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Cedars of Lebanon Horse Trails
One of my favorite day rides in middle Tennessee is at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. It’s a landscape that is like no other in the state. I have truly felt at times like it was a different state altogether with the rock glades, arid plants, and rock outcroppings. It’s a trail I’ve ridden many times and keep going back to as a quiet place of solitude.
Located near Lebanon, Tenn. in Wilson County, Cedars of Lebanon State Park is part of the Cedars of Lebanon State Forest, or as the locals call it, “the cedar forest.” The Park was named for the multitudes of Eastern Red Cedar trees found throughout the area. Early Americans were reminded of the cedar forests that dominated the landscape across Mount Lebanon in the Mediterranean area.
In the 1940s, botanists identified a unique ecosystem of natural rock gardens called limestone glades here. These glades are the result of limestone rock tables coming so close to the earth’s surface that little to no soil remains. Because of this phenomenon, a “desert-like” habitat is created with its own unique plant population, including nineteen endangered species of plants that grow here and nowhere else in the world.
As you enter Cedars of Lebanon, you’ll find the park roads to be lightly used and more than adequate in size for horse trailers. The trailhead includes a large gravel parking lot with enough room for pull through parking, shaded picnic tables, and a trail information kiosk complete with a map. The trailhead is located just to the left of the kiosk close to the parking area. There is no official water source for horses so if you ride this trail, be sure to bring your own water.
Open from sunrise until 10 p.m., Cedars of Lebanon State Park offers approximately 12.5 miles of marked horse trails on over 1,100 acres, and there are hundreds of miles of forestry fire trails in the adjoining State Forest. As a side note, wear an orange vest during hunting season as the surrounding forestry trails double in use for hunting.
All horse trails are dedicated equestrian trails and are marked with orange paint on trees or arrows on posts. The terrain is generally flat and what I consider to be beginner level. The footing is rocky and can be muddy at times, so be sure to equip your horse with shoes or boots with mud straps.
What I find pleasant about these trails is that the cedar forest provides good shade for summertime riding as well as a wind block for wintertime riding, and the variation of hardwood timber along the way always keeps the ride diverse and interesting. I love the fact that you can make it a quick ride on the short paths or go as long as you’d like on the forest roads and paths in the state forest.
Overall, Cedars of Lebanon State Park is a great ride through an amazing habitat provided specifically to Tennesseans. If you decide to make this park part of your ride list, be sure to check out their website first and bring along a GPS if you ride the forest trails, as they are not marked as well as the trails around the camp.
If you are looking to quiet your mind and calm your spirit with your best horse, go with plenty of time on the clock and you won’t be disappointed in what you experience.
Thanks to the State Park and Forestry Service for providing and maintaining this unique trail system free of charge for us trail riders.
Find more of Josh’s articles and information about trail riding around the state at: at www.tnhorsetrails.com. You can also find Josh at Crossroads Natural Horsemanship, Crossroads Ranch, Nolensville, TN 37135. Visit his other website:
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