Horseback Vacations

Do you remember the olden days when a vacation meant “leaving it all behind” — including your telephone (which was attached to the wall), by-the-minute Facebook updates and pressures from work? Not surprisingly, the fallout from this never-ending bombardment has created the latest buzzword in travel — a “black hole destination” — where people pay big bucks to hand over their phones and laptops to get away from it all.

Rather than going to those expensive extremes, there is no more perfect solution than to go someplace where you are having so much fun it wouldn’t even cross your mind to check the latest update on social media — a place where you can unpack, saddle up, power down and recharge.

This is where the great Canadian wilderness comes into play. Here guests are paired up with reliable and fit mountain horses, who will carry them through some of the most spectacular and unspoiled areas of the Rocky Mountains. They are led by professional, licenced guides into the wild backcountry, where the only way into their private camp is by horseback. Up here you will explore new trails on top of the world with an intimate group of guests that end up being lifelong friends after sharing such an epic adventure.

Photos courtesy Travel Alberta/Roth & Ramberg

Most outfitters have a “base camp” — with warm, canvas wall tents and a well-equipped kitchen. From the base camp, guests are often guided on trips and trails that the outfitters have carefully scouted, not only for safety but also for the greatest wow factor. This is the good stuff — the sights of secret mountain lakes, wildlife in its natural habitat and mountains towering over it all. Back at base camp the cook is rustling up some scrumptious grub because nothing whets the appetite more than mountain air!

Other vacationers might choose a guest ranch, which is also a perfect western destination. Situated far from the madding crowds, these ranches are often family-run by folks that genuinely like people, are proud of their area and livestock and enjoy sharing it with like-minded folks that appreciate it too. Here too, guests are matched up with reliable horses for trips out from the ranch. A vacation like this is relaxing, but there is always something to do. By the end of the day you’ll be surprised to find that you didn’t miss the constant social media updates at all.

Guest ranches are known for real luxuries; calm, peaceful surroundings, stunning scenery and endless trails to ride on nice horses. Along with hearty meals, guest ranches are the original, all-inclusive vacation destination where you can happily get away from it all — and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. And, yes, you don’t have to worry — “rustic” is a décor choice — they have all the amenities including Wi-Fi.

If you love getting back in touch with the natural world and slowing down to the speed of a trail horse, then this type of vacation could be ideal for you.

And don’t think you have to be an expert equestrian to enjoy these vacation ideas. The guest horses are specifically chosen for their quiet nature so that both experienced riders and the neophytes can enjoy the trip. To be sure, both guest ranch and outfitter vacations welcomes guests of all ages — from the very young to the very young at heart.

So saddle up and power down — it’s the best way to relax and recharge.