Tuesday ยท July 11, 2023
Crooked River National Grassland: Top Horse Trails | July 2023
Author: Admin

Crooked River National Grassland, located in central Oregon, is a stunning haven for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly horseback riders. With its diverse landscapes, breathtaking vistas, and extensive network of trails, this hidden gem offers horse riders an unforgettable experience. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced equestrian, here are the top horse trails in Crooked River National Grassland that are bound to take your breath away.


1. Chimney Rock Loop Trail:

The Chimney Rock Loop Trail is a must-ride for horse enthusiasts. This 14-mile loop, situated amidst awe-inspiring cliffs and mesas, offers mesmerizing views of the Crooked River Canyon and the surrounding grasslands. The trail is well-maintained and offers moderate difficulty, making it suitable for riders of all skill levels. Be sure to bring your camera along as you ride through this picturesque landscape filled with diverse flora and fauna.


2. Gray Butte Trail:

The Gray Butte Trail stands out for its panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains and surrounding grasslands. This 7.6-mile trail takes riders through a mix of open meadows and forested areas, providing an ever-changing and delightful experience. The highlight of this trail is reaching the summit of Gray Butte, where riders are rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the Three Sisters, Mount Washington, and Mount Jefferson. It’s important to note that this trail includes some steep sections, so it may be suitable for more experienced riders.


3. Shafer Butte Trail:

The Shafer Butte Trail is a shorter but equally rewarding option for horse riders. This 4.2-mile trail is famous for its stunning wildflowers during the spring and summer months. As you make your way through this loop, you'll experience incredible views of the surrounding mountains and the Crooked River Valley. The trail is well-marked and easily accessible, making it ideal for riders of all levels.


4. Lone Pine Trail:

The Lone Pine Trail is another fantastic option within the Crooked River National Grassland. This 6-mile out-and-back trail winds through sagebrush-covered hills and offers remarkable views of the Cascades, including Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters. The trail is fairly easy, with minimal elevation gain, providing riders with a tranquil and enjoyable experience. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer and various bird species, as you traverse this scenic route.


5. Black Rock Trail:

For a more challenging adventure, consider the Black Rock Trail. This 9.3-mile trail offers riders a mix of rocky terrain, open meadows, and dense forest. As you navigate through this diverse landscape, you'll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the Ochoco Mountains and the Crooked River Valley. The trail is moderately difficult, with some steep sections and occasional obstacles. Only experienced riders and their well-trained horses are recommended for this trail.


Before embarking on any trail within Crooked River National Grassland, it is important to check for any closures or restrictions, as well as to pack essentials such as water, food, and appropriate gear. Additionally, respect the natural surroundings by staying on designated trails and practicing Leave No Trace principles.


Crooked River National Grassland offers horse riders an abundance of remarkable trails, each showcasing the area's unique beauty. Whichever trail you choose, be prepared to be awestruck by the magnificent landscapes, diverse wildlife, and the sheer joy of exploring the vastness on horseback.