Horse Program

Tumbling River’s unique location in the midst of Pike National Forest provides us with millions of acres of extraordinary scenery—if scenic vistas are your thing, you’ll never tire of our horseback riding offerings. We send out trail rides every day of the week except Sundays, ranging in length from short to long. In all cases, we provide experienced, knowledgeable wranglers to accompany and assist you.

Orientation Clinics

To start the week, our wranglers offer a riding clinic in our arena, where guests can get to know their horses and acquire some essential horseback know-how. We will have selected a horse to suit your experience, and, if you like the choice, you can keep that one for all of your riding. The clinics are also the time when we will adjust your saddle and other tack, ensuring your comfort and safety for the duration of your stay with us. After your clinic, enjoy a short ride into the mountains–a perfect introduction to riding at 9,200 feet. Our riding is beautiful and scenic, but we do push you on Monday to work through the steepness of our mountains.

Guests may have as much instruction as they feel is necessary throughout the week; the wrangling team enjoys spending time in the arena with interested guests.

Trail Rides

The trails here at Tumbling River range from short to long, from beginner to advanced. Each day, guided rides are offered in the morning and afternoon. Some of our longer rides will stop for a picnic lunch in a wildflower-covered alpine meadow, or atop one of the local peaks, just above timberline. The shorter riding options will get you back to the ranch just in time for lunch or dinner. Whether you’re a trail boss or a greenhorn, our riding won’t disappoint. Our unique location at 9200 feet is truly in the middle of the Rockies, and it allows for some incredible scenic views and high country rides. However, our riding is not for the faint of heart…we are steep and rocky. Our riding is more technical in nature. That means that you will be using all your muscle groups to get these awesome horses up and down these trails, through water and mud and even snow. We are a great ranch for back country riding, however if your goal is lope and canter, please understand we can only do that on a limited bases. Again, we are truly in the Rockies and don’t have a ton of open space to run. We ABSOLUTELY will lope and open up where and when we can; and we ABSOLUTELY use our arena to lope and canter, but if you own horses and want to run, run, run…our riding program will not meet your needs.

Overnight Pack Trip

After a couple of days have gone by and you’ve got some horseback experience under your belt, we encourage you to join us on one of our all-day rides—perhaps by Thursday, you’ll join us on an overnight pack trip (the overnight pack trip is for teens (12+) and adults only). We are one of the few ranches that can get guests up into the back country (up to 12,200 feet!), where you may not see another person all day. Our special-use permits authorize us to ride in Pike National Forest, allowing our trips to get off the beaten path and see little-known treasures like Geneva City, an 1880s ghost town. If you do join us on our overnight trip, rest assured: we’ll provide sleeping bags, lean-tos, great food and famous Western hospitality. You just bring yourself and a sense of adventure!


On Saturday, it’s rodeo time. Everyone has the chance to compete in a variety of events, including barrel racing, pole bending, and more. It’s great fun to see folks who, a week before, had never been on a horse, proudly wearing a blue ribbon on Saturday night. No need to worry about the competition, either—you’ll have plenty of time to practice throughout the week.

Helmet Policy

To address questions concerning the use of helmets for riding at Tumbling River, please read the following:

  • We do recommend the use of helmets, especially for children; however, it is your personal choice.
  • If you do choose to wear a helmet, you will need to provide your own, as we do not have helmets to rent or loan. Many guests do bring bike helmets or ski helmets if they do not already own a horseback riding helmet – this is at your discretion.
  • We strongly suggest you receive instructions for properly fitting a helmet from the store or dealer who sold it to you. Any helmet that is not adjusted correctly is ineffective.