What is the Discovery Trail at Rocky Creek?

The Discovery Trail at Rocky Creek is an equine-accessible, multi-dimensional outdoor sensory experience intended for therapeutic and educational use; located in Statesville, North Carolina. 


Our mission is to create an environment for guests of all ages and abilities to: experience the outdoors in a safe and delightful way; reach for and achieve therapeutic, educational and personal goals; and have an opportunity to learn from, and develop a relationship with horses {and other animals, including wildlife}.

What is a sensory trail?

A “sensory trail” is a sequential outdoor experience that incorporates cognitive, visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory sensory integration, promotes fine and gross motor skills, visual tracking and scanning, hand-eye coordination, and motor planning. Often, sensory trails incorporate the letters of the alphabet, A through Z, to mark the length of and stops along the trail. Sensory Trails are commonly seen at Therapeutic Riding Center facilities, allowing children and adults the opportunity to experience cognitive development and stimulation while on the back of a horse.

What is unique about the Discovery Trail at Rocky Creek?

Featuring twenty-six sensory stations, a family-friendly Fit-Trail, and a "hands-on" Equine Lifecycle Experience, the Discovery Trail at Rocky Creek aims to set an example as a best-in-class facility for experiential therapy and learning; offering therapists, educators, parents, groups and equestrians an opportunity to expand the experience of their clients, children and themselves.

We feel that a sensory trail experience can be useful to more than just therapeutic riding clients, incorporating mental health development and treatment plans, adult respite and learning, youth education and family fitness. Our goal is to positively impact and inspire the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of each participant.

In the world of therapeutic riding, sensory trails are accessed on horseback, but the Discovery Trail at Rocky Creek may also be accessed on foot or by All-Terrain Vehicle, as well as on the back of a horse. Components and activities are designed for all ages and abilities; and for use by both individuals and groups and at varying heights.

Supported by a state-of-the-art digital experience including a comprehensive web portal and interactive app, the Discovery Trail at Rocky Creek will allow users to track their progress, plan visits or curriculums and download supporting educational materials for each station from a computer, tablet or smart-phone. {Coming soon.}

Additionally, our hope is to make each station reproducible for other centers and organizations by providing plans, shopping lists, costs, time estimates and financial support through grant-making.