Arkansas Horseback Riding Pedestal Rock- Ozark National Forest

Learn about favorite Arkansas trails of the Arkansas Trail Riders Association as part of Equitrekking's 50 State Trail Riding Project.

by Tina Taylor and Sherry Resecker

Cowboy Up Horse Camp in Pelsor, Arkansas is a great place for riding, some of it is easy, however there are many difficult trails as well. It is a beautiful place for trail riding through thousands of acres of magnificent Ozark National Forest. The trails are well marked, and easy to follow with lots of different ways to travel.

cowboy up horse camp arkansas

Photo by Holly Pace from

One of our favorite places to go is Pedestal Rock. This is for horses that are in shape, and for those who aren’t, it will get them in shape before the weekend is over. The trail is a steep climb, but not dangerous, just a long climb up. It is so worth the ride because you can see some of the most beautiful rock formations that have ever been created. There are some great trails to see some gorgeous scenery; even the flatter areas are well worth the ride.

Pedestal Rock Arkansas trail ride

View of Pedestal Rock from the trail. Photo by Tina Taylor and Sherry Resecker of the Arkansas Trail Riders Association.

The Cowboy Up Horse Camp allows so much riding that you can ride somewhere different every time you visit. I love to take pictures of this area since I get different pictures each time I go and never see the same things.

Dry Creek Cowboy Up Horse Camp Christopher Coles

Dry Creek. Photo by Christopher Coles from

When we last visited the Cowboy Up Trails, the weather was perfect all weekend. The Cowgirl Up Club was also riding there for the first time. They are a group of women mostly from the northwest part of Arkansas. They were all very nice and good cooks. Since they had not been to Cowboy Up Trails before, they decided to ride with us Saturday.

Arkansas Cowboy Up Trails

A beautiful low area where two trails meet. Photo by Tina Taylor and Sherry Resecker of the Arkansas Trail Riders Association.

We rode out to a new trail that runs along the top of a ridge. It is even better to ride when the leaves come off. We then rode to the Indian Cave. Above the cave is a steep switchback trail. We got into ground bees and a couple of us were stung.

After lunch we rode part of the red trail, which is very pretty and down across the yellow trail by the creek. After a big supper we sat around the fire and decided our ride that day was not a ride for sissies. We had ridden some big hills, steep spots and got in several bunches of ground bees. It's during the fall season that trail riders will usually get us and our horses stung.

Water crossing Cowboy Up Trails Arkansas

One of the many water crossings riders will encounter. Photo by Tina Taylor and Sherry Resecker of the Arkansas Trail Riders Association.

On Sunday I led the Cowgirl Up crew south on a great trail for a 3-3.5 hour Sunday ride. We took a break at the creek by the old cemetery. We then rode up the huge mountain on the red trail for a beautiful view at the top. The trail then loops back around so we could go back to camp.

Cowboy Up Trails is one of my favorite places to go and ride. They have nice bathrooms, campsites and stalls or picket lines. The trails are beautiful and so well marked they are easy to ride even for the first time there.

cowboy up horse camp arkansas

Photo by Christopher Coles from

How you can go: Learn more about riding at Cowboy Up Trails. Trail maps and trails are color coordinated with intersection markers marked so you can stay oriented as you explore the trail network.

About the Authors: Tina Taylor is President of Arkansas Trail Riders and Sherry Resecker is the Secretary and Reporter. Both greatly enjoy this area, and love going there to ride.