Explore the most popular horseback riding trails in Hoosier National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

SAFETY WARNING: this trail is located 5 miles from birdseye trail in birdseye. This trail has no mile markers and doesnt lisy the distance at the start either. it is 3 times the distance 11.8 miles. Most importantly this trail is not listed in google maps, whereas birdseye trail in birdseye that is 12 miles long and unmarked IS. I dont know what ridiculous oversight allowed this to happen but any experienced hiker knows this is extremely dangerous to a non experienced hiker. the trail being rated as "easy" , this should certainly be noted. This is a disgrace. I almost died as the sun was going down and there are bobcats in the area and i had no extra water or food beyond the 2 bottles i brought and an apple. Found out i can call 911 on satellite.

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of my favorite trails for its variety, length and relative lack of hills. There are multiple water crossings that, depending on the time of year can be thigh deep, bring sandals! Several seasonal waterfalls exist just off the trail. An 1800’s cemetery is included in this trail along with several homestead sites that make this trail something to discover!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is great if you can't or don't want to complete the whole trail. You can do a 3-miler which loops back to your car or the same with a 7-miler.

2 months ago

Did west as east seemed to be active with heavy equipment. Part park road not all tra

hiking
2 months ago

Not a difficult hike. Crosses with dirt roads. Good to be outdoors.

hiking
3 months ago

A lot of fun. Definitely challenging if you are new to hiking or (and) out of shape. I liked how clear the trail was. The lake was very pretty, looking forward to hiking this route again in the spring and fall for more foliage.

Trail is clear and wide. Took advantage of a warm January day after melting snow and rain. Some spots were a little chewed up from horse traffic, but overall a good trail. Few water crossings, but not too deep and decent hills and views. Will definitely do it again.

7 months ago

A gentle trail, mostly packed gravel, but certainly has areas without it. The low hills, winding curves, a few deer and a nice gravel road or two makes for an enjoyable trail run.

backpacking
9 months ago

Trail was mostly gravel, I like the more backcountry trails. Once you hit the lake trail and going counter clockwise, I had to traverse the creek, which while shallow, was far. Bummer. The other creek crossings were dry or dry enough to easily pass. At the dam, the lake view is beautiful, but there's only 1 real campsite - which you can reach via car (38.482765,-86.568347 camping spot, 38.482519,-86.569353 parking lot). There was someone posted up there by early afternoon who drove to the site. I was hammock camping so that was fine for me, but if you weren't, there wasn't much flat area to spread out other than the 1 spot.

It's marked as moderately traveled, but on a mid August Saturday and Sunday with a high of 80 low of 60, I only saw 1 other person on the trail, and he was on a horse.

I would do this one again, but definitely recommend a hammock.

hiking
9 months ago

Well marked and maintained. Lotsa spider webs on trail when we went, but that's just nature at work. We did just the loop starting from the boat ramp. Beautiful day!

backpacking
9 months ago

Treeline obscures view of the lake for 95% of the trail. Lots of small gravel in the trail but rain can cause some areas to flood. More than enough hills to get your heart racing, but nothing that will wipe you out. Might be a bit much for beginners. Very limited backcountry camping options, best bet is to bring a hammock.

backpacking
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This trail is approximately 10 miles, if you start at the trailhead and hike around the lake. You only get to the 12+ miles by hiking the trail across the road from the trailhead. Since we were hiking with four kids, ages 2-11, we parked at the boat ramp and made the loop, for a total of right around 8 miles. We hiked counter-clockwise.

There is an established campground with about 10 sites near the boat ramp. No running water, but fire rings, picnic tables and a clean outhouse are provided. As we walked from the outhouse trailhead, we soon came to a picnic area with hitching posts and wound around to the dam. The dam is easily accessed from the road, up a long staircase. As such, it appears to be the site of partying and graffiti adorns the rocks there. Once we crossed the dam, it felt more remote.

Camping: We only encountered one informal established campsite. It was located on the lakeshore at the west end of the Buffalo Trace, where the trace runs into the water. On the map, this is where the trail takes a 90 degree turn to the northeast, directly across from the boat ramp. The site wasn’t exactly level, but not bad, and had a makeshift fire ring and logs to sit on. If you start at the trailhead, the main campground would be at the halfway point. We found a level spot off the trail to set up camp.

Water: There were plenty of opportunities for water. There was ample water to filter at each of the places that the map shows a water crossing, even though there had been little precipitation in the weeks before our trip. We also encountered several springs and smaller water sources suitable for filtering.

We met several horses/riders along the trail, as well as some day hikers. Everyone was friendly. We saw some backpackers taking a shortcut to the campground. The next day we saw the other end of that trail, as it shoots off from near the lakeshore before the trail turned away for the lake for the last time at the north end of the lake.

There were no breathtaking sights on the trail, but some remnants of days gone by, before the area was dammed and flooded. The Buffalo Trace was also an interesting site. Hills were moderate. The trail was well maintained and had only a couple of freshly fallen trees across it.

hiking
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Great trail. Well-marked. May have some muddy spots and Creek crossings when wet. Beautiful old and new growth. We did the East part of the loop. Nice for kids (we took a toddler and an 8 yr old), but also some good elevation changes.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Awful! We did the East loop and it is not really a "hiking trail". After walking several miles up a gravel path, we went into the woods onto a path that's not clearly marked throughout. Tons of ticks, not cleared for walking. I would not recommend this trail. It isn't even pretty.

hiking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

I followed horseshoe marks in the mud, but otherwise, not marked enough to follow without doubt. Crossed an overflowing rapid creek on a huge sycamore tree... and was thrilled for the challenge. Early spring 2016

horseback riding
Sunday, March 27, 2016

Great trail. Gravel base. Nice hills. Marked well.

on Oriole Trail

walking
Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nice trail. I would rate it relatively easy. The trail crossed a few small creeks, a couple of ponds and an interesting grave site.

horseback riding
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

This is a beautiful trail to ride on horseback. I've been a few times. Easy trail with lots of room to Trot or Canter!

hiking
Friday, May 01, 2015

Oriole West is a great trail, East is currently being logged. This is a lolipop trail so be prepared to hike 2 miles in and out to get to the 7 mile West loop unless you take the access road. This trail did have a large quantity of spiders, Ive hiked a lot of Hoosier and never had this many trail webs.
Overall I liked the scenery and the little surprises you could find just off trail here and there.

hiking
Friday, May 01, 2015

One of my favorite loops. Lots of historic sites along the way and overall nice terrain.

hiking
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

There were three horse trailers at the trailhead when we were there, and the East trail was pretty muddy and chewed up. We tried the West trail (the one that crosses route 66) and turned around when it became obvious it was basically just a logging road. Disappointing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hiked the whole 11 mile loop today. Very nice trail. Got caught in a thunderstorm at mile 9. Great hike.

hiking
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nice trail which was well marked and easy to follow. The trail itself was a bit chewed up but you should expect that on a horse trail. Found a nice overnight camp site for hammocking.

hiking
Friday, February 07, 2014

Nice trail that isn't technical. Has a few good hills. Watch your step as it's a horse trail as well. Beautiful open meadows with tall grasses and flowers in the spring/summer. Has a campground with restroom. No water on trail when I've done it...dry creek beds.

hiking
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

There's 2 trails in oriole I did the west oriole trail which is around 7 miles. It was a well maintained trail and just a nice day hike nothing spectacular but I still enjoyed it. I plan to do the east oriole trail soon.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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