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Riding South Florida’s Inland Trails

Listed under One Day Horse Rides in Florida, United States.

  • Photo of Riding South Florida’s Inland Trails
  • Photo of Riding South Florida’s Inland Trails
  • Photo of Riding South Florida’s Inland Trails
Photo of Riding South Florida’s Inland Trails
Photo by flickr user thelastminute
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As with most other outdoor activities in this southernmost region of Florida, riding is best experienced during the cooler months that begin in September and continue into May.  And although southern Florida is an almost consistently flat terrain, the trails you can ride in Broward County – just north of Miami – provide some of the most memorable outdoor adventure you can experience.  Here you encounter an entirely different side of this part of the world away from the beaches and ocean.  

The inland and historic community of Davie, west of Fort Lauderdale, is the center point for the most extensive riding trails in Broward.  South Florida Trail Riders, a private group of equestrians, usually does a local ride on the trails near Davie, using Tree Tops Park for its abundant shade and ridge access.  They ride together for two to three hour outings at least twice a month during the cooler season.  You have to bring your own horse to join in on their rides, but you can also ride in Tree Tops or the trailheads out of the park with guided rides from local outfitters like Bar B Ranch or D Horse Adventures.  

During the summer months, South Florida Trail Riders will also occasionally do a night ride in Davie on trails away from traffic. Davie's equestrian trail system has over 50 miles of trails that connect the town’s and County's parks.  Riding along Davie's trail system, you can reach the county’s highest natural point at Pine Island Ridge at just 29 feet above sea level.  Plant life and wildlife you may also observe along the trails may include wild coffee, Beauty Berry and Malachite butterflies. There also places on the Ridge where you might find the endangered gopher tortoise, raccoons or even a red rat snake.

The highest “unnatural” spot is Vista View Park, created from a former landfill, which has trails to its top from which you see downtown Fort Lauderdale. Some of the trails abut lakes and some abut subdivisions  -- so at some stretches you might ride along a fence line, a canal or in the woods.  Other than the ridge areas, trails are typically flat and grassy or sandy. Most park areas have water troughs for the horses, and you will also pass numerous watering holes along the lakes and canals.  One noteworthy place to dismount for a smoothie for yourself is the wildlife and natural habitat of Flamingo Gardens. 

Written by  Hal Peat.

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Back Country Riding Near Fort Lauderdale

Not so very distant from the popular beaches and entertainment neighborhoods of coastal magnet towns like Fort Lauderdale are quieter, still rural inland regions to the west that offer much for the rider who is open to exploring what remains a peaceful part of an otherwise often crowded southern Florida. The neighboring town of Davie has some extensive trail riding that is really unsurpassed as far as the variety and length of what you can do and see. You can reach Davie quite easily on several east-west main artery roads from Fort Lauderdale or just south of it -- and in no time you notice how traffic and congestion drops off -- it is an easier pace, and one suited to a number of equestrian-related small businesses in the area.

The main asset is of course the long and interconnecting web of trails that lead out from stable areas and take you along well-marked trails. There are over 50 miles in total of all such trails, so in theory you could do many a ride here and follow a somewhat different route each time. One example is J&B Ranch which is a family-owned operator offering morning and afternoon guided rides. It is a walking paced ride, and you pass initially alongside a country road before entering the trail system much of which is carefully wooden fenced in park areas. Low-lying tropical scrub varies along way with taller old growth which sometimes forms wonderful overarching canopies. A canal is on route, a small nature museum is at around the half-way mark of the ride. Wear closed shoes and long pants, bring sun block as needed, the rest of your tack is all provided.

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