For many people, the end of October is considered the traditional end of the trail riding season and the beginning of next season’s planning. To help in your planning, I wrote to the Director of State Parks in each state and asked if they were opening any new trails or had plans to close any riding trails in their parks in the upcoming year. I also asked which of their state parks were equestrian friendly. In this article, I will share with you the findings from three states: Idaho, Maine and Alabama.
First, Governor Brad Little of Idaho is very involved with horses. Idaho is one of the top states in terms of horses owned per capita and several of the state parks have special facilities to accommodate equestrian use, including campsites with individual corrals, group facilities, arenas and of course, trails.
They have three parks in particular that are horse friendly. Heyburn State Park has relatively new equestrian trails that have been developed over the past six years or so. Here is the link with park information: https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/heyburn
Two other parks I want to share in Idaho are Bruneau Dunes State Park and Farragut State Park. Details for both locations can be found at: https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/bruneau-dunes and https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/farragut.
Maine is another horse friendly state. In our past travels in Maine, we have enjoyed riding on trails used for snow mobiles in the winter and horses in mild weather months. These trails are usually well marked and maintained and go for many, many miles across the county. This state has a wonderful search feature on their website to help you easily sort parks by activities available, including horseback riding, that you can find here: https://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/doc/parksearch/index.pl. Simply click “Select by Region, Activity & Facility” to get started.
Alabama is the third state you may want to consider visiting for trail riding. Its location affords comfortable winter riding in the south, as you are near the Gulf of Mexico, and the northern part of the state is comfortable in the summer. We have visited Alabama often because of the trails, incredible southern food, and the people who make you feel like family anytime.
In Alabama, there are 22 state parks across the state with two showcasing great riding opportunities:
Oak Mountain State Park is in Birmingham, AL and is their largest venue for horse trails with 25 miles available and plans to add more. Guests can bring their own horses or rent them from the Rusted Roof Barn. They offer guided trail rides, horseback riding lessons, and pony parties for children. Here is the link to Oak Mountain’s Horseback Riding Trails information including a map of the trails – https://www.alapark.com/parks/oak-mountain-state-park/horseback-riding-and-trails
Wind Creek State Park is located on beautiful Lake Martin. They have 20 miles of trails that are horse friendly and offer wonderful views of the waterfront, forests, and streams. There are 20 campsites available to guests who want to bring their own horses and we have a local vendor that offers horse rentals and stable options. More information about the horse trails at Wind Creek State Park can be found here – https://www.alapark.com/parks/wind-creek-state-park/horse-trails
On several of our upcoming episodes of Best of America by Horseback in November and December, we will focus on suggested winter riding destinations. You can see our upcoming television show schedule on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel at www.bestofamericabyhorseback.com under the “TV Show” tab. Also check out riding destinations and events under the “Destinations by State”.
Please feel free to write me anytime on my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or suggestions of places to ride
Executive Producer & Host
Best of America by Horseback Television Show
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