Telluride’s local trails are horse friendly, and many outfitters lead single and multi-day horseback trips into the surrounding wilderness.
- Horses are permitted on most local hiking trails.
- The Bear Creek and Sneffels Highline trails are nearby options, and Lizard Head Pass has more wide-open trails.
- Local outfitters offer single and multi-day trips in the Telluride backcountry.
Telluride was originally founded by settler on horseback, and today the community is still horse friendly. It’s not uncommon to see local police officers patrolling horseback and the animals are allowed on local hiking trails.
Some of the most remote terrain near Telluride can’t be reached by anything but horse, so a multi-day horseback trip is still the best way to experience the western frontier.
Where to go Horseback Riding
Bear Creek Trail
This is one of the most popular trails in town for people and their dogs, so don’t ride a horse that is easily annoyed. It is 2.5 miles each way and has a mellow grade and wide trails. Trail starts at the south end of Pine Street.
This 14-mile loop is one of the more challenging hikes from town. Features some fairly steep climbs and loose rock, but passes through beautiful wildflower meadows, aspen groves and high-alpine tundra. Start on the Jeb Wiebe Trail at the north end of Aspen Street and look for the sign on the right after a half mile.
If you want to find some wide open space the series of trails near Lizard Head Pass are ideal. A good part of the trail is above timberline and offers great views of the San Juans. From Lizard Head to Cross Mountain is about nine miles one-way, or take to the other trail to Wilson Mesa, which is about 10 miles one-way. To find the trail, go south on Highway 145 from Telluride for about 11 miles, then look for the rest area on the right side. The trailhead is above the parking lot on the right.
There are many outfitters in the area offering single and multi-day horseback trips into the wilderness areas around Telluride. It doesn’t get more rustic then putting on a cowboy hat, giving the horse a kick and running wild across an empty mountain meadow.