Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

If you like horseback riding I suggest you head to Moab, Utah if you want hike in Moab’s Castle Creek Canyon, near Arches National Park, read this review. What did I like about this horseback ride? The geography of the Red Rock Desert is fabulous. You will have the impression of stepping on the set of a John Wayne movie. The horses are well looked after at Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab and the scenery is breathtaking. This is a must-see ride when visiting Moab, the adventure capital of Utah.

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Located on the banks of the Colorado River, horseback riding at Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah is a hike like no other. I had the pleasure of horseback riding in Bryce Canyon, Utah, as well as Arizona. I love the colors of the Red Rock desert. As Colin Fryer, owner of Red Cliffs Lodge, says, “It’s like being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.”

Surrounded by red rocks and tall cliffs at Porcupine Rim in Castle Creek Canyon while horseback riding in Moab, Utah

Surrounded by Porcupine Rim at Castle Creek Canyon

Horseback Riding Red Cliffs Lodge

Since I only visited the rim of the Grand Canyon, I cannot compare the two places. I can tell you that visiting Red Cliffs Lodge and going horseback riding in Moab, Utah reminded me of a western setting where the guests were the stars of the show. There weren’t any shootings here in Moab, but the western vibe was authentic. At Red Cliffs Lodge, you will meet your horse and wranglers while checking in at the corral. You’ll want to wear closed-toe shoes, ideally heeled boots, long pants, and maybe a cowboy hat. Children 10 years of age and over must wear a riding helmet. Adults can also wear a riding helmet for this walking tour only.

You will see what I mean when I say this is a walking tour. There is no trotting or loping on this walk. Castle Creek Canyon is a vast canyon with 2,000 foot cliffs and rocky terrain. The well-trained Quarter Horse horses of Red Cliffs Lodge know these trails for the morning or afternoon ride in Moab. You might see mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, and birds. Occasionally a puma has been sighted, but this is very rare, as these majestic animals prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Bon Jovi filmed the music video for Blaze of Glory at the Rectory in Moab, Utah

Movies and Music Videos in Moab, Utah

Speaking of spotlights, after horseback riding in Moab, Utah, you’ll understand why so many movie production studios have used Castle Creek Canyon as a filming location. Our wrangler Devon Dixon did a wonderful job explaining the history of Castle Creek Canyon. This cowboy has a strong connection to this ranch and Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab. Dixon’s father was a rancher here in Moab. Red Cliffs Lodge, now a 110-room resort, was a working cattle ranch before it was a guest ranch. This ranch was the last place settled in 1890 by settlers according to the owner of Red Cliffs Ranch, Colin Fryer.

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Red Cliffs Lodge Wrangler Devon Dixon horseback riding in Castle Creek Canyon

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Located at milepost 14 of Highway 128, the 230-acre ranch has seen many movies made in Moab. Remember John Wayne Rio Grande, the remake of The Lonely Ranger with Johnny Depp, Mission Impossible II Where Thelma and Louise? Guests might catch a glimpse of The Rectory where Bon Jovi filmed the clip Flame of Glory in Moab, Utah.

Founded in 1890, Red Cliffs Lodge is a well-known destination. You will be horseback riding in Moab on 97% public land and about 3% private land through one of the oldest ranches in Grand County, Utah.

Riders cross Castle Creek several times while horseback riding in Moab, Utah.

Riders cross Castle Creek several times on horseback

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Crossing Castle Creek on horseback

One of the things that surprised me the most about horseback riding in Moab, Utah was the abundance of water in the area. The mighty Colorado River flows past Red Cliffs Lodge and Castle Creek follows riders on morning and afternoon horseback rides. Don’t get me wrong, it can get hot on the trail. You’ll want to bring a water bottle or two to place in your panniers to keep you hydrated during your horseback ride. However, the fun continues at the end of the hike when guests on horseback cross Castle Creek several times. Your horse might even stop for a well-earned drink in the shade of the trees by the stream.

Horse travel writer Nancy D. Brown pretending she is an extra on the set of a John Wayne movie while on a horseback ride in Moab, Utah

Author claiming she is an extra in a John Wayne film

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Horseback Riding in Castle Creek Canyon

Although I am an experienced rider, we had several novice riders on our hike. I was as excited about horseback riding in Moab as newbies. The horses were great. The tack was in good condition and the duration of the hike, 2.5 hours for our morning hike, was perfect to get a taste of Moab. If you were staying at the lodge I imagine the 1.5 hour afternoon drive would be ideal, especially with the option to witness a sunset.

Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah
Love Horses? Then Head to Moab Utah

Horseback riding in Moab, Utah

Horseback Riding at Red Cliffs Lodge

Terminal 14, route 128

Moab, Utah 84532

(435) 250-2002


Horseback Riding Review in Moab, Utah, photograph by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. She was a guest at Red Cliffs Lodge while she was horseback riding in Grand County, but all opinions are hers.

Nancy Brun

Nancy D. Brown writes the What a Trip blog and reviews accommodation on His articles have appeared in Shape Magazine, Alaska Airlines, At Home Tennessee, Diablo Magazine, San Jose Mercury News, Chicago Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and Oakland Tribune in addition to online publications. Passionate about horseback riding, Nancy reviews horse properties at Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she specializes in active adventure and luxury travel for baby boomers.

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