Saddle up and set out on one of the Show-Me State's beautiful horseback riding trails. Don't have a horse of your own? No worries. Several locations throughout the state have fully-stocked stables with horses available for visitors to ride.
Providing a family-friendly experience is what it's all about at Bear Creek Trail Rides in Branson. Gentle horses and shaded trails provide a safe, comfortable excursion for children and adults alike. Choose between two paths: the Bear Creek Trail that offers a beautiful water crossing or the Ozark Mountain Trail that cuts through the set at Shepherd of the Hills, a popular outdoor show.
If you're already enjoying a visit to the Lake of the Ozarks, stop by Thouvenel Stables for pony rides, horseback riding and trail rides at Margaritaville Lake Resort. The scenery is sure to impress, and the friendly horses will capture your heart and leave you with lasting memories.
Located in Dearborn, Wild Rose Equine Center is the perfect place to level up your riding abilities. The facility's lessons help beginners become more comfortable with their four-legged partner, and advanced riders get the opportunity to learn new techniques. For a more leisurely outing, hour-long trail rides are available.
Sixteen of Missouri's state parks are horse friendly with scenic trails that lead you across mountaintops, ridges, creeks and even old Route 66 roadways.
In Lexington, Big River Ranch, a family-owned and -operated facility on 2,100 acres of land, offers 65 miles of horseback trails. Take your horse, or rent a horse at the ranch, and enjoy a ride along the Missouri River. Campsites and bunkrooms are available to rent, and an event barn provides the perfect venue for celebrations of all types.
Riders of all experience levels will enjoy a visit to Black River Traditions Ranch in Annapolis. Take a riding lesson to brush up on your horsemanship skills, or head out on the trail option that best fits your ability. The ranch has both wooded paths and gravel roads for gaited horse owners.
Recharge and reconnect with nature during a quiet, private stay at Coldwater Ranch in Eminence. Bring your horse along, or rent a ranch horse for guided or independent trail riding. Cabins and campgrounds are available for human guests and large, on-site stalls offer a perfect place for your animals to rest.
Take your pick from a variety of riding trails at Meramec Farm, a seventh-generation, working cattle farm in Bourbon. Bring your trusty steed, or ride any one of the well-trained, gaited breeds available for visitors to the farm. Picnic spots and swimming holes await when you need a break from the trail.
Northern Missouri is home to Middle of Nowhere Ranch, a secluded, 500-acre retreat in Harris with miles of logging roads ripe for sightseeing. After you've explored the hills and woods, go fishing at one of the stocked ponds at the ranch and pick up free firewood before retiring to your campsite or lodge.
With more than 100 miles of trails on 4,000 acres of land, Panther Creek Trailrides & Campground has something to suit everyone's taste. Scenic overlooks, natural springs, creeks, meadows and ravines make up the stunning topography of the area. The campground also holds events throughout the year to spread equine enthusiasm.
Get up close and personal with Missouri's state horse – the Missouri Fox Trotter – at RS Ranch Rides in Bourbon. Mounts are selected for guests based on their skill level to provide the best possible experience. Round out your equestrian outing with a horse-drawn hayride or a chuck wagon cookout.
Wander along well-marked trails in the heart of Missouri at Von Holten Ranch in Mora. Hunting for themed items along the trail adds an element of fun, but if you're looking for a challenge, try the Mountain Trail Course with 30 natural obstacles. If you can't decide between trails, stay the night and try something new the next day.
More Horse Attractions
If you're looking for an equine-themed activity to keep you busy between trail rides, Missouri has that, too!
Meet the Budweiser Clydesdales at Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville. This facility is home to more than 100 Clydesdales and is the only location where Anheuser-Busch breeds and trains their famous horses. Tour the state-of-the-art establishment and – if you're 21 or older – sample the beer before you leave.
Explore the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association World Headquarters in Ava to learn more about the Show-Me State horse. The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Hall of Fame and Museum shines a spotlight on the history of the horse and the role Missourians played in ensuring the longevity of the breed. The 130-acre facility also offers trails and camping.
You'll find another museum of interest in Mexico – the American Saddlebred Horse Museum. Exhibits feature equestrian memorabilia; famous horsemen Tom Bass, George Ford Morris, Art Simmons and Will Shriver; and stables from the 1950s.
One of the most famous equine attractions in the state is Dolly Parton's Stampede. The massive arena is the perfect backdrop for a thrilling show of speed, stunts and special effects. If the 32 horses and trick riders don't impress you (and we're sure they will), the delicious four-course meal will.
For an experience unlike any other, head to Shannon County where four herds of wild horses have roamed since the Great Depression. The four-legged denizens are truly a sight to behold … if you're lucky enough to spot them.