Skull Hollow Trailhead, north of Redmond, OR, is the gateway to fabulous spring and fall riding. Two loops depart from the trailhead: the Skull Hollow Loop and the Pine Ridge Loop.
These loops use parts of a long-distance endurance trail, connecting with dirt roads to make more moderate routes for day rides.
Both trails feature excellent tread in the shoulder seasons, and the spring wildflowers are stunning.
Skull Hollow Loop circles Gray Butte, a 5,108-foot cinder cone whose juniper- and sagebrush-covered flanks offer panoramic views of the snow-capped Cascades and the Crooked River Grassland.
Skull Hollow Loop is 9 miles long, running on the Cole Loop and Gray Butte Trails and circling back to the trailhead along a dirt road.
Pine Ridge Loop is an 8-mile ride. It circles its namesake butte on the Cole Loop Trail and connects back to the trailhead via dirt and gravel roads.
Both trails pass the historic McCoin orchard, site of an old homestead. The house is long gone, but the poplar trees and apple orchard remain.
You are likely to encounter cattle and mountain bike riders on sections of these trails, so keep an eye out. But mostly, you will enjoy the incredible views, well-maintained trails, and spring wildflowers. Give the trails out of Skull Hollow Trailhead a try. You'll enjoy them!
Learn more about the Skull Hollow and Pine Ridge Loops in Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, available at www.NWHorseTrails.com.