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Big Meadows Horse Camp

The riding out of Big Meadows Horse Camp is amazing!  So many trails, and such beautiful scenery! 

The Riding 

The Big Meadows Loop is a fun 7-mile jaunt that explores the forest around the Big Meadows for which the horse camp was named.  This loop has little elevation change, and it’s the only trail that offers a view of the meadows.

Big Meadows Horse Camp

The easy ride to Pika and Fir Lakes is suitable for green horses and riders and is a 6-mile round trip.  It follows a lightly traveled paved road to a single-track trail leading to the two pretty lakes.

Big Meadows Horse Camp

The 11.5-mile trail to Duffy Lake isn’t a loop, but in two places you can veer off onto side trails that eventually meet back up with the main trail, allowing you to do partial loops along the way.  Duffy Lake is a beautiful destination and a nice spot for lunch.

Big Meadows Horse Camp

The cross-country ski trail network located just south of the horse camp offers nice summer riding opportunities, highlighted by a stop at the Mountain View Snow Shelter.  This overnight camping shelter for winter recreationists offers a great view of the Three Sisters – something seldom seen from the west side of the Cascades.

Big Meadows Horse Camp

The ride into the Eight Lakes Basin allows you to test your horse’s conditioning and your saddle stamina.  It’s an 18+ mile round trip, taking you deep into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. You’ll pass several lakes on your way to the Basin, then several more as you travel through this scenic area.  You’ll even catch some views of Mt. Jefferson from the trail. Big Meadows Horse Camp

Santiam Lake is a spectacular destination in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.  This 14-5-mile round trip ride takes you to the shore of Santiam Lake at the base of Three Fingered Jack, an impressive peak named for a three-fingered trapper who once lived nearby.

Big Meadows Horse Camp

The 10.5-mile Turpentine Loop takes you through dense forest, through the area ravaged by the B&B fire in 2003, and past meadows brimming with wildflowers.  It’s a truly memorable ride.

Big Meadows Horse Camp

The trails around Big Meadows lead to spectacular mountain views, beautiful forest, meadows of wildflowers, and pretty lakes.  No matter what kind of riding you like, Big Meadows has something to offer.

Wilderness Permits

If you are camping at Big Meadows, you can ride into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness without a permit. However, day riders are no longer allowed to park at Big Meadows and must instead park at the Duffy Lake Trailhead. And if you do a day ride from Duffy Lake Trailhead, you must have a limited-entry permit to enter the Wilderness. Permits are available at

More Information

You can learn more about Big Meadows Horse Camp and its nearby trails in Riding Northwest Oregon Horse Trails by Kim McCarrel, available at

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