North of Grand Rapids and west of Big Rapids in Newyago County, the Hungerford Lake Recreation Area has a gently rolling 13 mile loop for horseback riding through big oak forest known as the Hungerford Trail. The recreation has covers over 6,500 acres with 35 miles of trails. The trails are well marked with solid blue diamonds with a horse symbol in the middle. In addition to the main loop, there are other various trail segments marked with white numbers on the blue diamonds (some riders do get confused and end up on dead end routes). There is a separate mountain bike trail system throughout this recreation area and many intersections have you-are-here maps.; occasionally mountain bikers accidentally end up on the horse trails.
The Hungerford Recreation Area is maintained annually from May 1st through October 31st. This is a very popular horseback riding area that can be crowded at times, so make sure to arrive early to get a trailer parking space. There is a daily use fee for all horseback riders that must be paid in advance.
The Hungerford Trail Camp is a popular nearby campground operated by the National Forest. Make sure to tie horses to the picket poles and not directly to the trees. Also, keep in mind that horses are not permitted in Hungerford Lake or Ewing Creek.
To reach the Hungerford Lake horseback riding trailhead from Big Rapids, head west on SR20 for 8.5 miles. At Norwich Town Hall, turn right heading north on Cypress Avenue for 0.5 miles. At the cemetary, turn right heading east on Hungerford Lake Drive for 0.5 miles. Turn left heading north on FS5134 for 1.25 miles to the horse trailhead parking area.
Note: water may not be available at this recreation area.
Overall, Hungerford Recreation Trail is the 1st most popular horse trail of all 12 horseback rides in Michigan.