Located in the scenic state of Missouri, Mark Twain National Forest offers an array of breathtaking landscapes and diverse ecosystems that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. While the forest is renowned for its stunning hiking trails, horseback riding is another popular way to explore and appreciate the beauty of this natural wonder. Here are some of the top horse trails in Mark Twain National Forest that are guaranteed to provide unforgettable experiences and lasting memories.
1. Berryman Trail: Spanning over 24 miles, the Berryman Trail is a favorite among horseback riders. This moderately challenging trail winds through various ecosystems, including pine forests and vibrant oak-hickory woodlands. Along the way, riders are treated to scenic views of beautiful creeks, rock formations, and majestic bluffs. With convenient access points and several camping areas, the Berryman Trail is a great option for riders seeking an extended adventure.
2. Hideout Hollow Trail: Nestled deep within the forest's rugged wilderness, the Hideout Hollow Trail promises an exciting and immersive horseback riding experience. This 10-mile trail takes riders across steep hills, valleys, and lush vegetation. The highlight of the journey is a visit to the enchanting Hideout Hollow Falls, an 80-foot cascading waterfall that adds an extra touch of magic to the ride.
3. Big Piney Trail: Offering a challenging and varied terrain, the Big Piney Trail stretches for 17 miles and provides riders with a true adrenaline rush. As the longest loop trail in Mark Twain National Forest, it traverses through valleys, across ridges, and alongside the beautiful Big Piney River. Riders can also take a moment to explore the intriguing rock formations and even swim in the crystal-clear water of Welch Spring.
4. Council Bluff Trail: Located near Potosi, Missouri, the Council Bluff Trail is a short but memorable ride that every horse enthusiast should experience. The trail covers a little over three miles, leading riders to an awe-inspiring overlook where they can take in panoramic views of the Big River and the surrounding forested landscape. Although brief, this trail is perfect for those who want a quick but rewarding riding experience.
5. Cedar Creek Trail: Known for its tranquil setting and stunning scenic beauty, the Cedar Creek Trail is an ideal choice for riders seeking a peaceful and relaxing adventure. Stretching for 9.1 miles, this trail meanders through lush forests and alongside the vibrant Cedar Creek. The trail offers various opportunities for wildlife viewing, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers.
Before embarking on any horseback riding excursion, riders should ensure they have the appropriate permits and be mindful of any trail regulations. Additionally, it is important to bring plenty of water, snacks, and a first aid kit for both human and equine use. It is also advisable to check weather conditions and trail status to ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience.
Mark Twain National Forest is a treasure trove of natural beauty, and these top horse trails offer horseback riders the chance to immerse themselves fully in the breathtaking landscapes and diverse ecosystems. Whether seeking a challenging adventure or a tranquil escape, these trails promise unforgettable experiences that will leave riders with a deep appreciation for the beauty of Mark Twain National Forest. So saddle up and explore the wonders of this stunning national forest on horseback!