Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tamarack Horse Camping Trip

This past weekend I finally made it to Tamarack Horse Campground in St. Croix State Forest, which is located in the Hinckley, Minnesota area.

The trip was amazing! I love.....LOVE the Tamarack trails.

The scenery is quite beautiful, especially near the winding rushing Tamarack River.

You will find that the terrain is varied, from flat land to steep hills with breathtaking views and of course....awesome river crossings.

The flat trails can be found on the Gandy Dancer trail system. The steep challenging trails are located in the St. Croix Forest system.

Pony view from the Tamarack Overlook.

The horse trails meander back and forth, up and down from the beautiful Tamerack River. The Tamarack slowly winds its' way through St. Croix State Forest on it's way down to the St. Croix River. I think there are about 20 miles of St. Croix State Forest trails.

There are three trail systems located in the St. Croix State Forest.

The Gandy Dancer Trail offers ATV/OVH trails, which can also be accessed on horseback. All ATV users we encounter were very respectful and courteous! This system has 31.2 miles of trails. These trails were old logging and railroad beds, so they are wide and fairly flat. Expect for the "whoops" and banks created by the ATV/OVH.

The Willard Munger State Trail, this system is a multi-use trail, it offers 80 miles of trails. These trails travel through St. Croix State Park, Chengwatana State Forest, St. Croix State Forest and Nemadji State Forest.

Most of the trails there are technical and very challenging. Your horse needs to be conditioned for climbing steep grades and sure footed for working on the down grades. The trails are narrow single tracks, running along the rim.....overlooking the Tamarack River. Many are old deer trails, so this will give you an idea on the width.

Many areas are so steep, that trail maintenance consists of "wooden step boxes", and if you are riding a short horse such as my Ice Pony Huginn, you find that he needed to jump from step to step to work his way up the steep hills.

The trail may not look steep in this photo, but it was!! Huginn had to do a running jump all the way up the trail. This is one of many...many so called "boxed step trails". LOVE IT!!!!

Yes, we had rain, rain and more rain, but that didn't keep us off the trails. We were blessed with a no-rain window midday Saturday! And the temps were chilly, perfect for a furry Ice Pony.

Our guide was Bobbie and her faithful steed, Amadeus.

I so enjoyed riding with Bobbie, she rides the way I love to ride. Hard, long and fast! Thank you Bobbie for the great ride!!

The Tamerack Horse Campground is huge. It offers three loops with 55 camp sites and a large day use area. Many of which is tucked into the woods for privacy. Each camp site has high tie lines for your ponies. You will also find clean toilets! Water is available, but you will need a generator to work the water pump.

Ice Pony Girl's campsite, I shared it with Dianne. <:O]

The best part of the weekend, spending time with friends.

"Rockin' Cowgirls"
Dianne, Beth, Raven and Sherry

Oh...I wish I had spent more time exploring the trails! Next year!!

There were about 25 folks in our group, BUT....we were riding so fast and hard, I hardly had time to take my camera out to shoot everyone and everything. Darn!

For more photos, please click HERE!

Happy Trails!
Ice Pony Girl


  1. That looks like good fun. I have been canoeing in MN, somewhere near there, I think, but the trails look much like the ones here, on Vancouver Island. The 10K I did recently, for Terry Fox (to raise cancer awareness) encourages participation and has listed as ways to participate: running, walking, rollerblade, wheelchair, crutches, biking, equestrian (sic). In the one a few miles from my location there would be many riders. There are a lot of great trails up in Vancouver Island, and often just outside Victoria horses can be seen riding the road, or they can ride 'The Goose' - a trail from the Ferry to Vancouver to Victoria - Just my bit to promote Victoria as a good riding area. My aunt has always had horses here and rode trap when she was young on one of the many racecourses. We are also one of the ONLY cities in Canada to have a Polo field.

    As for your ride, were the biting bugs bad? I found the ones in MN very bad indeed!

  2. Hello Elizabeth...thanks for the visit. <:O] What fun to be able to ride on Vancouver Island! Maybe someday I will get up there. I got lucky, there were NO bugs, since it was too cold and wet. But...I think I did "eat" one spider that had a web across the trail. I felt the web on my face, then something on my lip, I licked my lip and I think swallow the poor spider!


WOW! Thanks, you made my day! Doggie & Pony kisses sent! Please come back....real soon.