Up Snake River

ImageTen people, 17 stock animals and 1,400 pounds of supplies. Is it possible to travel through Yellowstone National Park—to one of the most remote locations in the United States—and leave no trace?

THERE WAS A GOOD REASON why I stood on the shoulder of Highway 191 with my saddle, a duffel bag and my Appaloosa mare, Gravelly, at 6:30 in the morning. We were hitchhiking—sort of. At the beginning of a leave-no-trace pack trip into Yellowstone, it seemed appropriate to car pool. Matt Henningsen, outfitting manager for the Club at Spanish Peaks, a Montana resort, had agreed to pick me up on his way into the park. His truck and trailer pulled up at 7 a.m. sharp.

“We’ve got a tight schedule to keep, if we want to be on the trail by noon,” he told me.

We stowed my gear in the truck bed, loaded Gravelly into the trailer, and were gone inside of five minutes.

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End of Trail


Across the United States, riding trails are at risk. More than ever, backcountry horsemen must compete with hikers, mountain bikers, ATV riders and others for public-land access. And, with increasingly restrictive—even anti-horse—regulations in some locales, trails on which riders were once welcome are now hostile environments for horsemen. Learn how 10 of the country’s top riding destinations have come under threat, and how you can get involved in the fight to save them.

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The Trail Less Trashed

Use these 32 strategies to reduce your impact on the environment—and help guarantee backcountry access in the future.

I go to the backcountry because I want to get out there and feel like I’m the first person to see this land,” says Jim Culver of the National Outdoor Leadership School. “I want my kids and grandkids to have that same experience.

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Plan The Packing Adventure Of A Lifetime

Photography by Lynn Donaldson

A spur-of-the-moment decision to go is often enough to carry a horseman out on a simple trail ride, but a pack trip calls for much more planning. Montana guides Kipp Saile and Kail Mantle offer tips on how to prep for a safe and unforgettable backcountry adventure.

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A Great Escape

At this remote cowboy retreat, guests trade the pressures of everyday life for days spent working cattle and exploring the forested canyons of Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains.

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Project Noble Mustang

A unique BLM/Colorado Department of Corrections partnership turns adopted mustangs into useful mounts for U.S. Border Patrol agents on the Canadian border.

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Cat Track Fever

The effects of our 3 A.M. wake-up, and the hour long drive along an isolated gravel road paralleling the U.S.-Mexico border, faded quickly as we unloaded the mules from the trailer and saddled them in the chilly April morning air.


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