“The best way to see the mountain wilderness is by horseback”. ~John “Jeremiah” Johnson
Our riding program is based on developing your riding skills. We do this by separating our guests by age and riding skill whenever possible, then matching them up with one of our experienced horses. Each day we offer six regularly scheduled rides organized by skill level; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Our rides vary in length; one hour, two hour, half-day or all-day. Horsemanship lessons are also available.
Every trail ride is through the magnificent and rugged Taylor Canyon and into the Fossil Ridge Wilderness area on some of the same trails used over one hundred years ago by the original pioneers and of course the local wildlife.
This is the best place to learn all about riding the trails of the Gunnison Country on horseback. The beginner trail rides cover horse handling while you learn to work your horse walking over flat, easy trail rides with little change in elevation. Even if you have never been on a horse before, our wranglers and calm, gentle horses will help you to feel comfortable and relaxed as you enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The intermediate skill level trail rides focus on riding across water and up and down some steeper slopes. This is an excellent opportunity for you to polish your cowboy skills and get comfortable with your horse.
The advanced ride highlights various riding gates, off-trail riding, and extreme changes in elevation at a quicker pace. The true wilderness riding experience, down through the high parks and along the game trails through the most beautiful part of the Colorado Rockies is the horseback riding vacation for the experienced equestrian. You need to be an advanced rider to participate in these rides (not for beginners!).
We offer two 1-hour, two 2-hour, 1-half day, and 1-All day trail rides every day scheduled at convenient times in the morning and afternoon. Learn about geology, angle & aspect, plant life, and wildlife of the area from our knowledgeable wranglers.
In addition to daily rides, we also offer half-day and all-day rides. Experience the beauty of the Taylor Canyon by horseback. Ride up to historic Doctor Park, where the view includes the Maroon Bells of Aspen and Mt. Henry. Eat your lunch in the mountain sun, take pictures of the abundant wildlife, enjoy a bit of what nature has to offer. All-day rides depart from the Harmel’s Stables at 8:45am, offered seven days a week by reservation only.
Half-day trips are available every day, as well. This three hour trail ride leaves the stables in the morning and returns in time for lunch. Sign up for any of these rides with our staff at the office – stop by or call 970.641.1740.
At Harmel’s there is a mount to suit everyone from children seven years old to the most experienced rider. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced trail rides leave Harmel’s three times per day – every day throughout the summer. From horseback riding lessons to wilderness rides, Harmel’s has it all! Explore the variety of CO horseback riding vacation packages and a la carte activities that we offer! From riding lessons to wilderness rides, Harmel’s has it all!
Every afternoon we offer horsemanship riding lessons in our corral area. We can take riders as young as 7 years old. These lessons are provided to find out about your skill level and to help you improve your confidence and riding skills. Whether you are a community member looking for a weekly lesson or you are a first-timer looking to experience Colorado with one of our horseback riding vacation packages, one of our professional wranglers will guide you through a thorough training program designed to make you more comfortable with horses. Don’t think lessons are just for beginners; these can help out even the most seasoned rider!
Each day guests may work at the stables as an junior wrangler. They will learn how to halter, brush, feed, saddle, and care for horses. And they will have the opportunity to ride on the trails as an assistant guide or take a lesson. Guests eight years and older are welcome to join the Junior Wrangler Program. The day begins in the morning at 9:00am at the stables with the wranglers, where the daily assignments are discussed. This is a wonderful program for guests interested in gaining hands on experience with horses and stable etiquette.
For children 5 and 6 years we offer 45 min lessons to help build riding skills and confidence. For safety reasons Harmel’s does not permit riders under the age of 7 on the trails, and we do not ride double.
Each year we receive many applications for employment at the ranch. Most of the young people applying want to be a wrangler. This group is chosen for their demonstrated communication skills and their ability to work well together. Harmel’s Wranglers are the best of the best, each wrangler is chosen for their horsemanship experience & knowledge.
The wranglers come from all over the United States, and some coming from foreign lands. The average age is 22, most are current college students in the top of their class. All of our wranglers have their CPR & first aid cards, as required; our rider’s safety always comes first! Some have veterinary training, and many have a background in horsemanship skills programs ranging from 4-H, gymkhana, to rodeo riding.
Led by head wrangler and stables manager Bode “Doc” McKee and his wife Gaelan, our wranglers share the love of the out-of-doors, horses, and teaching. This is remarkable since these young people are working hard on their “real career” goals all the while developing the best horseback riding program in the Colorado Rockies.