Tumalo Reservoir is one of my all-time favorite Central Oregon places to ride in spring and fall, when the high country is blanketed with snow.
Horses are not allowed in Tumalo Reservoir, but the area all around the reservoir is open to horseback riding year round. Dirt roads and user-created trails crisscross the area, offering plenty of opportunities to create loops of whatever length you like.
Near Tumalo Reservoir, you can explore beautiful ponderosa forest, ride open sagebrush flats, and travel through ravines lined with basalt outcroppings.
You can ride beside Bull Creek, see spectacular mountain views, and enjoy wildflowers in season.
If you ride through the area burned by the 2014 Two Bulls Fire, you’ll have panoramic views to the east, plus close-up views of the Cascades. On a clear day, you can even see Mt. Hood.
None of the trails near Tumalo Reservoir are signed, so you’ll be exploring. Use the occasional glimpses of the Cascades to keep yourself directionally oriented.
When you ride near Tumalo Reservoir, you’ll be on land owned by Tumalo Irrigation District, on BLM land, on Forest Service land, and on privately-owned timberland. The owner of the private timberland has graciously given permission for the public to use his property for recreation.
You’ll find more information about this riding area in Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.