Lake Tahoe Equestrian Guide

Lake Tahoe is an earthly haven situated high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Resting at an elevation of roughly 6,223 feet, the air is crisp and fresh and the winters often find the area blanketed in snow. This winter wonderland is also a highly-sought-after summer destination where sun-soaked afternoons find tourists lounging on golden-sanded beaches or dipping into the cool freshwater lake teeming with crowds in the peak months.

While the area is popular in summer for its beaches and other attractions, Lake Tahoe is also known for its equestrian trails and horseback riding. It’s a popular pastime and the area is steeped in equestrian heritage. In fact, horses were part of the first groups of European nomads and travelers that discovered this area that was long inhabited by indigenous tribes.

If you’re looking to go horseback riding in Lake Tahoe, knowing what trails or stables to opt for is often the challenge. That’s why this Lake Tahoe equestrian guide is crucial if you’re looking to spend some time in Lake Tahoe with these majestic creatures during your next trip to the area. You’ll find most, if not all, of the information you’ll need to make an educated decision whether you find yourself in North Lake Tahoe or South Lake Tahoe.

Horseback Riding in South Lake Tahoe

With all the rolling hills and valleys and forests, there’s an abundance of scenic trails for horseback riding in Lake Tahoe. Whether you’re looking to gallop through pastures or slowly stride across an Alpine forest to catch a glimpse of the indigenous wildlife, there’s an ideal trail for you here in South Lake Tahoe.

If you’re heading to South Lake Tahoe for an equestrian adventure, the summer months exhibit perfect conditions for a jaunt on a steed. While the weather is warm, it never gets too hot, especially in the shade. And, considering that most of the Alpine forest spirals 50 to 100+ feet in the air, you’re often shaded on one side or the other by the looming trees.

While there are plenty of options for stables and equestrian centers, each offers their own unique value proposition. Whether you’re looking to stable your own horse or you’re simply looking for a day trip, you’ll find it here. Once you’ve found the perfect place to stay in South Lake Tahoe, here are some of your options for horseback riding.

Camp Richardson Corral

Minimum Age: 6-Years Old | Maximum Weight: 225 Pounds
#4 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA | 530-541-3113

First opened in 1934, the Camp Richardson Corral has been operating in the South Lake Tahoe area for three generations. In the wintertime, it transforms into a sleigh riding company when the snow conditions are just right at the lake. While this location has moved around quite a bit during its three generations of operation in Lake Tahoe, the current location is now the furthest west the company has been since its inception.

Here, you can enjoy trail rides on horseback, pony rides for the children (6 years or older), extended trail rides that meander through Alpine forests and mountain meadows, boasting epic views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe, summer hay wagon rides, half-day rides, and extended pack trips.

Zephyr Cove Stables

Minimum Age: 7-Years Old | Maximum Weight: 225 Pounds
Highway 50, South Lake Tahoe, NV | 775-588-5664

Zephyr Cove Stables has been operating since 1987 and is situated 4 miles from the casinos in South Lake Tahoe. Here, you’ll discover horseback riding and equestrian activities for the entire family. From breakfast rides to lunch and dinner tours on guided horseback, to family and group tours, you’ll find it all here. The minimum age here is 7-years old and there's a maximum weight limit of 225 pounds.

Zephyr Cove Stables offers one-hour tours, 1.5-hour rides, 2-hour extended tours, and other lessons from experienced, friendly, and safety-conscious guides. Their breakfast, lunch, and dinner guides are unique and are tailored toward a minimum of 10 riders. They include a 1-hour guided tour, then guests ride a hay trailer back to the picnic area where they dine.

The breakfast ride includes “Scrambled eggs - ham/sausage with country-fried potatoes, seasonal fresh fruits, English Muffins with homemade jam, freshly-brewed coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and orange juice.” The lunch ride includes “Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breast, baked beans, watermelon, chips, soda, iced tea, and lemonade.” And the dinner ride includes “Tri-tip steak, teriyaki chicken, baked beans, baked potatoes, salad, corn-on-the-cob, French bread, soda, iced tea, and lemonade.”

Sheridan Creek Equestrian Center

Minimum Age: 4-Years Old | Maximum Weight: 250 Pounds
551 Centerville Ln, Gardnerville, NV 89460 | 775-265-7371

The Sheridan Creek Equestrian Center is a full equestrian facility situated in South Lake Tahoe, almost directly southeast from Stateline in Gardnerville. It’s a full-service boarding facility catering to riders of all skill levels and expertise. It’s situated on 100 acres of pristine meadows and pastures.

Sheridan Creek Equestrian Center offers both stable boarding for your horses and pasture boarding. They also offer trail rides and pony rides. Children must be at least four years old and the maximum weight of adults is 250 pounds. They also offer a summer camp that typically allows only seven children into the camp and they offer riding lessons.

If you’re serious about horseback riding and you find yourself visiting Lake Tahoe, especially if you find yourself staying in South Lake Tahoe, then this is the place for you. The indoor facilities here are unparalleled in the area and the services offered are a full range of riding and equestrian services both for horse owners and non-horse owners alike.

