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From Texas to Utah

In June 2021, 17 friends and I made the journey from Texas to Bryce Canyon, Utah. We all brought our own horses. We arrived on a Saturday, and most departed the following Saturday. The planning stage started one year in advance. Always good to do your research on the area you’re going to travel to. This includes finding the right camping spot and other things to do outside of horseback riding.

One of our first sightseeing stops was on the way to Arizona - Horseshoe Bend. Some people call this the East Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is where the Colorado River makes a U-shaped bend in the river, kind of like a horseshoe.

From there, we headed to Bryce Valley Ranch RV & Horse Park, run by Sherry and Pete - Two great hosts of the camp. We were the first group to use their new reservation system. The camp only opened fully in May 2021. However, it was very clean and well-organized.

We got to ride two areas out of camp. These two routes would put you up on the mountains surrounding the camp. It gives you a great bird’s eye view of everything around you, including camp. We then made our way to Thunder Mountain/Grand View, Peek A Boo and Willis Creek Slots Canyon trails. I wish we had time for more, but those were some great trails to ride.

Thunder Mountain/Grandview will give you two different types of rides. Grandview is fairly flat through the trees and seeing across the valleys. Thunder Mountain goes up on top with some very narrow passages. It is not for the faint of heart, but the views were just amazing!

Peek-A-Boo is inside Bryce Canyon National Park; a reservation time slot is required. We made our reservations two months in advance. It is just over an 8-mile loop. Lots of ups and downs, switchbacks, and your equine will get a workout. But, this is probably the best trail out of them all - Just being able to look out with no end in sight, you truly have time to reflect on your life and to realize how good you have it at times. All of your concerns are non-existent at this time. You are at one with nature and its beauty.

Near the end of our trip, we made the journey to ride Willis Creek Slot Canyon. We heard all the stories about the trek to get there. It wouldn’t be an adventure if something didn’t happen. Part way up the hill on the steep grade, I needed 4WD on my truck. I flipped the switch, and it showed errors on my console. Thankfully we had another truck not attached to anything that towed me up the hill. We swapped out trucks once we were back at camp. The slot canyons were something else - You are one horse rider wide, and you cannot reach the top. Just a sight to see! The markings on the wall shows the fierceness of the water when it comes rushing through.

Before riding, always make sure of where the rain is located. It doesn’t even have to be right on top of you; most floods will come from the rain in the north and can fill the slots up fast.

Outside of horseback riding, a few of us rented UTVs for a 45-mile adventure on Badger Creek Loop. We saw 4000-year-old pines, got up over 9000ft in elevation, and saw four Osprey nests. But, of course, riding a UTV gives a whole other perspective of the area.

The town of Bryce Canyon has a few things to see, and one of those is the local rodeo. They had people of all ages riding different events. They always welcome people to sign up for the events… Next to our final night, four of us entered the local rodeo – Three barrel racers and myself on a ranch bronc. What a rush that was. I rode my 8 seconds and scored a 61. Won a whopping $30 and 2nd place. Otherwise, you get $5 just for entering. It is an experience of a lifetime!

While visiting the shops, ensure you stop and get a scoop of ice cream. Then you can sit out on the walkway and watch as everyone goes by.

Another great idea for fun is Ebenezers Barn & Grill. I booked our reservation one month in advance to ensure we all got in. This is a venue that provides a meal and entertainment. The singing was just awesome to listen to. They will sing a lot of your country favorites. Don’t be shy; get up and dance if you feel like it. We are from Texas and did not hold back.

Getting this opportunity to ride Bryce Canyon is a once-in-a-lifetime trip! The people there are so welcoming and friendly. The trails are just amazing to ride, and the scenery can’t be found anywhere else. If you ever get the chance, make the trip to Utah on horseback. You will not regret it.

To see more photos from this great trip, check out Steve’s Facebook album!

1 Comment

How many days did you spend getting there and where did you overnight?

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