It’s only April, but you’re yearning to go horse camping – someplace warm and sunny, of course, with plenty of good riding. That place is Graham Corral, a horse camp surrounded by miles of trails through beautiful ponderosa pine forest.
Located only 18 miles east of Santiam Pass (or 100 miles from Salem), Graham Corral is easily accessible for riders from the Willamette Valley. And it’s convenient for locals, too, since it’s only seven miles from Sisters.
The Metolius-Windigo Trail (the Met-Win) runs through the camp, and the trail is signed with yellow trailblazer diamonds on the trees.
From Graham Corral you can ride north to the Metolius River.
Or you can ride south to Sisters Cow Camp, an easy 13.5-mile ride.
You can follow the Met-Win north and then detour onto the trails used by the Black Butte Ranch horse-rental operation. These trails will take you to Glaze Meadow….
… or to the top of Gobblers Knob, which offers a splendid view of the Three Sisters.
You can detour off the Met-Win, cross Hwy. 20, and follow the Sisters Tie Trail to the town of Sisters, where you can get a fabulous burger or a milkshake made of house-made ice cream at the Sno-Cap Drive-In.
You can ride a loop to the treeless summit of Fourmile Butte, which offers 360-degree panoramic views.
And you can do a long but scenic ride all the way around Black Butte, enjoying the mountain vistas along the way.
If you have good navigation skills you can follow forest roads to Skylight Cave, a lava tube with holes in the roof that, in May and June between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., allow beams of sunlight to streak into the cave.
No matter what kind of trails you like, Graham Corral has much to offer. And spring is definitely the time to go!
Getting to Graham Corral: From Sisters, drive northwest on Hwy. 20 for 4.4 miles and turn left on Road 1012. Continue 0.9 mile, turn right on Road 300 and continue 1.2 miles, then turn right on Road 340 and drive 0.6 miles to the horse camp. All turns are clearly signed.
Camping/Trailhead Facilities: Graham Corral has 11 campsites, four of which have 4-horse corrals. Plus, there are four large corrals in the center of the camp and plenty of trees for highlining. The camp has potable water, a toilet, and a manure pit. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, and easy parking for 2+ trailers. Graham Corral has plenty of room for day-use parking. Camping fee for overnight stays, or Northwest Forest Pass for day use.
More Information: Graham Corral is covered in the Black Butte chapter of Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2012).