Adventure Travel In December – Few things are more evocative of the USA than movies set in the Wild West and while the region’s lawless heyday may be in the past, you can still taste life as a cowboy during your gap year travel experience.
One of the great things about America holidays is that you can cram so much in to a relatively small space of time, as the country has so many different landscapes, cultures and unique cities. You can try your luck at the roulette tables in glittering Las Vegas, hike through deserts, spot grizzly bears in the mountains and take part in activities such as white-water rafting, helicopter flights and horseback riding all in one visit.
And if you are going to enjoy horseback riding during your visit to the west of the USA, why not do so as part of a genuine cowboy experience? You won’t be in danger of being scalped, robbed by outlaws or fighting over a gold find, but a trip to a cowboy camp is still an authentic experience.
The camps offer the opportunity for long rides across prairie or desert terrain, either during the day or under the stars, and give you the chance to see some of the spectacular American wilderness and its varied wildlife close up. You will also enjoy some traditional cowboy meals and be entertained by some tall tales about the Wild West. The camp will even provide you with boots and a Stetson to ensure you look the part!
Spending a day or two at a cowboy camp is a great activity for people travelling in a group, but those undertaking adventure holidays for singles are also more than welcome. You can enjoy the riding by yourself or use the trips for socialising.
Many of the cowboy camps are located in Utah, Arizona, Nevada or California, among some of the most spectacular and unforgiving terrain in the US. They are perfectly positioned for slotting into the itinerary of your gap year break, as the surrounding area is home to the Grand Circle series of natural and historic attractions.
You could choose to visit the spectacular Arches National Park or the giant natural amphitheatre at Bryce Canyon, or trek through the rugged territory of Zion National Park. But two locations you will not want to miss are the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.
The Grand Canyon is arguably the world’s best-known natural attraction. A huge scar carved through Arizona by the Colorado River, the canyon is a staggering 277 miles long and, in places, it is more than a mile deep and 18 miles wide.
Millions of tourists travel to Arizona every year to see if the Grand Canyon is as spectacular as its reputation suggests – and they certainly don’t go home disappointed. There are lots of ways to enjoy it, including trekking round the rim or down into the canyon itself and booking a pleasure flight over it.
Monument Valley is one of America’s unique natural attractions – a collection of sandstone buttes set among a barren landscape. The valley, which forms part of the Navajo Nation reservation, can be viewed in a number of ways. Driving through it is a popular option, but lots of people prefer to see it in the open air and opt for horseback riding or hiking.
You may choose to take a trip down the west of the USA as part of your gap year travel plans, with the route from Seattle to Los Angeles a popular choice with adventurous holidaymakers. This journey also offers plenty of opportunities to saddle up and enjoy the cowboy lifestyle.
The wilderness area of Montana is genuine cowboy country and horseback riding through the meadows and mountains is sure to be an unforgettable experience. You can also book a stay at an authentic western ranch to see how the descendants of the original cowboys live today.
Exploring the west of the USA by travelling from north to south will provide you with lots of opportunities to visit some of the country’s best-known natural attractions. Why not combine your horseback riding experience with a wildlife spotting trip to Yellowstone, exploring the Colorado Rockies and hiking in Grand Teton National Park?