Horseback Riding

Horse Trails in Central Oregon

horseback-riderCamp and ride in a volcanic crater at the Chief Paulina Horse Camp. Well worth the visit for incredible mountain views, miles and miles of trails and the bragging rights associated with having camped within a volcano crater. The Newberry National Volcanic Monument is located a quick 45 minutes from Bend, Oregon. A long time favorite horse camp near Paulina Lake in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Deschutes National Forest – Bend/Fort Rock Ranger District. The camping area has spots for 14 truck/trailer rigs and most of them will accomodate larger LQ rigs. All spots also boast either 2 or 4 horse stalls so no high lining required here. Some of the must see sites see sites and trails inclulde” Crater Rim Trail – 24 miles in length that circumnavigates the crater, Paulina Peak – Obsidian Flow – Trail #5 takes you past a flow of volcanic glass.



SEASON: June – October
ELEVATION: 6,400 feet
SITES: 14 Horse Camps Sites
FACILITIES: vault toilet, No drinking water
FEE AREA: Yes 2-horse stalls – $14.00 first vehicle/RV, $14.00 second RV, and $7.00 each additional vehicle. 4-horse stalls – $18.00 first vehicle/RV, $18.00 second RV, and $7.00 each additional vehicle.
POTABLE WATER: NO – However there is a dump and water station near the visitor center.

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Land Manager – Deschutes National Forest – Bend/Ft. Rock District
This equestrian campground loops through a Lodgepole pine stand that unfortunately doesn’t provide much shade . Each campsite has large pole stalls. Cultus Corral makes a good base camp for riders heading into the Three Sisters Wilderness which is only 4.5 miles away.
Cultus Corral is frequently overshadowed by its more visited neighbor at Quinn Meadow. However, since nearby Quinn Meadow Horse Campground can often be full on the weekends Cultus may be an excellent alternative for you if full or if you prefer a more private camping experience. Cultus normally is not nearly as full as the others. It also is close to the Cultus resort if you want nearby supplies or to spend time on the lake while not on your horse.
Total Sites: 11
Elevation: 4,450’
Facilities: 11 trailer/tent sites, vault toilets, horse stalls, potable water
Fees: YES
Vault Toilets: Yes
Nearby Trails: Winopee Tie #16.5 (foot & horse) – 3 miles
Benchmark Butte #8.5 (foot & horse – 4.5 miles provides access to Three Sisters Wilderness

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What to Expect –  25 miles of moderate to challenging trails
Rules and Regulations Land Manager = BLM Prineville District

Notice to Horse Ridge visitors: Because of safety and resource damage considerations, visitors are requested to park at the new off-street Horse Ridge trailhead and not along old highway 20. Thank you.

Just 20 miles southeast of Bend, Oregon, this 40 square mile region of lava and juniper is managed by the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management. The area is bounded to the south by the Deschutes National Forest to the north lies the Oregon Badlands Wilderness and Dry River Canyon to the northeast. Pine Mountain is at the ridge’s southeast quarter, and the South Millican area east. The rural residential communities along Rickard, Gosney and Groff Roads are to the northwest.

Natural History

The area includes two distinct landforms: Horse Ridge – a series of prominent fault-bounded ridges roughly parallel to State Highway 20 – and the Skeleton Fire area, a generally flat, yet rocky area located to the northwest. Horse Ridge rises to an elevation of approximately 4,700 feet and includes an ungrazed, 600-acre Research Natural Area established in 1967 as a research and study plot for western juniper big sagebrush plant communities. (See sidebar for additional information). The adjacent Skeleton Fire area has few mature juniper trees, a result of the 1996 fire which burned 17,000 acres and damaged or destroyed 30 homes. Today, one can see the effects of the fire in the diverse shrubs and native grasses in this basaltic expanse.

The old growth juniper woodland and open shrub-steppe habitats in this area provide important habitat for wildlife, such as elk, mule deer, pronghorn, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, bluebirds and flickers and greater sage grouse.

Know Before You Go

The Horse Ridge Recreation Area is managed for non-motorized trail use. Motor vehicles are allowed only on designated roads marked with green dots. Equestrians, bicyclists and pedestrians may use designated roads, as well as existing trails or cross country travel. Winter and early spring are the most popular times for trail use in this area, as soil conditions provide for firm trail tread, and less trail damage. Motorized trail riding opportunities are seasonally available nearby in the Millican Valley and East Fort Rock OHV Trail Systems. The long term goal for the Horse Ridge Recreation Area is to develop a trail system for a variety of non-motorized trail uses while improving wildlife habitat conditions and avoiding the 600-acre Horse Ridge Research Natural Area.

