Horseback Riding

Recent Land Use Orders have changed the way horses, other riding animals, and pack animals can be used in the Pigeon River Country (PRC) State Forest. For more information, see Land Use Order of the Director Amendment No. 8 of 2008, effective May 8, 2008. Those changes include:

Camping
Camping with horses, other riding animals, or pack animals within the Pigeon River Country (PRC) is only allowed in the following designated campgrounds:

  • Elk Hill Equestrian State Forest Campground
  • Elk Hill Trail Camp (groups – requires event permit)
  • Johnson’s Crossing Trail Camp (groups – requires event permit)

Dispersed camping (camping outside a designated campground) with horses, or other riding or pack animals, is not permitted in the PRC.

Riding
Riding or leading horses, other riding animals, or pack animals is allowed only on the following:

  • The North Spur of the Shore-to-Shore Riding/Hiking Trail
  • County Roads
  • Forest Roads that are designated as open on the PRC State Forest Access Map (see map other side)
  • A service trail/road posted as open to horse use. The two service trails currently posted as open are shown on the map below.

Safety First! Please use caution when riding. Open roads are shared with cars, trucks (including logging trucks), snowmobiles, and mountain bikes as well as horses.

So … how do you know where to ride?
This information, used with the map on the other side of this document, is meant to clarify where you can legally ride in the PRC. If you still have questions, feel free to stop in at the PRC Headquarters when open, or call 989-983-4101.

For day trips from the Elk Hill Equestrian State Forest Campground, some optional loop rides are shown on the map below. These loops combine parts of the North Spur of the Shore-to-Shore Riding/Hiking Trail, open roads, and two sections of service roads that are posted as open for horse use. The approximate distance given is round- trip from Elk Hill Equestrian State Forest Campground.

Other Options
On state forest lands outside the PRC, horses may ride on roads, trails, and cross-country unless specifically restricted. Dispersed camping is allowed on state forest lands outside the PRC unless specifically restricted. See the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr, or call the Gaylord Operations Service Center at 989-732-3541 or the Cadillac Operations Service Center at 231-775-9727, for more information on state lands in the Northern Lower Peninsula.