One of the joys of writing a trail guidebook is that you get to thoroughly research the trails and horse camps in a given area. You have to stay at all the horse camps, and you have to ride all the trails. What a tough life, huh?
When I was doing the research for my “Riding Southwest Washington Horse Trails” book, several people suggested I include White Pass Horse Camp even though it was on the eastern fringe of the area I had planned to cover in the book. Boy, am I glad they recommended it because White Pass Horse Camp is a gem!
White Pass Horse Camp
Located just off Hwy. 12 at the crest of the Cascades, White Pass Horse Camp is the gateway to truly spectacular scenery. The William O. Douglas Wilderness lies just north of the camp, the Goat Rocks Wilderness is just south of it, and the Pacific Crest Trail runs right past the camp.
While packers often use White Pass as a staging area for multi-day treks into the wilderness, the horse camp also offers an array of spectacular day rides of varying lengths and difficulty.
You can make easy trips to Sand Lake or Deer Lake. You can do moderate rides to Buesch Lake and Dumbell Lake, or ride through beautiful meadows of huckleberries and lupine in the William O. Douglas Wilderness.
You can travel to the summit of Pigtail Peak with its spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. Or if you want a challenging ride, you can go to Shoe Lake in the Goat Rocks Wilderness.
White Pass Horse Camp has six official sites, each with a picnic table and fire ring, hitching rail, trees for highlining, and room for one trailer. In addition, the day-use area and several overflow sites have hitching rails, trees for highlining, and trailer parking. Stock water is available from a nearby creek, but it’s too far away to comfortably carry water to most of the campsites so you’ll need to lead your horse to the creek several times a day or bring your own stock water.
Don’t miss White Pass Horse Camp. It offers a variety of day rides to suit any rider, and beautiful scenery you’ll remember for a lifetime.