Riding on horseback is a fabulous way to explore the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia. The BC provincial parks listed below all have great trails that offer unparalleled scenery. The ruggedness of the trails make them better suited to traversal on a horse rather than by foot. Other horseback riding trails in the BC Rockies region include Diana Lake Trail northeast of Radium Hot Springs (6 kms, 2 to 2.5 hours ride time).
Elk Lakes Provincial Park
Horseback riders will enjoy this park. Horse riding is on allowed in the Cadorna Creek Watershed area, which has well established and durable trails. Wilderness, backcountry and walk-in camping is allowed.
Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park
Horseback riders are required to obtain and carry with them a letter of permission from BC Parks to horseback ride in Akamina-Kishinena Park. The Akamina Kishinena Park Horse Use Policy has some standards that must be adhered to, including a maximum of 10 horses, no horses permitted on the Forum Lake trail, the Wall Lake horse trail must be used to access Wall Lake (no horses on the main Wall Lake trail), horses are to be walked at all times (no
cantering or galloping), and no overnight horse use in the core area, which includes Akamina-Kishinena campground and Wall Lake.
The Letter of Permission can be generated and printed online, and must be completed no less than 7 days before entering the park. More specific information on using horses in Akamina-Kishinena Park can be obtained by contacting the Kootenay BC Parks office at 250-489-8540. Riders must also remember to obtain permission from Parks Canada if intending to travel through Waterton Lakes National Park.
Height of The Rockies Provincial Park
Horseback riding is permitted in the Height of The Rockies Park, and there are some trailhead corrals provided. As grazing is limited, feed should be packed into Sylvan Pass, Queen Mary Lake and Middle Fork White River meadows. Use pellets as they do not contain weed seeds.
Riding trails are not maintained and, at best, include intermittent stretches where a beaten path is available. Moderate scrambling and travel through fairly dense undergrowth and occasionally through tangled slide areas is required. These routes offer excellent scenic views, but they are not recommended for inexperienced riders. Route-finding skills and an aptitude for orienteering are essential, and visitors need to obtain the appropriate topographical maps prior to arrival. Off-trail travel increases your chances of encountering a bear – travel cautiously!
Top of the World Provincial Park
Horseback riding is permitted on the Fish Lake horse trail and on the Coyote Creek and Galbraith Creek trails only. Overnight grazing is prohibited, except in the vicinity of Coyote Creek campsite and Sayles Meadows. Use of pellets and other feed concentrates is encouraged. Grazing should be limited to one night per party in each location. At Fish Lake, horses must be kept 100 metres away from the lake.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Horseback riders are required to obtain and carry with them a letter of permission from BC Parks to horseback ride in Mount Assiniboine Park. The Mount Assiniboine Park Horse Use Policy has some standards that must be adhered to, including no horse access to Assiniboine Lodge, the Naiset Cabins, Wonder Pass, or Citadel Pass, riders must leave their horses at O’Brien’s Meadow horse camp when entering the lodge area, open grazing is permitted in Og Meadows (north of the trail from Assiniboine Pass to Og Lake trail), and horses are not permitted on hiking-only trails.
The Letter of Permission can be generated and printed online, and must be completed no less than 7 days before entering the park. More specific information on using horses in Mount Assiniboine Park can be obtained by contacting the Kootenay BC Parks office at 250-489-8540.
Combined River Rafting and Horseback Riding Adventures
Those looking to maximise their fill of Rocky Mountain scenery while doing it in a unique way can combine a whitewater rafting trip with a peaceful horseback ride around the village of Banff. Well-trained horses and knowledgeable guides provide a unique and memorable way to experience the Rocky Mountains. Horseback riding through the trees is such a quintessential Canadian activity.