Few things are more magical than the feeling of the wind in your hair as you cling to the back of a happy, friendly horse. The Upper Peninsula isn’t always noted for its horseback riding opportunities, though equestrian culture is certainly alive and well here. One Ishpeming business wants to shed a little more light on this appealing sport – and by all accounts, they’re doing a great job of it.
Heritage Hills Horseback Riding is a full-service horseback riding facility near the center of Ishpeming. It’s located on several dozen acres formerly owned by the original Wawanowin Country Club, which was built before the turn of the 20th century. There’s no golf course here, though: The riding trails at Heritage Hills cross through a natural ecosystem that includes several open meadows, a mature hardwood forest, and sandy stretches of pine amid rolling hills and dales. As it’s adjacent to one of the region’s first iron ore mines, Heritage Hills’ “campus” is also rich with history. Rides here, led by friendly hosts Phil and Joni, are always chock-full of historical tidbits about Marquette County and its people.
For regular 1-hour rides, the per person cost is $40. 2-hour rides run $75 per person. Groups of four or more pay just $35 per person for 1-hour rides. Heritage Hills accepts credit cards, and tipping is appreciated. The facility also has a frequent rider program that includes discounts for regular customers.
Heritage Hills doesn’t merely accept one-off reservations (which are always recommended) for group rides. It’s also one of Ishpeming’s most popular sites for outdoor birthday parties. In July, a weeklong summer camp offers opportunities for 10 lucky kids – check the Facebook page for details. (In 2014, the cost for the camp was $150 per child.)
Heritage Hills Horseback Riding is located at 300 Malton Road in Ishpeming. To get there, turn onto Malton Road from Highway 28/41 and drive over the railroad track. Shortly after the crossing, the facility’s entrance will appear on your left.
Heritage Hills’ hours are as follows:
May/June and September/October
Open Tuesday through Sunday, with rides going out at 10 am, 11:15 am, 12:30 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:30 pm.
Open daily, with rides at 8:45 am, 10 am, 11:15 am, 12:30 pm, 2:15 pm, and 3:30 pm. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a special 2-hour ride leaves at 10 am daily. On hot days, afternoon rides may be canceled, but the facility often schedules a special evening ride to make up for it. You’ll need to call ahead (906-361-TROT (8768)) to confirm this.
Some other things to remember:
One important note: Horseback riding is a fun and generally safe activity, and the folks at Heritage Hills are well-trained in safety and security protocols. But it’s not completely risk-free, a fact Heritage Hills acknowledges with a mandatory waiver for all new customers. Before saddling up, you must sign a document that absolves the facility of responsibility for accidents and injuries. This is a standard industry practice, so it shouldn’t discourage you from planning a day here soon!