If you own a horse, consider taking them for a ride through one of our local riding trails. County equestrian trails are located at Oak Ridge Park at 13675 Oaks Road in Hughesville, Maxwell Hall Park Equestrian Area at 6680 Maxwell Hall Drive in Hughesville and Friendship Farm Park at 4705 Friendship Landing Road in Nanjemoy. Trail maps are available on the sign-in bulletin board located in the trailer parking areas. While bicycles are not permitted on the equestrian trails, those who are hikers, joggers, and nature lovers are always welcome.
Oak Ridge Park has more than 7 miles of interconnecting equestrian trails that offer an enjoyable and challenging riding experience for novice and experienced riders alike. New riders will enjoy the level wooded and meadow side features of the Orange and Green Trails. More experienced riders can find creek crossings, bridges and moderate inclines and declines on the Red, Yellow and Blue trails.
In addition to trails, Oak Ridge Park has an Equestrian Area with two riding rings, which are available for rental for special events and shows. Additional features include a large judging stand with roof and electricity, bleachers, a turf warm-up area, a trailer parking area with water, portable toilets and additional trailer and spectator parking for large events. The show area is open to all riders, except during scheduled special events. Contact the Parks Division at 301-932-3470 for rental rates and availability.
Another local option for equestrian trails is Maxwell Hall Park, a membership-only facility. The park offers six main trails that are great for both beginner and experienced riders. Both the Red and Blue trail lead to the Patuxent River which features rest locations. More experienced riders can find creek crossings, bridges and moderate to steep inclines and declines on the Orange, Brown and Green trails. The Orange trail also features a “judged trail course” nestled in the woods with 11 obstacles. The Yellow trail follows the edge of a field and features eight cross-country style jumps including logs, coops, brush boxes and straw bales. Remember, this park is also a working grain farm so be prepared to meet a tractor or two during your ride. And as always, stay off the cropland. Annual membership is available online for $25 at www.CharlesCountyParks.com/Parks/Equestrian-Facilities. Membership is not required for visitors on foot.
You can also take your horse to Friendship Farm Park, which allows horses on portions of the trail from April to November. Visitors can explore the outstanding natural resources and serenity that surrounds Nanjemoy Creek. Amenities such as interpretive signs, benches and observation decks are highlights along the trail. Friendship Farm Park is also noted for reliable wildlife viewing opportunities.
For additional information about equestrian amenities, visit www.CharlesCountyParks.com/Parks/Equestrian-Facilities. We hope to see you and your horse on the county’s equestrian trails this summer.