Horseback Riding

Family riding horseback through a scenic area.

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.

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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 multi-use trails.

We charge an equestrian fee of $2 per horse per day (in addition to other park fees). 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 five equestrian campsites, most of which offer corrals and water.

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

Brazos Bend State Park

Nineteen primitive equestrian campsites are at the trailhead of the 13-mile multi-use trail system at Brazos Bend State Park. The campground sits in a grove of pecan trees. Each site has a picnic table; some sites have a campfire ring. The sites do not have water, electricity or showers. Water for horses and chemical toilets are available.

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.

Bring your own horse, or rent a horse at Quitaque Riding Stables, next to the Trailway (806-455-1208). They offer guided or unsupervised rentals. Reservations are suggested.

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.

Camping

The equestrian camping area has 12 campsites with picnic tables, fire rings and two horse corrals (10' x 20'). The sites have potable water, but the loop does not have restrooms.

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

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 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.

Overnight stays

Six primitive equestrian campsites with non-potable water (in a horse trough) are available in the Limpia Canyon Primitive Area. Or stay at the full-service hotel and restaurant at Indian Lodge.

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

Contact the park to reserve one of five equestrian campsites. Each site has water, 20/30/50-amp electric hookup, a portable pen, picnic table and fire ring.

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, multi-use 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. Well water is available for horses, but you should bring drinking water. 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 water for horses, fire rings, picnic tables, one picket line, about 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 for horses, 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 full-size beds, one with two twin beds, and a dorm room with two 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, you can reserve use of the arena with your lodge rental.

Bar O is a primitive day-use facility that is mainly set up for equine activities, but is popular with campers, too. Located across from the park headquarters on six shaded acres, it has a water trough, a horse wash area, and a vault toilet. The Bar O has limited facilities for securing your horses. Call the park for availability.

Campfires

Only build fires in fire rings. You can collect dead wood off the ground; however, we recommend bringing your own firewood. Dead wood is scarce, and cutting standing timber is not allowed. You must pack out and dispose of your trash, including all hay and animal byproducts.

Special Notes

  • Bring drinking water, as we do not have potable water.
  • 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, a tie rail, and picket line. Parking and rest­rooms are 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 a 12-mile, multi-use trail 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.

Camping

The trailhead camping area has 20 paved, pull-through campsites with tethering poles, water, picnic tables and fire rings. 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 5 p.m. for late arrival information.

Trailway (day use only)

The 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.

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 parking, drinking water, restrooms, trail information and accessible parking. 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.

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 multi-use 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 is available. Expect heavy sand, with brush and a few mesquite trees. We charge $2 per horse per day, in addition to other park fees.

Camping

Three equestrian sites sit next to each other, with a large parking area. You must bring your own panels or solar fence; no 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.

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 multi-use 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.

Camping

Blue Stem Grove (at the Isle de 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. Water is available in the area, but not electricity. A composting toilet is nearby. A water hydrant is located in the parking area, but you must bring your own bucket.

San Angelo State Park

Explore 50 miles of multi-use 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 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 over 3 miles of Gulf Coast beachfront that's ideal for horseback riding. Enjoy the East Beach with your favorite horse!

Camping

Primitive camping is available on the East Beach. We don't have any 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.