Things to Do

Hill Country by Horseback: Equestrian Trails in Texas Hill Country State Parks

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Equestrian trails get you in touch with nature and with your horse. You need time outside, and your horse needs exercise. Take advantage of the many equestrian trails in Texas Hill Country state parks. Here are some of the places you can take your horse to ride while in the Hill Country. When riding, pay attention to the posted rules, and don’t stray from the marked path to avoid injury to yourself or to your horse. Don’t have a horse? Don’t worry. One of these parks lets you rent a horse for the day.

Hill Country State Natural Area

Horseback riding on equestrian trails at Hill Country State Natural Area

Photo: Facebook/Hill Country State Natural Area – Texas Parks and Wildlife

For a wilderness trip over primitive, winding trails, check out Hill Country State Natural Area’s equestrian trails. Located only 12 miles away from Bandera, this natural area is a getaway that still is conveniently close to San Antonio and Austin. Visit this area whether you want to take your horse for a day or overnight trip. Primitive campsites for people and their horses give you a place to rest before getting back onto the 40 miles of trails. When visiting, note that the trails have multiple uses, so you may have to yield to hikers and bikers when you ride.

Guadalupe River State Park

Honey Creek is one of the many sights you'll see in Guadalupe River State Park

Photo: Facebook/Guadalupe River State Park – Texas Parks and Wildlife

Guadalupe River State Park features 5.3 miles of equestrian trails for horseback riding. This popular park looks especially stunning in the fall. Though this park only has day-use facilities, you can still enjoy the trails you travel on with your horse. While at the park, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for the wide variety of birds that either pass through or make Guadalupe River State Park their home. You could see rainbow-hued painted buntings or sunny-colored yellow-throated warblers.

Know Before You Go

Rent a horse from Bandera Historical Rides for the equestrian trails in Hill Country State Natural Area

Photo: Facebook/Bandera Historical Rides

Before you go to a state park or natural area for the equestrian trails, you need to determine if your horse adheres to the rules. You must carry with you at all times a VS Form 10-11, verifying that your horse does not have Equine Infectious Anemia and has been tested within the last 12 months. You could be asked for this form at any time. Also, if you don’t own a horse, check out the many horse providers in Bandera. Half a dozen partnered with the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department to act as official guide service providers, offering horses and other means of exploring the area. These providers include Juniper Hill Stables, Bandera Historical Rides, Outlaw Outfitters, Hill Country Equestrian Lodge, Bar-B Stables, and Rancho Cortez Guest Ranch.