If you've visited one of Utah's national parks, chances are you've done some hiking, camping, stepped out onto a lookout point, and maybe even some scenic driving. But on our visit to Bryce Canyon National Park we took a tour of the scenery on horseback. I felt like we had stepped onto the set of a Western movie. Clint Mecham, owner and third-generation outfitter of Scenic Rim Trail Rides, greeted us with a welcome and friendly handshake. Dressed in cowboy hat and chaps, Mecham shared with us his appreciation and respect for the beauty of Bryce Canyon.

Mecham is a local rancher and Utah wildlife resource officer and he has been leading tours on horseback through Bryce Canyon for more than 20 years. He owns and runs his family business, Scenic Rim Trail Rides, with help from his wife, three sons, and several hired wranglers.

Mecham and his staff daily lead Bryce Canyon guests on horseback through the canyon's beautiful pink cliffs and forest land. He and his staff are known for their helpfulness and friendliness. Their horses are well-behaved and tame. Even my 5-year-old son got to ride his own horse, a pretty brown horse that entertained my young son with several potty breaks and even bending down on his knees - with my son on his back - to drink some water!

Children, the elderly - almost anyone - can take a horse ride with Scenic Rim Trail Rides. The Scenic Rim staff are great at helping even the most inexperienced at guiding their horses and having a good time. Chuck led my horse for me the first half-mile so I could take pictures and ask questions. He and Mecham even took a turn at taking our pictures.

Our ride began at Ruby's Inn, at the Highway 63 intersection, and wound up along a three-mile route through a portion of Dixie National Forest up to the rim of Bryce Canyon National park and back. As we rode through the forest, our guides told us about the trees, the wildlife, the flowers, and the amazing Bryce Canyon geology.

Partway we even saw an antelope. We stopped to watch and photograph the animal. He moved quickly and gracefully from one area to another. I have often seen deer on the mountainside or animals from a distance, but here I felt amazed as we were the only ones on the mountain and standing alone to watch such a beautiful animal.

The forest ride opened up to panoramic views of Bryce Canyon. Because the trail was private, I again felt a sense of solitude and beauty. We enjoyed our hiking through the canyon the day before, but it was an entirely different experience to sit alone, on a horse, at the top rim overlooking the entirety of Bryce.

The sun shone down across the hoodoos, our horses and our faces. We stopped long enough for Mecham to tell us about the specific formations below us, and then we started heading back.

Hands down, this was our favorite adventure at Bryce Canyon. Scenic Rim Trail Ride's friendly staff and trained horses gave us a unique and peaceful view of the beauty Bryce Canyon has to offer.

IF YOU GO:

Scenic Rim Trail Rides offers guided rides ranging from one hour to all-day rides. Rides begin at 7 a.m. (sunrise ride) and go throughout the day until 5:30 p.m. Rides range in price from $35 (1-hour ride) to $125 (all-day ride). Register online and receive 10 percent off per rider.

All rides depart from: Best Western Ruby's Inn, Highway 63, Bryce, Utah 84764

For further information contact:

Scenic Rim Trail Rides

Clint or Lori Mecham

P.O. Box 58, Tropic, UT 84776

435-679-8761

www.brycecanyonhorseback.com

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