Harrison-Crawford State Forest Horseback Riding
The 2nd most popular equestrian trail in Indiana.
Tuesday 9 August 2016 04:04 GMT
South of Indianapolis near the Ohio River, the Harrison-Crawford State Forest has 80 miles of marked horse trails. The trails travel through every region of the properties between the three rivers. The natural bluffs overlooking the Ohio River, Blue River, and Indian Creek, the karst landscape caves and sinkholes, and the diversity and density of native wildlife and vegetation all enhance the trail ride experience. The horse trails of the Harrison-Crawford/Wyandotte Complex properties begin at the Horsemans Hideaway Campground. Designed as loop routes, the horse trails are marked with painted triangles on 4x4 posts.
Fox Hollow Trail - 5 miles (red trail markers) - Begins at the north end of the Horse Campground and travels through the Fox Hollow wildlife habitat improvement project area. The renewed meadows and man-made forest openings provide habitat for fox, wild turkey, deer, and other native wildlife. Riding quietly will increase your chance of wildlife sightings. The descent and climb out of the valley are long and steep. Rest your horses along the way. Riders can return to the campground along the trail that parallels the firetower road or take the Idlewild Trail.
Greenbriar Trail - 12 miles (orange trail markers) - Starts at the east end of the Horse Campground and follows the ridge of Cold Friday Pond. The trail drops to the old town sites of Cold Friday and Worth, then travels through the old farm and Ohio River based communities. The old fields, pastures, and home sites of the 1930s are now a managed forest environment. The rider can return to the campground using the same route or either the Turkey Ridge or Ohio River trails. The scenery, history, and terrain make this trail an enjoyable full days ride.
Ohio River Loop Trail - 7 miles (white trail markers) - Starts at the east end of the Horse Campground and leads the rider to the bluff region overlooking the Ohio River and the Upper Blue River Island. The trail to the river is steep and rocky. Riders can return to the campground along the same route or use the Blue River Bluff Trail.
Idlewild Trail - 3 miles (yellow trail markers) - Begins at the north end of the Horse Campground and provides a route to a restaurant, near the property office, where hitching rails and picnic tables are available. To return to the campground, riders can cross to the Fox Hollow (Fire Tower) Trail or backtrack down the Idlewild Trail.
Iron Bridge Trail - 5 miles (yellow trail markers) - Begins at the east end of the Horse Campground and departs from the Blue River Bluff Trail at the top of the ridge. The trail takes riders down a steep and secluded gorge where it meets an old roadbed that travels the Blue River Bottoms. At the Iron Bridge (closed), the trail leaves the roadway and continues along the river. Do not attempt to water horses along this section of the river as the riverbanks are steep, slick and muddy. The trail climbs out of the bottoms, parallels a scenic river bluff and ends in Fox Hollow. The climbs and descents along this trail are steep and rocky. This trail is for experienced and conditioned horses and riders. It is also shared by Adventure Hiking Trail and Sleepy Hollow Trail hikers. Be aware and be courteous to other trail users.
Riverside Trail - 2 miles (red trail markers) - Splits from the Greenbriar Trail and descends to the Ohio River. The trail is the most challenging horse trail on the property and is only for experienced and conditioned horses and riders. The trail is extremely narrow and steep; loose rock, downed trees and other natural barriers are frequent. Do not ride this trail unless accompanied by a rider already familiar with the hazards of this trail. The trail will intersect the alternate route of the Greenbriar Trail. To return to the horsecamp, take either the Ohio River Trail or the Greenbriar Trail; the distance is about the same.
Turkey Ridge Trail - 12 miles (yellow trail markers) - Begins at the west end of the Horse Campground and travels along the Potato Run drainage. After crossing Kintner County Road, the trail follows the Turkey Ridge, a wildlife habitat management area. Wild turkey, gray fox, deer, grouse and other native wildlife can be seen in the forest openings and meadows. The trail, which overlooks the Indian Creek Valley, is long but the terrain is not overly difficult. Return to the horse campground along the Greenbriar Trail.
Cypress Bog Trail -5 miles (white trail markers) - Begins at the east end of the Horse Campground and leads the rider to one of the more unique ecosystems present on the property. The healthy stand of cypress and the surrounding bog suggest a more southern environment. The cypress trees were probably planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930 s. The trail begins with a long, but not too steep, climb to the top of a horseshoe-shaped ridge. Once on top, the terrain is gentle and the route follows a fire trail to Cold Friday Road. Cross the road and follow the Greenbriar Trail back to the Horse Campground.
Blue River Bluff Trail -6 miles (blue trail markers) - Starts at the west end of the Horse Campground and provides the trail rider with an aesthetic recreational experience overlooking the Blue and Ohio Rivers. The climbs and descents along this trail can be quite steep. Riders can cross Potato Run Creek at the low water (LW) point. Use the alternate route when it is flooded by the Ohio River. Once across Potato Run Creek, the Ohio River Trail provides the return to the campground. During periods of heavy rainfall, Potato Run flash floods to become a raging torrent. If the creek is high at the campground, the trail crossings will be dangerous; wait until the water recedes before riding this trail.
Upper Blue River Trail - 10 miles (blue trail markers) - Starts at the west end of the Horse Campground, where it turns north out of the Potato Run drainage and heads for the upper section of Blue River. The descents and climbs of this trail, which follows Blue River for one mile, are long but less steep than other trails. Portions of the river bank are gently sloped, providing solid footing for horses and river access to water them. Return to the campground along the west leg of the Blue River or take the alternate trail to Fox Hollow.
The UFH Trail - 17 miles (green trail markers) - Starts at the Little Italy horse access parking area where it heads off in a northwesterly direction toward Caves Road. It crosses Caves Road north of Wyandotte Caves, still moving west and makes a large loop near State Road 62 and heads back toward Caves Road which it crosses just below Wyandotte Caves and parallels the highway back to the Little Italy area.
Go to Brandenburg, Ky. on either HWY 1638 or HWY 144.
Turn left onto Brandenburg bypass.
Stay on bypass (it becomes HWY 135 when you cross over to Indiana.)
Travel for approx. 15 miles to HWY 62 - turn left onto HWY 62.
Travel for approx. 8 miles to HWY 462 - turn left onto HWY 462.
Travel for approx. 3 miles - follow the posted sign into the Horsemans Hideaway Campground.
Overall, Harrison-Crawford State Forest is the 2nd most popular horse trail of all 11 horseback rides in Indiana.