Top Horse Trails in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Nestled in the northeastern corner of Oregon, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly horseback riders. With miles of scenic trails winding through beautiful landscapes, it offers some of the best horseback riding opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you are a seasoned equestrian or a beginner looking for an unforgettable adventure, here are some top horse trails in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to explore.
1. Hurricane Creek Trail
One of the most popular trails in the area, the Hurricane Creek Trail offers breathtaking views and a diverse range of terrain. Set in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, this trail begins at the Hurricane Creek Trailhead and takes riders through meadows, forests, and alpine lakes. The trail is well-maintained and boasts stunning vistas of Eagle Cap peaks. This 20-mile loop is perfect for riders looking for a multi-day adventure.
2. Wallowa Lake Trail
For riders seeking a shorter, yet scenic ride, the Wallowa Lake Trail is an excellent choice. Starting near Wallowa Lake, this gentle trail follows the eastern edge of the lake, offering picturesque views of the valley and the majestic Wallowa Mountains. The trail covers approximately 6 miles roundtrip, making it ideal for a half-day excursion. The peaceful ambiance along the lake's edge adds to the overall experience.
3. Two Pan Trail
Located in the Elkhorn Mountains, the Two Pan Trail rewards riders with awe-inspiring vistas. This moderately challenging trail begins at Anthony Lakes Ski Area and winds through dense forests, wildflower meadows, and alpine landscapes. The trail eventually opens up to stunning panoramic views, including glimpses of Mount Emily. The 11-mile roundtrip trail treats riders to a mix of exciting terrain and vistas making it worth the effort.
4. Meadow Creek Trail
Featuring a mix of dense forests, open meadows, and creek crossings, the Meadow Creek Trail offers riders a wonderful chance to explore the heart of the Wallowa Mountains. Beginning at the Hidden Campground, this 15-mile roundtrip trail takes riders deep into the wilderness, offering glimpses of wildlife and serene landscapes. The trail can be moderately challenging in some sections, but the rewards of the stunning views and tranquil surroundings make it worthwhile.
5. Pine Lakes Trail
For those seeking a truly immersive and challenging horseback riding experience, the Pine Lakes Trail is the perfect choice. Beginning at the Freezeout Trailhead, this 23-mile roundtrip trail dives deep into the Eagle Cap Wilderness, ascending towards the alpine environments of Mirror and Moccasin Lakes. This trail rewards riders with panoramic vistas of the rugged Wallowa Mountains, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes. Keep in mind that this trail is recommended for experienced riders due to its steep grades and elevation gain.
Before setting out on any of these trails, it is essential to check with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest office for current trail conditions and obtain any necessary permits. Remember to bring proper gear for you and your horse, including water, food, navigation tools, and emergency supplies.
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest truly is a paradise for horseback riders. Offering a diverse range of trails with awe-inspiring scenery, this national forest should be on every equestrian's bucket list. So, saddle up, explore the horse trails of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and create memories that will last a lifetime.