Saturday ยท July 8, 2023
South Dakota: Top Horse Trails | July 2023
Author: Admin

Exploring the Great Outdoors: Top Equestrian Trails in South Dakota


South Dakota is a haven for horse enthusiasts with its vast landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty. From rolling prairies to towering mountains, this Midwestern state offers a wide range of topography that makes it perfect for equestrian adventures. If you are a horse lover looking for exciting trail rides, South Dakota has plenty to offer. Here are some of the top equestrian trails you should check out.


1. Black Hills National Forest - Centennial Trail:

Located in western South Dakota, the Centennial Trail in the Black Hills National Forest is a must-visit for all equestrian enthusiasts. Spanning over 100 miles, this trail offers a diverse terrain with stunning vistas, dense forests, and rocky canyons. As you traverse through the Centennial Trail, you will come across interesting wildlife, unique rock formations, and serene streams. Be prepared for some challenging sections, but the rewards in terms of the breathtaking views make it all worthwhile.


2. Custer State Park - French Creek Trail:

Custer State Park, known for its abundant wildlife and picturesque landscapes, is home to the renowned French Creek Trail. This 18-mile trail provides riders with a mix of open grasslands, dense forests, and picturesque rock formations. The trail winds along the beautiful French Creek, where you might even spot some bison or elk. With well-marked paths, this moderately challenging trail is perfect for riders of all skill levels, offering a truly invigorating experience.


3. Bear Butte State Park - Summit Trail:

For a more unique riding experience, head over to Bear Butte State Park in northeastern South Dakota. The Summit Trail takes you on a steady climb up to the summit of Bear Butte, an important and sacred site for several Native American tribes. This trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding prairies, mountains, and lakes. The peacefulness and spiritual significance of this trail make it a very special ride.


4. Mickelson Trail:

Stretching for 109 miles through the heart of the Black Hills, the Mickelson Trail is a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians alike. Once a railroad line, this converted trail passes through picturesque towns, bridges, and tunnels. Experience the beautiful Black Hills scenery as you ride through dense forests, open meadows, and alongside sparkling streams. With a gentle grade and well-maintained surface, the Mickelson Trail is suitable for riders of all levels.


5. Badlands National Park - Sage Creek Rim Road:

For a truly unique riding experience, venture into the Badlands National Park and explore the Sage Creek Rim Road. This 25-mile gravel road meanders through the rugged badlands, offering riders unobstructed views of the dramatic cliffs and endless plains. As you ride along, keep an eye out for bison, pronghorn, and other wildlife that call this area home. The stunning vistas and eerie landscapes make this trail an unforgettable experience.


Before hitting the trails, it's essential to plan, pack the necessary equipment, and ensure the safety of both horse and rider. Always check the weather conditions, pack enough food and water, and be aware of any trail regulations or closures.


South Dakota has no shortage of equestrian trails that provide unforgettable experiences for riders of all levels. So saddle up and get ready to explore the scenic beauty that this remarkable state has to offer.