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Sam Brown Horse Camp

Sam Brown Horse Camp, located 29 miles west of Grants Pass, is nestled between steep ridges in the beautiful and historical Briggs Valley.

The Backstory

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.”

Sam Brown Horse Camp

The Riding

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.

Sam Brown Horse Camp

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.

Sam Brown Horse Camp

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.

Sam Brown Horse Camp

The Secret Way Trail gains 600 feet of elevation as it climbs a ridge, offering good views from the top.

Sam Brown Horse Camp

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

The Camping

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.

Sam Brown Horse Camp

Learn More

You’ll find more information about Sam Brown Horse Camp in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, available at


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