Dozens of horseback riding trails lead high into the Sierra Nevada in Kings Canyon National Park and the neighboring Sequoia National Forest, just a half-day's drive south of Yosemite National Park. Both places offer day rides and overnight saddle and pack trips that will knock your socks off with their mountain vistas, giant sequoia trees, and alpine lakes and peaks.
Whether you're planning a vacation for your family or just your fishing buddies, the southern Sierra Nevada mountains have some great trails for you to go riding horses and mules on.
Kings Canyon National Park
Inside Kings Canyon National Park, the horse and mule stables and pack station are all owned by the Loverin family, who have lived and worked in the Sierra Nevada for generations.
Grant Grove Stables, Kings Canyon National Park
Closest to the national park's Big Stump entrance, Grant Grove Stables offers short one- and two-hour trail rides among the giant sequoia trees. Riders of all ages and skill levels will enjoy these trips. The stables are usually open daily from late spring through early fall, weather-permitting.
Early June to September
(559) 335-9292 (summer)
(559) 799-7247 (off-season)
Cedar Grove Pack Station, Kings Canyon National Park
At the bottom of the Kings Canyon, reached via 30 miles of jaw-dropping scenic byway, the Cedar Grove Pack Station is the best departure point for overnight saddle and pack trips into the Sierra Nevada high country. Packer guides are available to escort your group and its horses and mules as you climb out of the valley, gaining spectacular views almost immediately as you venture into the backcountry. Popular destinations include alpine lakes, waterfalls, and meadows. Advance reservations and wilderness permits are required for overnight trips.
The Cedar Grove Pack Station is located just outside the Cedar Grove Village. The pack station offers trips varying from 1-hour guided trips to multi-day pack trips. Day trips offer riding along the Kings Canyon River in the Cedar Grove area. Pack trip destinations are numerous and include Monarch Divide and the Rae Lakes Loop. Reservations are required for pack trips, but may not be necessary for day trips.
May to mid-October
(559) 565-3464 (summer)
(559) 337-2413 (off season)
Giant Sequoia National Monument
Between Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, off the scenic Generals Highway, the family-owned Horse Corral Pack Station at Big Meadow is another great place to ride off into the mountains and around alpine lakes. Most of the half- and full-day rides are appropriate for beginning riders, although experience helps if you're planning to summit Mitchell Peak.
For a multi-day adventure, packer-guided trips go deeper into the Giant Sequoia National Monument. You can choose between basic pack trips where you provide all of your own food and camping gear, or more luxurious all-inclusive trips that supply everything you'll need, including your own personal cook.
Reservations are recommended for day rides, and they're essential for overnight saddle and pack trips.
Horse Corral Packers
Sequoia National Forest, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park
(559) 565-3404 (summer)
(559) 564-6429 (off-season)