Horseback Riding

A horseback rider on a black horse on a trail looking at the camera. Horses with saddles are tied at hitching post with a couple people talking by them.
Horseback riding is one way of seeing the beauty of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

The hills and forests of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways area abound in trail riding opportunities. Horseback riding in the Ozark Riverways is limited to state and county unpaved roads, and the four NPS designated horse trails. The National Park Service has marked and color coded some 23 miles of horse trails, but a good topographical map will help. All of the designated trails are in the Two Rivers area.

For a printed horse trail map contact park Headquarters at 573-323-4236, ext 0.

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. Stay on designated trails and county roads open to horse use. Horse trail maps are available at the Shawnee and Broadfoot staging areas, and park headquarters.
  2. Cross rivers and streams only at designated fords. Do not linger in the water. Cross quickly to minimize erosion.
  3. Horse are prohibited from entering springs and spring branches and from bathing in rivers.
  4. Horse camping is not permitted.
  5. Please leave your dog at home.
  6. Tying horses to trees is prohibited. To avoid damaging vegetation, cross tie horses or use hitching rails.
  7. Horses are not allowed in developed areas such as campgrounds or river access points. Respect other visitors' rights to have a quality park experience.
  8. Restrooms are limited and are available at the Shawnee and Broadfoot staging areas.
  9. Do not litter. Pack it in, pack it out. Bury human waste in "catholes" 6" to 8" deep and at least 100 feet from rivers, streams or water sources.
  10. Do not disturb historical or cultural structures or artifacts. leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you found them.
  11. Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not feed, harass or approach any animals, including free ranging horses.
  12. Be considerate of others on trails and roads. Hikers, cyclists and cars should yield right of way to horses. Move off the trail if need be.
  13. Please report emergencies or violations to park dispatch at 844-460-3604

Ozark National Scenic Riverways offers equestrians four designated horse trail loops totaling 25.5 miles of trail. The trails are marked with color coded blazes. The park provides two staging areas (Broadfoot and Shawnee), each with a restroom and hitching rails, where riders may park their trailers. Additional horseback riding opportunities exist west of the park within the Angeline Conservation Area managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). MDC maintains approximately 9 miles of horse trails and a trailhead staging area north of Eminence off County Road 205. The MDC staging area provides restrooms, hitching rails, and parking for horse trailers.

Horseback riding offers an excellent opportunity to experience the Ozark landscape---from open fields where one may encounter feral horses, forested riparian bottomland where one can observe song birds, raptors and water fowl, and upland oak-pine ridges with panoramic views of the river below. Remember---equestrians are restricted to blazed designated horse trails and numbered county gravel roads ONLY! Segments of some of the designated horse trails traverse private land.Out of courtesy and respect for private landowners, public lands, and the environment---all riders are asked to KEEP TO THE BLAZED TRAILS!

SAFETY NOTE: River fords are signed---and riders are to cross only at these designated fords. For the safety of both rider and mount---always release tie-downs before crossing a river ford. Never attempt to cross any stream or river during periods of high water.

Jerktail Loop Trail: This 5.2 mile loop trail is classified as moderate to difficult. There are two designated fords where the trail crosses the Current River. Several scenic overlooks offer expansive views of the Current River from atop high bluffs.

Broadfoot Loop Trail:This 5.9 mile loop trail is classified as moderate.The Broadfoot loop offers excellent opportunities to view a herd of wild horses which are protected within the park.There are two designated fords where the Broadfoot trail crosses the Current River. The majority of this loop trail travels through Oak-Pine forest.The Broadfoot Staging area provides hitching posts, a restroom, and designated day-use parking for horse trailers.

Two Rivers Loop Trail: This 5.4 mile loop trail is classified as easy to moderate. Extended segments of this loop trail follow riparian corridors and afford views of both the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers. There are two designated fords that cross the Current River and a third designated ford that crosses the Jacks Fork River.

Shawnee Loop Trail: This 7 mile loop trail is classified as easy to moderate. The Shawnee Staging area provides hitching posts, a restroom, and designated day-use parking for horse trailers. The trail passes through riparian areas along the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers. A rocky climb along this route also takes riders to a bluff top with a spectacular view of the Jacks Fork River. There are two designated fords crossing the Current River and two fords crossing the Jacks Fork River.

Angeline Conservation Area Horse Trails:The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) supports a system of eleven interconnected short loop trails and connecting trails within the Angeline, totaling 8.7 miles, just north of Eminence and to the west of the park. All trails are marked with color coded blazes.The trailhead parking area provided by MDC has designated parking for 30 horse trailers. Brochures describing the trails will be available at the trailhead. Riders may also contact the MDC Eminence Office at (573) 226-3616 to obtain more information.

Trail riding outfitters that currently are authorized to provide services within the park.

Big Creek Trail Rides
(877) 932-5225

Cross Country Trail Rides

(573) 226-3492

Ride Safely and Responsibly!


Last updated: January 6, 2023

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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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