The Winter Pastures horseback riding vacation will take you far below the remote North Rim of the Grand Canyon into a microclimate which is sheltered from the cold and winds above. As one descends into the depths of the Canyon there are a series of benches or esplanades which vary in width from 200 yards to a mile wide. Thanks to the exquisite scenery and solitude they make an inviting location for winter camping and exploring. This adventure is definitely not to be confused with infamously tedious donkey rides; it is a rigorous horse pack trip into some of the canyon’s least frequented drainages. It is rough going in this country, and riders often dismount to lead the horses through particularly treacherous stretches. You will quickly gain an appreciation for the amazing fortitude of these horses, and their instinctive skill negotiating the rugged trails.
Once the trail drops off the north rim, you are unlikely to meet anyone but the odd desert bighorn sheep, wary mule deer or perhaps glimpse a condor soaring overhead. The groups are small, and everyone must be a competent rider and be willing to lend a helping hand around camp. The few hardy souls who venture into the Winter Pastures will be rewarded by experiencing the grandeur of the canyon as the first explorer did. Explore our other horseback riding adventures in Utah and Arizona.