5 HORSEBACK RIDING HOTSPOTS
Experience the full effect of nature’s beauty by horseback
By Taylor Weeks
What better way to admire the beautiful lakes and greenery in Minnesota than by horseback? Gather a group of friends and family and adventure outside the metro area for a selection of guided trail riding opportunities. There’s nothing quite like enjoying the fresh air while relaxing on horseback. Many of the locations also have other fun activities to check out while you’re in town, like disc golf or hiking opportunities. You don't have to gallop too far away for a day out riding. Choose from these five options located just outside the Twin Cities:
Bunker Park Stable
Trot into Andover (30-35 minutes north of Minneapolis) for a day of riding at Bunker Park Stable. Here, you will get a brief instructional lesson on mounting and dismounting before going out on your ride. The horses are calm and well trained, so your experience is sure to be relaxing. Reservations are required, so make sure to call ahead to schedule your visit. Following your trail ride, you can also take time to explore the greater Bunker Hills Regional Park, which offers hiking, archery, disc golf and camping.
- $42 per hour
- Minimum age and height: 8 years old and 52” tall
Rolling Hills Arabians and Farm Tours
Riders of all levels can saddle up at Rolling Hills Arabians and Farm Tours in Onamia (1.5-2 hours north of Minneapolis). With no prior riding experience is needed, Rolling Hills will match you with a horse that suits your ability level and will have a short lesson at the beginning of the ride. Even better, this location is perfect to include in a weekend trip to the Mille Lacs area. You can stay at a resort along the lakeshore only 20 minutes away from Rolling Hills, and enjoy amenities such as golfing and a spa.
- $45 per hour
- Minimum age: 10 years old
River Valley Ranch
Race along the banks of the Minnesota River at River Valley Ranch in Carver (40 minutes southwest of Minneapolis). Their team will ensure that you are paired with a horse appropriate for your skill level before taking you out on the gorgeous riverside trails. River Valley Ranch is open daily to let riders get their time on the trails whenever they like. Reservations are recommended, however. If you’re looking for more to do after your trail ride, venture over to Minnesota’s largest public garden, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which is just 20 minutes away from the ranch.
- $40 for one hour
- Minimum height: 50″
Take a guided ride around local parks at HHH Ranch in Cannon Falls (40 minutes southeast of Minneapolis). With a variety of rides to choose from, HHH Ranch helps you accommodate any group size or difficulty level. If you’d like, you can even help with saddling and brushing the horses before and after your ride. In the winter, the ranch offers dog sled rides as well. Be sure to call and make your reservations.
- Check website for pricing.
- Minimum age: 5 years old
Traveling around the Midwest through Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, Hiddenbrook Peruvians brings its horses to their riders at different state trail locations. A couple of the most recent Minnesota locations include the Wild River State Park in Almelund and Hay Creek in Redwing. Ride thoroughbred Peruvian horses on trails designed for experienced adult riders. The rides are three hours long and accommodate only two, maximum three, riders at a time. Reservations are required, and fees include a state trail pass and bottled water. Following your trail ride, you can also consider reserving a campsite in the area, as camping is available at most of the riding locations.
- Cost: $115
- Minimum age: 18
- Check website for riding locations.