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BLM>Colorado>Field Offices>Royal Gorge Field Office>Recreation>Recreation Activities>Horseback Riding
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Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

The Royal Gorge Field Office offers a variety of opportunities for horseback enthusiasts from designated horse trails, outside of Canon City, to Wilderness Study Areas that are managed for solitude and primitive recreation.


General Tips

The land managed by the Royal Gorge Field Office is perfect for horseback riding with plenty of opportunities for setting out on your own or following established trails.  While out enjoying your public lands by horseback, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Use only weed free hay.
  • Do not shovel out your trailer in the parking lot; this leaves a bad impression for other users.
Horseback riding


Deer Haven – 30 minutes north of Canon City, and off of Hwy 9 and High Park Road, is the Deer Haven area. This location offers trails through ponderosa pine forests and beautiful views of the Arkansas River Valley from Thompson Mountain.  At an elevation of 8,000 feet, this area is good to visit in the summer months.  Horseback riders will find a combination of singletrack trails and old roads that are now closed to motorized use.


Shelf RoadLocated at the popular climbing area 30 minutes north of Canon City, off of Red Canyon Road, there is a combination of roads and trails that offer horseback riding opportunities.


Oil Well Flat – Named for the first oil wells in the state, this area is just 10 minutes north of Canon City, off of Red Canyon Road (County Road 9). It offers both single-track trails and two-track roads (some that are open to motorized vehicles), that explore the interesting geology of the area.


Booger Red – This area offers stunning 360 degree views from high meadows. You will be traveling along single-track trails and old roads that are closed to motorized use. You can cross High Creek and connect with the Shelf Road trail system. These trails are located off of High Park road, an approximately 45-minute drive North from Canon City.


Cucharas Canyon – Located approximately 15 miles east of Walsenburg, this area is mostly undeveloped with two trails accessing the Cuchraras Canyon from the rim. Those willing to make the extra effort exploring this seldom visited area will be rewarded with amazing views and solitude on this section of the Cucharas River.


Lower and Upper Grape Creek Wilderness Study Area - Spanning a large portion of the Grape Creek watershed, these two WSAs are located near Cañon City and Westcliffe.  The Lower Grape Creek WSA ecompasses 11,220 acres of public land.  The Upper Grape Creek WSA covers 10,200 acres. Within both WSAs, are rugged peaks and inviting pools provide a diversity of terrain. There is a relatively long recreation season for hikers, anglers, hunters, and equestrians.  Access is limited to one trailhead at West Bear Gulch, approximately 10 miles south of Canon City, off of Oak Creek Grade.  There are no developed trails within these WSAs.  The majority of Grape Creek's riparian corridor is also an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.


Browns Canyon WSA – Located six miles south of Buena Vista, , this WSA contains 6,614 acres of public land just east of the Arkansas River.  It offers rugged topography that creates a variety of settings including canyons, gulches and ridge tops with sweeping views of the Arkansas River Valley and Sawatch Mountain range.  Numerous rock spires throughout the area make Browns Canyon particularly scenic.  The primary trailhead is near the Ruby Mountain Recreation Site along Chaffee County Road 300.  The entire Browns Canyon WSA is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.


Beaver Creek WSA – This area is 10 miles northeast of Cañon City.  It consists of more than 26,150 acres of steep, remote granite canyons that are valued for their wildlife and fish habitat.  The primary trailhead is within the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area at the end of Fremont County Road 132.  A portion of Beaver Creek WSA, 13,734 acres, is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern


McIntyre Hills WSA  - This area covers more than 15,910 acres in rugged country on the south side of the Arkansas River about 15 miles west of Cañon City.  Access is limited on the southern boundary due to surrounding private land. The best access is in the drainages on the northern boundary off of Highway 50.  There are no developed trails within this area.  A small portion of the WSA, near the Arkansas River, is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.