On Tuesdays throughout the summer, the Kline May Realty Blog will feature Shenandoah Valley staycation ideas. Our first entry is about horseback riding in Shenandoah National Park, which is a great way to spend a Shenandoah Valley staycation day!
I do not have a horse of my own, so, this past Saturday, I went with option A on the Shenandoah National Park website hyperlinked above: take a guided trail ride in Shenandoah National Park.
Who should try out this Shenandoah Valley staycation idea?
If you're outdoorsy, like horses, and measure over 4'10", this staycation option is for you! Children must be able to reach the stirrups in order to go on a trail ride; however, if you have a child who is not tall enough to ride, Skyland Stables offers pony rides for a reduced price.
Where is Skyland Stables?
Located at mile 42.5 on Skyline Drive, Skyland Stables is easy to reach from both the Swift Run Gap entrance in Elkton, VA as well as the Thorntop Gap entrance in Luray, VA. If you live in or around Harrisonburg, I recommend using the Elkton entrance because the drive seemed a lot shorter. For directions to Shenandoah National Park, click here.
How much does a guided trail ride cost?
For a 1-hour ride, plan on spending $50 per person. For a 2.5-hour ride, plan on spending $90 per person. We had such a great time on our trip, though, we tipped our guides! Prices for pony rides are greatly reduced: A 15-minute pony ride is $7, and a 30-minute pony ride is $13.
Why is it fun?
My four-person party arrived 10 minutes late, but Matt, the stable manager, still greeted us with a big smile. Please note, you're supposed to arrive thirty minutes before your tour departs, and tours depart throughout the day.
After paying for our tour and signing a waiver, Matt introduced us to the stable crew and the horses and explained the various rules put in place to ensure the safety of all involved--people and horses. H
Matt, who has been around horses since he was nine-years-old, asked us our experience with horseback riding and matched each person in my party to a different horse based off of the energy we projected in our introductions. For example, I am an inexperienced rider and was a bit nervous about the tour, so Matt paired me up with Blossom, an extremely forgiving horse who knows the trail like the back of her hoof. =)
On the tour this past Saturday, Dylan and Jeremy were our guides. Dylan led the tour, and Jeremy trailed us. If you're familiar with the trails in Shenandoah National Park, we spent our time on Limberlost Trail and the Old Rag Fire Road. Since, Blossom and I were second in line, I talked with Dylan most. He has a lot of experience with horses and is a great storyteller! Throughout our hour-long ride, Dylan shared stories about his experiences with wildlife while guiding tours in Shenandoah National Park as well as his experience working on a ranch out in Montana.
When we returned to the stable, I mentioned to Matt, the manager, that I would love to blog about the experience. He gathered everyone around for a picture!
Shenandoah Valley Staycation Idea Overall Experience Rating
5/5. The Skyland Stables crew was knowledgeable, friendly, and great to work with and learn from. I'm looking forward to spending another weekend with Blossom, Dylan, Jeremy, and the rest of the crew some day very soon!