If you love riding at the coast (and who doesn’t?), it’s tough to beat Bullards Beach State Park, near Bandon, Oregon. You can stay in the park’s well-appointed horse camp, ride for miles on the wide, sandy beach, follow the loop trails through the dunes, and ride to the historic lighthouse. You’ll find plenty of riding at Bullard’s Beach to fill a long weekend!
16+ miles of riding
10 feet of elevation gain
Highlights include miles of beautiful beach, fun trails through the dunes, and a picturesque lighthouse
The wide, sandy beach at Bullards Beach State Park is spectacular. It runs for 6 miles, from the Coquille Lighthouse to Cut Creek. (You can cross Cut Creek to find more miles of beach riding, but use care because the creek can have quicksand. Stay as far inland as possible to cross the creek, and be aware of the tide schedule, so you don’t get stranded on the far side of the stream when the tide comes in.)
You can ride to the picturesque Coquille Lighthouse, creating a loop by riding the Lighthouse Trail through the dunes and along the Coquille River and then returning by riding along the beach. You’ll find a hitching rail near the lighthouse, so you can tie your horse and go inside to check out the historical displays.
Several fun loop trails through the dunes allow you to add variety to your rides and offer protection from the wind. When we were at Bullards Beach in mid-May, some stretches of the dune trails were under standing water. That was a new experience for our horses, but we were delighted to find that the footing beneath was solid so we could ride right through the water.
Other trails in the dunes were dry sand, and of course, all the dunes trails dry out by early summer.
Connector trails run between the dunes trails and the beach, allowing you to create loops of varying lengths.
The Horse Camp
Bullards Beach State Park horse camp has eight sites with 2- or 4-horse corrals. Most sites have room for two vehicles. The horse camp has manure bins, a vault toilet, garbage cans, and potable water from spigots. The park charges a fee for overnight camping, but day use is free. Reservations are required (www.reserveamerica.com).
Volunteers from the Roseburg Chapter of Oregon Equestrian Trails have replaced several of the wooden corrals with sturdy steel corrals, complete with rails for overhead tarps. They’re currently working to raise funds to purchase steel corrals for the remaining sites. If you would like to contribute to this effort, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bullards Beach State Park is located off Hwy. 101, 2.5 miles north of Bandon and 22 miles south of Coos Bay.
For more information about riding at Bullards Beach State Park, see Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017). Available at www.NWhorsetrails.com.