Horseback Riding

 

Photo shows a family riding horseback through a scenic area.

Several Texas State Parks offer stables inside the grounds or nearby that rent horses for guided trail rides for riders of all levels of experience. A number of state parks offer horse-friendly campgrounds and lots of trails.

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Parks with Day Use Only Equestrian Facilities

Unless otherwise stated, equine day use expenses are included in the park entrance fees.

Dinosaur Valley S. P.
Horseback riding 2The South Primitive Area, a 100-acre section of park, is set aside for equestrian recreation, and horses may be ridden only in this area of the park. Visitors must provide their own horses. There are no marked trails. A river runs through the area, and the terrain is wooded and semi-rocky. A parking area is provided for horse trailers; no potable water is available. River water is available for horses, but you must bring your own bucket. Restrooms without showers are located in the day use park complex.

Fairfield Lake S.P.
Fairfield Lake has approximately 15 miles of day use equestrian trails.

Fort Richardson S. P., S.H.S. & Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway
Located at Fort Richardson and Jacksboro, the Lost Creek Reservoir is an approximately 10-mile hike, bike and equestrian trail that runs adjacent to Fort Richardson and along Lost Creek, which is the main watershed for the two city lakes. The trail follows scenic Lost Creek and travels the east side of Lake Jacksboro and Lost Creek Reservoir. The trail crosses the dam at Lost Creek Reservoir and winds along the west side until you enter the trail head. There is a trail head at Fort Richardson State Historical Park and a trail head on Lost Creek Reservoir.

This trail is 10 feet wide and has an improved surfacing of base material and a topping of approximately 4" of screening materials. This type of surface creates a smooth trail for all types of use.

This is a linear trail system that winds with the terrain and abounds in scenic beauty. It travels through the park with many shaded areas of pecan and oak trees. Most of the trail travels by the creek or lakes which provide numerous opportunities to fish and swim. This is a beautiful trail, abundant also in wildlife and wild flowers.

Guadalupe River S.P.
The park has recently opened a 5.3 miles equestrian trail.

Huntsville S. P.
For information and reservations, contact 2E Stables (210-861-0105). Guided Trail Rides - Enjoy the tall pines and the splendor of an old western tradition with experienced guides. This is an activity for the whole family. All ages and riding abilities are welcome. Each tour is about an hour long. Note: Public not allowed to bring their own horses - must use the horses provided by 2E Stables.

Lake Livingston S. P.
Horseback riding is available from Faith Ridin Stables (936) 967-5032; contact them for ride reservations. Enjoy a leisurely ride through 2.5 miles of scenic and wooded terrain while observing the abundance of plants and wildlife this park has to offer. Note: The public is not allowed to bring horses into the park, and must use the horses provided.

Monahans Sandhills S. P.
This park has an 800-acre equestrian area with no marked trails. A trailer parking area is provided and has a fenced corral where riders can tie and water their horses. Potable water is available in the area. The general terrain is heavy sand, with brush and a few mesquite trees. Visitors must provide their own horses.


 

Parks with Overnight and Day Use Equestrian Facilities

Unless otherwise stated, equine facility use is included in the park entrance fee. Camping incurs an additional charge.

 

Big Bend Ranch S.P.
Saddle up and explore the Chihuahuan Desert landscapes – from mountains to canyons, waterfalls to scrublands, cottonwood groves to cactus flats – as well as the region’s rich cultural heritage. Riding horseback is a great way to experience the largest state park in Texas. Equestrian activities are allowed in all areas of the 300,000-acre park unless specifically excluded.

There is an equestrian fee of $2 per horse per day (in addition to other park fees), if you bring your own horse. Six equestrian-oriented campsites are available, most of which offer corrals and water. Riders must obtain a backcountry use permit for day use or overnight. Equestrians must bring their own weed-free horse feed and carry their own water. All horses must have documentation of a current Coggins test. This rugged country is hard on horses and horseshoes, so make sure that you and your horse are physically fit.

More information about horseback riding at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Brazos Bend S.P.
The 19 primitive equestrian campsites are located at the trailhead of the 13-mile equestrian/multiple-use trail system. The campground is located under a grove of pecan trees and each site has a picnic table. Some sites have a campfire ring. Electricity, water and shower facilities are not provided at the campsite. Water for horses and chemical toilets are available.

