Silver Creek Marsh Campground is a pleasant equestrian gateway to the scenic 130-mile Fremont National Recreation Trail in south-central Oregon.
40+ miles of riding
Elevation 4,800 feet
The Fremont National Recreation Trail (NRT) starts near Summer Lake, OR and runs to Cox Pass, near Lakeview. Due to fires and beetle-killed trees, some sections of the trail are currently impassible. But the trail segments near Silver Creek Marsh are open, and they offer fun riding on horse-friendly terrain. We equestrians owe our sincere thanks to the volunteers at Back Country Horsemen who work hard to keep this trail cleared.
From Silver Creek Marsh, you can ride both directions on the Fremont NRT. Heading west, you can ride along the North Fork of Silver Creek to Antler Campground and beyond.
Heading east, you’ll travel through ponderosa pine forest to Hager Mountain. It’s a pretty ride to the base of the mountain. If you are adventurous and your horse is in good shape, you can take the steep switchbacks to the summit. The trail has very steep drop-offs, though, so if you don’t like heights, just enjoy the ride to the base of Hager Mountain.
The 2002 Toolbox Fire affected the Fremont NRT near Silver Creek Marsh, so be sure to check with the Forest Service before you go to make sure the trail has been logged out.
Note that the Fremont NRT is slated to become part of the Oregon Timber Trail, a border-to-border route for bike-packers. While we don’t expect this remote area will see a huge influx of mountain bike traffic, inclusion of the NRT as part of the Timber Trail will mean the entire route is likely to be logged out, making it accessible to horses in the future.
While you’re staying at Silver Creek Marsh, be sure to have dinner at the Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant, not far away. They serve the most immense (and delicious!) steak or chicken dinner you’ll ever eat, cooked chuckwagon style without electricity. Reservations are required. It’s a memorable experience, so don’t miss it!
Silver Creek Marsh Campground has fifteen sites, nine of which allow horses. Three sites have 2- or 4-horse corrals, and the rest allow you to highline or put up a portable corral. The camp has a toilet and a manure bin, and you can get stock water from the West Fork of Silver Creek, which runs along the edge of the camp.
From Bend, drive south on Hwy. 97 for 32 miles. Turn left on Hwy. 31 and in 46.5 miles (between mileposts 46 and 47), turn right on Silver Creek Road (Road 4-11), which becomes Road 27. Continue 10 miles to the campground.
You’ll find more information about Silver Creek Marsh Campground and the Fremont National Recreation Trail in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.