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OREA Occasionally Asked Questions

This section is currently under construction and is therefore dynamic!

Let's be honest. I have seen our site hit numbers. We do not have enough traffic on our website to have Frequently Asked Questions.  So, in the following sections we will hit upon the things that if you knew enough to ask about you would have!

Campground Layout

The drawing below is a representation of the layout of the Rustic Equestrian Campground at the Ortonville Recreation Area / Hadley Hills. There are 21 campsites. You will note a representation of a parking area for each site. 3 sites have 35' long parking areas; 1 site has a 40' long parking area; 9 sites have 50' long parking areas; 1 site has a 55' pull-thru parking area; 6 sites have 60' parking areas; 1 site has a 65' parking area. Please be considerate and select a spot appropriate to the size of your rig/trailer combo so those with larger rigs can get a spot. Remember, if you can't find a site to accommodate your rig/trailer combo, you can always disconnect the trailer and park next to it. 

 

A cement park stop is located at the end of each displayed parking area. Your trailer will likely overhang beyond that distance when you back the tires of your trailer up to it. Sites 1-13 and 16 are on the Reservation System. The park stops will be unpainted and there will be an Green stripe painted around the fire pit. The Site Number is stenciled on the park stop and the fire pit.

Sites 14, 15, and 17-21 are not reservable. They will show as Restricted on the Reservation System. That does NOT indicate that they are really not available. They are available on a first-come first-serve basis and are pay-at-the-post sites. They will be indicated by unpainted park stops and a Black rectangle on the fire pit. Like the reservable sites, the Site Number will be stenciled on the park stop and the fire pit.

All sites have a picnic table and a fire pit. If you want to get together as a group, there is a Community Bonfire fire pit with benches west of the Trail Entrance. The primary directive for using the Community Bonfire is that EVERYBODY IS WELCOME! There is also a pavilion that can be used  if it has not been reserved for the day - and is especially nice to get together when the weather isn't as pleasant as you hoped. Once again - please welcome everyone! There is also a large grill behind the pavilion.

Ortonville Campground Layout 2024-03-22.jpg

Reservations

How do I reserve a campsite?

Ortonville is now on the DNR Reservation System at Michigan State Parks Reservation System (midnrreservations.com) (as of April #, 2024). 14 of the 21 campsites will be reservable including all sites with corrals. 

 

Reservations are available on a 6-month advance window, so if you are looking more than 6 month ahead it may appear that no spaces are available. They are - but they are not open for reservations yet

Step 1

Go to the https://midnrreservations.com/ website. We've made it easy for you. In the OREA Website Home page, just click on the Campsite Reservations button at the top of the screen and voila! You're there. The same button is right here if you want to try it out. It does open in a separate window so you can switch back and forth.

Step 2

Select the type of camping you want. Ortonville is an Equestrian campground, so click on Equestrian. (The default is a non-equestrian campground.)

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Step 3

Select Ortonville from the Park drop-down list. You will have to scroll down to select it.

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Step 4

Select your desired arrival and departure dates.

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Step 5

Use the + and - buttons to select your party size. This would be the number of people staying at your campsite.

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Step 6

Select your camping trailer / tent from the Equipment drop-down. The site length will be the measurement on the short side of the angled site from the camp drive to the cement park stop where your rear trailer wheels will make contact. You can park in shorter sites if you take the overhang of your trailer beyond the back of your wheels into account or if you will disconnect your truck and park it separately. It you want to see all reservable spots that are available, select the shortest spot, i.e. Trailer or RV up to 20'. It you pick the smallest size that your rig will fit in, all spaces that size or larger will be displayed.

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Step 7

Click Search. This will display a map of the campgrounds available within the Ortonville Recreation Area - Rustic Equestrian and Bloomer.  Click on Rustic Equestrian on the map to display the Equestrian Campground information.

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Ortonville Recreation Area Map with Arrow to Rustic Equestrian.jpg

14 sites of the 21 sites are available on the Reservation System. Those are sites 1 thru 13 and 16. Campsites available for you to camp in that meet your Search criteria will be shown as Green. A site that is available for part of your date range will be shown as Purple, such as site 13 on the map above. A site that is available that has restrictions on it is displayed as Orange. Note that the non-reservable sites (14 & 15 and 17-21 will always show as restricted sites. Another restriction is if you select a site that has a smaller Equipment Length than you selected. If it is held in a Cart but not yet reserved it will be displayed as a Blue/gray. If it is not available at all for your date range it will be displayed as Red, such as site 12 on the map above.

