Premier Listings: Horseback Riding on Vancouver Island
Mount up, partner, and enjoy the beautiful scenic tracks of the parks, hills and countryside on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Trot the trails at an easygoing pace or revel in a lively gallop along an isolated beach. Whether skilled or novice, large group or small, swing yourself up into a weathered saddle on a trusty steed – Vancouver Island’s friendly stables are waiting to help you play cowpoke for a spell!
Horseback riding opportunities range from two-hour jaunts to overnight trail rides. Scenic riding trails and multi-use trails that allow riding are located in several communities on the Islands, and professional guides lead tours for all skill levels into the countryside and along mountain trails.
The Saanich Peninsula is a bountiful countryside where rural and urban lifestyles blend together. Just north of Victoria, the Saanich Peninsula is a favourite among horseback riders. Riding stables and flower gardens are nestled alongside parks, campgrounds, old-growth forests and small farms.
Other favourite destinations recommended for horseback riding tours include Duncan and the Cowichan Valley. A greater contrast is hard to find, which is what makes exploring this region so fascinating. There’s plenty of easygoing adventuring to be found by sticking to the main routes, although everyone should treat themselves to a backroad or two where the valleys meet the Strait of Georgia. There are beaches here the likes of which are found nowhere else on the coast, with views that engender intimacy with the landscape, yet emphasize its isolation.
One of the best areas for equestrian adventures is the Comox Valley. Forested trails, alpine meadows and lovely mountain vistas highlight riding tours in this beautiful region. Located in the heart of some of the most beautiful farming landscape on Vancouver Island, nearby Courtenay, the urban centre of the Comox Valley, serves as a great base.
The charming seaside village of Comox, surrounded by a beautiful valley and the largest glacier on Vancouver Island also serves as a departure point for enjoying miles of sandy shore leading off both north and south of the quiet little coastal town.
The Gulf Islands: Snug in the Georgia Strait, between the mainland and the eastern side of Vancouver Island, are the BC Gulf Islands. Roadways and trails take you on a tour of natural beauty, leading you to hilltops for fabulous views and down to the beach for an afternoon swim. Each island has its distinctive charm – take your time as you meander through this laid-back region. Its rhythms are subtle, but with gentle probing they reveal themselves, showing greater complexity than first meets the eye.
The Pacific Rim (West Coast) region is another wonderful choice for horseback riding. Guided tours along old logging roads and white-sand beaches are offered – enjoy the breathtaking scenery!
West Coast Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island’s celebrated luxury outpost Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge skirts the banks of its namesake ocean inlet, Clayoquot Sound, and offers an escape to the still, tranquil beauty of Canada’s remote wilderness. Set among magnificent conifer forests, the lodge offers guests an unforgettable experience of the landscape and its wildlife. Twenty-five canvas tents designed with contemporary interiors complement period and local artisan-designed pieces to offer a decadent retreat.
Guests have direct access to 600-acres of gloriously wild nature reserve where opportunities for adventure, education, natural enrichment and personal connection abound. Experiences span equestrian, marine-based, land-based, helicopter and fishing adventures.
Drawing inspiration from Vancouver Island’s wild beauty, Executive Chef Asher Blackford translates the landscape to the plate through the sights, scents and tastes of the region and uses premium sustainable, locally grown and foraged ingredients to deliver a 5-star taste of the destination.
Adventure-filled days are bolstered by the freedom to unwind at the spa, where physical and spiritual sanctuary are found in restorative treatments for body and soul. Featuring a waterfront massage tent, saunas and cedar hot tubs for relaxing and drinking in the view.