Horseshoe Mountain National Recreation Trail is one of 3 trails at Lake Catherine State Park that all begin at the Camp C bathhouse parking lot in the park. Where the trails split is clearly marked with a large sign, and you'll see that Horseshoe Mountain veers off to the right and begins a slow ascent to the ridge, through pine and hardwood forest. The path is forest floor, mostly dirt, but some rock, especially along the ridge line, so be sure to wear good shoes. Your fur-pup is welcome on a leash, and as you'll likely see some wildlife along the way, it's a good idea to keep a secure hand on the leash's other end. Marked with yellow blazes, the path is easy to follow, and there are natural stopping places where you can pause, look across the valley to the other side of the horseshoe ridge, or get a view of more distant vistas.
Wildflowers abound here, and animals, including many deer, are visible while you walk. You may encounter snakes, but you're most surely going to meet up with ticks in the spring and summer. Some of the rocky outcroppings feature boulders that you can climb on for a better view, especially at the top of the ridgeline before you head east and begin the descent back into the valley at the other side of the looped trail.
This trail is open year-round, and is relatively lightly used, so if solitude and quiet are what you seek, this is the right hike for it. Even at the top, where the only company you have is your canine companion, and the raptors soaring on the thermals above and below you, the silence is thick and almost physical. Breezes rustle the tall grasses and help cool your skin from the sun. This is the pawrfect spot for some water and a sit as you enjoy the view.
The Horseshoe Mountain Trail is considered by some to be the most satisfying of the 3 hiking trails at Lake Catherine, and it's sure to be enjoyed by you and your furry bestie!