Roseburg-area trail riders are so lucky — the 6,000-acre North Bank Habitat Management Area is in their backyard. This beautiful expanse of BLM land provides protected habitat for Columbian white-tailed deer, as well as year-round recreational riding on an extensive network of ranch roads.
These ranch roads gain significant elevation as they climb the North Bank’s steep hills (elevations range from 700 to 2,000 feet), providing panoramic views of the North Umpqua Valley below. Despite the steep terrain, you won’t need to worry about drop-offs because the roads that climb these hills are comfortably wide and cut well into the hillsides.
Spring is a wonderful time to ride at the North Bank Habitat Area. The hills offer excellent opportunities to get your horse in condition for the summer riding ahead, and the seasonal wildflowers are exceptional.
The North Bank is open for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use, as well as for hunting in season. Dogs must be on leash or under voice command. (No chasing the wildlife, please!)
While much of the North Bank is open grassland, the area is dotted with oak, madrone, cedar, and fir trees. You’ll also find poison oak here, but it’s easy to avoid if you stay on the ranch roads.
You can access the North Bank trails from either the Comstock trailhead or the West Access parking area. Just pick a road and follow it, and you are guaranteed to end up climbing a hill and enjoying a view. The road junctions are signed with trail names and distances, so go explore!
Getting to the Comstock Trailhead: From Roseburg, drive east on Hwy. 138 (North Umpqua Highway). At milepost 15, turn left on North Bank Road and continue 4.5 miles to reach the entrance to the Comstock trailhead, a gated driveway on the right flanked by white rail fences. Continue 0.7 mile to the parking area.
Getting to the West Access Trailhead: From Roseburg, take I-5 north for 4 miles to the Winchester Exit 129. Turn left on Hwy. 99 toward Wilbur, and in 1.5 miles turn right on North Bank Road. Continue 5.3 miles to the West Access trailhead’s large gravel parking lot on the left.
Season: The North Bank Habitat Area is open year round. The trails are maintained in summer but at times in winter may be muddy or have standing water. To prevent damage to the trails, please avoid using them during very wet weather.
Trailhead Facilities: The Comstock trailhead has pull-through parking for 4-8 trailers, a group pavilion, barbecue grill, picnic tables, vault toilet, and manure bin. The Comstock gate is open for vehicle access Friday through Monday. The West Access trailhead is always open and has parking for many trailers, but no other facilities. Dispersed camping is permitted within the North Bank Habitat, but no overnight camping is permitted at Comstock trailhead.
More Information: Denman Wildlife Area is featured in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2014)
Reprinted with permission from Northwest Horse Source Magazine, April 2015 issue.