by Kevin Hughes
on Monday, August 22nd, 2011 at 7:27am.
Horseback riding is part of Idaho's old west tradition. Even close in Boise homes sometimes have enough acreage and come with facilities for horses. There are many horse properties also available in nearby Eagle, Meridian & Nampa. Horse friendly areas include Spring Tree estates in the Eagle-Meridian area where two plus acre lots with large homes are zoned for horse ownership. Maple Grove acres is another section in Boise where one-acre lots with homes and barns are for sale.
Many people prefer to rent horses or board them at special horse farms where they can take the horse on a ride nearby. There are several equine facilities in the foothills northwest of Boise that offer boarding along with riding lessons and horse training.
NEARBY TRAILS The Boise Ridge to Rivers Trail System has 130 miles of interconnecting trails winding through the Boise foothills. This area is designated for horseback riding along with hiking and mountain bikes. The series of trails range from easy to steep depending on the abilities of the horses and riders. Spectacular views of the city are available from this trail system as well as diverse mountain and forest experiences. Signs along the routes give trips on trail conditions as well as preserving this natural resource.
HORSE PACK TRIPS Idaho is perfect for people who enjoy trail rides during the spring, summer and fall. Guided trail rides in the Sawtooth National Forest and National Recreation Area are offered most of the year. Experienced outfitters provide the horses and guide riders through the rugged mountains and forest. Horseshoe Bend near the Bogus Basin ski area is just north of Boise with access to the Sawtooth National Forest. Trail rides lasting form an hour to overnight horse camping trips are offered by outfitters through this region. Week-long camping and horse back trips are popular with riders who want a different type of vacation.
Sawtooth Mountain trail rides include a five mile one-way journey offering spectacular views of Sawtooth and Alpine lakes or a ride to Marshall or Hell Roaring lakes. Some of the trails offer steep switchbacks while others travel through more gentle terrain.
CATTLE DRIVES Cattle drives were part of ranching in the old west when cattle were rounded up for branding or for the drive to market. Today, many cattle ranches are small resorts with guest cabins and a plan that includes meals. Guests ride the horses kept at the ranch and actually work with cowboys to round up the cattle. This type of vacation is usually available in June and August.
Idaho's rugged beauty makes horseback riding a great way to enjoy nature in most areas of the state for a few hours or a few days.