I had heard of Bowie Nature Park before in local hiking guides and on day hike-type websites, but had never been. All I really knew about it was that the park consisted of over 700 acres and 17 miles of trails, but I had free time before my appointment that evening and was already relatively nearby after visiting Montgomery Bell State Park earlier in the day.
After parking at the Nature Center and reviewing my trail choices, I opted for the 1.23-mi Horseshoe Trail, which is a loop beginning and ending at the very parking lot where I was already standing (considering I was somewhat pressed for time, convenience won out). There were several other people in the area, including an older German woman with a large dog who proclaimed she would hike the trail directly in front of us and then proceeded to go in a completely different direction, but once I was actually on Horseshoe Trail, there wasn’t another hiker in sight.
Horseshoe Trail, like many other trails in Bowie Nature Park, is a multi-use trail, meaning you need to watch where you step in order to avoid horse manure. There are also mountain bikes allowed on the trails, so I recommend not hiking with headphones in so you can hear people approaching rapidly from behind. Unlike the rest of the trails in the park, however, Horseshoe Trail heads towards civilization instead of further into the Park, which results in passing right next to a WalMart approximately halfway through. By that, I mean only a couple small trees and a small embankment separated the trail from the parking lot. Not exactly what one looks for in a hike, but I suppose it would have been convenient in case of a bathroom emergency. I actually worked at WalMart once upon a time to pay my way through grad school and would have loved to tell some of my customers to take a hike. It looks like at this particular store they might be able to get away with it!