting than pack trips into the Spanish Peak and Gallatin National Forest. Great for all ages and levels of rider, as day and overnight pack trips are customized to guests’ wishes and abilities.

North Fork Ranch This Colorado dude ranch offers pack trips over two different weeks in July, where families or couples can venture into the Lost Creek Wilderness Area.

TAGS: pack trips horseback, dude ranch vacations, horse treks, horse riding holidays, argentina horse riding, dude ranch pack trips, family horseback pack trips, family horse treks, top50 ranches

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