If you’ve never ridden in the Diamond Lake area, you’re missing out. Located 80 miles east of Roseburg, it offers eye-popping scenery, fabulous trails, and very nice accommodations for you and your horse.
The fun at Diamond Lake starts at Howlock Mountain Trailhead. It has only two small campsites with hitching rails, but it also offers paved parking for 4 to 6 trailers (for either overnight camping or day use). The trailhead has no water or corrals, but you can rent a corral with piped-in water at the Diamond Lake Corrals horse-rental operation next door.
The Diamond Lake area offers a wonderful array of trails, many of which run up into the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness. For example: you can ride a fabulous loop up onto the shoulder of Mt. Thielsen and enjoy the panoramic views.
You can make a loop to Howlock Mountain and travel across Howlock Meadows, a vast pumice plain. Both features are named for a notorious 1860s-era Paiute Indian chief.
The Spruce Ridge Trail is a nice, lower-elevation ride that offers filtered views of Mt. Bailey and Diamond Lake.
You can follow an easy 8-mile loop to the south end of Diamond Lake, stopping off at South Shore Pizza to enjoy a fabulous lunch. (When we were there last summer the trails were blocked by downed logs, so check with the Forest Service before you go to make sure these trails are open.)
And if you'd like an easy ride, explore the extensive network of trails created by Diamond Lake Corrals for their rental-horse rides.
While you’re at Diamond Lake, be sure to walk or drive to Diamond Lake Resort for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The food is excellent and they have a full bar.
On a side note, if you would like to try horse camping but you don’t have a camper and you don’t want to sleep in a tent, Diamond Lake Resort is the place for you! You can rent a corral for your horse at Diamond Lake Corrals while you stay in a cozy cabin at the resort, just a mile away.
And for riders who have non-riding family members, Diamond Lake may be the perfect family getaway. Your family can fish or bike at the lake while you ride the fabulous trails. They can circle the lake on a fabulous paved bike path, or they can rent canoes, kayaks, patio boats, paddle boats, or bikes, or even take a guided fishing excursion. Your family will like “horse camping” at Diamond Lake, and so will you!
More Information: The trails around Diamond Lake are covered in more detail in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, available at www.NWHorseTrails.com.