Featured HORSE TRAILS
Northwest of Seattle on Whidbey Island, the 645 acre Fort Ebey State Park makes a great base for exploring the 28 mile Kettles Trail Network. The horseback riding trail network runs along a series of kettles covered with plush flora. The trails roll through the hills about the Strait of Juan de Fuca and are on well-packed dirt/sand.
East of Seattle and northwest of Snoqualmie Pass, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail is an easy scenic horseback riding route through old growth forest. The trailhead is near Dingford Creek Falls, and the trail runs up to the Alpine Wilderness boundary (9 miles). At the boundary, the trail continues as the Dutch Miller Gap Trail up to the summit, which is another 5.5 miles.
East of Seattle, the 108 mile John Wayne Pioneer Trail follows the former roadbed of the Chicago-Milwaukee-St Paul-Pacific Railroad stretching from the Cascades to the Idaho border and is open to horseback riding. The 100-mile portion from Cedar Falls (near North Bend) to the Columbia River near Vantage is managed as Iron Horse State Park. This gravel surfaced trail is open to horseback riders.
West of Port Angeles, the 13 mile Mount Muller Trail is a new trail constructed in the 1990's for horseback riding. The route passes through second generation forest and at the summit offers vistas of Mount Olympus, the strait and Vancouver Island.
Near Cle Elum in the Okanogan National Forest, the Devils Ridge Trail is a 17.6 mile horseback riding route. It is a main east-west trail in the western Pasayten connecting Ross Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail. The horseback riding trail is mostly side hill, some of it at or above timberline. There are side trips and loop trips are possible using this trail.
Southeast of Seattle and Mt Rainier near Packwood, the Goat Rocks Wilderness is a 105,600 acre wonderland. The Goat Rocks Wilderness is a portion of the volcanic Cascade Mountain Range in southwestern Washington between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. The Goat Rocks are remnants of a large volcano, extinct for some two million years. This ancient volcano once towered over the landscape at more than 12,000 feet in elevation, but has since eroded into several peaks averaging around 8,000 feet. The cluster of rocks and peaks have become known as Goat Rocks because of the bands of mountain goats that live here.
Northeast of Woodland in the Blue Lake area, the Valley Trail is a 16.7 mile horseback riding route. This trail begins at Road 28 near the Cispus River bridge and ends at Road 78 beyond Cat Creek Campground. From Road 28 to the Blue Lake ORV Trailhead the trail is also open to hikers, mountain bikes and motorcycles. This 7.5-mile section follows the Cispus River through stands of mixed conifers and hardwoods.
Southeast of Seattle in the Naches Ranger District, the Chinook Pass area has miles of horseback riding trails. The horse trails can be connected to form a variety of loops of varying distances and difficulties. Keep in mind that these trails are very popular with motorized trail users. The Chinook Pass horseback riding trail system is located off SR410.
Northwest of Olympia and Shelton, the spectacular Lower South Fork Skokomish Trail is an excellent 10 mile ride through lowland old-growth forest with abundant wildlife and lowland wildflowers. NOTE: Trail can be muddy during periods of heavy rain.
Northwest of Olympia, Hoodsport and Duckabush, the 6.7 mile Duckabush Trail is a challenging horseback ride through old growth forest beyond Big Hump with numerous campsites along the river. The trailhead facilities include stock unloading area, toilet, trailhead register, and permit box for Olympic National Park overnight permits.
North of Spokane and Colville in the Three Rivers Ranger District, the Silver Creek Trail is a 15 mile route open to horseback riding. This wooded horse trail crosses several creeks. There are views of the Pend Oreille Valley and the Kettle Crest. Keep an eye out for caribou, moose and grizzly in the northeast corner of this national forest.
Southeast of Tacoma and east of Elbe, the Elbe Hills State Forest has a 50 mile horseback riding trail system known as the Sahara Creek / Nicholson Horse Trail System. This trail system is quite difficult.
North of Spokane and Colville in the Three Rivers Ranger District, the Gillette Ridge Trail System consists of two multi-purpose horseback riding loops totalling 13 miles. Make sure to keep an eye out for caribou, moose and grizzly in the northeast corner of this national forest.
Northwest of Winthrop in the Okanogan National Forest, the 16 mile Larch Creek Trail is a heavily traveled horseback riding trail. Highpoint is the McCall-Timberwolf Divide at 7,640 feet. From the trailhead, four passes must be crossed to reach Sheep Mountain area. There are good views of the Pasayten from different angles. Beyond Larch Pass, the trail follows mostly open rolling meadows and ridges above timberline. Many side trips are possible to lakes, high basins, or scramble routes up easy peaks.
Near Skykomish, the West Cady Ridge Trail #1054 is an 8 mile one-way horseback riding trail. This horse trail switchbacks up West Cady Ridge and eventually ends up at the top of Benchmark Mountain (elevation 5,600 ft) offering amazing views. The trail is 7.8 miles one-way to the top of West Cady Ridge and it is another 4.8 miles to the top of Benchmark Mountain.
North of Spokane near Mead, the Mount Spokane State Park has 100+ miles of trails open to horseback riding. The forested park features stands of old-growth timber and granite rock outcroppings.