Featured HORSE TRAILS
Southeast of Phoenix and west of Guadalupe, the 16,500 acre South Mountain Park is a vast and rugged riparian mountain range that is part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve System. Keep an eye out for scorpions and desert tortoises near the saguaros! The eastern Pima Canyon trailhead is not easy to find the first time. It is located west of Tempe and Guadalupe.
Northeast of Mesa, the 3,600 acre Usery Mountain Recreation Area of Maricopa County Parks has 10 miles of easy horse trails. The trails are divided into four routes including Blevins Trail (3 mi), NoSo Trail, Dam Trail and Moon Rock Trail.
Northeast of Tucson in the Lemmon Mountains, the 5,500 acre Catalina State Park has plenty of trails for equestrians. Hiking and horseback riding on the trails are popular activities, with eight trails varying in length and difficulty.
Northwest of Sedona, the Casner Mountain Trail is a 7 mile one-way horseback ride. Originally built to maintain power lines, Casner Mountain trail offers spectacular views of the Sycamore Canyon and Red Rock/Secret Mountain Wildernesses and the Verde Valley. The trail follows an old jeep road which still provides access to the power lines. The trail begins in high desert vegetation and switchbacks up the side of Casner Mountain. Once on top of the mesa, Pinyon/Juniper with open grasslands are the norm. Wildlife is abundant, particularilly in the winter months, so keep an eye out for Elk and Deer along with the occassional Bear and even Mountain Lion are spotted.
Located southwest of Phoenix, the rugged 19,800 acre Estrella Mountain Regional Park has a network of trails ranging from 5 to 30 miles through spectacular mountain scenery. The infrequently traveled trails are refreshing compared to the crowds at South Mountain Park.
East of Phoenix near Fountain Hills, the 16 mile Pemberton Trail which is a classic ride in the 21,000 acre McDowell Mountain Regional Park of Maricopa County Parks. The horseback riding loop starts from the horse staging area and follows blazes clockwise. There is a shorter loop known as the 3 mile North Trail.
Northeast of Tucson and southwest of Safford, the Ash Creek trail is a 9 mile horseback ride from near Cluff Reservoir to Ash Creek Falls. This trail is suitable for horseback as well as foot travel, however, there is a stretch of the trail called slickrock that can be particularly hazardous for horses.
Southeast of Show Low in the White Mountains, the Timber Mesa Trail is a 6 mile horseback riding route that follows the top edge of the mesa and loops back along the Chimneys Fire Road. The horse trail on the top of the mesa is rocky.
West of Show Low in the White Mountains, the Ghost Of The Coyote Trail is a 16 mile route open to equestrians. The horse trail follows old logging road through pinon-juniper forests.
Northwest of Prescott near Granite Mountain, the Granite Basin Recreation Area has an network of trails open to horseback riders. The horse trail system is a series of loops that can be linked together to form long rides. There are several trailheads that service the Granite Basin. The most popular trailheads are...
Near Flagstaff, the Mount Elden and Dry Lake Hills area is home of a magnificent horse trail system on the northern outskirts of Flagstaff. This area has unsurpassed views of the San Francisco Peaks, the volcanic fields of east Flagstaff, Sunset Crater and even the Painted Desert. Keep an eye to the dirt for elusive black bear tracks.
North of Prescott, the Old Military Trail #1 is a 12.7 mile route open to horseback riding. The Old Military Trail (#1) extends from FS95 in the south at Walnut Creek Work Station to FS1 in the north at Happy Camp. Since it is a multi-use route, keep an eye our for mountain bikers and dirt bikers.
Near Prescott in the Chino Valley Ranger District, the Sycamore Trail (#63) is a 16.8 mile route open to horseback riding. This trail is the main access to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. It offers spectacular views of Sycamore Canyon and the surrounding red rock bluffs. It receives regular use by horseback riders and hikers.
Near Young in the Pleasant Valley Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest, the Cascade Recreation Area provides access to 20 miles of horseback riding trails. Also known as the Workman Creek Area, the ranger district does not recommend horse trailers on the roads of this area. They have become very rutted and rocky.
South of Prescott, the 8.7 mile Groom Creek loop is a short but steep route open to horseback riding to the top of Spruce Mountain (7,500 feet) for a scenic lookout into the Bradshaws. The loop is best ridden clockwise starting from the eastern end of the Horse Camp parking lot.
Northwest of Show Low and just southeast of Pinedale in the White Mountains, the Juniper Ridge is another excellent hard-pack horse trail. There are 7.2 and 14+ mile options as the trail winds through pine and junipers and offers some great views, especially at the Juniper Ridge Lookout.
Northwest of Show Low and just southeast of Pinedale in the White Mountains, the Los Caballos Trail is a 14 mile loop. This horse trail is relatively flat except for a few short steep grades. The majority of the trail follows old logging roads as it winds along Joe Tank Ridge and through Bagnal Draw.
West of Chino Valley near Camp Wood, the Sheridan Mountain / Smith Mesa Trail System consists of 42 miles of horseback riding trails through caparral and ponderosa pine forest. This area is shared by horseback riders, ATV riders and dirt bikers. There are three staging areas for horseback riding in the Sheridan Mountain and Smith Mesa areas.