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Best Horse Riding Trails and Parks in Northern Virginia

May 15th, 2024

By Sofia Alonso

2 min read


Northern Virginia, with its rich equestrian history and picturesque landscapes, offers a plethora of options for horse riding enthusiasts. From serene trail rides through lush forests and historic sites to competitive riding and lessons in various disciplines, the region caters to riders of all skill levels and interests. As Northern Virginia locals, AV Architects + Builders is passionate about celebrating the many outdoor activities that the region has to offer. Everyone on our team loves discovering new features of NOVA that are worth exploring. Whether you’re a Northern Virginia resident or looking to move into the area, this article will provide an overview of some of the available horse riding trails and parks in the region.

Here are some popular choices for horse riding in Northern Virginia, each providing unique experiences for those looking to saddle up.

Horse Riding in Northern Virginia


1. Meadowood Recreation Area

Located in Lorton, Meadowood Recreation Area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and offers over 800 acres of beautiful, diverse landscapes, including 7 miles of horse trails. These well-maintained trails meander through forests, open meadows, and alongside creeks, providing a peaceful escape for riders. Meadowood also features a large equestrian center with arenas for those looking to practice or take lessons, making it a versatile destination for both casual trail riders and competitive equestrians.


2. Marriott Ranch

The Marriott Ranch in Hume offers guided trail rides on their 4,200-acre working cattle ranch, providing a unique opportunity to experience Virginia's countryside from horseback. Riders can explore the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, traversing rolling hills and crossing streams, all while enjoying breathtaking views. The ranch caters to all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced riders, and offers specialized rides, including cattle drives and overnight camping trips, for a truly immersive equestrian experience.


3. Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks)

NOVA Parks operates several parks in Northern Virginia that offer horseback riding trails and facilities. One notable example is Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, which features equestrian trails alongside its historical and natural attractions. These parks provide a scenic backdrop for leisurely rides, with trails that accommodate both individual riders and groups. NOVA Parks' commitment to maintaining and expanding equestrian facilities ensures a high-quality experience for all riders.


4. Frying Pan Farm Park

Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon is part of the Fairfax County park system and offers a glimpse into farm life from the 1920s to the 1950s, including equestrian activities. The park's Kidwell Farm is home to horses and other farm animals, and the equestrian center provides lessons, camps, and workshops for riders of all ages and skill levels. With its indoor arena, outdoor rings, and access to trails, Frying Pan Farm Park is a fantastic place for educational programs and casual riding alike.


5. Great Meadow Foundation

Located in The Plains, Great Meadow Foundation is not only a venue for top equestrian events like the Virginia Gold Cup but also offers public access to its beautiful grounds for horse riding. The foundation's commitment to land conservation and equestrian sports makes it a pristine location for riding, with opportunities to explore the same fields that host international competitions. Riding at Great Meadow allows equestrians to connect with the sport's traditions and enjoy the natural beauty of the Virginia countryside.


6. Clifton Horse Society

The Clifton Horse Society is a community organization that promotes horseback riding and equestrian activities in the Northern Virginia area. They organize trail rides, clinics, and educational events for riders of all levels. Membership in the society provides access to a network of local trails and a community of fellow horse enthusiasts, making it an excellent resource for those looking to immerse themselves in the equestrian lifestyle.

Northern Virginia's diverse equestrian offerings reflect the region's deep connection to horse riding and its commitment to preserving this tradition for future generations. Whether you're seeking a leisurely trail ride through historic landscapes, competitive training in a specific discipline, or a family-friendly introduction to horseback riding, Northern Virginia provides ample opportunities to explore the world of equestrian sports.



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