Next summer’s camping season may be a long way off, but it’s never too early to start planning. If you want to try someplace new in Central Oregon, look at Cultus Corral Horse Camp. Located near Cultus Lake in the Cascades Lake District west of Mt. Bachelor, the trails near Cultus Corral are all about the lakes. The terrain is easy, and the scenery is beautiful.
Pick up the Winopee Tie Trail at Cultus Corral and ride it to the Winopee Trail.
Once you’re on the Winopee Trail, you can ride along the shore of Cultus Lake.
Or you can ride a 13.5-mile round trip to the Teddy Lakes (there are two of them).
You can continue to picturesque Muskrat Lake with its derelict forest shelter. Some years this shallow lake is nearly dry…
...other years, the lake is enormous.
You can ride to Winopee Lake (it’s 22 miles round trip from Cultus Corral), or you can trailer to the Winopee Trailhead, so the round trip will only be 16.5 miles. Either way, Winopee Lake is a fabulous ride.
You can also take the Winopee Tie Trail to the shore of Cultus Lake, tie your horses, and have a delicious meal at Cultus Lake Resort.
From Cultus Corral, if you pick up the Benchmark Butte Trail #8.5, you can ride over the shoulder of Benchmark Butte.
You can do a 15-mile loop that takes you to Corral Swamp, past both of the Corral Lakes, and back along the shore of Cultus Lake.
Or you can trailer a few miles to Little Cultus Campground (use the campground road to turn around and park on the side of Road 4630) for a delightful 11.5-mile loop through the Many Lakes Basin.
From Little Cultus Campground, you can ride a wide forest road (too rough for trailers) for a 12-mile round trip to the pretty Irish and Taylor Lakes.
While some of these rides may seem a bit long, the terrain is horse-friendly, the trails are relatively easy, and there’s little elevation change. And with so many trails to choose from, you’ll have no difficulty filling a long weekend with fabulous rides at Cultus Corral.
Note that fallen trees across the trail can be an issue early in the season. Call the Crescent Ranger District at the Deschutes National Forest (541-433-3200) to make sure the trails you want to ride have been logged out.
Cultus Corral has ten campsites with 4-horse corrals and one with highline poles. All sites are level and back-in, and most have room for two trailers. Cultus Corral has stock water from a pump, a vault toilet, and a manure bin, plus day-use parking for 8-10 trailers. Fee for overnight camping; Northwest Forest Pass required for day use. Reservations are available (but not typically needed) at www.recreation.gov.
To learn more about the riding at Cultus Corral, check out Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails by Kim McCarrel, available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.