Caprock Canyons S. P.
This park offers both day use and camping areas. Visitors may bring their own horses. A riding area in excess of 5000 acres of spacious, spectacular, backcountry scenery, with approximately 14 miles of riding trails. These trails can be rugged, with cliffs, drop-offs, and steep climbs and descents. Experienced riders can find challenging areas along the trails. Caprock Canyons Trailway is a 64.25-mile, multi-use trail, open to horse riders, mountain bikers, and hikers. This rail-to-trail conversion features a fairly level surface, with a 1% grade or less, which stretches from South Plains to near Estelline. The scenic backcountry offers beautiful vistas, wildlife viewing, nearly unbroken solitude, and passes through one of the last remaining railroad tunnels in Texas. There are 7 different parking lots along the multi-use trail, about 10 miles apart from each other.

The equestrian camping area consists of 12 campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and two horse corrals (10' x 20'). Campers have the choice of primitive or developed-style camping. The primitive camp area accommodates up to 20 people and has 2 community corrals. It is located near the Little Red River. This site requires a hike or ride of one mile. Vehicles are not allowed at any of the primitive sites; parking is available at the trailhead; water is not potable; and restrooms are not available in either area.

Rentals - Horses can be rented at Quitaque Riding Stables, adjacent to the Trailway (806/455-1208). They offer guided or unsupervised rentals. Reservations are suggested. 

Cooper Lake S.P. (South Sulphur Unit)
Riders are rewarded with panoramic views of the lake, rides through forest shade and many opportunities to view wildlife while riding the Buggy Whip Equestrian Trail. This trail covers nearly 600 acres and over 10 miles. The trail is accessible from all sites in the Buggy Whip camping area. All Camping sites have 10'X 55' concrete pads, back-in spaces with water and electricity, a table, fire-ring, lantern post and a 20' tether cable for the horses. Parking is available for day use equestrian visitors. Visitors must provide their own horses.

Copper Breaks S. P.
At this park the equestrian can enjoy a 3.5 mile, round-trip trail over flat, rough, but rideable terrain. There is a large parking area and a water tank for horses. The camping area has 6 camping sites and a 10-foot tying rail. Water faucets and restrooms are nearby. This area can also be used by a group. Visitors must provide their own horses.

Davis Mountains S. P.
Seven miles of trails in beautiful Limpia Canyon Primitive Area. Visitors must provide their own horses. Trail takes riders from 4,900 feet elevation at Limpia Creek to over 5,700 feet at scenic overlook. Terrain is rugged with excellent scenic views of the Davis Mountains. The Chinati Mountains, some 50 miles away, can be viewed toward the southwest. Six primitive equestrian campsites with non-potable water (in a horse trough) are available in the Limpia Canyon Primitive Area. A full-service hotel and restaurant is available at Indian Lodge.

Hill Country S. N. A.
This park is located 12 miles southwest of the town of Bandera on FM 1077, 52 miles northwest of San Antonio. Formerly the Bar-O Ranch, this 5400-acre site provides a back country setting. Visitors may bring their own horses. The park offers 40 miles of designated, multi-use trails open to backpacking, primitive camping, horseback riding, and mountain bicycling. The terrain ranges from flat, broad, creek bottoms to steep, rocky canyons up to 2000 feet in elevation. Well water is available for horses, but visitors should bring their own drinking water. Hitching posts and parking are provided at the day-use area. The park does not provide horses but has contracts with concessionaires who provide guided horseback tours.

Chapa's Camp is a group camp and has a capacity for a large number of people. It is in a 10-acre, shaded area and has a large barn with a concrete floor and electricity. There is water for horses, fire rings, picnic tables, 1 picket line, approximately 9 horse stalls, and a vault toilet nearby. Reservations are required.

At the Trailhead Campground there are 6 primitive equestrian sites. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, 2 pens and water for horses, 40' pull-through or back-in parking for horse trailers, and a vault toilet in the area. These have access to the 40-mile trail system.

The Group Lodge is available for equestrian or non-equestrian use and will sleep 9 persons. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 with full-size beds, 1 with 2 twin beds, and a dorm room with 2 twin beds. The lodge has one-and-a-half bathrooms, kitchen with a stove and refrigerator, and seating for 12; central heating and air-conditioning; porch; a separate covered barbecue pit, and 5 stalls, 2 pens and corrals for horses. Towels, bed linens and cooking utensils are not furnished. Use of the equestrian arena can be included in the lodge rental at check in with an additional fee of $50.00 per reservation.

