Estes Park CO guest post by Sarah Page
Our horseback riding vacation in Estes Park was one of the most memorable parts of our family’s summer vacation in Colorado. It was one of the activities we were most looking forward to, and we were not disappointed.
About Estes Park
Estes Park, CO is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Situated between RMNP and the Roosevelt National Forest, Estes Park is the ideal location for an alpine vacation. In addition to a horseback riding vacation, there are literally hundreds of things for families to see and do in the summertime – especially in the outdoors. Other exciting activities include hiking, rock climbing, cycling, and rafting on the Colorado or Poudre rivers.
About Cowpoke Corner Corral
There are many stables to choose from in Estes Park, and you probably can’t go wrong. We chose Cowpoke Corner Corral based on a recommendation from my cousin. Cowpoke Corner Corral is one of two stables owned by SK Horses, LTD. The trail rides from this location take riders through the Roosevelt National Forest. The second location is National Park Gateway Stable, which takes riders through RMNP.
Cowpoke Corner Corral offers trail rides lasting anywhere from one to four hours for your horseback riding vacation. Even though the trails are sometimes fairly steep, most all of the rides are very family-friendly. They did a great job matching our level of experience with the horse that was the best fit for each of us. Our kids’ horses were smaller and gentler than the horses they chose for my husband and me.
The Horseback Riding Vacation
We chose the two hour ride, which costs $50 per person. After we had mounted our horses, I was pleasantly surprised when our group consisted of only our family of four and the guide. Most of the other trail rides we had experienced, took fairly large groups of people on the trail. This made our experience even more special to me, because we were able to spend some quality time together as a family doing something we all enjoyed.
So off we went on our horseback riding vacation! Our family of four, and our horses (Ace, Cadillac, Silverado, and Velvet) set off with our guide up into the mountains. This was going to be no ordinary trail ride.
My husband and I have ridden horses several times, though we are no experts. My eight-year-old daughter had only ridden twice before this trip, and this was my six-year-old son’s first time on a horse by himself. While the horses know the trails very well, they still had some spirit and individuality that kept us on our toes. It was by no means a “nose to tail” trail ride.
We rode up into the mountains over rock outcroppings, through the trees, and into some breathtaking clearings. I think we only saw another group of people once during our ride, which lent to the solitude and quiet we all soaked up during the ride. Many times, the only sounds we heard were the sounds of our horses’ hooves striking the rocks below and their steady, rhythmic breathing. That, and the squeals of delight coming from our children.
Our young guide was friendly and helpful, and found the perfect balance of light conversation and quietness. After the first few minutes of the ride, she mainly left it up to us to ask her questions so that we could enjoy our ride as a family.
About halfway through our horseback riding vacation, we stopped to check on the horses’ gear. Our backdrop? An amazing view of the Continental Divide! Our guide helped us find just the right spot for a photo or two. I think I know what will be featured on our Christmas card this year!
As much as my husband and I enjoyed the trip, it was our two kids who probably enjoyed it the most. Our son was beaming with pride that he was doing this on his own, and our daughter made sure to “help” him with her expert horseback riding tips. Our horseback riding vacation was over two months ago, and they both talk about it almost daily.
This family trail ride in the Rocky Mountains created memories which will last my family a lifetime. What are your favorite things to do in Estes Park, Colorado? For more information on Colorado visit Colorado Tourism’s Facebook page.
If You Go:
Cowpoke Corner Corral (970) 586-5890
Estes Park, CO
Sarah Page is a tourism and economic development specialist in Texas. Sarah’s blog, Tourism Tech, covers tourism, social media, and technology.