Best Horseback Riding in NM

Best Horseback Riding in NM

  • RCT Team
  • 10/19/23

From its stunning mountain vistas to its hot climate, there's no place quite like New Mexico. Nestled between Arizona and Texas, New Mexico has flown under the radar compared to many other southwestern states. Yet, New Mexico has so many of the elements people love about living in the Southwest. One of the greatest aspects of living in New Mexico is how horse-friendly it is. New Mexico is known for its wide open spaces and spectacular mountain views, making it the perfect destination for you and your horse. Explore some of the state's most beautiful trails on your own, or hire a tour guide to help you navigate the area. The possibilities are endless. From Santa Fe to Silver Lake, here are some of the best places to go horseback riding in NM.

Best Trails in New Mexico

Pino Trail

New Mexico 87008

Are you searching for a peaceful horse trail where you and your horse can enjoy the splendor of New Mexico's natural beauty? Then look no further than Pino Trail. Located just over an hour from Santa Fe and less than 30 minutes from Albuquerque, Pino Trail is one of the most spectacular horse trails you will find in New Mexico. Pino Trail has two versions of the trail: the extended version and the short version. The long version is just over 9.1 miles with an elevation of 2,769 feet. This is considered a challenging trail, so it might not be recommended for older or injured horses due to the rugged terrain.

For a more accessible version of this trail, there's the short version, which is 3.3 miles with an elevation of 616 feet. The extended version of the trail takes approximately 5.5 hours to complete, while the short trail takes around 1.5 hours. No matter which trail you choose, you and your horse will have some of the best views of the Sandias.

Granny Mountain Trail

New Mexico 88038

Mountain horseback riding doesn't get more rugged than the Granny Mountain Trail, a strikingly beautiful trail overlooking the Gila River. Officially known as Granny Mountain Trail #160, Granny Mountain Trail is the ultimate retreat for those who prefer solitary horseback rides. Even though it's located just a short distance from Silver City, Granny Mountain Trail receives little foot traffic compared to many other horse trails, largely due to its steep elevation and challenging terrain. What makes this trail stand out above the rest is its jaw-droppingly beautiful mountain views. If you and your horse can endure the challenges of this 23-mile trail, then the canyon and river views are absolutely worth it.

Galisteo Basin Preserve

Astral Valley Rd, Lamy, NM 87540

Galisteo Basin Preserve offers a captivating horseback riding experience amidst the stunning high desert landscapes. Riders can traverse a network of well-maintained trails that wind through rolling hills, arroyos, and piñon-juniper woodlands. The panoramic vistas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Galisteo Basin create a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely or adventurous ride, making it a popular choice for equestrians seeking both natural beauty and tranquility.

Caja del Rio

New Mexico 87507

Caja del Rio, located just northwest of Santa Fe, boasts a unique horseback riding experience in its vast, open terrain. The expansive mesas and canyons make for an exhilarating ride, as riders can explore diverse landscapes with ample space to canter and gallop. The red rock formations and desert vistas create a striking contrast, making Caja del Rio a favorite destination for riders who crave wide-open spaces and the freedom to ride at their own pace.

Ghost Ranch

280 Private Drive 1708 Highway, US-84, Abiquiu, NM 87510

Known for its breathtaking, otherworldly scenery, Ghost Ranch offers a horseback riding experience like no other. The crimson-hued mesas and towering rock formations add a sense of mystique to every ride. Visitors can follow trails that meander through the red canyons and beneath the iconic Pedernal Mountain. Ghost Ranch provides riders with a sense of connection to the land's rich history and an opportunity to explore the very landscapes that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe's famous paintings.

Copper Canyon

New Mexico 87825

Nestled within the Santa Fe National Forest, Copper Canyon offers horseback riders the chance to immerse themselves in a lush, forested environment. Riding through tall ponderosa pine forests and alongside serene mountain streams, riders can experience the cool tranquility of the Rocky Mountains. Copper Canyon is an ideal destination for those seeking a change of scenery from the high desert terrain, with its crisp alpine air and abundant wildlife.

Cerrillos Hills

Co Rd 59, Los Cerrillos, NM 87010

Cerrillos Hills provides a horseback riding experience steeped in history. This area, once a thriving mining town, is now a place where riders can explore a landscape rich in both natural beauty and cultural heritage. The trails meander through rolling hills, desert vegetation, and remnants of the region's mining past. It's a journey that combines scenic beauty with the charm of the Old West.

Valles Caldera

New Mexico 87025

The Valles Caldera National Preserve, situated in the heart of the Jemez Mountains, offers horseback riders a chance to explore a massive, ancient volcanic crater. Riders can traverse grassy meadows, alpine forests, and encounter diverse wildlife while taking in the caldera's unique topography. The landscape's grandeur and ecological diversity make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly memorable horseback riding adventure in Santa Fe's mountainous terrain.

