Hit the Great Western Trail on horseback for an Old West experience and an up close look at the incredibly scenic and rugged Capitol Reef backcountry once roamed by Indians, outlaws, and pioneers. The main staging area is just off Highway 24 on the edge of Bicknell, with additional access points at Hatchery Road, Bulberry, Pine Creek Reservoir, and the Forest Service’s Aquarius Ranger Station. The trail is a shared equestrian, mountain bike, ATV trail, moderate to difficult, with some sandy areas and rough, rocky terrain for the last three miles. View more Great Western Trail info – here.
Equitrekkers like this trail for the immense scenery, the terrain variety, and the option to go at your own pace and distance. Total trail distance is about 10 miles from Velvet Ridge to the Aquarius Ranger Station, and you have a few options—do a loop, a straight run, or continue on to Dark Valley.
There are stream crossings at Government Creek, Pine Creek, and Bulberry. Wildlife sightings are common, especially elk, antelope, deer, and the occasional bear. Views of Thousand Lakes mountain to the north and Parker Mountain showcase the vast scenery.
The Great Western Trail is well maintained but like all backcountry trails be aware of weather that could affect trail conditions. And since it’s a shared trail with mountain bikes and ATVs, stay alert and aware of other trail users. Outfitters in Capitol Reed Country can get you started with guided excursions or maps and information for a true Wild West experience on horseback through “the land of the sleeping rainbow.” Read more about Horseback Riding in this region – click on the listed cities to find horseback outfitters.