Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding in Texas State Parks

Explore Texas' state parks on horseback! Many parks offer horse-friendly camp­grounds and miles of trails.

You will need to provide your own horse at most parks. However, you can rent horses at or near four state parks.

Always check the park's website for alerts and closure information that might affect equestrian use, or contact the park before you visit.

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Parks With Day-use Facilities

Unless otherwise stated, parks do not charge extra fees for horseback riding.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Bring your own horse out to the 100-acre South Primitive Area at Dinosaur Valley State Park. This area is just for horseback riding, and has no marked trails. The terrain is wooded and semi-rocky, and the Paluxy River crosses it. A parking area for horse trailers is available; but potable water is not. Horses can drink river water, but you must bring your own bucket. Rest­rooms without showers are located in the day-use area of the park.

Take a guided tour:  Eagle Eye Ranch Carriage Company offers a variety of equestrian services from guided horseback riding to horse drawn wagon rides, and wrangler assisted trail rides for children 3 to 14 years old. To saddle up and enjoy some spectacular views along the park’s scenic trails, contact them at 817/382-9855 or  make a reservation.

Fairfield Lake State Park

Fairfield Lake State Park has about 15 miles of equestrian trails.

Guadalupe River State Park

Guadalupe River State Park has a 5.3-mile equestrian trail.


Parks With Overnight and Day-Use Facilities

Unless otherwise stated, parks do not charge extra fees for horseback riding. Camping fees are extra.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Saddle up and explore the Chihuahuan Desert at Big Bend Ranch State Park. You’ll see mountains and canyons, waterfalls and scrublands, cottonwood groves and cactus flats. Explore, too, the region’s rich history. We allow riding in almost all areas of the park, and have about 238 miles of multiuse trails.

You must obtain a backcountry use permit for day use or overnight stays. All horses must have documentation of a current Coggins test.

Bring your own weed-free horse feed and water. This rugged country is hard on horses and horseshoes; you and your horse must be physically fit.

We have four equestrian campsites, most of which offer corrals.

Learn more about riding horses at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park is over 5,000 acres, with 12 miles of equestrian-friendly trails. The trailhead has its own gate; obtain the code at headquarters. The trails are unimproved but beautiful, with water oak trees that provide shade. Portions of the trail are near the water.

Caprock Canyon State Park & Trailway

Caprock Canyon State Park & Trailway offers both day use and camp­ing. Our nearly 14,000-acre riding area offers spectacular backcountry scenery, with about 20 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.

Trailway - 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 percent grade or less. It stretches from South Plains to near Estelline. The scenic backcountry offers beautiful vistas, great wildlife viewing, and nearly unbroken solitude. It passes through one of the last remaining railroad tunnels in Texas. Seven parking lots are along the trail, at about 10 mile intervals.

Get more information on the Equestrian Campsites at Caprock Canyons State Park.  

Cooper Lake State Park (South Sulphur Unit)

You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the lake, rides through forest shade, and wildlife sightings while riding the Buggy Whip Equestrian Trail at Cooper Lake State Park (South Sulphur Unit). This trail covers nearly 600 acres and over 10 miles.

Camping - Access the trail from all sites in the Buggy Whip camping area. All campsites 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.

Copper Breaks State Park

Tackle the 3.5-mile, round-trip trail over flat, rough, but rideable, terrain at Copper Breaks State Park. We have a large parking area and a water tank for horses.

Camping - The camping area has six campsites and a 10-foot tying rail. Water faucets and restrooms are nearby. A group can also use this area.

Davis Mountains State Park

Bring your own horse to explore 11 miles of trails in beautiful Limpia Canyon Primitive Area at Davis Mountains State Park. Follow the trail from 4,900 feet elevation at Limpia Creek to over 5,700 feet at the scenic overlook. Terrain is rugged with excellent scenic views of the Davis Mountains. Look for the Chinati Mountains, some 50 miles away toward the southwest. Bring your own drinking water and supplies, as well as documentation of a current Coggins test.

Overnight stays - Six primitive equestrian campsites with non-potable water (in a horse trough) are available near the Limpia Canyon Primitive Area parking lot. The site does not have corrals and horses may not be left unattended.

