Best Vacation Destinations for Horseback Riding in California
Updated: Oct 22, 2022
There are few activities more enthralling than horseback riding. Its unique combination of adventure and freedom with the sheer beauty of nature and such a majestic animal make it a truly unforgettable experience.
Whether horseback riding is the primary focus of your vacation or simply something you’ve always been curious about, there is no better place to embark on your equestrian excursion than California. The sprawling state features endless scenic locations for horseback riding experiences of all kinds.
Here are some of the best horseback riding vacation destinations in California:
Sunset Ranch Hollywood
Located beneath the iconic Hollywood Sign in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, Sunset Ranch Hollywood hosts guided horseback riding tours through the hills of Griffith Park, with absolutely stunning views of the surrounding areas.
Mulholland Trail Tour is a scenic, hour-long trek through Hollywood Hills, with unbeatable views of the Los Angeles Basin, Griffith Observatory, and Hollywood Sign. The ranch also offers a two-hour Mt. Hollywood Tour in the day and evening, taking riders to its peak for a gorgeous panorama of Downtown Los Angeles and San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.
The evening tour is considered a favorite for couples seeking a romantic, moonlit ride overlooking the sparkling lights of the city below.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch
If you’re looking for variety, look no further than Ricochet Ridge Ranch. Located near Fort Bragg, it offers numerous horseback riding packages and scenic trail options along the truly stunning Mendocino Coast.
Journey through the incredible Redwood National and State Parks—multiple forests and beaches along Northern California’s coast—and gaze in wonder at the towering redwoods that have stood for thousands of years. Take a jaunt along Ten Mile Beach in MacKerricher State Park for incredible coastline views, and enjoy a glorious sunset. The beach trail also overlooks the migration route of the Pacific gray whale, so seasonal travelers visiting in the winter and early spring may be lucky enough to witness these majestic creatures as they hug the coast heading south to the waters off Baja California, Mexico.
Guests of all skill levels can enjoy horseback rides ranging from one-hour sessions to all-day outings with a private instructor, others in a group, or solo.
Grant Grove Stables
This popular, family-owned stable has been in operation for more than 25 years, offering guests an unforgettable riding experience through Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.
Explore rugged foothills, canyons, meadows, and ancient forests by horseback, embracing every moment of the breathtaking natural beauty defining this special place. There’s camping, lodging, picnicking, and hiking opportunities as well.
Riders at Grant Grove Stables enjoy one- and two-hour guided tours with views of giant sequoia trees—some thousands of years old! Among these, snap some photos of the General Grant Tree, the second-largest tree in the world, and America’s official National Christmas Tree—dating back more than 1,600 years.
Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center
Nestled on a lovely, 25-acre property in Orange County, Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center is one of California's premier horseback riding facilities.
The center boasts nearly 400 horses, training in several styles of riding, and close proximity to Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Disneyland in Anaheim. It features a broad selection of guided trail tours throughout Southern California.
Enjoy a scenic tour of more than 150 acres of public trails. The facility is home to horse shows and races, as well as after-school programs and clinics for kids to learn how to ride and bond with these majestic animals. Its beautifully rustic venue the Red Horse Barn hosts weddings and other special occasions.
Sunshine & Daydreams Horseback Riding
Established more than 30 years ago, Sunshine & Daydreams offers safe and independent horseback riding for all experience levels. It provides private and semi-private rides through Hidden Valley Wildlife Preserve’s more than 25 miles of scenic trails and stunning natural wonders.
Riverbed Trail Ride is an hour-long stroll through bamboo tunnels, desert landscapes, riverbeds, foothills, and more—along with a phenomenal view of the Santa Ana River and San Bernardino Mountains.
Sunset Campfire Ride features a one-hour tour of the surrounding ranch, with a relaxing campfire stop to appreciate the preserve’s incredible twilight.