Bar O is a primitive day-use facility that is mainly set up for equine activities, although is popular with campers too. Located across from the park headquarters in 6 shaded acres. It has a water trough, a horse wash area, and a vault toilet. The Bar O has limited facilities for securing your horses. Call the park for availability.

Fires may be built in fire rings only and dead wood can be collected off the ground; however, park officials recommend bringing your own firewood because dead wood is scarce, and the cutting of standing timber is prohibited. Trash has to be packed out for disposal, including all hay and animal byproducts.

Special Notes:
- BE SURE TO BRING DRINKING WATER: POTABLE WATER IS NOT AVAILABLE; ALL WATER MUST BE TREATED.
- Trails may be subject to closure during wet conditions.
- Hill Country S.N.A. is a primitive park, "back to nature," and there is no store. So we say, "IF YOU THINK YOU NEED IT, YOU'LL NEED TO BRING IT!!"

Rentals: Various adjacent ranches and concessionaires offer guided horse tours through the State Natural Area, and other accommodations. Please contact the Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau (1-800-364-3833) or visit their web site at www.banderacowboycapital.com for more information on fees and schedules.

Lake Arrowhead S. P.
This site offers approximately 5 miles of multi-use trails on approximately 300 acres that are open to hikers as well as riders. The trails pass over grassy, flat terrain. Each of the 4 campsites has water, electricity, a picnic table, a fire ring, a tie rail, and picket line. Parking and restrooms are available near the group building. Restrooms with showers are located at the central campgrounds. Visitors must provide their own horses.

Lake Mineral Wells S. P. & Trailway
This park has a 12-mile, multi-use trail for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain bicycling. The terrain is rolling hills and native grasslands, with moderate to heavy tree cover. The trailhead camping area has 20 paved, pull-through campsites that include tethering poles, water, picnic tables, and fire rings. The area is served by a restroom with showers. Each site has a combined occupancy limit of 8, including horses and people; advance reservations are recommended. The trailhead camping area is shared by all trail users. If arrival will be after 10 p.m., call the park headquarters prior to 5 p.m. for late arrival information. Parking, water, and restrooms are available for day use trail activities. Visitors must provide their own horses.
Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway (day use only).
The Trailway provides opportunities for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. Since the Trailway is located on a railroad bed, the grades are very flat and curves are very gentle, making it popular for trail users of all ages and abilities. Camping and picnicking is available in the state park.

The Trailway is 20 miles long and ten feet wide. The 2 miles of surface from the downtown Mineral Wells trailhead toward the east is asphalt; the remaining 18 miles is finely crushed and screened limestone. Each of the Trailway's 4 trailheads has paved parking, drinking water, restrooms, trail information and accessible parking. All 16 bridges have been decked and railed for safety. The Trailway's 500-foot signature bridge, adorned with 104 Lone Stars, is designed to meet American Disabilities Act requirements and allows trail users to safely travel over US Highway 180. Note: The Trailway may be closed during wet weather. Visitors must provide their own horses.

Lake Somerville S. P.
Both Nails Creek and Birch Creek State Parks have designated equestrian trails. Birch Creek offers drive-up non-electric equestrian campsites with water in the area. Nails Creek offers drive-up equestrian campsites with electric and water hook-ups as well as non-electric campsites with water in the area. The Lake Somerville Trailway, connecting both parks, is 13 miles long, with various loop trails branching from it. The terrain is hilly and rocky at the trail ends, but flat and grassy in between. All paths are multi-use and open to hikers, cyclists, and horse riders. There are self-composting toilets and shade shelters spaced along the trail. Non-potable water sources, as well as creeks and streams, are available for horses along the trail, but campers must carry in their own drinking water. Visitors must provide their own horses.

There are 5 primitive areas along the trail. Ground fires are prohibited along the trail and in primitive camping areas. Birch Creek & Nails Creek have individual equestrian sites at their trailheads with hitching posts, fire rings, picnic tables, grills, and drinkable water nearby.

