Kelsay Valley Campground and Trailhead provides access to wonderful trail riding in the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness Area east of Roseburg, Oregon.
Horse-friendly trails abound here, leading to mountaintop views, to the shores of pretty lakes, and to the Pacific Crest Trail.
You can stay overnight in the well-appointed Kelsay Valley Campground, which has 16 sites, eleven of which have sturdy steel corrals.
The camp has a toilet, a manure pit, stock water from a nearby creek, and knowledgeable camp hosts. (Volunteers from the Roseburg Oregon Equestrian Trails chapter rotate this duty all summer long.) All of the sites have fire rings and picnic tables, and six of the sites are pull-throughs that can accommodate two vehicles. Sites can be reserved through www.reserveamerica.com.
The delightful trails around Kelsay Valley Campground contribute to making your trip here special.
The North Umpqua Trail runs right past the camp. The Maidu Lake segment of the trail goes to Maidu Lake , the headwaters of the North Umpqua River, then continues on to connect to the PCT.
The Lemolo Segment of the North Umpqua Trail leads downstream from the camp. It runs past lush green meadows as it follows the river to Lemolo Lake and beyond. You can detour from the trail to see the pretty Crystal Springs, or you can ride to the west end of the lake and get a burger at the Lemolo Lake Resort restaurant.
The Windigo Trail follows an old forest road and connects to the PCT and the Metolius-Windigo Trail at Windigo Pass.
The Tolo Creek Trail runs to the PCT near the base of Tolo Mountain.
The Tenas Peak Trail goes to the summit of – you guessed it — Tenas Peak, the former site of a fire lookout that offers a panoramic view. The trail connects with the Tolo Creek Trail so you can continue to the PCT.
The Calamut Lake Trail takes you to three pretty lakes: Calamut, Linda, and Charline.
By connecting the Windigo, Maidu Lake, Tolo Creek, Tenas Peak, and Pacific Crest Trails, you can create several excellent loops ranging from 11 to 20 miles long. The terrain is horse friendly and the forest is beautiful, so make your campground reservations and go!
Getting to Kelsay Valley Campground: From I-5 in Roseburg, drive east on Hwy. 138 for 72 miles. Turn left at Lemolo Reservoir Junction. Go north on Road 2610, cross the dam, and turn right on Road 2612. Continue 4.2 miles to the junction with Road 60. Veer left, then immediately turn right on Road 6000-958 and follow it 1.5 miles to the camp.
Campground Facilities: Kelsay Valley Campground has 16 sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Eleven sites have steel corrals for 1, 2, 3, or 4 horses. The camp has a toilet, manure pit, stock water from the nearby creek, and a camp host. The camp is open early summer through fall, and a fee is charged for overnight camping. Campsites can be reserved through www.reserveamerica.com.
More Information: Kelsay Valley Horse Camp is covered in more detail in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2014).
Reprinted with permission from Northwest Rider Magazine, July 2016.