Gentle terrain, pretty woods and meadows, and several possible loop options make the Horsemen’s Trails near Gibson Prairie Horse Camp a favorite of locals and horse campers alike.
Distance: Varies by route taken
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Elevation: 3,700 to 4,050 feet
You’ll start at Gibson Prairie Horse Camp and can access the trails in several places: across Road 17 from the campground entrance, on the dirt road that runs eastward next to the first campsite, or on the dirt road that runs along the south side of the campground.
The trails are a combination of single-track trails and gravel or dirt roads that explore the area east of Surveyors Ridge. The trails run through forested areas, across meadows, and along creeks. The routes are mostly unsigned, so as you explore them it will help to have a map, a GPS or compass, and a sense of adventure.
The Horsemen’s Trails are open only to horses and hikers, so you’ll be spared the heavy bike traffic that you can encounter on the nearby Surveyors Ridge Trail. The trails were built by volunteers from Back Country Horsemen of Oregon, who also maintain the horse camp. Thank you for developing such fun trails!
Gibson Prairie Horse Camp has five sites, three of which have 4-horse log corrals. Most of the sites are level and all are graveled. All sites have picnic tables and fire pits. The camp has a vault toilet, stock water from a trough, and a manure bin.
Getting to Gibson Prairie Horse Camp
From Portland, head east on Hwy. 26. About 2.5 miles past Government Camp, turn north on Hwy. 35 toward Hood River. Continue 13.2 miles and turn right on Road 44. Drive 5.4 miles and veer left on Road 17. Continue 0.4 mile and make a 90-degree left turn to stay on Road 17. (Road 1720 goes straight ahead and is gravel.) The horse camp is 5.6 miles ahead. From Hood River, drive south on Hwy. 35 for 14 miles and turn left on Pine Mont Drive, which becomes Road 17. Continue 9.7 miles to the horse camp.
You’ll find more information about the Horsemen’s Trails and other rides out of Gibson Prairie Horse Camp in Riding Northwest Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.