I consider Lake Tahoe a popular California playground, open year round to the young and old. One of my favorite activities to do in the high sierras is horseback riding. I’m not the only one that enjoys exploring the Tahoe National Forest from the back of a horse. Alpine Meadows Stables offers experienced guides and dependable horses to show you around in the woods.
Three amigos: Nancy Brown, Lara DiPaola and Karin Sheets
Our group of three amigos all loved horses and we were excited to go out on the trail together. We all went horseback riding in our youth, but some of us hadn’t been back in the saddle for awhile. The family owned Alpine Meadows Stables was very professional and the wranglers knew exactly how to match each rider with a particular horse.
Our ride was scheduled for the afternoon in the summer. I was concerned that heat might be a factor, but it wasn’t. After mounting up, we crossed the road and headed into the shade of the Tahoe National Forest. What a pleasant one hour ride! We crossed Bear Creek and wandered into an area ideal for sheltering bears and other wildlife. We didn’t see any bears on our trail ride, but we were rewarded with a deer grazing in a meadow. She lifted her head to acknowledge our presence and then went about her business, as did our horses.
Owner Larry Courtney and his family have been operating Alpine Meadows Stables since 1967. Started as a pack station in the 1940’s, the stables currently offer one and two hour scenic trail rides, as well as 1/2 day and private rides. These are walking only rides. I’d love to come back for the four hour ride when the wild flowers are in bloom!
Hand lead pony rides are offered on Merrylegs (those of you who enjoy books for horse lovers may remember this dappled grey pony from Black Beauty) and a horse named Julie. Children six years of age and up are allowed out on the trail.
Nancy Brown horseback riding in Lake Tahoe
Alpine Meadows Stables is one of the few places that doesn’t enforce a weight limit as long as riders are physically fit. Typically, stables limit equestrians to 220 pounds.
“We have two Clydesdales, a Gypsy Belgian draft cross and a Percheron,” says Amanda Courtney, third generation family member and trail guide. “Why should we limit someone from experiencing a horseback ride simply because they are big?”
Alpine Meadows is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to October 1st, weather permitting. One hour rides are $35. Two hour rides are $70 and half day rides are $120. Check the website for current pricing.