Mount Tom and Equestrian Loop

Sibley State Park, Minnesota

Trip Date: Sunday, May 28th, 2017
Last Updated: Saturday, May 2nd, 2020
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★☆(4/5)
Overall Difficulty Moderate
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 7 miles roundtrip
Time 4 hours
Terrain Hilly
Best Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall
Family Friendly No
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible No


Hike Summary

If you're looking for a long hike in Sibley State Park, look no further than the Equestrian Loop in the northwest corner of the park. Fewer people visit this part of the park-- I went during Memorial Day weekend, and only encountered two others on horseback and no others on foot -- allowing you to enjoy the scenic meadows in peace.

This hike starts and finishes exactly the same as the route described in the Mount Tom post. The only difference is that after reaching the dirt road after Little Mount Tom, turn right rather than left, then follow the road and look for the trail on the left side of the road that appears shortly after the intersection with another dirt road. Once you are on the trail, continue straight through the equestrian area. You'll emerge from the forest and into a grassy wonderland, like pictured below.

The prairie in the forest in Sibley State Park

The prairie in the forest in Sibley State Park

A few words of caution: watch out for stinging nettle and horses (as well as their droppings) now that you've passed the equestrian camp. The trail curves, then crosses a road. A little after the road, the trail splits and does a loop, so you can choose to go either direction. The landscape during this loop alternates between forest and prairie. Once you finish the loop, head back the way you came and finish the rest of the Mount Tom Loop.

If you have the stamina, I highly recommend doing this hike because it is much more interesting than the hike to Mount Tom. Connect with me using the social media links below and share your adventures!


Sibley State Park is about 2 hours from the Twin Cities near the town of New London. I highly recommend taking Minnesota Highway 55 -- it's a two lane highway with very little traffic (even over Memorial Day weekend). Once you get to Paynesville, take Minnesota Highway 23 towards Willmar, then turn right onto Minnesota Highway 9 to go through New London. Turn left on County Road 148 and continue straight when you come to the intersection with U.S. Highway 71. The ranger station will soon be on your right.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Like all Minnesota State Parks and Recreation Areas, you must pay a vehicle entry fee of $7 per day or $35 for an annual pass (highly recommended if you frequently go to Minnesota State Parks).

Nearby Hikes

The observation tower on top of Mount Tom.
Mount Tom
Sibley State Park, Minnesota
The grassy, glacier-carved hills in the distance
High Peak Trail Loop
Glacial Lakes State Park, Minnesota
The stunning wetlands of Maria Lake.
Bjorkland Trail
Lake Maria State Park, Minnesota
The sandy trail and pine forest of Uncas Dunes
Uncas Dunes
Sand Dunes State Forest, Minnesota

External Links