The first time I ventured from Oregon into Washington with my horse in tow, it was to visit Mt. Adams Horse Camp. And what a fabulous place this is for equestrians! Here are 7 reasons to give Mt. Adams Horse Camp a visit.
1. Amazing Mountain Views
For starters, Mt. Adams may have the best view from a horse camp of anywhere in America. Plus, you’ll great views of Mt. Adams from several locations along the trails.
2. Easy Access
Mt. Adams Horse Camp is located just north of the town of Trout Lake, on the south side of Mt. Adams. Whether you live in SW Washington or NW Oregon, it’s an easy, scenic drive to reach the horse camp.
3. An Astonishing Array of Trails
Whether you want easy low-elevation trails around the camp, intermediate-length trails that explore the nearby terrain, or challenging high-country trails into the Wilderness, you’ll find them at Mt. Adams Horse Camp.
4. Easy Rides
A delightful network of short trails is located around the camp, and by linking the trails you can create loop trails of whatever length you like. The trails run through verdant forest to interesting destinations like the White Salmon River, flowing in its gorge below the trail, and the Trout Lake Big Tree (202 feet tall and 84 inches in diameter at chest height), the largest ponderosa pine on record. These trails are suitable for green horses and green riders.
5. Intermediate Rides
The Buck Creek, Morrison Creek, and Wicky Creek Trails are all intermediate-level trails located not far from camp. You ride them individually, or link all three to create a memorable loop that includes a densely-shaded canyon, open forest, several bubbling creeks, and the interesting Wicky Creek Shelter. The shelter was built for winter recreationists, but since it has hitching rails and a picnic table it’s also an inviting spot for equestrians to stop for lunch.
6. Back-Country Rides
The Crofton Butte Loop takes you up into the Mt. Adams Wilderness, through stands of old-growth trees, and into the area burned by 2012’s Cascade Creek Fire. The fire burned so hot that it killed all of the trees, but the forest is now coming back. The seasonal wildflowers in this area are amazing.
The Snipes Mountain/Cold Springs Loop is a higher-elevation trail that also goes into the Mt. Adams Wilderness. You can do a 24-mile ride from Mt. Adams Horse Camp, or you can trailer out to the Snipes Mountain Trailhead for an easier 13-mile ride. Along the way, you’ll see lava beds, pretty meadows, and excellent views of Mt. Adams.
7. First-Class Camping
The horse camp has 12 campsites with fire rings, picnic tables, and permanent highlines with cables. It also offers a vault toilet, manure bin, stock water from a trough, and an accessible mounting ramp. Campsites are first-come, first-served.
Yes, Mt. Adams Horse Camp has plenty of riding to fill a long weekend. Since some trails are easy and others are moderate, you won’t find a single steep side hill or drop-off on these trails. The views are breathtaking, and the riding is fun. Don’t miss it!
Note to Oregon Riders
When you look at a map, you may be tempted to take I-84 east to Hood River and then drive over the Hood River Bridge into Washington. After all, this maximizes your freeway driving, and from Hood River it’s a straight shot north on Hwy. 141 to reach Mt. Adams Horse Camp. But don’t do it! The lanes on the Hood River Bridge are 112.75 inches wide, and the wheel base of your trailer is 102 inches wide. That leaves just 5 inches between you and the guard rail on one side and oncoming traffic on the other. It’s scary – so scary that as soon as I got across the bridge I had to pull over and walk around awhile until I could stop shaking. Never again! It’s far safer to take the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks and drive 22 miles east along Hwy. 14 to reach Hwy. 141, which will take you to Trout Lake.