Southern Kettle Moraine Horse Trail Association
A map of the Southern Kettle Moraine horse trail system (with new color-coding) is available at the DNR headquarters in Eagle, or you may download a pdf version yourself HERE.
Change in Firewood Law
Firewood Notice: Currently, firewood is not allowed on Wisconsin State Park, Trail or Forest properties from out of state or from more than 25 miles away from the destination campground. In addition, firewood that has been in a Wisconsin EAB quarantined area is not allowed on properties outside of the quarantined area. Please buy firewood nearby or at the property you are going to. Call the DNR toll-free Firewood Hotline 1-877-303-WOOD(9663) for information before packing for a trip.
Horseriders Campground is strategically located in the center of the main trail, giving campers full access to the entire system. Immediately off the campground, there are several loop trails to explore, ranging from 4 to nearly 10 miles in length. Those looking for a longer ride can head north or south on the main trail. Many visitors love to ride to the Eagle trailhead, exploring loop trails along the way, stop for lunch at a horse-friendly local establishment, relax a bit and ride back in time for dinner around the campfire.
Additional Useful Information
The town of Palmyra has a hardware store, gas stations, restaurants and grocery store, and should be able to provide for your basic needs.
Shower facilities may be found at the Ottawa Lake Campground and at Horseriders Campground.
Dump stations are available at Ottawa Lake, Pinewoods and Whitewater Lake campgrounds. Dump stations are free to use by all registered campers.
Visit the Wisconsin DNR Website for more information on camping, trails, rules and regulations for the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit.Trail Heads Located in Otttawa, Eagle, Palmyra & LaGrange.
There are several day parking lots spread through the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest for horseback riders and carriage drivers, offering access from many different directions and a variety of loops to ride at each lot. Each trailhead offers different options and styles of trails, try them all and choose your favorite, if you can!
Trail passes are required for all riders over the age of 16, and parking passes are required for all vehicles. Daily or annual passes may be purchased at the DNR Headquarters, or payment envelopes are found at each trailhead. The park rangers do check, so be sure you purchase your pass and support the State Forest system.
Ottawa Trailhead (Hwy ZZ)
Located east of highway 67 on ZZ, the Ottawa trailhead is the most northeastern trailhead, closest to I94. A nice series of loop trails in addition to the main trail allow riders to choose how long and how far they wish to explore. With the shortest loop 2.5 miles, the longest at 8.6, endless combinations mean Ottawa can be a full day of horseback riding, or a simple afternoon jaunt.
The Ottawa bridle trails are a little on the rocky side, but mostly softer ground. Shoes are not necessary to ride these trails, but a tender footed horse may find themselves picking their way through some sections, and shoes or protective boots may be a good preventative option.
This trailhead offers picnic tables, hitching posts, porta potty and a water source, including a horse sized shower boom for hosing off your hard working equine.
Eagle Trailhead (Hwy S)
The Eagle Trailhead is located north of highway 67, on Hwy S, halfway between Ottawa and Palmyra trailheads. Somewhat less improved than Ottawa or Palmyra, Eagle is still often touted as one of the best spots in the system. Loop trails of 3-5 miles are accessible directly from the parking lot, as well as access to the main trail.
The trails at Eagle are beautiful and sandy, with few rocks, and the Town of Eagle offers a few unique and unusual places to explore. The trailhead offers a porta potty, hitching posts, mounting block and picnic table. Many campers love to ride from Horseriders Campground to the Eagle trails and stop for lunch at Suhmer's Saloon, a horse-friendly western bar, restaurant and motel.
Palmyra Trailhead: home of Horseriders Campground
Horseriders Campground is found just outside the town of Palmyra, on Little Prairie Road, and includes a day parking area for those not wishing to spend the night. Notorious for being a difficult street to find, locals simply instruct: "from Hwy 59 in Palmyra, turn south at the Hardware Store, go over the railroad tracks, and the campground is on the left". This trailhead is strategically located in the center of the main bridle trail, giving campers and day riders full access to the entire system.
Immediately off the campground, there are several loop trails to explore, ranging from 4 to nearly 10 miles in length. Those looking for a longer ride can head north or south on the main trail. Many visitors love to ride to the Eagle trailhead, exploring loop trails along the way, stop for lunch at a horse-friendly local establishment, relax a bit and ride back in time for dinner around the campfire.
The Palmyra trails may have some rather rocky sections due to erosion, so shoes or boots are a good option. Check with other riders for suggestions on which trails to avoid if you do not have hoof protection for your horse and are concerned with trail conditions. Often the trails headed in the direction of the Eagle trailhead are less rocky than other trails heading out of the camp.
Running water, manure pits, wheelbarrows, hitching posts and pit toilets are stationed throughout the campground. There is also a covered shelter, commonly referred to as the pavilion, and a BBQ pit for group gatherings. The pavilion does have electric outlets, and is often used for potluck meals.
New in 2011 are nineteen campsites with electrical hookup. The sites are 401 through 406; 415; 417 through 421, and 431 through 437. There is an additional fee for these sites.
LaGrange Trailhead (Hwy 12)
LaGrange is the southernmost, and least improved of the trailheads. While little more than a parking lot, some shorter, yet very nice trails may be accessed at this point. There are no bathroom facilities or running water at this location.
As you explore the Southern Kettle Moraine trail system, you will find resting areas with picnic tables and hitching posts, perfect for a lunch break or a rest in a shady spot, and a marked trail map showing your current location in the forest. At this time, there are no water sources along the trails other than at the Palmyra and Ottawa trail heads, so plan accordingly.
Fall/Winter note: Water sources are turned off during cold temperatures, check with the DNR if you are unsure. Hunting is allowed in the State Forest, riders should be aware of open seasons and dress accordingly. ATV's are not allowed on the trails at any time, however the bridle trails are part of the local snowmobile trail system and once snow falls, many sleds are out. The trails are open to horses year round, but use your best judgment when it comes to riding conditions, hunters and snowmobile encounters.
Wilton Road Rest Stop
The Wilton Road Rest Stop is along the 33-mile-long Moraine Ridge horse/snowmobile trail. Located off Wilton Road, Town of Eagle, it has picnic tables, tie racks, water supply and a portable toilet.
Visit the DNR Website for more information on camping, trails, rules and regulations for the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit.
*** "Camping with Your Horse" by Bill Mayfield ***
Great tips from an experienced camper and horseman!!!
Check out the article HERE