Site 1 is a pull-thru site. All of the remaining sites are back-in sites. The sites are configured so that the usable camping space and the area for your horses is on the passenger side of your rig when you back into your campsite parking space as that is how most LQ Trailers are configured to be situated.

 

Sites 14, 15, and 17-21 will always show in the Reservation System as Restricted. The restriction is that they are non-reservable in the Reservation System. Those sites are pay at the pipe and available on a first come first serve basis.

If you click on a site, detailed information for that site will be displayed. All of our sites will display No running water available, Electric Service: Not Available, Sewer Hookup: No, Features: Fire Pit, Pet Friendly, Picnic Table. Those with corrals will have them noted. Those currently include sites 1, 7, 13, and 16.

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Step 8

Once you have found the site that meets your criteria, click Reserve to start the reservation process. This will take you to the screen to Review Reservation Details and confirm that you want to reserve that particular site. You must click the box for "All reservations details are correct" for the Confirm reservation details button to be activated so you can click it and add the site reservation to your Cart.

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Campground Site 10 Confirm Reservation Details with Arrow.jpg

Step 9

Congratulations!! You now have one Equestrian Campground Reservation in your Shopping Cart!

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At this point you can either continue to add additional camping reservations to your shopping cart or checkout. You can do additional reservations for any campground on the reservation system. Each item in your shopping cart will be assessed the $8 Reservation Fee - Web in addition to the cost of your campsite reservation (which for Ortonville Rustic Equestrian is $20 per night). To checkout, click on Proceed to Checkout. Only another seven or so steps and you are done!

Step 10

Welcome to the Review Policies page. You have to check the 2 boxes at the bottom before you can move on.

 

The important things (to me) are in the Reservations, modifications policies they get to keep the $8 Reservation Fee if you cancel and they keep part of your camping fees too. How much they keep depends on how long before your reservation you do your change or cancellation.

 

In the General park rules the policy is no alcohol, no marijuana, no narcotics, no fuel-operated generators running between 10 pm and 8 am, and keep your pets on a leash, and don't be a nuisance! And always be nice to the DNR folks at the park. Without them, it would be even more rustic and there would be no rideable trails!!! They really are there to help you.

Once you have clicked on the two boxes, click on Confirm Acknowledgements to continue.

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Step 11

The next stage is confirming, adjusting, or entering your account information. We generated this example as if the person following the instructions already had an account. If anyone feels we should add a "set up an account section, let us know!

Once all of the information is correct, click on Confirm Account Details to continue.

Step 12

The next stage is specifying who will be occupying the campsite - you or someone else. The default is "I will be the occupant". You are only allowed to occupy one site within the reservation system at any given time. I have been told that you can reserve up to five sites total in five different names. I have not tested it. If someone else will be occupying the site, click on "Someone else will be the occupant". Then fill in the occupant information. Remember that someone will be verifying who is occupying the site and making changes to a reservation once it is accepted tends to cost more money!

Once all of the information is correct, click on Confirm Occupant to continue.

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Step 13

The DNR could use more funding, so they are asking you if you are willing to add another $2 to help them out. In theory this is a great idea. However, the local park managers have to go through a bunch of paperwork to get funds to do their projects and it is as likely as not that the legislature could possibly reduce funding because they already have the extra 2 bucks! 

Our suggestion is that if you want to give money to specifically fund improvements to the Ortonville Recreation Area / Hadley Hills, you should channel it through OREA. While our budget is much smaller, we use our funding to supplement the park's budget for small projects like corrals or rest areas out on the trails and sometimes larger projects like the pavilion. We don't have as much bureaucracy but we also do not have as much money!

Once all of the information is correct, click on Skip Add Ons to continue.

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Step 14

You finally get to enter your credit card information. Unlike the example screen, you probably want to enter a legitimate credit card number!

Once all of the payment information is correct, click on Apply Payment to continue.

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Step 15

Once your payment is confirmed, you will get a confirmation screen.

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NOTE: This information will be updated based on any feedback to OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com.

