Spanky looks over the miles of Montana forest during a horseback riding vacation at the Club at Spanish Peaks in Big Sky

Spanky looks over the miles of Montana forest during a horseback riding vacation at the Club at Spanish Peaks in Big Sky

Big Horses in Big Sky, Montana

Everything about Big Sky, Montana is BIG. From the huge timbered Clubhouse that greats visitors to the Club at Spanish Peaks, to the 17 hand high bay horse that I rode during my horseback riding vacation in Big Sky. This was my first visit to Big Sky and I left favorably impressed.  Be it global warming or simply Mother Nature forgetting to turn the water faucet off, the state of Montana saw its share of rain during the winter and spring of 2011.  I sat next to a fly fisherman from the San Francisco bay area during the flight to Bozeman, Montana and he was not happy about the high water levels in the Gallatin and Madison Rivers.  Blue ribbon trout fishing streams were running high and wide. And while that meant poor visibility in the trout streams and rivers for the fisherman, it meant an abundance of wild flowers in the meadows during horseback rides.

Wildlife Galore on Big Sky Horseback Riding Vacation

Having ridden horses in the hills of Northern California, I have come across my share of coyotes and deer while riding. While I was happy that we didn’t encounter any bear during our Big Sky, Montana horse back riding vacation, I did see a yearling moose, mule deer and evidence of bear in the form of bear scat on the equestrian trails. Our Club at Spanish Peaks Wrangler, Haven Leavitt, was not only a competent equestrian, she was able to rattle off the names of wild flowers growing along the trail as fast as I was able to spot them. Lupine, bluebells, alpine forget-me-nots and buttercups sprung up from the grass covered hillside, while the sounds of the river echoed below us.

Dean Genge and Nancy Brown ride horseback along a Gallatin River tributary at the Club at Spanish Peaks in Big Sky, Montana

Dean Genge and Nancy Brown ride horseback along a Gallatin River tributary at the Club at Spanish Peaks in Big Sky, Montana

Horseback Rides for every level at Club at Spanish Peaks

Whether you are horseback riding for the first time, or an accomplished equestrian, the wranglers at The Club at Spanish Peaks will match you to the perfect horse – maybe you’ll even get to ride a mule! Horseback rides range from the one – to one and a half hour ride ($50.) or the three hour horseback ride ($100.) on Spanish Peaks property.

Yellowstone Park Horseback Riding Vacation

If you love an adventure, I highly recommend the day ride ($200.) or an overnight pack trip ($350 per day, per person) into Yellowstone National Park back country. Did you know that less than one percent of the visitors to Yellowstone Park actually venture more than a mile off the path? The Club at Spanish Peaks is one of approximately forty permit holders for horseback riding vacations into Yellowstone National Park. I’ll write about my day trip into Yellowstone in a future post.

Spanish Peaks Wrangler Haven Leavitt and Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on a Big Sky, Montana horseback riding vacation with Lone Peak in the distance

Spanish Peaks Wrangler Haven Leavitt and Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on a Big Sky, Montana horseback riding vacation with Lone Peak in the distance

Horseback Riding at Club at Spanish Peaks

The one hour horseback ride offers two loops on the Club at Spanish Peaks property. One trail ride takes equestrians to the Spanish Peaks fishing camp, while the other ride traverses the ridge line trail. The three hour horseback ride meets at the Flatiron trial head down in the Spring Creek Reserve area. This horseback ride provides great views of the Club at Spanish Peaks and possible animal sightings. The equestrian trails morph into snow skiing trails in the winter time with chairlifts overhead and Lone Peak in the distance.

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on a horseback riding holiday at the Club at Spanish Peaks in Big Sky, Montana

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on a horseback riding holiday at the Club at Spanish Peaks in Big Sky, Montana

Have you been on a horseback riding vacation in Big Sky, Montana? What are your favorite things to do in Big Sky, Montana?

If You Go:

The Club at Spanish Peaks (877) 995-3100

181 Clubhouse Fork, Big Sky, MT 59716

Review, photos and YouTube video courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California.  I was a guest of Club at Spanish Peaks.

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Horseback Riding Vacation, Club at Spanish Peaks, Big Sky, MT