8 Equestrian Campgrounds To Bring Your Horses
Camping with horses is a great way to explore trails, enjoy beautiful scenery, and spend time with your equine friends. There are many equestrian campgrounds around the country that accommodate campers with horses and have everything you need for a fantastic and relaxing vacation.
In addition to the standard picnic table, fire ring, and shower house, these equestrian campgrounds usually offer corrals, tie-outs, lean-to shelters for feed and tack, and additional parking areas for horse trailers if you don’t have a rig you can sleep in. Some even provide stalls and arenas. Whether you have visited an equestrian campground before – or are a beginner wondering where you can camp with your horses – here are some tips for planning your trip:
Plan your trip
Of course, the first thing you need to do is figure out where you are going. Like any trip, select a place where the scenery and weather are good. You want to enjoy the time you spend camping, but you also want to keep your horses relaxed. If you are new to horse camping, you might consider taking some short trips to see how it goes and bring an experienced friend along. How does your horse react to a new environment? Is he overly stressed? The more you prepare, the more you will get used to traveling and staying in new places.
Answer a few of these questions as you are planning:
Do you want to get away from everything? Is the campsite you’re considering more primitive than you’d like? Or maybe you’d prefer an upgraded site with RVs, trailers, living quarters, and full hookups? There are plenty of options for both. You can also choose something other than an equestrian campground – like a destination that allows open camping or boondocking. If you go this route, you will need to be self-contained, including water for your horses.
What is the best option for your horses? Do they need a stall and corral? Or would they be happy with a simple tie-out?
What is the weather like where you’re going? Whether it’s hot or cold, windy, or stormy, consider whether extra blankets, water, or other items will be needed.
Does the equestrian campground require weed-free hay? If you take hay for your horses onto federal land (at least in Colorado), it must be weed-free – which means that the field has been inspected for noxious weeds before it was cut. You can purchase a small amount of this hay for your camping trip as it tends to be expensive. Learn more about weed-free hay here.
What to bring
Below is a basic list to get you started, but you may need other items to help your trip go smoothly. Make a detailed list and check it off so you don’t forget anything and have to purchase it on the road.
- Supply of water – usually 10-12 gallons per day, per horse
- Horse blankets and rain sheets
- Extra tack in case something breaks
- Fly spray and fly mask
- Hay for all the days you will be camping and grain if needed
- Hay bags
- Grooming supplies
- Water and feed buckets
- First aid kit
- Muck fork and bucket
- Tie-out materials
Preparing your horses for the trip
Just like you, your horses will need to be physically and mentally prepared for your camping trip. It’s up to you to make sure they have a stress-free vacation. Your horses need to be fit enough to take a long trail ride on rugged terrain. And if your horses aren’t accustomed to regular trail rides, additional training and conditioning may be needed. Plan on riding as much as possible in the months prior to your trip to build their fitness and confidence.
Also brush up on their trail skills prior to your trip. They should halt, stand patiently, back up and leg-yield, be able to negotiate obstacles such as gates, bridges, logs, and water crossings. They should also be adept at handling steep descents and ascents.
Ask yourself this important question: Are your horses comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings and around other horses? On the trail, they should tolerate passing and being passed by other horses and must not kick at or intimidate other horses. You can build your horse’s confidence by exposing him ahead of time to the sounds and obstacles he might encounter on the trail.
Containing your horses during your stay
You can contain your horses with overhead ties, portable corrals, or an electric fencing system. Some of these may not be portable enough or not right for your horses. You can also tie them to a trailer, hitching post, or a high line. If you tie your horses, make sure the rope is long enough so that they can touch their nose to the ground and reach their feed and water with no slack in the rope. You don’t want him to get tangled.
An overhead tie arm can cost $300-$500, but is a good investment if you plan on doing a lot of camping. A tie arm allows your horses to move around and lie down while tied up. Alternately, you can string a line between two trees or two posts.
8 Best Equestrian Campgrounds To Bring Your Horses
1. Brown County State Park, Indiana
Brown County State Park encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges, and ravines. Glaciers from the most recent ice age provide meltwater to create the park’s narrow ridges, steep slopes, and deep gullies.