OREA Membership

How do I become an OREA Member?

You can become a member of OREA by applying through the website using a credit card  with the Stripe interface.

You can become a member of OREA by filling out an application and mailing it in with a check per the instructions on the Membership form.

You can become a member of OREA by filling out an application at one of our events and paying with cash or a check.

You can become a member of OREA by filling out an application at the park and paying one of our Board Members using cash or a check.

You can become a member if OREA by emailing a completed application to OREA.Treasurer@google.com and paying via PayPal via any means PayPal allows.

The OREA Board of Directors can also designate ways that you can do things to contribute to OREA that result in you being awarded a membership.

How long is my OREA membership good for?

OREA membership is good for one year from when your membership is received. If you are renewing using the Membership application and your renewal is received before the full year of your membership has been used up, your membership will extend one year from the date it would have expired.

How much does it cost to become an OREA Member?

Personal OREA Memberships are just right for just you and are $20. Family Memberships include you and your Spouse and any minor kiddos and are $30. At $20/$30 it’s a steal of a deal!

Are OREA Memberships tax deductible?

OREA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so all donations - including membership - are tax deductible if you are one of the people who itemize their deductions or there are special charitable deductions allowed in a particular tax year.

How do I renew my membership?

A membership renewal email from OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com or a letter to your address of record will be sent sometime a couple of week to a month before your membership expires. (If we don't have either, we will contact you via whatever method we can!) 

If you did your last membership payment via the website (likely credit card), your membership will automatically be renewed using the same credit card as you used the previous year. We will contact you if there is an issue with the credit card. If you do not wish to automatically renew, send an email to OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com.

If you used cash or check the previous year, there will be a membership application attached to your email or enclosed in your envelope that you can use to renew your membership. You can also choose to renew online if you wish to pay by credit card.

Once your membership renewal is processed, you will receive a confirmation email from OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com with your renewal information.

What do you do with the money from my membership?

The money you donated through your membership allows us to work with the DNR to improve your experience on the trails, in the campground, and in the day use area at the Ortonville Recreation Area / Hadley Hills. You can see what we accomplished last year and what our possible future looks like on the OREA website.

What do I do if I have questions about my membership?

The easiest way to get your questions answered is by sending an email to OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com.

I understand that when I get my membership through the website, it automatically renews. Yikes!!! How do I change that?

You can get that changed by sending an email to OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com asking to set your membership up to not automatically renew. The OREA Treasurer will then set your membership "subscription" to cancel at the end of the year of membership. You will be sent an email  with a membership form a couple of weeks before your membership runs out. At that point, you can do a new membership via the website if you want to use a credit card (and send an email to not have it automatically renew) or use one of the other membership options.

How does OREA communicate with me?

We communicate via our website at www.hadleyhills.com and our Facebook group at OREA - Ortonville Recreation Equestrian Association. If you want to post or look through pictures, find someone to ride with, find out trail conditions, report issues on the trail, or talk horses, riding, and/or camping as it relates to Ortonville, the Facebook site is where that happens.

We also send out emails to members with our Board Meeting Agendas and Minutes. They are also published on the website.

Our Goals and Accomplishments are on the website.

We also include communications in the digital version of the Saddle Up! Magazine. The link for that will be published monthly on Facebook and the website.

How is the OREA Website Organized?

The OREA website is broken down into sections by menu.

 

The Home Page has the standard welcome stuff, then has whatever the latest entry is from the blog section on the News & Events page. It also has a direct link to the DNR Reservation System and a link to the Occasionally Asked Questions page.

The About page has introductions to what the organization does including things like vision and goals, introduces you to the Board, give a bit of history about the park, and has membership information (which is a separate page on the mobile version). 

 

The OREA News & Events page is where we communicate what is happening – either as a News post or in the blog section towards the bottom.

 

The Board Meetings section has the Agenda about a week before the meeting – along with most of the attachments that will be discussed. After the meeting has happened, the Secretary sends the minutes and we webize them with links to things that are relevant to what was discussed. This is where you can find statuses and plans that you can link to, but does not have a separate menu item – so it is always good to check this out after the meeting. (You are always welcome to attend the meeting too. Just contact Dawn @ dawnmariecope@gmail.com to let her know you plan to attend.)

