50 Active Vacations for the Fitness-Conscious: Horseback Trekking

Travel by horse on these three vacations.


Trail riding in Wyoming.

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Travel by horse on these vacations:

A Pack Trip on Horseback

Where: Buffalo, Wyo.
Duration: 4 days
Distance: 24 miles
Cost: $225 per person per day
Operator: Paradise Guest Ranch (www.paradiseranch.com; 307-684-7876)

At Paradise Guest Ranch, which is surrounded by over a million acres of the Bighorn Forest, you can stay in a luxury log cabin and enjoy daily rides and hikes or head out into the 13,000-foot mountains on a high-country pack trip. The Paradise mules haul all the gear as you ride 12 miles up through the Cloud Peak Wilderness and into high camp at Frying Pan Lake. The next day, you might opt for a strenuous 2 1/2-hour hike, toss a line in South Piney Lake, and fry your own trout or ask one of the ranch's packers to handle the cooking. This trip is recommended for people in good physical shape with solid riding experience only. The combination of rough trekking and a relatively fast-paced ride at high altitude will undo the less robust horseman.

Peru's Machu Picchu Inn-to-Inn Ride

Where: Lima to Machu Picchu
Duration: 7 days
Distance: 60 miles
Cost: $3,425 per person
Operator: Cross Country International Equestrian Vacations (www.equestrianvacations.com; 800-828-8768)
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

This high-altitude equestrian adventure, which entails roughly four hours a day in the saddle, begins outside of Cusco at the Coronilla Ranch. Your first leg traverses lush green valleys and subtropical hillsides with views of towering white-capped peaks and ends up at the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort at 12,400 feet. If your legs aren't sore from cantering through the area surrounding Soraypampa and the glacial Humantay Lake, you might tack on a three-hour hike to the base of the Salkantay Peak and back. Next, you'll spend three days riding to Machu Picchu on trails not traveled by hikers; the highest point of the ride is a pass at 15,000 feet. Keep your eyes peeled for Andean condors. You'll also pass through the Santa Teresa River Valley's coffee and banana plantations. Then you'll have to forego horsepower. There's an optional hike for those who want a stunning view of Machu Picchu from the southwest. The following day, a 30-minute bus ride will take you to your guided tour of Machu Picchu.

Inn-to-Inn Horseback Riding in Ireland

Where: Dublin
Duration: 3 days
Distance: 55 miles
Cost: $1,425 per person
Operator: Cross Country International Equestrian Vacations (www.equestrianvacations.com; 800-828-8768)
Difficulty: Moderately challenging

If you're comfortable in an English saddle and the idea of galloping across the dewy green Irish countryside strikes you as romantic, this short getaway might be the one for you. The ride begins outside of Dublin in County Wicklow, where you'll enjoy spectacular views of the Irish Sea and a route that takes you along riverbanks, lakeshores, past Celtic ruins, and through pine forests. At night, you snuggle into homey B&B's. For those who want more days in the saddle, this trip can be expanded to six days on the trail. All riders are expected to be able to walk, trot, and canter in open country with confidence and control—and you'll be able to go over jumps if you're so inclined. Before the trip begins, you may choose to visit the Irish National Stud Farm.