Sheep Springs Horse Camp is the equestrian gateway to the delights of riding in the beautiful Metolius Basin, located about 15 miles northwest of Sisters, OR.
This park-like area is flanked by Three Fingered Jack to the east, Green Ridge to the west, Black Butte to the south, and Mt. Jefferson to the north. The basin, which features the headwaters of the Metolius River, is laced with creeks and shaded by huge ponderosa pines.
Sheep Springs Horse Camp provides access to the 150-mile Metolius-Windigo Trail, plus some easy, low-elevation trails that explore the Metolius Basin and several trails that go up into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.
You can ride the Metolius-Windigo Trail west to the Bear Valley Trailhead.
From Bear Valley Trailhead you can take the Rockpile Lake into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, where it intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail at Rockpile Lake. Along the way you’ll have panoramic views of the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, and Three Fingered Jack. (Note the forest fire burning in the photo below.)
You can follow the Metolius-Windigo Trail south to Camp Sherman, a rather long but easy ride with very little elevation change.
You can do a delightful loop to the Metolius River.
You can ride a combination of trails and forest roads to make a fun loop through beautiful forests and a meadow with an impressive view of Mt. Jefferson.
You can head south on the Metolius-Windigo Trail and loop back to camp along the shore of pretty Canyon Creek.
Sheep Springs Horse Camp offers excellent riding opportunities in spring, summer, and fall. Why not give it a try?
Getting to Sheep Springs Horse Camp: From Sisters, drive northwest on Hwy. 20 for 12 miles. Turn right on Jack Lake Road (Road 12) and continue for 6.8 miles, then turn left on Road 1260. Drive about 1.0 mile, veer right on Road 200, and continue another 1.4 miles to the horse camp. The route is well signed. There is no day-use parking at the horse camp, but day riders can park at a turnout along Road 200, on the left about 0.3 mile before the horse camp.
Fees: Camping fee. Reservations recommended (www.recreation.gov or 877-444-6777).
Season: May to October
Camping Facilities: 11 sites with 4-horse log corrals, fire pits, and picnic tables. Most sites have room for 2 trailers. Vault toilet, manure bins, potable water from a hand pump.
More Information: Sheep Springs Horse Camp is covered in the Metolius Basin chapter of Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2012).