 

Next is the Accomplishments section, where we highlight what we are getting done as a retrospective.

 

Finally, the Sponsors & Donors page highlights those who make larger donations (i.e. sponsorships) as well as giving you a link as to how to volunteer or make donations. The Join Now at the top of every page gives a quick link to the Membership stuff.

The header for each page has a link to either become an OREA member or to Donate to OREA. These are two ways you can contribute funds for us to improve the trails and facilities at Ortonville Recreation Area / Hadley Hills.

 

The section at the bottom of every page gives you the park address so you can order pizza and have it delivered, has a map of the trail system that includes the new trail and the soon-to-be new trail. Dawn’s contact info is also there so you can get in touch with the OREA President with any ideas or feedback. (When something is updated on the website, we will often tease it on Facebook.) We also have links to the Michigan Horse Trails Association Facebook Group, The Michigan Horse Trails Directory where you can find pretty much all of the horse trails in Michigan as well as their supporting Trail Organizations, and most of the Events going on with the trail groups.

Campground

How many campsites?

21 Campsites. 

 

While there once were 25 sites and that is what is listed on most reference sites, that was before one became a vault toilet to reduce us to 24. We further reduced the number to 21 when we reconfigured the campground based on USFS equestrian campground guidelines.

How many campsites have corrals?

4 Campsites currently have a pair of corrals (as of February 26, 2024). 

 

Our Goal is to have both high lines and corrals available at all 21 campsites. It costs between $1000 and $1200 to put a pair of corrals on a campsite, so we are installing them one at a time. If you want to contribute, send an email to OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com.

Can I get a campsite without reservations?

Any campsites that have not been reserved are available on a first-come first-camp basis. 

If a site is occupied, it is not available!

Currently 7 of the 21 campsites are NOT on the Reservation System. If you look them up on the Reservation System they will show as Restricted - because they ARE unavailable to be reserved - but that does NOT necessarily mean that they are occupied.

 

For reservable campsite, there will be some type of indicator when you arrive at the park if a campsite is reserved. The intention is that the list of reserved sites will be listed on the campground kiosk each morning. Note that people can reserve a spot after that list is posted so that may not be the latest information. The most accurate source of information is the DNR Reservation System which you can link to at the top of the OREA website home page. If it is not reserved or occupied, then it is available.

How do I know where my site is? Where do I park my trailer?

Each campsite will have a park stop that both indicates what site number that site is and where you should back your trailer to. 

 

The campsite number will be on the park stop itself. If you back to it, you will have plenty of clearance for an awning towards the passenger side of your vehicle and the site is laid out so the picnic table, fire pit, and horses are also towards the passenger side.

In the future we are hoping to have some sort of pad to better guide you to the best parking orientation and provide a consistently level spot - but that is the future!

I see that there is a big fire pit west of the trail head. What's the deal with that?

The fire pit west of the trailhead is a community fire pit!

 

If you are willing to share a fire with others, you are welcome to use the community fire pit. It is intended to help us get to know each other - so if there is a fire going please join in! If there isn't, feel free to start one. Others may join you - or not.

Can we use the pavilion?

As long as there is no OREA event going on or the pavilion is reserved via the DNR office, the pavilion is available to anyone to use.

 

If you want to have an activity that uses the pavilion, please contact the park office at the Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area Headquarters. Be aware the only non-equestrian parking is at the Day Use Area. (You need a horse to occupy the campsites in the Equestrian Campground and you also need to be camping to park in the campground.) There is a grill available behind the pavilion. There is currently no electricity at the pavilion.

Is there water available?

There is a hand pump next to the pavilion.

 

The hand pump is not fun, but it will fulfil your needs for potable water (water that people can drink) as well as providing water for your horses. That being said, depending on where you are camped a bucket of water starts at about 30 pounds and if you are parked by the entrance and are carrying the bucket it will feel like about a ton by the time you get it to your campsite.

What is the bathroom situation?

There are two vault toilets in the campground area.

 

The first vault toilet is located at the south end of the campground just east of the campground entrance.

 

The second vault toilet is west of the circle drive near the trailhead. There is a hitching post available as well as mounting steps.

When can I use my generator?

You can use a fuel-powered generator between 8 am and 10 pm. You can use the non-fuel noiseless generators anytime.

