At South Texas Tack, we think one of the best ways to see any state is on a saddle. This month, we’re sharing our favorite trails for seeing California’s diverse scenery — whether you’re wanting to check out ocean coastlines, deserts, forests or mountains – take a look at our favorite trails below:
Amargosa River Trail
Spanning the counties of Inyo and San Bernardino, the Amargosa River Trail winds along a river canyon between Tecopah and China Ranch. Riders can see a waterfall, wildlife, part of the Old Spanish Trail and part of the historic corridor of the 1900s Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad. The grade is level, and the trail is a total of six miles in length.
Mount Lowe Rail Trail
Located in the Angeles National Forest, the Mount Lowe Rail Trail was once a scenic railway for tourists from the 1890s through the 1930s. At nearly six miles in length, the ballast and dirt trail offers great views of Echo Mountain, Mount Lowe and the ruins of an old camp that was destroyed by fires and floods.
American River Bike Trail
Horseback riding is permitted on the American River Bike Trail, which spans more than 30 miles between Old Sacramento and Folsom Lake. This two-lane asphalt trail is mostly level and provides shaded areas, mile markers, phones, parks, swimming areas, restrooms and the opportunity to see a riparian habitat.
Griffith Observatory Trails
The famous Griffith Observatory nestled in the mountains above the Hollywood Hills features gardens, golf courses and one of the most spectacular views overlooking Los Angeles. Long and short trails ranging from easy to difficult sprawl through the park. There is a complete map and description list of each one, but be sure to see the L.A. River Trail, the Main Trail and the West Observatory Trail.
Northern California’s Hammond Trail is a dirt and asphalt rail trail spanning over five miles from Mad River Bridge to Clam Beach State Park. Riders will cross an old steel bridge constructed in the 1940s and travel through a flora-thick area to a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There is a steep gravel grade beyond that point, so inexperienced riders should walk that portion.
Ojai Valley Trail
The Ojai Valley Trail runs nearly 10 miles north of Ventura to Foster Park. The asphalt and wood chips rail trail is a top pick for riding enthusiasts, and it offers mountain views so spectacular they can only be fully appreciated in person.
There are plenty of other great trails in the state as well. If you want to get off the trail for a while and take a ride along the shore, many beaches such as Zmudowsi State Beach in Monterey offer views of both the ocean and cliffs and allow horseback riding on wet sand areas. Be sure to research California trails in advance for current conditions and advisories.
Did we miss any of your favorite California trails? Let us — and other readers — know in the comments below!