Vail to Aspen on Horseback

City slickers can experience nature’s majesty firsthand by signing up for a four-day, three-night horseback excursion across the Rocky Mountains from Vail to Aspen, Colo. Led by guides from Bearcat Stables, the trip follows trails accessible only by foot or hoof — no motorized vehicles are allowed in the protected wilderness areas that make up the majority of the trip — and truly leads riders to commune with their surroundings. “People are always surprised by the scenery,” says Leeds Butcher, co-owner of Bearcat Stables. “They can’t seem to believe this much untamed wilderness still exists in a modern world.”

On horseback from Vail to Aspen. Steve Sunday Photography

On horseback from Vail to Aspen. Steve Sunday Photography

Though riders venturing out on the trail are trekking farther from civilization than most of us ever have, they don’t actually have to rough it. Guests dine on local, gourmet fare at every meal and bunk down at a luxury ranch with the comforts of home for one of the three nights. On the other two nights, they stay at the 10th Mountain Division Huts, which were used for Army training during World War II. But don’t let the term hut mislead you: These spacious, ­multilevel cabins boast views worthy of a Discovery Channel special. And on a cloudless, moonless night, the awe and wonder of the Milky Way appears close enough to touch.

$1,800 per person
www.bearcatstables.com

This story was originally published in the August, 1, 2013 issue of American Way Magazine.

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