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The Longest Horse Friendly Trails
 By Saferaphus   •   2nd May 2017   •   747 views   •   0 comments


Ever wanted to get on your horse and just keep riding? There are a few opportunities to explore trails that take days, weeks and months to fully explore. Here’s a look at some of the world's longest trail systems available to trail riders and in some cases, drivers.

Bicentennial Trail-Australia
5330 kilometers or 3312 miles winds across the continent of Australia making the Bicentennial Trail. It was initially developed for horseback riding but has since become open to all non-motorized trail users. The trail follows old coaching and mail routes, stock driving trails, packhorse trails and country roads. The scenery along it’s length includes tropical forests, snowy and rugged mountainous areas, semi-arid desert and remote wilderness. The trail also includes hard climbs and water crossings that may require a horse to swim. But, portions are suitable for recreational riders who just want to enjoy a day out. The route includes many culturally significant features such as Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and places near or on the trail are marked.

Trans-Canada Trail
The Trans-Canada Trail is the world’s longest multi-use recreational trail. It has been years in the making and the completion is this year, Canada’s 150th birthday. Much of it is accessible to horseback riders, largely thanks to the fund-raising and effort by Canadian equine groups in each province. The trail is about 21,550 kilometer or 13390.549 miles, spans the entire continent and branches into the most southern and northern regions of the country above the Arctic Circle. Most but, not all is suitable for horses and much of it is rail trail, former Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railway lines that have been groomed for foot traffic, cycling and horseback riding. A small portion is too rugged and remote for horseback riders, and some of it is over water and accessible only by canoe and kayak. Explore the trail by downloading the app for both Apple and Android devices.

National Bridleroute Network
The British Horse Society maintains a collection of trail maps on its website that it calls the National Bridleroute Network. The BHS actively advocates for the use of trails and roadsides for horse riders and drivers. The also provide information leaflets about various trail and roadway riding issues, such as riding on beaches, encountering fences, and using multi-use trails. Trails in the network span the entire country and traverse a wide variety of terrain.

American Discovery Trail
The American Discovery Trail is over 6800 miles long and spans fifteen states. Most, but not quite all of if is available to horseback riders. It’s estimated it would take one year to ride the trail coast to coast. Some planning would be required to get around areas that aren’t open to horses, and perhaps urban areas that aren’t horse-friendly.

On the east coast, the trail starts in the state of Delaware, crossing Maryland, and West Virginia before splitting into two branches as you leave Indiana. Some portions of the trail follow old railway lines, others are culturally significant, such as the Sante Fe Trail, and goes past or through historical sites, and state parks. For example, the trail meanders through Nebraska it goes through the Pony Express Station and Sod House Museum and the further on, The Buffalo Bill Ranch Historic State Park.

In Colorado, the trail crosses the Continental Divide, and trail users are advised to cross the pass in July and August since those are the only months when blizzards aren’t a danger. The terrain through this area is also very rugged, and not accessible on horseback. Alternate routes can be taken, and it’s best to plan a with a local guide to safely navigate this mountainous area. The westernmost portion of the trail starts (or begins in California).

Europe and South America
Riding across the continent of Europe is possible, but requires lots of planning and paperwork. Anyone who wishes to do so may find some helpful information from the Long Riders Guild. Likewise, riding across the entire continent of South America is possible, but again will need careful planning, as so many countries are crossed that there is no cohesive trail system in place.
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