I'm starting to try and figure out where I can trailer to for some trail access. There's a decent amount of stuff in the area that's horse friendly, it's just me needing to know where I can go and where parking is that's holding me up.
This all was inspired by me looking for a place for Kaylee and I to go swimming that wasn't over 30 minutes away (Stony Creek). We ended up going to Metamora-Hadley Recreation area that's 10 miles away and was perfect, but that's another story.
Check it, any place that is listed as a recreation area is under the umbrella of the DNR and is a state park. It costs $11 annually for access to these parks. FUCK YES.
Anyway, places so far that I've found are:
Technically if I trusted Gwyn on the road AND our road wasn't super speedy, I could ride to this trail from our house. We're less than 2 miles from an access point where it crosses a road. Polly-Ann is open to riders, but you're restricted to walking (though I can't find this verbage now on their websites...). From what I've seen of the points of access near me, no one uses the damn thing to even know if I might go faster than a walk. After my last debacle of trying to walk her along a road that had a high speed limit I'm not really interested in trying again until her brain gets rooted a bit more deeply. Especially with minimal shoulder.
What I really want is to make friends with the people who live right by the trail and ask if I can park at their place to ride on the trail. That would be ideal.
I did more research. There is trailer friendly parking down Rochester Rd in Leonard. Just nothing directly off Rochester Rd where it crosses, which is where I've been looking. Doh. Leonard is 10 minutes away. I'll explore tomorrow.
The Lapeer PAT group is doing a fall colors tour the day after my birthday in October! I'm SO ATTENDING!!!! Tentative info about the ride leads me to believe I might be able to park at General Squier Park, which is in Dryden itself. Dude. DUDE. 4 miles away. FUCK YEAH.
Pontiac Lake Recreation Area
About an hour away, this place has the most trail mileage available nearby topping out at 17 miles. It also looks as though they have a good loop for big mileage from looking at their map. There's a campground for horse camping and they have a rental stable which might be bad since I've heard some things about avoiding riding when the renters are out and about.
Addison Oaks County Park
This thing is just down the road. Not riding down the road, but... 20 minutes away. I had no idea it was there until today. (I'm serious). There's not a lot of mileage, but there's a few separate loops of equestrian trail that I could do. And it's SO CLOSE!! Just under 10 miles of trail, which is pretty good, all things considered!
I might take Kaylee here tomorrow and go biking just so I can scout it all out and figure out parking and get a pass. Since this is a county park it has a different pass system. I wish there was an annual all parks pass for all the counties.
Ortonville Recreation Area
At 25 minutes away (about 20 miles) is this lovely place with just less than 9 miles of trails, but from the look of the map, we'd be able to ride for a LOT longer just by doing mini loops. They also have an equestrian campground. I like that the equestrian trails are very much separate from the main part of the park so there's not really a multi-use conflict.
Addison Township Watershed Preserve
At 6 minutes away this is the next closest after Polly-Ann. I found it when Kaylee wanted to go hiking but 7 Ponds Nature Center was closed. I had remembered seeing this just down Rochester Rd, barely over the county line into Oakland County. The board at the front had no information about use but upon hitting the trail I saw a sign that said "Clean up your manure!" Ah HAH! Horses are allowed!
There's not a lot of trail here, but at 6 minutes away it's hard to beat, especially since there's no fee for use. Maybe 2 miles of trail but some nice hills and all woody with some lake views. And decent parking to turn a horse trailer around.
An article on riding in the park in the winter!
Elba Equestrian Complex
Free to day use riders, also has camping available. It's also 25 minutes away. I can't get details on length of trails, but it's got over 1000 acres of trails available. I'll need to investigate further before bringing Gwyn.