Best Horseback Riding Guides

While many horse enthusiasts love exploring the trails on their own, others love riding with other equestrians. If you are new to horseback riding in New Mexico, or you simply love being part of a group, then riding with a horseback guide is right for you. You can discover new trails you have never explored before or even get horseback riding tips from other professionals. If you are considering hiring a horseback riding guide, here are some of the best choices in New Mexico:

Chuck Wagon Trail Riders

PO Box 32891, Santa Fe, NM 87594

With over six decades in the horseback riding guide industry, it's hard to beat the Chuck Wagon Trail Riders, especially when it comes to legacy and customer service. Established in 1957, the Chuck Wagon Trail Riders is an award-winning group of horse enthusiasts and trail bosses dedicated to providing safe and enjoyable horseback riding expeditions for you and your horse. The Chuck Wagon Trailriders have long established themselves as the leaders in horseback riding expeditions throughout New Mexico, taking clients on one trip per year. Whether you are a novice or a professional horseback rider, booking an expedition with the Chuck Wagon Trailriders is bound to be a memorable experience.

Vision Quest Western Horseback Riding and Lessons

10 Camel Rock Rd, Jaconita, NM

For many, horseback riding is so much more than a hobby, it's a chance to develop a passion for horses. At Vision Quest Western Horseback Rides and Lessons, Joaquin will guide you on the perfect horseback riding experience, no matter your experience level or the time you want to commit to the ride. You can take private riding lessons or go on riding expeditions. Joaquin goes above and beyond to ensure an exceptional riding experience tailored to your needs. Vision Quest Western Horseback Rides and Lessons is a Native American-owned riding company that offers year-round riding tours, making it the perfect outing for all equestrians.

Additional Resources for Horse Enthusiasts

NM Horseman’s Association

217 Palomas Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM

If you are a horse enthusiast, then chances are you want to be surrounded by other horse enthusiasts and be at the center of equestrian-related activities. The NM Horseman's Association is your go-to resource for all things equestrian. The NM Horseman's Association is a horse racing organization dedicated to promoting horse racing and horse recreational activities. You don't have to travel all the way to Kentucky to experience the thrill of horseracing when you have it right here in the heart of New Mexico! Find a local horserace and enjoy. The NM Horseman's Association's horseraces are a must-see for all horse enthusiasts.

The Horse Shelter

821 W San Mateo Rd A, Santa Fe, NM

Need top-quality horse feed and supplies? Then look no further than The Horse Shelter, an equestrian-themed retailer located in Santa Fe. It also happens to be one of the most prominent horse rescue groups in New Mexico. Known for rescuing abused, abandoned, and neglected horses, the rescue group has rescued over 78 horses and counting over the past 22 years and continues to work hard to ensure the health and well-being of all horses in New Mexico. One of the best ways to support this non-profit organization is by purchasing horse goods through their retail store.

Meet Vesuvius

It is an exciting new chapter in our equestrian journey with the RCT Team! We're thrilled to introduce our newest addition to the family, Vesuvius, a spirited six-year-old Gelding. Vesuvius embarked on his journey with us when he joined a group of seven horses at the Horse Shelter and is currently undergoing a comprehensive evaluation.

Over the next year, we'll be sharing Vesuvius's remarkable progress and adventures with you. Our involvement with the Horse Shelter aligns perfectly with our mission, which is to rescue, rehabilitate, and facilitate the adoption of mistreated, abandoned, and neglected horses across the beautiful landscapes of New Mexico.

By welcoming Vesuvius into our family, we're taking a more active role in Santa Fe's vibrant equestrian community. This journey allows us to explore avenues for giving back to this community we hold dear to our hearts. Stay tuned for updates on Vesuvius and our efforts to make a positive impact in the world of horseback riding here in New Mexico.

Find an Equestrian-Friendly Property Today

Are you ready to find your dream home in the heart of New Mexico? Whether you are searching for homes for sale in Santa Fe, or a sprawling horse ranch out in the country, The Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith & Tara Earley Team will go above and beyond to help you find the perfect equestrian-friendly home in New Mexico. With over four decades of industry experience and an extensive background in Santa Fe luxury real estate, they’ll provide you with top-tier service through your property search. As avid horse lovers themselves, they understand the importance of finding the right property for your horses and will help you find the right property that meets all of your needs. Contact the team today to begin your property search. They’ll help you find the perfect home for you and your horses!

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The most successful REALTOR® build their business on repeat clients and referrals. Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith, and Tara Earley are committed to providing the necessary energy and enthusiasm in order to exceed expectations of a Realtor.

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