The wolverine state, known chiefly for fishing thanks to its freshwater shoreline that measures 3288 miles, is also home to some of the best Michigan horseback riding locations and trails.
Not only does Michigan have a terrain perfect for anyone looking to challenge themselves by climbing different elevation levels, but the numerous stables and public parks are easily accessible, making this a paradise for adventure seekers.
The trails range from converted railroad trails full of history to state parks allowing only horse and horse-driven automotive.
The opportunities are endless, and whether you choose to go during the fall, winter, or summer, the weather is always great, and choosing whether to go for a one-hour trail ride or an unguided trail ride will be the only choice have to make.
So read on to find out about some of the best riding locations in Michigan.
If you want to create a memorable experience for yourself and your family, look no further than Kissinger Farm. It offers you a slice of the wild west in Michigan.
In addition, the farm has quickly become a get-out-of-town vacation spot for many families. As you step onto the farm, the horses and staff’s welcoming aura will make you feel at home.
Located in mid-Michigan, Kissinger Farm provides trail rides and farm tours to riders of all ages. With easy-to-ride horses and different terrain trails that pass through the forest.
In addition, the farm is also home to goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, ducks, sheep, lamb, barn cats, and a cow.
Experienced, friendly, hands-on guides lead all the rides provided on the farm. They ensure that the moment you leave the farm, the only thing on your mind is the little critters on the road, and having fun is the only thing on your mind.
They provide buddy stirrups if you have little ones and would like to introduce them to horseback riding. However, you will need a helmet as they don’t provide one.
They offer a two-hour ride for $50.
Need To know
- They don’t provide helmets for riders.
- Rides go out despite the weather except for when it’s icy or storming
- The trails rides are walking only
- Riders must weigh less than 260 lbs
- Lessons are available only through appointment. For all information on lessons, guests should call the farm.
Address: 3914 W. Isabella Rd, Shepherd, MI 48883
Stony Lake Stables
Formerly known as Rainbow Ranch, Stony Lakes Stables offers families the ability to enjoy West Michigan on horseback without breaking the bank.
From the incredibly well-trained horses to the wranglers who work with each rider to understand their riding experience and pair them with the right horse, a visit to Stony Lakes will start a lifetime adventure.
The rides all go through shaded parts of the forest where you might be treated to sightings of deer and other wildlife. For parents with kids aged 1-2, they offer double riding.
Kids over three years are offered a ride on a horse or a pony, making the ride even better.
Stony Lakes also have a therapeutic riding program that looks to improve the lives of the community through equine therapy. The stable is open May through October.
1 Hour Trail Ride – From $39
For ages three and above.
1.5-Hour Trail Ride – From $54
For ages three and above.
Need To Know
- In the event of inclement weather, you are advised to call ahead
- They provide horse treats at $1 per cup
- Booking online for your ride is highly recommended
- They have a height to a weight limit
Address: 4345 South 44th Avenue, New Era, MI 49446
Phone: (231) 861-4445
Wild West Ranch
If an all-inclusive Michigan experience is what you’re looking for, then look no further than Wild West.
The lifetime trip awaits you, from the highly knowledgable wranglers to the horses with playful names like Jughead, Malibu Barbie, and Johnny Cash.
You are surrounded by the Allegan woods, which are perfect for mid-morning or evening rides.
If you are new to horseback riding or have someone in your group who is more advanced, Wild West trails cater to everyone.
For those looking to enjoy the outdoors without holding the reins, the ranch offers carriage rides at $100 a couple for 1 hour and private sleigh rides at $100 per couple for around 40-45 minutes. Nothing beats getting cozy under a blanket after a fresh snowstorm.
- 1 Hour Ride -$35
- 1.5 Hour Ride -$50
- They don’t have a weight limit. However, if you prefer riding a drafter horse, the price is $10 more.
- They are available year-round
- They also offer longer rides
- Appointments are available by call
Address: 1861 52nd St Fennville, MI 49408
Phone: (269) 673-3539
If you have your horse and would like to take the reins in exploring Michigans terrain, look no further than these magnificent trails that offer some of the best-maintained trails, with some only open to horses. Saddle up, and let’s get exploring.
Mackinac Island State Park
One of the few places in the US where horses are the primary source of transportation, Mackinnon Island State Park is a horse haven.
