If you own horses and enjoy trail riding, you’ve probably visited one of Virginia’s many public horse trails. Responsible use of these trails is critical to ensure that our current recreational opportunities are preserved for the future. The need to follow unwritten as well as posted rules, the importance of the “Leave No Trace” ethic, and how to join the growing number of equestrians taking time out of the saddle to contribute to trails preservation. Volunteer involvement will help ensure that future generations have available the same – or better – trail resources than what we enjoy today.
The Virginia Horse Council is developing a comprehensive regional listings of our state’s public horse trails that is being hosted on the Virginia Outdoors website. Trail location, mileage, terrain, trail markings, pictures, and helpful suggestions – such as when to ride to avoid biting insects – are listed for each trail, along with rules specific to that location.
Riding Trails and Camping with Horses
Kissing Rock Camp | Sugar Grove | (276) 677-3851
KRC is located in Sugar Grove Virginia, midway between Damascus and The New River. A short ride puts you in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. We invite you to bring your horse, camp and ride the 63 mile Virginia Highlands Horse Trail (VHHT) and it’s nearly 200 miles of intersecting trails. KRC offers shady campsites, along with the safety and quiet that seems so hard to come by these days.
Hungry Horse East, LLC | Ivanhoe |
Equestrian Campground and Cabin Rental. Walter and Emma Neal invite you to enjoy the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia at the Hungry Horse East Equestrian Campground. Nestled in a valley near Ivanhoe and Fries, Virginia, Hungry Horse East offers access to trail riding for all skill levels.
Hungry Horse East provides the following well-maintained facilities:
- 14 Campsites with plenty of room and ample shade
- Full electrical and water hookups at every site (dump station available near bathhouse) and sewer hookup is available at site 8
- Fully furnished cabin
- 2 Barns, with a total of 30 stalls
- Clean restrooms and bathhouse
White Cedar Horse Camp | Jefferson National Forest | Bland
Built in 2006, this campground is located on top of Flat Top Mountain. It is perfect for camping with horses; there is plenty of shade and every site has a metal pipe corral. White Cedar’s main attraction is its proximity to a 20 mile system of intersecting trails of varied lengths and levels. You can ride directly from your campsite to the Flat Top Trailhead.
- April 1 through December 7
- $15 per single site per night (one horse trailer). $25 per double site per night (two horse trailers).
- Vault toilets and Drinking water available
- Coggins Test Requirements governing horses in the state of Virginia.
New River Trail State Park | Foster Falls | (276) 699-6778
New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The park parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles and passes through four counties and the city of Galax.
At 16.5 acres, the New River Trail’s Mark E. Hufeisen Horse Complex is the system’s most prominent horse offering. It has a 170 by 250 foot arena, accommodations for calf-roping, seating for up to 600 and plenty of parking. The well-lit complex has a concession building, which has a refrigerator and a microwave oven, an announcer’s booth and rodeo equipment. Visitors may bring a horse and ride in the arena for $5 a day, and the complex can be rented in total for special events for a full or half day.
Pocahontas State Park | Chesterfield | (804) 796-4255
No horse rentals, but there are more than 13 miles of bridle trails within the park’s multiple-use trail system. Bring your own horse. No overnight accommodations for horses at the park. You’ll find full-service equine facilities, Brandywine Farms and Beaver Hollow Farm, nearby. Horses may disembark at the Bright Hope Horse Complex, the horse trailer parking lot on Beach Road or the Dvorak Forest Trail parking area. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.
Bright Hope Horse Complex: Complete with a large parking lot, picnic tables, a restroom and two exercise rings (50 by 100 feet and 20 by 60 feet), this day-use facility offers equestrians easy access to the Bright Hope Multi-use Trail. The rings may be used by individuals for training – daily fee required – or may be reserved for group use during daylight hours. Contact the Customer Service Center at 800-933-PARK (7275) to reserve the space.
Fairy Stone State Park | Stuart | (276) 930-2424
The Mountain View Trail is a 2.1 mile difficult multi-use trail. It is a wide paved road but it is very steep and winding as it ascends to Goose Point Road. This trail is gated as no motorized vehicles are permitted on this trail. For much of its length this trail parallels the Little Mountain Falls Trail while connecting to it at several points along the way. The trail features numerous views of the area and its smooth surface is ideal for bicyclists who are up for the challenge. The Mountain View Trail is a part of the Little Mountain trail system.
Grayson Highlands State Park | Mouth of Wilson | (276) 579-7092
More than nine miles of bridle paths wander through the park. These paths also lead to bridle trails in Jefferson National Forest. Parking facilities for horse trailers and overnight stables are available at the park. The park does not provide horses for trail rides.
Chestnut Hollow, the equestrian campground, is reached by taking the third road to the right, just past Massie Gap. It offers a stable with 67 stalls as well as 50 amp electrical service and water hookups for horse trailers, a dump station, and a bathhouse. Day use riders also use the parking lot for access for the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. The park provides sawdust for stalls, but you will need to bring your own hay bag and water bucket. Must have valid Coggins papers for each horse. Camp sites are $27 per night, covered stalls are $9, open stalls are $7. There is a $5 transaction fee for each reservation. A pet fee of $5 is charged for each dog for up to 3 nights, after that, pets are free.
Wilderness Road State Park | Ewing | (276) 445-3065
Wilderness Road Trail is a 8.5-mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail. It lies where the L & N railroad used to run and has since been converted to a multiuse trail that now connects to 40 miles of equestrian trails at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area | Smyth |
Located in southwest Virginia, the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (NRA) manages approximately 200,000 acres of National Forest land near Mount Rogers. The area features four Congressionally designated wilderness areas; the Virginia Creeper Trail; the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway which traverses over 50 miles offering views of the National Recreation Area and open rural countryside; the 5000 acre Crest Zone featuring elevations over 4,000 feet, large rock formations, and a mixture of mountain balds and spruce-fir forests; a herd of wild, free-ranging ponies; and the highest elevated road in the state of Virginia leading to the summit of Whitetop Mountain.
Many activities are available in the area including camping, picnicking, sight-seeing, bird watching, trout fishing, hunting, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and swimming. The U.S. Forest Service has 3 rental cabins and 11 campgrounds in the Mount Rogers NRA, four of which are set up for horseback riders. There are over 500 miles of trails in the area, including 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail, 18 miles of the Virginia Creeper Trail, and 67 miles of the Virginia Highland Horse Trail. Over one million visitors come to Mount Rogers every year.
Hussy Mountain Horse Campground | Speedwell
This primitive campground offers three group camping loops. Each has parking for 4 or 5 vehicles with trailers, wooden picnic tables, fire rings, hitching rails, and garbage container.
Fox Creek Horse Campground | Marion
What this horse camp lacks in amenities, it makes up for in unparalleled access to the most scenic trail riding in our region. Ride from your campsite and be within the Mount Rogers High Country for a spectacle day of riding that is arguably the best in the eastern U.S. Showers, water, and septic dump station are available at nearby Grindstone Campground for an additional fee.
Old Virginia Group Horse Campground | Marion
This campground is a primitive horse camp with room for 6 to 15 horse trailers depending on the sizes. It offers easy access to the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail with its connections to the Iron Mountain Trail. From the Iron Mountain Trail, riders can also access the Virginia Creeper Trail to the west or the New River Trail to the east.