Bucket list. Just finished their 4-day fall horse and mule drive. Amazing experience, fantastic... read more
Bucket list. Just finished their 4-day fall horse and mule drive. Amazing experience, fantastic... read more
Went on the 1 1/2 hour ride up to Blue Lake with my wrangler, Bird. She was a great guide who... read more
Last summer our family took the Parent/Child trip to the Hilton Lakes. The scenery was breathtaking and the horses were amazing. I didn't know horses could go over such rocky and rugged terain! What an adventure! We had such a great time. Since that time I have been recommending this outfit and this trip to all my friends. Ivana was our guide and Debbie was our cook. They were awesome! The horses were well treated and safety was always first. Great trip and a great outfit!
Bucket list. Just finished their 4-day fall horse and mule drive. Amazing experience, fantastic wranglers, well-cared for stock (the owner is a vet). No matter how much you ride, you learn so much driving 50 head to their winter home. Rock creek does everything to make the event interesting and comfortable. Coffee served in the tents by cowboys. Fiddling, hot springs great food and even better company. But it is tough but memorable riding, 3 full days and one half. A shout-out to the charming Ethan, Rene and Anna. A truly unforgettable experience.
This review only concerns the North Yosemite Ride. This ride should be only for experienced riders although I think that horses are not really meant to be on these trails at all. The trails are rock, loose rock, smooth and slick rock, all rock and very steep for all of the seven days of the ride. The dirt trails were few and far between. The first day we rode 6 hours with one break, that was exhausting for everyone. The guide/cook and the packers did an great job getting the riders, horses, and mules through the trails. There are many switchbacks on the this ride, one horse actually slipped on smooth rick and rolled down two switchbacks. He was cut on his legs but managed to finish the ride, his rider was able to jump off before the horse went down. Another rider fell off twice when her horse off balanced, she was cut and bruised. The owner the pack station does not give his guides satellite phones, and there is no cell service, so if there was an emergency, help would be a long time coming since someone would have to ride to the nearest trail head for assistance.
The pack station is shorthanded in August since their summer help goes back to school/work. I would caution anyone about choosing a ride this late in the summer.
The food was great, and the scenery spectacular, however I would not do this ride again and I am an experienced trail rider. There were 8 non-riders on this trip, they finished but some were wondering why they were allowed to be on that ride.
A friend and I just completed the 7-day Northern Yosemite trip. There was nothing in the materials we were sent, nor on the outfitter's web page, that prepared us for the extreme riding conditions on these trails. Out of 12 riders on the trip, four of us own horses or had riding experience. One family of 6 adults who had never ridden were told that it was perfectly safe for them to go. I could not disagree more.
The stock was well cared for and very well trained. The two packers and one trail leader/cook were phenomenal and worked their butts off to be sure the stock was cared for and we were fed good meals. One trail leader for 12 guests, 8 of whom knew nothing about riding a horse, was insufficient and unsafe. These trails are treacherous in many places and some basic knowledge of riding and safety would have helped a lot. Most of the riders had no idea how to control their horses and had poor balance going up and downhill and over obstacles.
On a particularly steep section of trail involving switchbacks and solid granite, one horse lost it's footing, the rider was fit and able to jump off, thank goodness, and the horse rolled right over the edge and tumbled down TWO switchbacks landing only a few feet behind the riders below who had been in that spot only minutes earlier. One said it was the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. It is a miracle the rider wasn't seriously hurt and the horse escaped with only deep scrapes on its legs.
One rider fell off twice, once while jumping over a dead log on a detour up a steep hill and once on solid rock. A better rider may have been able to remain mounted but she did not. Our trail leader was competent and responded appropriately in both cases but it could have been much worse. No one had a satellite phone and we were told that if someone was injured, one of the packers would ride out to get help. This would have taken hours. The horses' shoes were very worn and had no heel and toe grips to help with traction. Three horses lost shoes on the trip but they were replaced with other worn ones at camp. I know it costs the owner more money but better shoes with borium would make this trip a lot safer for horse and rider.
I have been on other multi-day pack trips and have never felt this unsafe and nervous, mostly due to the inexperience of my fellow guests and the difficulty of the trails. Some guests were angry and felt misled because they had called the pack station and had been told the trip was safe for beginners. One was the man whose horse fell off the mountain.
I would not recommend this ride for novices nor late in summer when so many of the Pack Station's staff has left. We were shorthanded with only one trail leader for 12 guests and she was responsible for unpacking and packing the kitchen and cooking all the meals. No way would I go on this trip again. There are safer options that provide equally spectacular scenery and riding/camping without this level of danger.
Went on the 1 1/2 hour ride up to Blue Lake with my wrangler, Bird. She was a great guide who knows horses and their temperament, knew the local plants and was just a joy to get to know. Beautiful ride up to the lake and back. Horses were good and couldn't have asked for anything better.