Please help protect Horse Ridge and others by following the following rules and regulations:

Cross country travel by motor vehicles is illegal: they are limited to the designated green dot road system.
On the trail, hikers should yield to equestrians and bikers should yield to all other users.
Horse Ridge proper is closed to firearm discharge unless legally hunting (see map for target shooting closure area).
Respect private property by staying on public lands.
Leave gates as you find them: either open or closed.

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La Pine State Park

The campground consists of 82 full hook-up, 47 electric sites, 5 rustic cabins and 5 deluxe cabins. There are flush toilets and hot showers in the north, middle and south loops. An RV dump station is located in the park. A log cabin meeting hall is available to reserve. During the dates of May 1 through September 30, the meeting hall is only available to campers reserving a minimum of 5 sites and/or cabins. The meeting hall reservation dates must be within the dates of your other reservations to qualify. Customers registering for Club Camping may reserve the meeting hall for one day at no charge. Additional days, and campers not registering for Club Camping, will be charged the standard rate. Parking is limited for non-reservation visitors of campers. Please call the park to discuss meeting hall events and parking before reserving. A large day use area is located a short drive from the campground on the Deschutes River. Popular activities include, fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing. Naturalist programs are provided most weekends from June to Labor Day. The North loop is closed between approximately October 1 and May 1 each year. The Middle loop is closed between approximately October 1 and May 1 each year. The South Loop is closed October 1 through May 1st to reservations but open to first come, first serve camping. Please note- Between October 1 and approximately April 15 each year all campsites will be without water hookups for winterization. The restrooms will still have water available. A water filling station will be at site 36. Deluxe cabins have water year round. MAKE SURE YOUR SITE MEETS YOUR CAMPING NEEDS Before reserving, please become familiar with the particulars of your chosen site, including the size of the tent pad area and the type of equipment that you may bring to the park. Site details and tent pad sizes can be viewed online by clicking on the site name. A Large campsite has at least a 12′x12′ tent pad area. Medium sites are at least 10′x10′ and Small sites are at least 8′x8′.
Services & Amenities:

Within Facility Dump Station Evening Programs Firewood Sales Recycling Station Showers Toilet, Flush
Ice Sales Junior Ranger Program Water Drinking
Getting There:
Directions to La Pine State Park from the south: Follow Highway 97 seven miles north of LaPine. Turn left on State Recreation Rd. Continue 5 1/2 miles to campground. Directions to LaPine State Park from the north: Follow Highway 97 twenty-one miles south of Bend. Turn right on State Recreation Rd. Continue 5 1/2 miles to campground.
Contact Information:
Mailing Address:
LaPine State Park 15800 STATE REC. RD LAPINE OR 97739
Phone Number:
Information: (541)536-2071

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Pringle Falls Campground, Oregon

Description: 4200-foot elevation. 7 campsites on the Wild and Scenic Deschutes River. Fishing for brown, rainbow, and brook trout and whitefish. Boat fishing or drift fishing is the best way to catch fish; motorized boating is not permitted. The water is Class II flatwater up to about 6 miles below Sunriver for canoeing or kayaking, where there are a number of dangerous falls. Visit the closeby Pringle Falls. Location: From Bend, go about 27 miles south on US 97, 7 miles west on County Road 43, then 1 mile north on Forest Road 4330-500. The road is rutted and not recommended for large RV’s or trailers. Latitude: 43.7478972 Longitude: -121.6030825
Address: Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District Deschutes National Forest 1230 NE 3rd St., Suite A-262 Bend, OR 97701
Phone: (541) 383-4000
Season: May – October
Fee: $10/ vehicle/night;$5/ ea addl vehicle
Reservations: NO

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What to Expect 26 horse sites. Sites are equipped with double or quadruple corrals and horse stalls. Stock water from Sink Creek The campground is equipped with Adirondack picnic shelters, tables, campfire rings, vault toilets and drinking water. Ample room for parking vehicles and trailers is available at each site. Due to the popularity of Quinn Meadow, reservations are recommended. In the event that Quinn is full you may be able to camp at nearby Cultus Corral Campground where reservations are not needed.
Rules and Regulations Land Manager = Deschutes National Forest A manure pit and watering hole are on-site. Horses may be watered only at Sink Creek, and cleaning up manure, hay and trash is required prior to departure. Certified weed/seed-free hay is required. Due to the spread of invasive insects, firewood from outside the area is not permitted.