Fort Richardson State Park, Historic Site, & Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway

The Lost Creek Reservoir Trailway is a 10-mile hike, bike and equestrian trail that runs next to Fort Richardson State Park. The trail follows scenic Lost Creek and travels along 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. Trailheads are at Fort Richardson State Park and on Lost Creek Reservoir.

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

The trail winds with the terrain. It travels through the park with many shaded areas of pecan and oak trees. With most of the trail beside the creek or lakes, you’ll have plenty of places to fish and swim. This is a beautiful trail, abundant with wildlife and wildflowers.

Camping - The park has five equestrian campsites. Each site has water, 20/30/50-amp electric hookup, a portable pen, picnic table and fire ring. Reserve online or by calling (512) 389-8900. 

Hill Country State Natural Area

Visit Hill Country State Natural Area, 12 miles southwest of Bandera on FM 1077 and 52 miles northwest of San Antonio. Formerly the Bar-O Ranch, this 5,400-acre site provides a back country setting.

Bring your own horse, or contact one of our providers to arrange a guided horseback tour.

The park offers 40 miles of designated, multiuse trails open to backpacking, primitive camping, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The terrain ranges from flat, broad, creek bottoms to steep, rocky canyons up to 2,000 feet in elevation. Hitching posts and parking are available at the day-use area.

Overnight stays

Chapa's Camp is a group camp which can hold a large number of people. It is in a 10-acre, shaded area and has a large barn with a concrete floor and electricity. The camp has 10 water and electric hookups and water for horses, fire rings, picnic tables, nine horse stalls, and a vault toilet nearby. Reservations are required.

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

The group lodge sleeps nine people. It has four bedrooms - two with queen-size beds, one with two twin beds, and a dorm room with three twin beds. The lodge has 1.5 bathrooms, kitchen with a stove and refrigerator, seating for 12, central heating and air-conditioning, porch, a separate covered barbecue pit, and five stalls, two pens and corrals for horses. Towels, bed linens and cooking utensils are not furnished. For an additional $50 fee, at check-in, you can request use of the arena with your lodge rental.

Bar O is a primitive day-use facility. Located across from the park headquarters on six shaded acres, it has a water trough and a flushing toilet. The Bar O has limited facilities for securing your horses.

You must pack out and dispose of your trash. All hay and animal byproducts for overnight must be disposed of in designated areas.

Special Notes

  • Trails may close in wet conditions.
  • Hill Country State Natural Area is a primitive park, with no store. If you think you need it, bring it!

Lake Arrowhead State Park

Lake Arrowhead State Park offers about 5 miles of multi-use trails on about 300 acres, open to hikers as well as riders. The trails pass over grassy, flat terrain.

Camping - Each of the four campsites has water, electricity, a picnic table, a fire ring and a tie rail. Parking is available near the group building. Restrooms with showers are at the central campgrounds.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway

State park

Lake Mineral Wells State Park has 12 miles of multiuse trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. The terrain is rolling hills and native grasslands, with moderate to heavy tree cover. Parking, water and restrooms are available for day users. Proof of negative Coggins test is required for all horses.

Note: Trails may close during wet weather, prescribed burns, wildlife management activities or maintenance.

Camping -The trailhead camping area has 20 paved, pull-through campsites with tethering poles, water, picnic tables and fire rings. Trailer size is limited to 21 feet long. A restroom with showers is nearby. Each site has a combined occupancy limit of eight horses and people. The trailhead camping area is open to all trail users, and we recommend reservations. If you will arrive after 10 p.m., call the park headquarters prior to 4 p.m. for late arrival information. 

Trailway (day use only)

The Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Since the Trailway is located on a railroad bed, the grades are very flat and curves are very gentle. It is popular for trail users of all ages and abilities. Camping and picnicking is available in the state park. Proof of negative Coggins test is required for all horses.

The Trailway is 20 miles long and 10 feet wide. The two 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 four trailheads has paved and accessible parking, drinking water, restrooms, trail information, and self-pay stations. All 16 bridges have been decked and railed for safety. The Trailway's 500-foot signature bridge, adorned with 104 Lone Stars, meets American with Disabilities Act requirements and allows safe travel over U.S. Highway 180. 

Note:  The Trailway may close during wet weather or for maintenance.

Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway

State Park - Both Nails Creek and Birch Creek units of Lake Somerville State Park have designated equestrian trails. Birch Creek offers drive-up equestrian campsites with water in the area. Nails Creek offers drive-up equestrian campsites with electric and water hookups, as well as campsites with water in the area.

Trailway - The Lake Somerville Trailway connects the units. It is 13 miles long, with various loop trails branching off. The terrain is hilly and rocky at the trail ends, but flat and grassy in between. All paths are multiuse and open to hikers, cyclists, and horse riders. Self-composting toilets and shade shelters are spaced along the trail. Non-potable water sources, as well as creeks and streams, are available for horses along the trail, but you must carry in your drinking water.

Camping - Five primitive camping areas are along the trailway. Ground fires are not allowed along the trail or in primitive camping areas. Birch Creek and Nails Creek have individual equestrian sites at their trailheads with hitching posts, fire rings, picnic tables, grills, and drinkable water nearby.

Monahans Sandhills State Park

Monahans Sandhills State Park has an 800-acre equestrian area with no marked trails. Trailer parking and potable water are available. Expect heavy sand, with brush and a few mesquite trees. 

Camping - Six equestrian sites sit next to each other, with a large parking area. Plan to bring your own panels or solar fence; only two small pens are available. Sites have picnic tables, outdoor grills and potable water.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The equestrian area at Palo Duro Canyon State Park has about 1,500 acres. Some trails are hilly and rocky with generally semi-rough terrain. Trails in the equestrian area are strictly for horses. The park has other trails open to all users: the Juniper Cliffside Trail (about six miles round-trip) and the Lighthouse Trail (about six miles round-trip).

Bring your own horse or arrange for a guided ride at the park. Old West Stables is open March through November. For current rates, details, and reservations, please call Old West Stables at (806) 488-2180. Children must be able to ride alone.

Two large trailer parking areas are at the designated equestrian campground near the Equestrian Trail. Bring a water bucket for your horse.

Camping - The campground has six primitive campsites, a corral and water nearby. You must walk or drive to a nearby camping area for restrooms and showers.

Pedernales Falls State Park

A rugged trail winds about 10 miles up over the hillsides and down through Pedernales Falls State 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 at the midway point on the trail. The park has a Group Equestrian Camp

All horses should have documentation of a current Coggins test. Trails may close in wet conditions.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park (Isle du Bois Unit & Greenbelt Corridor)

Two units of Ray Roberts Lake State Park offer equestrian facilities.

Isle du Bois Unit - The 12.5-mile trail winds through oak and pine trees and passes by the lake, with occasional hills.

Ray Roberts Lake/Lake Lewisville Greenbelt Corridor (day use only) - The greenbelt is a 10-mile multiuse trail system that begins at the Ray Roberts Dam and ends at the headwaters of Lake Lewisville. This unique trail 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. Several horse pens are available for day use near the parking area.

Camping - Blue Stem Grove (at the Isle du Bois Unit) has 14 campsites. Each can hold up to a combined total of eight people and horses. Each campsite has a picnic table, a fire ring, a lamp post, and a hitching post. Eight sites offer water and electric hookups; the remaining six sites are primitive. Seven of the sites have pens for horses. Water is available in the area. A restroom is in the camping area. A water hydrant is located in the parking area, but you must bring your own bucket.

San Angelo State Park

Explore over 50 miles of multiuse and divided trails for hiking, mountain-biking and horseback riding at San Angelo State Park. Equestrian events are held at the park at various times throughout the year.

Camping - Camp at the North Concho Equestrian camp area. We provide small pens and pole tethers at the water/electric sites, and pole tethers only at the primitive sites. You may bring portable pens. Water is available in the camp area as well as other places throughout the park's trail system. You must remove waste from the pen and tether areas when you leave.

Sea Rim State Park

Sea Rim State Park has 3.5 miles of Gulf Coast beachfront that's ideal for horseback riding. Enjoy the beach with your favorite horse!

Camping - Primitive camping is available on the beach. We don't have any equestrian facilities, so you'll need to bring a portable pen or tether your horse to a trailer.


Parks With Horse Rentals

Call 1-800-792-1112 for more information, or call the park directly.


Required Documentation for Bringing Horses Into State 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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