Palo Duro Canyon S. P.
This park has approximately 1500 acres in the Equestrian area in which horses may be ridden. There are trails, some of which are hilly and rocky with generally semi-rough terrain. The Equestrian area is strictly for horses but the others are shared with other park users. Juniper Cliffside Trail is about 6 miles round-trip and is multi-use. The Lighthouse Trail, which is also multi-use is about 6 miles round-trip. Visitors may bring their own horses. Original Coggins papers (no copies) are required. There are two large trailer parking areas at the designated equestrian campground near the Equestrian Trail. There are 6 campsites with corral and water nearby. Camping is primitive and riders must bring water buckets for horses and walk or drive to a nearby camping area for restrooms and showers.

Old West Stables - Located inside the park on the canyon floor, the Old West Stables are open March through November for you to explore the beauty of the Canyon, following in the footsteps of the cowboys and Indians who were here before you.

The courteous wranglers provide a horseback tour of the scenic Timber Creek Canyon. Call ahead for reservations. Children must be able to ride alone and not double with an adult.

In addition, at the Old West stables, you will find a huge variety of drinks and snacks. Look through the gift shop to pick out that unique item for a loved one back home and be sure to purchase one of the shirts or hats to remember your trip.

For current rates, details, and reservations, please call Old West Stables at (806) 488-2180.

Pedernales Falls S. P.
A rugged trail winds about 10 miles up over the hillsides and down through the park. Riders should be experienced, as the trail is very rocky and has some steep slopes. Horses should have shoes. There is a water trough at the trailer parking area and an additional trough at the midway point on the trail. At this time, there are no rental horses available near the park. The park has a new Group Equestrian Camp available for overnight use (Note: The Equestrian Group Camp will close on Monday, September 1, 2014; after Labor Day, equestrians will be allowed in the park for day-use only. Please contact the park for more information.)

Ray Roberts Lake S. P. (Isle du Bois Unit & Greenbelt Corridor)

Isle du Bois Unit: Visitors can enjoy the 12.5-mile trail winding through oak and pine trees, passing by the lake, with occasional hills. Blue Stem Grove, the equestrian area, has 14 campsites that can each hold up to a combined total of 8 people and horses. Each campsite has a picnic table, a fire-ring, a lamp post, and a hitching post. Water is available in the area, but there is no electricity. There is a composting toilet nearby. A water hydrant is located in the parking area, but visitors must bring their own buckets. Visitors must provide their own horses.
Ray Roberts Lake/Lake Lewisville Greenbelt Corridor (day use only)
is a 10 mile multi-use trail system that begins at the Ray Roberts Dam and ends at the headwaters of Lake Lewisville. This unique trail corridor meanders along the heavily wooded banks of the Elm Fork Branch of the Trinity River. Equestrians, hikers, bikers, canoeists, birdwatchers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts can access the trail at one of three trailheads, located at FM 455, FM 428 and Hwy. 380. Canoe and kayak rentals are available by calling Cross Timbers Outdoors at 940-872-0404. Visitors must provide their own horses.

San Angelo S. P.
The park has 50 miles of developed multi-use and divided trails for hiking, mountain-biking, and equestrian use. Visitors must provide their own horses. Equestrian camping is allowed in the North Concho Equestrian camp area. Pens and pole tethers are provided at the water/electric sites, and pole tethers only are provided at the primitive sites. Campers may bring portable pens. Water is located in the camp area as well as other locales throughout the park's trail system. Visitors must remove waste (pen and tether areas) when leaving. Equestrian events are held at the park at various times throughout the year. 

Sea Rim S. P.
The park has 5.2 miles of Gulf Coast beachfront that's ideal for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Equestrians are welcome to ride in the park during the months of December, January and February. So come out and enjoy the beach with your favorite horse!


 

Horse Rentals Available In Or Near The Park

If you have questions, call 1-800-792-1112, or call the park directly.

 


 

Required Documentation for Equine Entry into Parks

 

IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE TEXAS ANIMAL HEALTH COMMISSION: No person may enter a state park with an equine or equines, or cause the entry of an equine or equines to a state park, unless that person has in their immediate possession, for each equine in the person's custody or equine that the person allowed to enter the state park, a completed VS Form 10-11 (Texas Animal Health Commission) showing that the equine has tested negative to an official Equine Infectious Anemia test within the previous 12 months. The documentation required by this subsection shall be made available for inspection upon the request of any department employee acting within the scope of official duties.


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