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    Favorite Trail Rides in Illinois

    Millbrook Trail Rides, Newark Illinois

    If you happen to be in Illinois and are looking for a great trail ride, I’ve got several options for you! In this post, I’ll share two of my favorite places to ride in Illinois. Each of these facilities offer a variety of trail ride options for riders of all skill levels. They also provide year round trail riding opportunities, so if you want to ride through the snow or the heat of the summer, there’s a trail ride for you. They truly have something for everyone.

    Millbrook Trail Rides

    Within an hour’s drive from Chicago, you might be surprised to find a secluded 300 acre ranch which offers several fantastic opportunities for horseback riding! Millbrook Trail Rides is a great place to enjoy the outdoors on horseback. The property is located in Newark, IL and is adjacent to the Millbrook Forest Preserve.

    One of the things that makes Millbrook Trail Rides one of my favorite places to trail ride in Illinois, is the variety in the landscape you’ll encounter. The trail rides take you through scenic meadows, oak forests and even include a couple of creek crossings. The creek crossings were something I was really eager to do on a warm summer day and it was quite fun!

    Trail Ride Options

    Millbrook Trail Rides accommodates a full spectrum of riders of all experience levels. When I went, there were two ladies in the group who had never been on a horse before. The trail horses were sure and steady, and even with pesky horseflies buzzing about, these trusty mounts were able to put the inexperienced riders at ease.

    Millbrook offers three main options for trail rides:

    1 Hour Guided Trail Ride: This peaceful and scenic ride takes you through open meadows, over rolling grassland and through a shady wooded grove. Wildlife is visible along trail, particularly blue heron and hawks.

    2 Hour Guided Trail Ride: This ride takes you on a slightly more challenging route through the Millbrook Forest Preserve, along the Fox River. It has steeper hills and trenches for a bit more variety. When I took this ride, we did three small creek crossings, which I really enjoyed.

    Sunset Rides: The sunset ride is a one hour guided ride that takes you through the countryside as the sun is going down. The ride ends with a bonfire upon return to the barn. According to my guide, there might even be s’mores! I’ll be looking to do this ride the next time I’m there!

    Shenandoah Riding Center

    In the Northwest corner of Illinois, you’ll find the Shenandoah Riding Center, situated in the beautiful Galena Territory. This facility has forty miles of picturesque trails which cover a diverse landscape through meadows, rolling hills, and woodlands abundant with wildlife. This large riding center offers riding lessons, boarding, seasonal events and an extensive menu of options for trail riding.

    Shenandoah Riding Center, The Galena Territory, Illinois

    The stable of trail horses at Shenandoah Riding Center is suitable for riders of all levels. The horses are well trained and selected for their calm temperaments along with their overall reliability. From time to time, I’ve seen some of their trail horses come up for sale and I’ve often thought it would be a great place to find a husband safe family horse.

    Trail Ride Options

    Shenandoah Riding Center has a wide variety of trail riding option to suit riders of all levels:

    Discovery Trail Ride: This is a one hour trail ride through meadows and woods. There is abundant wildlife in the area that you may catch a glimpse of as you ride. Instruction may be provided during the ride as well, depending upon the skill level and needs of the group.

    Private Trail Ride: Private rides are limited to you and your group, along with a guide. You may have opportunity to walk-trot-canter based on the trail conditions and the guide’s assessment of the safety and well being of the group and the horses.

    Famous Marina Guide: This is a two hour ride designed for intermediate to advance riders who can walk-trot-canter through the countryside. This is a favorite ride for experienced riders and staff alike.

    Evening Experience Trail Ride: This is a guided sunset trail ride which concludes at the barn with a beverage. After the ride, guests can enjoy watching the horses returning to the herd.

    In addition to these rides, there are several fun options like the Mimosa Ride, Couples Diamond Ride, Girls Weekend, Cowboy Coffee Trail Rides and Soup Lunch Ride. So many choices, and they all look amazing!

    My husband and I did a private couples ride in the middle of February. When we went, there was still snow on the ground from a recent storm, which made for some fun trail conditions. We were prepared for the cold, wearing snow pants over our jeans and our heavy winter coats. We had a beautiful ride and saw even saw a red tail hawk along the trail!

    What to bring…

    For both of these locations, you’ll want to wear long pants and closed toed shoes. Both facilities offer helmets and you can always bring your own if you prefer. If you choose to do a winter ride, you’ll really want to bundle up! For our ride in February, my husband and I wore snow pants and heavy jackets and we were comfortable despite the temperature. Be sure to bring warm gloves and hats for the winter rides as well!


    Overall, there’s a lot to love about both of these trail riding facilities. If you happen find yourself in Illinois, I’d highly recommend giving either one of them a try. It’s easy to see why they’re favorites!

    If you’re looking for other great places to get outside on horseback, check out Oregon Beach Rides.