Sam Brown Horse Camp, located 29 miles west of Grants Pass, is nestled between steep ridges in the beautiful and historical Briggs Valley.
- Moderate trails
- 40+ miles of riding
- Elevation 2,000 feet
In the 1850s and 1860s, the Briggs Valley was a hotbed of gold mining activity. The town of Briggs was just down the road from where the horse camp is today. It boasted a hotel, bars, and a brothel. The horse camp and nearby family campground got their names from a headstone found nearby that simply reads, “Sam Brown.”
You’ll find plenty of riding near Sam Brown Horse Camp. For example, the Briggs Creek Trail follows its namesake stream and takes you past two abandoned mining sites.
The Dutchy Creek Trail traverses the side of a steep hillside above Dutchy Creek. It climbs steadily to the top of Chrome Ridge, where you’ll find panoramic views of the surrounding hills.
The Onion Way Trail was once the route that miners traveled to get from the Briggs Valley to the mines along Onion Creek. It runs through pretty meadows filled with seasonal wildflowers, and through lush forest that offers welcome shade on a hot day.
The Secret Way Trail gains 600 feet of elevation as it climbs a ridge, offering good views from the top.
The Taylor Creek Trail runs 10.25 miles one way, following Taylor Creek from the Briggs Valley toward Merlin. It's a fun ride from Sam Brown Horse Camp to Lone Tree Pass. If you like, you can continue beyond the pass and explore the steep valley carved by Taylor Creek.
Sam Brown Horse Camp has seven sites with 2- or 4-horse corrals, plus a vault toilet, potable water from a hand pump, picnic tables, and fire pits. The local chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Oregon has upgraded the camping facilities, so Sam Brown is an even nicer place to stay now.
You’ll find more information about Sam Brown Horse Camp in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.