Horseback Riding in North Lake Tahoe

Like the south, North Lake Tahoe has options for horseback riding for a variety of skill levels. Not only are there mom-and-pop stables and trail riding services here, but you’ll also find professional equestrian centers like the one at Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center. If you’re planning to stay in North Lake Tahoe, then some of these horseback riding options might be ideal for you.

However, keep in mind that the ideal time for horseback riding in Tahoe is certainly the summer months. The spring months might be doable too, but North Lake Tahoe is filled with far more peaks than the south and generally higher elevations. For that reason, you’ll likely want to opt for this in the summer months. Because even the spring months can exhibit snowy conditions on the ground in parts of North Lake Tahoe.

Most trails do ascend nearby hills. As you climb in elevation, the likelihood of snow - even in spring - will generally increase. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t go horseback riding in spring in Lake Tahoe. It generally depends if we’re talking about late March as spring or we’re referring to late May. There’s definitely a difference.

However, just ensure you do your due diligence and talk to the stable owners or equestrian center operators. They’ll likely tell you what will work when you call to make your horseback riding appointment.

Alpine Meadows Stables

Minimum Age: 6-Years Old | Maximum Weight: 225 Pounds
355 Alpine Meadows Rd, Alpine Meadows, CA 96146 | 530-583-3905

Alpine Meadows Stables offers gentle horses that will take you on scenic rides. Their guides are experienced and knowledgeable. The minimum age here is six years old to ride the horses. The maximum weight is 225 pounds. The weight limit here, similarly to other stables and equestrian centers, is more for the rider's ability to mount and dismount the horse with minimal assistance from the staff. Ultimately, it’s a safety issue rather than a discriminatory one.

The company offers scenic 1-hour tours, 2-hour mountain rides, half-day rides, and pony rides for children. This company has been in operation since 1967. One important thing to note is that they don’t take credit cards. Only cash or check are accepted here. However, the tours here offer incredible scenery as they wind and twist their way through the Tahoe National Forest. Definitely a great option if you’re staying in North Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center

Minimum Age:7-Years Old | Maximum Weight: 215 Pounds
15275 Alder Creek Road, Truckee, CA 96161 | 530-587-9470

Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center offers trail guides through dense Alpine forests, rolling meadows and through lush valleys engulfed in wildflowers and cattle grazing across pastures that are interrupted by streams that gush ice-cold mountain water. Travel through thickets of soaring Sugar Pines and Jeffrey Pines, across clumps of Quaking Aspens, past Fir trees, and by huddles of Manzanita.

Donner is a name that’s synonymous with Lake Tahoe, dating back to some of its earliest heritage. For that reason, you know you’re getting the best of the best. Relax and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature during your trail rides during sun-soaked summer days as you experience the true beauty of Lake Tahoe.

This equestrian center offers a variation of services that include one-hour rides, two-hour rides, and pony rides for the children. They also offer boarding. Both long-term boarding and short term. So if you find yourself in Lake Tahoe with your horses and are looking for overnight or weekly boarding, then this is the place for you north of the lake.

They also offer private lessons and summer camp as well. The camps are suitable for children ages 8 to 14-years old. They offer half-day, week-long riding camps to help get your children acclimated and trained to become better and more astute riders. They also teach students about safety, grooming, doing arena work, and more.

Verdi Trails West Ranch

Minimum Age:7-Years Old | Maximum Weight: 215 Pounds
175 Trelease Lane, Verdi, NV 89439 | 775-345-7600

The Verdi Trails West Ranch is located 10 miles west of Reno and 15 miles east of Truckee. If you’re in North Lake Tahoe, then this is certainly a viable option when it comes to horseback riding and private lessons. They also offer boarding facilities and guided trail rides through the Sierra Nevada foothills.

If you find yourself in North Lake Tahoe with your horses, you could use barn stalls or pasture boarding here. For the pasture boarding, you’ll get twice daily feeding of Alfalfa Hay from November through May. They also have on-site vaccinations in the spring and the fall using Comstock equine.

Equestrian Trails in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe presents many opportunities for trails and hikes throughout both the north side and the south side of the lake. However, you shouldn’t try to take your horses on trails without a professional guide if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, and you’re looking to go horseback riding, find a professional guide from one of the stables or equestrian centers.

It’s important to focus on safety. Not just for you. Also for the horses. There are too many varying degrees of uncertainty on certain trails. If you don’t know what you’re doing, and you encounter a black bear for instance, and your horse gets spooked, you could find yourself in a bit of trouble. Also, if you veer off onto an uncharted trail, you could get stuck in another serious situation. Worse, your horse could get hurt and unable to get you back before dark sets in.

Now, there are other stables and equestrian centers aside from those listed above. However, they lack websites and other credible information online. Thus, if you’re serious about horseback riding, look to one of the companies listed herein as opposed to scouring for others that are out there. In any instance, be sure to do your due diligence. Read reviews and call and speak to the proprietors.

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