The nonprofit Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council (RFVHC) aims to preserve and enhance open space and public equestrian facilities; ensure trail access for riders by advocating for adequate truck and trailer parking at trailheads; educate the public on equestrian issues; and promote charitable involvement. Representing a wide variety of equine interests in the valley, RFVHC also partners with other local groups on volunteer projects, such as a recent Wilderness Workshop–sponsored outing to repair trails above Cathedral Lake; horses and riders helped pack in supplies for 30 volunteers.
We asked Holly McLain, who’s on the board of the RFVHC for some of her favorite local trails. Here, her suggestions:
Located in Missouri Heights above El Jebel, Basalt Mountain has nice riding and good parking for trucks and trailers. Avoid the “ditch trail,” as it is steep and popular with mountain bikers.
Drive up Capitol Creek Road and continue for a couple of miles past where the pavement ends to get to the trailhead. Some excellent horse trails start from here, plus ample truck and trailer parking.
Horses have the right of way over cyclists and hikers.
Thompson Divide at Spring Gulch
Located outside of Carbondale, this area has good trails, but maneuvering and parking a trailer can be challenging. Parking is generally available alongside the road.
National Forest Wilderness
Keep in mind that though you won’t encounter any mountain bikers in designated wilderness throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, parking at these trailheads can be a challenge.