Nicknamed the “Little Smokies” because of its resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County State Park is Indiana’s largest park with 20 miles of tree-lined roads and scenic vistas. It also includes a large equestrian campground with 118 modern electrical sites and 91 primitive sites with horse tie-ups. The park offers 70 miles of bridle trails and you can ride your own horse or participate in a guided trail ride.
“This is a gorgeous and large (the largest state park in Indiana) state park. We had amazing views from our site, and many sites had a similar view. The Taylor Ridge area is situated along a ridge and most sites back-up to a valley with incredible views. The sites are well spaced apart. Our site sloped slightly away from the road, as most do, but wasn’t a problem to get level. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and look forward to returning. Very scenic area. We camped at Brown County State Park in a travel trailer.” z01tfw via Campground Reviews
2. Farragut State Park, Idaho
With access to 20 miles of equestrian trails, horse campers can enjoy this state park in the mountains of Northern Idaho. Located on the south end of Lake Pend Oreille, this 4,000-acre park offers an abundance of recreational opportunities, including hiking, biking, boating, swimming, disc golf, a radio-controlled airplane field, and a WWII museum. The campground features six equestrian sites with central water.
3. Northrup Creek Horse Camp, Oregon
Northrup Creek’s campground offers eight specialty corral campsites, each with parking for a horse trailer. A horse-friendly set of trails begins at the parking lot. The campground is basic and includes vault toilets, a water hand pump, and manure bins. It can also accommodate RV camping.
4. Mueller State Park, Colorado
With more than 5,000 acres of aspen trees and conifer forests, Mueller State Park features more than 40 miles of scenic trails – perfect for horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, and camping.
Viewable wildlife includes black bear, elk, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, and more. Some 132 campsites are available, including two equestrian sites that can accommodate either a tent or an RV. Corrals and interior stalls within the barn are also available.
Two horses are permitted in each site and campers must bring their own feed, water bucket, and tools to clean up after their horse. A dump station, bathroom facilities, and coin-operated showers are available as well.
5. Hard Labor Creek State Park, Georgia
Offering more than 24 miles of wooded trails for hiking and horseback riding, this equestrian campground has 11 horse campsites and 40 stalls. Campsites have electricity and water, as well as a lakeside beach and golf course.
6. Keyhole State Park, Wyoming
Located on the edge of the Black Hills, just west of Sundance, are three sets of horse corrals with water located in the park’s Homestead Campground. Just behind the corrals is a trail to explore the scenic wooded park. You can also enjoy fishing, birding, water skiing, boating, and more in the Keyhole Reservoir.
7. Hill Country State Natural Area, Texas
Located in Texas Hill Country, this state-operated natural area offers deep canyons and scenic plateaus to explore. The campground has six primitive equestrian campsites with two overnight horse pens and access to a 40-mile equestrian trail system. There is also a large group equestrian campsite called Chapas Camp which can accommodate 40 people and 20 trailers with a barn for the horses. A guide service is available to help you explore the area for horseback riding, hiking, and biking.
8. Coldwater Equestrian Campground, Florida
Located in the Blackwater River State Forest, this camping area provides 55 miles of equestrian trails that wind through some of the most scenic woodlands in Florida. Check out lakes, streams, and even access to a sandbar along the creek. The campground offers three corrals, 60 barn stalls, and 56 campsites with electric hookups for RVs and tents. Dump station, restrooms, and showers are also available.
Find more equestrian campgrounds
For all of your camping and trip planning needs, look no further than Campground Reviews and RV Trip Wizard. Campground Reviews is a trusted source of campground and RV park reviews offered by camping and RV enthusiasts just like you. With its accompanying RV LIFE App, RV Trip Wizard gets you to your camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences.
Terri and her husband, Todd, are full time RVers and work campers. They have been living full time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Mini Aussie puppy Remi. They are currently wintering in Arizona with plans to continue their travels next summer. Writing is Terri’s passion but she also loves hiking, kayaking and anything she can do outside.