The Best Horse Trails at Mark Twain National Forest
Mark Twain National Forest, located in the heart of the Ozarks in Missouri, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With its lush greenery, abundant wildlife, and diverse terrains, it offers a wealth of recreational opportunities. Horseback riding is a popular activity at the national forest, and equestrians from all over flock to the area to explore the best horse trails it has to offer. Here, we will delve into some of the top horse trails at Mark Twain National Forest.
1. Brushy Creek Trail - This trail, boasting a moderate difficulty level, stretches for about 21 miles, providing riders with a scenic adventure through the forest. Along the way, riders will encounter rolling hills, hardwood forests, and picturesque water crossings. This trail is also known for its frequent wildlife sightings, making it a true delight for nature lovers and photographers.
2. Crane Lake Trail - For horse enthusiasts seeking a shorter, yet equally captivating ride, Crane Lake Trail fits the bill. This 8-mile loop trail takes riders through an enchanting forested landscape, where they can catch glimpses of the sparkling Crane Lake. The trail is well-marked, making navigation a breeze for riders of all skill levels.
3. Sutton Bluff Trail - With its rugged terrain and breathtaking views, Sutton Bluff Trail is sure to leave horseback riders in awe. This 18-mile loop trail weaves through fragrant pine forests, rolling hills, and panoramic vistas of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. Riders can even take a refreshing dip in the nearby Rocky Creek, a crystal-clear stream that meanders through the forest.
4. Brazil Creek Trail - Situated in the Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger District, Brazil Creek Trail offers an excellent horseback riding experience. This 16-mile trail winds through a mix of hardwood forests and open glades, providing riders with ample opportunities to spot unique flora and fauna. The trail is well-maintained, ensuring a smooth ride for both horse and rider.
5. Pine Ridge Trail - Distinguished as one of the most scenic trails in Mark Twain National Forest, the Pine Ridge Trail will take riders on a 10.5-mile journey through the captivating wilderness. This trail showcases the beauty of the Ozarks, as riders traverse through diverse landscapes, including dense forests, tranquil streams, and expansive meadows. Be prepared to encounter deer, wild turkeys, and other creatures along the way.
As you embark on your horseback riding adventure at Mark Twain National Forest, it is crucial to remember proper trail etiquette. Always stay on designated trails, respect the wildlife and other visitors, and leave no trace behind. Additionally, ensure that your horse is properly equipped with sturdy horseshoes, and carry essential gear such as water, snacks, and a first aid kit.
Before embarking on your ride, check with the park service or local equestrian clubs for any trail closures or restrictions due to weather conditions or special events. It is also advisable to bring a map or utilize GPS to navigate the trails effectively.
Whether you are a seasoned equestrian or a beginner, Mark Twain National Forest offers an unforgettable horseback riding experience. The diverse range of trails, picturesque vistas, and abundant wildlife make this national forest a haven for horse enthusiasts. So, saddle up, hit the trails, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders that await you in Mark Twain National Forest.