Central Oregon equestrians have a new year-round place to ride!
BLM has recently opened the new Canals Trailhead in the Cline Buttes area, off Cline Falls Hwy. between Bend and Redmond. It offers access to miles of horse trails and dirt roads, along with parking for 12+ trailers.
The area near the Canals Trailhead has historical significance. In the early 1900s an extensive network of canals was built to carry water from Tumalo Reservoir to nearby homesteads. However, when the irrigation company began filling the reservoir, the accumulating water collapsed a lava tube beneath the reservoir and all of the water drained away. The canals never carried a drop of water.
Several hiker-only trails explore the canals just east of the trailhead. Horses are permitted on other canals, on designated single-track trails, and on dirt roads.
To ride east of the trailhead, go through the east gate and cross Barr Road, then follow the pin flags to the right. About 0.3 mile from the trailhead you’ll cross a wide dirt road. Continue straight ahead to stay on the single-track trails, or turn left on the dirt road, which runs through a wide basin between two low hills. This road has a fabulous view of the Three Sisters, so if you follow it don’t forget to look back over your shoulder occasionally.
To ride west of the trailhead, go through the west gate and follow the dirt roads as they wind among the low hills.
Trail elevations range from 3,100 to 3,300 feet. The riding is easy. Signage is currently minimal, but you can see the Cline Buttes and/or the Cascades from most places on the trails. Keep an eye on these landmarks and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding your way around. No stock water on the trail.
Additional work is scheduled for the Canals-area trails in the coming months, with more single-track trail to be built, and more signs to be installed. For right now, though, there is still plenty of riding near the Canals Trailhead. The footing is excellent for winter riding, so get out there and go exploring!
Getting to the Canals Trailhead:
From Bend, take Hwy. 20 northwest to the town of Tumalo and turn right on Cook Avenue. In a few blocks the road name changes to Cline Falls Hwy. Continue 4 miles and turn left on Barr Road.
From Redmond, take Hwy. 126 west for 5 miles and take the exit for Cline Falls Hwy. Drive 6 miles and turn right on Barr Road.
From Sisters, take Hwy. 126 east for 15 miles and take the exit for Cline Falls Hwy. Continue 6 miles and turn right on Barr Road.
For All, follow Barr Road for 1.5 miles. About 500 feet past the intersection with Gerking Market Road, turn left into the trailhead.
Season: Open year-round. The trails can be dusty in summer, but in winter and spring these sandy trails are well drained and offer great footing, even for barefoot horses.
Parking Facilities: Parking for 12+ trailers in an area separate from the car parking. Toilet. No fees.