Forest Preserves of Winnebago County’s horseback trails were developed to afford horseback riders the opportunity to enjoy riding in the scenic beauty of the preserves. There are 28 miles of mowed trails for horseback riding, found in six of the County forest preserves: Roland Olson, Sugar River, Oak Ridge, Deer Run, Rockford Rotary, and Seward Bluffs. There is equestrian camping at $12 for residents and $17 for non-residents per night per unit at Oak Ridge and Seward Bluffs only. Users can utilize a self registration system for camping and can acquire a daily riding pass. Seasonal bridle tags may be applied for at the site.
A free Recreation Path Guide showing length and locations of equestrian and hiking trails throughout the county is available by calling (815) 877-6100.
Horse Riding Trails
The horse trails in the forest preserves (Roland Olson, Deer Run, Oak Ridge, Rockford Rotary, Seward Bluffs, and Sugar River) are closed from mid-November to mid-April (Inclement weather and adverse trail conditions may force early closing dates in the Fall and late opening dates in the Spring), check the FPWC website for closing and opening dates. A Winnebago County Forest Preserve District tag is required on each horse when trails are open.
Click here to purchase Daily/Seasonal tag(s) online. Seasonal Tag(s) will be mailed to you after purchase.
594.8 acres of preserve are filled with 9.5 miles of horse trails that follow the south and north branch of the Kishwaukee River and many other unique natural features.
5.3 miles of horse trails along the Kishwaukee River, connecting to trails in Deer Run. Equestrians and hikers there is a new trail route at Oak Ridge Forest Preserve. Please avoid using the old route because of hazardous conditions. There is equestrian specific camping at Oak Ridge. Users can utilize a self-registration system for camping and can acquire a daily riding pass. Seasonal bridle tags may be applied for at the site.
.7 miles of trail run throughout this 220.7-acre preserve. Heavily wooded and overlooking the Kishwaukee River, trail rules are critical here as the soil in this preserve is highly erodible. Equestrian access is provided near the preserve’s entrance off Rotary Road.
Donated in 1976 by Mr. and Mrs. Roland Olson, this 127-acre preserve was offered specifically to provide a place for horse riding activities within the County. The preserve has a 60’ x 120’ arena, two hitching posts, and 1.5 miles of bridle trail. Trailer parking is in the preserve near the arena.
*By Director’s permit only.
The trails in this 636.6-acre preserve cover beautiful country which include spring wildflowers, woodlands and dolomite cliffs. The trails loop to the east and west crossing Grove Creek to provide 8.3 miles of trails. There is equestrian specific camping at Seward Bluffs. Users can utilize a self-registration system for camping and can acquire a daily riding pass. Seasonal bridle tags may be applied for at the site.
Travel to the northern part of the County to take in a double loop trail system in this 529-acre preserve. The 3.6 mile trail goes through oak woodlands, meadows and fields. Much of this preserve is sand prairie, which is a unique and fragile ecosystem that is highly erodible. Therefore, the equestrian trail hugs the east boundary of the preserve, avoiding these natural areas. Future trail plans are slated to connect the Sugar River trail north to Colored Sands and the Sugar River Alder Forest Preserves.
|Bridle tag seasonal each rider (mid-April to mid-November)||$25||$35|
|Bridle tag daily each rider||$8||$10|
|Camping per night (Oak Ridge and Seward Bluffs Forest Preserves only) per unit||$12||$17|
Trail Rules & Riding Tips
Remember, these trails are shared with hikers, so stay alert and slow your horse to a walk when meeting oncoming users. Here are a few rules to follow to ensure everyone’s safety.
Horses are allowed only on designated trails.
Riders and horses must enter and leave trails at access points only.
When meeting on trails, riders must slow their horses to a walk and keep to the right.
Refrain from riding when ground conditions are wet or soft.
Restrain on blind corners.
During early November, avoid riding in cross-country skier’s track.