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Katsuk Pond/Elk Devils Loop

I don’t have a clue why the Katsuk Pond Trail got its name since it doesn't go anywhere near Katsuk Pond.  But it’s part of a terrific loop ride from Quinn Meadow Horse Camp or the Devils Lake/Wickiup Plains Trailhead, so don’t let the lack of a pond deter you.

Katsuk Pond Trail

“Katsuk,” as near as I can determine, means “between” in Chinook jargon, and it's an apt description of Katsuk Pond.  The pond is about 0.15 mile from the trail, and lies between a pressure ridge and several log-strewn hills.  (On Google Earth, the pond appears to be dry right now, no doubt a casualty of the drought.)

The Ride

The Katsuk Pond/Elk Devils Loop is a 9.5-mile ride that features fascinating lava outcroppings, pretty lodgepole and hemlock forests, picturesque springs, and a historic wagon road.

Katsuk Pond Trail

The Katsuk Pond Trail is the east leg of the loop.  It travels through a designated roadless area past dozens of pressure ridges of exposed lava, then continues past several springs that gush out of the earth beside the trail.  

Katsuk Pond Trail

The loop’s west leg runs along the Elk Devils Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness, an old wagon road that may have been used to haul timber to the mills in Bend and move herds of sheep to and from their summer grazing grounds. 

Elk Devils Trail

Because the Elk Devils Trail goes into the Three Sisters Wilderness, you’ll need a permit if you ride the loop from Wickiup Plains Trailhead.  However, if you’re camping at Quinn Meadow and you ride the loop clockwise, you don’t need a permit. (Permits aren’t required if you enter the Wilderness from Quinn Meadow, and since there’s no day-use parking at the horse camp you can only enter the Wilderness if you’re camping there.)

Parking, Camping, and Permits

Quinn Meadow Horse Camp

You can make reservations to stay at Quinn Meadow Horse Camp at  Or you can do a day ride from Wickiup Plains Trailhead, which has oodles of trailer parking.  If you opt for a day ride, you can get a permit for the Wickiup Plains Trailhead by doing a Google search for “Cascade Wilderness Permits Wickiup Plains Trailhead.”  It will take you to the right part of to get your permit.  (Trust me, if you go directly to the website and try to search for a wilderness permit, you will never find the one you want.)

Of course, if you do an out-and-back ride from Wickiup Plains Trailhead to Quinn Meadow and back on the Katsuk Pond Trail, you won’t enter the Wilderness so you don’t need a permit.

Elk Devils Trail

Whichever way you opt to ride it, be sure to check out the fun and scenic Katsuk Pond Loop.

More Information

Find out more about the Katsuk Pond Loop in Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel.  Available at

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