The trails from Todd Creek Horse Camp offer some of the best scenic vistas anywhere in Central Oregon. You’ll enjoy stunning mountain views, sparkling alpine lakes, rugged lava outcroppings, and pretty wildflowers on the banks of tumbling creeks.
Mt. Bachelor from the Broken Top Trail.
Located less than 25 miles west of Bend, Todd Creek Horse Camp doubles as a trailhead and an overnight camping spot. It provides access to excellent high-country riding both within and outside the Three Sisters Wilderness. The 150-mile Metolius-Windigo Trail runs through the horse camp, taking you to interesting destinations and connecting to other trails in the area.
Todd Creek Horse Camp
Here are some of the fabulous rides you can do from Todd Creek Horse Camp:
The Broken Top Trail, near Todd Creek Horse Camp.
The stunning 13-mile Broken Top Loop is an equestrian bucket list ride, for sure. It takes you north on the Metolius-Windigo Trail, then across a pumice plain at the base of the Broken Top crater. The mountain is so close you can almost touch it. You’ll also have views of Mt. Bachelor, Todd Lake, and Sparks Lake. Best of all, in mid-summer the wildflowers that line the creeks are breathtaking.
Wildflowers bloom beside Soda Creek.
A 16-mile out-and-back jaunt north on the Metolius-Windigo Trail takes you to Happy Valley, an idyllic spot with grassy meadows on the bank of the North Fork of Tumalo Creek. It’s a lunch spot both you and your horse will appreciate.
The North Fork of Tumalo Creek runs through the grassy meadows at Happy Valley.
A 15-mile round trip ride takes you to the beautiful Green Lakes, nestled between Broken Top and South Sister. Hordes of hikers travel to the Green Lakes via the Falls Creek Trail, but you’ll avoid the crowds by following the lightly-traveled Todd Lake and Soda Creek Trails.
South Sister reflected in one of the Green Lakes.
A fun 8-mile round trip takes you south on the Metolius-Windigo Trail to Sparks Lake, where you’ll see an impressive view of South Sister over the lake.
South Sister and Sparks Lake.
The southbound Metolius-Windigo Trail takes you to the Appaloosa Trail, then on to Quinn Meadow Horse Camp, a 13-mile round trip.
Mt. Bachelor from the Metolius-Windigo Trail, south of Todd Creek Horse Camp.
If you stay on the southbound Metolius-Windigo Trail, you can go to Hosmer Lake, a 14-mile round trip that offers a view of the lake but doesn’t take you to the lake shore.
On the Metolius-Windigo Trail north of Todd Creek Horse Camp.
Note: The Metolius-Windigo Trail near Todd Creek Horse Camp is popular with mountain bike riders, so be sure to carry your whistle around your neck, and blow it each time you approach a corner you can’t see around. This will alert other trail users to your presence and help keep you safe. (Of course, you’ll want to desensitize your horse to the whistle from the ground first, to make sure he is familiar with the sound.)
Todd Creek Horse Camp
Todd Creek Horse Camp features seven sites with steel 4-horse corrals, picnic tables, and fire rings. The camp has a vault toilet, water trough, and stock water from Todd Creek, which runs along the east edge of the campground. Todd Creek also boasts a huge day-use parking area. A Northwest Forest Pass is required for camping or day use.
From Hwy. 97 in Bend, take Exit 138 (Colorado Avenue) and head west. Follow the signs toward Mt. Bachelor, which will put you on Hwy. 46 (Century Drive/Cascade Lakes Hwy.) Continue for 23 miles and turn left into Todd Creek Horse Camp. The entrance is directly across the highway from the sign for Todd Lake.
To learn more about Todd Creek Horse Camp, see Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press 2012). Available at www.NWhorsetrails.com
Reprinted with permission from Northwest Rider Magazine, May 2017.