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Named after the beautiful Mountain Laurel shrub found in the area, Laurel Hill Wildlife Management Area (WMA) consists of 15,000 acres of wooded hill country with over 30 miles of horse trails. The wildlife management area is located between Waynesboro and Lawrenceburg in southern middle Tennessee.
The trails are well marked with ribbons, yellow posts, and brown signs. There is plenty of shade during summertime riding and the trails intersect the Little Buffalo River, as well as other streams, to provide a constant water source along the way. The trail terrain has something to offer everyone from easy flat paths to steep hills. Many of the trails consist of sand and gravel footing, but I do recommend shoes or boots as some sections are rocky. Horseback and ATV riding are prohibited during all big game seasons. A High Impact Habitat Conservation Permit or hunting license is required for horseback and ATV use. The use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
The wildlife management area also offers miles of chert roads perfect for those who prefer wagons and ATVs, and there are two lakes stocked with plenty of fish for anglers. Riders with a keen eye may get a view of the resident Eagles over the lake. One of my all-time favorite rides was alongside the lake as an Eagle swooped down, caught a fish, and landed in a tree just above us to enjoy its catch.
Robert Dalton opened the nearby Laurel Hill Horse Campground, also called “Laurel Hill Trail and Camp,” over 10 years ago. Today the camp has flourished into a busy getaway for Tennessee and Alabama trail riders. You’ll experience a real down-home feel with fruit trees, manicured grape vines, blackberry bushes, and flowers decorating the partially shaded landscape. Laurel Hill Trail and Camp has a quaint family atmosphere. The smaller size of the campground and the centrally located pavilion create a communal feel to your stay, and the regular campers welcome everyone to congregate in the evening at the pavilion for food and fellowship around the fire.
Two trailheads lead out of the camp to the WMA horse trails, providing easy access for campers.The campground offers over 30 RV sites equipped with water and electricity, a shower house with restrooms, and several cabins to choose from. Two small barns provide campers with over 20 covered stalls with water, lights, and 16 outdoor pens are available as well. The Campground is located adjacent to the parking lot on Artimis Road/Smith Road about 3.5 miles from the Boat Docks at the lake and 3 miles from the Natchez Trace. The drive in is easy on two lane country roads and the campground consists of a gravel circle drive with back-in and pull-through sites. As a side note on supplies, be sure to bring your hay, ice, wood, and shavings.
For me personally, staying at Laurel Hill Trail and Camp takes me back to days gone by. What I mean is that they have this special family feel without trying. It reminds me of the days when people were not so self-absorbed about what their own needs were or the expectations they had of a horse camp. Here I experienced love, honesty, grace, generosity, and a whole lot of happiness between old friends and new. There are so many reasons to go check this place out, from the atmosphere to the trails, but whatever reason you choose, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy your experience.
My family and I love finding these places along our horseback journey that value fun, family, and friendship. We appreciated the welcoming atmosphere of this camp, and it was refreshing to ride and camp with people who truly enjoy their horses and one another.
For more information and a video of Laurel Hill Trail and Camp please visit www.tnhorsetrails.com.
Also find information about Laurel Hill WMA, Lawrenceburg, TN at: https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife-management-areas/middle-tennessee-r2/laurel-hill-wma.html. Please note the abundant “Wildlife to Watch” on this webpage.
Find Josh Guinat Crossroads Natural Horsemanship, Crossroads Ranch, 1875 Burke Hollow Rd., Nolensville, TN 37135; 615-818-7101. www.nashvillehorselessons.com
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