There is nothing like getting out on a horse for a few hours (or a few days) to experience the mountains from a whole new perspective. The horse does most of the work, while you get to focus more on the scenery. You can often see more from your elevated perch than you would on foot, and often people on horses can get much closer to wildlife than you can on foot. You can click on the weblinks below to view the websites of the various stables.
We have several good options for horseback riding in the valley. If you are staying near the Chalk Creek Valley of Nathrop, we would suggest giving the Mt Princeton Riding Stables a try. They are just a few miles east of the Mt Priinceton Hot Sprinngs, and have a variety of rides from hour long to whole day, that go along Chalk Creek or up into the nearby mountains. One of their all day rides takes you up Browns Creek all the way to Browns Lake. Its one of our favorite trails, and the scenery as you approach the lake is amazing. 866 877 3630.
If you are staying closer to Salida, you might look into Granite Mountain Outfitters. They are a short drive up Poncha Pass, and run their trips into the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Their rides also run from one hour to all day long, and will give you some fantastic scenic views of the mountains to the South of Salida and Maysville. 719 530 0480.
If you really love horses and have a taste for adventure, you might also want to consider a true wilderness horse packing trip. Here is a story from one of our renters, about John Nelson, who owns The Gunnison Country Guide Service. "He set us up on a custom five day trip in the Fossil Ridge Wilderness, about an hour west of Salida. For five days we rode through the wilderness, and for five days the only people we saw were each other and our guides. We did see lots of deer and elk, and we caught lots of trout out of the beaver ponds near our campsite. We found antlers that had been shed by deer and elk, and while we didn’t see the bears, there was lots of fresh “sign”. Although at times we rode on trails, most of the time, there were no trails. The riding was challenging, but the horses (and mules) were in great shape, and very sure footed.." 970 641 2830.