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Snowy Range above Centennial, Wyoming  map

In the fall of 2009, we stayed at the Mountain Meadow Cabins.  We love this place and would happily go back every fall if we could.  Riding is not terribly difficult as you start at over 10,000 ft.  Lot's of riding that requires no guide.  Cattle run free range up in these mountains and lakes are around every bend. Ride above or below tree line.

 
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Lake Le-Aqua-Na, Lena, Illinois  map

Just 2 miles down the road from our home.  This is where we start all our youngsters out.  It has nice/primitive over night camping sites.  The trails have a bit of everything, but when your horse can easily do all the trails at the Lake - they are ready to go anywhere in the US to ride - it may be steeper or deeper but they've learned to handle it all.  It has trails that are easy and beautiful,  trails with water, and some that are steep and challenging.

 
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Buffalo River, Arkansas  map

We have made many trips to ride along the Buffalo River.  We stay at Shelton's Big Flat Getaway.  The riding there requires good trail broke horses, that are in good shape to do long steep climbs, and the mind to bring you down some steep mountain sides as well.  This is a true wilderness and one of our favorite places to go.  We usually hire a guide, but have ventured out on our own - we really don't recommend that, as you will miss many of the great sights and may get lost.  There are areas further to the west along the Buffalo that are friendlier to the unguided rider.  You'll see caves, waterfalls, and eat lunch or take breaks on one of many cliffs with an incredible view.   Just make sure you have a good saddle that'll stick on your horse when going up and down!   We try to go in the early spring or late fall to avoid heat and ticks.

 
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St. Croix State Park, Tamarack, Minnesota map

This park has many miles of challenging trails.  It is beautiful, we rode it in the fall.  Lots of water,  trees  to jump, hills to climb, small wooden bridge crossings (with no rails on the bridges), we rode to a large bridge that crossed us into Wisconsin.  Some trails are shared with ATV riders, who were polite.  These probably would not be good trails for a nervous horse.  When you head out take something to drink and a little food.

 
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Franklin Creek State Natural Area, near Dixon Illinois  map

It has overnight  primitive camping facilities.  There is a large outdoor arena and a shelter house with electrical service, but no electricity is available to the campers.  We enjoy the trails which run from easy to moderately difficult.  You need to be able to ride through a creek as it is the first thing you encounter when leaving camp.  You can enjoy a day or a weekend at this park.

 
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