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Land Manager: Deschutes National Forest Sisters Ranger District, (541) 549-7700
Swamp Wells is a small horse campground about 12 miles south of Bend, and about ten miles north of the Chief Paulina Horse Camp. An item of note about Swamp Wells are the two year-round ponds at Swamp Wells, rare standing water during summer in this part of the Deschutes National Forest.
Swamp Wells was the only location for still surface water for miles around. Central Oregon is well watered by the Deschutes River, of course, but further east, non flowing surface water becomes rare.
Swamp Wells is a 200-plus-acre site nestled in a shallow basin formed by large and small volcanic buttes and cinder cones on the north-sloping flanks of Newberry Volcano. At an elevation of 5,490 feet, it is well below the summit of Newberry Caldera, yet it is only about 8 or 9 miles from the caldera rim.
SEASON: April to November
ELEVATION: 5450 feet
FACILITIES: vault toilet, NO water, tables, fire rings and manure bins.SITES: 5 RV/Trailer/Tent
SPECIAL ACTIVITIES: horseback riding, hiking, Arnold Ice Cave Trail (#3963)
OPERATED BY: Forest Service
FEE: None

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Trails in the Three Creek Meadow Horse Camp include:

Metolius Windigo #99
Tam McArthur Rim #4078- This is a “Must See” trail. Only 2.6 miles long, it’s a high elevation trail that goes to 7600’. It is perched above the Three Creek Meadow Area on a ridge. The views of the Three Sisters Mountains, Broken Hand, Broken Top and Mount Bachelor are all right at the end of your nose! There are side trails to the rim that are incredible, overlooking the lakes below!
Three Creek Lake #4076
This trail can be accessed from the day parking area at Three Creek Meadow Horse Camp. Go south on the trail, cross two creeks, and you’ll see just a tip of the Three Creek Lake and its parking area. The trail turns away from the lake and heads west to the big meadow where there is a destination sign for Little 3 Creeks Lake and Park Meadow, this is where there is a destination sign for Little 3 Creeks Lake and Park Meadow, this is where Park Meadow Trail #4075 goes 2 ways. Not much elevation change in this trail it stays about the same as in camp. It is about 2 miles in length. Loops are possible.
Three Creek Meadow
Land Manager: Sisters Ranger District, (541) 549-7700
Elevation: 6,350′
Camp sites here at Three Creek Meadow are relatively tight for a horse camp, but the area’s beauty and the great riding due make up for it. Each site has four corrals and there is stock water. While August is very popular, riders in the come later to enjoy the fall colors and the cooler weather tends to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Just watch out for the snow at this elevation. The Three Creek area is known for its beautiful view of the Sisters to Bend area below it and of the Three Sisters Wilderness area above it. Threes Three is also commonly used as a staging area to go into the Three Sisters Wilderness area.
NOTE: The camp is located on the edge of a large meadow. This is a very sensitive area and users of the camp are urged to help protect this area by keeping vehicle and livestock out of the meadow. No camping in the meadow.
FACILITES: 9 trailer/tent sites, 36 box stalls (4 per site), no potable water, and water trough for livestock.
SEASON: June to September
FEE: Yes
$14.00 first vehicle and $7.00 each additional vehicle

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Land Manager: Crescent Ranger District, (541) 433-3200
The campground is dedicated to equestrian use. The campground is only a few hundred feet from Crescent Lake.
Over 100 miles of trail altogether are accessible from this area. The adjacent Diamond Peak Wilderness and Oregon Cascades Recreation Area offer an extensive network of trails including the Metolius-Windigo National Recreation Trail.
The most common sentiment for the Whitefish Horse Camp is “I love this campground and the trails around them”. With nearby Crescent Lake just across the road, you can walk your horse to the lake for water and even go for a swim if you wish.
Piped drinking water is available from an artesian well. Stock water is also available. Vault toilets are provided. Each site has a table, fireplace, horse stalls, and parking spur. Garbage pick up and manure removal is provided weekly.
Facilities: vault toilet, potable water, manure removal
SEASON: May to October
ELEVATION: 4850 feet
SITES: 17 Trailer/Tent
FEE: YES 2 stalls (14 sites) – $14.00 4 stalls (3 sites) – $8.00
RESERVATIONS: Visit or call 1-877-444-6777

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For additional information on horse camp sites and trails all over Oregon

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