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South Florida's Rural and Everglades Riding Trails

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

Photo of South Florida's Rural and Everglades Riding Trails
Photo by Hal Peat
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One of the frequent consequences of urban growth is the enclosure of open fields and the loss of access to adjoining terrain that are essential for adequate riding trails. In an increasingly crowded part of the U.S., this has been one reason there are fewer riding opportunities for equestrians in some parts of south Florida, along with the unavailability of insurance for commercial stable enterprises. Still, this has not prevented many dedicated equestrians from enjoying some of the countryside in southwestern Miami-Dade County. These semi-rural hinterlands not so distant from the city of Miami comprise an area known as the Redland and remain a genuinely pleasant riding experience. Being an area without local stable operators, however, you must either have your own horse or know someone who can let you ride theirs.

The Redland is flat, like most of Florida, but also gets its name for the reddish hue that used to be so visible in the open fields here. Nowadays, it is a farm and orchard region that supplies the city and much of the region with fruit and vegetables, and that is what you see mostly see in some form as you ride along the roadsides. If you are able to arrange a horse to ride privately, you might consider joining up with an area horse owners' club that knows the area well, the South Florida Trail Riders Association in Dade. They ride locally just twice a month during the summer and then about once a week during the winter season, doing longer rides of up to 9 to 15 miles during the cooler months. Trails usually follow the grassy sides of roads, but also traverse farmland and open fields that are usually rocky, hard ground. Some routes will take you by inland waterways. The Greenways Trail system is one such that passes alongside the county's canals, a trail where the ground is mostly grassy with some rock. Altogether there are about 100 miles of canal trails, providing a lot of variety for different rides, and the Everglades National Park which is in this section of the state also has a trail that passes near lakes and has no roads making it a truly tropical rural encounter with a great landmark. Aside from the canal side rides, the club also occasionally ride to nearby Wolf Lake and stop there for a while to allow the horses to cool off in the water.

Written by  Hal Peat.

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