Cottonwood Canyon State Park, located in Oregon, is a hidden gem for horseback riders and nature enthusiasts. With its diverse terrain and breathtaking views, this park offers some of the best horse trails in the region. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, there is something for everyone at Cottonwood Canyon.
1. Pinnacles Trail:
One of the most popular trails at Cottonwood Canyon is the Pinnacles Trail. This moderate loop offers a 5-mile ride through stunning canyons, along the riverbanks, and up to scenic overlooks. The trail is well-maintained and offers a great mix of flat terrains and gentle ascents. Riders will be rewarded with panoramic views of the rolling hills and the rushing waters of the John Day River.
2. Lost Corral Trail:
Looking for a longer ride? The Lost Corral Trail is an excellent choice. This 14-mile trail takes riders through a mix of grassy meadows, rocky canyons, and old-growth cottonwood forests. The trail is a bit more challenging, with some steep and rocky sections, but the beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife make it worthwhile. You may even spot some bighorn sheep or mule deer along the way.
3. Big East Trail:
For riders seeking a more leisurely ride and a chance to enjoy the peacefulness of the park, the Big East Trail is perfect. This 3-mile trail meanders through open meadows and takes you along the banks of the John Day River. It's a great trail for beginners or those looking for a shorter ride. Don't forget to bring your camera, as the views here are truly picturesque.
4. Divide Trail:
For those seeking a thrilling and challenging adventure, the Divide Trail is for you. This 12-mile trail offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and the park's diverse landscapes. The trail is quite steep and rocky in some sections, testing both you and your horse's maneuverability skills. It's a must-ride trail for experienced riders who crave a bit of an adrenaline rush.
5. Spring Basin Trail:
If you are looking for a longer expedition, the Spring Basin Trail is worth exploring. This 33-mile loop will take you through vast grasslands, juniper forests, and unique rock formations. With its remote location, this trail offers a true backcountry experience, making it ideal for overnight camping trips. Be prepared with all the necessary supplies, including water, food, and camping gear.
It is important to note that Cottonwood Canyon State Park requires riders to have a horseback riding permit, which can be obtained at the park headquarters. Additionally, it's crucial to follow park regulations, such as staying on designated trails and respecting wildlife and other park users.
Whether you prefer a leisurely ride or an exhilarating adventure, Cottonwood Canyon State Park has it all. Its breathtaking landscapes and well-maintained trails make it a paradise for horseback riders. So saddle up, and embark on an unforgettable equestrian journey through the best horse trails at Cottonwood Canyon State Park.