The Santiam State Forest, located in the breathtaking Oregon Cascade Range, is a paradise for horse lovers and riders of all levels. With over 47,000 acres of forests, meadows, and stunning landscapes, this state forest offers some of the best horse trails in the region. Whether you are an experienced equestrian or a beginner looking to explore the beautiful outdoors on horseback, Santiam State Forest has something for everyone.
One of the most beloved horse trails in Santiam State Forest is the Santiam Wagon Road Trail. This trail follows an old historic wagon road, which was once a vital lifeline for early pioneers and settlers. With a total length of approximately 8 miles, the Santiam Wagon Road Trail takes riders through dense forests, over babbling creeks, and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. This trail is perfect for riders who enjoy a mix of moderate inclines and gentle slopes, providing a perfect balance of challenge and enjoyment.
For those seeking a longer and more challenging ride, the Shellburg Falls Trail is an excellent choice. Stretching across 10 miles, this trail takes riders through the heart of the forest, showcasing the beauty of Oregon's wilderness. Along the way, riders will have the opportunity to witness the majestic Shellburg Falls, a 100-foot waterfall that cascades gracefully into a serene pool below. The Shellburg Falls Trail offers a more adventurous and rugged riding experience, with steep climbs and descents that will put riders' horsemanship skills to the test.
If you prefer a more leisurely ride that showcases the diversity of the Santiam State Forest, the Iron Mountain-McDonald Forest Trail is an excellent option. This 6-mile trail offers a loop through varied landscapes, including lush meadows, serene lakes, and dense forests. Riders will be treated to stunning wildflower displays during the spring and summer months, and the vibrant autumn colors during the fall. The Iron Mountain-McDonald Forest Trail is perfect for riders who want to enjoy a peaceful ride while immersing themselves in the natural wonders of the forest.
When exploring Santiam State Forest, it is essential to remember a few guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your horse. Always pack plenty of water for both yourself and your horse, as well as some food for longer rides. Dress appropriately, wearing sturdy boots and a helmet for your safety. Additionally, bring a map and a compass, as cell phone coverage may be limited in certain areas. It is also crucial to respect the forest and its inhabitants, sticking to designated trails and leaving no trace behind.
In conclusion, if you are a horse enthusiast looking for exceptional trails, Santiam State Forest is a must-visit destination. With its diverse landscapes, breathtaking views, and trails suitable for all levels of riders, this state forest offers an unforgettable equestrian experience. From the historic Santiam Wagon Road Trail to the challenging Shellburg Falls Trail and the serene Iron Mountain-McDonald Forest Trail, there is a trail to suit every rider's preferences. Plan your visit to Santiam State Forest and embark on an incredible horseback adventure today!