Horseback riding

Riders enjoying a ride
Enjoying a ride through the Ozarks.

The hills and forests of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways area abound in trail riding opportunities. All dirt roads and old traces are open to riding, except those that are specifically marked otherwise. The National Park Service is in the process of marking some of the trails, but a good topographical map will help. Many of the riding trails leave the park and cross private or state lands. Please respect others' rights.

A few common sense rules will help you have a safe and enjoyable experience. These guidelines are also to help keep the area beautiful for you and for generations of riders to come.

1. Please stay on established roads and traces. Cutting cross country creates a network of trails that cause erosion and may lead to the next rider getting lost.

2. Please cross only at designated river crossings. This prevents erosion and deterioration of riverbanks which muddies the river and degrades fish habitat.

3. Please do not bathe your horse in the river. Thousands of horses and their riders visit the area each year. The cumulative effect can be diminished water quality.

4. Respect the land you've come to enjoy. Please do not litter, gather artifacts (including arrowheads) or damage natural or historical features. Leave it beautiful for the next rider.

5. Use hitching rails where available, rather than tying horses to trees. Horses may damage trees by gnawing on bark or pawing roots.

6. Springs and spring branches are unique and beautiful. Please keep them running clear and clean by not riding swimming or wading into them.

7. Please do not ride into campgrounds, picnic areas and other developed areas. (Except
designated horse camps: Bay Creek and "Horse Camp" near Alley.)

8. Most of the riding trails pass through private lands. Please respect the landowners where you ride. It only takes a few unfortunate incidents to cause a private landowner to close his land.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


(573) 323-4236
Call (573) 323-4236 for Big Spring Entrance Station, located south of Van Buren, MO. Call (573) 226-3945 for the Alley Spring General Store, located west of Eminence, MO. Call (573) 858-3297 for Round Spring Ranger Station, located north of Eminence, MO.

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