Magazine article Sunset

Exploring Bryce Canyon's High Country on Horseback

Magazine article Sunset

Exploring Bryce Canyon's High Country on Horseback

Article excerpt

Exploring Bryce Canyon's high country on horseback

Thousand-year-old bristlecone pines standsilhouetted against umber-washed sandstone spires called hoodoos in Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park. In July, wildflowers soften the surrounding landscape carpeting meadows in Dixie National Forest.

This intriguing area's 8,000-foot air canmake uphill stretches extra tough for hikers, but on horseback the air doesn't seem quite so thin. With a guide, a greenhorn can ride the trails without concern for more than a sore backside, and the scenery and easygoing horses will help you forget even that. On the easy hour- to day-long rides, the guides describe Bryce's geologic history, flora, and fauna --sprinkled with a liberal dose of tall tales. One guide on our trip demonstrated rope tricks while standing backwards in the saddle.

Of the three companies that offer dayoutings, only one takes you into the canyou; the other rides go to the rim or into the adjacent national forest. Summer days are usually dry, with temperatures in the comfortable 80s, but wear long pants for protection from trailside brush. …

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