Lovely Late-Fall Rides

Discover scenic day rides within an easy drive of city limits. This issue: Gaits in the Grapes, Temecula, California; Dinosaur Valley State Park, near Fort Worth, Texas; Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, near Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Gaits in the Grapes, Temecula, California 

Closest city: Temecula, California.

Directions: From southbound Interstate 15, exit at Rancho California Rd., and turn left. Continue straight on Rancho California past Butterfield Stage Rd. for wineries.

Terrain: Gaitsin the Grapes is set among Temecula Wine Country’s oak-studded rolling hills. High mountains rise in the distance. Wide trails pass alongside wineries and vineyards.

History: The Luiseño Indians lived in the area now known as Temecula for 10,000 years before Spanish Missionaries came to the region. In 1798, Mission of San Luis Rey de Francia was founded in the area, followed later by Mission San Antonio de Pala in the 1820s. After the secularization of the missions, a Mexican land grant was given to 

Vicente Moraga in 1844. Soon after, the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line established a depot in Temecula. In 1859, the first inland Southern California post office was established here. Winemaking began in California during the mission period, and had become a staple for the state by the 1800s. Wineries began to appear in Temecula Valley in the late 1960s. 

Trail tips:Bring your own horse, and Gaitsin the Grapes will host a customized guided day ride through Temecula Wine Country, so you can easily navigate the area’s complex trail system. You may ride just through the wine country, or expand to local hills. 

Amenities: A day-ride fee of $75 per rider includes a catered lunch, free wine tasting in a participating winery, and one hour of horse-monitoring time during wine tastings. Other packages are available. Rides are customized for gaited or nongaited horses. For overnight stays, local stables provide boarding; horse camping is available in nearby Galloway Downs.

Map: For a map of Temecula Wine Country, go to

Contact: Gaitsin the Grapes, (951) 515-9964;

Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, Texas

Closest city: Fort Worth, Texas.

Driving distance: 60 miles.

Directions: Take U.S. Highway 67 to FM 205. Go four miles to Park Rd. 59. Go one mile to park headquarters.

Terrain: Dinosaur Valley State Park contains 1,523 acres of oaks and Ashe junipers in the upland areas; cedar elms grace the creek bottoms. The terrain is varied, with mountains; limestone, sandstone, and mudstone cliffs; and the Paluxy River. Eroded, layered rock formations 

show exposed dinosaur prints from the Cretaceous Period. 

History: The rock formations that make up the park were deposited along an ancient sea during the early Cretaceous Period approximately 113 million years ago. Theropod dinosaurs walked through the area, leaving prints in the stone. In 1968, the land that makes up the park was purchased from private owners under the State Parks Bonds Program. The park was opened to the public in 1972. The park is also a National Natural Landmark.

Trail tips:The 100-acre South Primitive Area is the only section of the park open to equestrians. The Paluxy River runs through this wooded, semi-rocky section of the park.

Amenities: A parking area for horse trailers is located in the South Primitive Area. No potable water at the parking area, but horses can drink from the nearby river.

Map: For a map of the area, go to

Contact: Dinosaur Valley State Park, (254) 897-4588;

Hobbs State ParkConservation Area, Rogers, Arkansas

Closest city: Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Driving distance: 23 miles.

Directions: Follow U.S. Route 71 to Arkansas Highway 12/U.S. Route 412. Get on Arkansas Highway 303. Turn right onto High Sky Inn Rd./Highway 303. Take the first left onto War Eagle Rd./Highway 303. 

Turn left onto Highway 12/Highway 303. The park is located at 20201 East Highway 12. The Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail offers two staging areas for equestrians:the Townsend Ridge Road Trail Access and the Piney Road Trail Access. 

Terrain: Located in the Ozark Mountains, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area consists of 12,000 acres bordering the 28,370-acre Beaver Lake. Plateaus, ridges, valleys, and streams make up the park’s terrain, which features an upland forest of oak, hickory, and pine. Water features, including disappearing streams, springs, and seeps, have carved hollows in the limestone landscape and created cave-related features, including numerous sinkholes.

History: In 1858, the first steam powered sawmill in Arkansas was established on the land that is now Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. 

Built by Peter Van Winkle, the land was eventually purchased by lumber company owner Roscoe Hobbs. The land remained in private ownership until 1979, when the State of Arkansas purchased the 11,644 acres that became the park. 

Trail tip: The 24-mile Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail is the best choice for day rides. The trail follows old logging roads on ridge tops and ridge rims, which feature native trees and fauna. 

Amenities: The park features a state-ofthe-art visitor’s center with interactive exhibits. 

Map: For a trail map, go to

Contact: Hobbs State Park, (479) 789-5000;

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