Hillsdale State Park is located in Miami County. The equestrian area, called Saddle Ridge, is located on the East side of the reservoir. There is a picnic shelter and restrooms in this campground and it is reserved for equestrians only. There are three or four hydrants at the picnic shelter for watering the horses (I was told by the Park Ranger that they winterize this park from 10/15 to 4/15 so you will need to bring your own water and the restrooms might not be open during these dates). There are two marked trails, the North (Blue) loop covers about 20 miles up the North East coast of the lake, the South (Red) loop covers about 12.5 miles down around toward the dam. Yellow markers indicate trails are in bad shape and should be avoided. The pictures were taken at Hillsdale and show the parking area and picnic shelter as well as the view from the south (red) trail looking towards the dam.
Update 3/14/01: I just want to mention that at the end of last season (for the Park Department) they had started work on camp sites! This is good news for overnight campers at this park, the sites are away from the main "parking area", which you can see in my pictures. There are trees that will offer shade and it looks like the sites will be pull throughs. I will try to find out if they will have water and electric and if there will be tie poles down there as well. I also noticed that they are putting in more tie poles around the perimeter of the main parking area. We rode here for the first time this year March 10th and the trails were wonderful. I don't think I saw any new obstacles and the trailmarkers, although brittle and faded, were easy enough to follow if it's your first time riding this park. Todd has a new toy, a GPS, we hope to plot out the trails with it and make really good maps to share. More on this later. Happy trails!!
Update 5/14/00: Todd and I explored the blue trail with some friends, we rode for about three hours and had a great time, I had the camera packed along (which I've added to my trail bag since the ride at El Dorado when I forgot it) so I'll be adding more pictures soon.
Update 4/22/00: There are a few more miles of trails on the red trail which loops south of the dam. One loop which you can take on the east side of the spillway takes you back to 255th street or you can go around the spillway and there is another loop good for about 5 miles or continue riding parallel to the road at the base of the dam and the trail will wind up around a model airplane field, we got as far as the pay station and it appears that the trail continues on. The last time we were riding this park the Ranger stopped by our trailer and gave us new maps. They are working hard at making this park horse friendly and they are doing a super job.
Update 3/26/00: We camped and rode this past weekend and the red trail (of which most of the markers have been sun bleached so they look orange and white) is a great trail if your horse is bare foot. Also, pay close attention to trail markers, they are serious about the yellow markers meaning the trail is closed and they keep them updated, in one case a trail that was open Saturday was closed Sunday.
The terrian is easy to medium with some water and road crossings. Horse shoes are not needed if your horses are used to being bare foot. This is a good place to condition the horses.
Personally we enjoy this park, it's only 20 minutes from our house (by trailer) and we hope to be able to ride here when we aren't off riding with our trail riding club.
From 169 Highway exit at Hillsdale (this is 255th Street), follow this into town, at the intersection continue forward to Harmony Road (right) North, take the first left and Saddle Ridge is on the right, after the self pay station. There is a gravel lot for day use and if you are camping you can pull in on the grass.
Vehicle fee $4.00
Overnight Camping fee $5.00
(check out time is 12:00 except Sundays and Monday Holidays then it's 2:00)
See you on the trails!