To all you Riders who haven't been to McKinney Roughs:
Testimonials are not really my thing - I always wonder if
they're made up by the writer to suit the situation - but I have
encountered so many misconceptions about the riding trails at
McKinney Roughs that I feel compelled to offer my viewpoint.
The Happy Horse Hotel website is the only venue available for
such comments, so here's my experience:
I've ridden both shod and unshod horses on the park trails.
There are 5 or 6 miles of lower trails with fine dirt footing
- some sandy ones along the river and others with solid packed
dirt that meanders through woods and grassland. Pecan Bottom
is my favorite - there's no finer trail in the state that I know
of with its flat dirt surface and twisting turning loops through
a fabulous section of big pecan trees.
With care, an unshod horse can ride the whole park -- about 15-18 miles, depending on how you do it -- as there are usually places to get off on the side. I have a friend with an unshod mare who lives nearby and rides the park several times a week, at speed, on any trail she likes that day.
As for the Colorado River access, it has turned out to be
very nice, in spite of our fears. LCRA is continually working
on the access - most recently because of the high water in January.
You can ride a long way down the shallows of the river and it's
easy to water your horse most all of the time. If you're adventuresome,
you can go in deeper - some do. During those times the river
is up, you can't get down there, but that's the case in all rivers.
There's a very nice picnic area down near the water (there are
at least six picnic tables along the park trails). Look on the
Happy Horse website for a picture of a friend of ours riding
in the river this past week.
Even the parking lot situation has remedied itself: there are TWO trailheads, one off Pope Bend Rd that accesses the shady dirt trails closer to the river, and now the 2nd large, excellent facility right off Hwy 71, that accesses the upper level of scenic trails. For a view of how this works, see the Trail MAP on the HHH website.
McKinney Roughs is one of the best parks in Texas for equestrians,
and the trails are actively maintained by a wonderful full-time
grounds crew. So come on out and see for yourself. The scenery
is flat-out awesome: riding along the Colorado River in the deep
shade of enormous pecans and cottonwoods, breathing in the smell
of the river; or looking out over a long stretch of river from
one of the scenic bluff views that surveys an astonishing untouched
piece of Bastrop County. Be sure and get the $5 discount ride
tickets from Hollis, and while you're at it spend a few nights
camped at the Happy Horse Hotel - the best little horse camp