Trails at Hard Labor Creek

Equestrian Area & Trails

Horseback Riding at Hard Labor Creek

The equestrian area features trails of various lengths up to 24 miles. A gated entrance allows secured access. In addition to the trails this area includes paved parking, campsites with water and electricity, a bathroom with hot showers, and a large riding ring. A negative equine infectious anemia test must be presented prior to riding any state park trail.

Mountain Biking Trails

There are 13+ miles of mountain bike trails appropriate for the beginner to advanced experience level. The Orange Loop is about 1-mountain bikingmile on level ground which takes the rider through an interesting area of regenerating pine forest. The Red Loop is a more challenging 5.25-mile loop that will take the rider up and down gently sloping terrain, and crosses older hardwood forest of mixed pine and hardwood stands. Along the way are lush fern covered stream bottoms, boulder formations, and cascading streams. This trail is rated more for the Intermediate/Advanced riders. The Blue Loop is the newest bike trail that is a 3.5-mile loop rated for Beginner/Intermediate riders and highlights four creekside excursions. Joining the Parking Lot and the Orange Trail to the Red and Blue Trails is the Purple Connector Trail, a .5-mile, bi-directional Beginner level trail featuring a gentle climb and ascent through a spacious hardwood stand. Riders may also enjoy seeing wildlife like deer, turkey, and possibly fox squirrels.

Brantley Nature Trail

1 mile. Rated easy to moderate. An easy walk characterized by mature hardwoods, this trail has reminders of the park’s origin. A prominent ravine echoes the past and the result of poor land-use practices. Much of the land which comprises Hard Labor Creek State Park was eroded cotton and corn fields and only marginally productive. Originally known as Hard Labor Creek National Recreation Demonstration Area, land stabilization was one of the first projects accomplished in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Beaverpond Nature Trail

1 mile. Rated easy to moderate. Be sure you do not miss the tulip poplar (liriodendron tulipifera L) found on the left not long on your hike. Using care, step to its base and gain a greater appreciation of its size. Another feature of importance are the wetlands. These cradles of life contain the required food, shelter, and water for organisms across the entire food chain.

Lake Rutledge Equestrian Trail

This 16-mile trail features both mature hardwood and hardwood/pine forests. Most striking are the bottoms and the creeks that course through them. Often one feels relocated to a more mountainous setting. Short climbs of moderate difficulty are common throughout the trail. Four return loops can be used to measure a ride’s length and duration. The section of trail across Fambrough Bridge Road is used less often and offers a ride of quiet solitude. The Lake Rutledge equestrian trail is open to hikers.

Lake Brantley Equestrian Trail

This 8-mile trail has both pine and hardwood forests. Deep gorges and granite outcroppings are common. A rock quarry used by the Civilian Conservation Corps can be seen if you are especially observant. For a shorter ride take the gray loop and cut the distance in half. Use caution crossing Fairplay Road by dismounting. The Lake Brantley equestrian trail is open to hikers.