Tuesday ยท July 11, 2023
Gifford Pinchot National Forest: Top Horse Trails | July 2023
Author: Admin

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, located in southwest Washington, is a stunning natural oasis filled with dense forests, mountain peaks, and picturesque landscapes. With over 1,300 miles of trails, it offers an incredible experience for horseback riding enthusiasts. The forest caters to riders of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced equestrians. Here are some of the top horse trails in Gifford Pinchot National Forest that guarantee an unforgettable adventure.


1. Lava Canyon: Lava Canyon is a popular trail that showcases the geological wonders of the forest. Start at the Lava Canyon Trailhead, and embark on a journey that takes you through a beautiful combination of lush greenery and the remnants of volcanic activity. This trail offers a thrilling experience as you navigate narrow footpaths, pass over wooden suspension bridges, and witness breathtaking views of the canyon. The trail is approximately 4.6 miles long and is suitable for riders with intermediate to advanced skills.


2. Lewis River Horse Camp: Located near Mount St. Helens, the Lewis River Horse Camp offers access to several scenic trails in the area. This well-maintained camp features spacious horse-friendly campsites with water troughs, hitching posts, and manure disposal facilities. From here, you can explore the 24-mile Lewis River Horse Trail System, which winds alongside the dazzling waters of the Lewis River. The trails pass through old-growth forests, open meadows, and picturesque riverbanks. Riders of all skill levels can enjoy these trails, making it a family-friendly destination.


3. Divide Camp Trail: Nestled in the southern part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, the Divide Camp Trail is a hidden gem that offers stunning vistas and diverse terrain. This 8.4-mile trail takes riders through magnificent forests, meadows adorned with wildflowers, and along the scenic Pacific Crest Trail. With an elevation gain of about 1,800 feet, the trail can be challenging, but the panoramic views of Mount Adams and the surrounding valleys make it all worth it. Intermediate to experienced riders will appreciate the exhilarating ride this trail offers.


4. Trapper Creek Wilderness: For those seeking a more remote and secluded horseback riding experience, the Trapper Creek Wilderness is a fantastic option. This 15,000-acre wilderness area boasts excellent trails and a serene atmosphere. The legendary Big Hollow Trail, in particular, is a must-visit for riders. Spanning over 27 miles, this trail takes you through dense forests, wildflower-filled meadows, and offers breathtaking views of Mount Adams. Due to its length, it is recommended for experienced riders who can handle a long day in the saddle.


5. Siouxon Trail: Situated in the western part of the forest, the Siouxon Trail is ideal for riders looking for a leisurely horseback riding experience. This 15.7-mile trail follows along the Siouxon Creek, treating riders to the soothing sound of cascading waterfalls and lush scenery. The trail passes through old-growth forests, numerous wooden bridges, and offers several access points to the creek for a refreshing break. This trail is suitable for riders of all skill levels, making it a great choice for families or those new to horseback riding.


Before planning your horseback riding trip, ensure that you check with the forest service for trail conditions and any permit requirements. Additionally, it's essential to adhere to all trail etiquette and leave no trace, preserving the natural beauty of this remarkable forest.


Gifford Pinchot National Forest offers an array of horse trails that cater to every riding preference. From thrilling adventures through volcanic landscapes to tranquil rides alongside cascading rivers, it guarantees an unforgettable journey through the wilderness. So saddle up, explore these top horse trails, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Gifford Pinchot National Forest.