Note: This review refers to the Triple Pass multi-day ride, so some of the stuff about trail conditions is specific to that.
We spent several fun days in the back country with this outfit and I can hardly recommend them higher. The stock is very well cared for, which is my paramount consideration. They use mules for pack and both horses and mules for saddle work. (Mules get a bad rap...trust the mules ;)). My only small concern was that they seemed to have little leeway - in that I wasn't quite sure what they'd do if a horse or mule was injured. (If you're injured then you're riding out unless it's real bad...)
Things to be aware of:
Their multi-day trips go pretty deep into the back country. They provide tents, but not sleeping bags and mats (20 degree bags are recommended for this altitude in the Sierras. Sports Basement does good rentals).
If you have special dietary needs, tell them. They provide good food (esp. considering it's all cooked in a lightweight camp kitchen), but dinner is the same for everyone unless you specifically request otherwise (vegetarian, gluten-free, no red meat, whatever).
Dunnage is 30 pounds not counting your tent (they recommend bringing your own if you have one. So do I. Setting up a strange tent at 10,000 feet is...interesting). You need to pack pretty light.
If you fly fish, bring your gear. There is some GREAT fishing along the route. Easy fishing too, or so I'm told (I don't fish).
This particular trip is not for the unfit or faint of heart. You don't necessarily need to have a lot of riding experience, but these are tough trails, pretty much the most extreme I've ever been on and probably close to the limit, at least for the horses. It's a serious workout...at altitude. I recommend looking up and doing some pre-riding exercises first. They do have easier trips, and specific trips for families. (This is the one they recommended to more serious riders). I personally wouldn't take a first-time rider on this trip. There were some on our trip and they kind of got put off, although that might have been the hailstorm...
They let you request either a horse or a mule if you have a preference (I personally much prefer mules for this kind of work).
Mules like cantaloupe rind ;).
My wife and I were guided by Emily and Shaley...They took good care of us and led us on a trip to Dorothy Lake. They informed us about the local flowers, mountains etc. They were very accommodating and friendly. The horses were well mannered and easy to ride. A memorable day. Thank you.
My daughter and I had a wonderful experience in the Parent Child 3 day trail ride. We were very fortunate to have Ethan, Anna & Lily be our guides and cook. I can't thank them enough for their humor, good cooking and care they took to make our trip wonderful. I would recommend Rock Creek Pack Station to everyone.
This was the best trip ever! My sister in law and I were part of a group of 10 hikers. We hiked approximately 50 miles over 6 days and loved it. The pack team consisted of 3 wranglers. One being the cook, Kate was the best cook. She created healthy meals and one day picked local wild onions and created a dip. The camps they chose were off the main trail thus quiet and beautiful. We were on our own to hike our own speed and relax along the way. The mules would usually arrive before us and camp would be set up. We had to set up and breakdown our tents every night and morning. If you love the wilderness but just can't carry a 25 lb backpack this is a great option. Plus the food is way better than what you usually pack in and hiking with a lite day pack is so nice!
Six day trip in Yosemite and nearby wilderness; beautiful scenery was a given, sighting bighorn sheep high on a snowy peak was a plus. The staff were attentive, horses and mules carried a small city of gear for us, and the cook fed us well. When problems came up (a participant was physically unprepared for the demands of the planned trip, passes were snowed in, Tuolumne River was uncrossable), forcing a radical change in our itinerary, they consulted with us (though the options were limited). It was a different trip than we'd expected, but they do advise "itinerary subject to change," and we enjoyed it a great deal despite the changes. I would, however, recommend bringing a water filter or purifier and water bottle as the Pack Station sticks with an outdated idea that water in wilderness areas is safe to drink right out of the stream; I know from personal experience that it's not.
3-4 Day Trip in Golden Trout Wilderness/Rock Pack Creek/ Horseshoe Meadows/ Cottonwood/Inyo/ John Muir (area has lots of names = we were a wee bit confused at first!)
As a group of 4 Brirish lads, we searched the web for a US trip to go camping, hiking, riding, fishing etc within striking distance of Vegas - our adventure in the Sierra Nevada was the perfect place. Booking it with Craig (the boss) was great, as he was patient/flexible. Andy the lead (legendary ex Fireman, cook, guide & raconteur) + "good Andy" + Dave, with their mules, fiddle playing around the fire and constant commitment to us = a truly memorable experience. I will be taking my kids back to do it again...they'd love it too.
WARNING: if you're going to book, make sure you read the website re. what you need to bring/wear...even though it was 115 F (45 C) as we drove through Death Valley, it dropped to below c. 40 F (5 C) at night at 10,000ft (with snow still on the mountains) - the blokes who brought the correct sleeping bags/coats/jumpers were snug as a bug - the eejits who didn't had chilly nights! However, the hosts made sure the lads were warm & we all had a 10/10 time.