Whether you're taking your horse on a ride along some old roads or trails or looking for a developed campground with horse corrals, one of the 17 national forests and seven national grasslands within the Rocky Mountain Region will have a horse riding/camping experience that is just right for you!
Follow these general guidelines to help ensure that your horse riding/camping experience in your national forest or grassland will be a safe and memorable one:
Make a realistic plan and stick to it. Always tell someone of your recreation plans.
A permit is NOT required to ride horses or use pack animals on US Forest Service lands within the Rocky Mountain Region, but you must follow all Weed Free Forage regulations along with any local special orders or rules that may apply to the area you will be riding or camping in.
Use low impact riding, camping, and pack animal tethering methods to minimize your animals' impact on natural resources and ensure that backcountry camp areas remain enjoyable for others!
Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lake shores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated roads, trails, and other areas open to horse use.
Spread out in open country where there are no trails. Spreading out, rather than following each other’s footsteps, disperses impact and avoids creating a new trail.
Saddle and pack stock are not allowed in most developed campgrounds, unless specifically noted. Developed campgrounds that allow horse/pack animals will usually have a corral or other designated area for the horses/pack animals to use.
When using an overnight camping area in the backcountry, the general rule is to be a minimum of at least 100-200 feet away from any road, trail or water source.
Horse/pack animal campers are only allowed to stay a maximum of 14 days in any 30-day period. After 14 days, you must move your campsite to a new location, usually at least 3 miles away from your original campsite, and you can stay for another 14 days in a new 30-day period. After the second 14 day period is up, you must leave your second campsite and the national forest or grassland. This means that you can camp within one national forest or grassland for a total of 28 days within any 60-day period. Check with the local Ranger District [PDF file 120KB] office for further information.
Carry a compass or a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and know how to use it.
Please respect private landowners and don't trespass on private property.
Check the weather forecast for your destination. Plan clothing, equipment and supplies accordingly.
All horse riders and campers should follow the ideals of Leave No Trace and practice the concept of Pack It In - Pack It Out.
For more detailed guidelines regarding responsible horse riding/camping onUS Forest Service lands, please check out the Tread Lightly! information below:
Tread Lightly!'s Tips for Responsible Horseback Riding brochure
The Rocky Mountain Region map below can be used as the starting place to find information regarding horse riding/camping opportunities on US Forest Service lands located throughout our five-state region. When the cursor is moved over a state on the map, a filled-in map outline and tool tip will appear (the map outlines may be slow to load, please be patient). Once you are on top of the state you want to ride in, click the cursor on the green map outline and a link will open to that state's Horse Riding/Camping Information Web page. Once you are redirected to the state's Web page, repeat the same process with the state map as with this map. You will then be able to select the individual national forest or grassland that you would like horse riding/camping information about.
Map Outlines May Be Slow to Load, Please Be Patient