As published in the November – December, 2010, issue of The Trailhead News.
Trail of the Issue – Mount Adams Horse Camp
If you’re looking for a place that’s easy to get into, offers glorious views from your campsite, is close to civilization yet still feels like wilderness, has a variety of trails to ride, has superb mountain views, and can accommodate the largest of horse trailers; Mount Adams Horse Camp may be for you. And did I mention the view? This is a spot that even your non riding friends will rave about.
The horse camp is located only 4 miles north of Trout Lake, in south central Washington. The easiest way to get there is from the south and US Interstate 84. From I-84 cross the Columbia River at the city of Hood River then head north on WA Hwy 141 from White Salmon.
The number and type of trails and terrain here make this a very popular horse riding destination. The same features also make this a great place for the multiple endurance and prize rides that are held here throughout the riding season that lasts from early summer to late fall. The large meadow that spreads out from the main camp area is frequently used as over flow camping. Fortunately, dispersed camping doesn’t incur the $5 daily fee that users in the designated spots pay.
Once you arrive at Mt. Adams Horse Camp you’ll (hopefully) get your pick of the 12 designated camp spots. Each spot has a fire pit, picnic table and a sturdy highline waiting for your horses. Half of the spots are located amongst large trees and offer welcoming shade during the summer months. The other half are in the open and are great for folks with solar battery chargers. All of these areas will easily accommodate the largest of LQ rigs. A vault toilet is available as is a stock water tank. Unfortunately there is no potable water available in camp so be sure to bring your own.
Once you’ve made camp be sure to take moment to admire the view of Mt. Adams towering 12,276 feet overhead. A close look (binoculars help) at the summit will reveal the remains of a lookout cabin constructed in 1918.
In addition to Mt. Adams vistas, popular sites include the aptly named “Big Tree” a towering specimen of Ponderosa Pine, and Wicky Shelter, located on the Morrison Creek Trail, is a brawny, enclosed shelter that makes a great place for lunch regardless of the weather.
While you can use the trails from camp to venture much further afield, the main riding around the camp area is composed of three loop trail routes: Buck Creek, Big Tree, and Lower Loop.
The trails comprising these three main loops offer generally easy riding with few inclines and bridges, but no side hilling. Trail footing is sandy other than where the trail takes advantage of abandoned road bed and lava rock. On the trails you’ll be treated to mature forest scenes, abundant wildlife, and occasional views of Mt. Adams.
You’ll find that the trails and the campground are all very well maintained, courtesy of the significant efforts of the Mt. Adams Chapter of BCHW.
Prior to visiting, remember that Mount Adams Horse Camp is located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and certified weed free hay is required here.
For more information, free area trail map, driving directions and more, please visit www.TrailMeister.com