West of Harrisonburg and running parallel to Skyline Drive, the Shenandoah Mountain Horse Trail System is a 25 mile network of horseback riding trails. This horse trail system consists of old forest roads, hiking trails, open roads, and constructed horse trails that lead you through peaceful mountains and spacious vistas, all set against the historic Shenandoah Mountains. The trails are marked with yellow plastic diamond blazes.
Shinault Shanty Trail - This trail is Forest Development Road (FDR) 396. This historic road leaves U.S. Route 250 just east of the Confederate Breastworks and the crest of Shenandoah Mountain. It is five miles to the turn on to Benson Run.
Benson Run Trail - This trail parallels much of the left fork of Benson run. It is a cool and scenic ride and is considered more difficult for the lesser experienced rider. It is a pleasant 1.5 miles between the end of the Shinault Shanty Trail and FDR 173.
Georgia Camp Trail - This trail provides access from the lower part of the Shenandoah Mountain to the top of the mountain and is located off U.S. Route 250, west of West Augusta. It is 4 miles long and goes through Georgia Camp hollow, past Signal Corp Knob. It then connects with Shinault Shanty Road on top of the mountain. Most of the trail is on old roads that may be steep and rocky in some places.
Shaws Fork Trail - This trail is designed to provide a route from the horse camp to the top of Shenandoah Mountain and the other trails. It is approximately 4.5 miles to the top. While this trail is also on old roads, some parts may be steep.
Shenandoah Mountain - This trail is on the ridge top and is flat and fairly easy to travel. It provides a good loop system for a return to your starting point. Shenandoah Mountain trail is very popular for hikers. Trail length is approximately 4 miles.
Holloway Draft Trail - This trail is FDR 173 and travels to the top of Shenandoah Mountain. Riders should be aware that there are two cattle guards on the road through private land within one mile of VA Route 629 preventing livestock from gaining access to the Naional Forest. It is approximately 4.5 miles from the last cattle guard to the top of Shenandoah Mountain. It is an additional 1.3 miles down the west side of the mountain to the Benson Run Trail.
To reach the Shenandoah Mountain Trail Horse Camp from the intersection of US 250 and I-81 in Staunton, go Northwest on US 250 for 27 miles. FR 396 and Shenandoah Mountain Trail will be on the left. The camp is also off to the left. There is another Horse Camp 3 miles further on US 250. It is near the Shaws Fork Trail.
Overall, Shenandoah Mountain Horse Trail System is the 4th most popular horse trail of all 35 horseback rides in Virginia.