Featured HORSE TRAILS
Near Damascus in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail is a 33.4 mile bridleway along an old rail bed from Abingdon in the west to just past Whitetop Station in the east. Much of the horseback riding route winds through the southern mountains of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The pathway has a gentle climb and the surface is crushed limestone.
Northeast of Damascus in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the Iron Mountain Trail is a 22 mile horseback ride traversing Iron Mountain plateau through thick meadows of wildflowers and old growth hemlocks. This scenic bridle trail was an old stretch of the Appalachian Trail and runs through dense oak and birch forest with plenty of rhododendrons.
Southwest of Front Royal in the George Washington National Forest, the Signal Knob Loop is a steep 10 mile horseback riding route leading to a civil war outpost. The loop is composed of four trails: Signal Knob Trail (yellow blaze), Massanutten Mountain West Trail (orange blaze), Bear Wallow Trail (blue Blaze), and the Bear Wallow Spur Trail (white blaze). The trailhead is at the Bear Wallow/Signal Knob parking lot.
Near Wise in the George Washington National Forest, the Cumberland Mountain Trail is a 26 mile route from Pound Gap in the south to Breaks Interstate Park in the north. Many scenic overlooks are located along the trail in the form of natural openings and large rock outcrops. These overlooks provide views of Virginia and Kentucky. Viewing is especially spectacular during Fall Foliage. Pine Mountain is relatively isolated, having only one access road suitable for vehicular travel.
The 196,000 acre Shenandoah National Park has 150 miles of well-maintained trails open to horseback riding. These trails are blazed in yellow and pass through deep canyons, over panoramic ridges and through dense forests. The best horse trails are the Rose River Trail, the Compton Trail and the Mount Marshall Trail.
The New River Trail stretches 57 miles for horseback riding from Galax to Pulaski along the namesake river. This is a 57-mile long state park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. There are several entrances into this park. The park meanders through Grayson, Carroll, Wythe and Pulaski counties in southwestern Virginia and parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles. This park is part of the Rails to Trails Program as it was donated to the state by Norfolk Southern Railroad when the railroad discontinued the line and removed the tracks.
Northwest of Lynchburg and east of Natural Bridge in the George Washington National Forest, the Glenwood Horse Trail is a long distance trail served by four trailheads. The four main trailheads include Bearwallow Gap, Hunting Creek Horse Trailhead, Hellgate Creek Horse Trailhead and Day Creek Horse Trailhead.
Northwest of Richmond near Spotsylvania, the Lake Anna State Park has 12 miles of multi-use trails open to horseback riding. The horse trail rolls through moderate terrain of mixed hardwood and pine forest.
Northeast of Roanoke and southeast of Natural Bridge Station in the Jefferson National Forest, the Balcony Falls Trail is a 4.1 mile one-way route open to horseback riding. The Balcony Falls Trail climbs from an elevation of 800 feet up to 2,250 feet. The route starts on an old logging road for 1.2 miles. Then, the trail climbs via switchbacks through mixed pines and hardwoods.
North of Wise near Pound in the Jefferson National Forest, the Laurel Fork Trail is a 20 mile horseback ride along an old railroad grade that crosses Laurel Fork Creek several times. The trail begins near the parking lot and follows the lake shore and stream before crossing a steep ridge. The trail ends at Laurel Fork Primitive Campsite.
East of Covington in the George Washington National Forest, the Fore Mountain Trail is a 15 mile horseback ride through upland hardwoods and pines that are typical of high elevation forests of the Allegheny Mountains. A variety of wildlife including white tail deer, turkey, grouse, squirrel, and an occassional black bear may be seen along this trail. Horseback riders following this winding trail will enjoy several nice views as they travel through stands of hardwoods.
Northeast of Covington in the George Washington National Forest, the Dry Run Trail is a 9-mile horseback riding trail offering excellent vistas and wildlife viewing opportunities as it passes near Big Knob, the highest point in Allegheny County. The horse trail begins at the end of Cyprus Street in Covington.
Southwest of Harrisonburg in the George Washington National Forest, the Wild Oak National Recreation Trail is a 26 mile horseback riding loop following ridgetops encircling the North River headwaters. Each of its three sections offers a vigorous but scenic ride. Elevations range from a low of 1,600 feet at North River Gap to 4,351 feet on Little Bald Knob.
Located 13 miles northeast of Wytheville in the Jefferson National Forest, the Tract Fork Trail is a wide horseback riding trail along Tract Fork Creek. The yellow-blazed trail runs 4 mile one-way between trailheads at Tract Mountain and Walker Mountain. A nice side trail is the orange-blazed Polecat Trail.
Near Pearisburg in the George Washington National Forest, the White Pines Horse Camp has miles of orange-blazed horse trails to explore. Keep in mind that no horses are allowed on the nearby white-blazed Appalachian Trail.
Northeast of Roanoke and northwest of Big Island in the Jefferson National Forest, the Piney Ridge Trail is a 3.5 mile one-way route open to horseback riding. The Piney Ridge Trail climbs from 900 feet up to 2,450 feet to where it ends at the Sulphur Spring Trail.
Southwest of Richmond near Farmville, the High Bridge Trail State Park is a multi-use trail ideally suited for horseback riding. Its centerpiece is the majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 160 feet above the Appomattox River. The bridge was built in 1853 as part of the South Side Railroad. Since this is a multi-use trail, make sure to keep an eye out for other users while riding.
Near Green Bay in the Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest, the Prince Edward Gallion Multi-Use Trail is an eight mile one-way route open to horseback riding. The horse trails are blazed in blue as it rolls through oak and hickory forests.
Northeast of Roanoke and southeast of Natural Bridge Station in the Jefferson National Forest, the Sulphur Spring Trail is a 6.6 mile one-way route open to horseback riding. The Sulphur Spring Trail climbs steadily for 2.9 miles to the junction with the Appalachian Trail. Just past the AT junction, the Piney Ridge Trail intersects on the right. At the 6.6 mile point, the trail ends at the start of the Balcony Falls Trail.