The Rocky Mountain wilderness is vast, making it possible to choose fresh camp sites and trails for the rides every year.
For many adventure-minded travelers, riding into an unspoiled back-country wilderness on a sure-footed horse is a wish list item that brings a broad smile, but little expectation that it will ever happen. Not so fast … maybe it can happen … how about this summer?
Comfortable camping featuring teepees and cot beds, fresh-cooked meals served around a camp fire, a gazillion stars twinkling in a black velvet sky and a sound sleep in a 100% natural environment … virtually a surround-sound of silence that many of us never experience in our lifetime, never mind on a daily basis. Is this realistic for people of any age with little or no horse riding experience or for seniors who count the possibility of riding the range as long past?
“You bet!” says Stuart Watkins, President of Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, http://trailridevacations.com/, who has spent his entire life witnessing the inspiring answer to that question. “Sixty percent of riders are over age 50,” he offers reassuringly, “and many participants of all ages have little or no familiarity with horses. What we do isn’t about fine horsemanship … it’s about trail riding at a slow and steady pace, wildlife spotting, taking in backcountry scenery around one of Canada’s iconic national parks in Alberta, and experiencing a relaxing, fun-filled camping experience.”
Teepee accommodation is very comfortable (some say luxurious) with cots and mattresses included. Guests bring their own sleeping gear.
As a volunteer-run nonprofit society, Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, brings a rich legacy of experience to organizing its annual rides … in fact, 92 years of experience. Most rides are booked out, with many repeat riders from previous years. Some people have completed 30 or more rides, often bringing their children and grandchildren as the years move on. No doubt, this is a memorable option to share with family and friends, a maximum of 18 people on each ride.
“While we’re not here to teach our guests to ride, the main expectation is that they will be able to control their own horse which is not a big challenge with well-trained animals that move at a walk. We do encourage complete novices to take a few horse riding lessons before joining us, just so they feel at ease, and with children, we have found it a good idea for them to have some camping experience.”
A reliable horse, breathtaking scenery and a taste of cowboy culture away from the bustle of the city … no wonder 60% of guests return, some of them every year!
Join them in 2017 for a trip into new territory to be announced on the website. Between late June and August each year, there are six, six-day/five-night trail rides. Minimum age is eight years old; a parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18 years. All guides, horses, western riding tack, meals and accommodations in cozy teepees and tents (with cot and mattress) are part of the fee while guests bring their own sleeping gear and personal necessities.
Together with backcountry park fees, bus ride from Calgary to the ride site and back, government tax and TRCR membership, expect to pay around $2,900 total. Check out across-the-board five-star ratings on TripAdvisor.