Ride a Horse

A group of horseback riders depart from the Glen Creek Trailhead.
Horseback riders take a guided trip in Swan Lake Flat.

NPS/Jim Peaco


Horseback riding is a great way to slow down and experience Yellowstone National Park. There are a few different options for doing this.

Guided Trips

Yellowstone allows private, licensed outfitters who have been authorized to operate in the park to guide trips. Some outfitters offer day trips and some offer guided overnight backcountry trips. Yellowstone National Park Lodges also offers one to two hours horse rides at Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon.

Private Trips

People may bring private stock into the park. Planning and preparation are the keys to a successful trip. Whether you are taking a day ride or camping overnight, you must follow all stock packing regulations, which include carrying proof of a negative Coggins Test for each of your animals.

Stock selected for a trip in Yellowstone should be well trained, compatible with each other, and accustomed to the restraining techniques you plan to use. Exercise caution when approaching other parties on the trail. Anticipate problems and have your animals under control. If backpackers seem unsure of what to do, courteously offer instructions to permit safe passage.

On any ride, anticipate inclement weather, biting insects, and emergencies and bring the appropriate gear for these conditions. Check our backcountry conditions and bear management area descriptions before you hit the trail. During mosquito and fly season carry and use stock insect repellent.

Day Use

Prior to riding in Yellowstone National Park, private stock users must obtain a free day ride permit. A separate permit is required for each day you will be riding, but only one individual in a group needs to obtain a permit. Group size is limited to 20 people and 20 stock. There are no limits to the number of day ride permits in an area.

Park trails are typically open to stock day use from mid-June to the first week of November. Some trails do not open until mid-July. Check the Backcountry Conditions page for a list of trails currently open to stock use.

Overnight Use

Overnight stock use is not permitted prior to July 1, due to range readiness and/or wet trail conditions. You must obtain a backcountry permit prior to taking an overnight trip.

You should plan to arrive at the trailhead, pack up, and travel to your campsite on the same day. Horses are not allowed to stay overnight in the road-based campgrounds or trailheads within the park. For a list of campgrounds outside the park that allow stock overnight, contact the Central Backcountry Office.

Stock are not allowed at all campsites. To view whether a campsite allows for stock see ourbackcountry trail map and click on the individual campsites to see the number of horses/mules/llamas the campsite allows.

Proper stock management at a campsite is one of the keys to minimizing your impact and damage to vegetation. As a general rule, stock should be confined as little as possible. Restless, restrained animals trample vegetation, paw up tree roots and debark trees. Loose graze using whatever techniques you prefer: hobbles, pickets, electric fence, etc., and rotate grazing sites frequently.

Bear Safety

All food, garbage, or other odorous items must be secured from bears. Remember, if you pack it in, you must pack it out—all garbage must be carried out of the backcountry. Do not leave any food unattended even for a few minutes. Learn about best practices for traveling safely in bear country prior to your trip.

Riders on horseback travel through a dusty field.
Day Ride Permits

Prior to riding in Yellowstone, you must obtain a free Day Ride Permit.

A line of horseback-riders travel across a sagebrush prairie.
Exotic Plants: Don't Let Them Ride Along

Do your part to stop invasive plants from entering the park.

A horseback rider leads a string of horses on a trail.
Stock Regulations

Learn how to plan a safe, enjoyable, and low-impact trip.

Three horseback riders travel across a rolling prairie.
Coggins Test

All stock (horses, burros or mules) within Yellowstone must have a negative EIA or Coggins test within the last 12 months.

Lightning strikes Electric Peak as a dark storm rolls over the mountain.
Backcountry Conditions Report

Current conditions for trails and campsites.

Photo of a grizzly bear in a green meadow
Bear Safety

Learn about best practices for traveling safely in bear country.

A lone person standing on a boardwalk and takes a picture of steaming hot springs.
Things To Do

Explore all the different things there are to do in the park.


Last updated: June 6, 2024

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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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