Horseback Riding in Virginia’s State Parks

What could be more enjoyable than riding the back country of Appalachia, the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most of Virginia’s state parks have scenic bridle trails for every level. Some are a short meandering mile and others are much longer. But most parks have a BYOH rule. Bring your own horse.  Here are some of the most popular bridle trails in Virginia’s State Parks.

New River Trail State Park is a marvel. The trail is 57 miles long, covering the length of an old railway track now removed. There are a number of places along the trail to camp and rent horses, so it’s a good choice for most people. The trail runs beside the New River for nearly 40 miles. You’ll have a memorable experience with scenic views and lots of wildlife and interesting flora and fauna. You may even come across an abandoned cabin or cemetery. It tops the list. There are numerous entrances, so go to Virginia State Parks.com for more information.

James River State Park has nearly 15 miles of bridle trails. Experience the beautiful vistas in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With over 1500 acres to explore, you’ll have a great day of riding. James River State Park is smack in the middle of Virginia in Buckinghar County. Don’t forget your camera and if you’re early, you may snap the mist rising from the river.

Sky Meadow State Park is in Clark and Fauguier counties and an easy hour’s drive from Washington, D.C. The landscape is rolling and peaceful with a mix of forest and meadow. It accesses the Appalachian Trail with the Blue Ridge Mountains on one side. Enjoy over six miles of challenging bridle trails. It’s a scenic ride on two loops. You won’t forget this. The views will take your breath away.

Pocahontas State Park is only 20 miles from Richmond, Virginia. Bring your own horse and enjoy 9 miles of trail-riding around its lakes and woodlands. This park has no stabling for horses, so you’ll need to be a horse owner. It is the largest of Virginia’s State Parks, covering nearly 8000 acres of ground.

Occoneechee State Park is at Buggs Island Lake near Clarksville. The park includes part of the Roanoke River. Here you can learn the history of early plantation life and the life of the Occoneechee Indians. It has fifteen miles of  rugged riding trails through forested areas and meadows. The forest floor is beautiful as you pass. Stop to view the unusual flora and fauna. The park has over 50 mammals present and over 250 varieties of birds. It’s a perfect trail for the nature lover. You may even see a peregrine falcon.

All the parks that offer bridle trails charge a trailer fee if you are bringing your own and some have  have special stabling if camping with a horse.  For more information go to Virginia State Parks.com.

Virginia is a beautiful mountainous state and the bridle trails in the State Parks offer great terrain and stunning views.