Our trip to Colorado in July ‘04 was a great trip. We stayed at Horse Ranch Park which is located about 14 miles from Crested Butte, CO in the Gunnison National Forest. Crested Butte is located north of Gunnison. From Crested Butte travel west on Kebler Pass Road, which is a well maintained dirt road. The camp elevation is 8,920 feet and the mountain scenery in this area is magnificent.
We rode to elevations over 10,000 feet, with one ride reaching 10,700 ft. On one side of the road you ride into the Raggeds Wilderness and on the other side of the road, you ride into the West Elk Wilderness. The wildflowers blooming at this time of year (the 3rd week in July) were beautiful! In fact, Crested Butte has a wildflower festival sometime in July. The weather where we rode was usually in the 70’s in the daytime and in the upper 30’s-lower 40’s at night. With every afternoon bringing a chance of rain, we were lucky and were only caught out in a storm on one day.
The camp is primitive with vault toilets and there is a small creek nearby where you can water the horses. We tied our horses to a picket line, and some people use electric fencing. CO does require certified hay and the rangers will come and check your hay, so make sure you are in compliance with this regulation or be prepared to pay a fine. They would also like for you to move your picket lines and electric corrals every day. Once you get past all of the rules and regulations, this is a great place to ride and camp. Nothing beats the Rockies!
Took this from Horse & Mule Trails: "The trailhead and camping area is located 12 miles west of Crested Butte on Keebler Pass Road (Road #12). You will see a sign saying HORSE RANCH PARK on the right. Follow the road that loops around Horse Ranch Park and pull off into one of the sites that looks good to you - it is primitive camping and free. There are 2 main trails out of camp. One is the Dark Canyon Trail that leads to another trail called the Oh-Be-Joyful trail. To get to the other trail, ride on down Road #12 for less than 1/4 mile and you will see the Cliff Creek trail going to the left. Take that trail and you can access several trails to ride. One of the of the trails is Lost Lake and then on to Dollar Lake. Another is to take the trail to Beckwith Pass and from there you can access several other trails. The scenery is outstanding. This is high country and boggy areas exist due to snow run offs. I would suggest that mid-July be the earliest to ride this area unless it's a very dry year. Please call the local national forest office to get current information. Have fun."
This is high country and boggy areas exist due to snow run offs. I would suggest that mid-July be the earliest to ride this area unless it's a very dry year. Please call the local national forest office to get current information. Have fun."