Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The 5 Best Horseback Riding Trails in the Texas Hill Country

The 5 Best Horseback Riding Trails in the Texas Hill Country blog cover image

Horseback riding can be both beneficial and exciting at the same time. There is an unmistakable, historical equine and human connection. People have always seemed to enjoy the child-like, long-time, on-going love affair with horses. The beautiful Texas Hill Country might be one of the best places to test the thought that somewhere buried deep in the adult subconscious is the still-longing child, looking for the chance to climb on the back of a horse and just ride.

Five stellar opportunities come to mind when exploring the possibilities for trail riding in Texas Hill Country. So, if you think a trail ride might just be your cup of tea, let’s head out to Texas and explore some of the following options:

visitors gather at the creekbed

1. Dinosaur Valley State Park

Traveling through this park, you can’t help but wonder what it was like millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the world. As its name implies, Dinosaur Valley is the locale of some amazing dinosaur relics. In addition, riding in this beautiful park you will find a variety of wildlife, trekking opportunities and miles and miles of unmarked trails. The Paluxy River wanders through the park carving out an incredible topography. This makes navigating the woodsy and sometimes rocky terrain well worth the trip. The park is day-use only with plenty of water available to horses. Adventures for both beginning and experienced riders are available from nearby tour suppliers who provide all the necessary equipment, including horses.

entrance to a camping area at Hill Country State Natural Area

2. Hill Country State Natural Area

Twelve miles from Bandera, this pristine area is a premier equestrian destination. It is home of 5,400 acres and 40 miles of multi-use trails and boasts of outstanding natural beauty and a variety of wildlife. Additional support for exploring on horseback, like barns, covered stalls, corrals, and water troughs are available for horses but prepare for a truly natural experience without flush toilets for riders. Accommodations, however, are available near the park for folks who want to spend the night with plenty of resources for both weary rider and horse. There is an abundance of opportunities to participate in year-round events that include family-oriented trail rides and riding competitions. If you are looking for a rustic horseback adventure, the Hill Country State Natural Area might be your choice.

green foliage on red rock landscape

3. Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway

Wandering a little further north, along the eastern edge of the Llano Estacado, you will come upon an area that will provide a bit more challenging terrain along with a possible buffalo sighting. If you are an experienced rider looking for that sort of thing, there are plenty of prospects in this park. The vistas are breathtaking and the trails stimulating. On the trails, riders can find cliffs and sudden drops coupled with occasional steep climbs and descents. There are campsites with corrals available for horses and water for animals but, bring your own drinking water. Along with the promise of the possibility of spotting an occasional bison, explorers can participate in geocaching. Caches are hidden all over by fellow travelers who put together trinkets, surprises, and whatnots. You can choose to enjoy this treasure hunt diversion with a logbook to sign and writing tools included.

two horseback riders gallop toward the sunset

4. Dana Peak Park Trail

Looking for an uncomplicated ride? The Dana Peak Trail is a 6.8-mile trek located near Harker Heights, Texas. If you live in the area, this venue is close at hand, offering lovely views of Stillhouse Hollow Lake and a variety of terrains. Ride choices include differing trail lengths, formations, and low altitudes to accommodate both the experienced and inexperienced rider. For non-riders, there are other trail options, so be prepared to share the park with mountain bikers, hikers and runners. Visitors report that this is a popular park, especially on weekends.

a lone horseback rider kicking up dust on the trail

5. Guadalupe River State Park

Guadalupe River State Park, located within easy driving distance of both San Antonio and Austin, also offers a varied venue. There is some form of recreation for just about everyone. The cool-running Guadalupe River is a busy water-related activity area. Away from the river, however, stretches of peace and quiet provide an opportunity for serene, reflective rides. For something fun and novel, visitors can also try geocaching in this area. Riding in Guadalupe River State Park is a popular, fun and enjoyable activity for singles, couples or families.

a couple of riders making their way through a leafy green forest

Nothing feels as freeing and empowering as a romp on horseback. It’s time to make the dream come true by bringing or borrowing a horse for a day. Even the briefest encounter can be beneficial. Horses are beautiful, powerful animals somehow connected to our psyche. They are pleasing and calming in the same instant. It is no wonder folks have discovered that horseback riding is actually therapeutic. When you ride, everything seems to slow down and stress fades away. Riding is the perfect way to slip into another world in order to reflect on and improve your inner self.

Trail rides in the beautiful Texas Hill Country can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime and could possibly become a traditional event worthy of splendid memories for any individual, couple, or an entire family.