Horseback riders enjoy a fine fall day at Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Rebecca Williams

Colossal Cave Mountain Park has always been a favorit.enue for horseback riders. On Saturday, November 4, nine riders enjoyed the trails that include part of the famed Arizona Trail. This picturesqu.enue located southeast in Vail, AZ wanders gently through the saguaros, cottonwoods and barrel cacti.

This area is adjacent to the eastern Saguaro National Forest, and there were many fine old specimens to be seen including a rare crested saguaro. The trail gave some really fin.iews of the Rincon Mountains, which contain foothills o.arying colors from a pinkish magenta to a burnt orange. Due to the colors the guide said this area is also known as the Rainbow Hills. She also pointed out the geologic contour lines clearl.isible in the terrain that gave evidence to the uplift of what millions of years ago had been an ancient seabed. This was also the home of the Hohokum Indians from 900-1400 AD. The area has some natural springs, which support growth of a stand of cottonwoods. The available water was a key to the stagecoach line that ran through the area servicing the route between Tucson and Bisbee prior to the railroad.

After the ride some of the group also enjoyed the small petting zoo, which had alpacas, goats, sheep, burros, miniature ponies as well as a pot belly pig. Young children can enjoy the petting zoo for a small fee. Several of the group then headed to the Colossal Cave located within the park to see the iconic cave which has been enjoyed by tourists for generations.

The group’s next ride will be at Old Tucson Studios on the morning of Saturday, December 9. This is a great spot for a ride and afterwards the opportunity to enjoy the park at a discounted rate. The park has a holiday theme at this time of year, and it is fun to learn about holiday traditions of the Old West.

Any resident of SaddleBrooke Ranch is welcome to join the SaddleBrooke Ranch Riding Group. There is no obligation to attend all the rides offered. Riders simply let the secretary know if they want to attend a particular ride. Car pools are generally arranged for those interested.

If you are interested in receiving more information on the SaddleBrooke Ranch Riding Group, please contact the group secretary, residents Don and Rebecca Williams, at [email protected]