From the beautiful landscapes that envelop the island to the history-filled landmarks and rock formations, the island is the perfect place for your family getaway.
With over 70+ miles of trails open to everyone, meaning whether you’re looking to ride your horse or draw a horse carriage through the state park, you will always have a new trail to discover.
The park also has a community equestrian center open to anyone looking to lease a horse and learn how to ride.
- Some of the trails are paved, while some are not
- The trails are marked
- The park is filled with monuments and historical sites
- No fee is required except if boarding or taking lessons at the state park
- Easily accessible trails and roads
- Fairly level trails
- Open year-round
Management: Mackinac Island State Park Commission
Address: 7029 Huron Rd, Mackinac Island, MI 49757, United States
Brighton Recreation For Horseback Riding
In the Brighton State Recreation area surrounded by thousands of acres of natural landscapes, Brighton Recreation provides safe, fun, and peaceful rides.
From hand-led rides for kids under eight years to trail rides through the state park, they have numerous opportunities to leave the city’s noise behind and reconnect with nature.
1-hour ride – $60
This ride is dubbed the cowboy trail ride, and for 1-hour, riders are treated to undisturbed nature.
This ride is only available for riders aged eight and up, and despite being a walk only, more experienced riders will still enjoy it, thanks to the rugged terrain.
Call to reserve this ride. However, the park may require a $10 reservation fee.
2 hour Trail Ride – $120 Per Rider
For a better cowboy experience, enjoy riding in the saddle for upto 2 hours as you get treated to sights of different wildlife under thick forests.
This ride is only available for riders aged 12 and up and only on weekdays.
- Minimum of 2 riders for this ride
- A weight limit of 220 lbs is enforced
- The ride is not available in winter
- The ride is available from May 15th to November 15th
Family Trail Ride
A perfect ride for families with kids aged 4-8. Enjoy a scenic ride down the woods as your little ones have their horses led for them. This ride is also perfect for adults who want their horses led.
- 30 minutes ride for $45 for each hand-led rider under eight
- $40 each for riders without a personal walker
For $10 per rider, they can introduce riders aged two and above to riding on one of their kid-friendly horses.
Although the trail rides don’t allow cantering or galloping, the group lessons offer such opportunities. They also cater to camps and birthday parties and provide Hayrides and boarding.
Address: 6660 Chilson Rd, Howell, MI
Sleepy Hollow State Park
Sleepy Hollow State Park features 2600 acres, a 410-acre lake, Lake Ovid, and 181 campsites with modern amenities.
Whether you go for a picnic, bird watch, paddleboat, or fish, there’s more than enough room for everyone. In addition, the park is home to 228 bird species.
It also features 181 campsites split between the north and south locations, modern and rustic cabins are available for overnight stays through reservation.
The park offers equine enthusiasts 9 miles of horse trails. The hardwood forests filled with pine trees make for the perfect morning or evening ride with your equine partner. For entry into the park, you need a recreation passport.
Address: 7835 E.Price Road, Laingsburg, Michigan 48848
Phone: 517 651 6217
Now that you know where to go and scratch that itch and are ready to get into your saddle, here are a few guidelines to help make your visit smoother and more memorable and have an even better time.
Have the proper trail etiquette: Most of the trails on this list will have you sharing the trail with hikers, bikers, and or other horse owners. Thus, you should give the right of way and let others on the trail know of your existence.
Check closures: It’s essential to check with the stable and the state park you plan to visit. They might have closed down, or they no longer accept horses on trails.
Out-of-state travel: If you happen to be coming from out of state to Michigan with your horse, make the proper travel arrangements for your equine friend.
These arrangements include living arrangements, official interstate veterinary inspection, identification documents, and adverse equine infectious diseases.
Open season hunting information: During open hunting season, you might encounter hunters, so knowing the correct way to approach and mitigate danger for you and your horse is essential.
Event permits: It’s essential to acquire an event permit through the local authorities for larger groups of riders.
When it comes to Michigan, there is no wrong choice. The numerous options only make for a great adventure.
Whether you go for a more rigid stable that offers nose-to-tail riding or a state park where you are free to ride your horse unguided, the choices are endless, making Michigan an excellent state for horseback riding.
So saddle up and enjoy the great outdoors!