The snow is falling around the state and the holidays will be here before we know it. As much as we love our winter sports available – skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and snow tubing, to name a few – sometimes it’s nice to take off the boots and bindings and let someone else do the work. Picture yourself snuggled in a horse-drawn sleigh, surrounded by friends and family and a snow-covered landscape. Your trip might lead to a scrumptious meal in a cozy cabin, or to feed majestic elk, or perhaps it is a pleasure ride with your smiling, giggling children.
There are plenty of sleigh ride options in Idaho and all promise memories that last well beyond the winter snows.
At Western Pleasure Guest Ranch near Sandpoint, visitors enjoy scenic horse-drawn sleigh rides powered by one of four draft teams. Feel like a kid again as the horses plod and jingle along a two-mile loop trail of dense forests and fantastic views of the Selkirk Mountains. A variety of sleigh sizes can accommodate groups and families, and there is a one horse open sleigh for two for that intimate outing. After the ride, warm up in front of a crackling fire and enjoy hot drinks and fresh popped popcorn, or take advantage of the optional country gourmet dinner package. 208.263.9066
Rider Ranch in Coeur d’Alene provides horse-drawn wagon rides during the winter months. The 30 minute tour takes guests into the meadow where riders will see the ranch horses and cattle, and occasionally some wildlife. After the ride, guests return to the barn area to enjoy a warm campfire, hot chocolate or hot apple cider and marshmallows to toast over the fire. 208.667.3373
In the resort town of Sun Valley, after a day on the slopes visitors will enjoy one of the most memorable and fun Sun Valley winter experiences -- a sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner. Round trip scenic rides in a horse-drawn sleigh are available Tuesday through Saturday and nightly during the Christmas holidays and President's Week. 208.622.2135
The Grand Targhee Resort near Driggs offers a dinner sleigh ride that takes guests to a high altitude yurt for a western style dinner, complete with scones and honey butter. Dress in layers — the ride can be brisk, but the yurt is warm and cozy. 307.353.230
On the Linn Canyon Ranch sleigh ride in Teton Valley, guests are met with a cup of hot chocolate or cider and then bundled under warm blankets for a trip around the ranch to visit the llamas, horses and hopefully some local wildlife. As the sun sets and the sleigh bells ring, guests are welcomed back to the lodge for a gourmet dinner. 208.787.5466
The Mountain River Ranch in Ririe offers a nightly sleigh ride and dinner show in December and on weekends through January. Guests to the ranch are greeted with thousands of colorful lights and a cup of hot cider. The ride across glistening, snow-covered fields will have you singing your favorite holiday song while the frosty air fuels your appetite for the prime rib or pork loin dinners that await. The holiday entertainment will keep you laughing until your sides ache. 208.538.7337
The Teton Mountain Ranch in Victor lets guests get up close and personal with the wildlife on its horse-drawn sleigh ride and elk tour. Picture yourself leisurely sliding through glistening white snow with the beautiful Caribou Targhee National Forest in the background, surrounded by majestic elk. Elk are curious animals and aren’t afraid to come in close, so cameras are a must. 208.787.9005
Idaho Sleigh Rides in Garden Valley takes guests on a 45 minute sleigh ride through rolling glades and tree filled valleys. Few things compare to riding in an old fashioned horse drawn sleigh while snuggled under a warm blanket and listening to the sounds of sleigh bells mixed with laughter and song. Guests may choose sleighs for a larger group or a smaller sleigh for that private, more romantic ride, and have the option of completing their outing with a warm drink or a complete meal. 208.462.3416
Join Bogus Creek Outfitters in Boise for a winter sleigh ride and dinner. Guests snuggle in blankets as they’re whisked through a winter wonderland to a cozy location in the Boise National Forest. Friendly staff welcomes guests with a warm fire, live acoustic music and hot drinks. After a savory grilled steak and prawn dinner, the cowboy crew will spin a few tales to entertain. The dinner sleigh ride is perfect for a date night...or get a group of friends and family together for a magical experience to remember. 208.278.7000
Hap and Florence Points Sleigh Rides in Donnelly lets riders see Rocky Mountain Elk and other wildlife on this scenic trip along the Gold Fork River in the central Idaho mountains. The setting is rustic, with guests riding a horse drawn sleigh to feed the elk and move amongst them. The ride offers an old-fashioned, unique and intimate opportunity to view a wild population of elk in their natural habitat, on their terms. 208.325.8876 or 208325.8783
Go to www.visitidaho.org to learn about all of Idaho's winter recreation and lodging options. You will be singing Jingle Bells in no time!