Tennessee Trail Riders

A social network of avid trail riders and horse enthusiasts

 

We are strictly a community of horse owners/lovers (4,000 members)

 

Bear Branch Horse Resort, Shawnee National Forest, Illinois

I went to this place with a couple of friends just when the weather had started to cool off some. It had rustic cabins (had a microwave, coffeepot, heat/air, fridge, and shower). Stalls and picket lines (clean your own stalls). It had a restuarant (better than cooking but not the greatest), bath house, and washer and dryer. It also had a store with some gift/souvenir stuff, but also tack and horse stuff. The trails we intitially went on were marked but not well, it was confusing when trails crossed each other. The trails ranged to from easy breezy to OMG I'm gonna die today. One trail we went on had a section that was very steep, downhill, and was in a trench about 12-15" deep and only about 18" wide (from years of horses, I guess). It was also very rocky, with big loose, flat rocks (very wobbly and slippery), some imbedded in the ground and sticking straight up (the better to trip you!) and I was worried that if a horse tripped, he wouldn't be able to recover himself due to the narrow trench. That part was not a fun ride for me. Got through it with no drama and the rest of the trip was great. I am much more comfortable going UP a real steep hill than going down. Little Rock doesn't seem to care either way. There were places to picket your horses at various spots for pictures and sight seeing, but due to the lack of water in the creeks (drought conditions there too) it could have been a lot prettier. Yellowjackets were bad in some spots (one section of trail was even taped off around a ground wasp nest) but we had no trouble with them. Next spring would be a good time to go if they get enough rain to fill the creeks and rivers in the area. There are other camps around in the same area, too. It is only about 3.5 hours from the Franklin area, depending on how fast you drive.

Views: 61

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Adrienne,
Hello I am a new member and hope I am doing this correctly but I am going to the Shawnee National Forest,in Illinois with some friends this spring I find this very interesting I was wondering how the trails were and how well they are marked I am not sure the name of the place we are camping but will find out and let you know if it is the same one as you are talking about I am going from Fairview and will take interstate 40
I think this is best way for me I think it is about 3 half hours for me also That is not bad It takes me that long to go to East Fork Riding Stables ( which I really like alot ) but wanting to try this I have heard lots of good things about this place . Thanks for the information Happy Trails
Hi Jamie, There was another camp that we rode through that was not too far from Bear Branch ( I can't remember what the name of the place was) they had well marked trails in their area...they had taken sheets of plywood and painted them white with a "You are here..." kind of map, really cool because it gave you an overview of other trails also (if there were others nearby). This campground had a lot of permanent camps, where people rented a spot and parked RV's by the year or season or month, and they had regular spots that you could rent by the weekend, week, etc. The people we talked to there were very friendly and helpful. The owner of Bear Branch came off to us as kind of arrogant. The waitresses in the restaurant were not friendly at all, but overall it was ok. If they get some good rain over the winter it should be very pretty, and maybe wont be so many yellow jackets. Adrienne
Have you been to Hayes Canyon camp? We have always stayed at Little Lusk Lodge in Shawnee, but are planning a trip in October to go to Hayes Canyon. I think this is real close to Bear Branch.
I think we rode through this camp to find a farrier after one of our horses lost a shoe. It is close to Bear Branch and the people were very nice and helpful, especially since we weren't even staying with them. They had a lot of campsites where people just parked their rv's or campers and left them for the season. So it must be a fairly nice place. If I go back I want to try them out. The trails around their campgrounds were very well marked with 'You are here...' type maps painted on white plywood signs. Easy to see and read from the back of your horse. Hope you have a good, safe trip! Adrienne
Hi Adrienne,

We are planning a trip to Bear Branch in September. What month did you go? Do you remember which trail had the very steep downhill? The downhill doesn't bother me, it's the downhill with the trench. Would you go back, and if so would it be to Bear Branch or would you try a different campground?
Thanks!
Jacci
I think it was in September...I can't really remember, but it was still hot, just not quite as hot. I think the trail was the one to the Indian Kitchen. I can't quite remember because we went on several. If I go back I probably would not stay at Bear Branch. I would try Hayes Canyon which is close to Bear Branch. Their trails were much better marked. I do not know if they have a restaurant or not. The waitresses at Bear Branch were not at all friendly and got our order wrong at one meal. Also the food was not that great. Now, don't get me wrong...it was cool to not have to cook, we could just ride, but we were in a cabin that didn't have any cooking facilities...just a microwave and coffeepot, so the restaurant was necessary. I would call Hayes Canyon and see what they amenities they have available. I can say they were very friendly and helpful in finding us a farrier, even though we were not staying there.
JUST A NOTE. I STAYED AT BEAR BRANCH ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO. WOULD NOT STAY THERE AGAIN. THE PEOPLE ARE NOT FRIENDLY AT ALL. LOVED THE TRAILS BUT GOT LOST, I HAD A GPS SO I WAS OK. I HEAR THEY ARE MARKED BETTER NOW. WOULD GO RIDE THERE AGAIN. THEY ARE NICE TRAILS. WORD OF WARNING. STAY ON TRAILS DON'T GET OFF, GROUND HORNETS GOT US PRETTY GOOD. ONE GUY IN THE CAMPGROUND HAD A HORSE THAT SEAMED TO BE HAVING SOME TROUBLE AND TOOK THE HORSE OFF THE TRAIL TO A SMALL POND THAT WAS A RESTRICTED AREA. A GAME WARDEN FINED HIM $5OO.OO. THE GAME WARDEN WAS HIDING BEHIND A ROCK. THEY ARE VERY SERIOUS ABOUT THERE RULES.
There is a restaurant down the highway between Bear branch and Little lusk. They serve eveything, my favorite was the steak! It's just minutes away.
There is also a camp called Circle B I believe. This is a small quiet, very clean place. I haven't stayed there, yet. It isn't far, either.

RSS

Advertise on TTR Website:

Want to share your message with other Tennessee Trail Riders' ?

Call or text me at 615-202-9912

Direct Email Communications: $.15/contact

Cheers and happy trails!

© 2022   Created by Mike Murphy.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service