 

The use of fuel-powered generators is not allowed during established quiet hours (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.). To help visitors with medical needs, electric and solar-powered generators are allowed.

What are the camping fees?

The basic camping fee is $20 per night plus a reservation fee of $8 per site if you use the reservation system. 

 

You must have a recreation passport for your vehicle to use any Michigan DNR site including the Ortonville Recreation Area Equestrian Campground.

The standard rustic equestrian campsite fee of $20 per night (current as of 2024) applies to campsites at the equestrian campground at Ortonville Recreation Area. If you are camping at one of the reservable sites (1-13 or 16), there is an additional fee of $8 for your stay. Note: That $8 fee covers your entire stay - whether it is one night or 20 nights. If you alter your reservation, additional fees may apply!

What are those chunks of cement on my campsite? Won't I trip on them?

The rectangular chunks of cement are park stops. They indicate where you should be parking on your campsite.

 

We are in the process of improving the campsites. Previous to 2024 there was no indicator of where to park on the campsite. The long-term goal is to have a clearly visible solid and level parking pad on each campsite. The interim solution is the cement park stops on each site. The park stop allows you to orient your rig correctly on your campsite. They are intended to stop your rig from backing further. 

If the fire pit to the left of the park stop has a green stripe, the campsite is on the reservation system. This applies to sites 1-13 & 16. If the fire pit to the left of the park stop has no stripe, the campsite is NOT on the reservation system. The non-reservable sites are 14, 15  and 17-21.

The intent is for your trailer to be backed up so that your tires stop at the park stop, thus the name park-stop  indicating where you should park and stop - indicating when you should stop. If your trailer has a low clearance be careful backing so that you don't damage your trailer by hitting the hunk of concrete. Please contact the DNR team if your trailer does not clear the park stop so we can make adjustments to the parking configuration.

 

Caution: Never unload your horses in a situation where there is a gap between the back of your trailer and the park stop where your horse could get its leg caught or trip. Either back up so your trailer is covering the park stop or pull forward to unload your horses and then reposition your vehicle as appropriate for your stay.

So far as the worry about the park stops being a tripping hazard, if you are parked appropriately on your campsite, your horse trailer should be covering the park stop. There may be a portion emerging from either side of your trailer. Please use caution to not trip over it!

 

If you are worried about the park stops on unoccupied campsites, if your horse seems to be afraid of the park stops do whatever you usually do to get them used to a new obstacle. This may be as simple as having them on a lead line and slowly working them to a point where they will approach them. Let them sniff and get used to this new strange obstacle. Only if you feel safe should you approach them on horseback if your horse is showing hesitancy. These are only an interim solution until we have funding for a more permanent (and safer) solution. Please use appropriate caution and keep yourself and your horse safe!

How do I make a reservation?

Click on the How Do I Reserve a Site? button below.

 

This will link you to the step-by-step instruction elsewhere in the Occasionally Asked Questions page for reserving a campsite which includes a link to the DNR Reservation System.

How can I tell if my rig (towing vehicle / horse trailer combination) will fit on a particular campsite.

Click on the Campground Map button below.

 

Clicking on the Campground Map button takes you to the map of the campground layout at the top of the Occasionally Asked Questions page. It shows the length of the parking area from the campground road to the park stop along the short side of the parking area. If you pull all the way back to where your trailer wheels make contact with the park stop, you should have sufficient buffer from the campground road. This map is what the DNR Reservation System used as input to their campsite parking sizes.

 

Remember, you can back your rig in and then disconnect your towing vehicle and park it next to your trailer if there is room on your campsite if you do not fit while hooked up.

Do I need to be camping to park in the Equestrian Campground?

If space is available for your rig (towing vehicle and trailer), please always park in the Day Use Area!

Until further notice and until an official policy for day riders parking in the campground is clearly defined by the DNR park office, please direct all questions on DNR policy and campground/park management to the Metamora/Hadley DNR office at 810-797-4439. Once the policy has been officially released it will be posted on the website and Facebook.

Day Use Area

As a Day Rider (not camping), where can I park?

