Ranch riding isn’t quite the same as trail riding. At Corncob Ranch, it’s all ranch riding – you can easily picture yourself rounding up cattle as you ride cross-country and along ranch roads, traveling through seeded pastures, up wooded draws, and across arid hilltops. You can also ride into the nearby Umatilla National Forest, but there are plenty of places to explore without ever leaving this private 4,000-acre ranch near Spray, Oregon.
The horse camp at Corncob Ranch isn’t your usual camping experience, either. You’ll stay in your own RV or tent in a very nice campground designed with horse trailers in mind. The campsites, which are scattered across a hillside behind the main ranch house, are all pull-throughs with corrals for the horses, stock water near your site, plenty of elbow room between campsites, and views out across the valley below. There’s even a swimming pool where guests can relax and cool off after a hot summer ride.
Your hosts at Corncob Ranch are Rocky and Rahlie Goodell, who have opened their beautiful ranch to visiting horsemen, knowing that you’ll fall in love with the area just as they have.
The terrain at Corncob Ranch includes hills crowned with rimrock, creek-carved valleys, ponderosa pine forest, pastures dotted with grazing cows, and open meadows of sagebrush and bunchgrass. Depending on where you ride, you can enjoy panoramic views from the hilltops, meadows full of seasonal wildflowers, and even the remains of an old homestead.
In addition to the fun riding, swimming, and camping opportunities at Corncob, guests can enjoy fishing for bass in the large ranch pond. Or you can swim or do a float trip on the nearby John Day River or visit the scenic John Day National Monument. If you’re lucky enough to be there on Memorial Day weekend, don’t miss the Spray Rodeo, a 2-day event that, in addition to the daily rodeo, includes a parade, a buckaroo breakfast, and a half-marathon along the banks of the John Day River.
Ride Statistics: Where and how far you ride is entirely up to you, so mileages and elevations vary depending on where you go. When you arrive and check in, the Goodells will give you a map of the area and answer your questions about where to ride. Don’t hesitate to ask your campground neighbors about the riding as well. Chances are good that they are regular visitors to Corncob Ranch and can give you the directions for their favorite rides.
Reservations: www.corncobranch.com, or call 541-468-2071 (summer) or 503-368-7979 (winter).
Getting to Corncob Ranch: From Portland, go east on I-84 to Biggs Junction. Turn south on Hwy. 97 and drive 9 miles. Turn east on Hwy. 206. Continue through Wasco to Condon. Turn south on Hwy. 19 to Fossil and then to Spray. From Bend, take Hwy. 126 through Prineville. Just before you enter Mitchell, turn left on Hwy. 207. Continue to Service Creek and turn right on Hwy. 19 and drive to Spray. All, in Spray, turn left on Pine Street, which soon becomes Winlock Road. In 4 miles, veer left on Winlock Road. In 1.5 miles turn right into the ranch. Drive to the main house to check in.
Season: Summer through fall
The Facilities at Corncob Ranch: 27 spacious pull-through sites with steel 2-horse corrals. Additional corral panels are available if you need accommodations for more horses. All sites have fire rings and picnic tables. Stock water is available near each campsite, and outhouses are a short distance away. Pile up your manure next to the campground road so it can be picked up and hauled off after you leave. Camping fee.