Horseback Riding Around Pinedale, Wyoming
Page Summary: Horseback riding opportunities in a variety of landscapes and environments: indoor arenas to high altitude trails.
The Pinedale, Wyoming area offers many kinds of horseback riding opportunities in a variety of landscapes and environments, from the indoor arena to the high-altitude trails of the Continental Divide. If you like to compete in horse shows and other equine events, you may be interested in the happenings at the Sublette County Fairgrounds and the Pinedale Rodeo Grounds. There are many pack trails in the Bridger-Teton National Forest for the trail-riding enthusiast, and plenty of lonesome sagebrush plains on Bureau of Land Management areas where dirt two-tracks spell endless miles of adventure to the pleasure-rider. Explore the Oregon Trail, or make a special trip to see and study the wild mustangs of the desert. If you'd give your eye teeth to play cowboy for a week or two, one of our dude ranches will be happy to get you rounding up, branding and trailing those critters - and they'll let you keep your choppers!
Whatever activity you choose, there is something about going horseback in Sublette County that takes you away from 21st century everyday concerns and sets your imagination free. On a trail ride or pack trip, you can picture yourself as a trapper or explorer in primitive wilderness. Under a vast blue sky, with antelope herds moving like cloud shadows in the distance, imagine the unpredictable days of the pioneers as you follow their route - and see their grave markers - across the valley. Or be a trail-hardened cowpoke in chaps and battered Stetson, from the era when massive cattle drives stretched from Texas to Montana. And don't forget, your time in the saddle will bring the added bonus of making you a better, more confident rider. Sublette County is a big, beautiful place, and visitors here tend to spend more miles and time on horseback than they normally would elsewhere, which makes them pretty saddle-sore at first. They get over it by riding some more!
The best time of year to ride is mid-June to early October. Some mountain trails are not clear of snow and mud until July, and snowstorms have been known in every month but August, so it is important to plan carefully for sudden weather changes. Bring mosquito and horsefly repellent. If you ride during the fall hunting season, be sure to wear hunter orange (and share some with your horse)! For emergencies, a compact first-aid kit and cell phone are nice to have, although cell phone reception can be spotty in the mountains and foothills.
You may wish to take advantage of the convenience and safety provided by one of Sublette County's many outfitters and wranglers. Our professional guides can provide reliable mounts and all the equipment you'll need outside of your personal gear. Outfitters know the best places to go, the best way to get there, and which trails may not be suitable for stock. They are also thoroughly familiar with the rules and restrictions enforced by the different government agencies that administer our public lands.
If you bring your own horses, be aware that no private stables or commercial boarding facilities are available in Sublette County. The county Weed and Pest Control District office requests that any hay you bring with you be certified Weed-Free, and can help you locate certified hay in Sublette County. If you plan to ride on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, certified hay is required, and in Wilderness, you must have weed-seed-free feed. Check in with the Pinedale or Big Piney Ranger District offices for up-to-date information on trail conditions, facilities, fire danger, and regulations. The BLM Pinedale Field Office can assist you with any questions concerning horseback riding on BLM land. Contact information for these offices is given below.
The following trailheads provide access to the Bridger Wilderness for people on horseback. These trailheads include adjacent campgrounds, corrals and appropriate parking space. Remember if you plan your own trip that horseback riders who intend an overnight excursion, or organized groups such as scouts, clubs and church groups, need a permit to enter Wilderness. Groups traveling in Wilderness are limited to 15 people.
- Green River Lakes
52 miles from Pinedale, fair/rough roads, high hiking use and moderate stock use. Access to Highline Trail (Continental Divide National Scenic Trail) and Lakeside Trail.
- New Fork Lake
24 miles from Pinedale, fair roads, moderate hiking use and moderate stock use. Access to New Fork Canyon Trail.
- Elkhart Park/Pole Creek
16 miles from Pinedale, paved road, high use by both hikers and stock. Access to Pole Creek Trail.
- Boulder Creek Trail
25 miles from Pinedale, fair roads, moderate hiking and stock use. Access to Boulder Canyon and Blueberry Lake trails.
- Scab Creek
24 miles from Pinedale, fair roads, moderate hiking use and high stock use. Access to Lowline Trail.
- Big Sandy
54 miles from Pinedale, rough roads, high use by both hikers and stock. Access to Highline, Lowline and Fremont trails.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest supplies several handy booklets with detailed, valuable information for riders, whether you plan a simple day ride or an extended pack trip. Below are a few basic points to consider before you start reading the actual literature.
- National Forest lands in Sublette County are home to grizzly bears, black bears, and wolves. Educate yourself on the regulations regarding proper camping practices and livestock care in grizzly and wolf country.
- Hay is not allowed in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness. Obtain the appropriate weed-seed-free feed before your trip, and feed it to your stock at least two days before heading out.
- Leave No Trace: pack lightly to reduce the number of pack animals (be well prepared, but use dehydrated foods, compact & efficient gear, etc.). Stay on trails. Don't cut switchbacks. Keep a clean camp. Pack out more garbage than you pack in.
- Practice trail courtesy. Know the correct etiquette for sharing the trail with hikers, other riders, pack trains and llamas. It can make the difference between a pleasant experience and a total disaster.
- Learn correct procedures for tying up horses in the backcountry, or bring portable electric fence and know how to use it. This will protect trees from unnecessary damage, and help ensure that when you need your horse, he will be where you left him. Practice with your horse before your trip.
- When camping, keep pack animals at least 200 feet from streams, lake shores, trails and camping areas. Rotate stock throughout the area to reduce trampling and prevent overgrazing.
- Have a great trip! Sublette County is a fantastic place to ride!
For more information about specific businesses offering pack trips, day and half-day rides and other horseback adventures, see the Sublette County Chamber of Commerce website.
Sublette County Fairgrounds
Indoor Arena (Ag Center)
Sublette County Weed and Pest Control District
12 South Bench Rd., P.O. Box 729, Pinedale, WY 82941
Bridger-Teton National Forest
Pinedale Ranger District
29 E Fremont Lake Road, P.O. Box 220, Pinedale, WY 82941
Big Piney Ranger District
P.O. Box 218, Big Piney, WY 83113
307-276-3375 or 276-5800/5200
Bureau of Land Management
Pinedale Field Office
432 East Mill Street
PO Box 768
Pinedale, WY 82941
Hours: 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.