If space is available for your rig (towing vehicle and trailer), please always park in the Day Use Area! However, you can park in the campground for $20. Parking in the Day Use Area is free if you have a Recreation Passport. Here is the official DNR Position:

Can we park on a campsite to day ride/hike?

a. Due to Administrative rule R299.922(M) ii. Only registered campers or authorized visitors to a registered camper may park their vehicles at a campsite.

i. Yes, but you must pay $20 camping fee for that site and follow the steps to register for a campsite posted on the kiosk located at the entrance of the campground, along with the required recreation passport.
ii. Or you can stage out of the equestrian day ride area at no additional fee. Only a recreation passport is required to park there for the day.

b. Parking on a campsite and failing to register can result in a camping fee notice costing the $20 campsite cost.

Are there Bathroom facilities in the Day Use Area?

There is now a port-a-potty at the Trailhead in the Day Use Area!

The port-a-potty is a temporary measure provided by the DNR until a permanent vault toilet is installed.

There are plans to install a vault toilet in the Day Use Area in 2024. If you would like to make a contribution, send an email to OREA.Treasurer@gmail.com.

What amenities are available in the Day Use Area?

There are a couple of picnic tables and a mounting block - and a port-a-potty.

Trails

How many miles of trails are available at Ortonville Recreation Area / Hadley Hills?

Once our new trail is officially opened in 2024, there will be 12 miles of official trails.

 

We are looking to work with the DNR to have additional trails added into the trail system. There are trails within the park that are known to locals that we are proposing to have added to the official trail system. In addition, we are exploring opportunities to identify new trails to expand opportunities to enjoy the trail system.

What are the trails like?

The area is known as Hadley Hills for a reason! We have hills. The trails run mostly through wooded areas with numerous ponds, swamps, and small lakes interspersed.

The trails in the southern portion of the trail system (nearer Fox Lake Road) are the hilliest. They are where you are also likely to encounter intermittent rocky areas. In the center of the original trail system is Pinnacle Point - one of the highest points in the current trail system with the old foundation of a hunting cabin at its peak. As you get more north, the trails are sandier. Some areas of trail including most of a circle starting from the field after coming up from the bridge over the creek and proceeding counterclockwise through Trail Marker 2 to Trail Markers 3 and 4, then following the northern (outside) route to Trail Marker 5, then circling around to Trail Markers 6 to 11 to 12 to 15, then back to 2 is relatively unhilly. In fact, the section of trail from Trail Marker 2 north (and south) used to be part of Jasmond Road! Trail 3A and the New Trail in the northern part of the park aren't so much hilly as riding along some ridges.

The New Trail overlooks much of Spring Bank Creek, riding a ridge that overlooks it from a pond at the end of Jasmond Road at the north end to where it originates by the bridge at the south end of the trail.

Some sections of the trail are muddy - an issue we are attempting to address. The muddy areas include various areas between the campground and the first bridge as well as the northern portion of Trail 3A after you come off the ridge (riding clockwise) that runs through a wet meadow. The initial part of the New Trail coming off Jasmond Road also has some muddy area.

As you ride the trails you may encounter a number of foundations from old hunting cabins - and some accompanying wells. Use caution in those areas! One of the most visible foundations is at Trail Marker 9 where you can ride your horse up (or down) some old stone stairs.

What bridges are on the trail system?

We have three structures crossing water in the trails system - 1 bridge and 2 bridgelets.

 

The bridge is between Trail Marker 1 and Trail Marker 2 where Spring Bank Creek originates from a pond. The New Trail also has its southern entrance right in that vicinity. There is also a creek crossing option adjacent to the bridge where you can water your horse.

The first bridgelet is between Trail Marker 3 and Trail Marker 4 and crosses a small stream / wetland right near Trail Marker 3.

The second bridgelet crosses a small stream near Jasmond Road between Trail Marker 3 and the southern Trail Marker for Trail 3A.

How many loops are there?

There are between 8 and 11 loops - depending on how you count loops.

Click on the buttons to access maps and more information on each loop.

Is there a pond / small lake to walk horses into?

Not currently on the trail system.

 

One could theoretically exit the trail system at the Tody Road gate at the Southwest corner of the trail system, follow Tody Road north then West to the Tody Lake Boat Launch and ride in there - but that would NOT be a recommendation! We are exploring some trail possibilities that would possibly facilitate lake access. That would be 2027 at the earliest though!

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