My parents and I decided to take our horses for a trail ride July 31 on the loop that connects Big Gulch Lake and Trail Gulch Lake, located near Forks of Salmon in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
We decided to stay at Hidden Horse Equestrian Campgrounds. When we arrived, I was excited, to say the least; going on an adventure with your horses and family is always fun and this campsite really has it all. There are four corrals, water, a campfire pit, and you can ride from it to three trailheads that access several lakes.
If you visit this campground you will learn, as we did, that you can’t forget your water buckets and handy-dandy muck fork or you will be coming up with creative ideas on how to clean your corrals. Also, don’t forget your britchens; we did and had to get very creative and make some out of duct tape which worked well for both us and the horses, luckily.
After we were settled in, we took on the 7.8-mile loop and visited Trail Gulch Lake and Big Gulch Lake.
It was perfect weather, clear blue skies and mountain views all around. My mare and I led our crew of three into the wilderness and got us through the entire loop. We stopped at a couple beautiful meadows for some pictures and saw a herd of free-range cattle a little ways in the distance, which made our horses quite concerned as they are not used to seeing such beasts.
Once they overcame their fear of the scary bovines, we continued further up into the mountains, enjoying greater and greater views as we climbed. The elevation gain is about 2,388 feet. Once we reached the peak, we could look over Gulch Lake and see the breathtaking view from up there. Along the trail, we saw plentiful mountains, trees and two lakes whilst enjoying the serenity offered by nature and the fact of being on horseback. It’s easy to forget the peace of mind that can be found in the woods but not on a phone screen.
It was an all-day trip full of these sorts of awe-inspiring views throughout the entire loop. However, we did come across some rougher terrain along the way and had to lead our horses through some sections. The loop itself is not for the faint of heart. The Long Gulch trailhead, which branches off to the right from the beginning of the loop, is easygoing, has beautiful meadows and leads to a lake that is just right for swimming, although we didn’t catch any fish at either of these lakes.
The trail, the lakes and the campground were all great, and it made for a wonderful weekend that no night in the city could compare to.