Turtle River State Park, located in northeast North Dakota, is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts, especially horseback riders. With its lush greenery, scenic trails, and abundant wildlife, this park offers an exceptional experience for both novices and experienced riders alike. Here, we will explore some of the best horse trails at Turtle River State Park, showcasing its natural beauty and equine-friendly environment.
1. Turtle River Loop Trail:
Covering approximately 6 miles, the Turtle River Loop Trail is an ideal ride for those seeking a picturesque journey. This trail winds through dense woodlands, alongside the serene Turtle River, and offers stunning views of the surrounding prairie landscape. Riders can witness various wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and even the occasional bald eagle soaring above. The trail is well-marked, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for riders of all skill levels.
2. Upper-Lower Carlson Pond Loop:
For equestrians who appreciate a shorter trail, the Upper-Lower Carlson Pond Loop is a fantastic option. This 3.5-mile loop takes riders through diverse environments, such as open meadows, thick forests, and wetlands. As you traverse the trail, keep an eye out for ducks, geese, and other waterfowl resting in the ponds. The trail's gentle terrain makes it suitable for riders who wish to enjoy a leisurely ride or those new to horseback riding.
3. Onion River Loop Trail:
The Onion River Loop Trail is perfect for riders looking for a more challenging adventure. Spanning approximately 8 miles, this trail takes equestrians through rolling hills and picturesque prairies. The trail crosses the Onion River multiple times, allowing riders to relish the soothing sounds of flowing water and take in the serene beauty of the surroundings. Be prepared for some steep ascents and descents, making this trail more suitable for experienced riders and well-conditioned horses.
4. North Country Trail:
For riders seeking an extensive, multiday adventure, Turtle River State Park offers a portion of the famed North Country National Scenic Trail. This trail stretches over 4,600 miles, connecting seven states. The park's section takes riders through dense forests, across tranquil meadows, and alongside sparkling rivers, providing an unforgettable riding experience. While this trail requires careful planning and preparation, the rewards are truly exceptional. Camping areas are available along the trail, allowing riders to immerse themselves fully in the beauty of nature.
5. South Toby's Run Trail:
For a shorter, family-friendly ride, the South Toby's Run Trail is an excellent choice. This trail is approximately 2.5 miles long and winds through vibrant prairies, offering breathtaking views of wildflowers and an abundance of bird species. The gentle terrain makes it suitable for riders of all ages, making it an ideal option for a leisurely ride with family and friends.
Before embarking on any trail at Turtle River State Park, remember to prepare adequately. Ensure your horse is fit for the ride, and always carry a trail map, first aid kit, and enough water for both you and your horse. It is also essential to check-in at the park's office and let them know your riding plans for safety purposes.
Turtle River State Park's horse trails offer an unforgettable equestrian experience with a variety of options catering to riders of all skill levels. Whether you prefer a relaxing ride through picturesque meadows or an adventurous journey through dense woodlands, this park has it all. So, saddle up, grab your reins, and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing beauty of Turtle River State Park's best horse trails.