Nestled in rural middle Tenn. the Buffalo River begins near Henryville in Lawrence Co. and meanders 125 miles until it meets the Duck River in Humphreys Co.
The longest unimpounded (no dams here) river in middle TN, the Buffalo winds through Lawrence, Lewis, Wayne, Perry, and Humphreys counties. This small, pristine river is more like a creek in most places and offers plenty to do and see. The Buffalo River attracts hundreds of canoers, kayakers, anglers, and even equestrians each year.
Buffalo River Trail Ride, Inc. is the one and only riverside equestrian outfitter in this area. Located off Highway 13, just north of Waynesboro and south of Flatwoods, they are open from the first of April through November 1st for daily rides (no reservation required) and offer organized rides in April, June, July, and October and holiday rides as well.
These organized rides begin on the third Monday of the month, last seven days, and include three meals per day. Riders can choose between four rides each day: a half-day slow, a half-day medium, a half-day gaited, and an all-day ride. Trail bosses accompany the group to ensure both safety and a memorable experience for the riders. The Buffalo River Trail Ride trail system canvases thousands of acres. A horse show with classes for everyone is put on during the organized rides, and a farrier is available throughout the week.
Holiday rides are on Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, and Labor Day weekend. The Holiday Packages do not provide meals, but do include a campsite, electricity, covered stall, use of the bath houses, trails, and facility. Whether you choose to ride on a holiday ride or on the organized rides, you and your friends and family can enjoy a live band and barn dancing as nightly entertainment.
As far as lodging goes, Buffalo River Trail Ride offers two cabins, 100 acres of campground, or riders can bunk in their own trailers. “BYOH” (Bring Your Own Horse) applies. Stalls are available to rent, and hay and shavings are sold as well. Riders may also choose to picket their horses or bring panels. Of course, proof of negative Coggins is required. Riders must also furnish their own tack and riding equipment, as well as rain gear.
John French, local horse owner and equine enthusiast, participates in several of the Buffalo River Trail Rides each year. Staying for up to two weeks at a time, John has nothing but positive things to say about his adventures on the Buffalo River. “One of the great things about this particular location is the cooler temperatures,” he states. “Riding the Buffalo River trails down through the hollers in the shade and through creeks feels much cooler than the ambient temperature. In the months of June and July when it’s really too hot to ride anywhere else, this is especially beneficial,” John explains.
There are other things to do besides just ride while on a Buffalo River Trail Ride. Canoeing, kayaking, and even floating the river on innertubes are other ways to cool off and enjoy the beautiful river after a long ride. In fact, Mr. French was taking a break from kayaking while being interviewed for this article. Cell service is spotty at best in this rural region, so you may have to be strategic in using phones or other devices. “Riding in the AM, then eating and resting, followed by staying cool in the afternoon- whether that’s kayaking, swimming, or just putting your chair in the river, is a great way to enjoy yourself here,” John states. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent through Crazy Horse Canoe Rental, just down river from the trail ride.
According to John, socializing with fellow equestrians is another high point of the Buffalo River Trail Rides. “Some of the holiday rides attract 400-500 people. These are people I may only see once or twice a year, so it’s good to visit with them and meet new people too,” he explains.
Local residents of neighboring Lewis County and avid kayakers, Larry and Yvette Eaddy, say, “There’s nothing like seeing a big group of horseback riders out on a sandbar when we float by.” Larry adds, “Being on the river in a kayak or boat is one thing, but seeing it by horseback must be breathtaking.” There are plenty of hills, “hollers,” caves, and natural springs to explore along the trails of the Buffalo River. The Eaddy’s also see native wildlife, including Bald Eagles, while kayaking, so equestrians have a good shot at seeing them as well. “We’re blessed to live on the river and can come enjoy it any time we want, but people who travel here for a Buffalo River Trail Ride are fascinated by the scenic river and all it has to offer,” Yvette explains.
If you think you may be interested in riding along the picturesque Buffalo River, go to brtr.com to access the Buffalo River Trail Ride, Inc.’s brochure containing dates, fees, and other important information. You can also call them at (877) 654-3164 or find them on facebook.