The Pacific Crest Trail near Ashland offers a splendid opportunity to see the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and experience the remarkable biodiversity it offers. Hyatt Lake Horse Camp is a comfortable base of operations for your explorations. And the view of Mt. McLoughlin across Hyatt Reservoir from the horse camp is stunning.
Distance: 8-17 miles round trip, depending on your destination
Elevation: 4,600 to 5,200 feet
You’ll start at Hyatt Lake Horse Camp and take a connector trail for 0.3 mile to reach the PCT. The segment of the PCT south of Hyatt Lake is delightfully diverse, traveling through open forest, large meadows, and dense old-growth forest.
The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which the PCT travels through, is at the convergence of the Cascades, Siskiyous, and Klamath Mountains. It features over 3,500 plant and animal species, some of which are found nowhere else on earth.
The terrain is gentle and the trail is very horse friendly, with no steep side hills or drop-offs. You can follow the PCT eight miles round trip to Little Hyatt Reservoir, ten miles to Hyatt Meadows, or 17 miles round trip to Hwy. 66.
Hyatt Lake Horse Camp has day-use parking and five campsites with one corral each, though the corrals are large enough to hold two horses. The camp also has a vault toilet, picnic tables, and fire rings. The horse camp doesn’t have any stock water, though, and while the camp is adjacent to Hyatt Reservoir, the lake shore at times is too boggy to be a water source for your horse. You’ll want to bring stock water or bring lidded containers you can fill at Wildcat Campground, the family campground 0.3 mile away.
Getting to Hyatt Lake Horse Camp
From I-5 in Ashland, take Exit 14 and drive east on Hwy. 66 toward Emigrant Lake. In 1 mile, turn left on Dead Indian Memorial Road. Between mileposts 17 and 18, turn right on Hyatt Prairie Road. Drive 10.5 miles and turn left on East Hyatt Lake Road. After the Recreation Area entrance booth, stay to the right and continue 1.7 miles, then turn left at the sign for Wildcat Campground. In 100 feet, veer left to reach the horse camp.
You’ll find more information about PCT and other trails near Hyatt Lake Horse Camp in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.