The Best State Parks in Arkansas for Equestrians
From rolling hills and highlands to beautiful forests and mountain ranges, Arkansas offers equestrians a variety of terrain that is ideal for horseback riding. Also, its state parks embrace equestrians and provide riders with access to incredible horseback riding experiences. Read on to learn more about the best state parks in Arkansas to go horseback riding.
Devil’s Den State Park
One of Devil's Den State Park unique cabins made of native materials. Photo courtesy Visit Arkansas.
Nestled in a valley near the Ozark Mountains, Devil's Den State Park in West Fork, AR offers visitors beautiful views of caves, crevices, and scenic overlooks of the bluffs, as well as convenient access to the Ozark National Forest. The park was originally formed by the Civilian Conservation Corps of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Featuring rustic wood and stone structures made from native materials, the park is now a National Historic District.
The park hosts over 20 miles of equestrian trails, which attract equestrians from all over the country. Water is provided at the beginning of the trails for horses and riders, a thoughtful touch for any state park. In addition to horseback riding, the park offers a variety of additional outdoor activities to choose from, including canoeing, swimming, hiking, and backpacking. The park offers guests a variety of trails to choose from, including the 15 mile Butterfield Hiking Trail, which begins within park boundaries and makes its way through the Ozark National Forest. The park also offers several different nature activities, including a scavenger hunt through the park. Hungry visitors can dine in the park's cafe, or even shop for supplies in the park store.
Overnight visitors have the option to rent a cabin, bring their RV, or bring a tent. The park offers 17 furnished cabins with full kitchens, fireplaces, tv with satellite, and everything you need for a nights stay. There are also over 140 additional campsites available, with eight of those being tent-only sites. The horse camp, which is conveniently located near the equestrian trailheads, hosts over 40 campsites that feature water and electric hookups plus nearby bathhouses and showers. The horse camp does not offer corrals or stables, but guests are welcome to bring their own portable paddock.
Find out more about Devil’s Den State Park.
Village Creek State Park
Riders can enjoy over 25 miles of scenic trails at Village Creek State Park. Photo courtesy Visit Arkansas.
The second largest state park in Arkansas, Village Creek State Park lies on almost 7000 acres of Eastern Arkansas's Mississippi Alluvial Plain. Located on a striking geological formation known as Crowley's Ridge, the park is home to a diverse array of trees including oak, hickory, butternut, American maple, and yellow poplar trees. The park hosts seven miles of hiking trails where nature lovers can take in the native flora and fauna, as well as interpretive nature programs, exhibits, and guided trail excursions.
Horseback riding is a popular activity at Village Creek State Park, with over 25 miles of equestrian trails through the rolling hills. The trails are open year-round and attract visitors from all over Arkansas. Riders can spend an entire day out on the trails and explore the incredible scenery of this exceptional natural area.
In addition to horseback riding trails, the park offers an excellent selection of outdoor activities for park-goers to enjoy. Guests can enjoy the two beautiful lakes, Lake Austell and Lake Dunn, which are open for swimming and fishing use. Visitors may also rent pedal boats and fishing equipment for lake use. The park also offers playgrounds for children, baseball fields, a driving range, a 27-hole golf course, and even an A/V theater.
Village Creek State Park has over 90 campsites and ten fully furnished cabins with kitchens, fireplaces, bathrooms, and kitchen utensils. The horse camp includes 30 campsites with water and electric hookups, an asphalt parking pad, and a picnic table and grill. Bathhouses are located nearby, and horse wash bays are available for use after a long day out on the trails. Village Creek provides 66 stalls inside the horse campgrounds, each with water, electricity, and ceiling fans.
Find out more about Village Creek State Park.
Mount Magazine State Park
Arkansas offers equestrians so many great choices for exploring the outdoors on horseback. Photo courtesy Visit Arkansas.
Mount Magazine State Park is located on Arkansas's tallest mountain, Mount Magazine, which stands at an elevation of 2,753 feet. Located in Paris, Arkansas, the park is a popular tourist attraction and welcomes visitors of all interests, including equestrians.
One of Mount Magazine State Park's most popular attractions is The Lodge: a luxurious resort which attracts visitors from all over the state. With incredible views of the Petit Jean River Valley and Blue Mountain Lake, The Lodge makes for a great weekend getaway. Guests enjoy delicious meals at the resort's Skycrest restaurant or go hiking to enjoy splendid views from the top of Mount Magazine. The Lodge offers 60 guests rooms (some of which are dog-friendly), a conference center, business center, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, and even a gift shop--allowing guests the ultimate getaway experience.
In addition to The Lodge, the park also attracts visitors seeking a more traditional camping experience. The park has 13 cabins that feature kitchens, washers and dryers, fireplaces, and even wrap-around decks with hot tubs. The park also offers RV and primitive camping sites, as well.
Equestrian visitors can explore the mountain on the 34-mile Huckleberry Mountain Trail, which connects Mount Magazine to Huckleberry Mountain. Though it is a multi-purpose trail, it is also the only horse trail in the park. With incredible views of both mountains, it offers a scenic adventure unlike any other.
Visitors have many additional activities to choose from during their stay at Mount Magazine. There are a variety of hiking trails to try, along with different nature studies and sightseeing programs to participate in, as well. Guests can also partake in rock climbing, repelling, hand gliding, horseback riding, and ATV tours. For more information, guests can drop by Mount Magazine’s Visitor Center and learn about the history of Mount Magazine as well as visit the exhibit gallery and gift shop.
Mount Magazine is home to the 34-mile Huckleberry Mountain Trail connecting Mount Magazine to Huckleberry Mountain. This trail is a multi-purpose trail but is the only available horse trail in the park. Even though this is the only available horse trail, it is certainly worthwhile. The views of Mount Magazine and Huckleberry Mountain are inexplicable, and the trail provides a scenic adventure like no other.
Mount Magazine State Park is a great place for visitors of all interests and attracts people from all over Arkansas to experience its stunning views from the top of the mountain.
Find out more about Mount Magazine State Park.
About the Author: Madeleine Davis is a college student at Texas A&M University, studying Animal Science and pursuing an Equine Certificate. Having ridden and competed Arabians since the age of seven, she has a passion for the Arabian horse and enjoys writing about her experiences and knowledge of the industry.