The Three Park Spectacular Ride is on the border between Utah and Arizona and covers three of the most famous national parks in the world. This horseback riding vacation in Arizona and Utah allows you to see parts of the country around the national parks which few tourists ever visit.
The ride begins in the Pariah River Canyon and winds north to skirt the corner of Bryce Canyon, giving an unusual perspective of the phenomenal pink spires and hoodoos. The trail follows the Virgin River, crosses the southeast corner of Zion’s maze of sandstone domes and twisting gorges, and heads south across vast open sagebrush country. Few trails have as dramatic an end as this one, at Toroweap where the chasm of the Grand Canyon falling three thousand feet below exposes eons of geologic time. The compact camp is moved each day by vehicle so that riders are not slowed down by pack horses and allowing a varied pace determined by the ever-changing terrain.
You will feel secure in the saddle on these reliable horses which are used to the rugged terrain and you will form a strong bond with your mount before the trip is over. The air in this part of the world is crystal clear and the humidity is very low. You will sleep well at night and have a keen appetite after a day in the saddle to help you appreciate the wholesome camp food. Your experienced cowboy guides are thoroughly familiar with the flora and fauna of the area and help you understand the area’s unique ecology. Your equine companions, the splendid, wild scenery and your rancher guides make this a superb adventure.
This is a vehicle-supported camping trip. Spring bar canvas tents are utilized which comfortably fit two people and their gear. Mattresses and cots are provided to sleep on and you can either bring your own sleeping bag or rent one from the outfitter for $35 for the week. A portable toilet is provided at the campsite. Warm water is available for washing one’s hands and face in the morning and evening. A simple shower will be set up in camp when extra water is available to be trucked.
An assortment of home-cooked meals will be provided while on the trail. The cuisine is hearty and variable, prepared in an outdoor kitchen and over an open fire. Lunch is carried on a packhorse or in individual saddlebags and consists of sandwiches and snacks.
The horses on this ride are chosen for their stamina and surefootedness in rough terrain. Although predominantly Quarter Horses, other breeds and crosses will be among the outfitter's remuda. Western-style tack is utilized. Riders are welcome to bring their own saddles. Participants are expected to assist with tacking and untacking their horses.
Pickup in St George, Utah at 2:00pm and transfer to the first camp. This camp is located in the Pariah River Canyon near an old movie set where westerns were filmed.
Ride north through Red Rock Canyon. Take a break at an old wagon stop where the early pioneers wrote their names on the cliff face with axle grease. After a cold drink from Crack Springs, ride on to camp in the Sheep Creek Canyon.
Follow Willis Creek toward Bryce Canyon National Park. At some points, the canyon is only 6-10 feet wide. Leave the canyon behind, and follow the old ranger trail along the boundary of the National Park (horses are not allowed in the Park). The trail winds through stands of pinon pine and juniper. Camp in a small meadow with the pink cliffs of Bryce Canyon in the background.
Ride up onto the Bryce Plateau, where you can canter through meadows and stands of ponderosa pine. The trail continues to climb through aspen and fir forests to elevations of 9,500 ft where there are spectacular views. Ride down to meet up with the trucks and trailers and transport to the next camp along the Virgin River.
Ride along the Zion formation through deep sand and sagebrush, surrounded by white cliffs. Pass through Elephant Cove. In the late afternoon, transport the horses again across the flat lands of the Arizona Strip. Camp in a stand of ponderosa pines, which is like an oasis at the base of an extinct volcano known as Mt.Trumbell.
Ride through the forest to the top of Mt. Logan, from where you can see over a hundred miles in every direction. Previous riders have described this as “a place where you can look one day into the future and 5 days into the past.” Perhaps the best news of the day is that we will remain at the same camp for another night.
The last day of riding follows an old cattle trail, leading off the mountain and into Tuweep Valley. Take a last canter through the valley to Toroweep Point, an overlook of the Grand Canyon. This seldom-visited area is a spectacular location for viewing the most famous of all canyons. Here one has a sense of how the early Spanish explorers must have felt when they first rode to the edge and look into the chasm. Afternoon transfer for a 7.00pm arrival in St George, Utah.
This is itinerary is flexible and may be modified at the guide's discretion based on weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
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